Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tag Cloud

Earlier this week, Google announced that Blogger would finally be supporting tag clouds. I tried experimenting with this for a little bit yesterday (in between adding links to our latest BrickFair page) - and it looks like there was a brief incident (about a day or so) where the tag cloud was unintentionally live in the sidebar.

This looked pretty bad in the layout, but I thought it was interesting enough to post here as a regular entry. There is no automatic "only use the x most used tags" option, but I whipped up a quick cloud grabbing most of tags (or labels) that were used here 3 or more times and most tags that represent themes, scales, etc.

Here's the current result:


lego (499) sculpture (72) minifig scale (71) robotics (59) mindstorms (47) space (46) town (46) castle (39) nxt (39) microscale (38) spaceship (37) car (23) vignette (20) event (19) trains (18) mosaic (17) train (15) miniland scale(14) technic (14) legoland (13) pirates (13) cafe corner (12) mecha (12) minifig (12) scale (11) holiday (10) Adult Fan of Lego (9) bionicle(9) techniques (9) about (8) boat (8) building (8) christmas (8) set (8) ship (8) classic (7) contest (7) furniture (7) miniland (7) cars (6) competition (6) info (6) landmarks (6) steampunk (6) tower (6) architecture (5) books (5) great ball contraption (5) history (5) instructions (5) layout (5) machine (5) nclug (5) usa (5) water (5) automation (4) california (4) certified professional (4) city (4) computer (4) duplo (4) engine (4) game (4) globe (4) magnets (4) model (4) modular (4) transformers (4) victorian (4) video games (4) youtube (4) animal (3) artasiapacific (3) australia (3) batman (3) brickfair (3) brickfilms (3) brickjournal (3) building asia brick by brick (3) england (3) flowers (3) fort (3) halloween (3) knitting machine(3) laml(3) lord of the rings (3) mario (3) motor (3) movie (3) music (3) peoples architecture (3) photos(3)power functions (3) prison(3) rcx (3) really works (3) rover (3) skeleton (3) trees (3) FIRST (2) aquazone (2) church (2) dc comics (2) dinosaur (2) disney (2) doctor who (2) galidor (2) google (2) ice cream (2) indiana jones (2) monster (2) paint it black (2) power miners (2) record-breaking (2) desert (1) scala (1)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

BrickFair Photos Coming In

Continuing our coverage of BrickFair, here are some links to various photo galleries from the event:

Finally, there is a flickr pool for photographs from BrickFair - we've already covered most of this year's here, but the pool is used from one year to the next as a central place for gathering photos on flickr.

Personally, I had a great time and it was a thrill to meet so many other LEGO fans there - including many I had previously only been aware of via the Internet. We still have some extra tiles to give away (they may turn up at smaller shows later on). There were some issues on my end where uploading photos was concerned - I'm sorry about the delay and also sorry that I didn't get many photos where the builders' credits were visible (we had been focused on set-up photos and crowd shots and my camera was out-of-commission by the time I could get up close to most of the displays).

We're hoping to do this again next year, and be bigger and crazier! The downside of planning to show up as bloggers relatively close to the event was that we didn't have a chance to offer a roundtable, panel or meet-up of any kind - we will be planning far enough in advance next year to be properly prepared.

I'm going to go ahead and post this now - keep checking back, though, we will be adding more links.

Photo credit for the image of the banner goes to Sarah-Mitt


Name of Model: Brickistan
Created by: Sandy Cash
Found at:
What happens when you combine extreme landscaping, strict Islamic architecture, and the fantasies of a madman in minifig form? In a word: Brickistan.

This isn't, strictly speaking, a "purist" creation or family-friendly fare. A few minifigs have been drilled open to let weapons stab them in unusual places. The ambitious and strange nature of this project led its builder to avoid giving it too much exposure - unveiling the full layout was saved for BrickFair this year (smaller sections did make appearances at NCLUG meetings and the NCLUG show LEGOPalooza, but this is the first time the whole layout has been displayed).

