Monday, June 30, 2008

Shop-at-Home Sales!

I hope nobody minds if this blog looks a little astro-turfy this week, but between summer clearance sales in various places and the exciting new sets coming out, I really want to write about stuff you can buy more than about models right now.

For example, The Official LEGO Shop at Home website just posted an enourmous sale. Act now, all these things will sell out very soon. The 9V train parts are the show-stopper for me, but there are also some great TECHNIC, DUPLO, Mars Mission, Aquaraiders II, Castle, Belville, Bionicle, Star Wars, Factory Space, books, keychains, and gear sales.

I want to post this as soon as possible so everyone can take advantage of this, but I'll be editing this post with specific highlights shortly.

...and I know a few of the new sets will be featured as model-of-the-day items during this week too.

The links below are highlights that are still available as of this writing. The links only work in the US, but I believe the prices are similarly discounted in other countries.

9V parts to stock up on:

Speed Regulator for 9v Trains

9V Train Motor

Curved Rails for 9v Trains

Boeing 787 Dreamliner (MORE than half off):

Star Wars deals:

Imperial Star Destroyer�

Death Star II�

Train Connection Wire for 9v Trains

Straight Rails for 9v Trains

Cross Track for 9v Trains

RC track bargain:

Train Rail Crossing for RC Trains

Thursday, June 26, 2008

No posts this week

I had every intention of doing proper models for the rest of this week, and also featuring some news about the great new sets that just showed up at The Official LEGO Shop! - but I'm running short on time and now the computer I usually use for posting is having a bit of trouble. Nothing too serious, but enough to keep me from posting for a few days. Sorry for the inconvenience and I'll try to have another post up as soon as possible.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wall-E and Hitechnic Sensors - Models for Monday and Tuesday

Name of Model: Wall-E
Created by: Joe Meno
Found at:
Of course, while I was out this past week getting ready for DGXPO, one of the NCLUG members who wasn't at DGXPO had to go and build something amazing. Joe Meno (editor of BrickJournal magazine) decided to mix his love of LEGO with his love of Disney by building this Power Functions-enabled version of Wall-E. This perfect rendition of the adorable little character has already become a viral internet phenomenon. It is worthy of the coverage, but I felt awful telling a kid in a Wall-E t-shirt that we didn't have Wall-E this time. Note to self: Make Joe doesn't take this apart before the next LEGOPALOOZA show.
Name of Model: 3 joint robotic arm
Created by: Ramin
Found at:
I really wanted to blog about this one LEGO® MINDSTORMS NXT- based bot, but how do you explain (on a blog that's supposed to be readable by kids) how tohandle programming challenges that I only learned how to deal with in college as a Computer Science major? I, for one, took a few class sessions to get programming the Runge-Kutta method down. Sure, sure, they provided the code for the C-based program, but I'm a firm believer in only compiling software I can understand - besides, it's not the same saying "I don't know" when showing off your creations. It should suffice to say that if you understand this, you know this is a great robot. If you don't get it, you'll probably still like the video. The sensors here are the new (LEGO-endorsed but unofficial) Hitechnic gyro sensors, and of course they're attached to a regular non-LEGO glove. Of course, this is a great project on it's own, but I'd really love to see the possibilities for a similar set-up in an assistive device with an algorithm based on a modified Runge-Kutta scheme that would allow a person to control an artificial limb. OK, so that's the next "big thing" in robotics, but of course you could just hook this up to a few different computers and do some great telepresence stuff too. How long will it be before we start playing with each other's LEGO® bricks remotely?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blog Hiatus

I was hoping that I wouldn't have to do this this week, but some unforeseen circumstances are going to keep me from blogging for at least the next week. On the bright side, these are actually good distractions, and they're all LEGO-related and pretty fun - nothing bad has happened over here. Well, unless you count falling over the enormous pile of LEGO parts that I really need to put away. That left me a bit scratched up but it was a good reality check on the using-parts/putting-them-away front. Did I mention that said fall happened on Thursday and that I bought another carload of sets and parts on Saturday?

Some of the stuff keeping me busy this upcoming week is preparation work for the NCLUG DGXPO display this upcoming weekend (which is part of the free and open-to-the-public Family Fun Day of this year's Digital Gaming Expo). I'll be reprising my history-of-LEGO display (in heavily modified form), showing Bionicle and Star Wars sets, and contributing buildings and crazy ideas to the town. Depending on how this week turns out, I might try to fit some other stuff in too. I'll probably feature some details on our town here after the show, but we're not revealing the big surprise in it until the event.

