Saturday, July 15, 2017

Winding Down LMOTD

I've recently made the difficult decision to wind down LMOTD. The reasons why may seem obvious if you've already read the timeline recapping the blog's history - we've been off-kilter for some time now, most of what was attempted here is now done elsewhere in the LEGO fan blogging community, and I simply don't have the resources to make LMOTD succeed on its own. While this effectively means the end of this blog, we do have a few plans here going forward:
  • I (Dan) will continue to attempt what I was trying to do here as part of BZPower. I was brought on there as a Staff Reporter for the news section of their front page this past January, and we are still in the process of rolling out additional features there based on my editorial instincts here. While merging our resources should make for a stronger site overall, there are no plans to attempt daily MOC blogging on BZP (call this what you want - it's neither a full shutdown nor a full merger). Do expect to see more news from me there that is of interest to LEGO fans in general, and not just Bionicle fans.
  • The archives of existing posts will stay right where they are indefinitely. We don't want to break existing links. There are also no current plans to move older posts to BZPower. The primary driver of keeping this separate is insecure content that now causes errors here at LMOTD - the difficulty of resolving these now makes it virtually impossible to even edit LMOTD posts here on Blogger (which unfortunately means that further updates and edits on older posts here are now unlikely).
  • I will change the address to forward to a personal address. PR requests should be sent to going forward.
  • We will occasionally add new posts here to inform you of former LMOTD contributors' current projects in the AFOL community. Please keep us in your feed readers so that you'll see these announcements.

