Archive for the ‘LEGOLAND’ Category

Spring Cleaning 2016 Giveaway

March 5, 2016

Hi all. I’ve been planning on doing a giveaway for a while now. At first I was planning on doing it when I got a certain number of likes on my Model Building Secrets Facebook Page, but as my page gets more popular, the number changes daily and the certain number I was waiting for is already 200 likes in the past. 😀

So I’m calling this my Spring Cleaning 2016 Giveaway!

Spring 2016 Giveaway 1

Its a bit of this and that — the Bunny from last year, Olaf’s summer time fun, a Clone Trooper Lieutenant and a hard to get LEGOLAND Train, only available at the LEGOLAND parks.

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 #MBSGiveaway2016

Bonus entry —

4)Follow me on modelbuildingsecrets Instagram and Like and Comment #MBSGiveaway2016 on the entry photo to enter

There will be one winner. Yes, you can enter once all three  (four) ways. I will leave the giveaway open till midnight March 12th(pacific standard time). This will be international, so as long as I can mail this to you, I will. 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.

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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!

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

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.

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. 😉

Storing your LEGO

February 4, 2014

So I just recently was asked on my Facebook page about how to properly store your LEGO. What’s the best way to sort them? By part? By color? By kits? Just dump it all in a box?

Well, I wish there was a simple solution, some magical formula that I could give you that would instantly be the answer. Unfortnately, as most AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO) know, there is no magic formula. And sorting and storing your LEGO will change as your collection changes (and most likely grows).

The solutions that worked for me when I was a child, heck the solutions that worked even 5-10 years ago, won’t work for me now and I will have to reevaluate it probably in another 5 years or so — if not sooner.

When I was a kid, I kept all my LEGO in one box, but early on I realized how frustrating it was to find that one particular piece, as it was always at the bottom of the box. So by age 11 I had started sorting my LEGO to a small degree.

Now, I sort and store my LEGO by part and color. My storage system is certainly on the extreme side, very similar to the storage system that I had when I was a Master Model Builder at LEGOLAND California. But I need such a system as I literally build day in and day out. I have to know where all my parts are at all times.

Most of my LEGO are in drawers like these
LEGO Room 6

And my desk looks like this
LEGO Room 2

LEGO Room 3

Now it is rarely this clean, as I tend to be a messy builder.

When I was younger I just had 4 of these “nuts and bolts” drawers (I call them that since you usually find them in hardware stores) where I stored all my little LEGO elements — weapons, feathers, food, etc. As you can see that set of 4 has grown…

Here’s a close up of the “nuts and bolts” drawers
LEGO Storage 4

I also have a fairly large collection of these official LEGO storage drawers (which unfortunately they are phasing out)

LEGO Storage 2

I like to keep one element per set of trays, its a nice way of seeing how many of what color you have.

I have a lot of the LEGO drawers and containers, as you can see in this picture.
LEGO Room 1

This is in no way all my LEGO, and I have tons that still needs sorting (which is a constant problem for me).

But enough about me, what’s the best thing for you to do? Well as most of you probably don’t have quite as much LEGO as I do, there are some steps you can take to solve your storage problems.

1) Sort by part, not color — its much easier to find a particular color in a bin than a particular element type in a sea of one color. You don’t have to have everything super sorted like I have it. You can put similar things together — technic parts, tiles, clips, etc.

2) If it is your child’s collection, involve them in the sorting and storage process or it will never work — You can have all the LEGO perfectly sorted for your child, but unless they are involved, and actively sorting the bricks themselves, it won’t work. The only reason my LEGO sorting has worked for over 25 years is that I was the one who initiated it when I was younger. My parents didn’t care how I stored my LEGO, but I did, as I took my collection seriously from a very early age.

3) Don’t keep your LEGO sorted by kit — unless you are an adult collector that wants to keep them organized this way, I highly discourage keeping your LEGO by the kits they came in. The whole point of LEGO is to mix them up. The new LEGO Movie addresses this very issue.

4) Sort them by how you build — depending on your building style, that can determine your sorting and storage system. If you are a car builder you want lots of wheels, tires, rims, etc. If you build castles you want castle walls, gray elements, roof elements, etc. Since I build anything and everything, that is why I have a super sorted collection. But the things I use with regularity — bricks, plates, tiles, etc — are in the easy to reach places while the things I hardly ever use — castle parts, technic, wheels, etc — are accessible, but not in easy reach.

