Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bionicle Dragon

Name of Model: Vayland Dragon Redux
Created by: Ahava516 (Patrick Biggs)
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahava516/sets/72157624836845380/with/4939608143/
Details: Remember the wings from the 6495 Time Tunnelator kit? I'm sure I'm not the only one who was young in the nineties (OK, not that young...) - the Time Twisters subtheme (and the larger Time Cruisers theme) gets derided for absurd set designs, but they actually came with a slew of rare and hard-to-find parts. The wing element from the Time Tunnelator finds some new use here by obeying the standard rule of bizarre LEGO elements - everything is more useful if you have a large amount of it. Suddenly small printed sail "wings" become giant dragon wings, suitable for an awesome giant Bionicle dragon.

While this particular dragon first surfaced at BrickFair 2010 (where it also looked great in person), it's actually an updated version of a model originally built for the fiftieth BZ Power contest (which was invitation-only for previous Bionicle-Based Building Challenge winners).

EDIT 9/11/2010: Looks like I may have referenced the wrong part and set above. The exact printed pattern visible on the wing elements in the photo above is actually this one, found in three sets (in the Adventurers and Ninja themes) between 1998 and 2000.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Robotics Monday: NXT Holonomic Drive

Name of Model: NXT Holonómico
Created by: electricbricks
Found at: http://blog.electricbricks.com/2010/08/holonomic-mindstorms-nxt/
Details: Not too long ago, the Spanish-language LEGO Mindstorms NXT blog electricBricks wrote about holonomic robots. Holonomic driving systems are systems in which a vehicle has no turning radius - it can travel in direction without needing to have a "front" that is specifically powered. In the post I'm featuring today (as well as the video above), you can see a fully-functional, stable, and practical design for one made out of LEGO. While a three-wheeled version (as suggested in the earlier post) seems like a better idea at first glance, the difficulty of getting multi-directional wheels to work (and LEGO to fit into triangular shapes) makes it surprisingly complicated and often unsturdy. This one is fairly easy to build, with only turntables as a hard-to-find part you don't have enough of in the standard NXT kit.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Joe Meno at LEGOLAND California

Name of Model: LEGOLAND California
Created by master builders for the LEGO company, photos by BrickJournal editor Joe Meno
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brickjournal/sets/72157624472782967/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/brickjournal/sets/72157624469973953/
Details: On his way back from Comic Con, BrickJournal magazine editor Joe Meno went to LEGOLAND California and took some photos. Highlights include several large swaths of miniland and some of the sculptures around the park (I'd get more specific like I usually do, but for some reason flickr photos aren't loading smoothly on my end today - with any luck they'll load better when you look through these photos).

There are 102 photos in the first flickr set and 28 in the second.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Headlight Brick Patterns

Name of Model: Headlight Brick Patterns
Created by: Brendan Powell Smith
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12247552@N08/sets/72157624122077446/
Details: A few months back, I featured some headlight brick patterns. Those designs and tips inspired a few of us to share some other examples of headlight brick patterns - including the builder who posted today's patterns. There are 55 photos here explaining and expanding on the basic concept.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pink 1959 Cadillac Convertable

Name of Model:
Created by: Ralph "Mad physicist" S
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/madphysicist/tags/cadillac/
Details: I know I've covered a Cadillac before, and even another from this same year. There's something special about a pink Cadillac, though. Elvis' pink Cadillac started the craze of painting classic caddies pink, but he never actually owned a 1969 Cadillac. Once the ball was rolling, though, the image of a pink Cadillac became one of the more enduring icons of the era.

Not even all that, though, completely captures just how awesome it is to render a pink '59 Caddy in LEGO. For some reason, LEGO has never really taken pink seriously as a color. They've manufactured a few different shades of pink over the years, and they've never really released all that many parts in any given shade of pink. As the builder of this car mentioned:
There are only seven different pink parts in this car, 1x1, 1x2, 1x3 and 1x6 plates and 1x1, 1x2 and 2x2 tiles.

So not only does this accurately convey the shape and style of this iconic classic car, but it actually manages that without using many of the special parts and techniques we know and love. It's a difficult challenge, but one that I think was succeeded at here in near-miniland scale.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Battleship Yamato

Name of Model: Battleship YAMATO 1/40
Created by: Jumpei Mitsui
Found at: http://mocpages.com/moc.php/142438
Details: Minifig-scale battleship, anyone? For the purposes of this model, minifig scale (a nebulous concept considering that minifigure proportions don't resemble the proportions of real people) is set to 1:40.

