Archive for the ‘LEGO’ Category

Its my Birthday, so I’m doing a Giveaway!

April 24, 2014

Hi all, I know I’ve been missing in action for the past many, many days. But I’ve been quite busy working on a model for Carbine Studios and NCSoft — that will be covered in a separate post ;) — so now that I’ve finally got a little bit of a breather, I can finally post again. Yay!!! :D

And today is a special day for me — It’s my Birthday!!!!!!

But I love sharing the birthday goodness so I’m doing a giveaway.

Birthday Giveaway

There will be 3 ways to enter:

1)Comment on this post
2)Like my Model Building Secrets Facebook Page and then Like, Share, and Comment on my link about this post
3)Follow me on Twitter @MariannAsanuma and reply to my tweet about this post with the #Birthdaygiveaway

Yes, you can enter once all three ways. I will leave the giveaway open till midnight April 30th (pacific standard time). This will be international, so as long as I can mail this to you, I will (but the Hobbit 2 blueray and DVD are Region 1, so may not work internationally).

Official Miniland scale figures in a set

March 3, 2014

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know I love Miniland scale. Ever since my first trip to LEGOLAND I fell in love with the scale. And once I started working at the Model Shop, Miniland USA was my responsibility for 4 years. So naturally I fell in love with the scale. Minifig scale is all well and good, but you are limited by their very small size. Minilanders are bigger, brick built, and much more versitle than Minifigs.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this on BrickSet

Now its not the first time that there has been a miniland figure in a kit. There was one in 2003 –King (Legoland Deutschland)

And one was designed by a co-worker of mine, George Corn, at LEGOLAND California in 2006

Neither set was widely available however, which this set seems to be.

There is something distinctly “wrong” with the new set — they have no chins! Whoever designed this set clearly didn’t consult the LEGOLAND Model Builders when they created it. None of the Miniland people are built without chins, and the mom looks rather anorexic.

Here’s some samples of Minilanders I’ve designed –

Wonder Woman 3

Mini Superman 2

Segway 1

Mermaid 2

You can see more on Flickr

Now granted — some Miniland building techniques would not stand up to the rules of proper set building — there are different guidelines on what can and can’t be done depending on if you are a set designer versus a Master Model Builder. But that doesn’t excuse the lack of chins. All they would need is to add an extra jumper plate (1×2 plate with a stud in the middle) under the head. The lack of chins is a common mistake when people are building Miniland people for the first time, but surely a set designer that is right by the LEGOLAND park in Denmark should have fixed this before it when into production.

On one level I’m happy that LEGO is recognizing Miniland as an official scale outside of the LEGOLAND parks. But on the other hand, these set figures are poor representations of the scale.

Building, Building, Building

March 3, 2014

Sorry for the lack of posts everyone. I’ve been so busy with commissions, which I will talk about as soon as I’m able, that I haven’t had much time at all for doing anything else including keeping up with my blog here. Its a good / bad thing. Good because I’m busy and have several projects going on at once. Bad, because I don’t get to post or write about all the news and new stuff that’s happening with LEGO.

This week there are two LEGO Conventions happening –

And BrickWorld Indy

Normally I’d be going to BricksCascade, but this year with all the work I have to do, I just can’t make it. My products — keychains and jewelry — will be available through BrickShirts at BricksCascade and through Milton Train Works at BrickWorld Indy. So at least part of me will be there. :)

I do post quick things on my Model Building Secrets Facebook page so be sure to like and follow it.

One of the things I’m kind of excited about is the announcement by LEGO Cuusoo that the issues with Doctor Who licensing have been resolved. In the few days since that was posted, several projects, including one by a friend of mine –

I urge you to support it and any others that strike your fancy. ;)

Also the first image of the rumored SandCrawler set has popped up — thanks to someone finding it in the new expanded LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary: Updated and Expanded


Via:BrickFan

More images will be popping up soon as I’ve heard it will be unveiled officially at BricksCascade. I do have the old SandCrawler — the only set to contain Jawas — and that’s the main reason I bought it. This one certainly looks better, but its also possibly $350 USD! If that is the price, that’s rather pricey in my opinion. I still haven’t picked up the Ewok Village. Its a great looking set — but at $250 I’m still on the fence with it. And since I have my jawas from the first one, I don’t know if I’ll be picking up one of these this time around.

