Archive for the ‘Modular Houses’ Category

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˜€

BrickWorld Chicago 2013 Recap

June 25, 2013

Okay I know I’ve totally been MIA for the last couple of weeks and I apologize for that. BrickWorld was fun, amazing and totally exhausting! I’m still not fully recovered from the trip. That’s what happens when you only sleep 2-4 hours every night. πŸ˜€

So BrickWorld this year started out with a bang, literally. I happened to fly in just before a major storm that actually had torrential rains, lightning, thunder, and even tornado warnings. I only really experienced it while riding in the shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel. Even though it went on all night, and lots of flights were canceled, once I was in the hotel / convention center I rarely looked outside as I was busy setting things up, talking with friends, and starting on all the LEGO Convention fun.

This year’s theme was Heros and Villians
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There was a set unveiling — the Sydney Opera House
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It looks really good in person and all that dark tan! Also there’s a 48×48 stud baseplate in blue!
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And they also showed what the next Cusoo set will be
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There were awesome models, here’s some of my favorites:

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I think this was my favorite micro scale model
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There was a lot of buzz about the new roller coaster LEGO compatible parts. I was going to get one, but I didn’t have any room in my suitcase, so I’ll be ordering one instead. πŸ˜‰
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And this was rather random but cool — tiles and flowers making a “glove”
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What it looked like during Public hours
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I have tons more photos on my Flickr photostream although I know I didn’t get pictures of everything.

It was a great show and I look forward to next year. Now on to planning for BrickFair Virginia and Bricks by the Bay — back to back weekends I might add and cross country for me. But I’ll be at both. πŸ˜‰

LEGO Haunted House 10228 Set Review

October 24, 2012

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I can’t let October pass by without reviewing the largest Halloween themed set ever. At $180 USD and 2064 parts it is hefty in both parts and price point. Yes its expensive, but with all the sand green goodness that comes in the set, I’m willing to forgive LEGO for it. πŸ˜‰

As I’ve mentioned previously I’ve wanted a Haunted House model since I was a little girl and even though I could easily create my own, this one is very satisfying as a set.

I have to admit, I get bored with a lot of smaller sets now a days. There’s nothing wrong with them per se, its just that after building models that are several feet long, I look at very few of the sets as more than just parts packs that haven’t been broken up yet. Okay, I’m not that bad, but I do have a tendency to only build the set once and then part it and any multiples of the same set I get.

So, onto the review —

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Here’s what all the parts look like in their packages. Not that exciting, but its fun to go from this to a completed set.

There are two #1 bags and 3 instruction books.
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The first step is naturally to build all the figures.
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The the next step is to build all the furniture:
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You will probably notice that I won’t have any stickers on my model, I normally don’t use the stickers. Although I am very tempted with this set, as they are pretty cool.

The #2 bags is where we start the actual building.
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Now with all large builds I normally sort the parts out before I start to build. It makes it a lot more orderly to build and although it takes time at the start, it saves time in the end.
DSC03046 And this way you can see how much of each part there are πŸ˜‰

Here’s what it looks like after all of the #2 bags are used
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Here’s what it looks like after #3
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And here’s midway through #4
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Here’s the mostly finished model, with only the roof top and gate to be built.
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Somehow I didn’t take a picture of the model finished, but trust me, it looks like the one on the box πŸ˜€

The model took me about 4 and a half hours (build time will vary depending on person and circumstances). πŸ˜‰

My take on the model — AWESOME!!! It was a great build and it has some excellent parts, so much so that I’m really, really tempted to get a second one. My only criticism is that it needs more ghosts, but I can fix that.

It is a definite must buy for any LEGO, Halloween, or Haunted House enthusiast!

Holy Micro Batman!

April 10, 2012

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After I built my Mini Modulars building set I naturally wanted to have it on display. So I cleared off a few of my older models on top of my LEGO supply drawers and set it up there. I decided to leave my 2006 LEGO Batman San Diego Comic Con exclusive (which has apparently gotten very expensive!) up there since there was room. What I didn’t notice until just a few days ago was how perfect the placment was! πŸ˜€

LEGO Design Challenge 2011

September 1, 2011

Who doesn’t want to design for LEGO? Well, here’s your chance. LEGO has a new contest to create a LEGO “Postage Stamp” for the Late Holiday Catalog!

LEGO is asking consumers ages 6 + to design a LEGO themed postage stamp to be featured in the Late Holiday Catalogue .

For each country there will be 50 finalists selected to receive a copy of 10222. 25 will be for ages 6-14 and 25 will be from ages 15 & up. From the 50 finalists, 1 grand prize winner will be selected per country. In addition to a copy of 10222 – Winter Village Post Office, grand prize winners will have their stamp design featured on the late holiday catalog for their country along with a professionally designed and framed LEGO mosaic of their design.

Where: The US/UK/Germany. These are the only countries that mail a late holiday catalogue

When: We will be accepting entries for the contest September 1-30 and selecting the finalists & winners for each country the first week of October.

How: Consumers must simply visit shop.LEGO.com/Design-Challenge (Germany: shop.LEGO.com/Designwettbewerb) to download the official entry form. They or their parent/guardian must complete the form and email it along with their stamp design to the email address designated for their country. No purchase is required and there will be no physical entries collected.

