Archive for January, 2012

LEGO M&Ms

January 28, 2012

I sorry I haven’t been posting in a while. Too much happening in my real life. So to make up for it I’ve found a tasty treat of a MOC for you. :)

LEGO M&M

Bruce Lowell keeps coming out with more fun creations. Just peruse his photostream to see a wealth of interesting and even everyday items that we may not immediately see as subjects of LEGO model replication.

Who else would create a Kitchen-Aid Mixer
LEGO KitchenAid Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (Details)

And a Fisher Price Popper Toy?
LEGO Corn Popper Toy

I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. ;)

Organ Grinder Minifig

January 24, 2012

Finished Product

I love Matthew Hocker’s model! As soon as I saw it I couldn’t believe it hadn’t already been done it was so perfect!

I can almost hear the tinny music as the little monkey dances for the passing crowds with the occasional clink of a coin being dropped in the collection cup. ;)

Guys build with Friends too

January 23, 2012

IMG_0901

Cale Leiphart’s newest MOC (my own creation) is a good example of what LEGO Friends mixed with “normal” LEGO bricks can look like.

As I pointed out to a hesitant AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO), the building potential of the new friends sets is very high, why limit either guys or girls to gender-specific sets? LEGO is LEGO is LEGO. Even the worst themes have great parts.

Regardless of the LEGO Friends controversy, this is a great model. ;)

A look at Brickvention 2012

January 22, 2012

It may still be Sunday here in the States, but in Australia, Brickvention 2012 is now just a memory.

Meet the artists and architects using Lego to create spaceships, Buckingham Palace and more.

Click on this link to check out the video Block magic.

(I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to embed it properly, sorry.)

For all of us who couldn’t make it, this great video by the Herald Sun shows some of the sights and sounds of BrickVention.

Its nice to see some of my Australian Facebook friends in the video, some that I still haven’t met in person.

LEGO Certified Professional Ryan Mcnaught’s Saturn V rocket can’t be missed, and I love all the Miniland figures that were built this year.

Hopefully everyone had a good time and maybe I can go in person one day and report on it myself. ;)

Happy Chinese New Year!

January 21, 2012

DSC_2030xx

Schneider Cheung continues to create stunning models that I wish I’d built! :D

I’ve wanted to make a Chinese dragon for years, but I’ve never gotten around to it. Schneider’s model is just plain awesome!

Dynaway Sorting Plant

January 20, 2012

I know I could certainly use one of these.

I’m not a Mindstorms person, but I love seeing what other people can make with them. BrickIt has created a Brick Sorting Plant. It only works for 2×4 and 1×2 bricks, but it does sort them in both size a color.

It’s build for a company called Dynaway (www.dynaway.com). They use this model to demonstrate their manufacturing execution system. The model is designed to fit inside one large flightcase, for easy transport. The model is the second model we’ve build for Dynaway.

I’d love a sorting machine, only mine would need to be much bigger and sort every LEGO element in every color. Hey, one can dream right? :D

Brick Built Life-Sized Dalek — and what they did wrong

January 19, 2012

Now let me first emphasize that this is not a LEGO built model. It was created by the Character Building Company and made with their building blocks.

For this year’s Toy Fair, a 280-kilogram, 2-meter-tall plastic Dalek will be unveiled to strike fear into patrons’ hearts. This project required four people, 328 hours (almost two weeks) of effort, and 157,460 separate Character Building bricks.

Via — io9.com

As a Doctor Who fan, seeing a life size Dalek built out of bricks is cool.

But watching the video as a LEGO Master Model Designer, I see a lot of things wrong with the model. Not that I want to bash them too much mind you, but they made that model way, way too heavy. 280 kg is just a little over 617 pounds!

When I, or any other properly trained Model Builder, designs a model we want to make it as light as possible. Even when they are only made of bricks, with no metal armature, a large model can get heavy very quickly.

If you’ve watched the video all the way through, watch it again. On this second go round, notice the interior. They’ve built solid walls criss-crossed to give structural support. Although this will give support, it will also make it much heavier than it has to be.

