Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Miniland New York New Year's Eve

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

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 29, 2008

Great Ball Contraption Modules

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

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Tree / Imperial Star Destroyer

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa's Sleigh and Reindeer - Minifig scale!

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

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

Doll House

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

Monday, December 22, 2008

Robotics Monday: NXT-based Video Camera Rig

Info here:

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

Thursday, December 18, 2008

LEGOLAND California photos

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jungle Scene

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy holidays from the love bunnies!

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

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

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

Monday, December 15, 2008

BrickVention 2009 - Coming in January

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

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

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

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

Highlights of the weekend include:

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

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

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

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

Knock-Off Gallery Photos

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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FIRST LEGO League photos

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

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

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Few Links

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

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

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

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Out Sick

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

Monday, December 1, 2008

Great Train Expo Pleasanton 2008 Layout

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

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shop At Home Brick Friday Offer


Sorry for the lack of real posts this week, but this offer is so good, I'm sure you really want to hear about it first: LEGO Shop at Home is running Black Friday sales (and the free shipping when you spend over $99 offer still applies)!

Here's the dirt, straight from my "LEGO Affiliate Newsletter":

Feast Your Eyes on These Savings with the LEGO 'Black Friday' Offer! Save $10 on your order over $100, Save $20 on your order over $200, or save $30 on your order over $300! This promotion is valid 11-28-08 through 12-01-08.


In ADDITION to that already great deal, they will also be running 50% off the UCS General Grievous kit and 50% off the spectacular Custom Car Garage factory set (designed by Joe Meno, Joe Evangelista, and Stephen Sanders).

I don't talk too often on here about the LEGO sets I'm planning on buying, but I'm definitely grabbing the Custom Car Garage at that price. That's the deal of the day.

If you want other US Black Friday deals (that I'm not paid to promote), here's the list of things that may be available in your area (updating this as I find out more, feel free to send me your sale tips):

  • Target has 6211 Imperial Star Destroyer 40% off ($59.99) and select other deals (30% off basic brick buckets has been running all week and I'm told they have unadvertised deals as well).

  • Toys 'R' Us is continuing their Aquaraiders II clearance (50% off), putting several Bionicle sets on sale (50% off) and putting select other sets (specifically 7699 MT-101 Armored Drilling Unit and 7662 Star Wars MTT) 40% off.

  • K-Mart is running buy-2-get-1 free.

  • Walmart has the King's Castle Siege kit for $50.00

You should check your local flyers as well - even if you don't live in the states - because many smaller stores and international chains are running other sales.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Sculpture

Name of Model: LEGO Turkeys!
Created by: Kevin Whitney (anybody have a link to his other creations?)
Found at:
Here's a turkey. We all knew there'd be a turkey sometime this week. This cute little turkey would work well as a centerpiece, and only uses common colors and parts. If you can't figure out how to do the eyes - they're 1x2 Technic bricks with 1x1 plates stuck in the middle (yes - you really can stick other bricks and plates directly into the side of Technic bricks and beams).

Apologies for the lack of posts this week - I unexpected had more "real work" to do then I expected. Regular posts will be back starting next week, but I might try to get a few more posts in this week as well. I hope all of my readers have a happy Thanksgiving and a bargain-filled Black Friday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Comparison Shots of New Pirates Parts

For those of you interested in knowing more about the new Pirates parts, I put together a few comparison photos of the new Pirates parts this past weekend:

First, the flags, new parts on top, original ones on bottom:

It's not that clear from the box art, but the new alligators/crocodiles are dark green instead of regular green (also, the new tails fit more snugly and move less once assembled):

The other photos aren't really good enough to bother posting, but here are the details:

The oars and cannon-holders are technically new, but the changes to the mold are extremely minor and not worth mentioning. The oars and boats are in new colors (white oars, dark blue boats, as compared to red and brown oars with brown and black boats). My sources tell me that the "new" shooting cannons are actually the same as the older shooting cannons, but obviously these ones are in a new color (pearl dark grey instead of old dark grey). I was always told that the shooting cannons weren't available to me because of toy safety laws - I have no idea why they're available now, but I'd recommend not pointing these spring-loaded cannons at anybody.

Is there demand for a side-by-side comparison of the new minifigs and old minifigs? The differences on those are easy to spot (printed hats, dark green legs and hats, printed backs on torsos, new fronts on torsos, new faces...)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Robotics Monday: NXT-Based Safe

Name of Model: SAFE
Created by: LEGO EXAMPLES (anyone find a more precise name for this builder?)
Found at:
I like to think that building a safe (or some other sort of security system) is a "classic project" for Mindstorms fans. I know it was one of the first things I tried building. Of course, it's a bit easy to just start taking the LEGO bits apart, so it's a project that usually gets abandoned before too much is done with it.

This builder, though, decided to order some special HiTechnic sensors and make the safe impossible to mess with. Sensitive to motion, it will trigger an alarm when tilted or pushed. The video above is essential viewing, and the website link includes an impressive amount of documentation, including code and LDRAW instructions.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brickish Association Event Coverage.

Various shows
Created by Brickish Association Members (and other LEGO fans)
Found at:
The Brickish Association Events page features links to videos, photos, and other recap material from members of the Brick Association. It's a well-organized way to round-up events they've already had - and hey, they have a list of upcoming events on there too (I'm in the process of adding these to the BrickJournal Calendar). Many of the models shown in these photos have been featured here before, but there's something special about seeing many excellent models in the same layout (and of course, there are plenty of great models out there that don't get individually featured here). Warning: there are enough pictures here to make sure you don't get anything else done all day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prepare to Have Your Mind Blown

Name of Model: V&A Steamworks
Created by: V&A Steamworks (famed effects whiz Guy Himber)
Found at:
Occasionally, someone will introduce himself (or herself) to the LEGO fan community with such a bold, original, how-did-he-do-that-with-LEGO-parts style that it just takes everyone by surprise. This is one of those builders. I don't care what you think of Steampunk, minifig-scale, or Bionicle - these are truly works of art. There are technically 5 models here, but only 15 photos. I found myself going to the "All Sizes" link on every one to decipher what was going on. So many of these parts are the sort of thing people tend to write off as useless - it's truly shocking to see some of them put to such great use. To see so many of them used so well in this context is mind-blowing. Just to top that off, there are a few more common pieces - but they're all used in unusual ways (note the boat sections that turn into jaws on the HMS Vern).

