Monday, November 30, 2009

Sariel's Scania Dump Truck

Name of Model: Scania Dump Truck
Created by: Sariel
Found at:
Every once in a while, I find out about someone in the AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) online community that I should have been aware of sooner but somehow have managed to overlook. Today's featured builder, Sariel is one such person. Not only have several fantastic vehicles by Sariel (Paul Ian Kmiec) been shown to me before, but Sariel actually has been brought on as a guest blogger for the official LEGO Technic blog. It's no wonder why - his website is a treasure trove of spectacular vehicles and clever building ideas. Many of the models on there (such as the one pictured here) feature both functional Technic-style innards and a classy brick-built exterior. The mix of realistic looks and realistic mechanisms is refreshing and masterful.
This is Monday's model of the day

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Festival of Trees Winter Town Layout

Name of Event: 2009 Festival of Trees
Created by: MichLUG
Found at:
The Michigan LEGO Users Group has gone all-out for this spectacular town layout. The season is clearly winter, and you can see snow in most of the layout. Note the expanded version of the Winter Toy Shop kit and the clever "aluminum tree" lot that uses Rock Raider drill parts as trees.
This is Sunday's model of the day

Bright Light Orange Vic Viper

Name of Model: Vic Viper 2009
Created by: cjedwards47
Found at:
In the LEGO Space fan community, there is an annual trend known as "NoVVember". During NoVVember, LEGO fans are challenged to build Vic Vipers and add them to the Vic Viper Flickr pool. Since I try to avoid blogging too many similar items, we've pretty much ignored the Vic Viper craze here at LMOTD. However, this beauty - built with bright light orange as a main color, with a generous amount of clever techniques and Bionicle tricks - was too spectacular to not blog. This very distinctive masterpiece shows some great ways of combining fairly disparate elements (note how well the Bionicle screen element from a Keetongu set fits above one of the windshields introduced for the Speed Racer line (the exact color is from a Space Police kit)).
This is Saturday's model of the day

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday (and Other Offers) at LEGO Shop at Home

LEGO Shop At Home will be announcing their final round of black Friday deals shortly. In the interest of being out at midnight to fight for some deals from competing toy stores that shall not be named, I'm going to go ahead and post what I know for you now:

First, there's this special offer:
LEGO Brand Retail
The deal here is a crude 10% off discount for large orders: $10 off orders $100 or more, $20 off of orders $200 or more, and $30 off of orders $300 or more. This deal is technically a Black Friday offer, but will be available through November 30th.

Another pretty great deal is free shipping for orders over $99 placed before December 6th (this can be combined with the above deals):

For those of you not finishing off your shopping this weekend, the final shipping days for ordering from Shop at Home in the United States (with guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery):
Ground – 12/14/2009 by 12am EST
2nd Day – 12/21/2009 by 2pm EST
Overnight – 12/22/2009 by 2pm EST

Finally, we have been informed that LEGO Shop at Home will be announcing 33 new additions to the Sales and Deals section of their website for Black Friday. These items will be available while supplies last. If this is anything like last year, the sets may appear before the stroke of midnight Eastern Standard Time, and they may be available at the low prices for quite some time after Black Friday. The exact sets and prices have not been announced this year, but that may be due to that info being leaked to the public early by bloggers last year.


Created by: JON
Found at:
Today is Thanksgiving day in the United States. Lacking the strong symbolism of other civic and cultural American holidays, Thanksgiving often gets ignored by LEGO builders. To make matters worse, the official kits that LEGO has made to commemorate Thanksgiving have often included exclusive parts - it's not like Christmas or Halloween, where you can try building things from the parts in your collection or easily buy the parts you need to build the official kits that look like something seasonally appropriate. This year, we're all thankful for the newly-rereleased minifig-scale whole turkey (picture at right), but even that was a rare part not so long ago. Of course, that whole turkey is clearly one that is largely cooked. What if you're looking for a live minifig-scale turkey for your farm or holiday festivities? Well, today's featured model has a solution. While I suspect that a better beak solution (perhaps involving a cheese slope?) could be discovered in the future, this one looks pretty nice for now - assuming you have that back panel that represents plumage here. Since that panel seems to have been designed for use with thick "hologram" stickers, I suspect many of us don't have many plain ones in our collections. It's also hard not to think of good ways to make custom stickers to "ruin" another panel like that by making fancy turkeys for minifigs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bionicle Coming to an End

You'd think that, thanks to the announcement that LEGO Atlantis 2010 kits were actually coming out November 24th, new sets would have been the biggest news in the LEGO world yesterday. You'd be wrong. There was Bionicle news big enough to outweigh the line of 6 new canisters on the shelves ("Stars" of the line being reissued in a different new form). Yesterday, the LEGO company announced the end of Bionicle.