A Brief History of LMOTD

I don't think it's news to anyone that this blog's 10+ years of existence have been rocky. While the relevance and influence of LMOTD has waxed and waned over the years, the recent anniversary brought us an appropriate time to reflect on how we got here. Below is a timeline of (subjectively chosen) major events in the history of LMOTD and the LEGO MOC blogging world - if you see an egregious mention (or omission!) let us know at
| 19969-year old Dan discovers an early version of Dan Jezek's links page. Thus begins his descent into the rabbit holes of AFOLdom.
1996Dan reads "Cool LEGO Site of the Week". He'd follow it on-and-off over the years, before eventually forgetting that "[adjective] LEGO [noun] of the [timeframe]" had already been done and would thus make a terrible name for a new blog. |
| 1999Dan attempts to join LUGNET and gets frustrated that AFOLs prevent young people from getting involved in favor of focusing exclusively on adults. Luckily, Brickshelf doesn't have that restriction, and there are plenty of places to soak in the knowledge of the AFOL community without giving back (for now...)
9/03Dan decides against attending NW BrickCon as public because he wouldn't be allowed in to the full event (again, some AFOLs try too hard to keep "kids" out). There's no reason why anyone in their right mind would pay to attend a small, crowded part of someone else's party when they can already see serious LEGO displays for free (LEGO hosted an official event near BrickCon's venue shortly before the convention). |
| 2004Dan begins pitching a LEGO blog concept to anyone who would listen. Most people don't think it could catch on.
7/05Dunechaser's Blocklog starts, and features some OK minifigures, I guess. Over the next several years, that blog would mature into The Brothers Brick as we know it today, primarily covering models (instead of minifigures) and also covering a variety of other LEGO-related news. Without nitpicking, I'll say that that growth took long enough that it still made sense to start a more general MOC blog in 2007. Over time, LMOTD and TBB would compete against each other, borrow ideas from each other, and occasionally cover the same models - but in the end, TBB ended up accomplishing much of what LMOTD set out to do, even while LMOTD went off the rails. |
| 2/07Dan starts the blog, after years of talking about it and not following up, and then seeing others attempt it "badly" (I was insistent on some beliefs about credit, detail, variety, and inclusiveness).
2/07First post |
| 2/07First non-test post
4/07Dan remembers the Fair Play policy and moves the blog from to No URL ever had "Fascinating" in it, leading to a decade-long side discussion about what this thing is actually called. |
| 11/07Dan joins NCLUG, beginning a long habit of joining LUGs instead of just critiquing them (I'll skip listing the rest of them, since it gets ridiculous quickly after the accident in 2012).
5/08First LAML Radio appearance. |
| 5/08The Brothers Brick tries covering "Classic Creations" the way LMOTD had been. Notably, LMOTD has frequently featured models built and shared in years gone by, but The Brothers Brick has always focused on current buzz-worthy models. Several AFOLs comment that they rememeber seeing it the first time.
7/08The Brothers Brick incorrectly credits Dan with a MOC he didn't build. |
| 8/08Mariann Asanuma's Model Building Secrets blog launches.
10/08Dan joins Brick Town Talk, a blog for fans of Jamie Berard and the "Cafe Corner standard". |
| 10/08Dave from contacts TwinLUG after reading about a LUG show on LMOTD - and ends up joining in for the show. While it seems to have been lost to time, one of the LUGs' websites (GMLTC?) had a recap of the show that said that they hadn't known about this blog or the post about the event until they heard from Dave. Garth Danielson from TwinLUG also blogged an account of the show.
11/08The Brothers Brick announces a policy for advertising LUG shows. It may have been a coincidence...but it definitely lead to a number of LUGs and events putting together high-quality "press releases" so that they could get mentioned on The Brothers Brick and other LEGO fan outlets. |
| 11/08Integration with BrickJournal Shared Calendars starts.
1/09The Living Brick starts. Although an exclusive focus on brick-built characters made The Living Brick unique, Ochre Jelly (Iain Heath) would later say that LMOTD's tendency towards non-minifig-scale models was an influence towards starting the blog. |
| 1/09Dan's last LAML Radio appearance also includes an early clip of his robot band.
2/09Matthew (Brickapolis) joins the blog. Since this was the first contributor besides Dan, some formatting changes were required to accomodate additional bloggers. |
| 3/09Chris Howard (Duckingham) joins the blog.
8/09Chris Howard leaves LMOTD to focus on Bricks-A-Billion (first post). |
| 2009Posts become more regular (closer to the promised "of the day") after Dan finishes college and settles in at a steady job.
8/09First convention appearance and roundup (BrickFair). Since Arthur Gugick ran the first seminar/workshop of the event, Dan immediately had the opportunity to start meeting people he had previously only blogged about online. Upon receiving an LMOTD tile, Arthur immediately strikes up an arrangement to claim any extra LMOTD tiles if this blogging thing doesn't work out. |
| 8/09According to our internal e-mails, we had all but entirely ceded coverage of minifig-scale models to The Brothers Brick. By this time, a "rule" was in place to avoid blogging minifig-scale models more than once in a 5-day period.
1/10lego diem tumblr quietly begins. |
| 4/10First Maker Faire appearance (at the first Maker Faire NC). This is also the first event where Dan coordinated an AFOL display. Incidentally, Matthew (Brickapolis) would decide to join in at the last minute, and Joe Meno contributed models and flyers (to promote his current projects at the time: BrickMagic, BrickFlix, and BrickJournal).
8/10First Bloggers' Roundtable event at a convention (BrickFair). |
| 8/10First convention Mindstorms Robot Rock Band appearance. Even with amplifiers, few people could hear it over the crowd. That convention center is now a Wal-Mart, so congratulations BrickFair attendees who did hear it - you now have some "hipster indie cred" for seeing a band no one has heard of "before they were cool" in a venue that isn't there anymore.
9/10The Brick Blogger quietly launches. While The Brick Blogger also took on a daily format, that's merely a coincidence (of all the other bloggers I've met in the AFOL community, The Brick Blogger was the only one who hadn't heard of me or LMOTD). The Brick Blogger continues as kid-friendly, public-facing LEGO fan blog to this day. |
| 1/11Brick Town Talk changes ownership. This happens a few times over the years, but no newer owner of that blog followed up with older contributors enough to keep Dan in the loop. Eventually, Brick Town Talk would return to having a single intermittant author instead of multiple contributors, and would swap the focus on Jamie Berard and modular buildings for covering any town models the new owner felt like.
5/11Drama in the AFOL community pushes Dan away. Daily posting rate never recovers. |
| 8/11Dan recovers some faith in the AFOL community after BrickFair blows away the previous bar for events. This included a chance to meet Jamie Berard, and a speed build of the just-unveiled Tower Bridge set. Upon seeing the (then-not-yet-available) tan cheese slopes, Arthur Gugick attempts to strike up an arrangement to claim them after the timed build. Upon seeing that, Steve Witt decides to give the competitors smaller sets instead of allowing us to draft out the Tower Bridge. Fun was had by all.
9/11A young Josh Hanlon e-mails in response to a post about expanding the LMOTD team, but is ignored after asking for a follow-up phone call. Spurned, he goes on to start a podcast, a YouTube channel, and a quest for world domination. We regret the error. |
