Saturday, July 31, 2010

Translucent Classic Space Logo Mosaic

Name of Model: Classic Space Mosaic
Created by yours truly, photo by: Joe Meno
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brickjournal/4586335406/in/photostream/
Details: Earlier this year, I finished stocking up on transparent and translucent Pick-A-Brick elements well enough to actually build something. Noticing the large amount of trans-red and trans-yellow I'd amassed, I decided to build a mosaic of the LEGO Classic Space logo. LEGO used the classic logo for the space line from 1978 to 1989, but it also appears in some newer sets as an "easter egg" for fans of the original line. The transparent and translucent parts allow it to catch the light. I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with the design of the little ship I used here, but hey - it's LEGO, I can always change it.

This model will be on display at BrickFair 2010.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Miami Children's Hospital

Name of Model: GFLUG '08: MCH LEGO Project
Created by: mhuffman with a few other GFLUG members.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mwhuffman/2231304721/in/set-72157603826473961/
Details:
Back in 2008, the Miami Children's Hospital contracted a few members of the Greater Florida LEGO Users Group to build them a LEGO version of the hospital. Coming in at about half of minifig scale, it's both tiny and sprawling. Techniques to note: bamboo leaves used as palm trees and 2x2 tiles hung diagonally on the side of the building.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Power Functions Liebherr LTM 1050-3.1

Name of Model: Lego Liebherr LTM 1050-3.1
Created by: makoroll
Found at:
Forum SeTechnic: http://setechnic.com/Forum/topic3316.html
Brickshelf gallery: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=438378
Flickr gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/makorol/sets/72157624388676979/
YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SY-7mQMUkdk&feature=player_embedded
Details:
Awesome remote controlled power functions mobile crane is awesome.

From the builder:
There are 7 motor inside:
-PF XL - driving
-PF M - steering
-PF M - rotating the turntable
-PF M - outriggers
-PF M - compressor
-PF M - Boom telescoping
-47154 motor - the winch
There is also a pneumatic system: two big pistons lifting the boom and a small piston for cab lifting.
All functions except the boom and the cab lifting are remote controlled.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pelingrad Castle

Name of Model: Peligrad
Created by: Reejoc
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/reejoc/sets/72157624424791873/with/4814228947/
Details:
Based (somewhat loosely) on Peleş Castle in Romania, this minifig-scale Castle layout is a nice mix of traditional (Renaissance Revival or Neo-Renaissance) architecture and LEGO detailing. The unusual mix of roof techniques here is particularly eye-catching - one dome is built out in all directions like yesterday's sculpture, while angled plates top a turret and standard slope bricks cover the bulk of the roofing duties. The use of fences and exterior trim on the windows looks great and adds a bit more variety than the standard lattice window elements that LEGO makes. There's even a gorgeous courtyard!

There's also an unusual footprint to this model (instead of just a certain amount of baseplates in a rectangle), and the standard mottled walls to give that realistic stone look.

Two techniques to note in particular: engine blocks as column capitals and 1x2x1 panels stacked as a decorative support.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

White Tiger Sculpture

Name of Model: White Tiger
Created by: Jumpei Mitsui
Found at: http://mocpages.com/moc.php/212098
Details: A while back, research in creating high-resolution LEGO sculptures by aiming bricks in every direction appeared on LUGNET. Although few people have decided to take on that difficult style, everyone who has finished a model using it has come up with a surprisingly detailed sculpture. This model appears to be using a variation on this technique, with some specialized pieces used to add even more fantastic details. The face in particular is an amazing mix of angles, with vehicle mudguards and radar dishes somehow becoming perfect eyes.

The white tiger is a very rare animal in nature - fittingly, in spite of some attention in Japan (including a TV spot), information about this model has been hard to come by. Fortunately, the builder posted about it on MOCPages earlier this month.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Recently at The NXT Step (Another Blog You Should Read)


Although I've put off featuring them in my "another blog you should read" series, The NXT Step is easily indispensable for us LEGO Mindstorms NXT fans. It may be a difficult read for those of you who aren't technically inclined, but they do try to keep it accessible for all ages. Several of the blog's authors have written books about working with the NXT, and quite a few of them are active in either the LEGO community or the educational community. In lieu of a regular model pick today, here are three recent highlights from The NXT Step:

The Monster Chess set-up has been reproduced for use by the LEGO company. The NXT Step has coverage of a build party where the second Monster Chess game was built in record time.