Of course, elsewhere in the LEGO fan world, there's BrickWorld, a very large event that starts Thursday and will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday. The name "BrickWorld" is pretty apt - builders and fans the world over are going to that, and I think LEGO itself is planning a few things for BrickWorld. If I lived near the greater Chicago area, I'd definitely be there instead.

To see me, my models, and my fellow LEGO User Group (LUG) members, stop by Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday the 21st between 10 AM and 4 PM. To visit BrickWorld, you need to buy tickets at the door during the public days, which are Saturday the 21st from 10am to 4pm and Sunday the 22nd from 10am - 3pm.

For coverage of BOTH events this weekend, keep LMOTD in your feed reader and tune in to LAML Radio, which is already gearing up for BrickWorld with interviews related to the event. In the days and weeks to come, LAML Radio will be featuring coverage of both shows. I'm also planning on plugging photos from both events here at LMOTD over the following week (I make no guarantees on the quality of the NCLUG photos this time out - Joe Meno's usually the one who gets the good photos at NCLUG events, but he's covering BrickWorld for BrickJournal instead).

Oh, and Happy Father's Day, everybody! I hope you're having a great weekend and can join one of these fan events for some fun next weekend too.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Gargoyle (Aeromantic craft)

Name of Model: Gargoyle
Created by: thwaak
Found at:
There are only two things that are important to know about this one:
  1. This is awesome
  2. This is really done with LEGO parts

Friday, June 13, 2008

I Can't Take it Anymore!

I might post a model later today, but to be honest, I'm getting a bit sick of writing up other people's models. I can build stuff too! The model I was planning on blogging about today is at , so stop by there if you really need a fix. It's for a contest that I'm not going to read about - I'm one of 5 builders doing an event with my LUG (LEGO Users Group) next week and I really just have to get back to building.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Destroyer Spaceship

Name of Model: destroyer
Created by: LUM
Found at:
It's a giant spaceship with rounded edges. That's really all it needs to qualify as "fascinating", isn't it? There are great details on this one inside-and-out, and the only criticism I can think of is that it requires a few bricks on the bottom to help it stand up. Did I mention that even though this is huge, it's still in minifig scale? It's staffed with stormtroopers, although I'm not sure if this actually fits into the Star Wars universe anywhere. There are 136 photos in the Brickshelf gallery above, so I'll just leave it at that. Maybe I should have saved this for a Sunday, but I think I've put this one off long enough...let me know if you think 136 is too many for a daily model!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Finding LEGO Events

One of the things that I've been meaning to do here for a while is produce a solid calendar of LEGO-related events. Right now, there is no centralized online calendar for finding out about events in your area (or areas where you may be traveling). I'm not quite ready to try to tackle this yet, but there are two calendars online now that are both incomplete but useful already.

The online calendar for BrickJournal magazine has many events listed, including all of Nathan Sawaya's museum displays. BrickJournal only lists events open to the public.

Trains-N-Town has a calendar of LEGO town/train events that are open to the public. Although this is only for one type of layout, it's a very exciting theme and we've featured many of the LEGO Users Groups who put on displays announced at TNT on this blog before.

Let me know at if you know of any other helpful calendars for finding LEGO events. Also, if you let me know about your LEGO-related event, I'll be happy to announce it here as well.

EDIT 7/31/2008: The LEGO Club website has an official calendar now too. That link is US-only but I suspect it will redirect to similar pages in other countries (I'm pretty sure the LEGO Club is international).

Grain Elevator

Name of Model: Grain Elevator
Created by: I K Block
Found at:
I don't feature enough freight-related train buildings on here. This is a fantastic DUPLO® Grain Elevator for a town/train layout. Yes, I've found another great DUPLO layout builder - this standout's probably the only one that'll appeal to everybody, but there are other great buildings and layouts pictured on the builder's Flickr account too. Too many LEGO fans forget that DUPLO still counts - it works with the regular-sized pieces, and there are many great things that just aren't possible in the regular scale (such as steep train slopes, intelli-trains, and building large things in rare colors). This building is brilliant and straightforward - you probably already have yellow DUPLO® bricks and doors, even if you probably don't have access to this many of them. Mixing in the dark-orange wood panels is a great touch, and there's no arguing with those roof lines or the utilitarian detailing of the structure. I didn't even know that LEGO made grey (bluish grey?) baseplates for DUPLO, and I think that the loading element pointing to the train cars might actually be a System component, but they look great here. I don't know what the inside looks like (I'm assuming that this isn't functional...) but this is definitely a great model that I'd like in my DUPLO town.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nedleh Point

