Archive for the ‘Model Building Secrets’ Category

Batty Bat — 40090 Set Review

October 29, 2014

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There’s a lot of really cool parts in this set.
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Its a pretty simple build, and really cute. Open the wings…
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And poof, a pumpkin appears! :D
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1500 Likes and growing! Plus — A Giveaway!

October 25, 2014

Hi all, I really need to get back into the habit of posting again. Now that most of my travel is done for the year (I still have at least one more commission out of town next month), I can settle down again a start posting.

Although I’ve been rather quite here, I’ve been posting on my Model Building Secrets Facebook Page and that is the reason for this post.

My page has just reached 1500 likes! A nice milestone and very exciting. :)

So naturally the best way to thank everyone for following here on the blog, on Facebook and on Twitter is to do a giveaway. :D

1500 giveaway

All the treats and none of the tricks. ;)

I’ve added a little mix of everything, including the Martian Manhunter fig that was only available as a promo fig.

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 #1500Giveaway

There will be one winner. Yes, you can enter once all three ways. I will leave the giveaway open till midnight Halloween, October 31st (pacific standard time). This will be international, so as long as I can mail this to you, I will. Good luck!

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?


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