Thursday, May 26, 2011

NXT-Based Globe Plotter

Name of Model: The Globe Plotter
Created by: Mike Brandl
Found at:
Details: I've previously mentioned this builder's Egg Printer, but he's since made many more variations on the concept. This particular one prints a map of the world onto a round ball using three felt-tip pens.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Marriott hotels

Name of Series: Marriott hotels
Created by: Sean Kenney
Found at:
Details: LEGO Certified Professional Sean Kenney was recently commissioned to create replicas of eight different Marriott hotels. As you would expect from Sean's reputation, all of them are fantastic models. Built in microscale, they show off the architecture of the buildings nicely. Each model was presented to the matching hotel as an award for design, construction, collaboration, and and participation.

A Car for Micro-Figs

Name of Model: The Family Tourer
Created by: Karf Oohlu
Found at: and
Details: If you've picked up any of the LEGO Games, you may have noticed that many of them come with small characters that look only vaguely like minifigures - they're about half as wide. I'm sure that these little guys will only get more popular with time, and that we'll soon see tons of models based on them. Here, we see a small car - featuring a pair of horse saddles to make the seats. The doors attach directly to the saddles. Suddenly, four-wide seems like plenty to make a decent-looking, 'fig-ready classic automobile.

For bonus points, see if you can figure out how the headlights and spare tire were attached.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Great War Tortoise

Name of Model: Great War Tortoise
Created by: Siercon and Coral
Found at:
Details: The concept of this model is fairly entertaining, but easily overshadowed by the clever uses of pieces and techniques. The shell is made with the Rock Raiders roll cage element, which has been filled in with a variety of small slopes and brown triangular clip-on signs. The beak connects a Bionicle joint to a Knight's Kingdom visor and a Knight's Kingdom foot. The feet here are jointed (the joints make for a nice way to connect to the Bionicle shoulder armor) and make great use of sloped octagonal bricks and dinosaur feet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Clever Hardsuit

Name of Model: Clank, Clank, Clank, Clank, Clank, RATATATATATATATATAT!
Created by: Carpet Lego
Found at:
Details: While hardsuits (and mecha in general) are seemingly a dime-a-dozen on flickr, few of them seem to push the envelope on techniques. After all, once you've figured out how to build a compelling frame, it's tempting to create variations on it in every color. Here, though, we see a few unusual ideas. Plates with clips connect to radar dishes to make the feet. Flick-fire missiles on the arms connect to half-width Technic beams, which are then held on with half pins. The balance of greebling to smooth surfaces seems more like what we'd see on an actual robot. The hints of a roll cage near the minifig's head are another unusually realistic touch.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dinner and A Movie

Name of Model: Galaxy Diner and Empire Theater
Created by: sonicstarlight
Found at:
Details: In a bit of a retro/deco-ish feel, this pair of Cafe Corner-standard buildings gives us something we don't see enough in this modular style. It's easy to get wrapped up in the time period that we see in the official sets, but these feel a bit more 1950's or 1960's. Many of the techniques used are what you'd expect (the cinema in particular seems to borrow a bit from set 10184 Town Plan), but there are some great surprises. Plates with rails give the diner a surprisingly convincing impression of texture. The mix of three different styles of mosaic-based lettering gives a realistic feel, breaking up the impression that you're looking at something whipped up based on one person's preferences - the combination of blocky letters for the "Galaxy" sign and curvy letters on the "Empire" sign is a brilliant touch.

Super-8 Movie Projector

Name of Model: Lego Technic Super-8 Movie Projector
Created by: Friedemann Wachsmuth
Found at:
Details: Using Technic and Power Functions parts (plus non-LEGO lens, lamp, and reels), this projector can display movies as seen in the clip here. Sadly, this clip seems to be it for first-hand documentation of this model. The rewind transmission feature shown is pretty nifty, but I think I speak for all Technic nerds when I say I want to know how the geneva mechanism was implemented here.
A brief note about this past week: between recovering from BrickMagic and the Blogger outage, we didn't stand a chance at actually getting posts up in time. In the interest of not staying behind, we'll be skipping that week and picking up again with today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

BrickMagic 2011 Round Up

Name of Event: BrickMagic 2011
Found at:
Details: Now that we're beginning to recover from this weekend's festivities at BrickMagic, it's time to start rounding up coverage of the event. As previously noted, the new Pet Shop set was unveiled on Friday. I'll be updating this page as I come across more photos and other coverage - as always, you can send your tips in to

my flickr photos
Official group flickr pool
Joe Architect's flickr photos
Brickapolis' flickr photos
tehLEGOman's flickr photos

Photo above by Brickapolis, showing the speed build team next to their completed Tower Bridge set.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Set Announced: 10218 Pet Shop

Name of Model: 10218 Pet Shop
Created by the LEGO company
Found at:
Details: You may have noticed the odd pacing of posts these past few days. We are at BrickMagic, and earlier today (erm, yesterday now) were present during the official unveiling of 10218 Pet Shop. I've been slowly uploading my photos of the event (including 10218 and a few great town and train layouts) to BrickMagic 2011 flickr set, and we'll probably put more of a round-up together sometime in the next few days. The high-res press photo pack has also been put on flickr. Here's the official info from LEGO:

10218 Pet Shop
Ages 16+. 2,032 pieces.
US $149.99 CA $199.99 DE 149.99 € UK 119.99 £
Available: Beginning of May

Continuing the LEGO® Modular Buildings series, this highly detailed, 3-story Pet Shop building and townhouse with full internal and external detailing is the perfect addition to your LEGO town. Greet customers with a menagerie of pets and let them treat them with a selection of toys and supplies. The pet shop building features a hinged staircase for easy access, upper apartment with kitchenette and upper loft overlooking the open plan interior below. To the side, the tastefully appointed townhouse features a detailed ground floor with accessories and spiral staircase leading to the upper floor. The attic space features storage boxes and French doors leading out to an elegant front balcony, while the rooftop garden, complete with fresh vegetables, brightens up the rear of the building.

• Includes 4 minifigures with accessories: pet shop owner, girl on bicycle, painter with paint roller and woman!
• Pet shop includes dog, cat, 2 parrots and fish tank with goldfish!
• Also includes 3 dog bones, ball, frog toy, birdhouse, bucket and brush!
• Kitchenette features stone fireplace, stove, sink, coffee maker and small table and chair!
• Upper loft features skylight, bed and lamp!
• Townhouse features ground floor with mailbox and mail, hat rack, couch, telephone, toilet and access to basement crawl space!
• Measures 11″ (25.5cm) wide and 10.5″ (26.5cm) high!
• Combine with other modular buildings, like 10197 Fire Brigade and 10211 Grand Emporium!

Enhanced Spinjitzu Techniques

Name of Model: The Ninjago Turbo Spin
Created by: Family Vuurzoon
Found at:
Details: If you've tried to play the Ninjago game and had trouble getting the "spinners" to spin (it's OK, I can't do it either), you probably need one of these. This simple Technic device works like the top launchers we've seen before (with a rip cord) but can also be ran by a motor. The result is fast, reliable spinning. No word yet on whether or not this is considered cheating within the scope of the game, but it sure looks like a fun "spin" on the concept.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

R2-D2 Sculpture

Name of Model: Star Wars Lego Artoo-Detoo R2-D2
Created by: SPARKART!
Found at:
Details: It's Star Wars day again (May the Fourth be with you! Yadda yadda yadda...), so here is a sculpture of R2-D2 on a classy black stand. I'm not really sure what the scale is on this sculpture (it's a bit large for most of the popular ones), but the details come across very well. Perhaps the scale was chosen so that the markings on R2-D2 would be close to full stud widths. The signature angled posture is captured here beautifully, but he can be stood up as well. It's not easy to use this many small slopes to make something appear this round - although steam engine builders have mastered the technique at a smaller scale, the effect doesn't tend to come out as smoothly there.

Giganthor the Dragon

Name of Model:
An extremely dangerous creature known as the Giganthor has escaped from the forbidden dungeons. It slaughtered civilians and soldiers alike but only one man stood his ground. If he is not careful enough he too might perish under the dragons wrath.
Created by: Unitronus
Found at:
Details: Although the tricky use of color, solid landscaping, and clever minifig placement could steal the show here, the focus is clearly on the monstrous dragon. A frightening sight with an even more frightening number of points of articulation, the dragon is shown here mid-battle, just after fatally maiming a minifigure. The combination of slopes and spikey bits is very evocative of a scaly skin texture. Don't miss the bits of Bionicle chain hanging down, making it instantly clear that the dragon has escaped.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Using the NXT and Kinect Together

Name of Model: A hands-free controlled robot
Created by: Mauro Brunato
Found at:
Details: You may have heard that the Microsoft Kinect is ripe for hackers to use as input device for various robotics projects. Here, we see it used to create a gestural interface for steering a tribot. The Kinect is connected to a computer over USB, and the computer in turn uses bluetooth to communicate with the NXT. From there, it's apparently rather straightforward to hook up any NXT-based feature you want.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Obligatory Royal Wedding Post

Name of Model: LEGO Wills & Kate
Created by: Justin Ramsden
Found at:
Details: We don't like writing this anymore than you like reading it, but it's time for the obligatory royal wedding post. I'm pretty sure we're legally required to have one. First up, we have a life-size sculpture of the happy couple. Built by LEGOLAND Windsor's youngest model maker for a TV spot, this pair of busts and classy stand shows the royal couple as well as any official LEGOLAND model - and oh yes, that tie is purple. Don't miss the technique used on the prince's hair.
Name of Model: (unnamed - it appears that they're passing on officially making a big deal of this)
Created by LEGOLAND Master Builders
Found at:
Details: Speaking of LEGOLAND Windsor, they've also added a dash of the royal wedding into miniland. To round out the weekend, here's our attempt at rounding up coverage of that event (as always, we'll update this post instead of adding more posts as more links of note come to my attention - you can e-mail us at with your tips):

BBC News article
Mariann Asanuma's blog post
Thorskegga Thorn's flickr photos

Mostly Bricks also has a bit of a round-up, which also features the minifig-scale rendition of the wedding by the Brickish Association.