Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve, 2010

Name of Model: LEGO LUG Showcase Model for Rockefeller Center January 2011
Created by: notenoughbricks
Found at:
Details: It's hard to believe that 2010 is coming to an end. We've shared one model here for each of these past 365 days, and it looks like we're good to go for another year. I'm sure that most of my readers are familiar with the popular New Year's ritual of watching a large object dropped near a crowd in a large city - you may also be aware of the annual TV special that features the "ball" dropping in New York City's Times Square. Here we see the best part of that captured in LEGO form (sorry, Justin Bieber fans - most of us only tune in for the countdown). The "ball" here looks great, thanks to the mix of clear plates and translucent 1x1 round plates - apparently it's a variation on the design that Legohaulic provided instructions for. This model will be on display in the Rockefeller Center LEGO store for the month of January, 2011.

A Worn 1959 Chevy Impala

Name of Model: 1959 model based on an Impala - Shown here as driven in the unfortunalley infamous danish series Olsen Banden
Created by: misterzumbi
Found at:
Details: It's no secret that misterzumbi's cars are amazing. This time, he ups the difficulty level a bit by trying to make a weathered vehicle instead of a new one. Naturally, trying to make LEGO look aged and worn is not easy - bright colors don't lend themselves to this, and a certain amount of chunkiness always comes up. Using brown and sand green bits here mixed in with the black seems to do the job here without sticking out too much - it feels like just the right amount of rusty texture. The details, as always, are great, but it looks like the car wheels might brush against that front fender. No matter - the great techniques here make up for any flaws it might have. Levers for windshield wipers and the unusual construction of the headlights are exciting enough, but the roof rack (made out of the hook hands from Pirate minifigures and some flex-system casing hoses) steals the show. If that didn't, the front fender's chrome-lightsaber-holding-chrome-knives technique would. A subdirectory shows off some variations on the model.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow on the Stoop and a Tree in the House

Name of Model: Hot Cocoa
Created by: NaNeto (Nelson Neto)
Found at:
Details: I know it's after Christmas (and that this model was posted to flickr on December 22nd), but let's be honest: most of us are still just starting to get back to "real life". Having snow in many places that don't usually get it doesn't help. You might not have a Snow Trooper over for hot cocoa, but otherwise, this probably does look pretty familiar.

I just want to know why we don't see more 16 x 16 sized vignettes. The extra space really captures the setting - the mix of a sculpted snow look alongside slopes is perfect, and the fireplace, gifts, and curtain really round this out nicely. Even the floor looks great!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Microscale Dark Turquoise Space Truck

Name of Model: Dark Turquoise Space Truck
Created by: notenoughbricks
Found at:
Details: Dark turquoise is one of the more unappreciated rare colors. OK, sure, it's more widely used than Salmon, but not by much. It's used well here, although the custom stickers dampen the boldness of the color. I'll forgive the inaccurate use of fire in space (a crime against scientific accuracy that LEGO has committed as well) since this is otherwise such a well-assembled craft.

An Externally Powered Monorail

Name of Model: Externally powered Monorail
Created by: David Koudys flickr YouTube
Found at: (Why yes, we DO still read LUGNET...and follow the links people post there!)
Details: Here's a particularly strange LEGO electrical project for you. This one is far from purist, but the effect is interesting enough even if it does involve tinkering with valuable monorail track (you may think I'm kidding, but on BrickLink, a single piece of straight track can sell for over $20). If you're familiar with the model railroading hobby - or with LEGO's own 9V Train system - you know how a train can draw power from certain kinds of track that carry electricity. This is a much more efficient system than the battery-based type of trains LEGO current makes - you don't need to worry about replacing or recharging anything as long as you can hook up your speed regulator to a wall socket. Although the LEGO monorail system is fairly legendary, it too is limited by battery life. Until now! Apparently a bit of copper tape on the track and some hacking to make the motor draw power from brushes near the wheels is "all" it took!