So what do you think? Will you be picking up the new SandCrawler?

The LEGO Movie –The Spolier Free Review

February 9, 2014

So this past weekend I watched the LEGO Movie 3 times in 3 days. I wasn’t really planning on seeing it that many times, it just sort of happened. The fact that both Regal and AMC theaters were offering a limited number of free minifigs — a different one at each theater mind you — was definitely one of the reasons.

I’m not one that has to have all the special poly bags, but I kind of liked both the figs — Emmet wearing pajamas at Regal and the DJ Robot at AMC. I wasn’t going to go for the DJ robot, but then I saw the torso, which looks an awful lot like the LUGOLA (LA LEGO Fan Group) logo and since I’m a LUGOLA member, I made the half hour trip down to San Diego to get the fig.

So, back to the Movie. When I first heard about the plans to make a full length LEGO movie about 2 years ago I was a little worried. Images of the Smurfs movie– which I still have yet to see and no desire to do so — were what I feared the LEGO movie would turn into. Sure, there have been the Star Wars mini movies, the Ninjago series and the lesser Chima series (sorry, but I just don’t like Chima). But they were different and on a smaller scale. I wasn’t sure what the LEGO Movie would turn into, and until the trailers started showing up, I wasn’t all that excited.

But then they did start showing up. And the more I saw, the more I liked it and wanted to see it. Even if I wasn’t into LEGO, I would have wanted to see it for the animation. I’m something of a movie nut — which has made me contemplate writing a blog on movie reviews, but even though I go to a LOT of movies, there are a lot I don’t go to and wouldn’t watch so a blog on movie reviews would only be the movies I like and want to see.

Now that I’ve finally seen The LEGO Movie, and seen it and seen it, I still want to watch it again — on DVD — frame by frame to catch all the cool stuff that happens so fast you miss it. There’s a lot, and I mean a LOT, going on in the background, in the foreground, or for only a fraction of a second. The LEGO Movie was everything I wanted it to be in terms of LEGO times ten! The “Everything is Awesome” song is fun, although it does stick in your head, and by the third time seeing the movie I wanted to sing along with the movie.

Is the movie one big commercial for all the LEGO Movie kits, and LEGO in general? Yes. There’s no question about that. Unlike other movies, you can literally make what you see in the movie, even if they don’t make kits for some of it, you can make it. Maybe not in all the colors — Cloud Cuckoo Land is guilty of this — but you could still build it. That’s the point. So I’m okay with it being one big commercial, encouraging more children to create their own worlds with LEGO is something I fully advocate.

To me the LEGO Movie is what I dreamed of building when I was a kid. Unlike now, I didn’t have a huge collection then. But what I couldn’t build, I dreamed about. That’s what made me want to become a Master Model Builder. I could see making a whole castle valley, with towns, forests, mermaid lagoons, pirates, the works. And this movie shows what dreaming about building can do. If you had unlimited bricks that is.

The biggest plot point is that you can build whatever you want, with whatever parts you want. It can be crazy, multicolored, and make no sense at all. That’s okay. I can’t tell you how many parents ask me what glue to use so that the sets stay together and don’t fall apart. My response is always the same — you aren’t supposed to glue it together. Its supposed to fall apart and make something else, that’s the point. If this movie can drive that fact home to all those misguided parents, then that’s great.

The characters are fun. I really like Emmet, the unexpected hero. And I love Wild Style, although she could have been a little bit more of her own girl rather than having to cling to her boyfriend — Batman. Batman was just perfect. The only portrayal of Batman that I like better was the 90′s cartoon version. Bad Cop / Good Cop was awesome! UniKitty manically cute. Vitruvius is Morgan Freeman — nuf said! And Lord Business was everything an evil overlord should be. Oh and Benny, I love Benny. Spaceship!!!