This sounds like a great opportunity to flex your creative muscles! Good luck. πŸ˜‰

LEGO Buy More on Chuck Video

July 29, 2011

My friend and fellow SandLUG member Kevin Smith is a big Chuck (the TV Show) fan. He is such a big fan that he created a LEGO version of the Buy More and brought it to Comic Con last year to show the creators of the show.

Not only did he get it signed, but he also created a second one that he later gave to the producers. Now this is where it gets really cool, the model he gave them can be seen in the Chuck Panel for Comic Con video!

You don’t have to watch very long if you are not a Chuck fan, but you can clearly see the model in the background and you can see one of the Nerd Herd cars on the desk.

Congrats Kevin! πŸ™‚

Winter Village Post Office

July 6, 2011

In the newly released second edition of the LEGO Collector Book there is a small picture of the new Winter Village building set to be released later this year. The picture isn’t the greatest, but it gives us a glimpse of what is to come πŸ˜‰

There is also a pic of the new Volkswagon T1 Camper Van

And there is mention, but no picture — other than a picture of a minifig saying there is no picture — of the Pirates of the Caribbean Black Pearl.

Thanks to Astra of Eurobricks for posting the pictures. πŸ™‚

10218 Pet Shop

May 4, 2011

This one seems to have come out of nowhere. I hadn’t heard anything about this model and apparently its already starting to show up in LEGO Stores around the US.

There is very little information at this time. According to Toysnbricks.com it retails for $149.99 USD.

From the pictures, it definitely looks like a winner. My wallet has already been stretched thin this year, but I just might have to get my hands on this one. And thanks for Tazmandvl1 for sharing these pictures.

BrickWorld 2010 Recap

June 21, 2010

BrickWorld, what can I say? It was cool, crazy, and a whirlwind of LEGO goodness. πŸ™‚

I took about a billion pictures (okay maybe just 600). πŸ˜€

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Adam Tucker kicked it up a notch by creating a working “wooden” roller coaster.

One of the most enjoyable new challenges was the boat race.
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Mike Tighe’s “Fire Boat” although not the fastest, was certainly the most memorable.
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Nannen Zhang and Tyler Clites’ Containment Diorama stole the show with its presentation.
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It was great finally meeting some of my internet friends from all over the world in person. I met people from Canada, Europe and even Australia. Some of us have been online friends for years, but we had never met face to face.

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I really enjoyed Pepa Quin’s Futurama layout, but then I am a big Futurama fan.

I got an exclusive scope from Kyle of BrickForge — new prototypes that should be available within a few months
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I have to say the new Centaur body is my favorite. πŸ™‚

I’ve got much more to share that will most likely be in several posts. I’m totally exhausted, drained, and still riding the BrickWorld buzz. BrickWorld was everything I thought it would be and more. To check out all my photos of the event go to my Flickr Photostream.

LEGO A Love Story — Book Review

May 19, 2010

Now I normally don’t review books on this blog, but then this is no ordinary book. πŸ˜‰

When I met Jonathan Bender at BrickCon in 2008 and he said he was writing a book about LEGO I thought it was a pretty interesting idea. He even did a mini interview with me amidst the hustle and bustle that is BrickCon and all I remember thinking after it was over was “I might be mentioned in the book.”

Jonathan was nice enough to send me a copy of the book and I received it a few days before the official release date. For me reading this book was very different than it would be for someone not already inducted into the world of LEGO fans. 90% of the people he mentions are friends, former coworkers and colleagues of mine. Reading this book was like peaking over Jonathan’s shoulder over the year or so that he spent researching the LEGO conventions, LEGO company, and the AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) community as he went from a relative newbie to hobnobbing with Master Model Builders. And seeing the LEGO world through his eyes was interesting.

Like most AFOLs Jonathan had a “Dark Age” — the time period when you stop playing with LEGO as a child and then rediscover the little plastic bricks as a hobby when you are an adult. I never had a Dark Age, being one of a rare few who have played with LEGO continually my entire life. So seeing what it felt like for Jonathan to be embarrassed about purchasing LEGO sets and wondering nervously what people will think about him when they see it as his hobby was a novel (pardon the pun) experience. πŸ™‚

Even with all my knowledge (some have called it encyclopedic) of LEGO, both the product and the company, I learned quite a lot I didn’t know. Of course I never really did “research” on LEGO per se, I’ve just acquired it over time. Of the various travels and meetings Jonathan went on the only thing I haven’t done yet is travel to Denmark itself. That is still an as yet unfulfilled dream of mine.

I am mentioned in the book, in fact there are a whole 4 pages that mention me (pgs 247-250 if you’re interested) and there is an obscure reference to this very blog involving the Castle Advent calendar. I only know that he’s talking about me in the book because he emailed a complaint about the daily posts of each mini set while I was doing them. πŸ˜€

So, what do I think of the book? A definite read, for both you and your non-understanding non-LEGO friends and family. This isn’t really written as an information book, but more as one man’s journey to reclaim a piece of his childhood and redefine him as person. He didn’t really go into this project planning on turning into a LEGO fan, but he sure came out of it as one. Seeing what LEGO can do through his eyes might open up your friends and family to better understanding why we do what we do. πŸ˜‰