Friday, April 29, 2011

Pod Racing Goes Better With Coca-Cola

Name of Model: Coke Racer
Created by: Pepa Quin
Found at:
Details: No, we would never succumb to product placement. Never! We're like a popular 60's pop group, and just naturally suggest that Things Go Better With Coca-Cola occasionally without skipping a beat. In this case, we see Coke logos and iconography brilliantly added to a Star Wars-style pod racer. The technique for the roughly life-size cans is particularly clever - and fortunately for coke fiends like myself, well detailed in the work-in-progress photos of this model. Building a round mosaic with a size requirement is an impressive feat, even without working it into a complete model concept.

Although this wasn't entered into the contest that inspired it, the challenge was to build a pod racer in a non-Star Wars theme that LEGO has licensed. Not only was this clear winner not allowed in the end, but the LEGO Star Wars fan community has proven itself unable to create even one pod racer based on Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer, or Winnie the Pooh.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

8 Original Models from the Parts in Set 8048

Name of Model: My own creations from set 8048
Created by: Tomik
Found at:
Details: Here's another set of winners for our alternate models category - which recognizes great original creations based on parts from only one kit. In this case, there are actually 8 new models shown (all of which can be built with the 314 parts in set 8048 Buggy)- a motorbike, a plane, two trike designs, a helicopter, a wasp, a rabbit, and a dinosaur. As you would expect with alternate models from a Technic kit, some of these have working features - a knob in the back make the rabbit's arms move, for example, and the motorbike features working suspension and an engine with pistons that pump as you roll it along.

A Baby Chick and Easter Eggs

Name of Model: Happy Easter 2011
Created by: schfio
Found at:
Details: You may have heard that it was Easter this past weekend. For the occasion, this builder created this spectacular sculpture of a baby chick with easter eggs. Although the building-in-all-directions technique is still fairly novel (and frequently done with the aid of a computer), this builder has started making it a main part of his style and incorporated elements that can't easily be specified in a computer-generated design. Note how the little wings are attached by a clip instead of being sculpted on. The use of round eyes and a nose pushed between studs perpendicular to it are also great touches (which also serve to emphasize that this design is more than just a computer-generated pattern).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Four LEGO Delta Robots

Name of Model: Four Lego Delta Robots
Created by: Shep (Tinkernology)
Found at:
Details: You may remember the first LEGO flexpicker robot built by today's builder a little over two years ago. While an excellent project, it wasn't the most realistic use of the technology - generally speaking, multiple delta robots are used together as part of an assembly line. Although that would be a mere quibble for most of us, it was reason enough for the builder to give it another go, applying various new techniques and algorithms to improve performance and reduce size compared to the original. A full description is at the site listed above.

Hong Kong's LEGO Exhibition 2011 at Cityplaza

Name of Model: LEGO Exhibition 2011
Created by various builders
Found at: ? (if you know of an official website or flyer for this event, please let us know)
Details: Here we have one of the most difficult things to round up photos of - a large, apparently nameless (if it has a website or flyer, I haven't been able to find it) display built by many builders that will be on display for a fairly long period of time. You can visit this display from April 15th through May 2nd at Hong Kong's Cityplaza. We'll be trying to round up as much meaningful coverage of the event as possible.

Brothers Brick summary (includes some information about the displays and builders)
(blxbrx) blog post
Bo-Chi Workshop's flickr photos
Kwok-wai YUEN's flickr photos
ArzLan's Brickshelf gallery
hermanwest's flickr photos
WilliamCK Lee's flickr photos
*Fung*'s flickr photos
Ngok's flickr photos
gillianRice's flickr photos
totoro n_n's flickr photos
Nicolas Guyon (guyonicolas)'s flickr photos
charlingling's flickr photos
algabbe's flickr photos

4/29: We've found a flyer.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rolling Ball Clock

Name of Model: This clock is based on the Arrow Handicraft Deluxe Rolling Ball Clock
Created by: bobko
Found at:
Details: You can use this ball clock to tell time. The third row tells the hours, the second row gives 5 minutes increments and the remainder is shown by the first row of balls. Mechanical logic keeps the balls flowing into the right places. In a technique I'm surprised I haven't seen in a Great Ball Contraption module yet, a ball lift is made out of chain with a few pieces of tread in the middle. Half-width beams are then able to attach to the treads.
Building instructions for this model are also included in the Brickshelf gallery.

