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:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Robotics Monday - Automated High-Speed Photography Studio

Found at: Sorry to rush this out without commentary, but all the important info on the model is up at The NXT Step already (so check out the video over there).

30 Years of the Minifig

I'm a bit out-of-the-loop on this, but apparently today marks the 30th Anniversary of the minifig. I'm not sure how they're defining minifigs, or how they came up with today in particular, but quite a few sites are doing something for this and there's a new (official?) site up about it at . I've actually never heard the term "miniman" before, but I think it sounds like a great name for a potential minifig superhero. Of course, if you're on the GoMiniManGo website, you'll probably notice that their timeline is erratic (no Space sets between 85 and 92? Seriously? The Blacktron, M:Tron, Blacktron II, Space Police I, and Futuron themes really need to be represented there). There are also apparently some contests running on there - if I'm reading this correctly (and I really haven't put much time into it yet), there's a poster-making contest at The Brothers Brick and a video-making contest at Gizmodo.

Let me know if you find any other information about this - it looks exciting but digging through the miniman website (where you have to scroll down to even see the other posts) isn't really the best use of my time right now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

HKLUG's Winners of LEGO® Hong Kong's Scene Building Contest 2008

Name of Model: Scene Building Contest 2008
Created by: HKLUG
Found at:
Details: I was afraid I wouldn't find a good gallery to share for today, but Hong Kong's LEGO Users Group (of recent Olympics fame) came to the rescue with a list of galleries from their winners in Scene Building Contest 2008. The famous scenes rendered here include Murray House (a Victorian-era building in Stanley in Hong Kong), Disney's Magic Kingdom (a theme park in Walt Disney World), the Hong Kong Cultural Center (in Hong Kong), and Times Square (the one in Hong Kong :) ).

Side note: Am I forgetting a tag here? I thought I had one to reflect that some models are based on life-size buildings...

StarWars Darkside Pod racer

Name of Model: StarWars Darkside Pod racer
Created by: Blakes7 aka LegoAvon
Found at: and
This model is awesome in so many ways. For one, there's the large amounts of pearl gray used in it. It's not too easy to see in the Brickshelf gallery, but the flickr link above gives you a better look. You can see a picture closer to true color here. The second big shocking thing here is the jets on the front - they're NOT the large turbine piece - they're from a DUPLO plane set. Behind that, the engines have lots of great rare-color greebling bits and large wheels to hold thing together - until you hit the rear, which is all Bionicle parts. Oh, and it's actually a pod racer that looks like it'd be right at home in the first three Star Wars episodes too.

You might also remember this builder for his awesome Dalek model that I featured in June.
This is Saturday's model of the day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Giant Ship Alert - RMS Olympic in Microscale

Name of Model:
RMS Olympic
Created by: rh1985moc
Found at:
The RMS Olympic (a sister ship of the Titanic) has been rendered in microscale - with LED lights for nighttime viewing. I'm on my way out the door right now, but you can't wait on a ship like this. Trust me - check the photos and you'll be surprised to see clever uses for chains, robot arms, and a variety of other parts that generally have little to no use on a microscale ship. That's a ship for water, too - not a spaceship.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

LAML Podcast Builder Interviews

Not really a model, but over at LAML Radio, James Wadsworth is featuring an interview from one builder each day for the entire month of August. Most of them have been had their work highlighted here in the past. I highly recommend listening to these, and I'm impressed with how many great builders he's been able to track down and talk to. OK, so he's behind a few days in posting these, but I'm in no position to complain (and personally, I don't really mind).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

VW Bus Samba

Name of Model: Red And Black VW Bus Samba
Created by: scandell
Found at:
Sometimes a bus is just an awesome bus. The technique used to get the look of the seats here is excellent. I have no idea if this is based on a real bus design or not, but it looks great nonetheless.
This is Saturday's model of the day (sorry to be so short, but hey, at least it actually got up here)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Krol Dawid

Name of Model: Krol Dawid - King David in English was a galleon of the Polish Navy. It fought during the Battle of Oliwa.
Created by: PatrykZ
Found at:
OK, so this one blurs the rules a bit by using some non-LEGO parts, but it's also just an impressive ship. The builder claims that this ship is based on the original Krol Dawid ship, which fought in the Battle of Oliwa for the Polish Navy. I haven't found a good photo of the original (I'm sure you've noticed I've barely had time to blog here lately) but the details look fantastic no matter what. Wikipedia has the history of the original ship.

Frog (with a Knight's Kingdom II Torso!)

Name of Model: Frog
Created by: Ca'gerrin
Found at:
This mechanical frog is a pretty brilliant idea. A few years ago, LEGO tried out a line of large Castle-themed Knight action figures. They didn't catch on too well, and the parts (often with special printing or colors) are now all easy to pick up used on the cheap. The torso from one of those figures makes up the bulk of this frog. More widely available Technic and System parts fill out the rest of his body. The effect is spectacular.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thomas Sculpture (Day Out With Thomas event)

Name of Model: Thomas the Tank Engine
Created by master builders for the LEGO Company and Day Out With Thomas events
Dates at:
Sorry for the problems yesterday - that post still isn't fully up because of some technical difficulties on my end. In the interest of keeping things moving, here's a fresh model for today.