From a builder's standpoint, there is much to love here: brilliant landscaping, clever vignettes and techniques, great uses of rare colors, and a staggering amount of height. I'm not kidding, though, when I say that this is very strict Islamic architecture. Architectural elements from specific buildings have been carefully touched upon. Sandy will never admit it (I've talked to him about this offline), but even though the modules that comprise Brickistan are supposedly only "loosely based" on the life-size buildings used as inspiration, the details are frighteningly accurate.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We're at BrickFair!

Name of event: BrickFair 2009
Photos found at:

LEFT: WAMALTC setup on Thursday evening at BrickFair.

Brickapolis and I (Dan) are both at BrickFair for the weekend. Public hours have started for today, so we'll be a bit slow in getting photos of original creations online. Photos of the line this morning, and some of the insanity of the first two days are online at Brickapolis' flickr photostream. Highlights include set-up images, pictures of the lines at the LEGO Store and to get in to the public expo this morning, and images from Arthur Gugick's LEGO Architecture seminar on Thursday afternoon. At least, we hope they do - the 'net connection at the hotel seems a little on the slow side, so even though we're trying to upload all of the 400+ photos I took, only about 100 of them are live so far.

We both have bags of tiles to give away (about 100 remain as of this writing) - we're thrilled to finally have something to give back to the LEGO fan community thanks to the ads we run on this blog. To claim your LMOTD 2x2 tile, just find me (Dan) or Brickapolis and ask for one. We're handing these out like business cards, and as far as I know it's the only free LEGO parts available during the public days. Brickapolis' nametag has his flickr avatar on it to make it easier to find. My nametag just says "Dan" (without a last name) and I'm also one of several people walking around wearing one of the LEGO Model of the Day 2x2 tiles.

I'm sure you can understand why model coverage here is a bit off-kilter this weekend, but we're hoping that the enormous amount of photos of the convention will make up for it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fort Brighton East

Name of Model: Fort Brighton East
Created by: ZCerberus
Found at:
While we may not be the blog to feature WIP (Work-In-Progress) models often, I think that this creation deserves an exception. Between the fortress part and the church/cathedral structure, I am genuinely impressed.

One of the more interesting parts of the cathedral, for me at least, are the stained glass windows. I can say from experience how difficult they are to construct. It really does take a "master craftsman's" touch to get it right. This builder must be a master craftsman; because the windows have come out beautifully.

The rock work here is commendable too. The domed roof is looking great as well.

Overall, a wonderfully detailed and balanced creation.

A smattering of clone troopers always adds a nice touch.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Article is One Worth Reading

If you're like me, you like LEGO. And if you really are like me, you also like to read British magazines and newspapers more than or as much as their American counterparts.

A recent article I found on the "TimesOnline" by one Damian Whitworth may be one of the best written articles about LEGO in general that I've ever read.

This guy is not a LEGO novice. I didn't read "Legos" once. That alone makes this article a slice above the rest.

Overall, his commentaries on the product and the brand are wonderful.

I'm not so sure about his idea to build welfare housing with "mega sized waterproof Lego bricks" but hey, to each his own.

I'd also like to add that I completely agree with his statement about LEGOLAND(s) at the end.

So, check out the article for yourself and see what you think.

Monstosaurus Rex Rampage

Name of Model: Monstosaurus Rex Rampage
Created by: SlyOwl
Found at: Flickr
While no one will never beat the amazing
work of Mike Psiaki, this is a fun detail packed creation deserving of praise in its own right.

I'm really surprised how much has been fit inside such a compact space. Between the posing of the figures, the vehicle, and the dinosaur, this creation is superb the whole way through.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Meal Toys: Now With Fewer Parts!

Well, McDonalds has done it again.

With even less parts.

If you order a HappyMeal at any McDonalds in the United States now, and you ask for the "boy" toy; you will get a super-sized-juniorized-LEGO-car.

For kids it must be satisfiying to be able to make something with little to no effort, however, being an AFOL I look at this as "degrading" the Lego Brand. I am waiting for the day when they re-relase these classics.