In contrast, look at the hidden interior of my Perot Museum
Interior Bracing

Granted this is a smaller model being only 2 1/2 feet cubed, but you can clearly see the difference in sheer quantity of brick used. My model is just as structurally sound but instead of being hundreds of pounds, it only weighs about 60.

For further perspective check out this life-sized Ford Explorer made by LEGO

You can see that there are spaces in the interior structure, allowing strength with less weight. Even so, the Ford Explorer still weighs about as much as an actual car. ;)

As more and more companies have a building brick line (clearly copy-cats of our beloved LEGO) they want to create their own “impressive” large models. This has been done with mixed results. I’ve seen some that resemble what they are supposed to be but that do not have the beauty and well crafted design of a LEGO sculpture. This Ironman by Mega Bloks is a good example:
P1210802
(although I’m hoping for a stunning Super Hero model to surface now that LEGO has the DC and Marvel licenses. :D )

This Optimus Prime created by Kre-0 really impressed me at Comic Con last year
P1270675

But, in talking with the designer, I found out that she is also a former LEGO model builder.

I’m not saying that only LEGO trained Model Builders can build great models — the vast array of MOCs (My Own Creations) created by Adult (and child) LEGO fans is proof of that — but it helps. ;)

LEGO FriendsHats and other thoughts

January 13, 2012

The controversy over LEGO Friends continues to rage. Although I try to stay out of it for the most part, not commenting on other blog or Facebook posts that are clearly misinformed or just plain wrong, I can’t help but feel that certain groups have taken an innocent toy and superimposed their political views on top of it. LEGO has even gone as far as issuing a press release about it.

One of the biggest misunderstandings with the new LEGO Friends figs is that they aren’t compatible with regular minifigs. Its as if these unimaginative people can’t see the building potential. They don’t see Friends as an addition to all of the other products that LEGO produces but more of a “this or that” toy. Like the children can only like LEGO Friends or like “normal” LEGO. But what is “normal” LEGO?

Friends is just a new form. Before 1978 there were no minifigs, before 2000 there were no Bionicle, before last year there were no LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean — do you get my point? LEGO is constantly evolving, changing and growing. Friends is just a new type of LEGO figure.

While the figures themselves can’t easily interchange with Minifigs, all the Friends hair can be worn by minifigs and vice-versa. And that goes for the accessories too.

This great video by LDM showcases the headgear.

And the customizing of LEGO Friends has already begun. Check out these custom Friends figs:
G.I.Julie

Haircut

Punkrock Girl

And “Wrist articulation: achieved”
Wrist articulation: achieved

I even decided to change my Facebook picture in support of LEGO Friends
Friend Sig Fig

And yes, as a LEGO Artist, I really use power drills, wrenches and all manner of tools daily. I have to use math — fractions and geometry especially — to create my models. Because of LEGO not only was it a wonderful, ever changing toy that was only limited by my imagination as a child but it has allowed me to achieve two of my dream jobs — LEGO Master Model Builder and Writer. It has given me not one, but two careers and endless hours of enjoyment.

Like I mentioned in my previous post I was skeptical of LEGO Friends at first. But the more I see of the sets and the things that are already being done with the new figures I like them more and more!

Rocket Man

January 12, 2012

Australia’s only LEGO Certified Professional Ryan Mcnaught has outdone himself once again!

Me next to the Saturn V

Known for his Love Boat and Qantus Airbus, Ryan is familiar with making big models. But his newest model the Saturn V rocket has 120,000 bricks and is 5.76 meters — nearly 19 feet tall!

Compared to the one we built at LEGOLAND California for Miniland Florida years ago (now on display in Denmark), this one is at least three times taller.

I love all the fun little details he adds to these models.

With the help of a little dry ice, its about to blast off!
Its a long way to the top....

The crew is about to board, but somebody is a little nervous :D
Houston, We have a problem.....