More videos and photos are available - just follow the thread linked at the top.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

NCLUG at Enchanted Airlie

Name of Event: Enchanted Airlie
Created by: NCLUG
Found at:
Details: Since I already did a round-up for my LUG (LEGO Users Group) this weekend, it's time for some shameless ripping off of myself. Hey, it's Monday - a day I took off - already and we're still talking about Sunday. So why aren't you reading the round-up yet? In the interest of not doubling the content for this already-past event (I'm only going to be updating the NCLUG site with additional links should they come up), I'm just going to direct you to the event's recap page on the NCLUG website.

Video above by Joe Meno of BrickJournal magazine.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Minifig Christmas

Name of Model: A Minifig Christmas
Created by: Nannan Z.
Found at:
Details: I'll keep this short since this is already fairly well-explained at the links above. The basic concept was to make a callback to the classic winter catalog covers that featured LEGO characters from various themes giving gifts to each other at some sort of holiday gathering. Here, the idea is kicked up a notch with collectible minifigures (not to mention Max!) and a gingerbread house.

Elves Making Toys

Name of Model: Two Lego Elves
Created by: Carlmerriam
Found at:
Details: We would have posted these earlier if we were more on top of things, but I was only informed at the last minute that there was a merry-making holiday coming up (and then got caught up in some merry-making of my own). First up is this pair of toy-making elves, which I believe to be actual size. The toys being made on the table are figures in various scales - you may recognize the miniland-scale Bender from Futurama as one of the characters, in the elf's hand at the moment is an R2-D2 minifigure). These have been part of a River Park "Photos with Santa" booth next to a Macy's in Fresno, California, USA since Black Friday (No word on how long this will remain open to the public, but I understand there are other models in the display as well).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sculptures, Miniland Tokyo, Clone Wars and More at Nasu Highland Park's LEGO Pavilion

Event Info Found At:
Photos by: kelvin255 (Kelvin Lok)
Photos found at:
Details: It's Christmastime in Japan's Nasu Highland Park. The LEGO pavilion there has a few seasonal displays up now, but apparently the Tokyo miniland layout (which features a bunch of landmarks, although some have been made a bit generic) is a semi-permanent exhibit. Another highlight is a large Clone Wars set-up, and there are also several large sculptures. This appears to be like a small LEGOLAND park - apparently there are LEGO-themed rides here for most of the year as well (although these photos focus on the models on display).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Technic "Steampunk" Motorcycle

Name of Model: Fatasse 1929 with Y9 'MaxOverBlown' engine
Created by: ~:Lola:~ who is on flickr and MOCPages
Found at: or
Details: Every once in a while, someone does away with the goofiness of fanciful airships and instead does something "steampunk"-ish by actually doing something great with a Victorian-era technical idea. Sure, things can look cool if they're using that style, but it'd have to actually run on a boiler to really hit the spot.

To be honest, I'm not up-to-speed on the topic enough to know if this is truly based on the design used in 1929 in a failed attempt at setting a new motorcycle landspeed record (a few quick Google searches didn't turn up anything decisive). This model, though, looks like it has the right amount of detail and could compete nicely with most of the official motorcycle kits. The engine in particular is very well fleshed out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Copenhagen LEGO Store Opening

Name of Event: The LEGO® Store København (Copenhagen), Denmark Grand Opening
Found at:
Details: A LEGO store opened recently in Copenhagen, Denmark. I'm not entirely sure how to explain this one - it's not like any of the other stores. It's not an "outlet", a "flagship store", a "discovery centre", or and "imagination center" either. This place has some phenomenal things, though - a giant Pick-A-Brick wall, enormous mosaics, large sculptures, and even a miniland-scale layout. It's also the first Denmark location where LEGO has a non-LEGOLAND park retail presence. The place is as exciting as it is hard to classify. Here's a round-up of the photos I've found so far:
schioldannvoneyben's's flickr photos
legosamlet's Brickshelf gallery
eiker86's Brickshelf gallery

More to come as we find it. As always, send your tips to

Monday, December 20, 2010

NXT-Ready Goodies for Google Android

Name of Model: N/A
Created by various Googlers in their "20%" time
Found at: and
Details: Naturally, pretty much everyone who has heard of Google's "Android" platform has been disappointed that it's not even remotely related to the android-style robots it has taken its name from. Recently, they've been working on making it easier for robotics hobbyists to use the Android platform with various popular robotics platforms - including the NXT. Since these are text heavy already (and you can browse through the links above to read about this at whatever level of depth you'd like), I'll leave it at that - start browsing at the links above for the news on the new App Inventor and Cellbots for Android.