And yes, someone has already used one of these parts in a creation.

LEGOLAND California on Google Street View

Name of Model: Street View
Created by: Google
Found at:,+California&sll=37.217206,-121.091309&sspn=2.340206,4.916382&ie=UTF8&ll=33.126568,-117.312092&spn=0.002403,0.004801&z=18&layer=c&cbll=33.126565,-117.312148&panoid=8ABq3zICFTOC-wYLJnhLdw&cbp=12,14.77,,2,3.94
Here's the latest in mind-blowing news: Google has brought Street View into LEGOLAND California. The iframe below is a decent preview pane, but you should click on the link to see the full interface, complete with a walking minifigure where the Street View man would be. This is a pretty spectacular "easter egg" for Google's software, and a great way for those of us not near California to look around the park. You can see a pretty wide variety of things here - rides, stores, sculptures, miniland, etc. This is also a pretty great use of the "User Photos" feature - Google automatically cross-references locations and images in their virtual rendition of the park with photos taken by tourists, and you can pull them up as you browse around.

View Larger Map

Sorry if the preview pane doesn't show up - to put it bluntly, there are reasons I try to avoid using Flash (it never seems to work quite right, and I hate making people install a plug-in before they can view things). With any luck, it will show up properly on your end. In any case, I can see the full Street View web interface at the link above and it looks great there. You probably want to try this with that bigger viewing window anyway - you could spend a few hours doing a proper browse of the park!

...and we're using this as Thursday's model of the day. Figures that mind-blowing news would break right while we're getting ready to head out to BrickFair!

Black Light Mosaic

Name of Model: New TWIST on previous idea
Found at:
Most people don't realize this, but there are a variety of translucent LEGO colors that are essentially neon in tone. If you're not sure how to tell these apart from their less bright counterparts (in some lighting, it can be hard to tell trans-orange and trans-neon-orange apart, same for trans-yellow and trans-neon-green), you can shine them under a black light (essentially a type of light bulb that glows purple and emits UV rays almost exclusively). While this trick has been used for identifying parts before, this is the first time I've seen it seriously used in a model. Varying quantities of 1x1 round plates in trans-neon-orange have been used to make this mosaic. The picture above was taken under a black light, and the brighter tones on there are from places where there are more trans-neon-orange plates glowing. It's a very cool trick - for more details on how it was done, check out the links above.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Name of Model: Lamp
Created by: Dan (yours truly)
Found at:
It's a little-known secret amongst bloggers who are LEGO fans that we always post our own stuff. It doesn't matter if we've featured 10 things more awesome recently - we're still going to blog everything that we build. I built this lamp quite some time ago, and only recently got around to writing about it. I thought it was about time since this will be on display in a very public way at this year's BrickFair, later this week.

Rather than go on about how clever I am for figuring out that you can build around a socket cord, I'm going to direct you to my personal projects blog at the link above if you want to see my comments about my model. I like to think I've provided enough information that you could go out and build your own lamp - and I've even included building instructions in LDRAW format for part of the model.

Apologies for how disheveled my personal blog looks (I spend more time on this one) - I'm just happy I finally got something written down about one of my own models.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Robotics Monday: Animatronic Music Box Dancers

Name of Model: Magical NXTree and the Crystal Palace Dance
Created by: Vassilis Chryssanthakopoulos (NeXTSTORM)
Found at:
We previously featured an animated Pirates tale created by this builder, but now the brilliant motorized antics are applied to this gorgeous music-box style bignette featuring dancing minifigures. The video and pictures from the site above do a good job of summing this up, but I thought this information found on the related YouTube page was worth sharing here:

Recently, my daughter Alexandra told me that there are no much LEGO Mindstorms NXT projects for girls. So, after building arcade games, pirates, Bionicle robots, Power Miners vehicles, stadiums and other motorized/automated models (that both my sons have much enjoyed) it was time to create something just for her.

