Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Miniland New York New Year's Eve

Name of Model: Miniland New York New Year's Eve
Created by LEGOLAND California's master builders, photographed by chantastic
Found at:
Yes, I know, I'm plugging the seasonal additions to the LEGOLAND parks too much. I absolutely love this miniland version of New York's famous New Year's Eve festivities. The crowds haven't shown up yet in this scene, but that's just because this is earlier in the week (although I have no idea if they plan to update the parks further as the day goes on).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Castillo de Rojo (Classic-Castle's Colossal Castle Contest is Back!)

Name of Model: Castillo de Rojo
Created by: remyth
Found at:
Every so often, it becomes time for another Colossal Castle Contest over on the forums. Inevitably, this results in a rush of amazing castles, and I pick a few seemingly at random to feature here - the rest don't get featured just because there are too many awesome castles in the world.

There are a few things I've come to expect (and I suspect that long-time readers have come to expect as well) in these castles. Landscaping is the biggest one - there's always hills, plants, dirt, and a realistic amount of texture and elevation. Realistic scale is another thing - sure, in a real LEGO set, it would be too expensive to have full ramparts, but in a "colossal castle" contest, you have to go all-out. Details and "easter egg" gags are also a must - which means every photo must be viewed individually.

Tiling all of the ramparts and roofs with a mosaic complete with accents in dark red? That's a bit more unexpected - and awesome. Don't miss the waterwheel design on this one either.

Tomorrow (the 31st) marks the end of the contest, so it might be a while before I start to see another flood of castles. Of course, there are always last-minute entries in these contests, so perhaps we'll see another one featured here soon...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Great Ball Contraption Modules

Name of Models: Various GBC modules, some still active, some retired
Created by: Legomotive
Found at:
Here's a series of Great Ball Contraption modules. It looks like the only thing these all have in common is that they were posted early this morning in my timezone. Some of these have apparently been part of group GBC's at shows, and some of these aren't still assembled. As usual, there are quite a few interesting ideas to try out here, whether you're looking to try a group layout or just making your own machines. Usually with GBC modules, the colors are a bit random (function over fashion), but these have some nifty color choices too.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Tree / Imperial Star Destroyer

Name of Model: (not given)
Created by: monsterbrick
Found at: with additional photos in the flickr photostream above.
This has been an exciting year for fans of modified Star Wars ships. First we had the FBTB Forum Steampunk Star Wars contest, then there was the Reasonably Clever Spooky Star Wars Contest, and also just finished is the FBTB Star Wars Christmasification Contest. Still, even with all these contests, there aren't that many truly large creations going up. There was also, until now, a shortage of Star Wars themed creations that make great use of DUPLO tree elements. I'm sure you get the joke by now though - it's a giant Christmas tree with presents underneath. The nice thing about building a giant tree is that you can stick all sorts of bizarre parts on it as decorations - although monsterbrick (also known as Matt Armstrong - he was featured in the latest issue of BrickJournal, as you can see in his photostream) showed surprising restraint in only using a few types of pieces higher up on the tree. Still, it's hard not to love all the clever tricks used for the presents at the bottom...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa's Sleigh and Reindeer - Minifig scale!

Name of Model: Santa's Sleigh
Created by: Vincent Pace
Found at: and

Sorry I don't have a cleaner link to use here (it looks like eBay really is the best link, and I know they pull down their listings periodically), but this is truly the best Santa-and-reindeer model I've seen in LEGO form. For quite some time now, there's been widespread criticism of LEGO's official Santa-related sets. They're yet to manufacture a full sized sled or anything with an even remotely realistic reindeer. Part of the problem is that good reindeer are hard to build - you can probably spot a few clever techniques in these reindeer, not to mention a few rare parts (say what you will about tan as a color choice, but switching to any sort of brown would make building reindeer even more of a challenge - LEGO doesn't make all the parts in all the colors). Of course, the finishing touches are the gifts in the sleigh and the little red "nose" on Rudolph.

Doll House

Name of Model: My LEGO Dollhouse - The Dave Shaddix Home for Wayward Girls
Created by: Heather LEGO Girl
Found at:
There aren't enough awesome, fully fleshed-out dollhouses built in Belville scale. Not only is this a full building - but it's fully furnished. There are even little Belville inhabitants living inside.
This is Tuesday's model of the day

Monday, December 22, 2008

Robotics Monday: NXT-based Video Camera Rig

Info here:

I'm too busy geeking out on the details - see, I'm one of the few other crazy people who've actually bought up that many 1x4 gear racks. I could build this! I just might, too...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

LEGOLAND California photos

I know it's "cheating" for me to not pick just one model here, but today I'm just linking to a nice flickr photoset of LEGOLAND California photos instead. I love seeing good pictures of the exhibits in the parks, and the master builders who work at the parks make a point to add new items seasonally and over the years to make each visit unique. This photo, for example, shows one of the famous scenes at the park partially decorated for Christmas. These photos are from December 12th, so I'd take it that the seasonal bits popping up are still there and likely will be for another week or two. They may be adding more each day - you never know. At LEGOLAND Windsor, they got into the habit of updating the Doctor Who miniland characters each time a new episode aired - so apparently weekly in-jokes are nothing out-of-the-orindary to the builders of the LEGOLAND parks. Did I miss anything surprising this time around?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jungle Scene