Now when I saw the trailers, I thought that the LEGO Movie looked like a child’s version of the Matrix, and without getting into spoiler territory — it pretty much is. And no, I don’t want to do spoilers, there’s enough reviews out there already doing that.

Are there some holes in the film? Yes, but that won’t stop me from watching it again. Like I said, the lack of a really strong female that can stand on her own was a tad buggy. The story could have been better, and there’s a section at the end that could have been left out without really hurting the movie at all — it almost might have been better without it in my opinion.

There were a ton of things I loved — nods to the AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) community and things that only we would get how funny or cool that they were added. One of my favorite parts, without spoiling it, is how the “Master Builders” see the LEGO world.

And no, I’m not going to breakdown the whole movie, the characters, etc. There’s already a ton of reviews out there doing that, and putting way too many spoilers in the reviews. Besides, if I do write a post with spoilers, it will be a separate post, this one is already too long. ;)

So my overall score — 9 out of 10 bricks! See it — in theaters and watch it at least twice so you can catch more of the background. You don’t need to see it in 3D, although I did all 3 times (again mostly for the figs). It doesn’t really add that much to it other than a little sense of depth. I’m not really a fan of 3D though. And if you really love LEGO like I do, get it when it comes out on DVD.

They are already talking about a second LEGO Movie, and I’ll be there at the first showing I can get to. :D

Starstream — bigger isn’t always better

February 5, 2014

Starstream 1

Karf Oohlu shows that you don’t need a ton of LEGO to create something cool.

Starstream is less than 2 inches long, but the coolness factor is much, much bigger!

Storing your LEGO

February 4, 2014

So I just recently was asked on my Facebook page about how to properly store your LEGO. What’s the best way to sort them? By part? By color? By kits? Just dump it all in a box?

Well, I wish there was a simple solution, some magical formula that I could give you that would instantly be the answer. Unfortnately, as most AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO) know, there is no magic formula. And sorting and storing your LEGO will change as your collection changes (and most likely grows).

The solutions that worked for me when I was a child, heck the solutions that worked even 5-10 years ago, won’t work for me now and I will have to reevaluate it probably in another 5 years or so — if not sooner.

When I was a kid, I kept all my LEGO in one box, but early on I realized how frustrating it was to find that one particular piece, as it was always at the bottom of the box. So by age 11 I had started sorting my LEGO to a small degree.

Now, I sort and store my LEGO by part and color. My storage system is certainly on the extreme side, very similar to the storage system that I had when I was a Master Model Builder at LEGOLAND California. But I need such a system as I literally build day in and day out. I have to know where all my parts are at all times.

Most of my LEGO are in drawers like these
LEGO Room 6

And my desk looks like this
LEGO Room 2

LEGO Room 3

Now it is rarely this clean, as I tend to be a messy builder.

When I was younger I just had 4 of these “nuts and bolts” drawers (I call them that since you usually find them in hardware stores) where I stored all my little LEGO elements — weapons, feathers, food, etc. As you can see that set of 4 has grown…

Here’s a close up of the “nuts and bolts” drawers
LEGO Storage 4

I also have a fairly large collection of these official LEGO storage drawers (which unfortunately they are phasing out)

LEGO Storage 2

I like to keep one element per set of trays, its a nice way of seeing how many of what color you have.

I have a lot of the LEGO drawers and containers, as you can see in this picture.
LEGO Room 1

This is in no way all my LEGO, and I have tons that still needs sorting (which is a constant problem for me).

But enough about me, what’s the best thing for you to do? Well as most of you probably don’t have quite as much LEGO as I do, there are some steps you can take to solve your storage problems.