| 10/11Seth (Lego obsessionist) joins the blog.
11/11Josh Hanlon starts the A Look at LEGO podcast. |
| 3/12Dan and Matthew appear on A Look at LEGO.
4/12Matthew (Brickapolis) joins the A Look at LEGO podcast. |
| 8/12A Look at LEGO changes its name to Beyond the Brick.
10/12Steve Oakes starts "My Micro Brick Con" at BrickCon in Seattle. |
| 11/12Merger between LMOTD and Beyond the Brick announced to LMOTD contributors over e-mail.
12/12Scheduled launch of a combined LMOTD/Beyond the Brick site becomes delayed indefinitely after a debilitating accident knocks Dan's life off-track. The injury might not look like much, but it results in the rest of Dan's life spiraling out of control. All pre-summer travel plans are scrapped. Dan immediately stops maintaining his LUGs' website (beginning a surprising string of LUG drama we won't get into here). |
| 12/12Bricks-A-Billion updates stop (most recent post).
2/13Beyond the Brick announces move to YouTube, eschewing podcasts for videos. |
| 3/13Dan is dragged to a new state in a process that can fairly be described as a hate crime. Things get worse from there. Unable to put his personal life back together, he lets the blog and the new site hang indefinitely.
3/13Merger with Beyond the Brick publicly announced, although the deadline for completing the merger had already past. |
| 4/13Chris Howard (Duckingham) launches Bricks 4 Kidz Knoxville. This becomes his main "LEGO outlet" and grows to become (as of this writing) the #14 Bricks 4 Kidz franchise in North America.
4/13Dan hears about BZPower's "Convention Circuit" and BioniLUG and is finally motivated to join BZPower, after creepily stalking them since 8/2009. |
| 6/13New Elementary starts, and goes straight for the academic level of nerdery LMOTD occasionally aimed for but rarely delved into as much as I would have liked. New Elementary almost immediately seemed to be more successful at it and are now the undisputed champions of the deep-dive part-nerdery format.
6/13BrickNerd starts, covering a better breadth of models than existing MOC blogs, but not writing about models in as much depth. Not that the writing matters much, since by now, creeps on social media were plagiarizing images left and right - or worse, completely missing the point and attributing images to people blogging about them instead of the people who built the pictured models. BrickNerd continues to this day as a team-run blog and YouTube channel covering MOCs and LEGO/AFOL news. |
| 6/13First Brickworld convention appearance.
6/13Mariann Asanuma brings "Mini LEGO Con" to Brickworld Chicago, and Dan immediately insists on taking it up. |
| 8/13 Dan and Mariann bring "Mini LEGO Con" to BrickFair Virgnia as a MOC.
1/14Dan's first non-BrickMagic small convention (BrickFair Alabama). After this, Dan would attend every BrickFair event through 2017 (except for the first year of BrickFair New Jersey, which completed the cycle of never attending first-year BrickFair events). |
| 1/14BrickFair starts running "Mini Con" as a feature of the event, with Dan hosting it (and Mariann co-hosting in Virgnia).
2/14Ochre Jelly (Iain Heath) ends The Living Brick. |
| 3/14Dan tries to move the Beyond the Brick website project along, and realizes most of the necessary content from Beyond the Brick is missing. Intermittant blogging resumes.
4/14Merger with Beyond the Brick cancelled, with no clear plans for LMOTD in sight. A key factor was the determination that Netcast Studio owns much of the planned contents of the new site, calling the point of the website into question. |
| 4/14Involvement with BrickJournal Shared Calendars project ends amidst more community drama. When making the decision to leave the shared calendars, Dan found that most contributors had long since abandoned them and that he was not on speaking terms with most of the people still involved.
4/14Ochre Jelly (Iain Heath) joins The Brothers Brick. |
| 6/14LUG Project announced, with a loose deadline of having things up to speed within a year. Response is thoroughly skeptical, even as Dan insists that BZPower has already done an inclusive online LUG successfully.
10/14Dan's first BrickCon appearance. He discovers a variety of both longtime readers and knowledgable AFOLs there. There is some overlap between the two categories. The latter category inspires an attempt at a "Memory Lane" series of convention seminars. |
| 10/14Dan's first Brickworld Expo (Tampa) - a largely successful event with only one truck driven into Dan's MOCs.
6/15Our LUG project silently fails, having not attracted anyone in serious need of a LUG. While a few people expressed interest, most were unable or unwilling to try meeting up at conventions (or were already involved elsewhere and just trying to be supportive). The idea lives on in the (still not revealed publicly) AFOL Incubator project. Arguably, this was another casualty of Dan not putting the time in for the blog after the accident. |
| 7/15lego diem tumblr goes on hiatus.
8/15NetCast Studio becomes Modern Life Network, giving the old A Look at LEGO / Beyond the Brick podcasts a new URL (this may have happened earlier - 8/2015 is the earliest reference I could find to this having happened). |
| 8/15First Memory Lane seminar at BrickFair Virgnia. It goes OK, but suffers from a lack of attendance from people who remember the AFOL community in the 90s.
1/16First public appearance of the DUPLO Ball Run. It would improve considerably in later years. Regretably, I have not properly written about this MOC of mine to this day, on the blog or otherwise. |
| 4/16BrickUniverse Online Community Panel - during a pit stop on Dan's trip moving back north.
6/16National Maker Faire. Dan (by himself) is the only exhibitor representing the FOL community. The previous year, LEGO Systems' marketing arm had sponsored the event and brought the "Creation Nation" interactive activity. While a few other AFOLs would stop by and talk about pursuing the event the following year, National Maker Faire did not recur in 2017. |
| 8/16After 10 months of planning "how to make it be interesting this time", Dan hosts a panel version of "Memory Lane" at (BrickFair) featuring Dave Eaton, Suzanne (Rich) Eaton, and Larry Peniazek. That sort of AFOL star power attracts a crowd that includes Tormod from TLG. Notably, a few people attending and speaking up during the panel are people who can't stand Dan.
8/16Matthew (Brickapolis) is quietly removed as a contributor following an incident outside of a convention. |
| 11/16The Brothers Brick gets caught covering a Galidor model that LMOTD covered in 2008. Few notice.
12/16For the first time since the fallout from the accident in 2012, Dan actually has a regular enough job to consider prioritizing the blog again. |
| early 2017Blog posts ramp up ahead of LMOTD's 10th anniversary. The trend doesn't stick, due to more issues in Dan's personal life.
1/17BrickFair stops running "Mini Con" as a feature of the event. Dan re-organizes it as an ad hoc collaboration. |
| 1/17Dan joins BZPower's news team as a semi-regular contributor.
2/17Toy Fair 2017 coverage begins dripping out (in collaboration with BZPower's coverage). |
| 2/1710th anniversary of the first post.
7/17Dan finally gets around to finishing off the blog's 10-year retrospective timeline (you're reading it now). |
| 7/17Merger (of sorts) with BZPower announced. It might seem strange, but "those Bionicle kiddies" turned out to not just be one of the few all-ages friendly LEGO fan communities - they're just friendly in general. More importantly, BZP has a large enough staff to keep a site current in ways that LMOTD hasn't been, and a news team that Dan has already known and been on good terms with for years.
Late 2017AFOL Incubator unveiled |
| 2018Arthur Gugick finally gets those tiles he asked about in 2009. Maybe there's a single tan cheese slope hiding deep inside the bag.
2019 Arthur Gugick reveals awesome new mosaic. |

