Archive for April, 2010

Art Hop 2010

April 30, 2010

Hi all, I’m up in Banning, California for Art Hop 2010 happening tomorrow, May 1st.

One of the main sponsors of the event is Waste Management and because of that they asked me to make a replica of one of their garbage trucks.

Now normally I leave car building to Lino Martins of LUGNuts. Its not that I can’t do it, I’m just not a car person. But a model is a model and so I present the LEGO Waste Management Garbage Truck:

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I was sent a scale replica toy truck as to work off from. (It’s the smaller one.) :D

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For some reason I found it a bit tricky to get started on this model and so instead of starting the prototype from the bottom I started from the top. Figuring out all the intricacies of the vehicle was a fun challenge. And, since the toy had two garbage cans with it I had to make LEGO ones too. ;)

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The model is about 18 inches long and took me around a week to design and build. You can see the full set of images on Flickr. I find it pretty funny that I happen to make a garbage truck just when LEGO is releasing an offical Toy Story 3 garbage truck.

If you are in the Riverside area, come by and visit me at my booth and say hi!

LEGO’s Collectable Minifigs Homepage

April 28, 2010

LEGO.com has a new section all about everyone’s favorite new Minifigures. Not only do we get to see what each one looks like, we also get to know the official names of all the figures (like we couldn’t figure out most of them ourselves).

Collect all 16 unique LEGO minifigures!

Each minifigure comes in a sealed “mystery” bag, so you never know which minifigure you might get. And each minifigure has its own special accessories, display plate and collector’s leaflet. Inspired by movies, sports, history and just everyday life, this collection includes: Demolition Dummy, Forestman, Cowboy, Super Wrestler, Zombie, Ninja, Cheerleader, Skater, Tribal Hunter, Circus Clown, Magician, Deep Sea Diver, Robot, Nurse, Caveman, and Spaceman.

The most interesting name of the 16 is “Tribal Hunter”, I guess they didn’t want to offend any one. :D

Not only can you find out each figure’s name, but you can also read a bio about each figure. Some of them are actually pretty funny.

“Like a shadow in the night, I – oops!”

Stealthy. Sneaky. A cunning master of martial arts. None of these things describes the Ninja, although he sure wishes they did. He tries his best to dramatically blend into the shadows or hide in plain sight like all the other ninjas can, but no matter what he does, he always seems to mess things up. The truth is that he’s just plain clumsy, and no matter how gracefully he may start a back-flip, creep along the rafters or launch himself into an epic sword battle, healways manages to trip over his own feet, fall off the ceiling, or bonk himself on the head with his ancient and mystical blade. Also, he’s afraid of the dark.

No one is quite sure how the Ninja ever managed to graduate from ninja school. But no matter how bad he may be at his chosen profession, he always keeps trying and never gives up, convinced after each blunder that the next time, he will prove himself a true ninja warrior for the ages.

To read the other Minifig Bios or check to out the Downloads and Games go to LEGO.com.

Aposematism 1

April 26, 2010

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Ryan Rubino’s newest creation drew me into its web. There is so much that makes this model awesome! The position of the insects, the sense of movement, and the shear size of the model (check out the original size) is amazing. Having dealt with both of these insects in the wild, I certainly wouldn’t want to meet Ryan’s enlarged versions in my backyard. ;)

2×4 LEGO Brick Boxes

April 25, 2010

Mel Caddick has created simple yet elegant giant LEGO bricks. As is they look pretty good, but the fact that they open makes them even better. :)

Although “new” on Flickr she is not new to LEGO, being as she works for the company. :D

LEGOLAND California is looking for Model Builders

April 23, 2010

Do you have what it takes to be a Master Model Builder? LEGOLAND is currently looking to add five people to the team at the LEGOLAND Development Model Shop. Work on exciting new projects for LEGOLAND Florida, LEGOLAND Malaysia and the new LEGOLAND Water Park in California opening in June. Applications will be accepted from now until April 30th.

You can check out the job listing just click on “Model Builder” to read the job description. I’ve heard that they are looking for 5 Model Builders (possibly more) so if you’ve always wanted to join the ranks of the Master Model Builders, here’s your chance. ;)

Bricks by the Bay Day 2 and 3

April 22, 2010

Okay, I realize that I’m about a week and a half late with this, but hey, it’s my blog so I guess I can write what I want when I want. So, lets go back in time to April 10th and 11th and pretend that Bricks by the Bay is still happening. :)

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In some ways Saturday was very similar to Friday, lots of hanging out with lots of old and new LEGO friends. There were also panel discussions where you could learn different LEGO tips, tricks or info.

We’d already spent a nice sum of money on the “scratch and dent” (I made a mistake when I said “ding and dent” earlier). Many of us also ended up spending another nice sum of money on all the vendors that came.

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That is one cool thing about going to LEGO conventions. With the vendors, not only do you get to find fun unique stuff like LEGO related T-shirts but you can also sometimes find that certain minifigure or element that you’ve been seeking.

Not only were there vendors selling Brickarms and Brickforge but there were others selling minifigures, bricks, and full LEGO sets. I managed to get a Harry Potter phoenix and a pretty rare horse pony for really decent prices.

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I have to say the highlight of the day was Mads Nipper, the Executive Vice President of LEGO, giving the key note address.
He gave us a nice insight in to the company and where its heading in the future. And from what he said, the future of LEGO is looking bright. ;)

Mads not only gave us a nice look into the LEGO company, he brought gifts.
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50 ultra-rare Collectable Minifigures. Why are they ultra rare? Well in the manufacturing of process one leg of the minifigs somehow is 1 millimeter shorter than the other one. A difference so slight that you almost can’t notice it unless its pointed out. Normally figures like this would be destroyed. I can hear your gasps from here — why destroy them you might ask? Well you know that whole “only the best is good enough?” LEGO actually means it. That’s why it is really rare when you find any misshapen bricks. I’ve seen a few, but only because when I worked in the Model Shop we work with millions of bricks.

