SiPGoesVirtual 2020 – An Editorial Review

We were supposed to be in Tallinn. But this is 2020, and things just haven’t gone according to plan for anyone. And so a new plan was formulated. We were going online. 15 intrepid photographers forging on this strange world.

ShtacyP has participated in seven SiP Toy Safaris: Hamburg, London, Edinburgh, Paris, Billund, Cambridge, and now Digital!

The similarities between a physical and virtual safari

It was always going to be different from our regular toy safaris. No holding of reflectors or lights for other people. No print exchange. And no walking kilometre after kilometre to get to that next spot just 10 minutes away. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t similarities.

We still had (relatively) early morning coffee-fuelled starts (just no scrabbling to find the nearest open Starbucks). We still had safari bingo cards (#WhereIsBoris). And we still got to hang out with old friends and connect with new ones. And amazingly, we were still able to share toys with each other.

The #RainbowPatrol, passing on their favourite things to friends across 3 different time zones.

The differences between a physical and virtual safari

For this online adventure to work we needed structure. In real life safaris, we will plan to go to different locations, but largely we’ll meander across town playing it by ear, and the photos we take will just kind of, happen. This time though we had been set a series of wonderful challenges by our fearless leaders.

We had photo prompts, narratives to create, and we worked all together, in breakout groups, and individually. Shooting against the clock, so that the newspapers (Planet and Prophet) could hit their print deadlines! To make our deliverables it meant thinking fast, communicating effectively, collaborating (all those good corporate words, right Ian?) It was at times a little frantic, sometimes stressful, but hey, we were playing with our toys, how stressed out could we really get?!

ShtacyP, known for her ability to spin a yarn and tell a story about the most inanimate of rocks, became Editor-in-Chief, wrangling the outputs of her wonderful team of photographers and reporters into coherent (if laughable) stories, worthy of being printed in one of the many publications ran by Green Lantern.

Taking photos

One of my favourite things about safaris is watching how people create their photos, and then seeing them post the photos weeks later and understanding the story of how that photo came to be, where the light was coming from, why the photographer was in that weird position on the floor.

But this time around, the structure meant that photos were produced, edited, and shared almost instantaneously. We could see each other’s photos as quickly as they could be uploaded onto Google Drive (not that any of us snooped in the other teams’ folders of course…).

This process wasn’t any worse, just different. It still worked as a learning experience. Webcams were often left on whilst artists snapped away just out of shot. Tricks and tips were still shared. As were screens: “Do you like this edit better, or this one?” Every day is a school day.

The goody bag

In preparation for the weekend’s activities we all (well, depending on your country’s postal service) received very special packages in the days before the safari. Cruelly though we had to wait to open them. Those packages sat in our offices, on our desks, hidden away in cupboards, just asking to be played with.

Temptations were successfully resisted and as soon as we were allowed to rip them open and reveal the secret contents of the bags, we were off into the first of our challenges! The goodies found inside gave us some common threads that would help us tell our stories. Plus, we had been given hints about what sorts of pieces would be appropriate to pack for the safari, things that would help draw our creative outputs together.

Assessment

By the time Sunday afternoon came around, we had completed all our challenges. We had written our stories, the personal ones, and the collective ones. We had created incredible things, photos, and memories. Things that will be immortalised in hardback, should we want a memento of this one-off event. Friendships begun and firmly cemented, we logged off of the meeting, so that we could rest in preparation for our next viral marketing campaign.

Taking it easy like a Sunday afternoon after a toy safari.

As far as I am concerned the #SiPGoesVirtual2020 weekend was a resounding success. Whilst we couldn’t explore the cobbled streets in the medieval Old Town of Tallinn I think we achieved all the things I’ve come to expect as a toy safari veteran. We took photos of toys, we hung out with friends, and we had fun. Isn’t that what it’s all about?!

Little big adventures

It’s just a question of size

LEGO just released the fantastic Ideas set Pirates of Barracuda Bay.
It’s quite a big box full of bricks and minifigures and I must confess, there are stars in my eyes when I look at it.
In fact, almost every big set will do the same: bricks, bricks everywhere, and a large final build.
Large enough to make me ask myself: where would you put it?
The Batman UCS Tumbler, the Creator Mustang, Ideas Old Fishing Store, Quinjet, Airjutsu Temple, Lunar Lander, the SPACESHIP, all the Ninjago stuff, all the Star Wars ships…
All those sets are awesome, but it takes also a lot of space…

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Now They’re Out There

Mission Accomplished

On the 25th of March, we innocently asked on Instagram, who’d be interested in reviewing some of the new collectible minifigures from series 20 for us. Some of you replied. Onehundredandsixtythree of you to be precise. We went through all the volunteers and discussed to and fro. In the end, we chose to send some surprise envelopes to fourteen of you. Some of these fourteen we knew before. Of some, we had only heard. And some were complete strangers to us but we still reached out, when after all you all got back to us.

