Archive for the ‘Model Building Secrets’ Category

21109 Exo-Suit Review

July 11, 2014

A couple of days ago I got sent a very special package in the mail.
Look what I got from Denmark

I’ve never gotten a set before the release date direct from Denmark. I don’t know how I got on the list, but I want to thank whoever at LEGO put me on it so that I could get to review such a great set! :)

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This is the first LEGO Ideas set that I’ve opened. I bought the Ghostbusters set, but I’ve been too busy to get to it yet — isn’t it a bummer that I’m too busy building with LEGO to build with LEGO? (totally sarcastic) ;)

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The instruction book is really nice, with great pictures of Peter Reid — the LEGO fan that created the original concept and Mark Stafford — Senior LEGO Set Designer
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As well as the story of the Exo-Suit Adventure
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This set also features new green suit Classic Spacemen (and woman ;) ) as well as Peter’s signature turtle
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I have to say, I love the new green suits! When Classic Space originally came out green wasn’t even a LEGO color yet or we would have seen this sooner I’m sure.

The suit design is simply stunning! I’m not a mecha builder, but this just might convert me! There’s so much greebling. This model is sleek, totally pose-able and just plain awesome!

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This isn’t the greatest pic, but it shows how well the five fingered exo-suit hands can hold the turtle.
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Here’s a quick time lapse I made of the build

So my final verdict — buy it!!! Its coming out August 1st and will be $35 USD. I was already planning on picking up the model brfore I got this, and I’m certainly interested in getting more than one of these, its just that cool!

“Did someone call for IT support?”

July 2, 2014

" did someone call for IT support ? "

Okay, this isn’t really a build per se, but it is one of my new favorite minifigs — Terabyte from the new Ultra Agents Set 70165 — I just need to get the set (or buy him off bricklink).

Legoagogo created this fun pic. I think the stacks of 1×1 transparent red plates in the background really make this pic pop!

And I love Terabyte’s torso design. Why does LEGO keep making cool minifigs that are in expensive sets? :D

LEGO Batman 3 Beyond Gotham

May 27, 2014

Check out the newest LEGO Video Game

I loved both Batman 1 and 2, so I’m totally down for a 3rd Batman video game.

Here’s what Gameinformer has to say about the game:

TT Games latest Lego Batman adventure takes DC’s cast of heroes and villains into outer space to stop Brainiac.

Lego Batman 3 takes place right after the second game in the series, and a recent demo of the title showed off a few sequences depicting The Legion of Doom’s capture of the Watchtower which showcased some of the game’s standout features.

Switching suits no longer requires a Suit Signal, as any of the suits you’ve unlocked (naturally there are a host of new ones) can be selected via a radial wheel. In Batman and other Justice League members’ attempt to retake the Watchtower above Earth, Cyborg changes into a washing machine and mech, and we get a glimpse of Robin’s Illumination suit. Also on display was a Defender-like gamplay sequence as Batman takes on the Joker-controlled Watchtower in the Bat-Rocket.

As the game progresses and goes deeper into the universe, both characters from The Legion of Doom and Justice League will team up to take on Brainiac, who is using the Lantern Rings to shrink worlds. TT Games says that the title has over 150 characters from the DC Universe to unlock.

Finally, the game also introduces a bunch of VR mini-missions to mix up the gameplay. These include platforming sequences, puzzles, races, and a host more.

Lego Batman 3 comes out this fall for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, 3DS, Vita, and PC.

I wonder if this will lead to some new sets. ;)

Brick in a Bottle

May 19, 2014

Square Peg, Round Hole

This new model by Kristi of Custombricks kind of blew my mind. I’ve seen a few models built in glass bottles before, but this is so tight, its amazing!

Makes me want to try this…

Carbine Studios’ LEGO Rocketship House

April 25, 2014

So, if you’ve been following me on my Model Building Secrets Facebook Page then you know that I went to PAX East in Boston a couple weekends ago. Carbine Studios asked me to create a 4 foot LEGO Rocketship House for them for the upcoming game WildStar Online.