Free Shipping Offer from LEGO Shop-at-Home

For those of you who can order from the LEGO Shop-at-Home but don't receive the catalog, they are currently running a "Free Shipping when you spend $99 or more" offer. I intend to put together some sort of "gift guide" in the near future, but in the meantime, you can use the link below to get to the official LEGO Shop-at-Home website and take advantage of this free shipping offer:


2009 Sets Leaking Out, TRU Coupon

It's become something of a tradition for the LEGO company to let toy megastore Toys 'R' Us sell a variety of items from the next year's line immediately after Thanksgiving (no one seems to know quite when this started, but my records prove it goes back as far as 1991). This year, new sets have leaked out at TRU even sooner than usual - exciting new kits that revive the Pirates theme are already available. I don't have time to review the whole line, so I'll let my friend Brickapolis at the LEGO Set News Worldwide flickr Group pick up the slack.

Of course, you're frugal like me, so you don't want to pay the 10%-20% markup that Toys 'R' Us often charges on LEGO sets. TRU is one of the most expensive retailers in the USA (and I'm told that their prices are worse in most other countries). Fortunately, there is a a new printable "15% off any one toy item" coupon good through November 20th. Sorry for the short notice, but I hope that some of you can enjoy the savings while checking out the new sets.
No, you're not imagining things - posts are a bit lean this week. Sorry for the inconvenience.


Name of Model: Turtle Power!
Created by: Mariann Asanuma, a former Master Model Designer from LEGOLAND California
Found at:
Sometimes you can do something beautiful just by re-imagining a few parts at a different scale. It only took one extra part to turn these starfishes into turtles, for example. The egg shells and beach make it adorable, but it was already darn clever to start with. If the starfish part doesn't look familiar to you, that may be because it's a Scala part - Scala is one of those "girly" lines that people tend to skip over without realizing how many great exclusive parts are there.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Life's Little Annoyances"

Name of Model: Life's Little Annoyances
Created by: Bladewood
Found at:
Here's an interesting find: a series of vignettes about annoying things that happen when people plan thoughtlessly. It's a very effective set of vignettes. I'm having a hard time putting words to them well - there are only a few photos here, but they do a surprisingly good job of speaking for themselves.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Barack Obama Mosaics

Name of Models: Barack Obama Mosaics
Created by various (see below)
Found at: and
Shepherd Fairey's iconic imagery depicting America's new President-Elect has been rendered in LEGO® form a surprising amount of times. It's kind of hard to pick one to feature - although it's even harder to try to find a good minifig-scale version of him (the LEGO company infamously took way too long to start making minifigs with non-yellow skin colors).

Since all manner of these seem to be turning up on eBay, I think it's time to talk about how "real" mosaics ought to be done. For one thing, the dithering used by most software-based approaches to mosaic planning doesn't usually look that good, and it should be avoided any time that the correct color is available from LEGO. Note how the mosaic shown above uses all 6 common colors (red, yellow, blue, white, black, and green) for the medium-blue section, instead of solid medium blue. The next thing many people try is just adding another color to the software's palette, such as this other mosaic, which makes use of medium-blue but still has some dithering.

Surprisingly, even with a primitive web-based program (LUGNET Mosaic Maker), you can still come up with some amazing designs that are as good as the ones on eBay. Using plates stacked up instead of spreading bricks (or plates, or tiles) on a baseplate allows for higher photo resolution, such as this design I just made virtually. If you do stick with a studs-out mosaic making on a baseplate (and that large 96-stud, 30-inch size), you can still get some great effects without resorting to dithering:

Of course, you'll probably need to spend a good amount of change we can build with...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Microscale White House

Name of Model: Mini White House
Created by: kenobiwanx (this builder also has a LEGO Factory page where you can download instructions and buy models)
Found at:
The White House is one of those classic landmarks that's been done very well many times. It's tempting to say that this one only attracted attention because it was published so close to election day. That would be wrong, though - at just 12 studs wide, this is the one of the smallest White House models out there (as you can see at the links above, the same builder has also made a 6-wide version). If that wasn't enough, the entire thing was built out of parts currently in the LEGO Factory palette and designed with LEGO Digital Designer (free download from software. There is some pretty clever parts usage too - columns are made from 1x1 bricks with bars, and windows are made from sideways 1x1 studs-not-on-top "headlight" bricks. The 1x1 cheese slopes make a perfect roof on one side, while the other side uses 2x2 macaroni bricks to emphasize the rounded section. Using tiles for the sides works surprisingly well, and you have to love the landscaping - it's just well places lime 1x1 round plates and a variety of tiles.

Instructions can be downloaded from the LEGO website at . We're not sure why it's not immediately available from the LEGO Shop, but if you have LDD2.0 on your computer, you can download the instructions and buy the parts from there (total should be $13.52 in the USA).

Monday, November 10, 2008

2008 FIRST LEGO League Challenge

Name of Model: FIRST LEGO League
Created by: various (I'm not sure who's in charge of designing the challenges)
Found at:
Details: It's that time of year again - time for a new season of FIRST LEGO League challenges. You can find more details about this year's events at the link above. I featured last year's challenge as well, and this year we're already seeing a fresh overview of the parts of this year's mission (Climate Connections) over at The NXT Step.

If you missed the "double 400" video from last year's challenge, check out this post from earlier this year.
Oops! Looks like this posted early. This is Monday's model of the day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

No posts next week

Just a quick note - there will be no posts here next week because of unusually heavy workload on me. Sorry for the inconvenience, and I hope to be back at full speed on November 10th.

