Archive for June, 2009

Lino has “Dung” it again!

June 29, 2009

The Battle Bugs battlefield has just gotten a little nastier with the inclusion of these deadly Dung Beetles! Modeled after real dung beetles, the spheres they roll around are not poop…but rather a highly powerful explosive. (T)hese little buggers are designed to scurry underneath larger bug mechs, where they are most vulnerable, and blow them to smithereens. Should they themselves get destroyed in the process, these unmanned robotic drones make the perfect suicide bombers. Upon demolition, a radio signal is sent to the mysterious unseen “Battle Queen” and more Dung Beetles are deployed. For every one that is destroyed, there are 10,000 more lurking in waiting to take its place! Fighting them at a distance is effective, but by the time they are within sight it is already too late.

Lino is unquestionably the master of LEGO automotive models, now with his LEGO Battle Bugs he is showing us all that he can basically build whatever he wants. 😀 The more I see of this new fad, the more I like it and the more I want to build my own Battle Bug to join the swarm. I can’t wait for BrickCon in October to see all the creations in person.

The Grand Carousel is on sale at

June 27, 2009

Earlier I mentioned that The Grand Carousel set was coming out. Well, now it is available on for $249.99.

I won’t go into all the reasons why I like this model, you can read the other post for that 😉 , so here’s some more official images of the set.

You can also go to the discussion on Eurobricks to see what other people are saying about this model.

Meet LEGOLAND California’s Newest Model Builders

June 26, 2009

I apologize for not posting the results of LEGOLAND California’s Master Model Builder Search earlier, but even as just an observer, it was an exhausting process! This was a two day competition testing the builder’s skills on many levels. The first day consisted of three building challenges. Challenge number one was to copy-build a Seahorse model (designed by Andy Grubb) in 20 minutes or less.

Copy building is an essential skill as a Master Model Builder. And the faster you can build, the better.

The second challenge was a team build. This was the first time LEGOLAND has added this particular challenge to the mix. Each team had 20 minutes to create an “up-scaled” version of a classic minifigure. In the secession I was in there were three teams of three. What they all ended up doing was each taking a section of the minifig — head, torso, and legs, and then combining them.


The final challenge of the first day was a “free build.” They had one hour to build whatever they wanted. Elizabeth DeSilva, on of the Master Model Designers, reminded them that they should create something that might be found in the park.

After three intense challenges, the builders were given the rest of the day off and told the theme for the final build — Dune Raiders, the newest ride in the Land of Adventure.

Yesterday was the day. It ended up that there were 18 finalists and a possible 6 job openings. If you do the math, that is a 1 in 3 chance of landing a job, much better odds than the last Model Builder Search when there were 24 finalists and only 1 job offered. 😛

They had 2 hours to build and they were allowed to bring reference images to work from if they wanted to. There were a lot of pretty clever models, even though some of them didn’t make sense until the very end.




When it was all over, there was a surprise. Not only were 5 people chosen for the position of Master Model Builder, but 4 others were offered a Model Associate job (basically a copy builder position). Here’s the official press release:

CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 25, 2009) – Eighteen job hunters competed for the ultimate dream job at
LEGOLAND® California today and five walked away with offers to work as Model Builders at the family theme park in Carlsbad. Joel Baker (23) of Seattle, Washington; Brian Heins (35) of San Diego, California; Amanda Jouan (26) of Chula Vista, California; Mark Larson (32) of Chicago, Illinois; and Ryan Wood (25) of Los Angeles, California out built other hopeful contenders to be the newest members of the LEGOLAND Model Shop Team.

The Model Builder Search began with 150 people submitting applications online. More than 25 were selected to compete in the first round of competition on June 25 in which qualified candidates were asked to complete three challenges: a copy build, where applicants had to copy an existing LEGO® model; a team build, where applicants were challenged to build something together; and a creative build where each applicant built a model within just one hour, testing their creativity and time management skills.

