Monday, April 30, 2007

Robotics Monday: Marble Machine

Name of Model: Mark's Magnificent Marble Machine
Created by: Mweston
Found at: and
I believe that no explanation is needed for this nice little machine. To be fair though, this isn't a true robot because it does not involve sensors of any sort - it just lets various motors run and the actions take place whether there is actually a marble in that spot or not. It works really well in spite of that though.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Partial Town / Train layout

Name of Model: My section of the CILTC-IndyLUG layout
Created by: beatnik
Found at:
This clever and detailed train layout is worth a look even though it is not yet complete. The roadways aren't typical LEGO roadways, but rather, are long walls of 1x2 bricks on their sides. This allows a little more give for more for flexible roadways, and also makes it easy to create dividing lines, lanes, etc. DUPLO bricks separate a lower level of the layout from an upper layer of the layout. There are other nice details too - overgrowth near the tracks, hinged details on bridges ...and of course, there's that set of train tracks leading into that railroad shed. That might not be subtle, but it is really well-done.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Miniature version of LEGO's 487 Space Cruiser

Name of Model: MINI # 487 Space Cruiser
Created by: David Simmons
Found at:
An ever-growing number of LEGO builders have been taking up the task of recreating popular LEGO models in various scales. Although it's easy to see why an oversized model would be appealing, it's easy to overlook the creative uses of parts required to make miniature models. This particular model uses new 1x1 slope elements to recreate the front of the classic LEGO Space #487 Space Cruiser. Look closely and see if you can spot where studs-not-on-top bricks and offset plates were used.

Working Grandfather Clock

Name of Model: Grandfather Clock
Created by: Eric Harshbarger
Found at:
Once upon a time, Eric Harshbarger thought he would never make LEGO furniture. After a while, he gave up in that idea to try some new challenges. One such challenge was that of a working Grandfather Clock made entirely out of LEGO (OK - so cheating was used for the clock's weights and the monofiliment line - but using real LEGO parts would have worn out the LEGO parts extremely quickly). This particular one is the second draft of that model, featuring rarer LEGO parts that allow the clock to run longer, be more durable, and have more precision in telling the time. Of course, the technical works and gear ratios and such are fascinating, but it's also striking just how many parts are required to build this model (it really is a life-size piece of furniture) and the way that the details of the clock's body have been carefully sculpted out of standard LEGO bricks. The roman numerals on the clock's face are a clever studs-not-on-top inlay as well (this allows for comparatively "high-resolution" text). The clock face also has a few small gears on it that solve the coaxial rotation problem. This is just a great model overall - you should really take the time to look at the link above.
(This is Friday's model of the day.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Beetle

Name of Model: New Beetle
Created by: arvo
Found at: and
This splendid car features many studs-not-on-top details and hinged features. The headlight detailing is a hoot!

The original page uses a number of pictures to describe the details of the model, so you may find it of interest even if you don't understand the Spanish-language text. There is also a brickshelf page for this model.
(This is Thursday's model of the day)

Smooth-lined Spaceship

Name of Model: HombaMkII - A New Version of the Homba 7033
Created by: imhotepidus
Found at:
If you've been following the newer LEGO models and building trends, then you've probably already seen quite a few LEGO models that try to avoid looking like LEGO models. New curved elements go with other large parts, older tiles, and older slopes and suddenly you can have a whole LEGO model with none of the familiar LEGO studs facing outwards. This model is particularly interesting because it uses tiles and arch elements to smooth the outside of the model, but still uses more traditional LEGO "sculpting" techniques to make curvature in the other direction. Also, there are some interesting details (some are custom details, but most are just some of the less common LEGO elements). Oh, and did I mention that it's a cool spaceship!
(This is Wednesday's model of the day.)

Denmark Metropolitan Train

Name of Model: Copenhagen Denmark metropolitan train 4. generation. This is version 2. Close coupling with rubber bands. Curved sides in a very simple way.
Created by: esbenkolind
Found at:
This is a really clever and realistic model based on an existing train in Denmark. Until you take a closer look, you might actually confuse the photos included of the full-size train with the photos of the LEGO-minifig sized train. The curved front was done by using some newer curved elements with studs-not-on-top pieces. Additionally, this builder designed a unique coupling system that allows the train cars to be really close together but still turn just as well as any standard LEGO train.
(This is Tuesday's model of the day.)