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween, and for those of you registered to vote in the United States - don't forget to vote!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Andy Warhol-themed Mosaics and Sculpture

Name of Models: 3D Tide Box, Campbells Soup Can, and Marilyn Monroe (Medium Blue and Dark Pink)
Created by: David Haliski
Found at:
Here's another exciting new site from a great builder. The photos are all in flash-based widgets, but all three models are excellent. These are also based on works by Andy Warhol, which adds another neat element to these projects, I think. The size of these - particularly on the Tide box and the Campell's Soup can - are great for making the resolution interesting and well-suited to the bricks. I'll leave it at that - there's a full write-up at the link above.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ex-Wing (Spooky Star Wars Contest entry)

Name of Model: The Ex-Wing
Created by: daveexmachina
Found at:

This clever entry into the Reasonably Clever Spooky Star Wars Contest is spectacular. Skeletons on a spaceship seems obvious enough, as does breaking a ship into a minimalistic frame or "skeleton" of the ship - but I'd say that actually making the ship into a bizarre, bone-like structure is reasonably clever. I thought about trying to enter this contest with a wreckage of a ship - but a premise of "Not everyone who didn't come back from the Battle of Yavin...didn't come back"? Brilliant. I'm also loving the Bionicle-ized weapons and the astro-ghost droid "RBoo-DBoo". The pilot, of course, is a rebel fighter with an evil skull head. Oh, and in case you didn't get this, this is based on the X-wing Fighter™ from Star Wars.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Hearse

Name of Model: Halloween Hearse
Created by: modelbuildingsecrets
Found at:
Here's an exciting new blog: Modelbuildingsecrets's Weblog features tips, ideas, and creations by a former LEGOLAND Parks master builder. This particular model is timely for Halloween - and visible in the Miniland New Orleans section of LEGOLAND California through the end of the month. I think both the car and the skeleton may be easy to try out in other themes, but I'm not sure if those jumper plates (also known as off-set plates - they're the 1x2 plates with only one stud on top) are actually available to the public in clear. Occasionally, you can spot parts in LEGOLAND parks that haven't actually ever been sold in a kit - sometimes when the professionals need a certain part that isn't available, they can request it (and then the company makes a large enough run of it that the builders for the parks will have it for quite some time after that). They make a great windshield there, though.

It's fairly common for LEGO to do Halloween-themed "easter eggs" in the parks and in video games. There are also "Brick Or Treat" promotions at LEGOLAND parks - you can probably find information about events at the parks at the official LEGOLAND parks website.
This is Wednesday's model of the day

Monday, October 20, 2008

TCBX Show in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA

EDIT 10/20/2008: This event is now over. Garth Danielson has written a wrap-up of the event and sent along a link to his photos from TCBX on Brickshelf

EDIT 10/25/2008: There's another great write-up, courtesy of Dave at

More photos can also be seen in bisonfuehrer's flickr photostream right now.

The Twin Cities LEGO® Users Group, Greater Midwest LEGO® Train Club, and other LEGO fans in Minnesota are putting on a show later this month. Here's their announcement:

"Twin Cities Brick eXpo (TCBX) will be held in Bloomington Minnesota on Saturday,
October 18th, 2008 from 10am to 5pm. See for more info or e-mail
me directly at

This will include display of the GMLTC train layout, Dan Siskind's models and
diarama's to be featured in his forthcoming book, the TwinLUG 'Micro city', the
Washburn watertower from All about the Family, Judy, Bill and Owen Paynes Duplo
train layout, and may other displays by TwinLUGers, TCLUGers, GMLTCers and other
MN AFOL's. Let me know if you would like to be a displayer.

We will be running a few contests for models that you build ahead of time and
bring. Each contest entry fee will be $5 all of which will support the MN FIRST
LEGO League. See the web site for more details and rules.

Admission is FREE."

Event website:


I just found out that Monday's post is not showing properly in the RSS feed. For those of you watching the feed, some photo links were added to the TCBX show entry. In the future, I'll have to remember to write fresh posts for event wrap-ups. I didn't realize that I could update a post and change the date for it to appear first on the site without the RSS feed updating properly. Sorry about that.

Thanks for all of your comments and e-mails lately - I've always thought that a blog has "arrived" when it's readership is large enough to answer questions that the blogger asks. I've been impressed by and humbled by the amount of people reading lately (in spite of my delays in posting), and I am grateful to be hearing from some of the builders I've featured about details I've overlooked or been unsure of when writing here. I've been trying to keep up with these by editing the relevant posts (the updates to the posts do generally show up in the feed, but they won't show as unread again if you've already read the posts - at least in Google Reader, anyway).

As for tomorrow's (Tuesday's) post, I have to pick a model from the e-mail pile yet. I have a feeling that it'll be fairly late in the evening before I finish writing about one, but I'm looking through some models right now.

For those of you who have been able to attend some of the great LEGO-related events out there, I'd like to hear from you. I'm not happy with how long it's taken me to get some event wrap-ups done, and I'd like to get more first-person reviews of events on here. By "events", I mean fan conventions, public displays of any size, FIRST/LEGO Robotics events, contests - anything, really. I'm interested in hearing from both people who are behind-the-scenes and people who are just attending. To send in a guest post about an event (whether as an announcement beforehand or a wrap-up after-the-fact), write whatever you have to say in an e-mail to me at - and include the URL of where pictures/videos are if they are available. I'll format and edit a bit to make it fit in on the site (mostly I'll just be filling in links and checking for language). This is also a chance for those of you who aren't interested in maintaining a regular blog to speak up about what you've been doing in the LEGO fan community (or even just with your friends).

Lastly, if you want to find an event to attend or let LEGO fans online find out about your event, take a look at the new, improved, Google Calendar-driven BrickJournal Calendar. Separate overlays for contests, conventions, displays, fan club events, and Mindstorms/FLL events make it easy to find particular types of events. I need to get more involved with that calendar and to update my previous posts about finding LEGO events to mention it, but I fully expect this shiny new calendar to quickly become the "standard" calendar for most LEGO fan sites on the internet. If you're running an event, you should let BrickJournal know first and then announce it in a few other places, such as regional websites, websites for the featured LEGO themes (there are quite a few of these out there with various angles on covering the hobby), LUGNET (adults only - although many adults are happy to help out at events aimed at kids), offline bulletin boards in the same area of the event, and here at LMOTD. I'll continue trying to plug events here that I've seen mentioned elsewhere as well.