Villa Maison - Revisited

Name of Model: Villa Maison Revisited
Created by: Marcos Bessa
Found at:
Details: We've touched on this design before, back when instructions were made available for it. Originally, it only existed in that digital form, but now one has been made of real bricks. A few minor modifications had been made (forcing a few parts into a dark green color, making some structural improvements), but otherwise the design is still the same. What makes it so special is that this model is being auctioned off on eBay as part of Creations for Charity, which is currently raising money for relief efforts in Japan.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Modernized Microscale Soviet Cruiser

Name of Model: A modernized version of the Sverdlov class cruiser. Includes a fixed triple launcher for SS-N-3B anti-ship missiles and a SAM launcher for the SA-2 missile.
Created by: Einon
Found at:
Details: I was having trouble determining the exact ship that the builder referenced in the title of this model, but this ship is based on a large soviet battlecruiser. The bold color scheme and microscale detailing help to make it stand out.

Garrison of Moriah

Name of Model: Garrison of Moriah
Created by: gerburrows (Gerry Burrows)
Found at:
Details: We've seen other epic models before - but never anything quite this ambitious. This room-eating display was built in about 9 months by one person. In some of the photos, you can see a bit of a bridge and a couch. The LEGO bridge actually goes completely to the other end of the couch, where more is being added to this colossal model. One interesting technique used to quickly reach some of the heights seen here is using baseplates at various angles - in the image shown here, the large grey expanses are all 48x48 (15 inches square) baseplates. Don't miss the second centerpiece, which is a bit more Castle-y and features some great landscaping. The inside of the arena (behind the large statue) is surprisingly detailed considering how hard it must be to get in there and move the minifigs around.

I, for one, can't wait to see what's on the other side of that bridge.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Piece of Cake

Name of Model: It's My Birthday
Created by: powerpig (Chris McVeigh)
Found at:
Details: I've seen plenty of cakes over the years, but this one, erm, "takes the cake". The upside-down plates used in the middle make for a surprisingly believable cake-y texture. The frosting on the outside is similarly good use of texture - having studs face out in every direction captures the look better than tiles or the sides of bricks could. The 1x1 round plates (and the similar flowery element) make great sprinkles.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NXT-Controlled Pinhole Camera

Name of Model: legocamera
Created by: bshikin
Found at:
Details: People have been using analog film with LEGO pieces to make pinhole cameras for years, but this is the first one I've seen that is controlled by a microprocessor. The description offered falls just short of full instructions - the complete source code (which includes such features as a film winding angle calculator and shutter speed calculator) is available to view or download. Since it tracks how much film is left, you never have to worry about exposing the rest of the film before you want to.

Housekeeping Note

It's come to my attention that some recent posts have been showing up out of order. Since I've been less active here lately (I'd rather be building than writing, and we do have BrickMagic right around the corner), I've been relying on posts I've written earlier. The dates seem to have slipped by, but I do believe they're back in the correct order now. There still aren't enough of them to make up for lost time, so we're going to skip a week and get back to today's model of the day. Sorry for the inconvenience - now let's try this again.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Star Wars Miniland is Now Open at LEGOLAND California

Name of Model: Star Wars Miniland
Created by: LEGOLAND California Master Builders
Found at:
Details: You may remember that Star Wars Miniland opened recently. It's gotten a considerable amount of attention. You know what that means - it's coverage round up time.

