Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Modulex Greenhouse

Name of Model: Modulex Greenhouse
Created by: Karyn Traphagen at MiniBricks Madness
Found at: and
Details: One of the highlights (among many) of this year's BrickFair was a resurgence in the amount of models there made out of Modulex. I've previously written about Modulex, but my only experience with seeing these little bricks in person has been at BrickFair these past two years. With the exception of the fan (which is a combination of parts found in a few Atlantis sets), this greenhouse is made entirely out of modulex pieces. Complete with an interior, this is easily the most detailed modulex model I've seen so far. I had no idea that there were so many clear modulex parts or modulex window elements to work with. The colors didn't surprise me, but they are a bit different than what we're used to seeing - modulex colors and regular LEGO colors don't line up (since Modulex was made for architects and actually spun off into a separate company, there wasn't any reason to keep the colors consistent with the LEGO system of play).

If you're interested in reading more about Modulex or trying out Modulex bricks for yourself, you can actually purchase some from the builder of this model at her website.

Fresh from a LEGOLAND Model Maker

Name of Model: Legoland Model Maker - Windsor
Created by: Justin Ramsden
Found at:
Details: Recently spotted on flickr: a set of photos reportedly showing the work of a new-ish master builder at LEGOLAND Windsor. The photos are high quality and do appear to be of the sort of models you'd expect to see at the park, so I'm going to assume they're really from LEGOLAND. Miniland-scale highlights include the five photos of a sports car (pictured to the left), a beefeater, and two shots of Doctor Who characters. There are also photos of a ball sculpture and parts of a miniland-scale model of the ticket booths at the Kennedy Space Center.
This is Tuesday's model of the day

Robotics Monday: Making A Custom Galvanic Skin Response Sensor

Name of Model: Galvanic Skin Response Sensor
Created by: Michael Gasperi
Found at:
Details: I'm generally not a big fan of custom sensors (or so-called "lie detectors", which are notoriously unreliable), but the simplicity of this project makes it stand out as the sort of homebrew electronics activity that pretty much anyone can handle. This custom sensor can be used with RCX or NXT (although I do recommend that you use other cables instead of cutting your LEGO 9V cables - it's relatively easy to connect other wires under a LEGO 9V connector, and LEGO will not be making any more 9V cables) - it takes advantage of the fact that raw resistance is trivial to measure using the LEGO hardware. Additionally, some extra activities that can be done with this custom sensor are suggested at the same webpage linked above.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Archiving the Moonbase Standard

Name of Model: moonbase
Created by various people, but today's photos are offered on flickr by: jonpalmer
Found at:
Details: LEGO Space fans have a hard time putting together group layouts. They, understandably, used to feel pretty left out when fans of other evergreen themes put together large collaborative set-ups - while there are relatively simple ways to set up town layouts or giant castle battle scenes, it's not terribly easy to create a space layout as a group. The Moonbase standard is an attempt at creating a standard for a large, planet-based space station so that LEGO conventions can include a cohesive giant Space display. Inevitably, there are still more spaceships than will really fit on the layout, but it's still the best way for space-loving builders to work together and create something enormous.

While the popularity of moonbase has waxed and waned over the years (primarily as a result of the moonbase website being available on a less-than-consistent basis), it retains a presence at seemingly every convention of adult fans of LEGO (or "AFOLs"). Now, the photos explaining how to build in this standard are saved in the flickr set I'm featuring today. If you're registered for an upcoming LEGO convention, you no longer have "I can't find the standard!" as an excuse for not joining in the space-y fun.
This is Sunday's model of the day

Sunday, September 26, 2010

When Colors Attack

Name of Model: Color Impact
Created by: pirate_cat (James zhan)
Found at:
Details: Among adult LEGO builders, rainbow-colored creations are often mocked. "Rainbow warrior" is a term used to deride kid's creations that don't have any sense of color - never mind that only an adult's hobby budget can handle buying the part/color combination you need to make something look just right. Occasionally, though, someone will build something rainbow-colored that is actually quite great, and wouldn't work if it had that more "professional" sheen we're used to seeing. Sometimes, the bright multi-colored monsters have their revenge...