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Motorized Tie Rack

Name of Model: Lego Tie Rack
Created by: Matthew Sklar
Found at:
Details: Matthew Sklar built this fully-functional tie rack motorized with Power Functions. Five carousels can hold ten ties each. Each carousel uses a large sprocket wheel surrounded by large Technic tread links, with each link holding a tie-hanging assembly (clearly visible in the bottom left photo of the collage). Normally I'd expect a problem with using LEGO pieces to hang something else, but the neckties are lightweight enough to not cause an excessive amount of strain on the parts. I'd be curious to know how long it takes for the axles to eventually show the results of wear and gravity - it could be years, but it will still happen eventually.

I should also mention the classy aesthetics of this model. Some of us tend to make LEGO creations look like they're made out of LEGO, embracing bright colors. The Batman-eqsue solid black here would be more likely to pass muster with non-LEGO people in the house. The shelf on the top is a nice touch, too, and is shown with multiple storage slots filled with tie bars, collar stays, and cuff links.

The same builder has also posted a simpler earlier iteration of a motorized tie rack. Another photo with a few panels removed reveals the classic 9V motor inside.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

An Adorable Cockatoo

Name of Model: Cuddly Toys: Cockatoo
Created by: Koen
Found at:
Details: Koen has been on a roll lately building small models based on cuddly plush toys. This particular model is an adorable cockatoo, with the distinctive crest at the top of the head made out of a pearl gold feathered minifig wing.

A few other details stuck out to me - note the use of upside-down click hinges to form the feet and toes. They're mounted on jumper plates so that they can be angled easily. The studs of the body actually face the bird's back, and some simple studs-not-on-top parts allow the head to be right-side-up and the base to be upside-down. The part with the feet and tail is pleasantly 3 studs wide, with the two tubes on the bottom of a 3021 used to handle the offset for the body.

Other models in this series of cuddly-toy based creations include a panda, a turtle (check out that shell!), a rhino, a parrot (which is a similar build to this cockatoo), a dragon (which has too red a belly to be a young Ollie), a chicken, and a tiger (with an exceptional use of minifig claws as whiskers).

Friday, March 10, 2017

A City Park

Name of Model: City Park
Created by: Full Plate / Emil Lidé
Found at:
Details: This gorgeous city park has somehow gone unnoticed by LEGO fan blogs for the past month. It'd probably be worth diving into the tree techniques (both the axe tree technique and the microscale tree technique (used here for bushes) have been documented very well by the builder), but perhaps the most striking thing about the trees is the way one of them is eating a kite. Poor kid.