Bionicle originally came out in 2001. 9 years is a pretty decent run - long enough to compete with many of the "classic" themes we keep saying LEGO should make more of instead of Bionicle (think about it this way - factions in "Space" only lasted from 12 years, 1987-1998. Pirates only came out in 1989 and was pretty much phased out by the late 1990's. No Wild West or underwater themes lasted more then a few years. For this generation, Bionicle and Town - er, "City", are the only two themes that have reliably been released year after year). Although much of the line was devoted to the all-original storyline and ways to build related action figures, there was a decent share of classic kits in the theme over the years. New, rare, and often exclusive parts and colors frequently popped up in Bionicle kits, and we'll continue finding new uses for those elements in the future. For now, though, I've decided to highlight some of my favorite Bionicle kits from these past 9 years.

8534 Tahu (2001)
: When the Bionicle line originally came out, there were just the 6 "good guys" - the Toa. At this point, they were expected to be yet another flash-in-the-pan action figure line. This wasn't the first time LEGO had tried to make Technic more appealing to kids by adding an action-figure style concept - the late 90's had brought "Tech Play" and "Cyberslam" (that's "Competition" for those of you in Europe), and we had also seen the "Robo-Riders" and "Throwbot"/"Slizer" lines come and go. The simple gearbox torso elements brought into the Bionicle line made these a bit more enjoyable as action figures (OK, fine, the storyline helped too), and also gave additional gearing and simple animation possibilities for those of us more technically inclined. The unusual characters - controversial back then for their use of Malaysian Māori words as names - turned out to be surprisingly popular, but in the end Tahu was everyone's favorite (the fire sword remains one of the "coolest" weapons we've seen, although I'm sure I could make a separate list of interesting weapons we've seen over the years). Pohatu also deserves a few points for being the only one in the original line to use the torso element upside-down (thus showing us how to control leg motion with gears instead of arm motion).

8557 Exo-Toa (2002): In the earlier years of the Bionicle range, the various accessories and factions were all Technic contraptions, usually capable of one or two simple actions - which, frankly, is reasonably respectable for a $10+ toy. Larger, more technically advanced baddies meant that the good guys had to grow in scale to match the threats against the Island of Mata Nui. In later years, we settled for simpler action figures that happened to be taller than the original line of Toa, but in 2002, this beautiful mecha/armor was the way that the smaller heroes could fight the bad guys. Rare and exclusive parts added to the cachet of the kit, but the play features are what made many of us who bought this for parts actually keep this one assembled. Strangely, though, only Tahu seems to completely fit inside this exosuit even though the Bionicle storyline claimed that all 6 Toa had similar armor.

8759 Battle of Metru Nui (2005)
: We all doubted the LEGO company's sanity when they announced that they'd be releasing "System" Bionicle kits. Sure, they'll be "juniorized", they'll have obnoxious fake "minifigs", etc. All those complaints turned out to be fair. These kits also included a number of rare or even exclusive elements, generous amounts of parts in rare colors, and some interesting features. Those of us who like dark red slopes for our town layouts tend to think of Cafe Corner as the first great LEGO kit in the world of dark red parts, but this kit came first and gave you a better variety of dark red parts for considerably less money.

8755 Keetongu (2005): After many of us had given up on Bionicle due to too many straight action-figure kits (gears became increasingly rare in the sets as the years wore on), LEGO gave us this delightful surprise. An incredible parts pack in the rare color of bright light orange, this set gave us an unusual physics lesson as a weapon. Yes, even without gears, Bionicle can still bring serious educational value! Spinning the axle in the middle of the weapon doesn't just engage the knob wheels, it also brings in conservation of angular momentum, which makes the entire weapon spin as a whole even while the knob wheels move the outer parts of the weapon. A review that shows the weapon can be seen on YouTube.