In other news, the LEGO website has re-posted the online bonus models for the NXT 1.0 kit. They had originally been a casualty of a website update to include newer instructions for the NXT 2.0, but the company has since rectified the error and brought them back. Now, if they could just remember that they need to re-post the bonus instructions for set 8448...

Finally, they recently found a fantastic base for a very large robot on YouTube. The tank treads are made out of Technic beams, and the 9 NXT's and 16 Power Functions motors give this plenty of expense power:

Name of Model: Driving test Lego Mindstorms NXT Rover Bot
Created By: esrtiece
Found At: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIp_oIj4FLE&feature=player_embedded
Video:


Housekeeping: I've added a "label" (that's Google for "tag") so you can easily find all posts in this series.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Klocki Zdroj 2010 Photo Round-Up

Name of Event: Klocki Zdroj 2010
Created by: LUGPol
Found at: (link to graphic announcing the event)
Details:
It's time for another round-up - this time, of photos of the Klocki Zdroj 2010 city. I believe that this is one layout at the event described in this graphic. Some great creations are here, and surprisingly I think I've neglected to post all of them so far. Photo links are below:
Kris1234 (Kris Kelvin)'s Brickshelf photos of his Town Hall and Market built for Lugpol diorama Klocki Zdroj 2010
pepik's Brickshelf photos
PigletCiamek's flickr photos
Piglet's Brickshelf photos
hippotam's flickr photos of his contribution as a work in progress

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ancient Lady's Museum: Dwarfing the Cafe Corner

Name of Model: Ancient Lady's Museum
Created by: marcosbessa
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45092539@N02/sets/72157624545840324/with/4812544383/ & the same photos can also be found on Brickshelf: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=438981
Details: Premiered at this year's Arte em Peças event, this gorgeous show-stopper is actually in scale with the Cafe Corner and ready for minifigures. It's not truly to the Cafe Corner standard, though, since the back is wide open. Of course, if the back wasn't open, we wouldn't be able to see the fantastic interior work. Highlights include leathery couches, mosaic floor patterns, a pair of grand spiral staircases, a variety of minifigures on display, detailed curtains built upside-down (in dark red!), and ornate window decorations on the outside. You'll need to use the "View All Sizes" feature on flickr to zoom in and see the original photo size in order to see some of the details.

You can also see a set of Work-In-Progress (WIP) photos of this model on flickr. One of the highlights is a look inside the column technique.

Additionally, the builder is now selling instructions for LEGO Digital Designer for another model I've featured from him:

This is Saturday's model of the day

A Rooster-tastic creation!

Name of Model: Rooster
Created by: Cameron G.
Found at: http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/215265
Details:
Combining Bionicle, System, and Technic parts in creation sounds like a bad idea in theory. However (as was shown in Tuesday's post) with a bit of imagination and creativity the difficulty of mixing different parts types can well be worth it. While Cameron G's rendition of a rooster is not a terribly accurate rendition of the real thing, the curves of any animal are difficult or near impossible to render with System elements alone. As shown with this creation, a little creativity and out of the [parts] box thinking can make anything come to life. Being "terribly accurate" doesn't count for terribly much, what does count is being creative with what you do.

To all of our readers who exclusively build with System elements: dump all of the Technic, Bionicle and other odd parts you don't know what to do with or how to use on a table and see what you come up with. You might be surprised!