For a few years now, American train destinations have been using "Day Out With Thomas" events to get kids interested in trains. Trains aren't widely used in the US, but Thomas is still a widely popular character here (with kids, anyway - there aren't as many of us adult Thomas fans out there). This year, LEGO is promoting their DUPLO Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends setsicon by providing DUPLO play areas and a giant sculpture of Thomas made out of regular-sized LEGO bricks. Not much info is available beyond that - I only realized LEGO was involved when some photos started showing up on flickr earlier this week (click on the photo above for more photos from that set). Sorry for the late announcement, but if you or some kids you know want to check this out, click here for the tour dates listed on LEGO's site. I'm assuming that the dates LEGO mentions are the only ones with LEGO involved - there might be other Day Out With Thomas events without this sculpture.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Taj Mahal (New Official Set)

Name of Model: 10189 Taj Mahalicon
Created by set designers at the LEGO company
Found at: LEGO Shop at Home

Sorry to sound spammy here, but when LEGO releases an awesome new set, it's a sure thing that'll be a "model of the day" within a week (Unless a bunch of cool new sets come out at once, in which case I usually pick one or two and let the rest sit in the backlog). Of course, we recently featured Arthur Gugick's fantastic Taj Mahal model, but when your inspiration is a building this grand to start with, there's lots of room for excellent interpretations in brick form. I'm not really going to get into comparing details between the varios Taj Mahal models we've seen - it seems a bit too soon without detail pictures of this model - but I can comment on a few of the larger techniques here. The sculpted top is the most eye-catching, but the use of 2x2 turntable bases on the outer floor area here is pretty surprising - that technique once involved dismantling turntable bases by hand, and I believe this is the first time LEGO's specifically used bases without tops like that in an official kit.

Stats time!

  • $299 in the US, 299 Euro, 199 GBP

  • 5922 pieces

  • 20 inches / 51 centimetres wide (which I read as 4 32x32 stud baseplates)

  • 16 inches / 41 centimetres tall

Donkey Kong Emulator

Name of Model: LEGO Donkey Kong
Created by: Dan Kressin
Found at:
Details: It seems like it's been far too long since I've seen a great new RCX-based model (sure the NXT programmable brick is cool too, but the RCX never stopped being awesome). Here's a new one that combines video-game graphics with RCX-based motion and music. The imagery is spot-on Donkey Kong, and the rolling barrels / jumping Mario synchronization is absolutely charming. Of course, this is already starting to go "viral" (appear seemingly everywhere online), but it takes a LEGO fan to catch some of the little details that make models like this one exciting. Take a closer look at the Donkey Kong character, and you may recognize it as one of the trolls LEGO makes for the current "fantasy"-based castle line. People tend to think of Technic as one thing and ridiculous fantasy figures as another, but the LEGO company is surprisingly good at designing parts that can be used in a variety of ways.

My only gripe is that there aren't more photos - we need to know how good that custom Mario fig looks. I'd also be interested in seeing close-up shots of the jumping mechanism and the barrel-launching mechanism. It's kind of surprising that there isn't a great repository of Mindstorms music programs out there too (it takes a ridiculous amount of time to get a tune just right - you'd think people wouldn't want to see the efforts duplicated). Anyway - as much as I'd like to see more documentation of this (and the builder's other great models, which you can find in if you don't mind poking around a bit), this is still an awesome model.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Awesome Klocki Contest

Name of Models: Klocki contest winners - Cart Ride, Steel Wishbone, and Flying Wing
Created by: Klocki readers (I know I'm slacking here, but the appropriate links are at the site listed above)
Found at:

Recently, Klocki ran a contest loosely based on the New LEGO® Indiana Jones™ Collection. There were a few different categories - "Indiana Jones and Memorable Scene" (a 16x16 vignette), "Indiana Jones and Forgotten Adventure" (a design-your-own story featuring Indiana Jones), and "Indiana Jones and the UCS Model" (UCS stands for "Ultimate Collector's Series" - an official series which has been expanded by fans to include other large and very detailed vehicles). All three winning entries are excellent - take a look!


Friday, August 8, 2008

Miniature Town Plan Magnets

Name of Model: Town Plan Magnets
Created by: Casper at Lego For Life
Found at: and
This is one of those things that I've been meaning to plug for a while. I also wanted to recommend it as an excellent idea we could all try - but LEGO, in one of the stranger decisions I've seen them make, has pulled the refrigerator magnets and made it very expensive to try doing anything like this now. Although the magnets are hard to come by now, most of the other parts are still available. These three buildings are microscale versions of the popular Town Plan set from earlier this year - a special 50th anniversary edition of one of the first sets made with the current LEGO bricks 50 years ago. Enough trivia, though - look at these details! They're amazing! Lots of studs-not-on-top work was involved here to get the details correct and make these work as magnets. Don't miss the lamp-post or clock on the city hall, the signs and ticket booth on the cinema, or the flag or actual vintage door on the gas station.
This is Saturday's model of the day - and with any luck, we're back on a daily schedule now.