8941 Rockoh T3 (2008)
: I decided to try this set out on a whim, thinking that the dark green round Technic panels could come in handy sometime. I was incredibly surprised by how advanced a construction this wound up being - I still haven't finished figuring out how the unusual geometry lines up (to add to the fun, there's one place where things actually don't quite line up but a beam is "locked" into place by other beams nearby). We also got to see some great uses for knob wheels (I believe this is the only kit to feature them at an obtuse angle), and did I mention that this thing doubles as a giant handgun for Bionicle zamor spheres? Yes, a set can be interesting as a Technic kit, a geometric wonder, and still have play features most kids will love (oh, and this came with some sort of action figure character too).

The Rockoh T3 kit is still available from LEGO Shop at Home - I'm afraid the other sets here are no longer available. One of them (Tahu) will be available in a decidedly less interesting form in 2010, or at a LEGO Brand Retail store location near you in the United States, United Kingdom, or Germany.

An error in this article regarding the language controversy was corrected on September 18th, 2016. We regret the error.


Name of Model: W.S.L.F
Created by: LegoLyons
Found at:
There's something to be said for making a decent small spaceship once in a while. This one fits the bill and ups the ante with a clever cockpit, a cutaway of a hangar, and a generous amount of ingenious uses of rare colors. Purple and metallic silver are both very difficult to build coherent models in, but both are well used here. Mixing older shades of grey with newer ones is generally frowned upon, but here it gives the hangar a worn and repaired look. The use of various wheels for barrels and greebling is pretty spectacular here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Robotics Monday: NeXTSTORM's "Space Molecules"

Name of Model: Space Molecules
Created by: NeXTSTORM
Found at: and
Here's one for the "there's nothing else like this out there" category - using a system of gears, motors, knob wheels, and a compass sensor, NeXTSTORM has created this utterly bizarre contraption. It looks like something you'd see under a microscope, with swirling patterns of different colors. It can be "lured" into travelling in different directions by a pad of magnets (detected by the compass sensor). While this is a definite departure from the animated minifig contraptions we've seen NeXTSTORM build in recent months, I think it's safe to say that this is another masterpiece. This may also be the best use we ever see for the "knob wheel" element - so far it's been largely ignored in favor of traditional gears, but the set designers keep including them in more and more kits, so we will have to come up with more clever uses for them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brief Break

This is proving to be an unusually busy week for a number of reasons - this blog will be on a short hiatus through Sunday. That is all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cadillac 1959 Series 62 Convertible

Name of Model: Cadillac 1959 Series 62 Convertible
Created by: lego911
Found at:
Coming in just a little bit below miniland scale, this Cadillac (apparently a 1959 Series 62 Convertible Cadillac) looks nearly perfect (I will nitpick the different side window color compared to the windshield, but that's about it). The windshield makes excellent use of a large amount of cheese slopes to get just the right angle. Curved slopes add realism to the body of the vehicle. Other nice details include the taps as mirrors, Technic gears as hubcaps, minifig levers as windshield wipers, working doors, and perfect brick-built accents. It's really all you can ask for at this scale - in spite of all the details, this car is just 14 studs wide!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Robotics Monday: Continuously Variable Pneumatic Control

Name of Model: Continuously Variable Pneumatic Control
Created by: mbellis
Found at:
Ever wanted to precisely control pneumatic actuators without using up extra sensors? Here's a technique for how. It does take two of the pneumatic valves, but it's a clever (and well-documented) design. There are some other goodies hidden elsewhere in the builder's Brickshelf gallery as well. It's well worth a look in there for other building techniques and ideas (Technic and otherwise). The pneumatic system in particular is a gem, and I can't wait to see a renaissance of pneumatics-enhanced creations following the new commercial release of pneumatics elements next year (they've been available in the past, but they were discontinued for a few years - the one set currently featuring pneumatic parts is only available to the educational market).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

XKCD Comics in Minifig Form

Name of Model: Parking (also below: Grownups)
Created by: Azaghal Gabilzaramul (the second one is by Chris Doyle)
Found at: and
Details: XKCD has recently made some waves in the LEGO fan community due to a comic strip that uses LEGO as a metaphor. While the XKCD webcomic can be a bit racier than most of the things I link to here, I personally find it to be brilliant. Unlike most of the people just discovering it, I'm well aware that there are also extra punchlines hidden in the title attribute (that's my polite way of saying that if you saw that strip on another LEGO blog, you've not read the entire comic). You should be able to hold your cursor over the image to make the title appear - you can try it out on the images below in this post.