Rather awkwardly (for those of us who like to write about these things, anyway), all of the photos of this model are slice-of-life scenes instead of close-ups of details. You'll have to look closely to spot these, then: there's a pair of excellent benches made using Star Wars blasters for the decorative trim on the sides, a number of decorative fence posts made with well-placed brackets, and a lamppost made with a Technic ski pole cleverly mounted on a round 2x2 tile with a hole in the center. Even the minifigure posing seems spot-on - note the reactions around the kite scene, and the way the dog is casually sniffing toward the banana peel in the garbage can.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Toy Fair 2017: DC Superhero Girls Sculptures

Name of Models: unknown
Created by: Master Model Builders working for LEGO
Found at:
Details: While the first two sculptures we featured from this year's Toy Fair were out in the lobby of the convention center, there was more to see at the actual LEGO booth. Sculptures of Supergirl and Harley Quinn as they appear in the DC Superhero Girls line made an appearance (with a similar photo opportunity background) in one of the front corners of the booth. As is par for the course, there are many exciting details here - don't miss Supergirl's shoes (detailed asymmetrically), necklace, chest emblem and bracelet or Harley Quinn's mask, buttons, and hammer. One thing that caught my eye is the extensive use of plates to keep the appearance of the sculpture very high-resolution - frequently, on a sculpture this size, you'll see plates skipped in favor of trying to get the shape right using only bricks. Here, they didn't spare that effort or expense. The result pays off, making the figures look very realistic on the whole. The faces also include some additional detail.

Check out this close-up of Harley Quinn's face. Note how half-stud offsets are used extensively, the nose comes to a 1-stud-wide point, and the curvature in the lips incorporates studs-not-on-top techniques. They're small details, and they really help sell the model. Her right hand similarly makes for a study in technique (although I'd say it's less successful) - you can see the shape that the hand should take up filled with plates and bricks, but the fingers seem less distinctive. Unused space and minor changes in contour suggest the shape, and your mind fills in the rest. It's a technique that works because people who don't write blogs like this will never look at it closely enough for the illusion of a hand to dissolve.

Getting back to Supergirl, there are some clever techniques in her face as well - perhaps the first surprise is that it's not the same shape as Harley Quinn's, but a completely different build. A close-up of her lips shows jumper plates used for shaping, with some of them simply having shadows above them to suggest depth. Moving up towards her eyes, you can see that her nose is two studs wide, and that another sideways section makes up the nose-adjacent part of the eyes and eyebrows.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

When Bionicle Meets Architecture

Name of Model: "Mindphaser" Tactical AI
Created by: Djokson
Found at:
Details: Recently, there was a Bionicle-based architecture contest on Flickr that seems to have slipped under the radar. My personal favorite entry is this eerie combination of a Terminator-esque artificial intelligence system and a heavily-greebled spaceship interior. For all the great Bionicle- and Technic-based details in it, the highlight might just be the rubber bands representing loose wires going through the floor.

The contest was run by -Disty-, a master of architecturally-minded Bionicle models who I've featured here before. While it didn't seem to get much attention (a shame that I'll take some responsibility for), the contest did attract some stellar entries. Besides the one I've featured here, the "physical" category also attracted an arched bridge by Ballom Nom Nom, an ionizer by bfahome, and the Zamor Energy Turbine (the winning entry) by Galaxus. That last one even made the zamor sphere cannon element look decent! The digital category also attracted a gem: the winning entry was this vast landscape by the aptly-named Victor.

Back to the main model pictured above, though: around the head in the center, there's a really clever combination of ribbed hose around flexible hoses. Then there's the mix of axle joiners and pin joiners in the floor - it's subtle, but provides more texture than you'd see otherwise. The "System" parts used here are also extremely effective - the 8x8 grill plate blends right in with the Technic and Bionicle bits, and the upside down plates (which might be free floating) in the front corner help to make the other two walls look more like corridors.

Note to everybody: build more models like this. You'd be surprised how easy it is to come across used Bionicle parts in bulk, and most parts (from any LEGO line) take on a whole new life when you have them in a large quantity.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Marking 10 Years of LMOTD

This post marks the exact 10-year anniversary of this blog. If you're reading this, you probably haven't read the very first "test post" from exactly 10 years ago, on February 27th, 2007. The first "real" post, about a brick-built Mindstorms-controlled vending machine, followed shortly after.

We have some vague plans for further celebrating this anniversary - watch this space for the next month or so as we commemorate 10 years of blogging about LEGO Models on an admittedly less-than-daily basis.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Look at the 1963-1964 LEGO Retailer Catalog for Glued Models

Name of Models: various models from 1963-1964 LEGO retailer catalog for glued models
Posted by: Olaf Blankenfeldt
Found at:

Details: An old retailer catalog from over 50 years ago might not sound "fascinating" to you, but hear me out: there were quite a few models in there that hold up well now (in spite of the limited part selection back then), and were positively amazing for the time. All of the models were glued and used specifically to advertise the LEGO brand and show what can be built from LEGO pieces. They include houses, boats, and street scenes, Santa with reindeer (also in that photo: more houses and several variations on models from the Doll Set), early mosaics (note the extra plates in colors where bricks weren't available yet), cars, trucks, and windmills, and planes and trains. Britain's Houses of Parliament make an appearance on the back cover. Even the ordering form is included here!

Olaf Blankenfeldt has been posting a variety of interesting historical artifacts from LEGO's past. This retailer catalog is part of a cache of materials thrown away by LEGO in 2007 (according to Olaf's comments on Flickr).