As a side-note, this creation is planning to make an appearance with a group display at Brickfair 2010 (a LEGO convention outside of Washington DC open to the public on August 7th and 8th 2010).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Set: Ultimate Collector Series 10215 Obi-Wan’s Jedi Starfighter

Name of Model: Ultimate Collector Series 10215 Obi-Wan’s Jedi Starfighter
Created by: the LEGO company for their licensed Star Wars line
Found at: http://www.fbtb.net/2010/07/21/ultimate-collector-series-10215-obi-wans-jedi-starfighter/
Details: The big news in the LEGO world today is that a new Star Wars set is being unveiled for Comic Con. Follow the links above to see the press release for the new set, photos of the assembled kit, and even a brief video with the kit's designer. A brief review that sums up my feelings of this kit is also included there.

Elsewhere on that same LEGO Star Wars fansite (yes, there are separate fansites for seemingly every major theme - the authority for Star Wars fans is FBTB.net), you can see more news on what's going on so far at Comic Con (our round-up post for the event may be a bit late - there have been more than enough great events to go around lately). Highlights so far include news of exclusive Star Wars CubeDudes and a list of the LEGO-related panels at the event.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Sculptural BrickFilm: Metamorphosis

Name of Model: Metamorphosis
Created by: David M Pickett (fallentomato on flickr)
Found at:
Builder's blog entry: http://www.davidmpickett.com/?p=101
flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fallentomato/sets/72157624124096368/with/4811623328/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcmzTC_tltA
Details: It's time for another entry into the genre of Brickfilms made with LEGO sculptures and stop motion animation. This time, we get to see all of the in-progress photos right off the bat - when you're done watching the video here (40 seconds of great LEGO and animation work), check out the builder's webpage and flickr set for this model (linked above) to see each thing the LEGO becomes and photos of transformations in progress. Frequently, stop-motion animation is made with only a handful of the LEGO parts assembled at any given time - in this case, it looks like the entire thing was built at once. The effect in the side-by-side still photos of each series of models is almost better than the animation itself. You can lose perspective of what you're seeing when the transformations go by so quickly in the video, and the stills bring out the action.

As an added bonus, this ends with a nice studs-up mosaic of the LEGO logo. A mosaic, sculptures, and stop-motion video! This sort of clever combination of themes makes me wonder why some people never venture beyond building in just one or two themes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bionicle Steam Engine

Name of Model: Bionicle Steam Engine
Created by: LMOTD blogger/international man of mystery Dan
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dp3/sets/72157624353134893/
Details: Here's something I built. It's actually my first true Bionicle creation. I had gotten in the habit of buying used Bionicle sets for the Technic bits and the occasional part that wound up having broader usefulness. What started as a curiosity as to what could be done with these parts turned into inspiration when I saw the large curved panels that started showing up in vehicles in the 2009 line. They looked like they'd make great steam engine boilers in a few different sizes! Before long, I was combining Bionicle parts with some wheels from an Emerald Night set to create this unusual steam engine. It's not terribly practical - you generally want your engine to be heavy to increase traction, and this is extremely light - but it is drivable. The biggest lesson learned here is that building with Bionicle parts is way more fun than it looks. It's actually pretty thrilling when you see those "weird" and "useless" parts actually line up in a meaningful way.

This model will be on display at Brickfair 2010, which is open to the public on August 7th & 8th, 2010 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Robotics Monday: Transforming Wall-E

Name of Model: Nxt-WALL-E-Transformable
Created by: Andreas (I don't know of a link to this builder's other creations)
Found at: http://sites.google.com/site/nxtwallet/
Details: Remember those scenes in Wall-E when the robotic protagonist adorably "transformed" into a little box? They've now been captured in LEGO form. How, exactly, the 3 NXT motor outputs were multiplexed into 5 9V motors, I don't know, but I think we can agree that the final effect is fantastic. One motor for each set of treads drives Wall-E around, while the other motors handle the head and arms. The process for folding the treads underneath is particularly great - three worm gears in series drive a system that actually changes the placement of the sprockets for the treads on the way underneath. Making that process one smooth mechanism is no small feat, but it works very well and adds a surprising amount of realism to this Wall-E. What makes this trickery with the tracks so realistic is that cutting-edge rescue robots that need to travel over rubble today. Being able to move the treads closer together like this allows a robot to turn around in a smaller amount of space - making it easier to navigate unpredictable terrain.