This is a recreation of the Japanese Battleship Yamato, a record-setting (in both weight and amount of weapons) vessel used during World War II. Even the LEGO version weighs in at a staggering 330 pounds (150 kilograms). At 6.6 meters (22 feet) long, this is the largest battleship ever made out of LEGO pieces, and it's likely to hold the record for some time to come.

Detail photos (and a video) can be found on the MOCpages page for this model.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Name of Model: SPAM!
Created by: davekaleta
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51411834@N04/sets/72157624723264174/with/4890729601/
Details: Every once in a while, you'll see someone put together a whimsical "still life" out of LEGO. Usually it's just a light sculpture, but sometimes you'll see a mosaic thrown in like you do here. The utensils here really help to make the scene - not to mention how realistic the can appears (complete with that mosaic on the front to make it distinctively a SPAM can). The use of cheese slopes and studs-not-on-top trickery really makes the letters on the can pop. More great techniques can be seen on the wine glass - one chunk is upside-down, another entirely sideways.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Minifig-Scale Modular Bowling Alley

Name of Model: Bowling Alley
Created by: (cindrealig)
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/49471419@N05/sets/72157624637998683/with/4908203455/
Details: There aren't enough people willing to try making mosaics for minifig-scale creations. This model goes a ways towards fixing that - there are mosaics in brick-built (sidways) floors, and on the inner and outer walls. I don't think I've seen a minifig-scale bowling alley before, but this one will be tough to beat. The roof is removable - tiles were used to make that lift off the same way the "modular building" sets have their floors lift up. This is perfectly in scale for those buildings too!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Robotics Monday: Climbing Like A Sloth

Name of Model: X4Sloth / Quaddra ped
Created by: 222Doc (Brickshelf)
Found at: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=442241
Details: 222Doc claims to have created the first NXT-based biped that can climb stairs. I'll have to take him at his word for that (I'm not aware of any video to prove that, and he hasn't posted programs either). His new creation, though, is even more impressive - a quadruped robot with three-toed limbs that can climb like a sloth. That's the theory, anyway - the machinery has been tested to verify that it can handle the load of lifting it's own weight on ladders in any direction, but the programming's not done yet. This isn't quite purist - you can see some multiplexers and unofficial cable used so that the one NXT can control all of the motors (looks like 8 NXT motors and 4 Power Functions motors to me). Still - this is proof of concept for a type of four-legged walker we've never seen before. I can't wait to see one of these things crawling overhead at a LEGO or robotics event.

EDIT: This is what I get for rushing posts - it turns out that there is, in fact, a video of the X2 walking up stairs, and you can see other videos from the same builder on YouTube as well. More details about the X4 sloth 'bot can be found on the nxtasy forums.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

LEGO at Star Wars Celebration V Round-Up

Name of Event: Star Wars Celebration V
Created by: Lucasfilm, with LEGO displays provided by LEGO, GFLUG, and whoever else brought LEGO
Found at: http://www.starwarscelebration.com/

The video here wraps up the big action - the costumes, the models and sculptures, the mosaic. Here are links to some more photos and other coverage (inevitably, some include non-LEGO content that is merely Star Wars related):
Official video and news release (video embedded above)
Wired GeekDad: Celebrating Star Wars Brick By Brick & Lego’s Star Wars Mural Time-Lapse Video
JRBooth's flickr photos
GFLUG: Star Wars Celebration V flickr group pool
mhuffman's flickr photos
robstormer's flickr photos
adam16bit's flickr photos
jjackowski's flickr photos
legoriki's flickr photos
shadeofmelon's flickr photos
Darkace's flickr photos

Saturday, August 21, 2010

LEGO Displays at the National Building Museum

Name of Display: LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition
Created by: Adam Reed Tucker
Photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dp3/sets/72157624700188398/with/4881577498/
Details: During my recent trip to BrickFair, I took a short detour to visit the National Building Museum. As I've previously mentioned, they currently have a display of Adam Reed Tucker's work entitled LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition. The LEGO display is one of several kid-oriented activities there - some of the other highlights include a separate building area and an arch-building exercise out in the middle of the museum.