Name of Model: MocOlympics Round 2 Edvin Einarsson vs. Andrew Colunga
Created by: Andrew Colunga
Found at:
Here's one for those of you in warmer climates at this time of year (with all the great wintery and holiday models around lately, it's very hard to keep from just going all-festive all the time on the blog). The trees here look great, and are full of fun uses for various curve and slope parts. I hadn't seen this bird design before either - they use diver fins very well (not to mention a pair of 1x1 "cheese" slopes) and look quite effective. Of course, all those details are enough to almost make you miss the main character's troubles here - there's a brilliant pilot crash scene, complete with a used parachute draped over the tree branches.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy holidays from the love bunnies!

Name of Model: Happy holidays from the love bunnies!
Created by: .eti
Found at:

This isn't the first time we've seen a nice holiday home, but it is the first one we've seen with Fabuland bunnies living inside. The rare colors stick out right away - and so does the snowman with an actual carrot nose - but even more notable are the rare parts. Sure, there's the small windows, but when was the last time you saw the Fabuland fence piece used so well? It works brilliantly with the white arch piece from the Mickey Mouse sets. Scroll down on the link above - there are some more photos to see.

EDIT: As mentioned in the comments, the white arches are from Belville and Fabuland sets. The ones in the Mickey Mouse sets are the same part in red.

Monday, December 15, 2008

BrickVention 2009 - Coming in January

Those of you in the rest of the world can check the BrickJournal Calendar for upcoming events, but for those of youn Australia, here's the official blurb for the upcoming BrickVention:

BrickVention is Australia’s own LEGO convention and it’s only a few months away!

The 2009 BrickVention will be held over the Australia Day Long Weekend (January 24th to 25th) in Melbourne, Australia and promises to be an exciting event.

Following on from the success of the previous years, there will be competitions, presentations, demonstrations and lots of interesting things to see and do.

Highlights of the weekend include:

MOC displays (including town, modular houses, train, moonbase, and space).

- Building competitions
- Dirty Brickster
- Dirty Buildster
- Build-in-a bag
- Timed build
- Brickfilms
- Brikwars
- Trade tables

We’re all really excited about the event and can’t wait to meet lots of other AFOLs from all over Australia and around the world.

Want to know about the event? Check out the website at:

Knock-Off Gallery Photos

Here's another exciting set of photos from Joe Meno - this time from the LEGO company's stash off knock-offs made my their competitors. You'll probably recognize a few of these rip-offs as being incredibly close to actual LEGO sets.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FIRST LEGO League photos

I had every intention of trying to get back to regular posts this week, but yesterday night, my internet connection went down.

On the bright side, there are a ton of new FIRST LEGO League photos being uploaded by JR Hicks right now. The FIRST LEGO League regional competitions are underway - I'd like to congratulate all the teams that have made it to the next level of competition so far and wish good luck to all the teams competing in the near future. You can see JR Hicks' photosets (organized by team - these look like professional photos that were done to commemorate the event for the people involved, so they're a bit more focused on the teams themselves than on the robots) at

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Few Links

I won't be making a proper model pick today, but here are a few links worth having a look at:
Joe Meno's photos from the Mindstorms Anniversary Event - if you've been following LEGO for a while, you probably know that the first robotics kit released to the general public came out a little over 10 years ago. Of course, while a few other sets were released by LEGO for the line, many hobbyist-created tools and books became much more well known. It was a lot of fun looking through these photos and seeing that they recognize some of the fan-created works - and don't miss the early prototypes of both 2006's LEGO® MINDSTORMS NXT system or the early pre-RCX programmable bricks designed by MIT.

Of course, a true retrospective of computer-enhanced LEGO models would point out that the LOGO-based educational programs were around in the mid-1980's, but this event was really a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the commercial robotics line (known as Mindstorms).

Also, don't forget to check the BrickJournal calendar for events in your area - lots of groups are doing loosely Christmas-themed displays right now. We've been adding many new events to the calendar, including open-to-the-public displays in Canada, England, Phillipines, Australia, Indonesia, and the USA.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Out Sick

Sorry about the lack of updates this week - feeling a bit sick these past few days, and having trouble focusing. I hope to be back at it in a few days.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Great Train Expo Pleasanton 2008 Layout

Name of Model: Great Train Expo Pleasanton 2008
Created by the Bay Area LEGO Train Club (photos by BayLTC member Bill Ward)
Found at: and

Bill Ward has posted a wrap-up of this weekend's event and posted many photos to flickr. It looks to me like it was a great show - I'm particularly jealous of the bridge and the rail yard. There are tons of great details to see in the 113 photos - it looks like a few people went all-out with custom stickers to squeeze in extra details.