This also counts as the best-yet use of the collectible minifigures Mime, from the current series.
This is Saturday's model of the day

Mickey Mosiac

Name of Model: Lego Mickey Mosaic
Created by: my_disney_pics
Found at:
Details: A simple tip for making mosaics look decent color-wise is to try using cartoons and other brightly-colored imagery as your source material. If something already uses bright primary colors, it'll be easier to build it with parts you actually have on hand (while not losing too much of the image quality). Naturally, this makes "Mickey Salutes America" look pretty great in LEGO form.
This is Friday's model of the day

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Classic Car Promo Kit (from the Troy, Michigan LEGO Store Opening)

Name of Model: LEGO Store Opening Promos
Photos by: Reasonably Clever Chris
Found at:
Details: I'm not sure who actually designed today's model - it was a promotional kit for a LEGO store opening just outside Detroit. Every time a LEGO store opens, they have a different limited edition one-day-only first-so-many-people to spend $35 set to promote the store. Usually, there's also a child's size t-shirt for the event on the day without the event kit, and LEGO generally schedules a Master Builder build event for the weekend of the store's grand opening as well. LEGO has an official page for this new store, and if there's a LEGO store opening coming up near you, make sure to check out the opening weekend so you don't miss out on these goodies!

The model itself features some mildly clever techniques - note the use of steering wheels as wheels on this model, and the use of a 1x1 brick with studs on all sides with some clear cheese slopes to make the lamp. While this isn't quite minifig scale (those seats are much too small for that even though this does come in at 6-studs wide), the wheel and lamp techniques are definitely worth "borrowing" for minifig-scale creations. Since this uses mostly common parts, you can try building your own with the instructions posted on flickr by Reasonably Clever Chris - who, by the way, is still running his popular Reasonably Clever webcomic (although with an unusual cast and plotline this week).

Terrified Human Head on a Stick

Name of Model: Mr. Sharkman's Famous Street Food
Created by: tomi&tree
Found at:'s%20Famous%20Street%20Food
Details: We've all had days where we've wanted to shish-kabob people, sell them to a shark, run them through a LEGO rotisserie cooker, and feed them to rock monsters, right? Right? Here's a model to cheer you up on those days. A light, minifig-scale spoof of a street-side food vendor, this is actually geared so that the heads spin (and cook evenly) when a hand crank is used (there's video!)

Of course, what really sells it is the terrified minifig facial expressions. Well, that, the fire in front of the line of excited rock monsters, and the spectacular use of color. Magenta slopes look great on the frame, transparent pink flowers perfectly fill the spaces between heads, and translucent red bricks on the sides of the cooker give this the look of a proper grill.

In a phrase: it's a delicacy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ben 10's Swampfire - As a Motorcycle!

Name of Model: Swampfire Motorcycle
Created by: Moctagon Jones
Found at:
Details: You may be familiar with the "impossible to build with" series of Ben 10 Alien Force LEGO action figures. This model takes the Swampfire kit and turns it into a motorcycle. Not so useless now, is it? The wheel assemblies make great use of Technic bits to attach into the few connecting spots that the Ben 10 parts actually have. The handle bars make great use of the minifig gun/torch element to use the holes the Ben 10 torso has for spikes. Rumor has it that that element is being phased out in favor of a newer, simpler mold soon - either way, it's great for turning odd bits intended for bars that fit minifig hands into places you can build off of.

Robotics Monday: NXT Trumpet with dPressure Sensor

Name of Model: NXT Trumpet
Created by: linmix
Found at:
Details: This NXT-based trumpet uses a Dexter Industries dPressure pressure sensor with one of the older style pneumatic pumps (I believe one of the earliest ones, actually) to create a mouthpiece that responds to how far it is pushed in. That plus three touch sensors (and what I'd imagine to be a considerable amount of programming) allows you to actually play music on this.

A similar design (that isn't well documented online anywhere, but is a staple of the builder's appearances at LEGO conventions) was built by Steve Hassenplug. That one measured rotation for the mouthpiece input.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Large, Realistic, Functional Truck

Name of Model: US Truck 2
Created by: 2LegoOrNot2Lego Ingmar Spijkhoven
Found at: MOCPages:
Details: This truck in the Model Team style has enough working features to put the sets in that theme to shame. Using Power Functions motors, this truck has proper steering, outriggers, and is powered strongly enough to function as a remote-control toy. In the video where the suspension system is demonstrated, it sounds like the gears strain a little bit - but the fact that this can handle it's own weight at all is enough of a feat even if it does strain a few parts. Then there's those looks - the bold red, white, blue, dark blue, and chrome silver looks fantastic. Coming in somewhere around miniland scale, this is one of the larger trucks I've seen, and no detail or feature had to be spared to make it work.
This is Saturday's model of the day

