Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Periscope Sculpture

Name of Model: The Red Brick
Created by: SciSKEW Collaborative
Found at: http://peoplesarchitecture.org/brickbybrick/sciskew.html
ArtAsiaPacific and People's Architecture have teamed up for Building Asia Brick By Brick, a series of presentations of original architectural LEGO models. The models are currently on a tour of sorts. Click here for dates and locations of the presentation. The models are being exhibited and soon will be auctioned to raise awareness about architectural presentation in Asia.
To make designing the buildings a bit more of a challenge, the creators of the models have been primarily limited to standard white LEGO Bricks.

Today's pick from this exhibit is this periscope sculpture - which has been designed to make people think about the viewing process from both a child's perspective and an adult's perspective. You can judge for yourself how effective it is at that, but you have to admit that it's one heck of a sculpture. I love how this one combines more architectural elements (The boxier upper section and arch) and more abstract elements (the whimsical lower section). Some cheating was used here for lighting and the periscope's mirrors (at least, I think that they're cheating there - there's always that off chance that DUPLO mirrors are being used there, and I suppose those could be LEGO lights too...). This model can currently be seen in Shanghai, and it will be there (along with the rest of the Building Asia Brick By Brick presentation) through August 4th. The exhibit will be on display in Beijing from August 16th to September 1st, Shanghai from September 6th to the 9th, and Chengdu from the 13th to the 25th.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Robotics Monday: Single-Motor Walker

Name of Model: quadWALKER
Created by: TooMuchCaffeine
Found at: http://us.mindstorms.lego.com/nxtlog/projectdisplay.aspx?id=eb68aa7b-25a8-4597-95f6-c6ef2459503f
This 'bot is a pretty clever simplification of the "walker" format. Only one motor is used - a series of levers makes the rest of the motion work. The main advantage of this is that it frees up additional motors to be used for other tasks. Another interesting this about this walker is the way that the beams and motors make this something you could really only do with LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT - normally it's not too difficult to create an RCX-based version of an NXT 'bot or vice-versa, but this one would be nearly impossible to recreate with the older parts. For those of you who have a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT kit and want directions, full building instructions are available. Of course, from there, you should come up with your own ideas for sensors and other motors, but this is a great starting point.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Microscale Star Wars Fleet

Name of Model: SW mini playset... cause every kid and his little brother should have one.
Created by: nnenn
Found at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=267759
Here's a fun one to try at home - microscale versions of spaceships from Star Wars. You can see some good close-up shots of each of the ships individually at the link up above. Most of the parts aren't that hard to find here, but I'd find that x-wing or y-wing pretty challenging. The Millennium Falcon looks particularly realistic - I love the use of minifig binoculars and rounded bricks on the top of that one.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Minifig-scale Vacuum Cleaners

Name of Model: 掃除機。
Created by: Moko
Found at: http://blog.livedoor.jp/legolego05/archives/51158394.html
Here's another clever minifig-scale model by Moko - a set of vacuum cleaners Only one of them is in the picture here, but you can see both at the link featured above. Other minifig-scale parts - such as a set of handlebars - are mixed with TECHNIC parts and some other LEGO elements (to be honest, I don't even recognize all of them this time out - he didn't cheat, did he?) The shapely minifig using the vacuum cleaners is a nice bit of technique as well.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Detailed minifig-scale Motorbikes

Name of Model: Motocross Rally
Created by: Noddy
Found at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=266802
There are really amazing - you really have to take a close look at them yourself though to get the full impact. Noddy used a number of small little LEGO parts to make minifig-scale motorcycles, and then built a gorgeous sculpted landscape around them - complete with blue-flame water.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New York Skyline Mosaic

Name of Model: New York, New York
Created by: Eric Harshbarger
Found at: http://ericharshbarger.com/lego/nyc_skyline.html
Here's one of Eric Harshbarger's mosaics. This one is a bit unusual in that it is made with plates in a studs-out fashion (close up). This provides better resolution than using bricks in a studs-up fashion, but it's not as good resolution-wise as using plates in a studs-up fashion. For those of you not familiar with Harshbarger, he uses a java program of his own design called Pixelego to give him "instructions" for his mosaics. I'm not one to count that as cheating though - it's much more egregious that some buildings were moved to make the image more interesting. In any case, this is another beautiful mosaic from one of the greats of LEGO building.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Steam Engine BR24