Speaking of LEGO history (and how we need fans to maintain it because LEGO doesn't do so consistently), Gary Istok's Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide will soon no longer be available as a download. He recently posted on LUGNET that this is because of an upcoming non-English multi volume book version coming out in the future. If you're at all interested in the history of LEGO, I highly recommend that you buy his guide while you still can.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Toy Fair 2017: Batman and Ninjago Photo Opportunity

Name of Models: unknown
Created by: Master Model Builders working for LEGO
Found at:
Details: We've got two exciting models to show you today as part of our ongoing coverage of this year's Toy Fair in New York, New York. These sculptures promoting The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie were pretty difficult to get close to - as one of the main attractions in the lobby (outside the show itself) when you first walk into the Javits Center, they were very popular. Toy Industry professionals and press alike wanted to get photos of these two characters.

I (Dan) was able to get a few pictures before the show opened on Saturday, and some more after closing, for a total of 84 pictures covering most of the obvious details. Some highlights in my mind: we get a mosaic of Batman's torso, minus the all-important ninth ab, the tiny gap in the fabric of minifigure capes is fully rendered in-the-brick, there's a compelling and determined pair of eyes, a few great mosaics on curved surfaces, a sculpture of the tassel element that almost needs to be seen from a distance - WAIT A SECOND - that last piece is currently only made in black! That just sounds like a LEGO Batman reference - what I'm really saying is that they may have just leaked that that element will available in dark tan once all of the LEGO Ninjago movie sets have been revealed. Now seems like a time for wild speculation. Would LEGO really make a giant version of an unreleased part if they weren't planning to release it? What's happening?

I mean, there are other interesting aspects of these models, too - they continue the trend of minifigure characters being shown in a very curved, computer-animated style. The Ninjago character probably has a very interesting internal support structure running through both the sword blade and the tassel - such a dynamic character would require some hefty bracing instead of just a beam to keep it upright. You really just want to see new sets and gossip about the new movie, though, don't you? It's OK. We understand.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Closing in on 10 Years of LMOTD

Longtime fans of LMOTD may be aware that this blog has now been around for nearly 10 years. I'm not terribly interested in doing a hefty self-congratulatory post about how great we are (or were), how great an idea this blog was when I started it (before everyone else picked up the good ideas and did them better), or in posting statistics of how popular we are (which will show that we peaked in early 2011). I know we've made an impact in the community, and I'm equally aware that this blog has been flagging for a while now, even as I get more involved with other parts of the Adult Fan of LEGO community.

What I would like to know is how you'd look back on ten years of seeing me (and my tiny team) attempt to write about a Fascinating LEGO Model each "Day". I don't know if we'll share these or not (it depends on what we receive), but I'd like to hear from you. Maybe there was an exciting technique you learned about here, an event you found out about through LMOTD, a model that changed the way you looked at LEGO, a funny story from meeting one of us at a convention, or a time you were proud of having your creation featured here. It's up to you - I've heard stories before, but this milestone seems like the right time to gather up what we've meant to you these past ten years. Send your stories, memories, compliments, reflections, roasts, in-jokes, rants, etc to - we've got some small prizes stashed that we will use to reward some of our favorite submissions.

Toy Fair 2017 - An Overwhelming Amount of Bricks

I'm back from my whirlwind trip through Toy Fair and I'm beginning to comb through photos and post some highlights. For this event, I (Dan) teamed up with BZPower's Andrew (Black Six) to try to capture as much of the event as possible. We still didn't get everything - not even all the LEGO-related things. There's just too much; it's overwhelming. Right now, LEGO is everywhere. You've probably seen some tie-in products related to The LEGO Batman Movie already, and you should start bracing for a similar onslaught of officially licensed products tying into The LEGO Ninjago Movie as well (note: we won't be posting any Ninjago Movie info from Toy Fair, since most of it is under embargo, and the rest of it was probably supposed to be under embargo as well). That's before we get into all the companies selling accessories to be used with LEGO pieces, all the clone brands trying to copy LEGO, and all of the somewhat unrelated brands operating in a similar space. We got in some solid market research to better understand how some of the LEGO items were currently excited about stack up against the competition.

...all of which is pretty interesting, but admittedly a bit distant from our usual tack here of focusing on fascinating LEGO models. Most of our immediate coverage will be posted over on BZPower, where a landing page will show you what we've posted so far. Most of the really LEGO-specific items will be covered fairly soon, and we'll share information about some of the more distant toys as time rolls on. Keep an eye out for some of my photos to eventually show up on Flickr (since no LEGO fan site really needs to cover every toy I find interesting) as well. We'll keep you posted as event coverage continues to come together.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Upcoming Events

