Archive for the ‘Model Building Secrets’ Category

Mega Bloks Minions

July 23, 2015

Last night I went to the dark side of the toy aisle. Being a die-hard LEGO fan, I very, very rarely purchase any off-brand products and Mega Bloks is especially known for its pour quality of the bricks themselves.

But then they acquired the Minions license.


I couldn’t help it, they are cute. Adorable in fact. I mean heck, they were supposed to be background for the Dispicable Me movie. Gru’s minions, goof ball assistants that were anything but evil.

Its the blind bags that got me

As you can see from my first picture, they span all the different time frames of the movie — I haven’t seen the movie yet, but hey you see it in the commercials.

I’d been seeing several of the sets, but I had only picked up one, mainly because it just happened to be half off and I wanted at least a couple of the Minion figs

But as you can see, I haven’t opened it yet. Frankly I’m quite busy at the moment and should be building instead of writing this, but after finishing two large buildings in the last couple days, I needed a break so I went to Toys R Us.

And after looking at the LEGO sets, I ventured down the other row…

And there they were. Lots of them. Lots of different sets, but I didn’t really want the sets, all I wanted was the figures. And that’s when I saw the blind bags.

Now, being that I’m an expert of the Collectible Minifigures — I can go through a box of 60 in about 15 minutes and tell you what each and every figure is with 99.999999% accuracy, they weren’t really “blind” to me.

These were trickier than LEGO ones.




As you can see, since the Minions are separated by body parts — arms, feet, head, body, etc — and there is a 2×4 brick in the bag, its harder to find the unique elements that distinguish one figure from another. And there’s a “mystery” fig, in the time I went through the figs, I didn’t find the mystery fig, nor did I find all the other 11 figures. I did find 8 or 9 of them, but settled on the 6 I bought. The blind bags cost the same as LEGO Collectible Minifigures — $3.99 USD.

What’s interesting is that the feet and arms have ball socket connections, so they can swivel a little. And the head section can also twist a little when connected to the torso section. The eyes are part of the goggles that are on a stretchy rubber ring that fits around the head. In fact there are a few rubber parts, which also make it harder to tell by feel.

And since I was already going dark, I went darker and bought a set.


It was partially because of the set itself, partially because of the parts. It wasn’t till I opened it I found that there were several parts that LEGO doesn’t make



Now yes, the parts are still of a poorer quality, one got stuck and I almost broke it trying to take it off. But still there’s some interesting parts that I kinda wished that LEGO would make.


The build was pretty quick and fun. I like the over all design — which is something I’m surprised to say about a Mega Blok set — although the stretchy clear rubber tubes were kind of a pain because they are in a weird question mark shape so when building, it didn’t want to stay where you put it.

So, will I be buying more? Maybe. But only because they are Minions. Will it draw me further to the dark side? Probably not. I like my LEGO too much. ;)

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!

Young LEGO Fan shows incredible generosity

March 4, 2015

This is a guest post written by Paul Lee, as he discovered this boy’s generosity.

Zachary Rogers

Like most boys his age, Zachary Rogers, age 9, is a huge LEGO fan and a huge Minecraft fan. So when LEGO started a Minecraft line, you can be certain he was excited. According to his mom, Jill, he had been saving up for some time to buy the largest set in the Minecraft line, 21118 The Mine. He had saved $120 in total, which would have been more than enough.

But then, earlier this week, the school held an assembly for Pennies for Patients. Pennies for Patients is a youth program from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in which students are encouraged to collect spare change to help their mission to ”cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.”

This hit particularly close to home because, in the last year, his friend, Jordan Williams, a fellow LEGO mega fan, lost his life to leukemia.

So, on his own, in an incredible act of generosity for a 9 year old, Zack donated the entire $120 he saved to Pennies for Patients. His mom says, “I love that he decided to help kids instead of spending money on himself.”

It’s good to know there are really amazing kids with good hearts out there like Zack.

I applaud Zack’s amazing generosity. He is a truly awesome LEGO kid!

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.

2000 Likes Passed on Facebook and a Giveaway!!!

February 9, 2015

Its happened! I’ve reached over 2000 likes on my Model Building Secrets Facebook page!!!