WildStar Model at PAX East 1

Not only did I build a 4 foot version, I built two 1 foot versions and a 3 foot WildStar logo.

Giant Rocketship House Final 1
That’s my 6 foot dinning room table to give you an idea of size.

LEGO Wildstar Logo 4

1 ft LEGO Rocketship House 2

1 ft LEGO Rocketship House 5

Both the little and big LEGO RocketShip House were challenging builds — the larger one was one of the most difficult in my career so far. What made them challenging builds was the organic shape of the RocketShip House itself, and the tiny landing gear that looks cool in a video game, but that doesn’t hold a big round heavy body that well in real world physics. :D

On the smaller model, the way I figured out how to design and build the round organic shape was by designing the nose of the ship first and then building from the middle out, using a ton of cheese slopes in the process.

I solved the weight distribution problem by creating clear pillars. In the little one the pillars are barely noticeable, but in the larger one, I had to make them sturdy and strong to hold the 50 pounds — 50,000 LEGO bricks — that was the larger model.

WildStar Model at PAX East 3

The 4 foot version of the Rocketship House is a doubled up version of the 1 foot model. Basically what I did was take every part on the small one and multiply it by 4 in length, width and height. So in actuality, the larger one is 64 times bigger than the smaller one!

Another challenge with the larger one was that they wanted me to build it onsite at PAX East. Now normally this would mean starting from the base and building up, but for this particular model, that wouldn’t have worked and there would have been no way that I could have built it in the 3 days of the event. One of the main problems were all those lovely cheese slopes on the smaller model. A lot of them are sideways. At first when I tried to build the larger version I was building straight up, but it wasn’t working. To properly represent all the cheese slopes on the smaller model, I would have to build them sideways as well.

So I came up with a building technique I’d never done before and had never seen done in a building event — I made all the giant “cheese slopes” as panels that I would build onto a central core –

WildStar Model at PAX East 4

This isn’t the greatest picture, but its the only one I have of the central core without all the panels on, and without the side engines and tail wings.

The coolest thing was that Carbine Studios created a time lapse video of me building the model so you can get an idea of the process

Both the large LEGO model and a check for $10,000 was donated to Child’s Play Charity

Carbine Studios® made a special donation to Child’s Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in its network of 90 hospitals worldwide. Carbine Studios partnered with LEGO® artist and instructor Mariann Asanuma to bring a WildStar® Rocket House, an exclusive in-game item only available through pre-order, to life with 50,000 LEGOs. The sculpture, standing nearly three feet high and four feet long, will be auctioned off at the annual Child’s Play Dinner and Auction taking place later this year, with proceeds going to the partner hospitals and facilities in the Child’s Play network.

In addition to the LEGO sculpture, a $10,000 check was also presented to Child’s Play which will be donated to the Boston Children’s Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Children’s Medical Center.

“Child’s Play is deeply grateful for the support of Carbine Studios and the WildStar team,” said Jamie Dillon, program coordinator and development, Child’s Play. “Creative, gamer-focused fundraising is the cornerstone of Child’s Play and we’re honored to be the recipient of both an incredible donation for two of our network hospitals as well as a work of LEGO art to be featured in our annual auction. These donations will allow us to provide video games to children who are in need of distraction, empowerment, entertainment and more. The contributions have a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of sick kids, and we are so grateful to Carbine Studios and WildStar for their donation.”

“We wanted to not only find a fun way to bring a small piece of WildStar to life, but also see the efforts go to a good cause,” said Mona Hamilton, vice president of brands, Carbine Studios. “Child’s Play is a wonderful charity doing really great things with the gaming industry and we’re looking forward to seeing the result of the auction later this year. It was also important for us to say thanks by giving back to the Boston community; they’ve been great to us over the years at PAX East.”