5) Start your storage and sorting small — You don’t have to do it all at once. I’ve been doing it since I was 11, and my storage system is constantly changing as my collection grows and fluctuates. You can just get a few “nuts and bolts” drawers, a few containers. Then as your collection changes your storage can change.

As a side note there are a couple Flickr groups about LEGO sorting — LEGO Storage Extravaganza and LEGO Sorting

So, what do you do to sort and store your LEGO?

Make sure to brush your teeth

January 15, 2014

I know, I know. I’ve been MIA (missing in action) here on my blog for a while. If you’ve been following my Facebook Page or my Twitter feed then you know I’ve been working on a large model. It has a head, torso, arms and legs — but that’s all I will say till after I’m finished, which should be soon. So until I’m done, enjoy this cool model. 😉

You know, for teeth!

Carl Merriam has done it again with this over sized tooth brush. I love how he gets all the details of the bristles and rubber that makes up the head.

It makes me think of the giant tooth brush that I designed at LEGOLAND, sadly I don’t have any pictures. 😦

It was for the Splash Battle Ride in the Pirates area of the park. If you’ve been to the park I’m sure you’ve seen the giant shark on the ride. Well one of the models that didn’t make it, but was designed, was supposed to go on the shark. The initial concept was of someone holding the mouth open, but I thought that joke had been done too many times so my idea was to have a cabin boy straddling a tooth in the mouth of the shark with a very nervous expression on his face and a giant tooth brush in his hand.

We got as far as designing most of the model, and I made both a two foot prototype and a four foot long toothbrush model with a big dollop of toothpaste, but for some reason the final version of the cabin boy was never finished and I have no idea what happened to the model. It still might be somewhere in model storage or it might have been recycled (yes that does happen), either way, I wish I had the pictures now.

My toothbrush was in no way as detailed as Carl’s, but it was still a fun project.

40056 Thanksgiving Set

September 23, 2013

So I was at LEGOLAND California today and I found this

40056 Poly Bag

I had seen a mention on BrickSet a little while ago, so I’ve been keeping my eyes open.

There’s 46 parts.
40056 Parts

And the set takes all of 5 minutes to build.

40056 Set Built

It is a poly bag, so not too pricey at $7.99 USD. But it is well worth it for all the goodies!

The food elements in this set are awesome. I seriously thought about getting more than the 2 I picked up. I don’t know if there’s been such a small set that has such a nice assortment of LEGO food. 😀

I’m not sure if it will be available outside of the US, maybe Canada, since it is clearly for Thanksgiving. I certainly recommend buying it, especially if your minifigs get as hungry as mine do considering how little LEGO feeds them. 😉

BrickWorld Chicago 2013

May 26, 2013


Hi all. I realize I’ve been totally off the grid for the past couple weeks. Finishing up a large commission (which will be covered later) and feeling under the weather has been keeping me occupied.

But I’m back now, and the only thing that’s on my mind at the moment is BrickWorld Chicago, which is just about 2 1/2 weeks away. I have a pretty awesome new mosaic planned, we’ll see how much of it I’ll get done before the show. Its in four parts, so even if I don’t get it all designed, at least some of it should be ready by then.

And if any of you readers are coming, either for the whole thing or just the public days on the weekend, stop by and say hi. I’ll have my vendor table there and I’ll be selling not only my own stuff, but also BrickShirts shirts so that’s a good place to find me, at least during public hours.

Oh and if you some how weren’t paying attention to any of the other LEGO blogs and sites out there, there was an unveiling of the largest LEGO Model ever in New York’s Time Square this weekend

As I wasn’t there, I defer to Joe Meno and his guest post on Brother’s Brick for all the details.

The exciting thing, at least for me is that now that the event is over, the giant X-wing will be coming here just in time for Star Wars Days at LEGOLAND California on June 15-16. Of course I’ll be in Chicago for BrickWorld, but it will be here for the rest of the year, so I’ll get to check it out soon enough. 😉

And if you are coming to LEGOLAND California for the Star Wars weekend, then be sure to check out the LEGO display put on by LUGOLA, SandLUG, LGuage and FBTB.

Brick Blog Shirt

May 11, 2013

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I found the coolest shirt at LEGOLAND yesterday and just had to have it. The only unfortunate thing is that they only have it in kids sizes. But the fortunate thing, at least for me personaly, is I can wear a child XL. Yes, there are a few times when being under 5 feet tall is a bonus. I really wish that LEGO and LEGOLAND would make some of the kids only shirts in adult sizes and I’m sure I’m not the only one that wishes that. But I’m lucky that I can wear them even when they don’t. 😉