The LEGO exhibit features a selection of large landscape models - most of which have some portion intentionally left out so you can get a good look at the internal structure. One model, the White House, was left unfinished so that it can be periodically built during visits from Adam Tucker. The models themselves are mostly noteworthy for their size - the exhibit was well named in highlighting the ambitious heights of the models - and not for their construction techniques. If you look closely, you can even spot a few pieces that are not attached to any other LEGO brick, but rather were glued into place. In our book, that's considered cheating - but I guess it was given the OK since LEGO seems to be supporting the display. About half of the display is devoted to a large play area where kids are encouraged to make buildings and put them on a "map" (the parts, partially donated by the LEGO company, are clearly current to what you can buy in 2010). There's also a gift shop area featuring some of the Adam Tucker-designed LEGO Architecture sets. This exhibit started on July 3rd and runs through September 5, 2011 (yes - you can make it part of a 2011 BrickFair trip).

The National Building Museum is itself an interesting historical structure - it's the "Pension Building" completed in 1887. In my flickr photo set, you can see a few photos of the original building and a minifig-scale LEGO rendition of it - complete with offices. The builder of the LEGO version isn't explicitly credited, but I'd assume that it was also Adam Tucker.

To be honest, I preferred the non-LEGO displays - after seeing landmarks by Arthur Gugick and building part of the new Tower Bridge set at BrickFair, Adam Tucker's large-but-simple-except-for-glue models looked a bit disappointing. Maybe I was getting a bit LEGO'd out after the long weekend of all-LEGO-all-the-time, but I was thrilled to see some of the other displays. If it weren't for the tourist draw of bringing in LEGO fans (and inevitably, families) to see the LEGO-specific display, I actually think a better display would be a larger portion of their construction toys collection.

There were also some great non-LEGO displays (sorry, no pics - photography is prohibited in the non-LEGO exhibits). Cityscapes Revealed: Highlights from the Collection showed a little bit of the collections not open to the public, including photography, bricks (of the fired-clay variety), steel, construction toys, and more I'm certainly forgetting. Washington: Symbol and City was a great treat, featuring historic displays about DC's city planning alongside history of various landmarks and even parts of some of the buildings. Not being able to make time to see more of the city this year, I was thrilled to get to see some of the actual details from various landmarks showcased in the museum - this display is so well-done, it almost justifies not being able to fit in many of the other landmarks during this trip. Drawing Toward Home: Designs for Domestic Architecture from Historic New England was a great look at architectural styles in New England and at how architectural sketches evolved over time.

Overall, it was a great trip, and the "Washington: Symbol and City" exhibit in particular was fantastic. If you're reading this, you'd probably enjoy the LEGO display (especially if you want to try out the play areas), but I'd definitely recommend getting a more thorough look at the museum. The exhibits apparently swap out fairly often, so check the National Building Museum's website to see what's going on before you plan your trip. The museum itself is free (suggested donation of $5) and the LEGO exhibit costs $5 for a scheduled ticket. I have no idea what the schedule is to see more of the White House model being assembled.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Miniland-scale Hittite Chariot and Horses

Name of Model: Hittite Chariot
Created by: Lego Monster
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/legomonster/sets/72157624722171210/with/4890836756/
Details: While this miniland-scale rendition of a Hittite chariot differs a bit from the source material, it's still an exciting piece as a LEGO construction. To start with, there's the level of detail on the horses - minifig screwdrivers stick into click hinges to form the tails, studs in all directions to build the imposing face of each horse, and proper harnesses and manes. The builder posted an overview shot of just the horse design, which brings out other details - sculpted legs, hoofs, the angle of the head and neck (I'm going to guess Technic bricks are used to hold that in place) and even half-stud offsets in the middle of the horse's body.

There are also two great miniland-scale figures riding the chariot. I don't think we've seen bearded figures at this scale before, but the technique is as effective as it is simple. The tree and plain landscaping are just the icing on the cake.

Bricks and Pieces Magazine Archive

Name of Feature: Bricks and Pieces magazine archive
Published by: Brickset, but originally by the LEGO company
Found at: http://www.brickset.com/miscellaneous/BricksAndPieces/
Details: In the earlier days of the "LEGO club" that LEGO has run over the years, there was a magazine called "Bricks and Pieces". From what I gather, this magazine was available in the UK before a similar effort was launched in the US. LEGO runs a "free" "club" for kids to this day, but you have to upgrade to the "BrickMaster" version to get anything of interest now - and Europe doesn't have access to the BrickMaster exclusive kits. Highlights of these old magazines include a regular series of articles with a Master Builder, lengthy articles related to building and peripheral activities, and kids' creations that actually look good. It's widely believed that LEGO started intentionally "dumbing down" the "kids' creations" they feature in the later magazines to remove models that looked like they may have been built by parents or hobbyists instead of children (which has the unfortunate side effect of weeding out the better creations made by young people). While I remember seeing some pretty great creations in issues of "Brick Kicks" in the early '90's, most of the models in the later "LEGO Mania Magazine" and "LEGO Club Magazine" haven't been up to par. Newer incarnations of the LEGO club concept have also been criticized for being heavier on advertising compared to earlier versions, but the ads for more LEGO have been there all along.