Name of Model: Nedleh Point
Created by: Adrian Florea
Found at: more photos in Adrian's Flickr photostream
It's a floating island. It's a gorgeously detailed water-themed model. It shows off studs-not-on-top techniques. It has some amazing rock work. That's before we get into the island on the top, the real details, and what this model is actually supposed to show. Sometimes the "wow" factor on a model just tunes out the model itself for a little while. The model itself is actually an excellent castle with a marketing area and a rich back story. Oh, and it's balanced on a completely original base in the most creative way possible. There are even gorgeous bits that look like they should be falling off, but they still work perfectly. I don't even want to know how long it took to get the center-of-mass stuff correct here - I suspect that a college Physics course was involved. I'm actually pretty happy that the photos are a little grainy, too - it proves that this really exists and wasn't just made in the gravity-free world of LEGO-themed CAD software. I should probably discuss the details here too - I particularly love the animals in this shot.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Robotics Monday: NXT Image Scanner

Name of Model: NXT Image Scanner
Created by: Anders Søborg
Found at:
OK, so scanners have been done with the older Mindstorms RCX units before, but look! NXT! Color! This one is awesome. The resolution isn't particularly great, but you can use Bluetooth to move the images immediately from the NXT's programmable brick to the full-size computer. Come to think of it, I think that the RCX-based scanner I saw was actually just part of a copy machine where it scanned an image with one RCX and then told a second RCX to place the pen in the dark spots. Anyway - this is an excellent model, and there are instructions, photos, details, more video, and programs available at the website above.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

LEGOLAND California Miniland Photo Gallery

Name of Model: LEGOLAND California Miniland
Created by the LEGO Company's official Master Builders, photos by John Ambon
Found at:
OK, so it's not just one model and I generally try to avoid getting into stuff from the parks. Get a look at these photos, though - hi-res shots of large swaths of Miniland. Lots of people take photos at LEGOLAND California, but most people just do it for novelty - they don't actually get pictures that are good enough that you could try using the scale and techniques in your own models. These photos, on the other hand, are excellent, cover a large variety of Miniland models, and are clear enough that you can zoom in and see how things are done. Of course, there are some other photos of LEGOLAND here too, but the Miniland shots are most of the highlights. Besides, there are over 400 photos here - you probably couldn't look at all the rides and sculptures in the same sitting as the Miniland anyway.
Sorry about the late post - this had been picked out last week but I apparently never got around to writing about it in advance. I'm rushing it up now (Sunday around noon EST) but will be adding to it later today.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dalek from Doctor Who

Name of Model: Dalek
Created by: LegoAvon
Found at:
This is particularly unique Dalek (an armored alien from a military race in the popular BBC series Doctor Who) - the details are so good that you can barely tell that you're looking at a LEGO model. Of course, this also makes it difficult to get a good sense of scale here. It looks to me like this is significantly larger than Miniland scale - once you get a feel for the base of the model, this thing starts to look pretty dang big. Of course, what really matters is the techniques - the angle work, the details, and the BrickLink ordering of special parts in bulk. No need to try to reverse-engineer this, though, because there's an extra gallery of photos illustrating how various parts were done.

Friday, June 6, 2008

VW Bug - The Official Set

Created by the LEGO company
Available sometime in the next month
Details: Yes, dear Google searchers, we hear your failed requests. Over the past few months, people looking for (and not finding) info on this set have been visiting this blog with alarming regularity (mostly because I've featured both of the Arvo brother's VW Beetle designs). Well, now I have some info: the set is licensed through Volkswagen, but will only be available at LEGO stores and through LEGO Shop at Home. The official release will be within the next month - I don't have an exact date. You can watch for info on it at its Brickset page. There are over 1500 pieces included and the set will sell for over $100. This design is noteworthy partially because it was one of the first to be voted on by LEGO fans at a fan event in Germany, but also because this final version features hundreds of parts in fairly rare colors. The scale is also interesting - it's big enough to provide some great details, Ultimate Collector Series-style, but it's also perfect for Technic and Belville figures. Some leaked publicity shots have appeared on Brickshelf. Also, there might be a few exclusive detail shots in my Brickshelf folder, thanks to my well-connected friend (and BrickJournal's editor) Joe Meno (and if you haven't subscribed to BrickJournal yet, I highly recommend doing that while you wait for this set to release).

