Archive for January, 2009

The early days of Legoland — boy have they come a long way!

January 29, 2009



The early days of Legoland

Originally uploaded by perryolf

I was browsing through Flickr and found this very interesting set of pictures posted by Ryolf Per aka perryolf. They are slides that his father-in-law took of LEGOLAND Billund when it opened in 1968.

I had seen a few images before, but these so clearly show what some of the models looked like. In his set of photos you see ostriches, zebras, giraffes, polar bears and penguins along with a few images of Miniland as it once was.

In comparison to today’s models they are primitive, when you think of the complex and well sculpted animals and buildings that are now being made. They are blocky and simple in design with very little in the way of the sculpted curves and variations in color that are seen today.

They do however evoke the same childlike innocence and wonder of contemporary models. Before the park was built in Billund, there was no such thing as a Master Model Builder. Heck, even the LEGO brick was still a fairly new concept back then.

To think that in the 41 years since that first park has opened how much has been achieved with just “simple” plastic bricks it astounds me to think of its rise from humble origins to now being much more than just a child’s toy.

LEGOLAND gets real — sort of

January 27, 2009

I know I already mentioned this on my blog, but I felt it needed an update.

To more accurately depict the actual Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, the Master Model Builders at LEGOLAND California have rebuilt the first family. Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama now have the actual outfits (or as close as LEGO can get) that they wore on Jan 20th.

They also changed Aretha Franklin’s dress from blue to gray and slimmed her down a bit in the process — man I wish it was that easy in real life! ;)

More 2009 Set Images

January 26, 2009

Are you just itching to see what else 2009 holds in store for us in the way of LEGO sets? If you don’t want to know, look away now, before you see the pictures. If you do, keep reading.

Over the “pond” on Eurobricks member White Fang has posted a whole bevy of new set images for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Space Police, Power Miners, and Castle. I only highlight Space Police because up till now, there has been virtually no images to see.

The nice thing about these images is that they are not grainy or so small you can’t really tell what’s going on. They were taken at the Canadian Toy and Hobby Fair by Kris Abel.

It was only a matter of time before they made this as a model.
endor

Check out the fez!
indian-jones

It looks like there are several alien bad guys that the SP has to hunt down. I really like the green guy.
space-police-11

Here is the new queen of the Castle. I was actually able to see this in person at the Minifig Beauty Pagent at BrickCon last October.
queen_lowres1

To check out all the images go to Kris Able’s blog or go to Eurobricks and join the discussion. ;)

Bricks of a different color

January 26, 2009

In the recent years, two-color bricks have been showing up in LEGO sets more and more. What most people don’t know is that LEGO has actually been doing two-tone bricks unintentionally for years. It’s not often when you find one in a set, they tend to be weeded out in the quality control phase. Every once in a while we’d find them in the Model Shop at LEGOLAND California, but that is because we use them in such high quantities. Also, a lot of older glued models in the park actually have the marbled bricks as the interior bracing. Since LEGO didn’t sell them, Model Shops would use the “less than perfect” bricks where they can’t be seen by the public. I should know, I’ve seen them in quite a few LEGO models in my time.

So, how do these “unintended” bricks come about? When LEGO changes the color used in a machine injection mold they don’t clean them completely out, they just pour in the new color and let the old color get cycled through. Its during that small amount of time when the old color is still there and the new color has been added that these marbled bricks are born. xbrickmaker has a pretty good amount of them. Look in your collection and see if you have any. ;)

Heck of a Hellboy

January 25, 2009

misterzumbi on Brickshelf has created a truly impressive mini bust of Hellboy. For such a small model, it is packed full of different techniques, and the colors are perfect! It just shows that you don’t need a lot of bricks to make a big impact.

Patriotically Petite

January 24, 2009

With the Presidential Inauguration still fresh in mind, I’m feeling patriotic. Well known for his multitude of LEGO landmarks Arthur Gugick’s United States Capitol Building is a great example of what you can do in Microscale.

Boulder Blaster 8707

January 23, 2009

I was looking through Brickshelf and saw this new Power Miners set. With a little further searching on the world wide web I found that Brickset, the online LEGO set database already had it listed and that it is available at Toys R Us for $26.99 (online price).

From what I can tell from the reviews at Brickset, this is a Limited Edition set, possibly only available at Toy R Us. I don’t know that for certain, but I do know that even if they are “Limited Edition” you can usually find them eventually on LEGO.com (though they don’t have it at this time) or at LEGOLAND.

It looks like a pretty good set, and from what I’ve read of the reviews, most people seem to like it. Although one person pointed out that it is “almost great” because they think that the dynamite launcher is a little superfluous on a bulldozer. I tend to agree with that, but at the same time, you get three sets of dynamite this way, and I don’t see that as a bad thing. ;)

Oh, here’s a Model Building Tip, well actually an LEGO Set Ordering Tip. Even if you don’t live close to a LEGO store or LEGOLAND but you want to buy something that they carry, you can call them and order what they have over the phone. They will ship it to your house, no matter where in the world that might be. Now I’m not saying that it is cheaper or anything, the shipping alone might discourage you. But if cost doesn’t matter, and you want sets or other LEGO related items that are not available any other way (a good example is that LEGOLAND has shirts and mugs, etc that are only available there) you can get them even if you can’t get there yourself.

Gotta love that little Cafe Corner

January 22, 2009

little-cafe-corner

Marcos Bessa from Portugal made this incredibly small and fabulously detailed Cafe Corner. I love the challenges that Microscale and Marcos did an amazing job. You can see more images on MOCpages.

He even made it so the the different floors come apart.

little-cafe-corner-1

Brick Obama

January 20, 2009

Like most of America today, I watched Barack Obama become the 44th President of the United States. Michael Fortress commemorates this historic event with his take on Shepard Fairey’s iconic painting.

brickobama_

I think that Barack looks pretty good as a Minifig. Hail to the Chief! ;)

Afro-American Cultural Center

January 19, 2009

I’m sure you were all wondering what my “big project” was. Well, now that it’s over I have time to post about it. Pride Communications and The Main Event contacted me about making a replica of the Afro-American Cultural Center in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Lowes Pride Awards.

AACC 1 small

It took me about 2 and a half weeks (100 hours) to design and build this model. It is 2 feet wide, 42 inches long and 2 feet tall. Although it is not the biggest building that I’ve built, it was a nice challenge all the same. I built the model at my LEGO studio at home, then took it apart in sections, packed it in a suitcase, and rebuilt it at the event in less than 4 hours. At the very end of the event, my model was presented to the Afro-American Cultural Center as a gift. They are actually building a new center and my LEGO model will be on display in the new building.

I’ve also added a picture of the actual building so that you can compare them.


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