The search culminated with today’s final build-off where Park guests watched in anticipation as the finalists had just two hours to build an impressive 3D model based on the Park’s newest area, Land of Adventure. They were judged on their creativity, strategy, ability to build a three-dimensional model and their calmness under pressure. After today’s competition, all of the finalists got the chance to slide down Dune Raiders, the Park’s newest ride before it opens to the public June 26, 2009. The winners’ models will be installed in Dune Raiders to be seen by Park guests all summer long.

Dune Raiders features six side-by-side nearly 50-foot-long racing lanes and a pair of double-helix corkscrews that are more than 15 feet high. The fifth attraction within Land of Adventure, Dune Raiders is themed in an Egyptian bazaar motif complete with a new gaming area called Thunder’s Quest and new LEGO models including a snake charmer with animated snakes.

Baker, Heins, Jouan, Larson and Wood will not only help with projects within LEGOLAND California such as Dune Raiders, but will help build the thousands of LEGO models going on display in other Merlin Entertainments properties such as LEGOLAND Malaysia, LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Shaumburg, LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Xanadu and LEGOLAND Dubailand as well.

The Model Builders hired today will have 30 days in which to start their new job. There are a mere 24 Model Builders at all four LEGOLAND Parks. Ten of them currently work here at LEGOLAND California. Coming from various backgrounds and skills, they all have two things in common: They use every ounce of creativity in their daily work, and they’re passionate about it.

With so many talented finalists, LEGOLAND California also offered entry level positions to four of the competitors. Bryan Decker of San Diego, Samuel Swiger of Carlsbad, Eric Christie of Hemet and Dana Bradsema of San Diego will be working on the Model Shop Team at LEGOLAND California as Model Shop Associates.

Good luck to all those that were chosen and I hope you enjoy your new jobs. 🙂 Oh, and if you are interested, I’ve posted the full set of photos on Flickr.

Off to the Search

June 24, 2009

Mariann with magnifying glass 1 copy

The Master Model Builder Search at LEGOLAND California that is. I’ll be reporting for BrickJournal, and of course I’ll let you know who the winners are tomorrow after the competition is finally over. 😉

I have the unique perspective of actually working there and helping to run the past Model Builder Search Contests, so it will be interesting to see it from the other side. I’ll have more to report tonight, so stay tuned . . .

The Simplicity of a Lock

June 23, 2009

The photo quality isn’t the greatest, but I just had to post bruceywan’s lock. It is such a simple concept that is executed perfectly! 🙂

And for those who don’t know, the silver chrome pieces are LEGO. They just haven’t been produced in the last few years.

LEGO Luigi, Mario’s Bro

June 22, 2009

I can just hear the iconic theme music playing in my mind. 😀 Inspired by Keith Brogan’s LEGO Mario, Dirk VH has created LEGO Luigi.

The model is pretty impressive, especially for the size.

All in all LEGO Luigi stands 77cm or 80 brick layers tall.

You can check out how Mario was made.

And here’s Keith Brogan’s Yoshi with Mario.

These computer aided designs are pretty cool. I prefer to create my models by hand, but even I have to admit it is much faster by computer. 😉

The Micro Opera House

June 21, 2009

Stefan aka brainbikerider has made a stunning micro scale Sydney Opera House. The genius is in its simplicity. Just a few helmets tilted sideways and magically you have this iconic structure. I have to say this is the best version I’ve seen in this scale.

He made it for LGOe’s vignette contest, with the topic “Famous Buildings and Landmarks”. You can see the other entries here.

Promotional Gold Minifigure Keychain

June 19, 2009

Gold Minifig

Looks like LEGO has gone chrome crazy! Next month (July) at the LEGO stores nationwide people who purchase $75 worth of LEGO product (like that’s hard 😉 ) will receive a Gold Minifigure Keychain while supplies last. I found this on Eurobricks.

This is the first time that LEGO has created a chrome minifigure keychain and the first time that the chrome minifigure isn’t Star Wars. My only complaint is that it looks like the hands aren’t chrome, but that’s just a minor thing.