Figures that I can't find a good link to a non-LEGO robot that does that uses just two sets of treads and changes its steering geometry now, doesn't it?

LEGO® Experience Tour 2.0.

Name of Event: LEGO® Experience Tour 2.0.
Created by the LEGO company
Found at: http://www.legoexperiencetour.com/
Details: Apparently last year's "LEGO Experience Tour" was successful, because they're bringing it back this year. Once again, there are actually two groups (East and West) of this truck show-lite travelling the United States visiting State Fair style venues. You can check their calendar to see if they'll be coming near you during the next few months.

2010 Hong Kong LEGO competition - "Hong Kong - A city of charm"

Name of Competition: Hong Kong - A city of charm
Photos by: chiukeung
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/20461528@N00/sets/72157624519059176/
Details: A contest is underway now in Hong Kong that has attracted some interesting entries. Most of them appear to be in the microscale town genre, but a few of them also feature excellent mosaics of Chinese characters. The photo links above are for the ninth entry in the contest. You can vote for your favorite of the 12 finalists (and see a little of each of the other entries) at http://www.easttouch.com.hk/events/lego/

Saturday, July 17, 2010

LegoLand Discovery Centre Germany Flickr Account

Name of Model: LegoLand Discovery Centre Germany
Created by: LegoLand Discovery Centre Germany
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/legoland-ldc-germany/
Details: In a surprising move, the LEGOLAND Discovery Centres in Germany appears to have opened an official flickr account. Included are some event photos, sculpture photos, promo shots, and photos of the "miniland" displays at the Discovery Centres in Germany. One of the stranger things about the Discovery centers is that their "miniland" displays are actually at minifig scale (instead of the proper miniland scale used at the LEGOLAND parks). The displays at the Discovery Centers are also much more focused on local landmarks than on general world landmarks.

There are currently 4 LEGOLAND Discovery Centers - these two in Germany (Berlin and Duisburg); one in Chicago, Illinois, USA; and one in Manchester, England. A fifth one will be opening soon in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas.

The Making of 8-Bit Trip

Name of Model: 8-Bit Trip
Created by: rymdreglage (Swedish band - I'm not aware of other LEGO creations from them)
Found at: http://www.rymdreglage.se/8-eng.html
Details: Last year, we covered a brickfilm that was assembled as a music video for the song 8-bit Trip by rymdreglage. Now we can see a little bit behind the scenes thanks to these new photos on their website.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

1932 Ford Model B Roadster as an 8880 Alternate Model

Name of Model: Model B
Created by: silcantar
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37797885@N05/sets/72157624327537513/
Details: I've blogged a few supercar inspired models before, but I think this is the first time I've seen someone actually build an alternate model for set 8880. As fantastic a kit as it is, it's not exactly easy to find now - trolling eBay to see if a good deal turns up is the only reasonable way to find a copy now. However, LEGO simply hasn't released another kit with as great a selection of specialized parts for cars. They've released newer parts, sure, but none that have 8 nice big springs, plenty of transmission parts, the special wheel/steering/suspension parts in this set - they have never truly matched this kit. Sure, 8448 Super Street Sensation tried, but in spite of introducing the (then new) studless style of building, it didn't introduce any new mechanisms or features.

The builder of today's model, though, took that classic kit - and only parts from the kit - and made it into a 1932 Ford Model B. The likeness is surprisingly strong, and the technical features (at least the ones we're used to seeing in super car based models and should go in a Model B) are accurate as well.

For a full recap of the original kit, be sure to check out the Technicopedia entry for set 8880 Super Car.