Searchers, is there anything else you want to know?

Also, do you want to stick around? Although most models featured here aren't available for sale, there is a new model every day and most of them are just as amazing as this set.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Microscale Sony Building

Name of Model: Sony Building, New York
Created by: Spencer R.
Found at: and
OK, so once you take a close look at this, it is pretty obvious how it was done. What makes it so exciting is that you HAVE to take a close look at it - at first glance, it looked too much like a full-size skyscraper. I'll let you read the rest over on the MOCpages link above - he did a great write-up of the details of this one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Amsterdam's Cafe De Kroon

Name of Model: Amsterdam - Cafe De Kroon - original design by Gerrit van Arkel - built in 1898 - built in january 2008 by Patrick Bosman
Created by: Patrick Bosman
Found at:
If you've been reading LMOTD for a while, you've probably figured out that I really love the modular house style of city building. However, that's not the only amazing type of building being erected by adult LEGO fans today. This amazing reproduction of a real Cafe in Amsterdam turns things around by building diagonally across the baseplate. The front half is used for exterior details, while the back half shows off the completely furnished (and occupied!) interior. All of the flashiness would be for nought if the building wasn't up to par, but this building is also to the same scale (albeit a large building to start with) and is at the same high level of detail as those modular buildings I keep blogging about. Spiky hair shrubbery, sailboat sail holder signs, intricate windows (including some with curvature), a lasso lamppost, Technic axle columns...this is just a masterpiece, with a wide variety of amazing details and techniques. There are only 12 photos - and they're all worth letting carefully soak in. Then you come to the thirteenth photo - a picture of the inspiration for this - and realize that it's not just a great model, but a spot-on reproduction of the original building, too.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Mole - for a Journey to the Center of the Earth

Name of Model: Journey to the Center of the Earth
Created by: Sir Nadroj
Found at:
This unique vehicle to tunnel into the earth is spectacular. Apparently there is a plot line that will be revealed through forthcoming models by the same builder. You can already see the start of the characters being developed in the gallery above. Of course, as great as this thing looks, the gear configuration isn't exactly functional, but I'll let that slide since this is apparently a work-in-progress series.

Indiana Jones Movie Parody

Yes, I know I'm getting caught without a real model to blog about today. I'm hoping to find a model-of-the-day for today sometime this evening - the only hold-up is that I need to find something bizarre so that I can follow my own made-up rules on featuring a variety of models.

You know what is really awesome and totally worth using this excuse to feature, though? The new Indiana Jones LEGO parody, called "Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Brick". You can see it (along with some clips from the real movies, and some entertaining trailers for the current LEGO sets and video game) at . It's worthwhile even if you're not familiar with the films - it's just brilliant and hilarious in general. Flash is required, but it worked with my older version of the Flash plug-in, so you'll probably be able to watch the clip if you've been able to see the YouTube clips I've posted here in the past.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Robotics Monday: High Altitude LEGO Extravaganza

In late July of this year, the University of Nevada will be releasing 15 Mindstorms-based machines into the highest levels of Earth's atmosphere. They've apparently done this before (they have a video of stills from a similar experiment) but this is a larger event and is being billed as HALE - the High Altitude LEGO Extravaganza. I'll post more about this when I hear more about it

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lord of the Rings: Places in Middle Earth

Name of Model: Places in Middle Earth
Created by: bricktales
Found at:
Here's an interesting set of scenes from the series Lord of the Rings. I'm not much of an LotR fan, so I can't speak to the accuracy of these - but there are quite a few of them and many of them are interesting from a building perspective, and a few of them make entertaining use of non-LEGO elements as well. There are a variety of landscapes, custom figs, houses, and castle-styled scenes, so I suspect that quite a few of us non-LotR fans will still be able to enjoy the gallery and the building ideas shown. The photo I've selected to accompany this post is one of several great landscapes shown here - I love that little stream and the mix of white and dark grey pieces used to get a realistic rocky land feel.