Thanks for reading,

BrickCon Wrap-Up

The weekend of October 2nd-5th was BrickCon (formerly NWBrickCon) in Seattle, Washington. I wasn't able to make it this year (I've actually never made it, even when I lived nearby), but there are tons of photos to look at from this year's event. The big headline was the awesome new set that the LEGO company announced there (already covered here), but there were tons of great models to see as well (and countless more fun things for attendees that aren't available to visitors - as far as I know, no one was recording any of the speakers, and there's no way to show online what some of the fans-only events are like).

Below are a bunch of links to photos. I should warn you, though, if the phrase "violent zombie apocalypse" sounds scary or unfamiliar to you, you might want to just skim some of these. One of the more adult-oriented blogs for LEGO fans coordinated a truly unique exhibit that combines Cafe Corner-style town buildings with horror/fantasy storylines - and since the layout is filled with (along with clever models and techniques) violence, movie references, video game references, and other silly in-jokes, much of it went over my head.

The place to start looking for pictures is the Official flickr pool for NWBrickCon (which includes photos from previous years if you dig far enough).

In the interest of not delaying this post any longer, I'm posting this now and adding links to it as I get to them.

More photos at:
Memory's BrickShelf gallery (Space and Mecha only)
joshh's flickr set

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Sorry for the delay - today's entry (a minifig-scale focused wrap-up of NWBrickCon) will be up on Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Detailed Human Sculptures (for a Cafe-type Scene)

Name of Model: Two short orders
Created by: Sean Kenney
Found at:
Sorry if this is a little too political or close to home, but I just had to cover these amazing sculptures. I'm not entirely sure what scale these are at, but they are amazing - the faces have all sorts of studs-not-on-top trickery in them to increase the resolution possible with the bricks, and the food counter and newspaper are fully detailed with more special parts. The egg carton is brilliant, and the newspaper just looks amazing - I have no idea how that weight is held up, but it looks like there's just hinges in there! The pictures speak for themselves, and my only gripe is that there aren't more of them.

EDIT: Sean left a comment filling in some more details:

The newspaper is supported solely by the hands... The hinges on the fingers hold it upright... But in the back, the paper leans inward a bit and touches the thumbs and palm, which support the bulk of the weight. (Just like reading a real paper!)

It's about 1:3 scale; The figures are just under 2 feet tall.

There isn't a lot of studs-not-on-top (SNOT) in their faces... mostly just jumper plates (1x2 plate with one stud) for half-stud offsets. I did use some SNOT for their nostrils (heh). In the case of the businessman, this necessitated building the cheeks sideways as well. The eyes are just 1x2 technic bricks with a 1x1 round plate set into the hole.

It looks like I overestimated how much was built sideways around the noses, but it's still a great effect. All those jumper plates must have thrown off my sense of proportions a bit - if you think of bricks as having a width:height ratio of 5:6, then sideways bricks have a ratio of 5:5, and a pair of plates have a ratio of 4:6. The jumper plates add in multiples of 2.5:2, which can be a bit harder to spot at first glance. If you're really good at these things (like all the LEGO-Certified Professionals are), you can make these odd measurements line up in all sorts of great ways. Those cheeks, for example, line up perfectly with the plates and tiles that are right side up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

X-Files Building in Microscale, X-Files Characters as Minifigs

Name of Model: The X Files
Created by: rh1985moc
Found at:
Another movie-based model (just a coincidence!) - this time a microscale version of the building from the X-Files. I know we've all seen nice microscale buildings before, but this is an interesting choice of source material, and I honestly can't recall ever seing a microscale building that can light up before. I'm not entirely sure if the lights used in the "at night" shots are done with LEGO lights or just ordinary lights, but either way, it's a great effect. Last time I featured a model by this builder, LED lights were used to illuminate a microscale ship - perhaps that's how it was done this time as well (it's mild cheating, but it's hard to argue with how well light-emitting diodes generally work). I'm also liking the way horizontal hinges were used to angle the walls here - I don't think I've ever seen that pulled off at this scale before.

For extra fun, a few interior shots of the building and characters were done at minifig scale (those pictures are in the same flickr set).

EDIT: Once again, we have an update from the builder (three for three this week!):

Hi. I built this and for the record I used LED's instead of the lego lights. I chose them because it was easier to fit them into the building, are brighter and tend to last longer.

The building is meant to be the FBI building, its name being the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

Mulder's office was in the FBI building as far as I could tell. When his office caught fire in one episode alarms could be heard from Skinner's office so I assumed it was inside, even if it was in the basement.

The building does have an open courtyard. Thanks to Google Maps for that one.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Follow up to Monday's Model

Over the weekend while I was writing today's post, I had a few questions (and apparently a few mistakes as well). I sent some questions about how many motors, programmable bricks, etc were used along to the builder (who submitted it himself), and here is the response:

There is only one LEGO Mindstorms NXT servo motor for the mouth movement.

The lighted eye is controlled by a LEGO Mindstorms NXT Light Sensor.

Originally, I was going to cram a "power Functions Light brick" from LEGO set 4998 and another LEGO Mindstorms NXT servo motor to control the Light brick, but as I began learning more about LEGO Mindstorms NXT (and modern LEGO pieces), I realized that the LEGO Mindstorms NXT Light Sensor had its own light source!

As for brick techniques, one fun one is that the transparent inner eyeball is made up of these 4 pieces (via

1. a clear Minifig Accessory Helmet Modern (2446)
2. a TrOrange Minifig Head with Hollow Stud (3626b)
3. a TrRed Plate 1 x 1 Round (4073)
4. a TrOrange Brick 1 x 1 with Headlight (4070)

The skull itself can be controlled by only 1 programmable brick which coordinates the control of the light sensor for the eye, the servo motor for the mouth movement, and to playback the uploaded sound files.

The cheap lazy susan I found to spin the head is controlled by another programmable brick that controls either 1 or 2 LEGO Mindstorms NXT servo motors.

For this talking skull, only one servo motor is sufficient to spin the head, I have 2 LEGO Mindstorms NXT servo motors in the videos so that it looks symmetric.

In case anyone tries to make the spinning platter just by viewing my videos may run into some problems - to keep the tires of the motors on the rim of the platter, unseen LEGO Technic spring shock-absorbers provide upward force to the backend of the motors which are mounted in a simple inverted first class lever design.