Large Strawberry Sculpture

Name of Model: Fruit
Created by: aresze
Found at:
Details: There aren't enough fruit sculptures in the world. Particularly of the giant variety. While I'm always a fan of small-ish sculptures, this one kicks it up a notch by being both small and super-sized - and then, for extra whimsy, the builder throws in a chef minifig attempting to put this giant berry on a plate.
This is Friday's model of the day

Sunday, September 19, 2010

428 LEGOLAND Windsor Photos

Name of Photo Set: Legoland Windsor
Photos by: Karen Roe
Found at:
Details: Yes, it's time for another great trip to LEGOLAND. Just look at the detail in the picture I've highlighted here - it's close-up enough that you could actually try to build your own working from the photo. There are 428 photos in this flickr set in all, and most of them are fantastic detail shots of the sculptures in the park. Miniland's included too.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Lee Jones Memorial Dollhouse

Name of Model: The Lee Jones Memorial Dollhouse
Created by: Heather LEGOgirl
Found at:
Details: In a rare move, I blogged work-in-progress photos of this model. It's now complete, and the old WIP links now point to the finished model. The updated photos feature some great stuff, and you know we would have featured some of this furniture had it been posted separately. The room shown here is new, as is the living room. Lots of great details in the 21 photos here, but you can stop me since you've heard this one before.
This is Wednesday's model of the day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mosaic of Batman and Robin Minifigs

Name of Model: LEGO Batman: The Mosaic
Created by: Mariann Asanuma
Found at:
Details: Built for the September 2008 launch event for the LEGO Batman video game, this mosaic captures the cartoonish likeness of the game's version of Batman and Robin. Infamously, the LEGO Batman sets and minifigures were discontinued before the video game came out - so most of the promotional materials for the game use these more cartoon-y versions of the characters instead of ones that look more like LEGO minifigs. Per her usual style, Mariann built some sections sideways and some right side up to get more details in a relatively small space. Additionally, custom stickers were used for the bats and Robin's belt.
This is Friday's model of the day

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tin Robot Toy

Name of Model: Lego Tin Robot
Created by: yo3l
Found at:

One of these is a LEGO model, and the other is a tin robot toy. Both have chests that open for amusing reasons. For more details on the inspiration for this model, click on it's photo above. No, I'm not telling you which is which. Now if only the LEGO version was just as functional...

Don't miss the minifigures cleaning him and repairing his insides.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Caveman in the Woods

Name of Model: A long, long time ago
Created by: Etzel
Found at:
Details: The Collectible Minifigures line has inspired a ton of goofiness, but surprisingly few decent large-scale scenes. Here's one fantastic scene, built around the Caveman minifigure from series 1. The landscaping is fantastic, with some unusual colors and textures - note the use of the new Prince of Persia arches (in the new color from that same line) to make trees, the careful placement of vines, and the use of lever bases on top of flower stems. The campsite is also a nice touch.
This is Thursday's model of the day

Arduino-Enhanced TARDIS

Name of Model: Lego TARDIS
Created by: JustJon
Found at:
While the NXT may be the reigning champion of the LEGO robotics world, there's actually another hobby platform that's caught in on the broader maker/robotics/hacker community. That's the arduino board. Although the arduino is completely open (and open source), different "shields" can be added to quickly add new features to the base microcontroller. In this case, a wave shield was used to allow this TARDIS to play the Doctor Who theme at regular intervals. The TARDIS (which stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) is the Doctor's famous vehicle that is bigger on the inside (and has a few other interesting features - the Wikipedia article on the topic is terrifyingly large). This was a huge hit at this year's BrickFair, where Jon also led a seminar to fill us in on the possibilities of using the arduino platform in LEGO models.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

LUGNUTS' The Scuzz And The Fuzz Roundup

Name of Model: Volkswagen Passat
Created by: Mad physicist
Round up found at:
Details: It's time for another LUGNUTS' roundup. This past month, the flickr-based car building club's monthly challenge theme was "the scuzz and the fuzz" - a sort of police and criminals theme. As usual, it's brought up a great set of car models in a variety of scales. My personal favorite that is not by lego911 (a great builder but he's not the only LUGNUT deserving of our attention) is this Volkswagen Passat, based on the unmarked vehicles frequently used for undercover surveillance in the Netherlands. There's often a few clever takes on a theme that keep all the cars from being too similar (although in the case of this challenge, there were enough options that there wasn't much overlap in what people actually built), and this completely unmarked vehicle looks great without looking like too much of a police car.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In-Depth Architectural Detailing on a Castle

