Archive for the ‘Event’ Category

San Diego Comic Con 2015 Post Recap and a Surprise Giveaway

July 15, 2015

Well, I survived another year at the San Diego Comic Con. It was either my 25th or 26th year (I’m still not sure if I started in 1990 or 91′). But who’s counting? :D **** Slight rant coming on ***** Read through till the bottom though, I promise, its worth it ;) I feel a lot like this model when I go to Comic Con 20150708_184313

I realize I’m very lucky to have gone for the past quarter century, of course its only been in about the last 10-15 years where it went from being a fun Con to becoming the Mecca of all Pop Culture madness that it is today. I also realize that having the job that I do allows me to go to many conventions every year, its literally part of my job to be at them. However, this year I just wasn’t feeling the Comic Con love. I have to admit, I have a love/hate relationship with Comic Con. I love seeing all the cool things, great cosplay, and everything else that makes Comic Con worth visiting, but ever since Hollywood took over its just not as fun as it used to be. Maybe if I were younger (and I’m not that old), or maybe if I didn’t remember a time when you could easily walk up to the door a purchase your ticket that same day, a time when the legendary Hall H (where all the biggest panels are held) wasn’t near impossible to get into, and a time when there weren’t as many celebrities, but those that were here it was possible to actually meet without sleeping over night to get their signature. I don’t go to Comic Con like regular fans go to Comic Con, I mainly go to network and see friends that fly in to work Comic Con. It may seem like 5 days of fun, but believe me, its work. And by the end, when you feel like you’ve been run over by a Mach truck, that’s when you know you’ve survived Comic Con yet another year. I think part of the problem too is that now that I go to a lot of LEGO Conventions, I find that they are just way more fun. Sure they are smaller, but they are less hectic. No resellers, not as much drama. And we have better after parties too. ***** Okay rant over *****

So, back to the fun things about Comic Con. This year I focused mainly on LEGO naturally. I don’t go to many panels any more, mostly I just go to the LEGO ones and ones that my friends are on. And there was a heck of a lot of LEGO this year! Prominently displayed right across the street from the convention center was the LEGO Dimensions Display 20150708_141244

They took over the top floor of the Hard Rock Café and covered the entire outside. I have to admit, until I finally got to play the game I’d been on the fence about it. Sure it looked cool, but I wanted to sample the gameplay. 20150709_154327 20150712_111037

I watched the people ahead of me play the Scooby Doo level and then I played the Doctor Who level (both of which are available as expansion packs) I also got to see all the expansion packs — some will be available in late September, some in November and some in January

20150709_150412 20150709_150429 20150709_150318 20150709_150349

The game has the same feel as traditional LEGO video games but because of the reader platform, it also has a lot of new features that make it unique and much more than a normal LEGO game. Of course you need to buy all the expansion packs to play all the levels and characters, but who are we kidding, its LEGO and its a video game. Considering that I have all the other games, in both the PlayStation and Gameboy versions going back to the original LEGO Batman and Star Wars I’ll be getting it, and most likely getting it all. :lol: There are a lot more LEGO Dimensions pics on my SDCC 2015 Flickr Album. Another of the cool models was the life size Mstery Machine Mosaic with all of the Scooby Doo gang 20150709_093204

They also were selling all the new sets at the LEGO booth, I took pics but didn’t pick any up 20150708_190354

There were life size LEGO raptors at Petco Park 20150710_162759

And Chris Pratt on his motorbike at the LEGO booth 20150712_165506

Someone even cosplayed as Chris


The LEGO booth unveiled the new Batmobile for Superman vs. Batman 20150709_110745

Created by my friend set designer Marcos Bessa 20150712_153614

I went to Marcos’ panel

20150712_144151 20150712_144256

There’s a ton of pics from that panel on the Flickr album too, but here’s just a few 20150712_144934 20150712_145916 20150712_150321

There was also a life size Stormtrooper from Star Wars 7


Not the greatest pic, but I saw the new Ninjago Tower set, it really is awesome! 20150711_154630

And LEGO also has a sneak preview of the new Big Bang Theory Set 20150708_184405

There’s way more, check the SDCC 2015 Flickr Album for the other pics I took. So here’s the extra surprise — A San Diego Comic Con giveaway! I know I just did one last month, but hey, I’m allowed to do them when I feel like ;) 20150715_093723

Not only is there the new LEGO Ideas Big Bang theory, I’ve also managed to get a LEGO Marvel Avengers poster and the exclusive LEGO Justice League comic.

There will be three 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 #SDCCLEGOGiveaway

There will be one winner. Yes, you can enter once all three ways. I will leave the giveaway open till midnight July 22nd (pacific standard time). This will be international, so as long as I can mail this to you, I will. And if you are willing to wait, I can get the comic signed by the illustrator Paul Lee (it helps that he’s my friend ;) ) Thanks to all my fans and Good luck!

2500 Likes on Facebook, 1500 Followers on Twitter and a Giveaway!

June 11, 2015

Wow, in just 4 months we’ve added 500 likes on the Model Building Secrets Facebook Page! to reach 2500 likes. That’s pretty cool!!! :D

And as promised, a giveaway!

2015-06-11 14.31.38

There’s a fun couple sets — a microfighter X-wing, a fun creator set, a rare BR LEGO Minifig (not available in the US), a Brick-A-Laide promo brick (only available at the show in Australia) and the smallest but rarest thing in this giveaway is 4 2×2 new, never been used round chrome bricks that are over a decade old!