This is far from a comprehensive list of upcoming events, but I wanted to advertise a few that I (Dan) will personally be at. We'll cover all of these:
  • Toy Fair New York (February 18-21, New York, New York) - This famous Toy Industry Association event is not open to the public. I'll be at the event itself this weekend covering some fun and LEGO-adjacent toys. You'll be able to read about some of those fun toys here afterward. We do not expect to have access to the LEGO booth, but you know other LEGO fan blogs cover that too, right?
  • Richland Community Library's Bricks For Books (March 4, Richland, Pennsylvania) - A fundraiser for the Richland Community Library, this PennLUG show features both displays of original creations and the opportunity to win various LEGO collectibles in raffles. Open to the public from 10 AM to 4 PM, tickets are $5 per person at the door.
  • Maker Faire NoVa (March 19, Reston, Virginia) - Come see BioniLUG's LEGO display and play area (as well as dozens of other Maker exhibits, including two other LEGO-based booths) from 11 AM to 5 PM. Tickets ($13 per adult, $2 per child) can be bought online now, with "Early Bird" pricing ($9 per adult, $1 per child) in effect through February 17th.

Have A Fabuland-ous Valentine's Day

Name of Model: Happy Valentine's Day
Created by: Schneider Chung ("Schfio")
Found at:
Details: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. This is the most adorable thing you will see this Valentine's Day. The characters here are Fabuland figures - but here, the original Elton Elephant and Bonnie Bunny are only used as "gifts" that the larger, sculpted versions of the characters are giving each other.

As cute as Elton and Bonnie are, the details of this model only make it more captivating. Note that the arms get thicker further away from the body to capture the curvature correctly - the "top" of each arm (actually built sideways) is made from rows of headlight bricks with 1 x 1 tiles connected to their fronts. The curved effect this creates is subtle, but an excellent use of the half-plate-thick offset you can get from a headlight brick. Clip plates hold the bunny's eyes in place and also form her eyelashes. Plates with rails fill some (roughly) half-stud-wide spaces that otherwise wouldn't look as round. The elephant's ears even achieve the difficult "cupped" effect by carefully weaving plates together in different directions - and I still can't tell how his eyes are attached. Bonnie's mouth is exquisite - a minifig cap sits on top of a precise jumper plate construction that conceals part of a set of whiskers built as a studs-up mosaic.

Schneider Chung hadn't posted on Flickr for a while before this, but he remains one of the best at building in his signature studs-not-on-top style. I highly recommend that you explore the rest of his photostream. We've previously featured a few of his adorable Easter-themed animals.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Giant Ball Contraption at BrickFair Alabama

Name of Model: The Giant Ball Contraption Machine
Created by: Phil Eudy
Found at: and
Details: Remember the fantastic "Totally Tubular" Giant Ball Contraption featured here back in 2009? Phil Eudy is still at it, and has put a few clips up on YouTube in recent years. The latest iteration of his Giant Ball Contraption appeared at BrickFair Alabama last week. While some parts may seem familiar, the sections that are new or revised are impressive. Some highlights:
  • An EV3 is used to control a robotic arm. The robotic arm is handled brilliantly - it moves enough to make you realize that something is happening, but the actual grab/release mechanism is geared down to the point that you can't tell that it's actually moving. It subtle enough to take on the appearance of magic, an effect that really stands out in person.
  • The "gear rack" system for the robotic arm doesn't actually use the Technic gear rack element LEGO makes (which can be expensive and imprecise in some applications). Look closely, and you'll spot a pre-Technic gear (I think this one) meshing with spindled fences.
  • The Archimedes' screw tube made out of many of 4083 Bar 1 x 4 x 2 with Studs has returned in a more prominent way.
  • Two exciting features that appeared in last year's layout (which didn't get the attention it deserves) are back: get a load of the massive curved tunnels made out of ladders and the ball run section made out of 4-wide train track.
  • Back to those ladder tunnels: note that there are two of them. An NXT sends balls down two separate paths, which combine back into one at the beginning of the train track.
  • The robotic arm picks balls up out of a rotating platform that uses 4x4 Macaroni bricks to catch and hold the DUPLO balls.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Truly Building Blind

Name of Resource: Lego for the Blind
Created by: Matthew Shifrin
Found at:
Details: The "Blind Build" is a popular game at LEGO conventions, but it doesn't truly capture the experience of a blind person building a LEGO set. Being blind doesn't mean only not being able to see the parts - it also means that you can't see the box or the instructions. Depending on how long someone has been without sight, it might even mean never having seen a LEGO piece. While bricks and plates are very tactile elements, most of us who experiment with a "Blind Build" as a game are very familiar with what the parts look like, and we're usually looking right at the instructions while we build. A blind person attempting to build even a fairly simple kit will need to be able to interact with all of the parts - and the instructions - without ever seeing them.