Name of Model: The Lost Castle in my dream
Created by: zgreenz
Found at:
Details: There are plenty of times when you need greebling or architectural details on a model. Sometimes it's just an accent on a larger model, other times (like in this case), nearly every surface looks like a technique study of some sort. Many of the 85 photos of this model are detail shots, some of which even include asides explaining the individual pieces used to get certain textures. Oh, and did I mention that this actually looks like a great castle?
This is Saturday's model of the day. The pages for the models originally selected for Thursday and Friday were removed before they would have been shared here, so we have removed those posts and will be selecting other models instead.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Minifig Scale "Upgraded" Hogsmeade Station

Name of Model: Hogsmeade Station (these links go to all of this builder's Harry Potter creations, but a Brickshelf Gallery with more photos of this model will be available soon)
Created by: _Matn
Found at:
Details: There are a dedicated few Harry Potter fanatics who have been building Harry Potter based LEGO models even when no official sets in that theme have been released (they are now reviving the line). While I'm specifically focusing on this fantastic train station, based on Hogsmeade Station, most of the links actually point to the builder's full assortment of Harry Potter-based creations. When re-creating scenes and places from a franchise that has been shown in multiple formats, one of the big issues is deciding which version to build. LEGO recently decided in one of their new kits, The Burrow, that they're tying their version of things to the movies instead of the books. In the case of this model, we're actually seeing a version of the train station that doesn't match the movies, video games, or books - it's an "upgraded" version of the building from after the Harry Potter stories. I guess that means this is technically a Harry Potter "fanfic" model - which I'll allow on the grounds that it's an awesome model. The landscaping, architectural details, and even the minifig posing all comes across as extremely realistic. While this a good example of keeping flashy techniques from getting in the way of a good design, the rear features a footbridge with some fantastic angled sections that only enhance the overall look.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An Open Book

Name of Model: blank pages
Created by: blinq
Found at:
Details: Here is a very simple and elegant design. While I'm not sure this scale is particularly useful, it's a surprisingly recognizable book. Built on a 4x6 plate, and using two of the Slope, Curved 2 x 4 x 2/3 No Studs piece for the middle of the pages, this entire model uses only 8 pieces. Since this is apparently "LEGO book" day here at LMOTD, we'll all be trying to build a few of these.

Tora no Maki in Print in US

Name of Book: Tora no Maki
Created by: ISOGAWA Yoshihito
Found at:
Details: Early this year, I recommended a phenomenal book about LEGO mechanisms. The book was offered in PDF format as shareware. That book is still available in that form, but will soon also be available through No Starch Press in three-volume book form. While there was previously a printed version available in Japanese, this edition will be in English (and of course, the photos are the main attraction). Now the non-mechanical builders out there have even less of an excuse for not adding moving or interactive features to their creations.

(via TechnicBricks)

Review of LEGO: A Love Story by Jonathan Bender

Sorry to those of you who read us through RSS or other syndication tools - this is a lightly edited version of the post that originally appeared on September 7th. We're unable to force it to not reappear in the feeds.

LEGO: A Love Story by Jonathan Bender. Wiley; 296 pages; $24.95 or £16.99.

LEGO: A Love Story
Jonathan Bender is a freelance journalist that lives in Kansas City, he has written for the Huffington Post... and he builds with LEGO bricks. LEGO: A Love Story tells the tale of Jonathan Bender’s initiation into the world of the American AFOL (Adult-Fan-Of-LEGO). From sitting down with a pile of random LEGO bricks and wondering what to build, questioning your building skills, getting your family members into the world of LEGO, attending a LEGO show and convention for the first time; this book covers all of the LEGO community "bases".

LEGO: A Love Story could be considered the first memoir about the LEGO hobby. Never before has the world of the AFOL been documented in this fashion; AFOLs have podcasts, video blogs, magazines, blogs, and online journals, but no full length books. LEGO is a visual medium by nature, bricks come in odd colors and shapes and creations can often defy even the wildest imaginations. So writing a book about the intricacies of LEGO creations and their construction processes without the aid of photographs would be an exercise in futility. LEGO: A Love Story is not about building LEGO creations, but about really building with LEGO, building upon one's character.

A creative work wouldn't be creative if it was everything to everyone, and LEGO: A Love Story does fall short in some areas. The author tends to over describe peoples appearance; their hair color, height, accent, dress, and other peculiarities. Reading the book you are confronted with a plethora of names, places, and numbers. Navigating through all of this can sometimes entail re-reading passages to fully comprehend them; this turns into a nuisance quickly.