I guess that only 2 Mindstorms sets were necessary (I actually opened up 6).

I don't know how many pieces I used and I'm not sure where each piece came from, though I probably can trace the odd ones back to their respective sets.

I built the skull first, then went on a few LEGO shopping sprees for newer pieces in colors I wanted, additionally, I broke down my ancient LEGO Expert Builder sets, and integrated some second-hand LEGO pieces Mom purchased years ago.

Everything is genuine LEGO, absolutely no glue was used, no piece was forced into a compromising position, and no Technic Pins with Friction were used (I don't like the way they potentially widen the holes of technic beams).

The skull is completely modular, everything quickly comes apart in multiple modules by pulling bushes and cross axles.

Thanks to w at for clearing those things up on such short notice (this was sent in a few weeks ago and I only had a chance to look at it this past weekend).

Robotics Monday: "Terminator"-style Robotic Head

Name of Model: Talking LEGO robot skull reciting movie lines
Created by: w at
Found at:
This brilliant LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robot actually talks! It says lines from the Terminator movies. I believe that that would make it a robot from the future, and we should go with it if we want to live. There are videos, photos and quite a bit of docmentation at the site above. I'm not sure how many NXT units or motors were used to do this, but the amount of motion this head has is impressive. It's not easy to get all those angles in, either - making something like this sturdy is definitely a feat for Technic builders. Most surprising, though, is that the sound files played by the NXT programmable brick (bricks?) were recorded and programmed at the syllable level - this isn't just a simple playback of movie clips, we're actually hearing the NXT string the sound files together to simulate speech. Another neat trick - the light used are not the ones from the Educational Edition of the NXT kit - it's actually the light brick from the 4998 Stegosaurus kit.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Terminator movie franchise (they are rated R, after all), the movies are action/sci-fi flicks about a man who invents a network of robots - and the robots that travel through time to try to control him as a kid (before he builds his inventions).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Brick Town Talk

I'm planning on covering some group layouts later this week as the minifig-scaled model, but today I'm mentioning another model (since I've already written about it elsewhere).

As a big fan of the Café Corner kit and original models made to work with it, I've long been a fan of the blog Brick Town Talk, which features news and models related to these incredibly detailed town models. Brick Town Talk has a different format from this site - here, I focus on models and builders and a general tone, but Brick Town Talk just documents all the great things going on in that one theme with a quick link or two, not usually going into commentary. The idea is to show other hobbyists (primarily adults) what ideas are being used elsewhere in the world.

Considering how busy I've been lately, it might surprise you to hear that I've recently joined the Brick Town Talk team and started posting there. However, that format - one with no rules on variety or content, and with considerably less links and commentary within posts - takes much less time to post in. Since I have most of my recent LEGO news and creations set up to load automatically in Google Reader, it's not too hard to find models. It takes only a minute or two to provide that one link that Brick Town Talk requires, but it can takes about 15 minutes to an hour for each post here (since for LMOTD, I have to skim through photos for objectionable content, track down details about who built it and where he/she posts his/her models, write commentary, queue it up for a time when we haven't seen many other things like it recently, keep track of holidays, resize photos, moderate comments...)

Earlier today, I wrote (in addition to a post for tomorrow for LMOTD) about an old-fashioned building facade for Brick Town Talk. That post still has a bit of commentary a la LMOTD, but most posts there don't. Think of this one as a bonus model-of-the-day.

I probably won't cross-post to both sites very often, since that niche should only show up here once every month or so with my current posting schedule (and of course, it's now my only outlet for excellent town models with disturbing things happening inside). It is likely that I'll (when the work isn't duplicated) post about models here and then copy the commentary to the other site - with scheduled post publishing here and no schedule on BTT, it's possible things might show up there before they appear here (which was also the situation before).

While BTT is aimed primarily for adults, I do think it's fairly kid-friendly - and it's certainly a great way of finding new town ideas to try, regardless of how many parts you have or how old you are. If you're interested in the hobby and town buildings at all, it's essential viewing. They have an RSS feed and two posts per week (on average - there are no rules for how often to post there). Be warned that occasionally something uncouth might come up, but it is a great blog and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in detailed town models.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New Castle Set 10193 Medieval Market Village Coming in January

Name of Model: Medieval Market Village
Created by the LEGO company, including LEGO employees Matthew Ashton and Nick Groves
Found at:
In the 30 years since the first LEGO castle set came out, we've had knights, kings, dragons, the occasional queen or maiden, and even trolls and dwarfs - but never a decent set with common people (never mind common women). Now, at long last, they've introduced a kit that shows commoners, an aging man, two women, and even a child in a traditional marketplace. The marketplace is beautiful in its own right - two gorgeous buildings that are comparable to sets like the Cafe Corner in terms of detail (in terms of scale, they're more in league with other Castle sets). It's very hard not to think of this set in terms of rare parts as well - fish, cows, a whole roast turkey, a new water wheel, Fabuland barrels, bricks in tan and medium blue, a staircase, windows, food, new fire/feather elements, a new table leg/telescope element, and a variety of detail pieces in rare colors.

Please read the full article on BrickJournal's website for more details about this exciting new set (if only we could order it before January!)

I'd like to say more about BrickJournal. Since they're now fairly large (within the LEGO fan community) and available in print, they're starting to pursue bringing LEGO news to a wider audience and getting some decent scoops directly from the LEGO company. I've written here about most of the news stories on their site, but I encourage you to cut out the middle man and add the BrickJournal News Articles webpage to your regular online reads - pretty much every post on there is must-read for anyone with any interest in LEGO (they have an RSS feed and post one news article per week on average). While BrickJournal editor Joe Meno is aiming the magazine towards adult hobbyists, he is making sure that it's accessible and appropriate for all ages - so I'd highly recommend getting a subscription for your kids, family, school, get the idea. I can't say enough good things about the magazine, and I think anybody interested in reading this blog would be interested in reading it (or at the very least, the online news articles on the magazine's website).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Laptop is Back!