Monday, April 23, 2007

News / Robotics Monday: First LEGO League World Festival Highlights

Go to to see some of the highlights of the recent First LEGO League World Festival. ...and yes, there are LEGO robots to see there. Also, information about a team with a perfect score can be found at

More Furniture

Name of Model: Furniture
Created by: Moko
Found at:
There is a stellar series of minifig-scale LEGO furniture up on Brickshelf now. Lots of cool details and unusual uses of parts here.
(This was Sunday's model)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Zebra Brush?!?

Name of Model: zeburashi
Created by: junlego
Found at:
The pictures tell the story:

(and this is Saturday's model, by the way.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Interesting Vignette

Name of Model: Cosmic Chaos
Created by: Nannan Z
Found at:
At first glance, this is just a nifty-looking model with two studs-not-on-top spheres and people at all angles. Then that spiral sticks out at you. Perhaps even more bizarre, though, is the explanation given at the link above, which gives a fairly philosophical explanation of what's going on.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Microscale White House

Name of Model: White House
Created by: torgugick
Found at:
All the Americans out there are probably familiar with the White House, which has become an important symbolic representation of the American Presidency. I figure that this model is about 130 studs wide - as I mentioned this weekend, large models done in microscale are often still fairly sizable! A close look reveals a number of well-chosen parts that mimic architectural details of the real thing - note the use of regular size windows to make the impression of more windows, and the use of offsets for curvature and chimneys.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bangkok Airport

Name of Model: Suvarnabhumi-Aiport in thailand
Created by: unknown - but it was for a mall display.
Found at: and
Just click go to - it says all that can be said about this model. It's very large, and quite detailed too...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Beatles Mosaic

Name of Model: The Beatles
Created by: Henry Lim
Found at:
For those of you who aren't Beatles fans (or otherwise are unfamiliar with the image this mosaic is based on) - this picture is of John, Paul, George, and Ringo in the famous Sgt. Pepper's costumes. A number of shots like this can be found in the liner notes of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - if you poke around on that Amazon listing, you can see the original graphic. This spectacular LEGO model is based on a scan of the smaller graphic from the liner notes to the CD version - but it does make an effort to recapture the original picture quality and colors. That might not seem much more difficult than any other mosaic, but some of these colors are hard to find LEGO parts in - tan and orange are used heavily in addition to the common dithering techniques used to make high-quality LEGO mosaics. A good deal of time and money went into obtaining just the right parts so that this model would be perfect. I'd recommend reading Lim's own description of this model - it explains all of this very well and very concisely, and he has a few more photos of this model there too.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Robotics Monday: Inverted Pendulum Project

Name of Model: Inverted Pendulum Balancing Robot
Created by: Ken Dye
Found at:
This one's a bit particularly great pictures to speak of, but the concept here is worth reading about, and the LEGO execution of the concept is marginally interesting.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

2 Models of Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings

Name of Model: Minas Tirith
Created by: Bruce at MicroBricks
Found at: , and
Microscale LEGO rendition of Minas Tirith To make up for the lack of a proper Saturday post, I'm posting two models today. Both are based on Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings.

MicroBricks blogger Bruce has decided to test the limits of the microscale format by creating a large mountain scene with a full village. Although the model is at a very small scale, it covers a lot of ground - 6 LEGO baseplates' worth. The ground leading up to the mountain is cleverly sculpted, and the mountain itself features some well-placed vegetation.

As if that wasn't enough, the front gates have also been expertly crafted in minifig scale:

Friday, April 13, 2007

Beautiful Gigantic Spaceship

Name of Model: "Blacktron II" (although the Brothers Brick may have made that name up...)
Created by: Proudlove
Found at:
Some of you who saw our post about BrickFest or who read the other LEGO blogs out there have seen this model already, but trust me, this one is worth a second look. At first glance, it just looks like a spaceship, as if it were an artist's rendering and not a model. The color scheme matches the classic LEGO theme Blacktron: The Next Generation, which some of you might remember, even though it uses a variety of parts from various years' models. If you look closer though, you'll notice that the spaceship's hull is actually a large LEGO wall that has been warped to get a curved effect.Kids, don't try this at home - this only works because this model is so big. Building in more conventional manners around that couldn't have been easy, either.