Although that one strip has been getting all of the attention, there are a few other classic XKCD comic strips that have actually been rendered into LEGO form, one of which is today's model of the day. Here's the minifig version of #562, "Parking":

(zoom in)

Another strip was made by Chris Doyle of Reasonably Clever fame (Reasonably Clever is a webcomic entirely populated by minifgs). He took on #150, "Grownups":

I was all set to go with posting this as Tuesday's model of the day, but since it's only two clicks from this post to something I figure most people don't want their kids to see, I've decided to bury it a little by running it for the weekend. Consider Doyle's strip to be Saturday's LMOTD and the one featured more prominently above to be Sunday's. Oh, and if you are reading this and under the age of 18, just skip the more provocative comics and instead try to teach yourself perl, because the man making the comics is completely right.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Breakfast Television

Breakfast Television show
Featuring Janey Red Brick
Found at: and
Prominent Canadian AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) Janey Red Brick made an appearance earlier this week on a television show called "Breakfast Television". Her report and more photos from the event can be found at the links above.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

LEGOLAND California honors Vietnam Veterans in Miniland

Name of Model: Vietnam War Memorial
Created by LEGOLAND California Master Builders
Found at:
Mariann Asanuma brings news that LEGOLAND California has updated Miniland Washington DC to feature a miniature version of the Vietnam War Memorial. It appears that this will be a permanent part of miniland from here on out, but it was brought in yesterday to celebrate Veteran's Day / Armistice Day. The "technique" here is surprisingly simple - the "names" on this version of the wall are an optical illusion caused by light hitting stacks of black plates - it's a bit more parts-intensive than most of us would try, but it works surprisingly well.

Nintendo Entertainment System

Name of Model: MOCOlympics Round #6: Dave Sterling vs. Crimso Giger in Atari
Created by: Dave Sterling
Found at:
I'm well aware that there are newer "gaming consoles" out there, but to me, the original NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) will always be the best. Tetris remains a favorite of mine (on those rare occasions when I do partake in gaming, I usually grab Tetris for Gameboy - in black and white, of course). While the mosaic of a game of Tetris in progress isn't quite perfect, the rest of this LEGO-based rendition of the classic game set-up is very accurate, including the controllers and game cartridge. Did I mention that the buttons on the console are actually spring-loaded or that you can really load the cartridge into the console? Forget game console cases, this is how video-game themed LEGO sculptures should be done.

Monday, November 9, 2009

An Explanation (and two models)

A brief word to explain my absence this past week - I got sick and was unable to finish a LEGO project with a deadline on time. In the interest of getting that project finished and installed, I decided to let the blog slide. My new creation, which I suppose we should treat as this Tuesday's model of the day, can now be found on my personal projects blog. It will be on display at the LEGO store in Raleigh, NC through the end of the month.

I had not intended to let things get so far behind - in fact, there was a phenomenal YouTube video by superbird28 that I've been meaning to share in a "Robotics Monday" post for a few weeks now - but TechnicBricks covered it Sunday and exhausted everything left to be said about it (to be fair, we both found out about the video from the same source - Tinkernology - which is quickly becoming a must-read blog for Technic fans. It was just a matter of time before somebody pointed out how fantastic this was). Please check out those sites and consider it Monday's model of the day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Souls' Day

Name of Model: grave
Created by: Piglet
Found at:
All Souls' Day is today, November 2nd. All Souls' Day is not to be confused with All Saints Day (which is really on November 1st) or Halloween (October 31st).

In line with the Polish tradition of Zaduszki, "candles" have been placed on this gravestone in prayer for the deceased. The candles here are actually very well placed Power Functions lights - a pretty clever technique that scales very well in this model. Although I'm hesitant to distract from the sombre tone of this model, I'm also impressed by how the tree and plants turned out - it's not a particularly difficult technique to stack things in this way, but it's very effective and organic looking.

As a sidenote, we know that we skipped Halloween, but considering that people from all over the world visit this blog, we are intentionally trying to shake up which holidays we commemorate.