I figured since 2500 is kind of like a 25th anniversary I’d giveaway something shiny ;)

There will be three 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 #2500Giveaway

There will be one winner. Yes, you can enter once all three ways. I will leave the giveaway open till midnight June 19th (pacific standard time). This will be international, so as long as I can mail this to you, I will.

I will be at BrickWorld Chicago next week, so I won’t be able to ship the prize to the winner until I get back.

Thanks to all my fans and Good luck!

Sneak Preview of the LEGOLAND California Death Star

February 11, 2015

LEGOLAND California Star Wars Days is just around the corner and they have just released a few sneak peeks of their newest addition to the Miniland Star Wars area — the Death Star.


It may not be planet sized, but its plenty big. 13 feet high, 8 feet wide and it weighs almost a ton! That’s some serious stats!


One thing I love about these pictures is that it answers that often asked question — are LEGO Models hollow?

As you can see its not hollow, but due to the shear weight of the model and the fact that its a sphere, there is some serious bracing on the inside! The cross sections help hold the model together. When Master Builders make bracing on the inside, the bricks don’t all have to be the same color because except for rare occasions like this, you never get to see the inside of the model. For buildings and less complicated models, there isn’t this level of bracing, some of the smaller buildings are just hollow shells. So now you know ;)

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2015) – The LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland Death Star Model Display has arrived to LEGOLAND® California Resort! The planet shaped LEGO® model, made out of more than a half million LEGO bricks, stands 13-feet high, 8-feet wide and weighs more than 1,900 pounds. The LEGO Death Star is the largest LEGO model to be added to LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland and opens to guests on March 5.

Under the watchful eye of R2-D2, a team of builders used a fork lift to maneuver the massive LEGO model into position high above LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland, which opened to guests in 2011. The LEGO Death Star is designed from the version featured in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The new model display also features the famous trench run scene where Luke Skywalker maneuvered his X-Wing fighter through the combat zone to destroy the Death Star. Below the LEGO Death Star, guests are invited to use their imaginations to construct their own LEGO starships at building stations, while LEGO X-Wings, Tie Fighters and Y-Wings circle overhead.

The unveiling of the new LEGO Death Star on March 5 kicks-off the fan favorite, LEGO Star Wars™ Days event on March 7 and 8, where guests can spend the day participating in Star Wars™ related activities. LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland Death Star Model Display is included in the cost of admission to LEGOLAND California Resort.

I’ll be at Star Wars Days so I will be able to give my impressions of the model first hand in just a few weeks.

Kaiser Permanente Model

November 6, 2014

In September I was asked by Kaiser Permanente to create a replica of their new hospital being built here in San Diego. Now as the building is still not built, all they had to give me was rendered images of what it will eventually look like.



This is not the first time I’ve built a hospital, in 2010 I built a replica of the Critical Care Unit for Scripps Encinitas Hospital also from rendered images, although I was also able to get the blueprints in that case. In fact it is still on display in their lobby to this day.

The tricky thing with this model was that they wanted it fast — in two weeks fast. Now generally I don’t take on a commission when there is that tight of a deadline, but as they only wanted the model to be 2 feet long, and I had the parts needed on hand, I was able to say yes.


Most of the building was a standard multi-level building, mostly square with lots of windows. Except for one thing — the corner of the building. It was a wavy curve. Aesthetically pleasing but not all that easy to replicate in LEGO.

It took me a little bit of time to figure out exactly how I was going to do it. At first I tried hinges, but the curve wasn’t coming out right, so I had to try a different tactic.


Now like I said, it was lucky that I had enough of all the parts on hand, I didn’t really have time to order the 2000 1×2 trans light blue tiles that I ended up using on this model.

And to ensure that the curvy wall was securely attached, I did some serious S.N.O.T. (Studs not on top).

Another small detail that I wanted to look its best was the windows with the trans blue stripes on the left hand side of the back of the model

I built the windows like this so that they would look clear through, and also attach to the rows above and below them.

As they wanted some landscaping to complete the model, I created some mini trees
They are mostly made with 2×2 round green plates and 1×1 brown cones. It was a fun little challenge to come up with these and create several different versions.

I’m pretty happy with the end result over all. :D




The model took about 60 hours overall. Its 2 feet long, 9 inches wide and about a foot tall.

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!

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).

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


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


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.


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!




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
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.


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!


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. ;)

11th Doctor

September 17, 2013

I know I’ve been missing in action here on the blog, but if you’ve been following me on Facebook, and you really should be ;) , I posted yesterday that I’ve been getting ready for BrickCon with my newest mosaic.

Oh yes, bow ties are cool! Ever since Doctor Who returned to the airwaves on 2005, I’ve become an unashamed Whovian. As it is the 50th anniversary of the classic show, I figured I’d try my hand at portraying the current Doctor Matt Smith in my mosaic style.

LEGO 11th Doctor Mosaic 1

Overall the mosaic from concept to completion took about a week and a half. It actually took longer as I did the initial design 2 months ago, but I was too busy with commissions and LEGO conventions to actually get around to building it till just a few days ago. I started building Friday and just finished up an hour ago.

I posted a “teaser pic” on Facebook also
Teaser Pic 1

Several people correctly guessed that it was the Doctor. :D

People often ask what computer program I use. And although I do used a few programs to do the initial color values, I mainly design the mosaic by hand. Here’s what it looks like.

LEGO 11th Doctor Mosaic Plans

This will be debuting at BrickCon 2013 next month and if you are still thinking of going as an attendee you only have one more day to register, so get on it!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 86 other followers