So back to the ultra-rare Minifigs. I was not fortunate enough to get one. They were raffled off, like most of the door prizes are. Some of my friends did get them though and so I have actually held a few in my hands. Now, you might have heard of a “secret” second barcode on the back of the bag that identifies what the figure is. I will say here what I said there, you don’t need it.

When you hold the bag, if you take just a moment or so, you should be able to tell what the figure is if you know anything about LEGO. Each figure has distinctive elements (the Spaceman’s helmet, the Caveman’s club) that you can tell just by feel alone what it is.

Now, back to Bricks by the Bay. The Sunday Public Day was both good and bad. Good because we had such a great attendance, and bad because we didn’t have the space to accommodate everyone.
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Some people waited in line for over 2 hours! And because the line was so long we had to shut it down early and turn some people away. It was supremely crowded inside.

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All in all it was a wonderful first convention. Yes the space was too small and yes some of the public wasn’t happy, but most of the public were happy and when I asked them if the 2 hour wait was worth it they said “Yes.”

I now return you to the present. :D

LEGO World Shows of the 80s

April 19, 2010

Brickset.com has a new section on their website showcasing the LEGO World Shows that took place in the 80s. Long before LEGOLAND was anywhere other than in Denmark these touring shows inspired a generation of LEGO fans on just what could be done with the brick.

Although not as fantastic as modern LEGO models these earlier sculptures were the precursor to them. Children like me saw these models and have turned into the Master Model Builders, Architects and Artists of today. Who knows what future generations will come up with. ;)

The passing of a legend: Nate “nnenn” Nielson

April 18, 2010

A man no one really knew except as Nnenn passed away earlier this week. This was the last model that he posted on his Flickr photostream.

It is my unpleasant duty to report the passing of our friend and fellow builder Nate “nnenn” Nielson. Nate’s death was the result of an automobile accident earlier this month. A resident of Tekoa, Washington, Nate was a father, an artist, and a professor specializing in graphic design. Nate is survived by his beloved wife and two sons ages 3 and 8.

via Brothers Brick

I can not hope to do justice to Brothers Brick’s tribute so I will not try. All I will say was that he was a truly legendary builder with his own style and flare. His models and his talent will be missed on the internet. The loss to the online LEGO community is nothing to the loss of his family. My heart goes out to his wife and children. Nate you will be missed by all of us.

Toy Story as Miniland Models

April 17, 2010

I realize I still haven’t finished my review on Bricks by the Bay and I apologize for that. I’m still processing the weekend. ;)

As a tiny tidbit I’d like to focus on these models.
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In an earlier post I talked about the John Lasseter bust that was made by Erik Varszegi. My favorite part of the model was the Miniland scale Buzz and Woody figures that Erik had made. I really wanted a better look at them.

As a nice bonus to going to Bricks by the Bay not only was Erik there, but he had brought Buzz, Woody and even more of the Toy Story gang to display.

I was especially happy that I could get a look at the back of Buzz.
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And the LGM (little green man) Alien was super cute too. :)
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On a slightly related note I have to mention LEGOLAND California Master Model Builder Joel Baker’s claw machine model.
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Even though I knew he was making this, it was still a wonderful model to see in person. He even had the lettering on the side.
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More pictures and reviews from Bricks by the Bay to come. ;)

LEGO City Fireman Model

April 15, 2010

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Today I got quiet a surprise when I visited my local Toys “R” Us. There was a life size model of a Firefighter made out of LEGO bricks.

Being the picky Master Model Builder that I am, I couldn’t just look at and admire it, I had to study how it was built.

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The first thing I noticed was that it was very round. Now as I know a little about LEGO building and how many of the models are done now I figured immediately that it was probably designed with Brickbuilder, the internal LEGO computer program that takes 3D computer images and turns them into LEGO models. There a subtle clues that the average non-Master Builder would never recognize.

Here’s a Model Building Tip for you. If you notice the gray stripe right under his belt in the front the way the brick layers curve tell me that this was originally designed by a computer. Why? Well if the model had been designed by hand the curve would have been smoother. A computer doesn’t have the “artist’s eye” so it doesn’t see the abrupt curves as a problem. When Brickbuilder was first used this problem showed up a lot. Over all the model looked impressive, but there were all these funky curves per layer that didn’t make any sense. My guess is that the model designer fixed most of the curves on this model but either didn’t notice the one I mentioned or didn’t see it as important enough to fix.

I encountered that problem myself when I was building my giant lady bug. Transferring the half-dome to make the shell only took a few minutes, but fixing all the funny curves took three days. I also added the black dots at the same time.

Erik Varszegi, Master Model Builder extraordinaire, truly is a master taking Brickbuilder to the next level. He uses it as it is meant to be used, as just one more tool in the Master Builder’s bag of tricks.
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In fact there is a great article about designing with Brickbuilder that Erik wrote in Issue 9 of the BrickJournal Magazine

Just because many of the LEGO models start out with a computer designing them doesn’t mean that Master Model Builders will disappear. The Master Builders still have lots of steps to do before it can go from computer screen to actual 3D LEGO model. ;)

So if you get a chance to see this at your local Toys “R” Us, take a moment to look and admire it.


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