This is a real milestone and pretty darned awesome :)

As I’ve been blatantly hinting, I promised a giveaway as soon as 2000 likes was passed. So here’s what I’m giving away.
2015-02-09 21.16.18

I’ve thrown in a fun mix of sets — a rare 2011 Pirates of the Caribbean set, a Martian Manhunter poly bag, a Creator princess set as well as a PS3 LEGO Marvel Video Game!

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 #2000Giveaway

There will be one winner. Yes, you can enter once all three ways. I will leave the giveaway open till midnight February 15th (pacific standard time). This will be international, so as long as I can mail this to you, I will. The PS3 game is regional, so if the winner is International the game can be substituted for a set. Thanks to all my fans and Good luck!

76042 SHIELD Helicarrier

January 29, 2015

The much rumored is now fact. The Helicarrier is coming and its a big one.


Until I saw this, I wasn’t sure if I wanted it or not. Sad to say, but I’m bored with the Star Wars UCS sets, with the exception of the new Slave One, I haven’t even really looked at them in a long time.

But this peaks my interest!

I love miniatures. That’s one of the things that drew me to LEGO in the first place. People may be arguing that this set doesn’t have Colson, but I don’ really care. You can create a Colson fig. What draws me to this set is the nano figs!



They are just so darned cute!

I think one of my favorite features is the command deck

The details are all kinds of awesome




Even the planes are cool



Now I admit, its pricy. At $350 USD it will take a chunk out of your wallet. But it looks like an awesome display piece and at 31 inches long its a decent size.

Here’s the details

76042 The SHIELD Helicarrier
Ages 16+. 2,996 pieces.
US $349.99 – CA $399.99 – DE 349.99€ – UK £269.99 – DK 2999.00 DKK
*Euro pricing varies by country. Please visit for regional pricing.

Build and display the huge SHIELD Helicarrier!
Take on the challenge of building this awesome LEGO® model of The SHIELD Helicarrier. Construct the flying aircraft carrier with 2 runways, microscale Quinjets, fighter jets and ground support vehicles. The set also comes with many of your favorite LEGO Marvel Super Heroes minifigures, plus 12 microfigures to display on deck and within the highly detailed interior. Includes 5 minifigures: Nick Fury, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye and Maria Hill.
• Includes 5 minifigures: Nick Fury, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye and Maria Hill, plus an iconic SHIELD eagle stand to display them on
• Features 3 microscale Quinjets, 3 fighter jets, a gasoline truck, 2 forklift trucks, 2 runways, 4 road blockades, armored exterior with translucent elements, detailed interior, plus 12 microfigures (Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Captain America, Iron Man and 8 SHIELD agents)
• Also includes a detailed runway
• Weapons include Hawkeye’s bow, Black Widow’s gun and Captain America’s shield
• SHIELD Agent Maria Hill minifigure is new for spring 2015!
• Includes a plaque with facts about The SHIELD Helicarrier
• Add lights and spinning rotors to the Helicarrier with the 88000, 8883 and 8870 LEGO® Power Functions sets (sold separately)
• Rotors can also be turned manually
• Includes a display stand
• Helicarrier measures over 11” (29cm) high, 31” (80cm) long and 17” (45cm) wide
• Each Quinjet measures over 1” (3cm) high, 2” (7cm) long and 2” (7cm) wide
• Minifigure stand measures over 4” (12cm) high, and 2” (6cm deep) and 6” (16cm wide)

Oh and here’s the minifigs






This is definitely on my wish list. So what do you think?

LEGO Birds Set Review

January 20, 2015


So on Saturday, I picked up the new Birds set with the plan of building it as soon as possible. Even before the set came out I knew that I would love this set. Its something new and teaches great building techniques. But as I was staying with friends, I ended up having a guest junior master builder — Max Lee. :)


Max said he would “help” me build, but he ended up doing most of it all — I can always buy another one for me to build right? ;)

Even though the set suggested age is 12+, at 9 Max had no problems building the set. Of course his dad Paul Lee is also an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) and a comic artist for the LEGO Club Magazine, so Max is a LEGO kid through and through.

If you follow me on my Model Building Secrets Facebook Page, then you already saw several of my pictures of the hummingbird build. We did the birds “out of order,” starting with the humming bird, then doing the red robin and finally the blue jay. You can do them in any order of course. ;)

I love the look of the box, both the front and the back are very pretty and totally theme appropriate.