2010 First Lego League Regionals

Name of Model: 2010 QC FIRST Lego League Regionals
Created by: nullsession
Found at:
Details: It's early December, and you know what that means - the FIRST LEGO League teams are having their regional competitions. Here, we have a peek into the competitions held in Davenport, Iowa, USA. This year's challenge is called "Body Forward", which is health-themed. As always, we wish the best of luck to all of the teams.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa's Boat House

Name of Model: Santa's Boat House
Created by: monstrophonic
Found at:
Details: LEGO focus groups most of their models with young people. At some level, that's fine - it's their main demographic. However, "those people" like different things than adults do - while kids always want more boats, racecars, police/fire/rescue sets, and other easy-to-play with models, the serious hobbyists invariably complain that they have too many wheels, boat hull elements, and goofy single-use parts. This is one of those models that makes great use of parts we frequently hear cannot be used.

Obviously, the biggest stand-out technique is the use of rowboats as small dormers and the use of a viking ship hull segment as a larger dormer. Continuing the nautical theme, we see a pirate ship's steering wheel over the door, and just above that we see the newer fish element used as a decoration. Over the first-floor windows (themselves a classy tan surrounded by plates with rails and headlight bricks with tiles), we see 3x4 leaves with cherries on them. That great Christmas tree out front? Look closely - those are upside-down palm tree leaves. The use of some white strings with grips for strings of lights rounds out the tree.

Of course, what I really love about this is the polar bear hiding between the Christmas tree. I didn't mention the great use of color or the texture on the side walls either!

A Slice of Life in Ancient Greece

Name of Model: EverydayslifeinAthens
Created by: 74louloute
Found at:
Details: This slice of life scene from Greece may not be entirely accurate (is that sculpture in the middle The Thinker?), but it is a tasty bit of LEGO-craft. The white minifig pillars look fantastic, and the collectible minifigure "Spartan" character also make a nice appearance. A C-3P0 head on top of a larger pearl gold dome gives it that finial look, meanwhile the 2x2 dome piece you'd expect to be there shows up elsewhere upside-down as a flower pot. The building on the left makes great use of the flesh/nougat color from Prince of Persia sets, along with some pearl gold bits. The small minifigures here are trophies from the collectible minifigure line, and between them we see a pair of tridents that appears to only be held in by a dish. The market building on the opposite side also looks great, not to mention the building in the back with a full interior.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Death Star Christmas Ornament (with Instructions)

Created by: Chris McVeigh
Found at:
Details: We've found the perfect gift for the man who still thinks there isn't enough of Star Wars on their LEGO tree. Wait, what do you mean not everyone has a LEGO tree? Where do you put all the LEGO ornaments?

Anyway - this Death Star ornament design is all ready for you to give a try. Model instructions are available from the link above in both PDF and LDD formats. You can also download the parts list to try it with parts on hand, or if you're feeling adventurous, you can buy the parts through LEGO Digital Designer's Design By Me program.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Half-Size Fire Brigade (and Cafe Corner!)

Name of Model: Little Fire Brigade
Created by: Puddleglum-
Found at:
Details: Two of my favorite LEGO sets from the past few years are the Fire Brigade and Cafe Corner. Naturally, I love the little versions as well. These are at half the scale of the originals, fitting on 16 x 16 (or 5 inches square) baseplates instead of 32 x 32 (or 10 inches square). Considering how much has to be sacrificed due to size, it's amazing how many of the original techniques still work and how much of the original look still shows through.

