Light Stax initial review
Earlier today, Monday the 28th of November, I received a parcel from an interesting LEGO-related Kickstarter project; LIGHT STAX. I’m going to take a quick look at LIGHT STAX and give you my initial thoughts on this illuminating crowd sourced project.
Firstly, I’m not with my LEGO collection today so I apologise that I can’t comment on the compatibility at the moment but I will hopefully be able to draw an accurate comparison as time goes on. I first heard about LIGHT STAX back in June from this Brickset article and it seemed like the ideal way to light some of my architectural models. So I funded them a few euros and today my order finally arrived.
Throughout the Kickstarter I had a choice of what colours of bricks I could get and there is a large choice of transparent & solid colours to choose from. I opted for clear, transparent bricks over everything else because I will be using them for everyday lighting in and around buildings but my friends have chosen red, blue, etc and my personal favourite; purple. A former colleague bought the predecessor of LIGHT STAX, a series of DUPLO sized bricks, as a night light for his two 18 month old children who absolutely adore them so I have high expectations of the latest LIGHT STAX product. So, what did I get;
I ordered the Lamp Pack which comes with four street lights & two colour options, 10 2x4 transparent bricks and 40 2x2 transparent bricks. Handily, it also comes with a 4x4 battery brick, 4 connector cables with 2x2 bricks at either side and four connector cables for the street lights. The street lights themselves consist of four pieces however everything else included does not require assembly.
The street lamps are simply amazing. Each lamp is made from a base that is 7 bricks tall and has a similar design to 6022202. Each base contains the electrical connectors that are needed to power one of the two custom moulded 1x1 round plates in white or yellow. These little 1x1 round plates have a tiny yet powerful LED inside that illuminates the custom minifigure head above with the entire structure capped by a custom 2x2 round dish.
The entire street lamp assembly is made of custom moulded parts and the quality of the solid coloured pieces is second only to LEGO in my opinion. The durability and feel of the plastic is nearly identical to LEGO's own 6022202 if a little hollow. The feel of the plastic is very smooth and it’s nice to see a ‘clone brand’ that cares about inconsistency & flashing from the moulding process; these bricks are perfectly formed all the way around. That said though the clear bricks do feel somewhat ‘tacky’ for lack of a better word. The plastic doesn’t feel as strong or as durable as the base or dish which are solid colours. My concern is that they may crack over eventually however only time will tell.
The 1x1 round plate produces light by housing a small microchip with a tiny LED and two metal rings on the underside to convey power through the chip. This LED is sufficient to illuminate a three foot diameter circle in a dimly lit room so this is a bright LED. I find it reassuring that the light reaches so far because quality seems to be infused into every piece LIGHT STAX have made here, and the power from this little LED was always my worry throughout the project. Thankfully I can put my mind at ease because these LEDs are powerful.
The same LEDs are used in the 2x2 and 2x4 bricks to produce a similar range of light around them. These bricks are able to pass power from one to another using a universal connector across all the LIGHT STAX range. Both styles of brick are also able to be powered from either the top or the bottom which I can see being a useful feature. A confusing feature of these bricks is that they all contain one LED whereas the 2x4 can easily hold two LEDs and is slightly underwhelming because of it, something I would like to see the company improve.
Finally the only other main attraction of the Lamp Pack is the 4x4 battery brick that holds the charge and instructions for any lamp or brick you attach. The brick has connections on all the studs and every recess underneath so there is no point above or below where power cannot be transferred. That doesn’t mean that a 1x1 connection will work because the top of the 4x4 brick requires at least four studs to be connected before a brick will work, whereas a connection of one stud is all that’s needed to pass power through from the underside.
The battery can provide power for up to 500 bricks however I found that mine will power 50 bricks for over an hour without the LEDs dimming in the process. The 4x4 power brick also has three modes for any LIGHT STAX; constant, gentle flashing (about once a second) and fading (about once every 5 seconds which can be selected by a button on the side. The connectors are basic because the simpler they can be the more reliable they are. The ones with 2x2 connectors on the end have power connections top and bottom whereas the lamp connectors slot into the bottom of the lamps from one to the other two out of four sides.
I’m really happy to have supported such a fantastic Kickstarter project and I can’t wait to have these integrated into my next building project. For the moment at least they will have to illuminate my keyboard. Seeming as it’s nearly Christmas I’m looking forward to stacking these together to make icebergs, a frozen pond, etc. I am unhappy with my choice of colours now that I have seen some of the other options I could have chosen so I’m going to make a visit to their website to get a few more.
Let us know what you think of LIGHT STAX and whether or not you are thinking about getting some by posting a comment below or contacting us on the CONTACT page. If you would like your own LIGHT STAX they are now available from lightstax.eu