Name of Model: Steam Engine BR24
Created by: Monteur (who has a number of great trains on that Brickshelf page of his!)
Found at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=266355
The photos here aren't as high-quality as you're used to seeing here, but this model is quite good. From what I can tell, this builder designed his train by mimicking a picture of a particular train from a book. There are lots of great details on this one. I especially love the way he did his wheels with TECHNIC parts. Actually, that hook-up for the front wheel looks pretty clever too. I'm assuming that there's a smooth tile in there that we can't see providing extra support to the model. The only problem with this gorgeous engine is that it is not powered in any way - but then again, there's not a place where any standard LEGO train motor would have fit here anyway.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Garden Gnome Sculpture

Name of Model: Garden Gnome
Created by: Bill Ward
Found at: http://www.brickpile.com/2006/09/11/garden-gnome/ and http://flickr.com/photos/billward/sets/72157594280052853/
Here's one I don't recommend trying at home (unless you don't mind getting your LEGO bricks dirty): this is a sculpture of a garden gnome. It's pretty effective and straight forward. Bill Ward, like Eric Harshbarger, but unlike most of the people who work for the LEGO Group, prefers the challenge of making sculptures only with LEGO bricks - never other LEGO parts, no slopes, no plates, not even that little effect the real professionals do to make eyes have pupils at a normal looking size. This has the side effect of not being quite as realistic as it could be, but looking more like it's actually something that anyone could build with LEGO bricks. After all, if it's just 3 commercially available tubs of standard parts (as the description says), then it really looks like a LEGO project. The trick is to work at such a scale as to make sure that you still get the "boxy" effect of only using regular bricks without sacrificing too much in the way of curves or details. This gnome does this pretty effectively - the parts that look oversized blend in really well.

In any case, I'd hate to be the one to clean dirt out of the bottom of this guy. Maybe you should only try building garden gnomes for your fake indoor plants.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Robotic Monday: Brick Sorter

Name of Model: Brick Sorter 4
Created by: Laurens Valk
Found at: http://www.freewebs.com/laurens201/bricksorter4.htm
This is the latest in a series of robots that attempts to sort LEGO bricks. I've seen quite a few brick sorters in my day, but most of them are fairly primitive machines that need to be fed pieces individually and only sort by color (not by size). This one, on the other hand, makes use of both an RCX and an NXT to automate everything - it sorts sizes and colors, and it can work directly from a pile of bricks dumped into the top of it. A bit of cheating was used here, but I suspect that it would be possible to create a version of this that doesn't involve cheating - but that would take a bit more time. The summary explains that a third-party sensor is used to allow the NXT to choose programs on the RCX, and a phototransistor is used to allow for more accurate color readings in a relatively small size (that LEGO camera would have been a bit more bulky and would have required a full computer...) All in all, this is another brilliant 'bot by Laurens. No building instructions this time out, but there are directions concerning the programs provided.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Stadoerfla station

Name of Model: The Stadoerfla station
Created by: unknown
Found at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=225585
This gorgeous layout was found at a German LEGO fan event this past January. That's really all I have for concrete info on this, but this is enough of a great model to feature anyway. There are just so many little details here - have a look at those architectural details, and the plants outside - and yet this is at regular minifig-scale. Some of those details were done using massive amounts of fairly obscure parts. In this picture, for example, you can see dozens of studs-not-on-top effects lined up with little turntable bases on them. That round-center tile thing you see there is really just a very large amount of dismantled turntable parts. Just gathering up enough of those parts and separating the tops from the bottoms must have taken months. Of course, that's before we get into the great uses of slopes here, and the colors! Oh, the colors...they're really shocking: note the dozens of sand red minifig legs used as an architectural feature! ...and there's not even a minifig out of place! This is a true masterpiece.

Minifig Scale Transformer (Optimus Prime)

Name of Model: octimus prime
Created by: astronaut1
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/legoville/tags/optimusprime/
The Brothers Brick just caught wind of this amazing model - it's the Transformer Optimus Prime - but in scale with any standard LEGO town set. Generally, when people build transformers that actually transform out of LEGO bricks, they have to use a larger scale to get things to work right. The guy who built this, though, is just a genius.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Der Goldenstrahl

Name of Model: Der Goldenstrahl
Created by: Dan Sibley
Found at: http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/19025
Here's a spiffy little spaceship with a "Classic Space" style color scheme and some neat studs-not-on-top effects. LEGO TECHNIC elements (most notably some bricks and a gear rack) were used to add some great details - and axle extending TECHNIC parts were used to connect sections of the ship. One of the cross section shots shows where TECHNIC parts were used to get studs-not-on-top effect too.
This is Friday's model of the day