The Fire Brigade model was only built recently, and is based on the older miniature Little Café Corner model, which was first built in January 2009. In the time since, the builder has since been brought on as a set designer for the LEGO company.

Naturally, I think we all want to see the full set together. Apparently a miniature version of the Green Grocer is already in the works - do we have any volunteers for Market Street or the Grand Emporium?
Name of Model: Little Café Corner Revisited
Created by: marcosbessa (Marcos Bessa)
Found at:
I'm counting these two buildings as Tuesday and Wednesday's models of the day. Call it cheating, but I need a break!

Ancient Mechanical Computing: the Antikythera Mechanism

Name of Model: Antikythera Mechanism
Created by: Andrew Carol (also on MOCPages)
Found at:
Details: You may remember having seen this builder's difference engine some years back, but he now has another viral hit and fantastic mechanical computing model working its way across "teh intarwebs". This time he has taken on reproducing the Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient device that predicts eclipses. Discovered off the coast of Antikythera over a hundred years ago, the mechanism appears to have accurately calculated the locations of planets, the moon, and the sun - all based on a date input provided by a hand crank. For more information on the original machine, see the research website and this article in Nature.

Since the original mechanism was rather damaged when it was found, replicating the original gearing exactly wasn't really an option (nevermind the limitations in how many sizes of gears LEGO actually makes...) - so this machine is as close as possible to the original math, but features different actual gearing. More specifically, rather than very precise bronze gears, the exact ratios needed to get the calculations right are handled by differentials. Normally, when you see differentials used in a mechanical computer, they're being used to average two input speeds. That's not the case here. You'll need to look at the original webpage to fully understand exactly what was done here instead, and how that enabled the more advanced gear ratios necessary here. If tomorrow's LMOTD is late, it's probably because I'm still studying the details of this one.

The video featured above is the The Antikythera Mechanism in Lego from Small Mammal on Vimeo. The video's producer has a behind the scenes post up on his blog. For once - a professional video treatment for a worthy model! If only more of us could have our LEGO creations documented in that way...

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Name of Event: HISPABRICK 2010
Found at:
Details: The fourth time out was another record-breaker for HISPABRICK, Spain's largest event for LEGO fans.

In keeping with our usual habit, here's a round up of photos from last weekend:
HispaBRICK 2010 official flickr group pool
_Spazski_'s flickr photos
lokosuperfluoLEGOman's Brickshelf gallery
Manel Marqués' flickr photos
satanspoet's Brickshelf gallery

More links to come as I find out about them. Send your tips in to

Mall of America LEGO Imagination Center Grand Reopening

Name of Event: Mall of America LEGO Imagination Center Grand Reopening
Found at: - the Mall of America LEGO Imagination Center
Details: This past weekend had that most unusual of events: a LEGO store Grand Re-opening. Many things about this are unusual: the location at the Mall of America has been a flagship store since 1992. It's been known as one of only two "Imagination Centers" (the other being the Downtown Disney location), and it hadn't seen a major renovation since 1998. Further, LEGO has decided NOT to have grand openings for other recently opened brand retail outlets - two stores in the UK have opened recently, but won't have any special events to celebrate their "Grand Opening" until after the holiday rush is over.

This time out, the large sculptures around the store are specifically not based on the current product line (so they won't become dated as quickly). The highlight is the large sculpture pictured here, which is also depicted in the event kit (also pictured here). Here's the round-up (just a few links for now so we don't run any further behind, but there are more coming):
Brickset's entry on the commemorative set
Commemorative set instruction scans by TooMuchDew (Bill Toenjes)
LaForzaDiMente's flickr photos (covering only a few of the new sculptures)
Erik Knopp's 124 flickr photo set (+ another 69 photos of renovation in progress)
Garth Danielson's 46 photo flickr set
Max Braun 35 photo flickr set
Nathan Stohlman's 35 photo flickr set
This is Saturday's model of the day

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Andy's Room From the Toy Story Movies