Despite the book's short comings LEGO: A Love Story is a great read for any serious LEGO builder trying to get an idea of what the "LEGO community" is like. Whether you’re someone who has just rediscovered your childhood love of LEGO bricks, or someone who has been building with LEGO bricks as an adult for years; LEGO: A Love Story will open your eyes to what can be achieved with a pile of plastic bricks: anything.

LMOTD was provided a review copy of this book. This is Matthew's review, Dan's review will be up as soon as possible.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Robotics Monday: NXT Sequencer

Name of Model: NXT Sequencer
Created by: Damien Kee
Found at:
Details: Making music with the NXT can be difficult. In my experience, there's a ton of great sounds you can make with the NXT, but the big problem is getting something loud enough to be enjoyable. The difficulty in hearing NXT-based music means that only interactive music presented in small areas actually ends up being enjoyable. Here's another robot that excels in that arena - a "sequencer" that spins and makes a sound based on the color "seen" by the color sensor. Looks like fun - now if only someone could find a practical way to make the speaker louder so we could "play" this "instrument" at proper concerts...

QuéLUG at ExpoRail

Name of Show: Petits trains, grandes passions (which roughtly translates to "Small trains, huge passion")
Created by: QuéLUG (which also has an official flickr)
Found at:
Details: Recently, QuéLUG put on a show at ExpoRail. This two-day show at the Canadian Railway Museum appears to have been a great success. The theme this year was "coastal town" and the group worked together to combine many great models into this spectacular layout.

There are 287 photos to see in the official flickr photoset.

Edited 9/11/2010 to correct event name.

Containment - Rebuilt in Microscale

Name of Model: Containment - Rebuilt
Created by: Tyler Clites (Legohaulic)
Found at:
Details: Remember the Containment layout that was unveiled at this year's BrickWorld? It's been re-done at a smaller scale. This was necessary in order to make that giant two-person layout fit comfortably on one person's shelf. Sadly, this meant removing some of the features - no lights, sound, or movement in this microscale version (yes - we seem to have found an application that would require a still smaller iPod). In spite of that, though, a surprising amount of detail was able to be squeezed back in, and the layout is fairly recognizable.
This is Saturday's model of the day

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vestas Promotional Display

Name of Model: unknown
Photos by: Mike Walsh, Melonkernel, and LegoEH0520 (Sorry, no separate flickr set for that last one)
Found at: various places, click the above links for photos
Details: In late 2008, many LEGO fans were disappointed that they wouldn't be able to order the Vestas-employee exclusive Vestas wind turbine set that LEGO made. More recently, a LEGO/Vestas display surfaced in an airport in Sweden, which might not be the only such display. The display makes an interesting use of mixed scales, featuring a miniland-scale dollhouse, a minifig-scale layout, and larger sculptures.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Epic Sandcastle for LEGOLAND Lifetime Members

Name of Model: Ambassador build
Created by: MrGSnot / Gary McIntire (photo by monsterbrick / Matt Armstrong)
Found at:
Details: LEGOLAND master builder Gary McIntire designed this sand castle model as an exclusive for lifetime members of LEGOLAND California. Lifetime members get exclusive access to one model builder session per year - during which they get a personal "building lesson" with a master builder from the park and get an exclusive kit with rare or unreleased parts. LEGOLAND parks frequently have access to parts that are not available in kits so that their master builders don't have to worry about tracking down "rare" part/color combinations. This sand castle set includes some yet-to-be-released tan cheese slopes, as well as some larger tan slope elements that aren't available in any kit. Occasionally, you do see a part that was once LEGOLAND exclusive appear in later sets, but the lifetime member exclusive sets will always have some parts that haven't been available anywhere else yet.

Oh - did I mention that this is also a really nice model? Note the use of a flag element as a drawbridge, the use of 1x1 plates with teeth on the tallest tower, and the clever use of two different scales.

UPDATE 9/7: More photos of the ambassador class have now been uploaded to flickr by Mariann Asanuma
9/20: ...and now she's also blogged about it.

A Modular Manor

Name of Model: The-same-Manor-rebuilt
Created by: kevin8
Found at:
Details: kevin8 first built this local manor some time ago, but recently decided to retool it. The result is this little treat, which is full of hinged walls so that you can see the fully-furnished interior.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We've all done this, right?

Here's another "moment of zen" post before I pick a real model for today (I'll probably post one tonight). Spotted at the increasingly silly There I Fixed It:

We've all done this, right? I mean, yes, you should absolutely use sturdier parts than those, particularly if you want to hold books, but still - we've all built fresh shelves. Right? Right?

At least, that's where my QUATRO bricks have been going lately...