Official coverage:
LEGO® STAR WARS™ Miniland Webcam
Press release: Carrie Fisher Returns to “A Galaxy Far, Far Away” for the Grand Opening of STAR WARS™™ Miniland at LEGOLAND® California
There's an official LEGOLAND California YouTube channel with several videos related to the opening event and the new display.

Highlights of the unofficial coverage we've seen:
Mariann Asanuma's report (includes photos and a video)
Mariann Asanuma's advance preview (from March 5th - she also has some Star Wars flickr photos spanning a longer period that covers some of the construction and the final display)
Paul D Hayes's flickr photos
BestOfTodd's flickr photos
Pixelated Geek has a gallery of photos from the opening cermony
amyr_81's flickr photos
Tommy Poulsen's flickr photos (this set is where the photo above is from)
San Diego News report
fbtb's flickr photos
bradthegso's flickr photos

Bonus: A Sneak Peek At Star Wars Miniland's Progress
Star Wars Miniland Coming to LEGOLAND California

Have a great link on the LEGOLAND California Star Wars Miniland that we missed? Send it in to

HispaBrick 10

Found at:
Details: It's time to check in again on HispaBrick magazine. Last time we featured HispaBrick magazine, they had just released their 8th issue. They've since released their ninth and tenth issues. As usual, they're keeping up the great work and publishing in both English and Spanish.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hover Car

Name of Model: Hover Car
Created by: polywen
Found at:
Details: This sleek spaceship captures the car-of-the-future look perfectly while putting some rather obnoxious LEGO elements (specifically, those clunky windscreens with a front edge) to fantastic use.

Minifig-Scale Rodanthe Inn

Name of Model: Rodanthe Inn
Created by: Kopaka-1 (Sune Høyer Sørensen)
Found at:
Details: At Klodsfest 2010, this minifig-scale recreation of the inn from the movie Nights in Rodanthe won fourth place in the "building" category. It's not hard to see why, with the amount of detail packed into it. The building itself has a surprising amount of texture (particularly for such a monochromatic structure), and the subtle landscaping is also top-notch.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

An Ornate Box

Name of Model: custom box
Created by: 123laulau
Found at:
Details: Here's a charming experiment in color and texture - a 6x16 box in yellow and dark red. IThe top makes great use of one of the curved slope elements in quantity to create a more interesting texture. In the front, we see the common jumper-plate-sideways-looks-like-a-drawer-pull technique flanked by a pair of 1x1 plates stuck into 1x2 Technic bricks. The design is somewhat simple but very visually appealing.
This is Tuesday's model of the day

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vision Guided NXT LEGO Sorter

Name of Model: LEGO Mindstorms NXT Vision Guided Brick Sorter ver1
Created by: akiyuky (who is also on YouTube)
Found at:
Details: This may be the most useful LEGO robot we've seen yet. This machine can sort LEGO pieces by shape and weight. As you can see in the video, a handful of pieces are pushed out of a reservoir of LEGO elements, and a pair of conveyor belts move the parts from there to a digital scale. The digital scale is in view of a webcam, along with the piece on it. OpenCV is used along with some custom software and a custom database of parts to identify the pieces. From there, another mechanism puts it into one of eight cups based on what type of piece it is.

According to the blog posts describing this, this is just the first iteration. I can't wait to see where this project ends up.
Housekeeping note: in the interest of not letting things get out of hand, we will not be taking the time to make up the week we just accidentally skipped. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Photos and Videos from LEGOLAND Billund

Name of Photoset: Legoland
Photos by: Loozrboy
Found at:
Details: It's time for another look at what's up at LEGOLAND. This time the photos are from LEGOLAND Billund in Denmark, which was looking pretty great in October of 2010. You'll want to make sure to look at some of the videos included here. Although the parks actually use non-LEGO hardware to make moving items happen (it'd be more exciting if they used Mindstorms components, but I guess that'd be harder to maintain outdoors), it's still thrilling to see things like the boat navigating working canal locks and the ferry transporting moving cars.