Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tiny Batman and Robin

Name of Model: Batman
Created by: nnenn
Found at:
Generally speaking, it's nearly impossible to make a convincing "microscale" person out of LEGO, never mind making vehicles and such at the same scale. Apparently it's quite possible with Batman - who's distinctive helmet and cape make this little series of models work. The is Batman, Robin, and their little fleet of vehicles, all done perfectly at a ridiculously small scale. I love everything about the Batman they made - the use of a black minifig head (probably from a train set) as a torso, the clever use of a claw-tile (or whatever that part is called) as a helmet, and the little cape - all perfect. The vehicles look great too, and use a mix of older slopes and newer ones to carve out just the right shape.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Name of Model: Rooster
Created by: ApophisV
Found at:
This little chicken features quite a few unusual parts used in very clever ways. That tail is the feather from a pirate's cap, and it's attached to the rest of the model by the bottom of a spaceship's control lever! There are also quite a few new slopes and studs-not-on-top pieces in here. If you can round up the parts for this one, you can try it out for yourself with the provided building instructions.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Castle Barracks

Name of Model: Barracks of the Order of the Rampant Lion and Home of the Grand Master
Created by: DARKspawn
Found at:
This snazzy little building is a barracks for a castle's knights. Nothing particularly out-of-the-ordinary here, but there is some nice plate work for architectural details. Note the outside staircase and the lines on the side of the building. The use of shields and studs-out 1x1 bricks on the walls is great too. Like many great castle buildings, this one features hinges so that it can be opened in the middle. That feature was originally used in the 80s for easy play with official LEGO models, but now it's generally used as way to show off clever interior work and slice-of-life minifig action. The kitchen, in particular, does that here with pots, pans, cups, and other kitchen-themed LEGO parts. The side balcony features some nice angle work with its slopes and windows. There's a little bit of sculpting in the front to add sand effect to the "grassy" green baseplate as well. Check out the way that a ladder was used on it's side as a fence door for the horse!

I don't think any cheating was used, but don't ask me what part that is in these windows

Monday, May 28, 2007

Robotics Monday: Autopilot for a Hobby Plane

Name of Model: Autopilot
Created by: geekdad
Found at:
No picture on the links above for photos, descriptions, and videos related to this project.

Technically, the LEGO part of this project is just the autopilot (well - that camera gimbal too), and even that requires cheating in the form of a third-party sensor - but let's be honest, this is too cool of a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT related project to pass up. This will undoubtedly be the most high-profile LEGO-based robot of the year, even if it does sit in a commercially available third-party RC plane and use quite a few other third-party components. This is still, of course, a cool project - it fits LEGO servos into the base to operate the rudder, and it uses (or will use) some tricky coding on the NXT to make all the autopilot functions work. Using Technic parts to operate a camera isn't too difficult, but it fleshes out the idea a little better too. Currently, the third-party sensor feeding data into the NXT unit is a HiTechnic compass sensor but it will be replaced with some sort of GPS interface before this project is finished.

Did I mention that this thing really flies? You can never go wrong with any self-propelled LEGO model that flies (yes - even a LEGO model of the Hindenburg would be cool if it could really fly).

Sunday, May 27, 2007

University of Tokyo Clock Tower

Name of Model: University of Tokyo Clock Tower
Created by: University of Tokyo LEGO Club
Found at:
Everybody loves a decent model of a landmark, and this is no slouch on that front. Check out the sculpted rough, angled sides, and careful drafts when you're done grasping the size of this thing. Some details (writing and photos) are provided, assuming that you can read Japanese. The only "flaw" you could cite here is that they opted for support beams instead of a full interior. No biggie - and those beautiful roofs may have needed those supports anyway. More pictures are available at the "created by" link above, including some of the model as it was being built.
This belated Sunday post is brought to you by the Brothers Brick

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Microscale Moonbase

Name of Model: MicroMoonbase
Created by: graviton
Found at:
A while back, adult LEGO space fans came up with a standardized format for an on-planet space station so that glamorous space layouts could be assembled quickly at LEGO enthusiast events. That system is called "moonbase", and I'll blog more about it (and its constraints) another day. Today though, I'm featuring a microscale variation on the concept - small sections of planet surface in an extremely small scale (even smaller than the standard minifig scale used for most moonbase modules). For obvious reasons, there are lots of cool little tricks hidden in this model. I like some of the clever uses of color to make the different sections distinct as well.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Steampunk Airship