There is so much that is downright awesome with this model! It will debut to the public at this year’s Brickvention January 21st-22nd in Melbourne, Australia.

On a slightly unrelated note, for any of you who are going to be at Brickvention, my LEGO jewelry and key chains will be available for sale at the convention. I can’t be there unfortunately, but at least I can be part of it in this small way. :)

LEGO Friends — Controversial or Cool?

January 9, 2012

If you’ve been paying attention at all to the buzz around the internet, you’ve probably seen at least on or several posts or articles about the LEGO Friends line. When I first heard about a new girl theme coming out over a year and a half ago at the LEGO Conventions I kept hearing “It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.”

My reaction, like most AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO), was — we’ll see.

The first low-res pictures didn’t do much to sway my cynical opinion. It looked like a rehashing of older themes. Once I finally saw good quality pictures, I thought it looked a lot like Polly Pocket. And it does. But so do a lot of other toys geared towards girls.

Unlike previous girl LEGO lines, LEGO Friends was widely promoted by the company. And almost before the first press release got out, the backlash started.

“LEGO already has a LEGOs for girls — they are called LEGOs” one person touted (and I apologize to all who cringe when an “s” is added to LEGO).

This comic posted on FBTB.net showed another side of it.

But what a lot of those who are complaining don’t know, or don’t care to research. Is that this is hardly the first time LEGO has made girl sets. They’ve been doing it for decades. Ever since the first Homemaker sets in 1971, LEGO has made sets clearly geared towards girls. That’s over 30 years people!

So why now? Well part of it is just because these naysayers can. Part of it is because LEGO didn’t promote previous incarnations like Belville and Scala as strongly as LEGO Friends. So all of these people who never really paid attention to LEGO themes before are taking sides over LEGO Friends. There’s even a petition to stop LEGO Friends.

A petition? Really? Don’t we have anything else to worry about?

I admit, Belville, Scala, and Clickits were never my favorite lines. I felt and still feel that they were an insult to my intelligence. There were no difficult builds and the figures looked like Barbie for LEGO — especially Scala. The only girl lines I liked were the Homemaker line which is a little bit before my time, and Paradisa.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I’m not a girly girl. In fact I took over my brothers’ LEGO bricks when they grew out of them. Something I never did. So even though I like Paradisa, it was too girly for me. I much preferred Castle or City — before it was populated only by cops, firemen, and robbers. I grew up in the golden age of LEGO when some of the truly great lines came out. I was just as into space and pirates as my brother (my little brother was a little too young at the time).

So when Scala and Belville were finally available in the US — they were originally only available in Europe — I was already a die-hard LEGO fan. These sets annoyed me and I ignored them. I refused to buy them because I didn’t like them. But what I didn’t realize was how many cool accessories there were. Food and cooking elements especially. So as I got more building savvy and started looking as sets more like parts packs and less like sets, I started to purchase Scala and Belville.

So what do I think of LEGO Friends? Well I wanted to wait until I had gotten some before I gave my opinion. I was getting more and more excited as I saw all the fun elements. And now that I have a couple sets I really, really like them.

Even with the images I’d seen of Friends to Minifig scale comparisons, I didn’t really appreciate how very small they Friends dolls are. They are tiny! Which naturally makes them cuter. They won’t replace my love for the Minifig, but they won’t be relegated to the back of the LEGO box either.

When I saw the sets in the stores I wanted to buy all of them! Okay, maybe that is my girly side coming out, but I am a girl, so that’s okay. ;)

Lots of non-LEGO people are complaining about the pink. But there is actually very little pink in the sets. And there are all these great new colors and parts! There are just as many, if not more, male AFOLs wanting these sets because of the accessories.

So in short — after this long rant — I like LEGO Friends. Is it exactly what I would have wanted as a child? No, but that’s what Modular Buildings are for. I do want all of the sets, if not multiples. I love the new accessories and colors. The MOC (my own creation) potential is very high! And I will be recommending them to everyone. I hope they come out with more. My opinion — Cool. :)


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