Why mention this now? Well, Brickset has just announced the beginning of their Bricks and Pieces magazine archive! More issues will be added to the archive as time allows. Maybe after Brickset has all of those available, we could get them to post an archive of "Brick Kicks" as well...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gamble House

Name of Model: Gamble House
Created by: The Brick Scho
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50502540@N08/tags/gamblehouse/
Details: This gorgeous microscale rendition of the Gamble house in Pasadena, California, USA is fantastic. While the source material is an exciting bit of architecture, this LEGO version actually looks even better - the brighter shades of tan and reddish brown really pop, and the dark green here looks phenomenal. The balance of techniques is just right - the windows are flashy enough to stand out but still fairly faithful to the source material. When trying to capture a landmark in microscale, you sometimes need to make a bit of a caricature by emphasizing certain features. In this case, I think that the details where picked out as well as can be at this scale.

Please check out the builder's flickr photostream for additional photos of this model and other spectacular microscale models of real buildings. I tried to add the tag "Gamble House" to all of these photos to make them easier to see here, but for some reason that option wasn't available on a few photos of this model - including one of the better overview shots and the photo showing how the roof sections line up.

From the builder:
Built: 1908 Architects: Brothers Henry & Charles Greene Pasadena, CA

I hope that this has captured the look and feel of the Gamble House.

The Gambles considered selling it, but soon changed their minds when prospective buyers spoke of painting the interior teak and mahogany woodwork white! The Gambles realized the artistic importance of the house and it remained in the Gamble family until 1966, when it was deeded to the city of Pasadena and University. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Up-sized 2 x2 Brick and Other Elements

Name of Model: Just some old tablescraps.
Created by: bradkwiatek (Brad Kwiatek)
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradslegoroom/4897792377/
Details: These LEGO pieces are scaled up by a factor of three (3). The scaling isn't quite perfect (which isn't a slight against the builder - mathematically you just can't do this scale precisely enough on these elements without cutting LEGO pieces), but the parts still clearly look like their regular-sized counterparts. The use of curves near the top of the 1x3 slopes work surprisingly well. I don't believe these stack, but for obvious reasons that feature is difficult to work in when trying to build some of these elements at a larger scale.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Skill Crane: The Claw

Name of Model: Lego Skill Crane: The Claw
Created by: Will Gorman
Found at: http://www.battlebricks.com/lego-skill-crane/ Instructions, program, and parts list at http://www.battlebricks.com/models/lego-skill-crane/
Details: It's rare that I see something that I can immediately understand all the mechanics of, but want to build one of my own anyway. This is one such model - it's a relatively straightforward construction making heavy use of beams and gear racks, and yet it looks like a ton of fun. Apparently it's even durable enough for the builder's kid to play with. Another great thing about this is that the programming is relatively simple - both an RCX and an NXT are used, but they don't actually need to communicate with each other. The end user's controls are fairly directly connected to the motors that move the claw. Do you want to try it too? Great news: the builder has posted a parts list, the instructions, the programs, and a CAD file of the complete model.

BrickFair 2010 Round-Up

Name of Event: BrickFair
Found at: http://www.brickfair.com/
I'm sorry about the sporadic posts lately - we've done as much filling in as we're going to and will be daily again starting now. As mentioned earlier this week by Matthew (Brickapolis), the LMOTD team was at BrickFair last weekend, and we're still recovering from that whirlwind of LEGO action. I personally took nearly a thousand photos in an attempt to exhaustively cover every creation on display and as much of the action as possible. It was exhaustive, alright - I'm still tired from a few late-night photo runs. In addition to photo-taking and running performances of the NXT Robot Band, I also hosted a "Blogger's Roundtable" event, nominated two trophy categories, and got involved with several of the games. A word to the wise: getting truly involved with a LEGO convention can be work that may require a second vacation afterwards.