The idea was to build a classic (but fully automated) music-box with a ballerina. With the time, the original idea has changed a lot and finally 14 LEGO minifigs have been NXTfied so to dance in front of a Crystal Palace. The actual chorography (synchronization/NXT-G programming) was based on the famous Blue Danube by Johann Strauss. During video editing I decided to use a royalty free tune, to avoid any undesirable (due to copyright) incident. Thus youll be able to see only a portion of my minifigs dancing skills.

Dedicated to my princess Alexandra! (and to all FFOLs!)

Visit for more pictures.

.:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:.

Magic starts by pressing one of the transparent pink flowers which works as a secret button (NXT Touch Sensor). Then the two LEDs (one PF Light pair located at the base of the flowers stand) flashes and the music box opens (LEGO Pneumatics) by separating the NXTree construction in two pieces. After this, the Crystal Palace appears (Linear Actuator) and a center dance stage with 7 minifig couples is lifted (NXT motor) in front of it. The lights (7 PF Light pairs) of the Crystal Palace turn on, start dimming and then the dance commence.

The first (master) NXT Intelligent Brick which is mounted on the back of the box controls all the action. The brick is connected with one NXT motor, one NXT touch sensor, one HiTechnic IR-Link and one PF Light per using cable converters. Additionally, the master NXT brick controls PF Lights and Pneumatics via IR-Link and the slave NXT brick via Bluetooth. The second NXT Brick (slave) is responsible for the dance.

Elements of The magic NXTree and the Crystal Palace Dance:
-Two Intelligent NXT Bricks
-Three NXT Servo Motors
-One NXT Touch Sensor
-One NXT IR Link (HiTechnic)
-One Converter Cable for Mindstorms NXT
-Two Power Functions IR Receivers
-Two Power Functions Polarity Switches
-Three Power Functions M-Motors
-Eight Power Functions Lights
-Three Power Functions Extension Wires
-One Power Functions Battery Box
-One Linear Actuator
-Two Pneumatic Cylinders
-One Pneumatic Switch
-One Pneumatic Airtank
-One Pneumatic Small Pump
-One Pneumatic Pump (Manual)

.:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:.

Thanks to my LEGO brother bazmarc ( who gave the title of this movie (The Magical NXTree and the Crystal Palace Dance).

The movie was filmed at Vitina, Greece ( issos/arkadhia/vitina/) on the 9th of August 2009.

Thank you ALL for watching and stay tuned (...or even better subscribe now) for more LEGO creations!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hong Kong Competition Finalists

In lieu of proper model coverage for today (and to help make up for the quiet weekend), here's a gallery of competition finalists from Hong Kong. They run the gamut of scales, themes, and techniques. While I would prefer to credit the individual builders, we're now reviving this blog's earlier practice of featuring larger galleries and group displays on Sundays. If you have more information about this competition or any of the specific models or builders involved, let us know by sending an e-mail to .

First LEGO Experience Roadshow Photos

Following up on this weekend's announcement of a new LEGO truck show starting in the United States, here are some pictures of the show from the kickoff show mentioned in that announcement. It's a very interesting show - the emphasis on current kits on display as-is is a marked departure from previous shows, which included larger sculptural representation of current kits and characters instead. The bizarre layouts are a bit more kid-friendly, but really aren't up to par with what most fan-created LEGO shows can do. While we are in something of a dry time for fan shows (outside of this week's convention in Washington DC), you can always look up LEGO-related events at the BrickJournal Shared Calendar. We'll be adding more information about shows (both official and unofficial) the world over as we receive it. You can send us tips about LEGO shows in your area at - we'll announce them here on the blog and add them to the BrickJournal shared calendars (which are used by a variety of websites).