On to building!


As you can see, there’s a lot of good parts in this set, in fact this is a great parts pack. At $45 USD its a decent price too, especially if you consider that the Disney Friends Frozen set is $40, and has a lot less pieces.

The book is great with gorgeous pics of the actual birds and cool info about them

First build is the base and flower. I like how the flower is built, simple but nice.

What I really like is the nonconventional building, most of the hummingbird body is upside down

Now sure, I build like this all the time, but for the burgeoning junior Master Builder, its a great teaching set.



Red Robin

The Robin is my favorite of all three birds, I love how cute it is when its all built.

Each instruction book features a picture of Thomas Poulsom, the set’s creator, holding one of his birds.

Max had a lot of fun building these.

Here you can see the central core of the Robin, this allows for having studs in all directions


I love how the finished Robin looks

Not the greatest pic, but you can see how nice the back looks even if the photo is blurry

Blue Jay


This is my least favorite of the three birds, that’s not to say that I don’t like it, I just don’t like the gaps that are in the final build.



I do like the interior core that is in both the Blue Jay and Robin models.

Besides the gaps, I don’t like the back connection, it is a tad week and tends to fall off


Final Thoughts


I love, love, love this set! When I was still just dreaming of being a Master Model Builder this is the kind of set I would have wanted to teach me the tricks of the trade. Its a great value at $45 and should be added to your collection as soon as possible!

What I really like about this set is it doesn’t look like every other LEGO set out there. It looks like the birds Master Builders make to add to a tree or bird house at LEGOLAND. It has appeal for the non LEGO builder and for that rarest of creatures, the older female collector. I’m not saying that boys won’t like this set. Max certainly did. But girls like animals, especially cute animals. Hint, hint LEGO company. :)

Thanks Max for all the help!

Living in Microscale

January 13, 2015

This isn’t a new build, but I don’t think I ever posted it here. I made this a few years ago for a family here in San Diego. Its a replica of their house, including as much of the furniture that I could create at this scale.

Microscale replica of a house in Coronado across from San Diego bay

It has a garden in the front including palm trees, a jacaranda tree, and bougainvillea along the wall

Microscale replica of a house in Coronado across from San Diego bay

There’s also a nice water feature in the patio.

Microscale replica of a house in Coronado across from San Diego bay

The living room, kitchen, dinning room and sitting room.

Microscale replica of a house in Coronado across from San Diego bay

And here’s the master bedroom with an exercise room of to the side.

Microscale replica of a house in Coronado across from San Diego bay

I also made an infinity pool in the back yard including pool chairs and a barbecue, but I can’t seem to find the photo, if I do end up finding it, I’ll update this post. There was also a garage with a turntable for parking their cars. It was a fun build an although it was microscale, the model ended up being about 2 1/2 feet long.

Ring Ring

January 8, 2015

With the rise of cell phones, payphones are going the way of the dinosaur, but Sean and Steph Mayo have brought it back for their current Iron Builder competition.

Lego Payphone

This is a full size combination payphone and piggy bank, is made completely from Lego! Insert coins comfortably for savings, or retrieve them from the coin return for spending!

If you zoom in on the micro printing, you’ll find buss times, metro lines, and even a few places to visit :)

Not only that, but they created this life size hair brush
Lego Hairbrush

I always look forward to what Sean and Steph come up with.

Happy New Year! Magnificent Maleficent and other assorted models

January 5, 2015

Hi all, its been a while. Happy New Year! One of my new year resolutions is to keep up my blog more. So lets get this started

I created this minutes after the clock struck 12 on New Year’s Eve / Day. I posted it on Facebook, but not here on the blog.

I was looking on Flickr and found this cool Maleficent model by legorobo:waka. Its almost Miniland scale.

He also created this cool insect scene

Tyler Clites always known for his fun and whimsical builds created this cute Eskimo scene
Free Eskimo Kisses!

And because I like Unikitty, check out this cool Super Angry Kitty by Mark Holden
Super Angry Kitty!!!

And last but not least is Saturday Morning Bender by Sean and Steph Mayo
A Saturday Bender

Sorry for being so incommunicado, I hope on doing better this year! May we all have an awesome year of LEGO in 2015!


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