In addition to my own photos and the links below, we're also expecting more coverage to appear in the coming weeks - my "NXT Robot Band" (prepped for this year's music theme) was videotaped a few times by someone from CBS, and I'd expect their report to show up sometime in September. I'll try to update this page with additional links when I can. As always, you can send in your tips to legomodeloftheday@gmail.com - I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty more come in, thanks to the ~1,000 registrants and nearly 20,000 public visitors.

In the meantime, check out my photos and the photos/videos of these people who didn't win the competition to take the most photos:

BrickJournal flickr set: Brickfair 2010 Preparation
BrickJournal flickr set: Brickfair Set 1
BrickJournal flickr set: Brickfair Set 2
BrickJournal flickr set: Brickfair Set 2 (yes, two with the same title)
Official group pool
BernMarsh's flickr set
notenoughbricks's flickr set
jchanes927's flickr set
cajunjoel's flickr set
Joe Architect's flickr set
MiniBricks Madness' report
KateKintail's brickshelf gallery
pjmoyer's brickshelf gallery
Cale Leiphart's flickr photos
Brothers Brick blurb
qiaochang's flickr set
morganbarr's flickr set
rclaburn's flickr set
Rob Bender's flickr set
AB Quest's flickr photo sets
TJJohn12's flickr sets: Thursday Friday
rschoonover's flickr set
Brickapolis' flickr set
pcgeek's Brickshelf gallery
dan_larson008's flickr set
primus30eight's Brickshelf gallery
billb♥Lego's flickr set
teodude's flickr photos

Some amateur-ish video from goobers who can't handle using terminology correctly, but think you should watch ads for the privilege of seeing their goofy clips (and yes, that's the least snide I can be while describing these):
Fox 5 DC clips
CNN clip

We almost missed this article by some blowhard at the Washington Post who couldn't even be bothered to look up the name of the event, but did find time to write a few insulting and even misogynistic comments for good measure.

We recorded audio of a few festivities at the event - once we've determined if any of it's useful, we may share some of that as well.

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Set Announced: 10216 Winter Village Bakery

Name of Model: 10216 Winter Village Bakery
Created by the LEGO company
Found at: http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=838
Details: Following up on the success of last year's Winter Toy Shop, LEGO is now releasing a Winter Village Bakery.
10216 – Winter Village Bakery
Ages 12+. 687 pieces.
US $ 54.99 UK £ 49.99 DE 54.99 € CA $74.99

Return to yesteryear with this festive holiday scene!

It’s a winter wonderland in this snow-covered little town! A special-delivery evergreen, all ready for decorating, arrives at the tree-seller’s stand by horse-drawn cart, while ice skaters frolic on the frozen pond with colorful lights and a curious owl perched overhead. Just look out for the freshly-shoveled snow piles – one skater has already tumbled in head-first! At the bakery nearby, the friendly baker prepares delicious holiday treats in his oven and rings up sales at the cash register. Push the glowing LEGO Power Functions brick to fill the building with warm interior light! Includes 7 ½ minifigures, snow owl, horse and lots of winter accessories.

Includes 7 ½ minifigures as well as a snow owl and horse!
Features LEGO Power Functions light-up brick which lights the interior of the bakery when you push it!
Includes lots of fun winter accessories like a dark blue minifigure hood with new fur print!
Prepare holiday treats and ring up sales at the cash register!
Skate on the frozen pond made of 8x8 transparent blue plates!
Interesting elements include a camera, tan baguettes, croissants, green apple, 8x8 transparent blue plates, medium blue tiles and even a new ‘caramel’ color for several brick and arch elements outside the bakery!
Features an evergreen tree for decorating, tree seller’s stand and even a horse-drawn cart!
Bakery measures 7" (18 cm) wide!
Completed model (depending on space allocated between the individual parts) measures 16" (40 cm) wide, 12" (30 cm) deep and 7" (18 cm) high!

BrickFair 2010

This past weekend hundreds of LEGO fans of all ages gathered in the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA. This was no small gathering either! With over 700 attendees and just under 20,000 public visitors, BrickFair is America's largest LEGO convention. LEGO conventions like this one are a great way to meet fellow builders, talk shop (and smack), buy some LEGO, and for the first time this year; sell LEGO during a sanctioned "yard sale" time.