My laptop finally came back with a new motherboard this evening. I hope this means that I can rejoin the land of the living in the near future. I'm actually really excited about getting back to blogging - at least covering some of the recent LEGO news. It's been a very big few weeks - we've had a few major shows, some exciting new models posted online, and the company leaked info about an amazing new set. I don't know how many reader submissions or models from my backlog will get posted up here right away, but I'll definitely try to get some news posts up here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Old-Fashioned Town Buildings on the Cafe Corner Standard

Name of Model: Buildings following the Cafe Corner modular standard
Created by: Aliencat
Found at:
A BrickShelf user by the name of Aliencat has built a variety of excellent Café Corner-style models recently. The techniques are very interesting - many bits are adapted from the sets in that series, and others are new and quite clever. The brilliant use of color stands out right away - The Town Hall is the best mix of dark grey and dark stone that I've ever seen, and I never would have thought to use dark red or sand green that way either - and nearly all of these models get quite far with rare new colors. If you follow Brick Town Talk, you've already seen this builder's town/castle hybrid layout before too (and that's a great layout too).

Be warned, there are quite a few great photos here - with this site's old format, this would have been a Sunday post (I figure we should come back with a bang, though, since this is the first post after a lengthy break).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This Will Take Longer Than Expected...

It's been a rough week over here and next week is expected to be busy too. Instead of working on this site, I've been in bed trying to sleep off some obnoxious sickness I picked up this past weekend. My laptop's in the shop still as well, so even when I have had a little time to spare, I haven't been able to use it for blogging.

I did make it to two LEGO Users Group Meetings last week - both of which I ended up being at longer than I planned on. On Thursday night, I made it to a large dinner meeting Joe Meno put together for NCLUG (Joe's not actually in Raleigh often these days, so sometimes he'll call an impromptu NCLUG meeting just to show off exciting things he's picked up in his BrickJournal-related travels). It was an exciting night, and it got to be a bit surreal by the end - at one point it was after midnight and me, ParLUGment LEGO Ambassador Doug Eaton, Brick Engraver Tommy Armstrong, and BrickJournal Editor Joe Meno were still talking about LEGO colors, the manufacturing process, LEGOLAND was great fun but definitely kept me out a bit late. So much for the "don't worry about the time - you have to eat, right?" defense.

On Saturday and Sunday, I had been planning on working ahead to loosen up my schedule this week, but I started feeling ill and I slept through most of the time I was hoping to use. As if sinus-related sickness wasn't gross/painful enough, I had a shaving accident on Saturday that just exacerbated the situation.

I thought I was getting better on Sunday afternoon, though, and I made it to the regular NCLUG meeting (where I even showed off some new creations of my own) and had a great time - Mike Walsh brought along some of the older idea books and the parts that the LEGO company originally suggested for the Hobby Train kit (Mike Walsh was on the "Ultimate Train Builders" team that helped put together LEGO's Hobby Train set - and yes, we really do have this many celebrities of the LEGO fan community here in North Carolina). I hope to post some photos of everything soon, but I just don't have the time right now and I don't even know what photos I really have (I was running to the bathroom every half-hour or so all day).

I've been very tired and behind for most of the week - just going day-to-day and trying not to miss any deadlines on the "real" work. I don't think I'll have time to write up any of the upcoming events (or finish any posts beyond October first's) now - I barely have time to type this up. I'm going to avoid putting any date on when I'll be able to start up here again - but with any luck it won't be too long.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Current Plan

For those of you who've e-mailed in links to models lately - I have been getting your e-mails and I'm trying to write up some models in advance right now. My internet access remains choppy (the laptop with the failing WiFi card is currently out in the shop and might not be back until mid-October), but I am doing some updates here with Scheduled Post Publishing. Whether I'm ready or not, some posts will be up here on October 1st, and I'm hoping to have updates appear regularly according to the new format I suggested after that date.

I will try to respond to more of the e-mails as soon as I can, but that's what's going on with this blog for now.

Also, don't forget that I'm always looking for seasonal models - I do try to keep things kid-friendly and uncontroversial here, but if you have any Halloween-themed models, or apolitical Election Day creations, feel free to send them in. If you have something that celebrates an upcoming holiday or anniversary that I don't know about, feel free to fill me in and send those models too!

I will also try to get some info on here about upcoming events as well. I believe there are a few in early October that I haven't announced yet.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Futuron Labs - A Town / Space Model

Name of Model: Futuron Labs
Created by: ME
Found at:
I'm a bit surprised that the other LEGO® fans blogging out there haven't pointed out the bizarre lack of properly shown models online coming from me. Well, at long last, you now get to meet me as a builder and not just a critic (although I, for one, think I am fascinating and reasonably clever).

I started building the Futuron Labs building a little while ago, but I decided to properly put it into the Cafe Corner style and add some more vignettes to prepare it for the Reasonably Clever Brick Science Contest. The contest ends Monday morning at 3:14 AM EST.

If you haven't been following LEGO for the last 22 years or so, you'll probably miss a few of the in-jokes I've put in the descriptions of the photos. I'll leave it up to you to decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I did include a few set links to explain some late-80's Futuron references, but it's kind of hard to find just one link to explain some of the other things. Feel free to send me questions.

There were a few neat techniques here, and I tried to give enough inside and partially-assembled shots to make them all obvious. Most of the studs-not-on-top stuff was pretty simple, but I don't think I've seen the large panels used this way before. I'm really happy with my microscale monorail, and I liked the street vendor with the "spaceships" that are really binoculars.

I don't know if I'll use flickr to publish my models in the future, but I think that the "note" feature on there - which allows anyone with a flickr account to mark a section of the photo and leave a comment - will be useful for these photos. I really tried to pack tons of detail into this model - I highly recommend looking at all the photos, although I do have less of a impartial view on these photos than I usually do (I know my photography skills need work, at least...)

By the way - I've decided to try to relaunch this site on October first. The break will give me a chance to catch up (primarily) on more high-priority things on my schedule. Also, I'm hoping to build up a buffer of models by using Scheduled Post Publishing more often. I don't know if/when we'll see another one of my models properly written up (or featured), but hey, at least I'm trying to get a little time in for LEGO fun. My internet connection remains a bit erratic, but getting off of a day-to-day schedule for this site should offset that (and of course, thanks to my friend Matthew, who caught me up on a few newer MOCs during a break on this past Monday).