Name of Model: Andy's Room
Created by: Pepa Quin
Found at:
Details: Once again, time for the "obligatory cool thing everyone is talking about" - sorry if you've already seen it. This time, it's an enormous diorama of Andy's room from the Toy Story movies. The full view is shocking, although it takes a minute to get a grasp on the sheer size of this thing. The room is large enough that the minifigs of the toys are roughly in scale to be the size of Andy's toys in the movies. Normally I'd go through a bunch of interesting techniques in the model, but in this case a few of them are a bit fiddly and not something to recommend trying. The bed, for example, has several elements that are only attached in one place and aren't sturdy - the top of the footboard and headboard are both only attached to the center pole of each. Using the printed LEGO Nintendo DS cover mosaics as posters was an inspired choice, and the brick-built mosaic on the bedspread is a great touch. Most of the furniture looks pretty great, and the shelves of other toys really sell the scene - the full set of 30 photos is well worth a look.
This is Friday's model of the day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Name of Model: Finished LEGO Menorah
Created by: Reasonably Clever Chris
Found at:
Details: As you may be aware, tonight is the last night of Hanukkah. Weighing in at just 17 pieces, this menorah works in a variety of scales - it's a large, furniture type menorah for minifigs, but a little small for miniland characters. The candle technique is pretty (I guess you could say "Reasonably") clever, using levers detached from their bases and wedging them into the "cheese grater" slope element*. It's a simple but fantastic design.

*: Naturally, we call that 1x2 slope the "cheese grater" because we call the smaller 1x1 slope the "cheese" slope. Ask any LEGO chef - it makes perfect sense.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

1927 Alabama Theatre

Name of Model: 1927 Alabama Theatre
Created by: Wesley Higgins
Found at:
Details: Since the builder did a great job of summing up the history of the source material (follow the links above for that), I'll focus on the building itself here. The first thing that caught my eye was the sign - an elegant mosaic with clear plates as letters. It's actually more complicated than it looks at first glance - it actually gets a plate thicker on each side near the top and bottom, the very top and absolute bottom face different directions than the rest to get the edge of the trim to come out right. The cornicework above the windows is so simple that it barely qualifies as an interesting technique, but the effect comes out perfectly. The entryway looks great, with a current show info, a ticket booth, and old-fashioned outdoor lights. In that same photo, you can see a few plates on the side of the building with their bottoms facing outward - probably held in by using round 1x1 plates wedged in between the studs, with the top of the 1x1 plates connected to Technic bricks. I really like that so much of the surrounding plaza and city scene was recreated here as well - it makes it feel more like a scene out of 1927 instead of a town with a random landmark thrown in. You can see some photos of the source material in the 31-photo flickr set showcasing this model.

A New Kind of Tracked Racing Vehicle

Name of Model: Malicious Bane
Created by: SerratedSyringe
Found at:
Details: One end of the larger - one stud wide - Technic bushings can fit directly between the studs on the top of a brick or plate. Do that a few dozen times, connect each plate to a pair of 1x2 bricks with two Technic holes, and connect those holes with loose Technic axles connected by 1x3 half-stud-wide liftarms - and presto, you have a fantastic set of high-traction giant treads. Putting the treads around wheels makes them fully functional. Elsewhere, we see Bionicle bit seamlessly integrated into the vehicle - the angled fins in the back are particularly effective, and connected to a stretch of rigid hose. It's hard to pull off a racing vehicle with this many appendages, but this one manages to do the trick.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

LegWays, and the Non-LEGO Ways to Drive Them

Name of Model: SegWayVsLegWay.m4v.mp4
Created by: jmbjorndalen
Found at:
Details: This spectacular and self-explanatory video has started making the rounds lately on tech blogs. It's a great idea that seems like it should have been tried sooner - taking a LegWay* and trying to use unusual (but more intuitive) devices to drive it. They try a cell phone before settling on a Wii Balance Board, which turns out to be just the thing to give you that SegWay experience - as long as you don't mind not going anywhere.

*: So apparently we've never actually blogged a "LegWay" before. The term is a portmanteau of "LEGO" and "SegWay", and is used to describe any LEGO-based robot that balances itself on two wheels. Some quick Googling turns up one of the earlier ones as Steve Hassenplug's design, but for some reason the photos on that page no longer load. Naturally, we should have covered that RCX-based robot first, but from what I gather nobody reads half the things I say and you're all here for the pictures anyway (so dedicating a whole "day" to a model only documented in text form probably wouldn't be a great move). The next step would then be the NXT-based LegWays, which I honestly cannot find any good excuse for not having blogged previously. In a way, that's really the model of the day, since the actual LEGO construction here is similar to any other LegWay design using a HiTechnic Gyro.

Of course, a robot is only as good as its programming. Anyone could have built a LegWay and connected something else to it via BlueTooth, but the maker of the 'bot shown up above actually did.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Angel Tree

Name of Model: Angel Tree
Created by: MisaQa
Found at: (flickr set for additional ornaments and tree) (flickr set for angels individually) (flickr set for angels as a group) (flickr collection with all three sets)
There have been surprisingly few interesting ideas for building holiday angels to decorate with at this time of year. MisaQa (of advent calendar fame) has built a spectacular set of miniland-scale angels in various poses with various tools. Some of the details here are exceptionally clever - a silver "cupid" arrow made out of an Aquanaut harpoon and a light saber hilt, with feathers from a Wild West native; parts of levers used as blooming flowers; carefully arranged clikits, clikit hearts used in-scale on angels with sand red hair. The angels figures alone are worth featuring, but she also built a full set of ornaments to round out a tree. The ornaments include some tricks we've seen before, but also make excellent use of rare and seemingly difficult to use parts from a number of places - we see Writing System pen sections, DUPLO, Clikits, and Belville parts all used to great effect in ways that make you wonder why you haven't tried them sooner.

A Vic Viper

Name of Model: VV-X1
Created by: JonHall18 (Jon Hall)
Found at:
Details: This "NoVVember" was another strong one for the Vic Viper genre. The final score was 193 Vic Vipers by 88 builders. I'm sure that plenty of them are worthy of a closer look, but this one caught my eye. Right around the cockpit, you can see a few of the trans-neon-green / dark bley rock monster element from a Crystal King set. The various geebly bits around the "lasers" in the front work surprisingly well - but is immediately topped when you realized that the base of that assembly is hidden behind Bionicle foot elements.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Bioncle Swamp Dragon

Name of Model: Fenrakk Swamp Dragon
Created by: Brickthing
Found at:
Details: Making something that is not a simple action figure out of Bionicle parts: check. Rare colors? How about dark blue AND bright light orange? Clever techniques? How about using rows of sockets to create a pose-able neck? Yes, this fully qualifies as LMOTD bait. The spiky spine on the back of the neck makes fantastic use of the Visorak foor element in quantity. I'm really surprised by how well some of the clunkier parts seem to blend in here - the head makes use of a few parts I'd be tempted to call useless, and that's before we get into the wings or the tail fin.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

24 Days of LEGO Christmas

Name of Model: 24 Days of LEGO Christmas
Created by: brick_a_brad
Found at:
Details: It's hard to believe, but another year is slipping away. Every December first, people start counting down the days and getting into advent madness. In the LEGO fan community, the advent calendars are ubiquitous - between the people eager to photograph everything in the official advent calendar kits (sold out already this year) and the diehards who actually build and photograph a new model for each day, there's usually a bit too much advent action (well, if you keep as close an eye on these things as I do, anyway).

While our usual suspects in the original creations categories seem to be off to a slow start, this model has taken things far enough to kick off the season with a bang. This whole building is one giant advent calendar. You can peek ahead by zooming in on the overall photo, but new close-ups of each room are being posted - one room per day, from now through the 24th. Since this one is only revealing detail shots over the next four weeks, we won't be revisiting this advent calendar closer to the 24th - but truth be told, it's already worth a good look. This was part of an even larger project for a few toy store windows, and you can see some behind-the-scenes photos and photos of the other parts of the displays in this photo set. You can see much of this model already, and there are also some bits in LEGO Digital Designer showing the design process for this model and the ski lift scene.

Marine Bear

Name of Model: Creations for Charity 2010 - Marine Toys for Tots Teddy Bear
Created by: au_riverhorse(Albert) - official site
Found at:
Details: Did you know that the mascot for Toys For Tots is a bear wearing a US marine uniform? Their website layout shows this little guy. Here he is in LEGO form, with no expense spared. Those tan cheese slopes from the Tower Bridge kit round out the face nicely, while elements in gold colors (or is that custom chroming on those round 1x1 plates?) make the buttons and buckle stand out. A few large barrels make surprisingly convincing paws. The little guy even has properly cupped ears!

As of this writing, Creations for Charity is still going strong and this model is still available for purchase.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Minifig Scale Space-Age Floating Rock

Name of Model: Suncrest
Created by: Nathaniel Shields
Found at:
Details: This one apparently slipped under our radar while we were LEGO'd out at BrickFair earlier this year. It caught some attention there, though, bringing home the Best Large Space Craft trophy. Most obviously, there's a great balancing act here - most of the weight is on the small part that is supported, and it stays up because the center of gravity is in the right spot. As if that were too simple, most of the visible rocky section is actually built upside down - those are BURPs (big ugly rock pieces) almost the whole way around! That's before we get into the vehicles, the landscaping, and the building itself - while we've seen all the techniques before, they're masterfully applied here. Make sure to check out all the close-up shots.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Robotics Monday: Sniepir

Name of Model: Sniepir
Created by: Shep (Tinkernology)
Found at:
Details: I've wondered for a while if it would be possible to control a Nerf gun with an NXT. After following the Make Magazine blog's arduino-based attempt (that's not even all the links, but you get the idea), I was relatively well convinced that it was too complicated, since it might require dismantling the Nerf gun itself. Not so! Today's model solves this problem with a simple cam assembly. That's before we mention the gargantuan - and yet still motorized - base, or the way this can be controlled by either a remote or NXT (done through Power Functions motors - a person can use the Power Functions IR remote, or the NXT will use a third-party IR component to control them). The video and links above fill in a few more interesting details. No word yet, though, on how you can get it to load more ammo.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fanwelt 2010 Round-Up

Name of Event: Fanwelt
Found at:
Details: This weekend of November 18-21 brought Fanwelt to Cologne, Germany. It was a massively popular event, featuring the creations of Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOL's) from across Europe. Naturally, many of them took photos - here are more of them than you could possibly see even if you spent all day browsing through them:
mockingbird's Brickshelf gallery
monorail's Brickshelf gallery
V2's Brickshelf gallery
Vincent Kessels' flickr photos
Flickr group pool
Américo Verde's flickr photos
Bastings's Brickshelf gallery
lbaixinho's flickr photos
Dino2's Brickshelf gallery
Aliencat's Brickshelf gallery
danielz's Brickshelf gallery (Castle layout only)
SvL's Brickshelf gallery (Star Wars / Endor layout only)
eiker86's Brickshelf gallery

For the sake of our sanity, I've skipped sharing links that have fewer than 20 photos. If you know of event coverage that I've missed, you can send it in to

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Starships from Star Trek: The Original Series

Name of Models: Star Trek: The Original Series
Created by: icgetaway (Brandon Griffith)
Found at:
Details: For once, I've decided to go with multiple models on a Saturday (because it's a long weekend for many of us in the US - yeah, that's the ticket!) instead of waiting for a Sunday to open up. Follow the links above for 40 great photos of microscale starships from Star Trek: The Original Series, including the classic Enterprise NCC-1701 (shown above), the Romulan Warbird and the Klingon Bird of Prey. Some interesting, upside-down, wedge-based mosaic techniques were used for the bottom of the Romulan Warbird. The angles and stands here look great - these are all great example of how much easier it is to get these distinctive shapes with the various hinges we've seen pop up everywhere in the past decade or so (why yes, I'm still bitter that it was nearly impossible to build decent spaceships when I was little. Why do you ask?)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday 2010

Name of Model: Unholy Trio of Christmas Presents
Created by: Peter Aoun
Found at:
Details: Today's model of the day is an example of what happens when you don't pick presents carefully. We've all been there, poor minifig kid.

This is something of a lean Black Friday - in previous years, we've recommended running off to various stores for discounts of as much as 50% off of LEGO kits, but this year there are no deals that good to be had.

The best deals seem to be from our friends at LEGO Shop at Home. They've added a variety of newly discounted sets to their Sales and Deals page, and will be adding a fresh selection of newly discounted sets on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday as well. Also for these four days, they are offering free shipping on all orders over $49 and 10% off on all orders over $149.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Name of Model: Turkey
Created by: powerpig set-ups (Chris McVeigh)
Found at:
Details: Since there is apparently some sort of turkey-related holiday today, here is a roast turkey. The use of dark green tree leaves as garnish is a nice touch.

Technic Elephant (An Alternate Model for set 8271)

Name of Model: My 26th alternative model of 8271 LEGO Technic set. The elephant leans and moves its head.
Created by: grohl666
Found at:
Details: I've thought for a while now that the field of alternate models should be more popular. Way too few LEGO hobbyists seem interested in building something small that anyone could build, and instead you see things head the other way - towards giant behemoths full of expensive parts, which often say more about how much you're willing to spend on LEGO than about how skilled you are as a builder. Coming up with alternate models for an official kit serves as a bit of an equalizer: it's all about what you can do with a reasonable set of constraints, and not about what you can afford. That said, even when people do experiment with building alternate models, they usually only try out a few simple designs. Not today's builder. If you look at his Brickshelf gallery, you'll find no fewer than 26 designs that are made entirely out of the parts in set 8271 - a small kit that only cost $20 and has exactly 200 pieces. While the part selection isn't that bad, I don't think anyone would have expected that so many decent models could be built without any additional parts.

...which brings us to today's model. It's an evocative design that is very clearly an elephant. Some simple gearing allows the head to sway from side to side when a knob is turned, and a lever in the back can move the head up and down.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Name of Model: VAYU
Created by: Masahiro Yanagi
Found at:
Details: This is a model of a Japanese ferry boat. You might not be able to tell from the thumbnail here, but the real boat's in the background of that photo. The ship is in minifig scale and features some nice on-deck detailing. The back has some open sections so you can see the cars it is carrying inside.

It looks like there's some more info on this graphic, but I can't read Japanese (my ability to pretend to speak all languages on the internet depends on text not being part of a graphic).

EDIT 12/1/2010: an additional Brickshelf gallery now has "making of" photos.

EDIT 3/1/2010: Another update to the gallery shows more photos of the exterior.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NXT-Based 3D Laser Scanner Creates LDRAW Parts

Name of Model: 3D Laser Scanner
Created by: Phillipe "Philo" Hurbain
Found at:
Details: Every once in a while, someone builds something that actually breaks new ground in the field of what can be done with LEGO parts. This machine is one of those revolutionary moments. For as long as we've had CAD programs that could be used to create virtual LEGO models, we've had problems with parts not being available. Sure, you can make do (especially if you're a robot that doesn't have those parts either), but it seems inevitable that you'll eventually come up with something that just cannot be modeled on the computer. Parts repositories for LDRAW are filled with elements created from primitive shapes by volunteers, so it's not all that surprising that difficult, more organic shapes that LEGO makes are often unaccounted for. That is, until now. This setup is capable of generating LDRAW parts from scratch, using nothing but an NXT kit, a small amount of other LEGO parts, a laser component, a webcam, and some software. While the process is not entirely automated, it's a huge step forward in making part creation for complex parts simpler, which in turn will allow the rest of us to design in LDRAW with a wider variety of parts.