Archive for July, 2013

Steampunk Batcave

July 31, 2013

Steampunk Batcave

Need I say more? Its just plain cool! Jonas has created the perfect blend of Batman and Steampunk.

I think my favorite part is the Tumbler πŸ˜€

Steampunk Tumbler

Now I want to see the rest of Gotham… πŸ˜‰

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Barnes and Noble LEGO Architecture Building Event

July 27, 2013

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So last night I participated in my local Barnes and Noble’s LEGO Architecture Building Event. Not as one of the attendees, but as one of the “special guests” doing the presentation. Apparently they were doing this same event across the United States — at least I assume it was only in the States, let me know if it was else where — to promote the newest LEGO Architecture Set that is now available at both Barnes and Nobel as well as LEGO Stores nationwide.

Via The Brick Blogger

From what I’ve heard from my friends in various locations around the country the event went from fair to decent to being cancelled (due to lack of enough participants) depending on where you were. Ours was actually standing room only, but I think that was mainly due to both David Parker, a local Architecture College Professor, and my (being a former Master Model Designer) involvement. It of course helps that the event was held in Oceanside, California which is literally minutes away from LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad so there are a lot of local LEGO lovers in the area.

Now as I’ve done dozens and dozens of different types of LEGO building events over the years, I feel that I can judge on how well an event is organized and run.

First off — since I was given the talking points that were handed down from Barnes and Noble corporate, I could tell that whoever wrote said talking points knew nothing about LEGO, the LEGO Architecture line, or how to run a building event. It was set up as an hour long event, which is fine and doable, but it was not set up very well.

Second off — Barnes and Noble didn’t think to get the local LEGO LUGs (LEGO Users Groups or Clubs) involved. The only reason I was involved with mine was due to my own initiative in contacting the store and saying I was interested in doing the event. I’m not sure how the in store contact got the college professor involved, but even that only sort of worked. Yes he knows about architecture, but he didn’t know anything about LEGO Architecture or building LEGO buildings, kind of a key point when you are doing a LEGO building event.

He kept trying to stick to the “script” they had for the event, which is my third off (or point) — I took one look at said script and kind of ignored it. I knew that it wouldn’t really work in the real world. Sure it sounds great to talk about scale, reference photos and modularity. But frankly, when you have over twenty kids all they really care about is playing with the LEGO bricks.

Fourth off — This wasn’t supposed to be a kids event. Now think about that for a moment and process it. I don’t know who up at corporate had the brilliant idea that this was for teens and adults only. I mean sure, the set is designed for that age group and at $150 USD its not exactly a cheap set. But really? You honestly don’t think kids aren’t going to show up?

DSC07440 David (the professor) is the tall one in the middle.

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As you can see from the photos, our event was packed. I didn’t count, but I would guess we had at least 40 people at the event. Way more than they expected and there weren’t enough spaces for all the participants to build.

The event went pretty well, considering that David kept trying to stay on script, and I just kind of loosely did. I mean lets face it, in the script you are supposed to give the bricks to the participants after a little intro and talking about scale, then after they’ve played with the bricks for about 10 minutes we were supposed to have them focus on modular building. Well that’s all fine in theory, but once you give people bricks, they stop listening to you. πŸ˜‰

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It ended up being a fun event for all the participants, in spite of the poorly planned event, and I enjoyed doing it. One of my fellow SandLUG members showed up with some of his modular buildings, which I forgot to take photos of and another member who also runs thebrickfan.com showed up to blog the event.

For the fun of it, I actually went the day before and built a quick replica of the store front.
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I’m pretty happy with the results, considering I had only parts available in the set — albeit more than what is available in a single set — and I did it in 3 hours. Its not perfect, but decent. I haven’t built like that for a long time. Taking only parts available from a constrained amount of bricks and free building with very little reference.

Of course I have to admit I did have a little bit of an ulterior motive to doing it — I wanted to see what parts were in the set and how they worked together. The set itself is pretty good, if you don’t have a lot of white bricks. If like me you do, the set is just okay.

Sure there are over 1200 parts for $150, which considering its part of the Architecture line is a much better value than any of the other sets in the theme. It is a major departure from other Architecture sets being more like a grown-up’s creator set.

I personally don’t need that amount of white at this time. That isn’t to say I may need it in the future, but I have a lot of white elements, so I won’t be getting this set anytime soon.

You can read a great review of the set itself on The Brick Blogger.

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All in all, I had fun, got to play with the set, and help others build. A good day’s work in my book. πŸ˜€

From the Pit

July 24, 2013

Sometimes its not about the build, its about the lighting.

Rancor's Pit

Vesa LehtimΓ€ki has made a rather scary scene of TK-24/7 looking for Death Star plans in the dungeons of Jabba’s Palace and Jabba’s favorite pet stealing Tk-24/7’s helmet.

This isn’t really a build, but the lighting is what makes this photo noteworthy. πŸ˜‰

Bring on the Minion

July 23, 2013

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Car_mp created this cute minon from Despicable Me. I’m certainly a fan of the little yellow guys and have been meaning to build my own.

Using basically the same technique he also created a cactus

cactus3

I think that’s what I love about LEGO. You can take a technique and build both a Minion and a cactus. πŸ˜€

Comic Con Swag Giveaway #1

July 22, 2013

Okay, I’m still barely conscious. Too little sleep, and too much San Diego Comic Con. I will be doing a full recap as soon as I’ve gotten more than a few hours of sleep. πŸ˜‰

You can read pretty good recaps on FBTB, but I have my own take on the Con and I’ll be tackling that soon.