Friday, July 20, 2007

Minifig Accessories

Name of Model: カバン
Created by: Card
Found at: http://askedcard.blog103.fc2.com/blog-entry-52.html
Here's a great idea for accessorizing LEGO minifigs - giving the custom-made purses and briefcases in various colours. Combinations of smooth plates, offset plates, and specialized plates are used at the link above to provide a number of different styles for minifigs to carry around.
This is Thursday's model of the day

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Name of Model: Orthanc
Created by: xbolt
Found at: http://xbolt.knowledgehouse.info/orthanc.html
Here's another model based on Lord of the Rings - this time from Orthanc in Isengard. This one is a big black tower that Samuran lives in. This particular model used over 4000 pieces and is as tall as a person (as the additional photos demonstrate). I don't know how much detail there is on the inside, but this appears to be to minifig scale.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mourning Brickshelf Vignette

Name of Model: Goodbye
Created by: Glorious Kyle at http://www.fbtbforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=22166&start=180&sid=e06908b0dedfa72b3010ead8cbaa0b68
Found at: http://kyleink.com/Images/goodbye.jpg
This is a particularly effective LEGO vignette built in honor of Brickshelf.com - which was a popular image repository for the online LEGO community. The tombstone shown in this model is a grey version of the Brickshelf logo. There's only one picture for this model, but I think you get the point. The loss of Brickshelf is like the loss of an old friend in a way - for 12 years, it's been a large part of the lives of LEGO builders of all ages. Brickshelf was essentially the online library for the LEGO fan community. Fortunately, the LEGO catalogs and building instructions are now hosted elsewhere, and there are plenty of other websites that have LEGO models posted on them. I'll be posting more about online LEGO resources sometime in the future.

Although some other people blogging about LEGO have said that they will not continue posting after Brickshelf goes offline on July 31st, 2007, no disruption of service is anticipated at LEGO model of the day. I will continue to do my best to provide your daily LEGO fix, and with any luck we'll actually have a model to show daily. Any posts referencing Brickshelf between now and the 31st will mention whether or not the model will remain accessible online.

Announcement: Brickshelf Down

I was hoping that by waiting a while after I heard this news, I'd come across some good news that proved my original story to be incorrect. However, no progress has been made on the "what will happen next" front, so here is the alarmist version of the post.

Very few of the pictures on this blog are loading right now, and most of the models featured are completely inaccessible now as well. This is because this site, like many other fan-created LEGO sites online, relies on another website called Brickshelf.com . I had been meaning to post on this blog about Brickshelf's woes for quite some time - I'm well aware of the fact that it was impolite for me to hotlink photos from there for this blog, but I figured I'd encourage readers here to donate and I would donate a hefty portion of this site's profits to Brickshelf once this site gets going - but alas, nothing was done here in time, and now it looks like Brickshelf may be gone for good.

What this means for you:

This will result in longer delays on this site. Most of the models that have been featured here will probably not be available for online viewing again. If you were relying on Brickshelf to host your LEGO related programs, videos, pictures, etc, you may have lost your data. Most of the people posting their LEGO models online have lost access to the main place they were sharing their models. This is a fairly large problem for all who care to follow fan-created LEGO models on the internet, and as of yet no solution has been proposed. There are other image-hosting sites out there, but none of them have been hosting what was essentially our library.

UPDATE 7/16: Service has been restored through the 31st to allow people to back up their images.

Robotics Monday: Fun Tic-Tac-Toe 'bot

Name of Model: Head-to-head Tic-Tac-Toe
Created by: brdavis5
Found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhfGQGGFb68 and temporarily at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=161188
Details: Here's a fun model - it's a simple bot that plays Tic-Tac-Toe. Although it was built from a larger LEGO collection, I suspect that you could reproduce the effect with just one LEGO MINDSTORMS ROBOTICS INVENTION SYSTEM set. A light sensor scans black and white blocks and a claw the places the next piece in the game. A "play complete" button is provided for the opponent, which can be a person or another robot. An effective YouTube video is available (and embedded here) - and there are also additional photos. Please note that the additional photos are on Brickshelf and will no longer be accessible as of July 31st, 2007.
This is Monday's model of the day