New LEGO Store Openings

Sorry for the delay in posting this, and I apologize to anyone in Braintree, Mass, who might have been able to make it to yesterday's opening. Here's the news on new LEGO retail stores opening (courtesy of our friends at BrickJournal):

LEGO Brand Retail will be opening the following stores in the US:
King of Prussia Mall, King of Prussia, PA
  • Store will officially open for business on Sept 18
  • Grand Opening Celebration Weekend will be Oct 3 – 5
  • Master Builder will be Dan Steiniger
  • Model being built will be Yoda
  • Master Builder Event happens all 3 days in the JC Penney Court
    Friday 11 – 7, Saturday 10 – 6, Sunday 11 – 6
  • AFOL Volunteers are needed, included at least 1 expert builder who can help Dan actually build the model!
    Volunteers will get a special reward at the store!
  • On Saturday, Oct 4, the first 300 customers in the store to spend $35 will get a FREE exclusive make & take set of the Liberty Bell, complete with crack and moving clapper! This set is not available for sale.
  • On Sunday, Oct. 5, the first 300 customers in the store to spend $35 will get a FREE exclusive child’s size LEGO Store t-shirt, featuring the LEGO Minifigure holding the state flag! This shirt is not available for sale.
  • Exclusive sets and t-shirts will also be given out as trivia question prizes by Dan throughout the event at the build site!
  • Fans can also enter a raffle in the LEGO Store for a chance to win a $100 LEGO Store Gift Card!
South Shore Plaza, Braintree, MA
  • Store will officially open for business on Sept 12
  • Grand Opening Celebration Weekend will be Oct 11 - 13
  • Note: This event runs Saturday > Monday due to the Columbus Day holiday.
  • Master Builder will be Dan Steiner
  • Model being built will be Yoda
  • Master Builder Event happens all 3 days in the Macy’s Court
    Saturday 10 - 6, Sunday 11 – 6, Monday 11 – 7
  • AFOL Volunteers are needed, included at least 1 expert builder who can help Dan actually build the model!
    Volunteers will get a special reward at the store!
  • On Sunday, Oct 12, the first 300 customers in the store to spend $35 will get a FREE exclusive make & take set of a Baseball Player, complete with bat, red hat and socks and home plate! This set is not available for sale.
  • On Monday, Oct. 13, the first 300 customers in the store to spend $35 will get a FREE exclusive child’s size LEGO Store t-shirt, featuring the LEGO Minifigure holding the state flag! This shirt is not available for sale.
  • Exclusive sets and t-shirts will also be given out as trivia question prizes by Dan throughout the event at the build site!
  • Fans can also enter a raffle in the LEGO Store for a chance to win a $100 LEGO Store Gift Card!
Arden Fair Mall, Sacramento, CA
  • Store will officially open for business on Sept 25
  • Grand Opening Celebration Weekend will be Oct 17 - 19
  • Master Builder will be Dan Steiniger
  • Model being built will be R2-D2
  • Master Builder Event happens all 3 days in the Center Court
    Friday 11 – 7, Saturday 10 – 6, Sunday 11 – 6
  • AFOL Volunteers are needed, included at least 1 expert builder who can help Dan actually build the model!
    Volunteers will get a special reward at the store!
  • On Saturday, Oct 18, the first 300 customers in the store to spend $35 will get a FREE exclusive make & take set of Sacramento’s Transcontinental Railroad Engine, the Gov. Stanford Steam Locomotive, complete with moving wheels and realistic details! This set is not available for sale.
  • On Sunday, Oct. 19, the first 300 customers in the store to spend $35 will get a FREE exclusive child’s size LEGO Store t-shirt, featuring the LEGO Minifigure holding the state flag! This shirt is not available for sale.
  • Exclusive sets and t-shirts will also be given out as trivia question prizes by Dan throughout the event at the build site!
  • Fans can also enter a raffle in the LEGO Store for a chance to win a $100 LEGO Store Gift Card!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

So Much For the New Format...

I was hoping to get some posts put together this weekend to carry this blog through the week, but I wasn't able to. This is actually really bugging me - I have some great models lined up that I'm excited about sharing, but I need to get more info on them before I can post them here. Trying to research that ate up too much time and now I won't be able to tend to the site for a few days - it's safe to assume that there will be no posts this week. Sorry.

EDIT: Icing on the cake - now the wireless card on my laptop died, further limiting my blogging abilities. I guess the site has to be on hiatus again - at least until I can get that PC fixed.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

LAML August Wrap-Up

The previously mentioned LAML live event can now be downloaded in a condensed (but still quite chaotic) podcast form. Nannan of Brothers Brick fame also is on there to discuss LEGO related news. I'd like to apologize to the panel at BrickFair, though - if I had realized that there were time concerns, I certainly would have asked James to let you guys talk first! If anybody has a complete list of people on the BrickFair panel, let me know - I'd be happy to plug their work here. I didn't have a chance to look up all of them, but the ones I've come across before are all excellent builders.

LAML's August builder interviews project has been concluded as well. CD's with all 28 interviews are now available for $12 (US dollars). Of course, you can still listen to the individual episodes on the LAML website ( ) too - but James doesn't run any ads on his site, so he's volunteered a very large amount of time to run LAML.

As per my recent post on this blog's new format, that's it for the week - Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday! If I add anything else to that list of BrickFair photo galleries, I'll put it on top as a new post so that it shows up as unread in feed readers.

Mosaic Gallery

Name of Model: Lego Mosaics
Created by: BrickWares
Found at:
I don't know how I hadn't seen these before (apparently BrickWares started uploading them in March of 2007) but there are more now and these are all excellent. OK, so this is technically a series of models, but I'm counting them as one since there are only one or two photos of each mosaic (and 30 photos overall). Several of these have people or furniture shown with the mosaics to provide a sense of scale - these are all very large. The description for the latest one described it as a commissioned work - so I take it that BrickWares does these professionally (wouldn't we all like to?)