Name of Model: Radiant Kestrel
Created by: zachmoe
Found at:
I'll be honest - I don't know anything about Steampunk airships. It is pretty clear, though, that some awesome stuff is going on in this model. There's a boat-like base, but a big part of it is upside down (presumably with a bunch of studs-not-on-to action underneath). Antennas hold up propellers, and some Technic parts can be seen holding other parts up. There are some details on the "deck", and even some outlying pods (I guess these are called "greebles" - in any case, they look great and make good use of some unusual parts). A section with steering equipment features some fencing and tiles to make a railing of sorts for the front of the ship. Curved tiles and claws accent a large amount of brown tiles to give it an authentic wooden look with some expensive-looking details. Some of the clever controls really have to be seen to be believed. There's even an interior cabin, complete with a patchwork quilt on the bed. The hinges to get just the right angles inside the cabin are a nice touch too. That's a lot of cool stuff for something that I can't even figure out what it is (readers - feel free to drop a comment and enlighten me).

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Bush Man

This one is fairly well explained by the video clip I found it in, so here's the original clip:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Stained Glass

Name of Model: Stained Glass
Created by: BreadMan
Found at:
Those new LEGO Mosiac sets come with transparent baseplates that allow those who are not mosaically inclined (or computer-aided) to make decent-looking LEGO mosaics by hand. At least, that's what you do with them if you don't have a large amount of translucent LEGO plates and a castle that needs an awesome stained-glass window. Another view makes it clear that a bulky wall with a gap in it allows for the clear baseplate to slide in (with the window "mosaic" already built onto the baseplate). This small model features a very detailed section of a castle's interior complete with archetectural details, minifigs, a checkered floor, and even a cobweb-filled crypt below. Let's be honest though - the highlight is that awesome stained glass effect on the window.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Name of Model: Rocket Garden
Created by: "Rocket Scientists": Steve Barile, Bob Kojima, Kelly McKiernan, Richard Lange, Jeremy Rear & Kim Toll
Found at:
If you've taken any interest in space exploration-themed LEGO town sets over the years, you've probably noticed that the rockets, shuttles, etc, aren't really at the right scale for minifigs. These rockets, on the other hand, are behemoths that look like the real thing - properly shaped, decorated, and to scale. The Saturn V even features cut-aways so you can see the interior. The other two rockets are recognizable as the Titan II and the Saturn IB. This one's worth taking the time to look at all of the pictures available (there are just 21 and they reveal some well-done details and interesting building techniques).

This model is currently on display at at the Washington Square LEGO Store in Tigard, Oregon, United States. This is one of many models being featured by LEGO stores as part of their "Window Into The Community" project, which showcases models made by local adult enthusiasts. This display began on Thursday, January 11, 2007, and I do not know how long it will be up.

Robotics Monday: Self-Driving Cars and the Hall of Fame

I wasn't sure what to post today so I thought I'd try something a little different. To celebrate the admission of both the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT and the self-parking car into the Robot Hall of Fame, here are two LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT versions of the self-parking car - both with video.

Here's the first one - it made the rounds on a few blogs, so you may have already seen it.

The second one (below) features a clever way of making a single ultrasonic distance sensor act like two to allow for more precise parking. This one appears to discover obstacles on the fly and decide how far to drive, while the earlier 'bot appears to use dead reckoning.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Big Spaceship

Name of Model: Vaisseau de Ulysse 31
Created by: b3rl1go
Found at:
This is, at first glance, cool just because it's a huge spaceship. How did the builder get those bizarre angles though? The secret is a large Technic-based understructure.

Apologies for the late post. I really do plan on getting better about this.

Friday, May 18, 2007

News: FIRST LEGO League Webcast

The FIRST LEGO League Open European Championship will be webcast today (Saturday, May 19th, 2007) and tomorrow (Sunday, May 20th, 2007).

That is all.

Expanding Circle

Name of Model: The Blossoming Lotus
Created by: Kevin H. Knuth
Found at:
Here's an interesting little Technic mechanism that expands and contracts the way that Chuck Hoberman's creations do (if I were to post models made with another construction toy, it would be his Expandagon system (which doesn't appear to have an official website)). Since it's just a ring, you don't really get any of cross-sections that you'd need to build a full sphere, but I'm sure you could do lots of cool things with this if you have the parts (and of course, you probably don't have the parts). Thanks to all of the beautiful CAD material provided, you can try this one out on your own - it's not exactly building instructions, but it shouldn't be too difficult to figure it out. If anyone has an idea for a similar project on a smaller scale, I'd love to see it.