USS Harry Truman Aircraft Carrier

Name of Model: USS Harry Truman Aircraft Carrier
Created by: Malle Hawking
Found at: http://dunechaser.blogspot.com/2006/03/malle-hawkings-lego-aircraft-carrier.html
This model is at least a year and a half old, but it seems to be going viral again on those "intarwebs" the kids are talking about. The thing about this model is that it's not just huge - it's actually to minifig scale and has all the details you'd expect any LEGO minifig-scale plane or boat to have. Of course, those ordinary planes and boats are all just little things inside of this behemoth, which features many functional sections and a full crew. In the interest of providing you with the most thorough documentation of this model that I can, I'm linking to the sleuthing done at The Brothers Brick last year. "Proper" links and gossipy links are both available at that page, and it's much better reading LEGO news from a LEGO fan then from some gawker on the 'net. Please note that some of the photos are on Brickshelf and will be unavailable in the near future.
This is Sunday's model of the day

Unusual Mecha

Name of Model: Morgan
Created by: legoloverman
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38509565@N00/746194449/ and the three previous photo pages.
I'm not a mecha fan, but I never stop being surprised at the way that mecha builders find ways to turn ordinary LEGO parts into bizarre and robotic things. On this one, there are claws, wrenches, minifig hands, binoculars, and even red Darth Vader helmets all used in bizarre places to get just the right effect. I'm guessing that this one took a while to figure out - and even longer to make it self-supporting in that standing position. Perusing some of the other photos available for this one, it becomes clear that this was just a way of putting rare parts to use (and the other bizarre elements were thrown in to perfect the color scheme!)
This is Saturday's model of the day

Monday, July 16, 2007

Furnished House

Name of Model: 2階建ての家
Created by: Card
Found at: http://askedcard.blog103.fc2.com/blog-entry-76.html
This little house was made with smooth tiles between floors to allow people to open it up and take a look at the rooms inside. Most of you probably already know about that technique, but it's a great one to remember. What I really love about this house, though, is that the rooms are fully furnished. There are some great ideas in here for those of you wondering how to make decent LEGO stairs and furniture that can fit in a minifig-scale LEGO house.
This is Friday's model of the day

Western Truck

Created by: unknown
Found at: http://goldmine.mylivepage.com/image/483/6208/IMG_1010.jpg and some surrounding pages
Those of you who remember the 90s may recall that in 1996, LEGO released a Wild West line. Some builders have taken it upon themselves to build new models in that now long-gone theme. Today's truck, which appears to be some sort of getaway vehicle, is one such model. The details on this are really something too. There are quite a few studs-not-on-top parts used to get things looking just right. That's about all I can say about this one even though there does appear to be more on this site (use the Ankstesnis and Sekantis buttons to flip through additional pictures) due to the language barrier.
This is Thursday's model of the day

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Darth Vader Mosaic with Instructions

Name of Model: Darth Vader LEGO Mosaic
Created by: chuybregts
Found at: http://www.instructables.com/id/EES6KKILT3EP287HCT/
Here's a fun one you can try at home - it's a mosaic of Darth Vader (from Star Wars) with instructions included. There's nothing quite like directions when it comes to making a model a bit more accessible.
This is Wednesday's model of the day

Frauenkirche Dresden (Church Of Our Lady)

Name of Model: Frauenkirche Dresden (Church Of Our Lady)
Created by: Holger Matthes
Found at: http://www.holgermatthes.de/frauenkirche/en/index.htm?http://www.holgermatthes.de/frauenkirche/en/01_main.htm
Although many of the photos of today's model were on Brickshelf, the extensive documentation of this beautiful church includes many photos that are still accessible. 300 man-hours went into building this scale masterpiece, which features a fully furnished and detailed interior. Special care went into using LEGO parts at bizarre angles to make the LEGO version match the real one's wear-and-tear over the years.
This is Tuesday's model of the day

Friday, July 13, 2007

Robotics Monday: Difference Engine

Name of Model: Difference Engine
Created by: Andrew Carol
Found at: http://acarol.woz.org/
This is probably cheating - is it really robotic if there are no sensors involved? This is a gem that made headlines a few years ago and still gets discussed online quite a bit. I am always fascinated by mechanical computing trickery, because they offer a lot of possibilities for expanding the capability of the handful of motors most of us can afford. There is an extensive write-up for this model available at the link above, and that should fill you in on what a difference engine is if you are not familiar with the concept.
This is Monday's model of the day