...And Now, Your Moment of Zen: Minesweeper

Name of Model: LEGO Army Men Minesweeper
Created by:
au_riverhorse
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/au_riverhorse/4775769895/
Details: There's a good chance that the addictive game "Minesweeper" is on your computer somewhere. It's alright - most of us will admit to having lost an afternoon to it at one point. This poor guy, though, may actually be playing as though his life depends on it. There's also a second photo:


Congratulations on finding the best use yet for both little green army men and the limited selection of yellow printed number tiles.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Minifig-Scale Shell Gas Station

Name of Model: Shell station and tanker. Comments, questions e-mail stevenasbury-at-comcast.net
Created by: s-asbury
Found at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=121105
Details: Over the years, LEGO has had several licensing deals (and sets based on them) with the Shell oil company. Inevitably, though, even when they did experiment with minifig-scale gas stations, nothing really met the level of complexity that we like to see in our custom built town layouts. Perhaps that's intentional - after all, once they give you the special elements, stickers, and printed parts specific to the Shell brand, nothing's stopping you from adding other parts from your own collection to expand the kit. Since this is LEGO we're talking about (and some of these kits were sold cheaply at gas stations as promotional items), that may have been their plan all along.

This model is a good combination of official Shell parts, a great gas station design, and custom decal work. The rare parts don't end with the Shell-specific elements, though. The refueling truck here makes use of the chrome elements from a 4 Juniors Tanker Truck set (which isn't exactly a set most people are interested in keeping around, thanks to the "juniorized" nature of the larger parts in it).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Interiors For A Doll House

Name of Model: Dollhouse WIP 2010
Created by: Heather LEGOgirl
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/heather_legogirl/sets/72157624340293253/with/4687471904/
Details: Country Kitchen The name of the photo set may say that this is a WIP (Work-In-Progress), but the photos sure look like they show finished models. The furniture looks excellent and the rooms are surprisingly detailed. In the kitchen shot (above), you can see channel bricks used to create texture on the walls (which also make use of tan 1x6x5 panels - an excellent piece that has shown up in Pick-A-Brick recently). For the stove's burners, 2x2 turntable bases were used. The chair is a neat design too - the studs face the front of the chair, but are covered in tiles. The result looks very un-LEGO but still only uses very basic parts. The kitchen also features great techniques for a table, blinds, an opening microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher, and even a cornice. The next room shows us how to do a lamp, shelves, dresser, and aquarium at this scale (the "dollhouse" scale this builder uses is very close to Scala scale and the scale used in Miniland). Then there's the desk, desk lamp, and chair further into that room. Next to the bed (which shows off a cheese-slope technique for pillows, as well as dark tan paneling on the foot board), we see a roll top desk (how the heck?!?).

All of that was great. There's also a garage, though. The workbench features a peg board, tools, a saw, and a birdhouse. Under the bench, we can see paint cans and a chain saw (these little details really sell these as realistic scenes - did you catch that sponge in the kitchen?). The other side has a washer, dryer, and toolbox.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Motorized Transformation

Name of Model: Transforming Lego Technic Car Prototype 01
Created by: barebos
Found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzdcG23jxbU&feature=player_embedded
Details: I've previously blogged a few great Transformers models, but there is a need to up the ante now. See, LEGO has been making it easier to build Transformers-inspired models by introducing a variety of new hinge elements over the past decade or so (gosh, it's really been 12 years since I tried this when I was little, before the invention of click hinges? I guess I am gettting old). Now, people of my generation who feel like it was just yesterday when we tried and failed to build transformers regularly see young kids effortlessly handle the task of creating vehicles and other random objects that turn into mecha "robots". So now it is time to increase the challenge, preferably in a way that will require us to learn some new techniques instead of just needing to buy newer parts. It is time to try our hands at building machines that can transform on their own, and perhaps have other motorized functions as well. Today's model, shown above, serves as a proof of concept - it is possible to build vehicles that can transform using only one motor.