City in Hand Sculpture

Name of Model: "Rebirth of New Orleans"
Created by: Nathan Sawaya
Found at:
Professional LEGO sculptor Nathan Sawaya was commissioned to build this piece in December 2006 for a permanent exhibit at the New Orleans Public Library. The sculpture depicts a fanciful version of a rebuilt New Orleans - and the featured buildings are based on drawings sent in by kids from across the country. The whimsy-factor was piped in - the swaying buildings of the final sculpture are caricatures of the original drawings with exaggerated curvy lines and misaligned windows. The gigantic hand that holds the exhibit is probably my favorite piece of this - it completes the surreal impression given here. Over 120,000 LEGO bricks were used for this one (and that's before we get into the bright and hard-to-find colors)!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Non-Model Whimsy

A brief interruption: This isn't a LEGO model, but it's worth a look: New LEGO advertisements at adgoodness. If you ask me, this "Build It" campaign is much better than the last one they did - this is whimsical and not a reminder of natural disasters.

Detailed Hot Rod

Name of Model: HotRod II
Created by: Biczzz
Found at:
This is one snazzy-looking Hot Rod. It's more than just nice looking though - it's a great combination of newer studless Technic pieces on the bottom and more conventional building techniques on the top. A look at the model's bottom reveals a studless frame with suspension, steering, and a simplified gear train made entirely without the familiar LEGO studs (but still out of LEGO parts). The rest of the model, such as the perfect interior and opening doors, have been made with the more traditional LEGO parts we all know and love. If you look closely, you can spot some clever techniques used to connect the top and the bottom of the model as well.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

LEGO Remake of Classic Knot Puzzle

Name of Model: Wooden Knot
Created by: Maarten Steurbaut
Found at:
The webpage is clear and concise for this one, so here's a comment in the creator's own words:
"During October-November 2006 I designed some more LEGO-versions of existing interlocking puzzles in MLCad. I intended all these puzzles to be tan, but when I disassembled my Cube I discovered I had just about enough elements to create the easiest puzzle (the "Wooden Knot") in old brown. I don't have to wait until my order (lots of tan bricks, plates and tiles) comes in to make the first and smallest puzzle!
Remark: I only use bricks, plates and tiles to make all the pieces and there's no visible top or bottom of a brick/plate."

Don't forget to check out his building instructions so you can try this one out yourself!

Coat Rack

Name of Model: ポールハンガー
Created by: Moko
Found at:
This extremely clever design for a minifig-scale LEGO coat rack makes use of some newer parts that you probably don't have. The effect is worth it though, even if you don't have that part on the top or the base (I don't either). It's also surprising to me that the color scheme works too - it's hard enough just to keep track of new elements, never mind finding them all in just the right color. I love the way that minifig torsos with the hands removed are used as coats. I'm guessing it wouldn't be too hard to copy that technique and the hanger technique on a coat rack of a less conventional shape, but this is really an exceptional model.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Robotics Monday: NXT using an Etch-A-Sketch

Name of Model: EtchBot
Created by: IndyWin
Found at:
This past week, much attention has been paid to the winner and runners up of the NXTLOG 2000th entry contest (scroll down and you can read about it, at least as of this writing). Now, that winning entry was pretty clever with it's ball-as-caster trick and automated disk shooter, but I thought that this runner-up that can draw on an Etch-A-Sketch is just a bit more interesting. From what's available for documentation, it sounds like there haven't been any cool programs written for this bot, but it wouldn't be too hard to make some, I figure. It looks like the wheels that connect the motors to the dials are the only parts that included in the standard NXT kit, so you could probably reproduce this 'bot if you'd like (you do have an NXT kit, right?) Obviously, the mini Etch-A-Sketch is a non-LEGO part, but that's not really cheating because you can't operate an Etch-A-Sketch without an Etch-A-Sketch.

Oh, and if you do make a robot similar to this one and can get it to draw something fairly detailed, I'd love to see a video of it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Apologies for the delay - it looks like Monday will be the return of the blog.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Site News: Expected Delays

Update (5/10/2007): We will be resuming regular posts today and including models for the missing days. With any luck, we'll soon be posting every day and having extra posts pre-written for when time does not permit us to write new entries.

Today's (Saturday, April 21st's) model of the day will be appearing late - perhaps even later next week. Delays in posting models can be expected for the next two weeks - after that, we'll be back in full speed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Mountain Castle Tower

Name of Model: Tower - CCC 07 entry
Created by: Patrick Bosman
Found at:
This beautiful tower includes some nice sculpted scenery and some clever angled detailing. Some parts of the mountain that the tower is in were built upside-down too, which makes for some cool effects and makes it possible for the sleeping bats to hang over the heads of the minifigs. The color scheme is stellar too - a good mix of newer variations on colors with slightly more traditional colors.