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Giant US "Map" Mosaic

Name of Model: Kids create massive Lego map of US
Created by: World Children's Festival
Found at: http://www.boingboing.net/2007/06/24/kids_create_massive_.html
I generally try to avoid quoting other blogs on here (in favor of finding more authoritative sources, such as the builders themselves), but I have to make an exception today since BoingBoing is apparently the only news outlet who has been sent pictures of this completed model. An event called the World Children's Festival built a LEGO mosaic map of the U.S. in Washington DC recently. This wasn't done exactly to scale (the buildings on the map are not exact representations of every skyscraper in the country) - but it's a great whimsical model assembled from smaller individual mosaics that were built by hundreds of kids of all ages. 9500 baseplates were used, and I'm assuming that as many people were involved. Does anyone know if this model is still available for public viewing?
UPDATE: A press release is available, but it doesn't have any more photos or display info.
This is Sunday's model of the day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pokemon Characters

Name of Models: Pokemon
Created by: azumu
Found at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=57571
Yeah, I'm cheating, but I need to catch up for not posting here for a while, and this series of models has been quite a buzz during the week I've been gone. These small sculptures use a number of clever techniques to represent popular Pokemon characters. There are sculpted parts, bizarre parts used (note the "3" tile on Pikachu's nose), studs-not-on-top sections, unusual colors...tons to see. They're very effective reproductions of Pokemon and most of them are good enough to qualify as a "fascinating model" on their own. So there's the rest of the week.
These are Tuesday's through Saturday's models of the day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Robotics Monday: Gravity Sensor

Name of Model: Using a MacBook as tilting remote for LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT
Created by: Kortenkamp
Found at: http://nxtasy.org/2007/06/30/control-nxt-by-macbook-gravity-sensor/
This isn't quite a model, I guess, but it's fascinating none-the-less. Apparently Mac Book computers come with a "gravity sensor" that can determine which direction the computer is tilting in. That and some nifty bluetooth-enabled software turns the computer into a remote control for a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 'bot.
This is July 2nd's model of the day

Canada Day 2005 Town Layout

Name of Model: Canada Day layout July 1st, 2005
Created by: Kevin Dixon with PARLUGMENT?
Found at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=135965
I decided to pick a model from Canada Day to commemorate the occasion. This is a town layout made in 2005 - I'm guessing it was a group effort but I don't know who put it together. This picture seems to suggest ParLUGment - and also has an awesome Canadian flag made out of LEGO flowers. The cows in the background of that shot are awesome too. There are a ton of details in this little layout!
This is July 1st's model of the day

Friday, July 6, 2007

Another Delay

Updates will be behind for the rest of the week due to illness. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Ironport Appliance

Name of Model: unknown
Created by: Unknown
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sbisson/533475781/in/photostream/
Here's a nifty idea - this IT company decided to promote their server security appliance by giving away LEGO FACTORY sets that resemble their product. I don't know who this was designed by, but it's a clever idea, and it looks like they even got appropriate stickers and a folding front panel. Details like that always help for smaller models. I suspect, though, that the box included in the picture was made by a different manufacturer (so that's "cheating", even though the model looks legit...) but does it matter if it's just a new box?
This is Saturday's model of the day.

Microscale Millennium Falcon

Name of Model: SW Collection
Created by: ototoko
Found at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=261961
There may never be a time when there isn't at least one person in the world making a microscale version of a Star Wars ship with LEGO parts, but that doesn't mean that some of these spaceships aren't clever designs. This particular one "cheats" the microscale technique a bit by making up its own random scale that allows for just the right amount of detail. It's easy to tell why this has been a sensation in the LEGO community the past few days - the angles and the uses of angled pieces here are impressive.
This is Friday's model of the day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Diesel Engine (for a train)

Name of Model: SM-42
Created by: misterzumbi
Found at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=189492
This is a nifty little locomotive featuring some cool colors and some cleverly used parts. I love the way that hands and arms were used to add details here. The use of a TECHNIC beam to fix a height issue with the coupler is a good idea too. The car windshields being used as side windows are amazing. The Brickshelf Gallery for this model features a number of "in action" photos with some other nice train cars and minifigs as well.
This is Thursday's model of the day

Klein Bottle

Name of Model: Klein Bottle
Created by: Andrew Lipson
Found at: http://www.andrewlipson.com/kleinbottle.htm
This is a LEGO sculpture of a Klein bottle made by the legendary knot theorist Andrew Lipson. OK, fine, he's actually legendary for his Escher-related LEGO models (Previously featured here). Complete LDRAW format building instructions are available for those of you who want to try this one at home. There are more pictures on this model's page as well. Take a close look at this one - I promise, it really is fascinating once you realize just what a Klein bottle is.
This is Wednesday's model of the day.