Send in your attempts to create motorized (or at least crank-powered...) transformers to legomodeloftheday@gmail.com - if we get enough of them, we'll turn this into a proper contest.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Arte em Peças Recap

Name of Event: Arte em Peças
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/0937/sets/72157624354793724/
Details: We are once again recapping great LEGO events this summer from around the world. This time, it's Arte em Peças (in English: Art in Parts), a Portuguese event hosted by the LEGO Users Group that calls itself 0937 (which, if you type it into a calculator and flip it over, spells "LEGO"). I know this recap looks a bit short compared to some of the larger round-ups I've posted, but the photo links above actually point to the official 0937 flickr account, which has over 1000 pictures of this event. The one account includes photos taken by several members of the group. Here are those links again along with all other Arte em Peças links that popped up on my radar:

Official flickr set
Official event website
Recap from Biczzz
Mortymore's Brickshelf Gallery
Einon's first Brickshelf Gallery
Einon's second Brickshelf Gallery
NoroPT's flickr photos

Saturday, July 10, 2010

TIE Fighter Round-Up

Names of Models: TIE Bomber and TIE Advanced
Created by various builders, credited at the links above.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thejudeabides/sets/72157624324044237/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/thejudeabides/sets/72157624315403307/
Details: Since Star Wars builders tend to re-build the same scenes and vehicles over and over again with different scales, colors, and techniques, we don't tend to feature them too often here. If you're not that excited about Star Wars, there's really only so many times you can get excited at seeing yet another model based on the same source material. However, today I'm directing you towards a round-up someone has compiled of top-notch recreations of TIE Fighters. They're all great, even though they cover two different types of Star Wars ship and a variety of scales.

Photo used above is of a UCS-Scale TIE Advanced by Walter Kovacs.

Friday, July 9, 2010

LEGO Store Ribbon Models for the Elmhurst, NY location - Grand Opening this Weekend!

Name of Photo Set:
LEGO Store Brand Ribbon Models Elmhurst, NY
Built by: Models built by eclipsegrafx, Tim (Tim's son Spencer built a model as well), notenoughbricks and my wife and parents even helped build the boat models!, model designs by the LEGO company
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notenoughbricks/sets/72157624418080968/
Details: I've previously written a bit about the LEGO store ribbon models, and since new stores are continuing to open, more are being built. The links above point to a gallery with 29 photos of ribbon models just after they were built. It's usually easier to get a good look at the models before they've been installed in the LEGO store, since the windows at the stores don't give you a particularly broad view.

This weekend, there will be a Grand Opening and a Master Builder Event at the new store in Elmhurst, New York (that's what today's models were built for). Last weekend's events at Rockefeller Center were fairly epic, and I'm still updating the blog post about them with additional links to photos and other coverage of the weekend. Next week, LEGO will expand their newfound retail store empire further by opening their first brand retail store in Canada.

Here's the full list of upcoming store openings from the official website (not sure why they haven't given more details or dates on these yet):
-Houston Galleria, Houston, TX
-Roosevelt Field Mall, Garden City, NY
-Queens Center, Elmhurst, NY
-Rockefeller Center, New York City, NY
-Aventura Mall, Miami, FL
-Wiesbaden, Germany
-Chinook Centre, Calgary, AB, Canada

Most new stores have a soft opening between when the ribbon models are assembled and when the grand opening actually takes place. If you're in town a week or two before a "grand opening", chances are you can go to the store and browse anyway.

A store calendar for this month has more details on the Calgary opening.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

LEGO's Soldiers' Fort: Persian Style

Name of Model: Modular Market Square
Created by: Cole Brickman
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/colebrickman/4590645414/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/colebrickman/4590025357/in/set-72157623945360158/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/colebrickman/4590025357/in/set-72157623945360158/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/colebrickman/4591718909/in/set-72157623945360158/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/colebrickman/4592340006/in/set-72157623945360158/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/colebrickman/4591719381/in/set-72157623945360158/ (this is why you should use tags or sets to organize your photos...)

Details: When the 6242 Soldiers' Fort set came out, it introduced a new building standard for modular minifig-scale models. That standard, known as the "Soldier's Fort" standard or the "Three and Ten" standard, was hailed, documented, and supported by LEGO Pirate fan sites, but sadly did not catch on. While having LEGO kits that follow a standard can help that standard gain popularity (note the Cafe Corner standard, which started with one set and is now used for other sets and nearly every original creation blogged at Brick Town Talk), not all official standards really catch on. Even some great modular systems, like the old Blacktron spaceship modularity, often just don't stick. While the fort standard seems to be destined for the unsorted-parts bin of history, this model matches the standard and fits in with the style of the Prince of Persia sets. Putting a rocky surface where the dock/water line was originally works surprisingly well to make this standard work away from water.