Back to School Time - A Summer's End Vignette

Name of Model: Summers End
Created by: Commander Calamitous
Found at:
I know I'm not the only one running short on time these days - I'm pretty sure that most students (from Pre-School to the University level) are just as disappointed about having more of a workload now. So - to everybody starting off another year of school at this time of year, I feel your pain. This minifig seems to as well, and incidentally, my desk is just as well-organized and LEGO®-covered as his is at the moment.
This is Wednesday's model of the day

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Giant A-Wing Fighter

Name of Model: Star Wars A-Wing
Created by: Lino M
Found at:
This builder predominantly builds cars. I've featured one of them before, but truth be told, most of them are very well-built. Sometimes when a builder focuses primarily on one theme, it'll really throw people when they try out another - I'm told there are veritable turf wars between Space fans and Train fans at LEGO® fan conventions - but I like to think it doesn't matter as long as the builder's good. This ship is spectacular - an A-Wing fighter from Star Wars (at least two official kits have been released based on that ship, but none of them are on this scale or level of detail). Wheel-turbines, dark red details, the cockpit, and the curves - those are some great uses of the curved parts. Some of the dark-red parts here are actually quite rare - only featured in one set - but those 1x4 tiles have become pretty common in the LEGO® stores' Pick-A-Brick bins. I'm not sure where some of the other parts are actually from. There are only 6 photos, but they're all good ones. This looks to be miniland scale to me (let me know if I'm mistaken, though). As mentioned in the photos' descriptions, "You can see this Lego creation as well as thousands of others at Brickcon08 at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall October 4th and 5th from 11am-3pm" - BrickCon has a new location this year, but it is the event previously known as NWBrickCon (which has become on of the largest fan conventions in the United States).

Monday, September 1, 2008

The New Format

I'm not sure if we're going to be featuring models this week (I'll start as soon as I can), but I believe I have settled on a new format.

Many a daily TV show or radio show has gone with doing new episodes just 4 times a week - Monday through Thursday. I'm planning on trying out that pace to see if it's more manageable.

A few things this means:
  • No Sunday edition - I've been using larger galleries from events on most Sundays to do a "Sunday edition" like a newspaper would. I'm going to start just mixing these in throughout the week.

  • News posts will count as models - I know it's cheating, but it should help me to find the time to post something each day I should

  • Robotics Monday will now be more intermittent - I'll blog a robot on Monday if there's one that caught my eye in the past week, but I'm no longer making it a hard-and-fast rule that I must have a robot featured every Monday

  • Expect to not see two models at the same scale within a week - 7 days a week is often enough to mix minifigs, microscale, sculptures, Technic/Scala/Belville scale models, Bionicle people, and even Jack Stone things in a way that allows for multiple minifig-scale models in a week without becoming a minifig-scale-only site. I figure I'll now only feature minifig-scale models once per week. This should also help with the issue of overlap for the people who read this blog and some of the other LEGO blogs out there (of course, cutting back on robotics models will help there too - I don't think people realize how big LEGO Mindstorms is with people who don't generally follow LEGO).

I'm hoping to try out some polls soon as well, to get a better feel for what direction people would like to see this site go in.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Future of LMOTD

Edit: I've set this entry (written August 20th) to appear at the top of the page for the rest of the month. I am trying to squeeze in a few models this month, but you'll have to scroll past this post to see them (they should show up in the correct order in the RSS feed, though).

I don't think it's news to anyone at this point that I've been having trouble with posting a new model on here each day. To some extent, it's a problem with finding models that fit my self-imposed rules on variety, but a big element of it is that I've been having trouble finding the time to write on here. The time element isn't going to get any better over the next few months, so I am considering changing the title and format of this site.

Personally, I don't like that this blog hasn't been able to deliver what it promises (a fresh model pick each day). I'm grateful to have a bit of a following, but I think this blog has been a bit of a let-down. Further, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the fact that we've picked up momentum (and a bit of ad revenue) while this site hasn't been getting updated (I may assuage my guilt with a contest at some point - no plans for one yet, though).

Part of the problem is the calendar - having to dig up giant show galleries on Sundays, find an appropriate robot for any given Monday, and then spreading out all the themes fairly equally on the other days of the week.

Additionally, some of my original goals of this blog have been met by other blogs out there. As far as I know, this is the only LEGO-centric blog that aims for an all-age audience outside of the hobby, but I think a few of the other blogs out there have really grown over the past few years (yes - it's been about a year and a half since I started this blog, but I didn't mention the anniversary because we still haven't hit 365 models yet).

NXTStep has been linked from here quite a few times - they don't cover RCX-based ideas or some of the more mechanical robotics projects I've featured, but they're an excellent blog and one that's done a great job of getting kids interested in robotics. On the minifig-scale side of things, The Brothers Brick has become THE destination for MOC (My Own Creation) news and general-interest news on the LEGO company (it's aimed at adults, but most of the things featured aren't too racy or controversial). While it's a bit concerning that a handful of people on that site control what most of the big "nerd" blogs cover, I do appreciate that they've encouraged the larger sites to properly credit builders - something I had hoped to help with here. Additionally, both NXTStep and TBB have been able to appeal to people outside of the hobby without imposing a pace - I had assumed that people would be more interested in getting a small dose (a daily "fix", if you will) instead of getting multiple updates a day, but I think I may have been wrong here.

Lastly, I've noticed during the time I've been blogging here that there have been many times when I've wanted to give this blog more of a personal tone instead of a cold (impersonal), descriptive, this-is-awesome-too tone. I'd be open to considering changing the name of this blog to reflect a different pace and a more presonal angle - perhaps "LEGO® Model Offered Through Dan"? Realistically, I think that blog updates here will have to be scattershot and disappointing here for quite a while unless I decide to change the format.

Let me know what you think of all this - and I know you're out there, about 300 unique hits a day and another 55 readers subscribed to the feed. What would you like to see happen here?

(In case anyone was wondering, I'll probably skip Sunday and Monday this week and post short write-ups of models for the other days I missed sometime soon)

Live Event with LAML Radio

EDIT: This event is now over. Photos of the festival we were discussing are below.

I'm participating in an online live event hosted by LAML Radio right now, discussing BrickFair.

You need Skype to join, and you can join at

I'll be posting links to photo galleries of BrickFair here as well.
BrickFair flickr pool:

Bill Ward's blog ( ) and photos:

punkwalrus' photos:

Photo set from Somewhat Frank:

Photo set from jenconsalvo: