Sunday, May 30, 2010

Photos from LEGOLAND

Name of Photoset: Legoland
Photos by: Scorpions and Centaurs
Found at:
Details: It is time, once again, for us to look at how the professionals do it. These photos (some of which are great detail shots) cover some highlights from LEGOLAND Windsor.
Short post today while I'm not feeling well. We should be ramping things back up to regular speed over the next few days.

Microscale Spaceship with Ben 10 Arms

Name of Model: Ben11
Created by: Cole Blaq
Found at: and
Details: There's not much that can be done with the fairly chunky ball-socket parts in the Ben 10 LEGO sets. Nonetheless, people are trying to create interesting models using those parts, and sometimes even succeeding. This microscale spaceship uses the arm parts from a Swampfire Ben 10 kit as most of it's body. The ball portion of the ball-socket connection is accounted for by this piece, which can connect into anything with a Technic axle.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Samford Hall mosaic

Name of Model: Samford Hall mosaic
Created by: Eric Harshbarger
Found at:
Details: The clock tower of Samford Hall was created by LEGO sculptor Eric Harshbarger for an arts auction in 2003. There's not too much to say about this one - it's a standard studs-out (when you look at it, the LEGO logo on top of the pieces is facing you, and the bottom of each piece is touching a baseplate) mosaic made out of plates (the elements one-third the height of LEGO bricks). More at the links above.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rubik's Cube

Name of Model: The return of Rubik's famous Magic Cube
Created by: Maarten Steurbaut
Found at:
Details: Believe it or not, cubesolvers are not the only thing you can build out of LEGO for use with Rubik's cubes. You can also build the cube itself. This (admittedly oversized) cube is built in an entirely purist manner - no modified pieces, although some rather unusual Technic trickery was required. This classic model was built several years ago, but we had to share it today - the 30th anniversary of the Rubik's cube being sold in America. Of course, you'll probably want to celebrate by solving smaller cubes - this one's a little hefty for casual use.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Tower Palace II - A Fully Landscaped Minifig-Scale Castle

Name of Model: Tower Palace II - Full Landscape
Created by: José Proença - ztp
Found at:
Details: This beautiful minifig-scale castle makes good use of studs-not-on-top techniques to make it stand out (well, that, and a healthy amount of distinctive landscaping built with his daughter). A common complaint about large castle is the "big grey wall problem" - sometimes you end up with a rather large, plain surface that is impressive in scope but not terribly interesting in appearance. Here, we see both studs and tiles (inside of arches) facing outwards to add more texture to the walls and break up the big bluish grey ("bley") walls.

Some other interesting details include a wagon carrying away a captive (note the reins for the horses), a shepherd with a flock (that scared look is perfectly placed - he just spotted the invading army), a knight lit on fire by a dragon, and a mermaid kicking her tail in the tide.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fantasy Fighter Craft

Name of Model: Pigstorm Fighter
Created by: brainbike.rider
Found at:
The first thing I noticed here was the excellent techniques used. Lots of fun parts, lots of clever studs-not-on-top stuff going on. It turns out that this actually wasn't an intentional thing - the parts selection was set by building out of exactly too sets - kits 7991 and 7990. OK, so the minifig comes from elsewhere, but is that really a problem? This is just an excellent spaceship. I, for one, would love to see building instructions to figure out just how some of the angles were done.

Robotics Monday: RCX-Automated Airplane Factory

Name of Model: Mindstorms Aircraft Factory
Created by: VHG Bogen / knusel111
Found at:
I'm afraid that this one video is all the documentation there is for this model (the short description on YouTube only says "A project of the robotics group of VHG Bogen / 25 RCX / 73 motors / costs: 8000€ / 2000 man hours"). While not as fast as the duck factory or car factory (masterminded by the YouTuber) we've previously featured here, it is another ambitious entry into this decidedly difficult and expensive genre. There are even multiple color variations that you can direct these factories to build! The possibilities for LEGO robots that can build their own LEGO models are virtually endless.

Of course, it's not time to worry about the robots taking over until someone builds a LEGO Mindstorms factory that builds other LEGO Mindstorms factories...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blacktron Intelligence Agency

Name of Model: Blacktron Intelligence Agency
Created by: bdarrow
Note that I skipped the "Found At" links in the section I usually fill in above. That's because this model is so huge, it requires its own round-up style post. This very large layout is only ever seen at LEGO fan conventions - it cannot be assembled in its creators own home. As it grew over the years, it became a legend on it's own. Known as the Blacktron Intelligence Agency (BIA for short), it's the ultimate in fully assembled cities for official LEGO themes (this is based on the original 1987 Blacktron line).

Here are some Brickshelf galleries by the builder showing how it grew over time:

BIA circa 2004
BIA circa 2005
BIA circa 2005 July
BIA circa 2006
BIA circa 2007
BIA circa 2008

Bumblebee Transformer from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Name of Model: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Created by: Firas Abu-Jaber
Found at:
Details: The latest Transformers movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, has inspired a fresh round of builders attempting to create LEGO versions of the Transformers characters that actually transform. This one is modeled after Bumblebee, a yellow Camaro that befriends the main character in the first movie. Additional photos and video at the site above.
This is Saturday's model of the day

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pac-Man turns 30!

Name of Model: Table Top 80s Arcade Game - Made entirely of LEGO
Created by: Ben Fleskes
Found at:
Details: Yes, I know we've already talked Pac-Man once this month, but we must do it again today for the 30th anniversary of the game. This time, the build is a bit more ambitious: a Pac-Man themed cabinet for a tabletop arcade machine. The structure is solid enough to hold the electronics and features a few neat Pac-Man mosaics and classy angles.

If you're looking to play a bit of the game yourself, have a look at Google's frontpage today - they're commemorating Pac-Man with a playable version of their logo.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Microscale Brookings Hall

Name of Model: Brookings Hall
Created by: Nannan Z.
Found at:
Details: As part of a series of gifts to people who work for his alma mater, Nannan Z. created this microscale rendition of Brookings Hall, a distinctive structure on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. While this is a rather simple model by construction, the colors used make it a challenging thing to try building - the main color here is that new color that only appears in the Prince of Persia kits so far. Since only 14 parts have ever been sold in that color, it can be quite a challenge to figure out how to get the desired shape. Throw in two more fairly rare colors - sand green for the roof and dark tan for the ground - and suddenly this becomes a bit more challenging to try to create. Fortunately, the end result is a fairly accurate likeness.

If you look a few photos back in Nannan's flickr photostream, you can see the other four photos of this model and also take a look at some of the other models he has recently made as teacher gifts (most of which make great use of custom engraving to personalize LEGO bricks).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Treats from Miniland at LEGOLAND California

Highlights from Miniland at LEGOLAND California
Created by various LEGO Master Builders, photographed by Bill D700
Found at:
Details: We interrupt your regular model-specific blogging for this delicious serving of miniland goodness. Miniland is the name for the special scale and style used for the miniature scenes at LEGOLAND parks. The larger, more consistent scale makes it possible to build people as carefully posed characters with a wide variety of motions instead of just the ones that minifigures can achieve. Buildings become more parts-intensive (a non-issue for the LEGO employees who build these models), but can be far more detailed than buildings recreated at minifig scale. These 45 photos from LEGOLAND California are mostly detail shots (which we apparently cannot zoom in on) of some of the interesting scenes in miniland.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Minifig-Scale Airport

Name of Model: Airport. MOC includes many LED lights and three Minimotor. Motors are for-Baggage Conveyor, Radar and Helicopter rotors.
Created by: pjotr
Found at:
Details: This airport attempts to do it all. Planes, a control tower, a hangar, a gate with a ramp to connect to planes, a working baggage conveyor and even a parking garage. Some custom LEDs and tape (for the baggage conveyor) were used, but otherwise all the detailing is done with LEGO. Completely built airports are rare due to the amount of space they take up and the amount of parts required (getting the look and feel right can be difficult, and attempting to build planes and runways with a proper sense of scale is nearly impossible). This particular model seems to have met the lofty challenge of doing an airport justice. There are plenty of detail photos if you want to see how this was done - there are a few fairly surprising details and techniques hiding in the subfolders.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stilzkin Bridge Launcher

Name of Model: Stilzkin Bridge Launcher
Created by: mahjqa
Found at: and
Details: You may have already seen this elsewhere (I apologize if you have), but since this is really the biggest thing to happen in the Technic/Mindstorms world this past week, I'd be remiss not to feature it. This Power Functions-powered vehicle can deploy a bridge and fold it back up. You have to watch the video to believe it. I'm still not entirely sure how this armoured vehicle-launched bridge works - it looks like both linear actuators in the bridge itself are actually powered by the gearing inside of the bridge. The transmission of power through the bridge (which plugs into the vehicle) is an interesting feat in itself, but combining it with the rest of this turns it into an applied thing of beauty - which is probably why this is all any of us Technic fans can talk about now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

BRInCKa 2010 Photo Roundup

This past weekend was the first BRInCKa event in Portugal. You know what that means - it's event photo round-up time!
TechnicBricks recap
ruialmeida's Brickshelf gallery
ribatagus's Brickshelf gallery

As usual, send additional tips and links in to if you have them.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Halo:Reach Spartan

Name of Model: Spartan of Reach
Created by: Shawn Snyder
Found at:
Details: This is a 23-inch doll of a Spartan from the videogame Halo:Reach. A brilliant combination of slopes, wedges, and well-placed details captures the armor just right. The figure is even jointed, with holsters on the legs that can hold the pistols.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cathedral of St. Francis

Name of Model: Cathedral of St. Francis
Created by: SavaTheAggie
Found at:
Details: After about five months of building and planning, SavaTheAggie's cathedral model is finally complete. The gothic architecture is based on careful study of St. Patrick's Cathedral and Chartres Cathedral. I will leave it at that since this is such a large set of photos (it's a very large model...) - 98 pictures, covering the full exterior and interior.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Studies in Shapes and Patterns

Name of Model: Shapes and Patterns
Created by: eilonwy77
Found at:
Details: While interesting techniques using studs-not-on-top elements seem to be fairly common, there aren't that many times where we see someone do something interesting based on multiples of the same few studs-not-on-top parts. Here, we see some examples of interesting things that can be done with headlight bricks and bricks with studs on their sides. That new arch element is also used effectively here. These patterns can be used for a variety of projects - officially, LEGO has recommended using them as coasters, and more popularly, they can be used for walls and floors in buildings. Sometimes, it's just fun to work out the geometry and see what patterns you can make without a specific project in mind. There are 14 photos to see in this flickr set.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Name of Model: CubeDude Lawn Gnome , and more generally CubeDudes
Created by: Angus MacLane
Found at: and more generally,
Details: A while back, Pixar animator Angus MacLane made a splash in the LEGO fan community with a series of small characters he calls "CubeDudes". He's been adding to the set ever since, and a few other builders have taken inspiration from these simple characters. These little guys aren't always very recognizable, but they all have a certain charm. It's an intentionally clunky and impressionistic style. This particular character speaks to me - I think he's one of the more realistic CubeDudes. I've included links above to both this gnome and the larger flickr set of Angus MacLane's CubeDudes.

Life-Size Cookies and Milk

Name of Model: LEGO Cookies & Milk (life-size sculpture)
Created by: Chris Howard (Duckingham Design)
Found at:
Details: Here's a sculpture that made its public debut this past weekend at BrickMagic: lifesize cookies and milk. The scale on these make a bit more sense than the same builder's previous giant cookie sculpture. The design is straightforward (but still time consuming and parts-intensive), but the result is instantly recognizable.

Robotics Monday: The NXT Step on Mechanical Solutions

In lieu of a regular model for Monday, here's some interesting food for thought. I'm just pointing out this post on the NXT blog The NXT Step - it's about using mechanical solutions either in combination with or instead of using multiple motors, sensors, and a microprocessor. The post itself is excellent, and the comments are constructive and provide some additional ideas. It's well worth a read for Technic and Mindstorms fans.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BrickMagic Photos

As you may know, we were at BrickMagic the past few days. It was very busy and we'll be recovering for a few days - I was up until 2 AM each night building additional floors for the Grand Emporium build we did. Proper coverage might be coming later, but here's a quick photo roundup (my photos are all in the flickr pool already):
As usual, if you have additional photos or links you'd like to see here, send them to
This is Sunday's model of the day

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New Set Announcement: 10213 Shuttle Adventure

Although info on this had started leaking on various fan sites earlier in the week, today at BrickMagic was the official debut of the new 10213 Shuttle Adventure kit. It's an excellent set with a great part/price ratio and many exciting parts (including several in new or rare colors - note the beautiful new dark orange elements). Also, you can build a neat space shuttle with it!

Here's the official boilerplate that you may have seen on other LEGO blogs earlier today (one downside of attending the real debut is that you miss the chance to blog in advance):
10213 Shuttle Adventure
Ages 16+
1,204 pieces
US $99.99 CA $129.99 UK £ 79.99 DE 89.99 €

Blast off on an outer space mission!

Standing 17.5″ (44cm) tall and 10″ (25.5cm) from wing tip to wing tip, this detailed and realistic space shuttle is ready to count down and blast off on its next exciting mission into space! You can take off from the launch pad, separate the detachable fuel tank and booster rockets, and deploy the satellite with unfolding antenna and solar cell panels. Shuttle model features realistic engines, retractable landing gear, an opening cockpit with seats for 2 astronauts, opening cargo compartment with a crane that can hold the satellite and a ground maintenance vehicle. Includes 3 minifigures: 1 male and 1 female astronaut, as well as 1 service crew member.

Includes 3 minifigures: 1 male and 1 female astronaut as well as 1 service crew member!
Features realistic engines, retractable landing gear, opening cockpit with seats for 2 astronauts and even a ground maintenance vehicle!
Take off from the launch pad!
Separate the detachable fuel tank and booster rockets!
Deploy the satellite with unfolding antenna and solar cell panels!
Open the cargo compartment to reveal the crane that can hold the satellite!
Shuttle Adventure stands 17.5″ (44cm) tall and measures 10″ (25.5cm) from wing tip to wing tip!

Additional photos can be found on Flickr and Brickshelf.
This is Saturday's model of the day

Friday, May 7, 2010

Project Europa (A Minifig-Scale Classic Space Spaceship)

Name of Model: Project Europa
Created by: Doctor Sinister
Found at:
Details: This is a SHIP. Contrary to popular opinion, the term "SHIP" does not refer to the fact that this is a spaceship. See, SHIP is really an acronym - it stands for Seriously Huge Investment in Parts, as in, "building this out of LEGO will require a Seriously Huge Investment in Parts". With a large old grey hull, this spaceship definitely qualifies. There is no messing with this level of dedication to the classic space theme. Naturally, photographing a SHIP this large also requires a ton of photos - sorry if the 223 in this flickr set are a bit much for one day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Girl with cake hat.

Name of Model: Girl with cake hat.
Created by: Littlehaulic
Found at:
Details: Just a simple near-miniland-scale girl with bananas for hair, an umbrella for a dress, and cake for a hat. Need I say more?


Name of Model: Nidoqueen
Created by: invader_quirk
Found at:
Details: There aren't many people building Pokemon characters these days, and there are still fewer building truly great Pokemon-themed models. Most of the more unusual connections are handled by various plates with clips.
This is Wednesday's model of the day

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May the Fourth Be With You - A Video for Star Wars Day

Found at:

The following was spotted via BrickJournal Journal:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Robotics Monday: NXT/Bluetooth Controlled Boat

Name of Model: Real sailing Lego boat.
Created by: Atrx
Found at: and
Details: While mulling over the thought of trying to put together a boat for a LEGO boat race (an increasingly popular challenge at Adult Fan of LEGO gatherings), it occurred to me that using the off-the-shelf remote controls wouldn't be terribly effective due to light distortion near the water's surface. The obvious solution is to use bluetooth instead, and devise some sort of remote control to steer the boat. Here's a spectacular implementation of that idea. Two small propellers steer the boat, and the motors are safely on board the boat (which is the only way I'd recommend trying to build something like this, although I understand some builders have had luck with risking their motors and other electronic parts touching the water). This design actually changes the angle of both propellers to steer - a nice trick I wouldn't have thought of.
This is Monday's model of the day

Klodsfest Photo Round-Up

Klodsfest 2010 happened in Denmark a few weeks back. I haven't been able to track down an official website for this (had I known about this in advance, we'd have the official information on our calendar for you), but I've gathered some photos from the event anyway.
Klodsfest 2010 Flickr pool
colonel's Brickshelf Gallery
gerth6000's flickr photos

Have more information of photos? Send 'em in to
This is Sunday's model of the day

Monday, May 3, 2010

BrickMagic Coming This Weekend, Photos from Maker Faire NC

As I'm sure some of you have noticed, we've been a bit under the weather this week. We're still recovering from the festivities at Maker Faire NC, and we're gearing up for BrickMagic! If it weren't for the weather, we'd say this was actually a good time to be in North Carolina. In between trying to sort out my own MOCs and determine what I'm bringing to BrickMagic, I've also been reading Jonathan Bender's new book, LEGO: A Love Story - I was sent a review copy and I have every intention of finishing it before the book's launch event at BrickMagic. So far, I'm about 40 pages in and impressed with how he's woven information about the larger LEGO fan community into his own story - if he keeps this up for the rest of the book, it'll be a helpful and informal guidebook for newcomers to the hobby. I'll be writing a full review of the book for this blog sooner or later as well.

We've added photos of the festivities (LEGO and otherwise) at Maker Faire NC to the official Maker Faire NC flickr pool. The display went off well and there are even videos of some of my LEGO models in motion.

Look for coverage of BrickMagic to start dripping in near the end of the week. We're even still aiming to showcase a model each day during the convention as well (not to mention catching up on the days I've let slip recently - I meant to highlight those Maker Faire photos here on the day of the event!)

Minifig-scale Barn

Name of Model: Barn
Created by: Mdrn~Mrvls
Found at:
Details: Naturally, with all of those farm kits LEGO is selling now, there's a need to build a barn. A good sturdy barn that you can put in the middle of a respectable town layout. A barn with a removable roof and full interior, complete with tractors. Don't miss the clever windsock technique or the rooster statue at the top of the barn (both visible in the photo above). There's plenty more farm goodness from this builder as well.
This is Saturday's model of the day

Prince of Persia? More like Prince of Pac-Man!

Name of Model: 7573 Alternate Build
Created by: Arkov
Found at:
Details: The LEGO Prince of Persia Battle of Alamut (7573) kit includes lots of fun and exciting new parts, including some in the fairly rare color of pearl gold. Of course, when you only own a handful of pearl gold (which, let's face it, is most of us - it's not an easy color to stock up on), it's hard to build much of anything. Here, though, we have one example of something you can build in that rare pearl gold color - Pac-Man! It only takes a few pieces, too, so you can build your own without using up the whole kit.
This is Friday's model of the day