It was a fun build and an awesome experience to be a part of. :)

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 Experience at LEGOLAND California

February 21, 2014

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I’ve been on LEGO Movie overload ever since it came out two weeks ago. First, seeing it 3 times in 3 days, plus buying the LEGO Movie Video Game for both PS3 and 3DS (review to come later) and playing the PS3 version, and the ongoing news, reviews and accolades that the movie keeps getting from pretty much everywhere. The “Everything is Awesome” song is now permanently lodged in my brain — it doesn’t help that they keep playing it throughout the video game. And then to culminate it all, yesterday I went to The LEGO Movie Experience that made its debut yesterday at LEGOLAND California.

Warning! Spoliers Ahead!!!!

If you haven’t watched the LEGO Movie yet, and don’t want to find out one of the major spoilers, read no further. Come back after you’ve watched the movie. ;)

Okay, now that that’s done, lets get to this.

The Lego Movie Experience at LLCAVia: Miro Dudas

Like I said when I wrote my Non-spolier review, I still have a lot to write about this movie. One thing I didn’t like that much in the movie was its biggest spoiler — entering the real world. I get that it taught a valuable lesson of creativity over keeping things just so, but I felt that it pulled you out of the story. I would have preferred if we never entered the real world. Even if remnants of it (band-aid, “kragel,”etc) were in the LEGO world.

However, if they had not added that real world element, The LEGO Movie Experience would not have been possible.

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In the movie, the “real world” is basically an Adult Fan of LEGO’s basement LEGO room. And what a room! A full town layout in the middle, castle, western, and space themes along the wall, a corner that looks very much like my desk with all the “nuts and bolts” drawers full of LEGO and various LEGO kits and creations on display. But of course Finn — the son — isn’t supposed to play with any of it. Those are all Dad’s collection — not toys!

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Sound familiar? Many of us die-hard AFOLs have LEGO Rooms of one sort or another. Our rooms vary in collection size and how much our roommates or families allow it to exist. Not all have rooms like Will Farrell’s character in the movie, but I know quite a few who do — me included.

And some have the “my collection” and the “kid’s collection.” Most who do will allow their children to borrow from them, but there is a definite line. Even my brothers (who I took their LEGO when they grew out of it) like to play with my collection (they are 35 and 27 by the way) when they visit and sometimes I bristle silently (or not so silently) when they mess up my system.

Finn’s LEGO collection
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You can see the “Magic Portal” tube in the back of the room.

But, despite all that LEGO can be, it is first and foremost a toy. If and when I have children they will definitely be allowed to play with my LEGO, and they will have their own. Of course I’ve never been one that leaves huge LEGO displays out. For one, leaving displays out permanently causes them to get dusty and color fading can happen. For another, I don’t have the room to leave large things out. I never know when I’ll need the space for a commission. I’ve been known to take over the dining room table when the project is too large for weeks. So leaving a large model or display up, at least at this point, is not in the cards for me.

As an added bonus for the grand opening, they had a special guest — Jadon Sand, “Finn” of the LEGO Movie.

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He was on hand to tell of his experience working with Will Farrell and being in the LEGO Moive. During the question and answer part, I asked him if he wanted to be a Master Builder. He said yes, he definitely does. When I got to talk with him and his mom later he said he would like to be a Master Builder, Director and Writer. I also asked him what his favorite theme was and he said he loves the Harry Potter sets. He even treated us to a rendition of “Everything is Awesome.”

I took lots more pictures, you can see them on Flickr as well as these pics by Miro.

I was fortunate enough to get in as Media, because when I emerged from the building it was to a massively long line. Some of my fellow SandLUG members were in line for over an hour and a half!

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I would have taken more pictures, but as the public came in, and it got more and more crowded, I felt it was time to leave.

One cool thing I got was a picture with Jadon that his mom took
Me and Jadon Sand 1

It was great meeting Jadon Sand and seeing the awesome models that were used in the movie.

And check out this Awesome video LEGOLAND made for the opening.

If you get a chance to come to LEGOLAND California, be sure to check this out. I’m not sure for how long this will be there, but I imagine it will be for quite a while, especially considering the popularity of the movie. ;)

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


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