Perhaps this will inspire more people to try building small modules in this standard that can be part of a larger fort layout.

New Set Review: 21006 White House

Name of Model: White House
Created by: Adam Reed Tucker for the LEGO Architecture line
Found at: My photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dp3/sets/72157624442686586/ To purchase: LEGO Shop @ Home
Details: Recently, LEGO released a new kit - 21006 White House. Coming in at $49.99 for 560 pieces, this is the best value yet in the LEGO Architecture series (and since this is the first one under the almighty 10-cents-per-piece line, it's also the first one I've actually bought). A decent model of the life-size White House in Washington DC, this captures the general look in microscale on a snazzy base featuring dark green shrubbery, black tiles on the edges, and even a printed tile with "The White House" on it. The build was relatively challenging, with most of the pieces being very small and needing to be lined up just right. There was only one technique that I think an experienced builder (which I'm assuming anyone building this kit - recommended for people age 12 and up - would be) would find surprising, but there were some great offset effects achieved using jumper plates (which this has 64 of) as well. If you're interested in some "spoilers", have a look at my photos of the set, which include build photos, unboxing, and the set inventory. I've also added comments to each photo on that photo's flickr page.

One way I like to judge LEGO kits of landmarks is to compare the official version to hobbyist-designed versions. I'm having trouble finding a fair comparison to this one, though, in terms of scale. Neither of the two I've previously featured are at a similar scale, and Arthur Gugick's other model of the White House is much larger. While the columns here look a bit spindly (they're the lightsaber blade element in white), it's hard to critique fairly without knowing if something better can be achieved at a similar scale.

This set was designed by Adam Reed Tucker, who has been creating model versions of landmarks since long before his LEGO Architecture line came into being. Some of his other LEGO works are now on display in the National Building Museum's LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition exhibtion. That display goes from July 3rd, 2010 to September 5th, 2011 - so if you're planning on making the trip to BrickFair in 2010 or 2011, you can make this part of the same trip to the DC area.

Since we usually try to share a little bit of interesting background information here when covering landmarks, here's the official background on the kit:
There are few structures in the United States with the history and reverence of The White House, designed by James Hoban. On July 16, 1792, President George Washington chose this James Hoban design from six competing designs from renowned architects. This six-story Sandstone structure was meant to command respect for the nation from citizens and foreign visitors. Construction took place from 1792 - 1800 and it was rebuilt by Hoban following the fire of 1814. The assembled White House model stands 9" (22 cm) wide on a base with printed name label and includes a booklet with facts about the building, its construction and its history.

Disclosure: I received a free awesome little Spaceman magnet when I bought this, and you can too buy spending $75 at LEGO Brand Retail this July, while supplies last.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Technic/Bionicle Greenwing Macaw

Name of Model: Greenwing Macaw
Created by: uhank
Found at: http://www.brickinside.com/NeoView.php?Db=NewCreationContest&Mode=view&Block=3&Number=54&BackDepth=1&fmSearchType=&fmKeyWord=&SortCrt=Desc&fmCategory=
Details: This parrot (a type of macaw) is made largely with Technic parts. While some of the parts are Bionicle specific, most of this is more Technic than Bionicle. Considering the unusual color palettes that LEGO makes Technic pieces in, this is actually a pretty impressive bird. Part of the reason most large Technic creations are black, red, yellow, or colored like a Mindstorms set is that LEGO hasn't made it terribly easy to get parts in some colors. While licensed sets (such as Star Wars, Mickey Mouse, Indiana Jones, Thomas the Tank Engine, Toy Story, etc) tend to drive LEGO to manufacture parts in unusual colors, the Technic line hasn't benefited from this nearly as much, making colors like the green and dark blue seen here all too had to find. LEGO recently reached out to LEGO fans about what colors certain parts should be available in, so perhaps we'll see a better selection of colors for more Technic parts in the future. In the meantime, this is an impressively distinctive structure even without needing to cut the builder slack for color choices. The tail, wings, and beak are nice and clear and even the eyes came out well.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Robotics Monday: NXTronauts