If you’ve been following my Model Building Secrets Facebook page or my Twitter feed you’ve seen that I managed to get a nice bit of LEGO and building toy swag — enough swag that I’m willing to share πŸ˜€

So here’s the first batch —
2013 Comic Con Swag 1

Yes its mainly MEGA BLOKS figs (and no, I don’t know which ones), but there’s a LEGO Star Wars Yoda Chronicles Comic and I’ll throw in a couple of my Folded Fancy keychains as well as a surprise or two.

Just like the last give away there will be three ways to enter:
1)Comment on this post
2)Like my page and then Like, Share, and Comment on my link about this post on my Model Building Secrets Facebook page
3)Follow me on Twitter @MariannAsanuma and reply to my tweet about this post with the #giveaway

Yes, you can enter once all three ways. I will leave the giveaway open till midnight of July 29th (pacific standard time). This will be international, so as long as I can mail this to you, I will. πŸ˜‰

This isn’t the only swag I got, so I’ll be doling the rest of it out in the next few months. So if you don’t win this time, don’t worry.

Have fun and good luck!

Darth Star

July 15, 2013

Darth Star_

John Cooper has created this pretty darn cool Darth Star featured in the LEGO cartoon Empire Strikes Out.

Making an image on a spherical surface is kind of tricky and John managed it excellently. πŸ˜€

Man turned away from LEGOLAND Discovery Center

July 9, 2013

Via CTV News

An article on the CTV News website from Canada brought about a little known and rather stupid (in my opinion) rule of the LEGOLAND Discovery centers — “Adults must be accompanied by a child to visit the attraction.” (straight from the website).

And sure, its on the website, but John St-Onge didn’t even think about checking there before he and his adult daughter took the 3 hour drive to get to the Toronto attraction. And who would? I certainly didn’t when I was recently in Chicago for BrickWorld. I only found out when I was there that they would turn you away at the door.

I was almost curious to go and see if they really would turn me away, even though I have a Merlin Pass — which lets you into all the LEGOLAND parks and discovery centers in the US. No one mentioned this rule when they were upselling me the pass at LEGOLAND California, and of course they don’t turn non-accompanied adults away at the theme parks, they’d loose too much money. I did end up making it there, but I went with a friend and her kids, so there wasn’t an issue — for me.

Apparently to compensate for this, they have an “Adult’s Only” night once a month, but that too is rather stupid and weird in my opinion. I suppose I can see reasons for not allowing lone adults into a kid’s attraction, but still, its not like there are lots of dark corners in the tiny two story building that takes less than an hour to go through. And as far as I can tell, its only the Discovery Centers, they don’t have this rule at the SeaLife Center that is next door to LEGOLAND California. I guess its okay for adults to want to see fish, but heaven forbid they want to actually look at the LEGO models.

There is an alternative to going to the Discovery Centers — LEGO Conventions (which have many more interesting models anyways in my opinion). And I have it on good authority that Mr. St-Onge has been invited to BrickFete, Canada’s only LEGO Convention happening this weekend in Toronto. As it is an AFOL (Adult Fans of LEGO) event, all LEGO loving adults are welcome. πŸ˜‰

I still haven’t made it up there yet, partially because I already go to five conventions a year, and partially because its too near to the San Diego Comic Con, which is happening next week. But from all that I’ve heard its a great show!

I feel sorry for Mr. St-Onge that he didn’t know ahead of time, so I’m posting it here — if you want to go to a LEGOLAND Discovery Center take a kid, or they won’t let you in. Not cool Merlin Entertainments, not cool at all.

Cardinal Helmet

July 7, 2013

Dave Shaddix was asked to create a replica of a Cardinal Helmet for LEGO Kidsfest in Glendale, Arizona

Cardinals Helmet(s)

Its so close to real scale you can wear it —
Did I mention you can wear this bad boy?

But would you want to? Owe!!! 😯

Current Mosaic Teaser

July 3, 2013

Mosaic Teaser Photo

So, this is what I’ve been staring at off and on for the last month. And its part of the reason I’ve been less than active in posting here — that and the infernal heat wave that has thankfully broken.

Believe it or not, there’s a mosaic in there, or there will be when I get finished. Each of those letters stand for a color:

T– Tan
Blk / B — Black
DO — Dark Orange
etc.

People often ask what program I use for my mosaics. And although I do use Photoshop, Illustrator, and Bricksaic — a freeware LEGO mosaic program created by Bob Kojima, who also created BrickShirts — they all only get me to my starting point. Which is pretty much the same starting point I’ve used for the past 10 years — the picture, brick paper and a pencil.

Cheese Slopes Image via: BrickSet.com

Now of course, they didn’t have cheese slopes in all the lovely colors that it comes in now, dark tan double cheese which I’m using for the first time in this mosaic is new this year and makes a huge difference in the shading of the image. I couldn’t even conceive of making the mosaics I’m doing now when I started so many years ago. And the more cheese the better in my opinion. πŸ˜€

Because of the cheese slopes, and my tendency to turn bricks sideways a lot, I can’t use any one program. I’ve yet to see a program that can account for all variables that I constantly throw in so the design still needs to be done by hand.But that’s half the fun — building is the other. πŸ˜‰

I see my mosaics as a puzzle, evolving on paper and then through the bricks. And sure, I’ve done dozens of mosaics (I’ve lost count to be honest), but a lot of the basic logos just aren’t all that challenging anymore so I have to find more interesting images to stimulate my creative side.

Thus bringing me to my current project — a set of 4 mosaics. The teaser photo is only of the first one, my goal is to get at least this one and maybe the second one before BrickFair Virginia in August. They will all be about the same size as my Baby Colby mosaic and all but one of them is a portrait mosaic.

Intrigued yet? I’ll be unveiling the mosaic in due time. And if you are going to either BrickFair or Bricks by the Bay in August as an attendee, I’ll be doing a more in depth presentation on how I do my mosaics — “Mosaics — SNOT what you think.”