Of course, even more close looks reveal yet more details. Thrusters, bay doors, a bridge (that's a control room of sorts, for you non-sci-fi types), smaller spaceships inside, hatches, landing gear (which uses pneumatics for effect, but isn't functional), weapons, a fully finished interior, a cargo bay crane, droids, boardrooms, troops, a kitchen, a landing bay, private quarters, removable panels, shiny Blacktron elements that you could call "vintage" these days...there are just too many awesome details and creative uses of parts to mention them all.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Charming Emperor Penguins

Name of Model: A Happy New Year 2005
Created by:
Found at:
This charming pair of sculpted emperor penguins appears to have been made as a holiday surprise a few years back. The sculpting is fairly well done, although the elder penguin does look a little plump. Look closely for the hinged wings on both penguins. The beak of the larger penguin makes use of hard-to-find orange plates, while the smaller penguin uses studs-not-on-top effects to make tiny eyes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A LEGO Bamboo House?

Name of Model: A quiet house in town
Created by: echao
Found at:
This must have been an expensive project - this small cabin appears to have been made almost entirely of round 1x1 LEGO bricks in a light green color. The bamboo effect that the cabin has is really something, and it more than makes up for the cabin's otherwise minimalistic approach.

Of course, I'm assuming that this was done without cheating...but I wouldn't be surprised if some sort of hard-to-see shortcut was used here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Marble Ladder

Name of Model: Lego Marble Ladder
Created by: John Snyders
Found at: and
Details: Here's an interesting little LEGO machine - it uses various LEGO TECHNIC parts to replicate a toy marble machine. On it's own, that would be cool enough, but this also has a motorized ladder that lifts the marbles back up to the top of the course regularly. The mechanism appears to be a sort of enlarged cam type thing. You can get the idea fairly quickly from the video below. Oh, and I saw that there was an RCX in the video, but since it's being used as an expensive battery box, I'm not going to count this one as a robot.
Here's the video of this in motion:

Monday, April 9, 2007

Robotics Monday: ColaBot

Name of Model: ColaBot
Created by: StarTony
Found at:{191E8CF1-211F-22F3-488A-ED8DABB693ED}&SlotN=1&galleryid=165
I'm sure most serious Mindstorms fans have seen this 'bot by now, but as an avid Coke drinker, I consider it a classic. This bot is actually pretty simple - it's a worm-gear based pouring mechanism that is activated by a light sensor. The dark color of Coca-Cola triggers the light sensor - so the cup is always filled to the same height each time, and never overflows. Touch sensors monitor the arm's position, and inventive (if whimsical) mounts keep the glass and the bottle of soda in place. Oh, and the whole thing is mounted on a chassis too, so if you want a robot driving around with an open Coca-Cola bottle and a full glass, you could have it do that.

I'm aware of the fact that a few more advanced models are out there now that do similar things. It's seeming a bit intimidating to track them all down though. Feel free to send your favorites to

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Stop Motion LEGO Mosaic Animation

Name of Model: The White Stripes' "Fell in Love With A Girl" Music Video
Found at:

I know that this isn't technically a LEGO model and that most people have seen this before, but I wanted to make sure I posted something today. This is not actually a sequence of LEGO models - almost all of the studs-up mosaics used were taken apart and reassembled differently to make the next frame. The effect, however, speaks for itself.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Mario Kart Characters

Name of Models: Mario Kart Characters
Created by: Count Blockula
Found at:
Yeah, another series of models. I'd have a hard time picking which Mario Kart characters to feature though, and they're all equally well done. There's a bit of sculpted stuff, a bit of studs-not-on-top stuff, and a lot of newer pieces I don't have any of. It's an interesting project, but frankly, not my cup of tea. To be fair though, the way these are put together is quite inventive.