Name of Model: NXTronauts
Created by: Matthias Paul Scholz (I don't have a link for him personally but he blogs as part of the team at The NXT STEP)
Found at: http://thenxtstep.blogspot.com/2010/07/nxtronauts.html
Details: This batch of semi-autonomous NXT androids was also at this year's FANABRIQUES event. It's pretty common for LEGO conventions to have "themes" that are very loose and only attract a handful of theme-specific models. This year's FANABRIQUES theme was Space (which actually happens to be a popular theme that people tend to build in anyway). Taking up the challenge to bring the theme to the NXT, Matthias Paul Scholz built these two cute "astronauts" with one Mindstorms NXT 2.0 kit each. You can see in the video both a remote control mode (probably implemented via Bluetooth) and an automatic mode that passes out pamphlets.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

FANA'BRIQUES 2010 Round Up

Name of Convention: Fana'briques
Found at: http://fanabriques.free.fr/
Details: During the weekend of June 26th and 27th, the French LEGO fan community had their big convention. Since European countries are close together and travel is more accessible there (compared to in the United States), this ends up being another big international shindig. I've previously covered one of their Great Ball Contraption layouts - they generally have one of the world's best GBC layouts. Below are some links to photos and other coverage of the event. Francophone LEGO fans - we need your help digging up more photos and coverage of this year's FANA'BRIQUES event. Send in your links to legomodeloftheday@gmail.com

tom.brehm's flickr photos
b3rl1go's flickr photos
Mindrunner's Brickshelf gallery
marckl67's flickr photos
f1tvf's Brickshelf gallery

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Big Apple and More at NYC LEGO Flagship Store

Name of Page: New LEGO NY Store takes a bite out of the Big Apple
Created by various Master Builders for the LEGO company
Found at: http://modelbuildingsecrets.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/new-lego-ny-store-takes-a-bite-out-of-the-big-apple/
Details: This big apple (a play on New York's nickname) will be on display through next Tuesday at New York’s Rockefeller Center. The sculpture was built to commemorate the opening of a brand new LEGO store, which is open now. The store is a "flagship" store, which seems to be like the "Imagination Centers" we've seen sprout up elsewhere. Several smaller sculptures are in the store as permanent fixtures. There are more photos of the shop and sculpture at the recap linked above, alternately you can check out the official webpage for the new store (which has the location details so you can plan your trip).

Rounding up additional photos and coverage:
MovinOverTheMoon's flickr photos
Vengeance of Lego's flickr photos
jacquelinemortimer's flickr photos
erockonvolks's flickr photos
notenoughbricks' flickr photos (focused on the "ribbon"-style models that are unique to this location)
Kinzcove's Brickshelf gallery

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mining Mecha for Minifigs

Name of Model: Magma Mech Overhauled
Created by: -infomaniac-
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/-infomaniac-/tags/magma/
Details: Based on the Magma Mech set, this model takes the idea and removes the goofy colors and over-the-top arm features. The off-kilter look is enhanced through a more interesting and technically advanced construction for various limbs that can really do some damage underground. Sure, it won't get past a focus group of little kids, but this looks more like something that'd actually get used underground. The new color scheme looks great (even if it's not as eye-catching as the original lime/orange/blue scheme) - in addition to black, there's also a bit of sand green from a Green Grocer kit. The use of the large Power Miners wheels as feet and joints works wonderfully, and all of the transitions work even though we see disparate Bionicle and seemingly single-use parts thrown in left and right.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Citigroup Center, New York

Name of Model: Citigroup Center, New York
Created by: Spencer_R
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51130204@N04/sets/72157624372848782/
Details: This microscale model of the Citigroup Center in New York (more specifically, downtown midtown Manhattan) is surprisingly recognizable for its small size. The scale of this model is actually smaller than the micropolis standard - in the LEGO world, a term like "microscale" is really a blanket term to describe a variety of sizes that are very small.