We'll post a full round-up this weekend, but here are a few flickr photosets to whet your appetite.
Richard Schoonover's flickr photos
Cale Leiphart's flickr photos
Brendan "BernMarsh"'s flickr photos
Joe Meno's flickr photos

If you were wondering whether or not to attend a Lego event/convention near you, take the plunge! It's tons of fun!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

2007 0937 Event: Matosinhos

Name of Event: Event: Matosinhos
By: 0937
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/0937/sets/72157624487962835/with/4842675130/
Details: The Portuguese LEGO community 0937 hosted this event in Matosinhos back in 2007. They recently posted 124 photos of the event on their group flickr account. It appears to have been another great show.
In the interest of catching back up, we're calling this the "model of the day" for the remaining two days in last week

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Solar-Powered NXT Rover

Name of Model: dSolar Goes to Washington
Created by: John Cole of Dexter Industries, Inc.
Found at: http://dexterindustries.com/blog/2010/08/02/dsolar-goes-to-washington/
Details: Dexter Industries has been catching some attention lately in the LEGO Mindstorms NXT community for their custom accessories for the NXT. This video is of a demonstration of their solar panels, but they also make a pneumatic pressure sensor, a flexible sensor, a temperature sensor, and even a switch for a wall outlet. If you're looking to expand the capabilities of your NXT, their store isn't a bad place to start. The solar panels look pretty good in action, and apparently these two are enough to power this rover.
This is Monday's model of the day - we're still recuperating post-BrickFair, but will make up the missing days and properly wrap up this past weekend's events.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Name of Model: 300
Created by: Stefan Kasmayer
Found at: Flickr
Details: Here at LMOTD, we've got a soft spot when it comes to cool scenery and collectible minifigures. And when you combine both in the context of an action movie, we just can't resist. Here's to Sparta and the second wave of collectible minifigures from Lego.

Monday, August 9, 2010

English Mansion

Name of Model: "MiniFig English Mansion"
Created by: Anthony De Wynter
Found at: MOCpages
Details: It's always a pleasant surprise to find a lovely creation while browsing through MOCpages galleries. This large "English mansion" blows me away. With its imposing yet glass filled facade, numerous windows and chimneys this mansion would be at home in Surrey.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mall of America Imagination Center Grand Opening Photos

Name of photo set: LEGO Imagination Center Grand Opening Aug 11, 1992
Photos by: Garth Danielson
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/32515058@N02/sets/72157624540253918/with/4810157257/
Details: It's time to step into the time machine and have a look at LEGO's first retail outlet in the United States at it's grand opening in August of 1992. That's right - after 18 years, photos of the Grand Opening of the original LEGO Imagination Center at the Mall of America have finally surfaced. A full 75 of them are in this flickr set, covering what looks like most of the store. The displays featured a variety of sculptures representing both sets from (and in the case of the pseudo-futuron spacemen to the left, before) 1992 and completely original characters. The theme seems to be classic LEGO whimsy, with giant LEGO elements all over the place - but there are plenty of dinosaurs and spaceships there for good measure. Some things you see in these photos are still in the LEGO Imagination Center to this day, but others didn't last too long. See if you can spot some of the new for 1992 kits mixed in to the displays.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Set Announced: 10214 Tower Bridge

Name of Model: 10214 – Tower Bridge
Created by the LEGO company
Found at: http://www.brothers-brick.com/2010/08/06/10214-tower-bridge-unveiled-at-brickfair-news/
Jamie Berard introduced this model at the end of his "Concept Models" seminar yesterday:

10214 – Tower Bridge
Ages 16+. 4,287 pieces.
Price: US=239.99, UK=204.99, DE=219.99, CA=314.99

Build London’s famous Tower Bridge!
Stretching over the River Thames since 1894, the famous Tower Bridge of London, England is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Now you can add this timeless classic to your LEGO world buildings collection! Designed with advanced building techniques and rare colors and elements, the Tower Bridge is complete with its iconic paired towers and a drawbridge that really opens. Fun to build and display, it locks together solidly but can be taken apart in sections for easy transport. Includes 4 miniature vehicles; a black London taxi, a traditional red double-decker bus, a yellow truck and a green automobile. Completed model measures 40″ (102 cm) long, 17″ (45 cm) high and 10″ (26 cm) wide.
• Includes 4 miniature vehicles: a black London taxi, a yellow truck, green automobile and even a traditional red double-decker bus!
• Features the iconic paired towers and a drawbridge that really opens and closes!
• Includes unique printed shield!
• Features hundreds of 1×1 slopes in tan!
• Many useful arches, angular bricks in tan!
• Includes 4 blue base plates and over 80 windows!
• Tower Bridge is ideal for building and display – it can be taken apart in sections for easy transport!
• Add this amazing landmark to your LEGO world buildings collection!
• Completed model measures an impressive 40″ (102 cm) long, 17″ (45 cm) high and 10″ (26 cm) wide.