1) Sort by part, not color — its much easier to find a particular color in a bin than a particular element type in a sea of one color. You don’t have to have everything super sorted like I have it. You can put similar things together — technic parts, tiles, clips, etc.

2) If it is your child’s collection, involve them in the sorting and storage process or it will never work — You can have all the LEGO perfectly sorted for your child, but unless they are involved, and actively sorting the bricks themselves, it won’t work. The only reason my LEGO sorting has worked for over 25 years is that I was the one who initiated it when I was younger. My parents didn’t care how I stored my LEGO, but I did, as I took my collection seriously from a very early age.

3) Don’t keep your LEGO sorted by kit — unless you are an adult collector that wants to keep them organized this way, I highly discourage keeping your LEGO by the kits they came in. The whole point of LEGO is to mix them up. The new LEGO Movie addresses this very issue.

4) Sort them by how you build — depending on your building style, that can determine your sorting and storage system. If you are a car builder you want lots of wheels, tires, rims, etc. If you build castles you want castle walls, gray elements, roof elements, etc. Since I build anything and everything, that is why I have a super sorted collection. But the things I use with regularity — bricks, plates, tiles, etc — are in the easy to reach places while the things I hardly ever use — castle parts, technic, wheels, etc — are accessible, but not in easy reach.

5) Start your storage and sorting small — You don’t have to do it all at once. I’ve been doing it since I was 11, and my storage system is constantly changing as my collection grows and fluctuates. You can just get a few “nuts and bolts” drawers, a few containers. Then as your collection changes your storage can change.

As a side note there are a couple Flickr groups about LEGO sorting — LEGO Storage Extravaganza and LEGO Sorting

So, what do you do to sort and store your LEGO?

Master Oogway

February 3, 2014

LEGO Master Oogway

Bruce Lowell has done it again. Master Oogway from the Kung Fu Panda movies is perfect in his LEGO form

Bruce even got the cape Oogway wears right by using Jabba’s Sail Barge sails.

LEGO Master Oogway

Now my question is will this Oogway dissolve into peach blossoms too? :D

Benny!

January 23, 2014

The LEGO Movie Benny

So Chris Miller, one of the two directors of The LEGO Movie, tweeted this picture of what Benny, the Classic Space Guy will look like in sets.

Now if your of my generation, you’ve got a few of these guys. They were known for their space logos rubbing off and for the chin strap braking. Which is exactly why Benny was made the way he was.

Of course his chin strap is thicker than the original ones and the “rubbed” off torso is printed that way. :)

Benny will be available in two awesome sets coming out later this year

Metal Beard’s Sea Cow
The LEGO Movie 70810

And Benny’s Spaceship, Spaceship, Spaceship!
The LEGO Movie Benny's Spaceship 2

These sets aren’t on the cheap side, but they are both stunning and two of the best sets from this theme.

Even if you were not interested in the LEGO Movie (and who isn’t?) if you like Pirates or Classic Space then these two sets have something for you. ;)

Gate of Moria

January 22, 2014

Speak, friend, and enter

I don’t know what to say about this other than its awesome. I love the use of trans-blue parts for the details of the hidden door.

Speak, friend, and enter

I haven’t seen lisqr’s work before, but I will certainly be paying attention now. ;)

Cloud Cuckoo Land

January 16, 2014

Cloud Cuckoo Land

We’ve all thought about it (well I have at least), ever since the new Cloud Cuckoo Palace set hit the scene we’ve wanted more — more pink, more clouds, more Uni-Kitty!

Is it bad that I’ve already bought three of the set? :D

I’m not a girly girl, really I’m not. But the pastel goodness in this set brings it out of me!

Now I’m not saying Ryan Howerter is a girly girl either, but the fact that so many guy AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO) are going crazy over the set, I can see how Ryan would want to expand it to a whole world.

I’m really interested in seeing what it will look like in the LEGO Movie. Some of my friends that work for LEGO got to see a premiere yesterday and loved it! Of course they’re a little biased, but aren’t we all? ;)


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