The LEGO stores are a little bit of a trek from my home, but I just might have to make an exception for this one. 🙂

First look at LEGO Minotarus and Luna Command Board Games

June 19, 2009

Although it looks like the new LEGO board games won’t be available in America till next year squidmanFAN has provided us with the first good look at two of the games.

I don’t know how the game play will be, but I instantly see it as a very nice parts pack! I’ll probably be getting these if just for the pieces and the new microfigs. 😀

You can also see a cool video constructing the LEGO dice. 😉

LEGOLAND California is Hiring New Model Builders

June 18, 2009

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a Master Model Builder?

Model Shop Crew
This was the last group shot I was in while working in the Model Shop as a Master Model Designer for LEGOLAND California. If you look closely you can see me, I’m the short one in the front. Also you can see my little brother Matthew on the right side of the picture at the very end. Matthew is also a very qualified artist in many fields including LEGO (in fact he’s as good as I am). He helped out on my last project at LEGOLAND, Miniland Las Vegas.

Once again LEGOLAND is looking for a few good Model Builders.

CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 16, 2009) – Imagine getting paid to play with toys. Are you creative, artistic and ready for the opportunity of a lifetime? On June 24 and 25, LEGOLAND® California is holding a contest to hire up to six new Model Builders. The winners’ models will be installed in Dune Raiders, the Park’s newest ride opening June 26, 2009.

The Model Builder Search is a two-day process for qualified candidates who successfully complete three challenges on the first day of competition. Those challenges include: A copy build where applicants are asked to copy an existing LEGO® model; a team build where applicants are challenged to build something together; and a creative build where each applicant is asked to build a model of a particular theme within one hour, testing their creativity and time management skills.

“Qualified candidates must be able to build complicated LEGO models for a wide variety of LEGOLAND attractions including, but not limited to, miniature scale models and life-size organic models,” said Model Shop Manager Patrick DeMaria. “We’re looking for candidates who have a flair for the use of color and ability to copy LEGO models from 3D prototypes, 2D drawings and computer files.” Qualified applicants must be at least 18 years old and will be judged on their creativity, strategy, ability to build a three-dimensional model and their calmness under pressure. “If you can build in three dimensions with an audience and under pressure, you’re the right person for the job,” said DeMaria.

The newest members of the Model Builder team will not only be helping with projects within the family theme park in Carlsbad such as Dune Raiders, but will help build the thousands of LEGO models going on display in LEGOLAND Malaysia and LEGOLAND Dubailand as well.

“LEGOLAND California is celebrating its 10th birthday this year and has doubled the amount of rides since opening in 1999,” said Julie Estrada, LEGOLAND spokesperson. “Our parent company, Merlin Entertainments, is the second largest attraction operator in the world and is expanding each year so we need Model Builders to help create the whimsical and charismatic models that continue to delight our guests! “

The current team of Park Model Builders helped build the more than 15,000 LEGO models that make LEGOLAND California a one-of-a-kind vacation destination. On Thursday, June 25, applicants who have passed the initial building stages and application process will compete in the ultimate build-off at 1:30 p.m. Finalists will be asked to fill a bin of bricks of their choice and will have two hours to build a LEGO model reflecting a Land of Adventure theme. After the competition, while judges tally their results, all finalists are getting the chance to release some stress by sliding down Dune Raiders before it officially opens to the public on June 26!

Gary McIntire was one of the finalists from the last Master Model Builder Search three years ago. He didn’t end up wining the contest, but he got hired later on.

Although I never went through the “Model Builder Search” process (I got hired before they started doing them), I was involved in the past two searches.   It is an intensive hiring application, but it needs to be.  Many times when we (Model Builders) are working we have to build very good and very fast.

I loved working at LEGOLAND, in fact I was there for five years. I still have many, many friends there both in and out of the Model Shop. I have to admit the pay is not the greatest, but it truly is an amazing experience. To be part of the team that basically creates LEGOLAND and to have my models (still to this day) on display at three of the the LEGOLAND parks (as far as I know) is truly awesome. Good luck to all those applying! 🙂