Friday, April 6, 2007


Name of Model: DT75M
Created by: misterzumbi
Found at:
From the above brickshelf page:
What you can see here is an DT-75 M tractor built in the 50s in the former Soviet Union - the plough is just my version of the great Marakoeschtra design - dedicated to Tim Gould

Also, note the use of minifig hands, chains, studs-not-on-top techniques, and wheels.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Name of Model: Furniture for medieval interiors
Created by: marakoeschtra
Found at:
OK, so I lied yesterday when I said I'd get back to focusing on original models. I have a bit of a stockpile of things to post here, and it makes sense to get some of these groups of models done on one page.

So anyway, these "models" are individual pieces of furniture, done in a nice old-fashioned-wood style. They're apparently intended for castle-themed creations, but if you ask me, they'd look great as antiques in any mini-fig scale LEGO building. Some of the parts used are fairly expected, but some of these are a bit more unusual - legs and hands from minifigs, tiled plates, pneumatic tubing and such. Of course, these all seem much more special when you consider how hard it is to find some of these parts in brown.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

More Dragons

Name of Model: the-DRAKKHEN
Created by: Izzo
Found at:

As you may have noticed, there was no model of the day yesterday. Frankly, there are just too many awesome models in that photo pool! I'm still not done looking at all of them. I'm doing another bloated gallery of pictures today as well - maybe tomorrow I'll get back to posting a "daily dose".

I have previously mentioned one of Izzo's fantastic dragons. Now he has completed a series of several dragons, as if to tell a story. Not all the dragons are as good as that first one I mentioned, but they are all fairly impressive. If anyone knows the story or a link to page with it, send it our way and I'll add it to this post. In the mean time, the rest of the Dragon series is today's "modelS" of the day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

News: Photos from BrickFest

Photos have started emerging online from the BrickFest event. You can have a look at them here: There are quite a few models there that are really well done. There will probably be some links to more detailed coverage of the event here soon.

Monday, April 2, 2007

WiigoBot can beat a video game.

Name of Model: WiigoBot
Created by: Will Gorman of
Found at:
EDIT: Complete Building Instructions are now available.

This robot can play a perfect game of "Wii Bowling" on Nintendo's Wii Entertainment System. For the uninitiated, the Wii is controlled through a "WiiMote" which is sensitive to movement. This allows for realistic and active video games. However, these new units have been controversial because we don't really need yet another video game system, much less one that has a remote that begs to be flung across the room.

Anyway, so there's this "Bowling" style game for that platform that is apparently rather easily beaten. This robot pushes a button, swings the wiimote, and releases the button - and that's all it takes. Put that in a loop and a timer, and voila - a perfect score, one strike at a time. The link above has more detailed documentation, but that's the gist of it. This robot is both beautifully simple and surprisingly effective. Then again, this isn't a real bowling game, so issues such as the ball's weight didn't have to be taken into account.

Since you need a "wiimote" to operate a Nintendo Wii, I won't count this as "cheating". Some books were used to help the 'bot from jumping (the momentum of the swing would make the 'bot jump if the books shown in the pictures and video weren't there), but that's probably just a time-saving measure (sure, they could have put together a bunch of LEGO just to weigh it down, but why?)

Here's some embedded video action for you. I recommend watching it here only. This 'bot has been getting a good deal of "viral" attention lately, and some of the comments on the YouTube page are offensive and/or obscene.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Star Trek U.S.S. Voyager

Name of Model: Star Trek USS Voyager
Created by: Marwede
Found at:
This enormous model of Star Trek's "U.S.S. Voyager" (which you may remember as the "Enterprise"-style spaceship trying to find its way home in the series Star Trek: Voyager from some years back) is really something. The sculpted body of the ship captures all of the proper details, as far as I can tell. Although the interior is not shown, it looks like down-to-scale furnishings are skipped in favor of realistic exterior lighting. If you look closely, you can spot a LEGO TRAIN speed regulator (which you can buy somewhere). That makes it look, to me, anyway, like this is using entirely-LEGO lighting, and powering it from a wall electric outlet. Of course, all those little lights are also working with quite a few clear and translucent LEGO bricks that are sculpted into the body of the ship. Assuming that no cheating was used to make the electrical stuff work, this is quite a feat.