EDIT August 17th: I accidentally grabbed the wrong graphic when rushing to post this the other night. Since the flickr photo set was linked to the picture (and nothing else - something we usually try to avoid specifically for this reason), many visitors were unable to see any photos of the event. You can view the full set of photos at

LEGO(R) Experience Tour

The LEGO(R) Experience Tour Hits the Road With Building Fun for the Entire Family

-National tour kicking off in Chicago is scheduled to visit 23 cities-

CHICAGO, Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- LEGO Systems, Inc., the world's leading manufacturer of construction toys and experiences for families, starts a nationwide tour, called The LEGO(R) Experience, this weekend, August 15 and 16, at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo.

Scheduled to visit 23 cities throughout the United States, The LEGO Experience lets children and adults alike immerse themselves in the best that the LEGO brand has to offer, from hands-on, minds-on building fun to family building games and challenges to video games and inspiration models.

The company's first tour since 2003, The LEGO Experience features activity tents where families have a world of creative possibility at their fingertips:

  • Welcome Tent: families start their LEGO Experience with an overview of the activities, LEGO trivia and fun facts and are given their building permit to explore the fun.
  • Mash-Up Centerpiece: a celebration of the creative minds of children, LEGO Master Builders drew inspiration from every LEGO theme and play set available today to create a stunning centerpiece landscape of a LEGO CITY full of hidden surprises, humorous moments, creative models and building ideas to showcase how, in a child's mind, nothing is impossible.
  • Family Building Challenge: every member of the family is invited to step up to the podium and go head-to-head with other families in fun games and timed building challenges that get everyone in on the LEGO fun.
  • Construction Zone: families are invited to get hands-on, minds-on with the LEGO brand by exploring their imaginations and challenging their inner builders to create custom models to add to a LEGO Cityscape.
  • Discovery Zone: families step into a showcase of the best of the rest of what the LEGO brand has to offer. Interactive game stations let families plug into blockbuster LEGO video games. They can take in fan-generated LEGO movies, explore the rich online activities at or sign up to become members of the LEGO Club.

"We are thrilled to once again take the LEGO brand on the road to meet children and families in their hometowns throughout the U.S.," said Soren Torp Laursen, president, LEGO Systems, Inc. "The LEGO Experience showcases every facet of the LEGO brand, both the things most people know about and expect from the LEGO brand and many new LEGO experiences that are sure to deliver fun and lasting memories for every member of the family."

Two crews leave the launch event in Chicago to start their adventures, making stops at fairs, festivals and air shows throughout the U.S. The Western team will visit Rockford, IL, Minneapolis, Pueblo, CO, Salt Lake City, Reno, NV, Redding, CA, San Diego, Albuquerque, NM, Houston and Phoenix. The Eastern crew will roll into Indianapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Rutland, VT, York, PA, Richmond, VA, Cape May, NJ, Atlanta, Raleigh, Columbia, SC and Shreveport, LA.

For more information, including dates and locations of event stops, Families can also follow the tour adventures on Facebook by becoming fans of The LEGO Experience Tour.

LEGO Systems, Inc. (LSI) is the Americas division of the LEGO Group, a privately-held firm based in Billund, Denmark. The company is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities through high-quality, creatively educational play materials, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough." For more information, visit

LEGO, the LEGO logo and the Minifigure are trademarks of the LEGO Group. (C)2009 The LEGO Group.

    MEDIA CONTACT:     LEGO Systems, Inc.: Julie Stern     860-763-7834 /  

SOURCE LEGO Systems, Inc.

(Above is a press release from the Lego Group announcing and explaining the show. Posted here for your convienence.)
For the first time in a LONG while (by my standards, that is) Lego will be putting on a roadshow in the US. The last major roadshow to take place in The United States was in 2003. The last one was wildly popular with both Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOL's) and the general public. I've also heard stories that the 2003 roadshow (and ones prior to 2003) helped start LEGO Users Groups and other LEGO fan events in the areas where they stopped. Photos of a Seattle-area AFOL display at one of the 2003 show's stops can be found here I am sure that this roadshow will live up to the standards set by the ones that came before it, and surpass them. Will it be visitingyour hometown?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Castle Evolution Project is Complete.