This challenge has been met by an exciting website launched recently called "Lego for the Blind". Matthew Shifrin has compiled a series of written instructions in English for a variety of popular LEGO sets (19 of them as of this writing). These instructions can then be read aloud by screen reading software. Some preparation is required (besides acquiring a set listed on the site) - a sighted person needs to sort the parts first. I suspect that that step could be skipped for a set that doesn't include the same part in multiple colors, but so far the sets the site has instructions for lean towards the larger size. Then again, having to feel through 2000+ parts to find the right shape would bring back the "goofy convention challenge" aspect...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

In Memoriam: Notable AFOLs We Lost in 2016

The biggest reason this blog got quieter in 2016 isn't actually personal issues getting in the way. It's the difficulty with figuring out how to write this post. We lost many notable figures in the LEGO fan community this past year. I'm not even talking about Carrie Fisher (Star Wars' Princess Leia) or any of the other "celebrities" the rest of the world knows. I'm saying we've lost many of our friends, our inspirations, and predecessors.

Not knowing how to grapple with that made it difficult to say something right away. Over time, I quickly started to think that more fitting and thorough tributes were required to properly eulogize and remember why these people were important. Then the terrifying realizations started settling in: people will want you to say something more meaningful now that you've taken longer to say anything. More people have died and it's not fair to any of them to compress them all into one post. Nobody else is saying anything. Wait, really? None of the big AFOL blogs noticed Seymour Papert died? Or Ed Boxer? Or Robin Werner? What kind of community are we? How little do we know about our history, or care about people who are active in different parts of the country than we are in? How many more important AFOLs has our community lost that I don't know about? What does it say about us "LEGO news blogs" in the "AFOL community" that when we lose someone important in our community, we don't say or do ANYTHING to honor the departed? Can we really claim to be a community if we don't do anything in these situations?

The guilt set in. I knew I had to write something about it, but anything I said would be too little, too late. We've disrespected our elders too much already, and even focusing on what's wrong with us as a community instead of what we loved about those we've lost is unfair to their memory. I just can't win, and it feels like most of our "community" doesn't even realize that we should be fighting to preserve our community.

Without further ado; here is too little, too late (in roughly chronological order):

  • Seymour Papert
    A giant in a few different worlds, Seymour Papert is probably best known to LEGO fans for his role in creating the LEGO Mindstorms range. He's not just a major figure in bringing LEGO into the classroom, though - he's also the major figure in bringing computers into the classroom. Before Mindstorms, he was instrumental in developing the LOGO language, he spoke at one of the earliest LEGO fan events, and he did much of the research underpinning the bringing both play and programming into education. Like I said - I can't do him justice in a short blurb.

    Further reading:
    The ACM published a thorough obituary
    HispaBrick published a short blog post about his passing, and also republished an article on his role in inspiring the evolution of the LEGO MINDSTORMS line
    The LEGO Foundation posted a brief tribute
    Wikipedia Bio
    Slashdot report and comment thread
    Bio on Daily Papert

  • Ed Boxer
    If you're a "real AFOL" (tm), you know about Ed Boxer's LEGO Castle. It was impossible to miss in the late 90s, especially after it was recognized as the first "Cool LEGO Site of the Week" (he was later featured two more times). Admittedly, he had been quiet in the community for some years before he passed last summer, but he will still be missed.

    Further reading:
    Cool LEGO Site of the Week : Site #1
    Ed Boxer's LEGO Castle as saved by the Internet Archive
    Ed Boxer's site as saved by Library of the Collective Human Record

  • Robin Werner
    Robin Werner spent was active in the AFOL community for a longer time than most, but he primarily focused on town and train layouts in his home state of Florida. He was a founder of both the Greater Florida LEGO User Group (GFLUG) and the Greater Florida LEGO Train Club (GFLTC) - and in many ways, he was the indispensable man keeping GFLUG rolling. Best known for his stunningly ambitious downtown Tampa layout, he passed very suddenly just after returning from a month-long tour of three AFOL events.

    Further reading: (as of this writing, still frozen in time with reports of events from before Robin's last outing)
    GFLTC history (a summary of 1996-2004, which shows how important Robin was in establishing his state's LEGO scene)
    GFLTC on Brickshelf
    Cool LEGO Site of the Week : Site #120 was "Robin's LEGO® Zone", which seems to be lost to history (if you can find it, let us know).

  • Paul Quigley
    Barely a month after Robin's passing, GFLUG was still reeling from the news when we found out that Paul Quigley was gone as well. While he didn't have the travel itinerary of others on this list, I knew him as a passionate builder, friendly vendor, and devoted family man. He was a constant, active force in a LUG that badly needed the support, and it's unclear how the LUG will continue after losing two of its most active members.

    Further reading:
    Jurassic World MOC as captured by The Brick Show

  • Durrell Reichley
    A fixture at AFOL events in recent years, Durrell Reichley was a key person in running ColonialLUG, the first recognized LEGO User Group aimed primarily at teenagers. Part of a rare family of FOLs, he was often more of a supporting player for his wife (Mary) and two sons (Zane and Nathaniel), who remain active in the hobby.

    Further reading:
    ColonialLUG website