On the fourth of April, we put the first review online. Twenty-six more posts followed. When we first asked you on IG, we seriously hadn’t thought that the interest in this new series would be THAT strong. Wow. We do want to say a massive THANK YOU to all of our crowd reviewers! You people rock! We were simply blown away by incredible pictures and wonderful ones. We impatiently followed some massive stories and fell in love with minifigures as you kept portraying them.

Meanwhile, the minifigs are available at your favorite local toystore or from the LEGO online shop.

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Om Iets Aan De Wilgen Te Hangen

Welcome @lego_a_gogo

Today Willemijn from the Netherlands will share with us her thoughts about some new CMF20 minifigures, some of their their dark necessities in particular and toy photography in general.

The Llama And The Pinata Boy

The little boy with his original pinata

The pinata boy is a happy figurine. It’s very colorful and just waiting to start the party. But wait, what’s this? There’s another pinata, a moving one…

Uh-oh, better run, little llama…

I really enjoyed this llama-pinata boy combination here because I think it worked so well with the ‘live’ pinata thing going on. Ok, maybe that was a little mean. I also like the garden pictures with the Mexican boy and the llama both on their own.

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Music And The 80’s

Some Thoughts From @pulup

We’ve been posting quite some articles about the new collectible minifigures series 20 as of lately. These articles came to life because we sent out some minifigs into the great wide open, so that some of you could review them and take pics to share on our blog.

We also sent some to Burak. For some time it seemed that the mail wouldnt be delivered in time to become part of this review series. Fortunately, Hermes seems to have worked his divine powers on this one and Burak got mail. Here is what he replied to us.

The Garage Band

Pulup and the Crazy Wigs!

Early 1980s, studying in a German high school in Istanbul, I was naturally introduced to German pop bands before anything else. I was particularly impressed by the New Wave genre. Alphaville‘s excellent debut album Forever Young (1984) was the first vinyl I purchased. I remember one day, after listening to Big in Japan for more than a hundred times, I decided to make music of my own.

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Brand New Toy

Paul Got A Brand New Toy

There once was a boy…

This may start like a fairytale. Let’s keep it that way for a moment. Anyway, this also is a story about a boy. At this point, we don´t know the boy’s name. Let´s see what happens here in that story by @lego_men_explore.

The Boy With The Drone

The brand new toy

There once was a boy with a drone. He got it as a surprise present. It wasn’t something he’d really wished for before, but now he had it. He practised in his garden every day after school. The controls were sensitive. Just a gentle swipe to lift it up into the air. A circular motion to get the camera to spin and focus.

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Drrrrrumroll…..

Part Three

This will be the last part of three from Carl @carlp_photography, who portrayed fifteen out of the sixteen minifigures of the CMF series 20. (One of them is reported to have had issues at the customs. Maybe her javelin was mistaken for a weapon …) Here´s Carl for you:

Peapod Costume Girl

Green
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A Good Night’s Sleep

Hello Again Bert

Here’s another review of the #CMF20 series of new LEGO minifigures. This time it´s a rather sinister one from @brickmione. We’re hoping to find some sleep after it. (Then again, we’ll probably be dreaming of the new minifigs and that’s only possible when we’re asleep.) But here’s Bert for you:

Nightmare

The little PJ girl wants to stay with her parents because she has had several nightmares. She’s now telling all her bad dreams so that they would allow her to sleepover.

Ghosts keep coming back
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Flying Is Fun

Wendy

In this one Wendy @verboomwendy discovers her flying skills when sending the drone boy of CMF20 out to have some fun.

The Drone Boy

First of all I want to thank the SIP crew for this great challenge. With my minifigures I had endless fun during the lockdown period in Belgium. It was a nice distraction during these difficult days.

I  renamed my new minifig to Sam. We had many adventures with, until I finally got to a nice review that I am satisfied with… 

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