Name of Model: Castle Evolution
Created by: danielz
Found at:

We've previously featured the first two phases of this project - now the builder has completed the fifth and final stage of his Castle Evolution project. It can be a bit hard to take in all at once, but the effect is spectacular - each phase of the model shows how the castle looks at a different place in time. The location and landscape stay roughly the same, but the castle is gradually constructed on the land before we get to see it appear weathered and covered in vines.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lion Of Lübuck

Name of Model: Lion Of Lübuck
Created by: maydayartist
Found at:
Take a moment to let that image sink in. I try to be agnostic towards photo quality - as someone who tends to take very bad pictures, I hardly feel fair judging other people's pictures. It's also up for debate whether or not photoshopped pictures of models should really count. This is just a striking image, a true work of art. If it weren't for a few distinct LEGO pieces still being visible, you could think this had been painted by a master landscape painter in centuries gone by.

Here's an interesting twist on basing your models on historical reference photos: rather than directly try to build the Adler von Lübeck out of LEGO® parts, maydayartist decided to build a sister ship - and what a spectacular ship it is. The sails are made out of pillow cases, and look surprisingly good (usually the non-LEGO material of choice is canvas, which is stiffer, but doesn't allow for stowing away the rigging like we see in some of the other photos here). The sides of the ship are largely made out of sideways log elements. The rear cabin makes use of hinges to create 7 sides. Most great Pirate ship models impress us with their size or vignettes, but this one does it with style.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Guitar Amp

Name of Model: Lego® Princeton Reverb® Amp!
Created by: David Chatterson (no known link to find him at - let me know if you can find one)
Found at:
This is easily one of the more unusual models I've featured recently. Generally speaking, people very intentionally seek out certain parts to build the models featured on this blog. Usually they have to stock up on certain elements, sort the collection a bit, and it's not at all uncommon to see someone buying additional parts to finish a model. So when I hear about someone using nothing but their childhood collection to build something spectacular, I start to wonder if it's a hoax. The fact that I can't find any other information about this builder similarly annoys me. Oh, and did I mention that the builder does not

However, the brilliant attention to detail in this model makes it noteworthy beyond it's seemingly mythical creation. Everything that's supposed to open up does, revealing internal details. It's really all in there, with everything recreated using fairly common parts. This looks so much like a functional Fender Princeton Reverb® amp that the Fender official website is hosting the webpage I'm linking to here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

DUPLO-scale Great Ball Contraption

Name of Model: Totally Tubular
Created by: Phil Eudy
Found at: (not fully documented online, see videos below)
One of the highlights of BrickFair and LEGOPalooza last year (and again this year - this will be on display at this year's BrickFair as well) is this large Great Ball Contraption. Instead of using the traditional soccer balls, this one uses the balls from DUPLO sets. A variety of other fantastic elements come into play - this one just has to be seen to be believed.
Video from LEGOPalooza 2009:

Video from BrickFair 2008:

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Coming Saturday, August 22nd and Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 - the two public days of BrickFair, one of the largest regional LEGO fan conventions in the United States. The displays will be open to the public (for small fees) from 11am - 4pm on both days.

Diehard LEGO fans who would like to display their models and attend the seminars and contests offered by the convention can still register as well ($50 covers attendance for the whole convention, but various LEGO items are for sale on-site and most attendees will want to stay at the hotel that hosts the convention as well).

For more information, please visit
We will be providing more information on BrickFair once we have established what sort of coverage we will be able to provide. Both active members of the LMOTD team will be on-site at the convention during the two public days.

Liebherr LTM 1300

Name of Model: Liebbherr LTM 1300
Created by: M. longer
Found at:
Originally uploaded by M_longer

I may not be one to critique a creation like this; but my eyes like what they see. The whole creation is littered with wonderful connections, ingenious parts usage, and all that good stuff...

The wheels alone start me "spinning".

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weathered Boxcar

"What it is ... is beautiful"

Peter Norman (Swoofty on Flickr) brings us a lovely "weathered" boxcar. Complete with all the details you would expect to see on well... a rusty old box car.