Also check out this video for behind-the-scenes goodies (video won’t be live until 8PM EST):
Tower Bridge Video

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bionicle Crabs Coming to BrickFair 2010

Name of Model: Zipper Crab
Created by: ~Blue Diamond~
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38826842@N02/4831916457/
Details: Somewhere along the way, the BZPower Bionicle community decided to have a crab crawl-in at BrickFair 2010. While I'm sure they'll look pretty intimidating together as a group, I was planning on not featuring them individually, in spite of the cool techniques that inevitably show up when such small parts are being used. Fortunately, The Un-Sung Brick rounded up a few that are already online. I will be personally making sure we have photos of all of them at the convention - and if they're all as good as what we've seen so far, it's bound to be a great display.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Star Wars-Inspired Servant Mech

Name of Model: WA-1 Servent Droid
Created by: ProjectGregory
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/projectgregory/tags/wa7/
Details: It appears that someone has discovered an awesome new monowheel technique that makes use of those obnoxious tread pieces some of us have too many of. To top it off, he then built this droid/mech inspired by a similar servant droid character in the second Star Wars prequel. The result is surprisingly charming and well-balanced.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Events This Weekend

Believe it or not, BrickFair isn't the only LEGO event this weekend (just the biggest and the only one I'll be at). Here are two more:

LEGOLAND California is hosting Star Wars Days on August 7th and 8th.

In Australia, Canberra BrickExpo is on Sunday, August 8th.


Found at: http://www.hispabrickmagazine.com/
Details: Normally I try to pick a robotics-based model to feature on Monday, but today, the best recent Mindstorms item to point you toward is actually an online magazine. Generally, the magazine I plug here is BrickJournal, which is available in print and published in English. However, Hispabrick Magazine (which is published online and aimed at the Spanish-speaking LEGO fan community - and can now be read/downloaded in an English version) is increasingly becoming noteworthy as well. The most recent issue, 008, is focused on Mindstorms NXT. Several members of the Mindstorms Community Partners team are profiled, and there are also interviews with Eric Albrecht (aka Blakbird) of Technicopedia fame and even current heir to the LEGO dynasty Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen himself.

Interestingly, in spite of the Spanish-speaking focus, some of the articles cover people and models from places that don't speak English or Spanish.

In addition to the great Mindstorms coverage, there are also plenty of non-robotics articles in this issue (and previous issues) as well - so if we skip day or two of blogging here (in favor of getting more going at BrickFair), consider this to be the "model" for the missing days as well.

You can view or download the magazine in English and/or Spanish from the link above.

Now, if only we could buy Hispabrick English in BrickJournal-style print compendiums...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

LEGO at Comic Con Round-Up

Name of Event: Comic Con
LEGO models created by: various people, with the bulk provided by the LEGO company
Found at: http://www.comic-con.org/
Details: I've previously mentioned some of the Star Wars related news from this year's Comic Con, but that's just the beginning of the LEGO news there. As in years past, the event is loosely focused on comics, but other topics have found a home there - LEGO's role is primarily based on licensed kits and video games, but the print side of LEGO fandom has a presence there too.

"Model Gal" Mariann Asanuma is clearly winning covering Comic Con for LEGO fans:

San Diego Comic Con — Preview Night 2010
Comic Con 2010 Thursday and Friday
Comic Con Exclusive CubeDudes Review
Model Gal's flickr photos

Here's more LEGO-specific coverage of Comic Con on "teh intarwebs":
FBTB: Comic Con Recap
BrickJournal: LEGO Related Events at Comic Con
Joe Meno's flickr photos
statelyenglishmanor's flickr photos
hobbes3000's flickr photos

Feel free to send in your links to additional Comic Con coverage, but keep in mind that we're trying to keep this largely LEGO-related and not just plugging all the tech/game/comic coverage of the event.

Photo above taken by Mariann Asanuma of aspiring Model Builder Gabriel Cuevas, who created his LEGO Comic Con shirt by using a ThinkGeek brick baseplate t-shirt.