The look achieved here is great. I'm genuinely impressed.

Haunting Mecha

Name of Model: Redeemer and destroyer of Worlds
Created by: CrimsonWolf
Found at:
At first glance, this is a haunting and spectacular mecha. Then you look closer, zooming in on the photos to see the various greebled elements. The closer you look, the more surprising the parts are and the more you start to appreciate the brilliant techniques used here. Chains and masks provide startling details while simultaneously appearing to float detached from the model. While there are quite a few spectacular uses of parts in here, my favorite thing about this has to be the way it takes "useless" Robo-Riders elements and gives them new life - a wheel casing is a back, an arm uses that bizarre faux-gear element, and the visor become the top of the mecha's head. After spotting those, the combination of Bionicle joints with Ninja swords doesn't seem all that shocking anymore.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Accurate Globe

Name of Model: LEGO Globe
Created by: Robert VH
Found at:
I know I've featured globes before (for some reason the regular search feature here can't find them, but mine as a blog author turns them up here and here, and for some reason a search doesn't turn up the globe tag), but this one is a bit more accurate - it was painstakingly designed with an atlas and a CAD program. As a studs-up ball with brick height (instead of plate height) resolution, it's already a reasonably complex model, but plates and bricks in various colors give the Earth a surprising amount of texture.
This is Wednesday's model of the day

Monday, August 3, 2009

Exhibits At Mark Twain's House

Name of Museum: The Mark Twain House & Museum
Found at:

Back in the 1980's, a travelling show in the US (yes, kids, there really was a time when LEGO operated travelling shows in the United States) featured various elements of Americana shown in LEGO form. One of these was a large (roughly miniland-scaled) model of Mark Twain's house in Hartford, Connecticut. Mark Twain's house is now a museum open year round (not to mention a National Historic Landmark since 1963), and you can learn about the restoration and architecture of the house on the museum's website and at the museum. The LEGO model of the house is now on display inside of the life-size house on "long-term loan", but based on what I've heard about LEGO downsizing its model storage in Enfield, Connecticut, I think it's safe to assume that this model will be there next time you have a chance to visit the Mark Twain house (which we're all doing next time we're near Hartford, CT, right?)

This past week, a life-size sculpture of Mark Twain was unveiled at the museum. The sculpture is itself an impressive collection (note the use of dark orange for the vest) and features radar dishes for the buttons on Twain's clothing. The face is made without too many special techniques, but clearly captures his likeness in tan bricks and plates. You can pose with this glued sculpture at the museum.

As a final entertaining sidenote: those of us who have read the classic and out-of-print book "The World of LEGO Toys" will recognize this model of the Twain house as the unexplained "New England Victorian house" shown in the book. When I first saw that in the book, I remarked that it didn't look much like your average Victorian home in New England, and I wondered why they went with such a large and unusual design - now, the mystery of what inspired this brilliant model has been solved, and we can appreciate the model for it's likeness to the house it is based on.
This is Tuesday's model of the day

Out Now: Mindstorms NXT base set 2.0

Big news in the world of LEGO Mindstorms this past week: the original retail edition of the Mindstorms NXT kit has sold out (officially, anyway - local stock at various retailers will vary) and the NXT 2.0 kit has been released. Officially released on August 1st, the NXT 2.0 kit actually started showing up in store early and has already been tried out by many Mindstorms fan.

For information on differences between the two kits, visit for the full list of parts included in the original kit but not in the 2.0 version. The 2.0 version has a very interesting assortment of parts as well - note the color sensor and Bionicle Zamor spheres and sphere launchers (said spheres and launchers are by far the easiest way to build a mechanical machine gun - something not easy but still doable with the original kit).

Projects for both kits are available at - which, incidentally, you can subscribe to through RSS (a must for Mindstorms fans).

Extensive coverage of the new NXT 2.0 kit can be found at The NXT Step (which will be featured in an upcoming post in my "Another Blog You Should Read" series).