Ring Ring

January 8, 2015 by

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 by

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!

LEGO Ideas announces sets with a Bang

November 7, 2014 by

LEGO Ideas Big Bang Theory

That’s right boys and girls, Alatariel and GlenBricker’s Big Bang Theory will be one of LEGO Ideas new sets. It will be interesting to see what’s in the final set. I’m not an avid fan of Big Bang Theory, but I do watch an episode now and then. I’m not sure if I would actually buy the set, I’ll wait till I see what it will really look like before I decide.

Now on the other hand, the LEGO Birds set designed by DeTomaso, I’m definitely interested in. The prototype models look awesome, I’m hoping that the end result will be as good. I still haven’t picked up the Back to the Future set because I don’t like the design of the car. As long as they don’t mess with the design too much, I would love to add the birds set to my collection.

Here’s the announcement video

You can read the full announcement on the LEGO Ideas Blog

So what do you think? Will you be buying either of these sets?

Kaiser Permanente Model

November 6, 2014 by

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.

Ghostbusters Ecto 1 Set Review

October 31, 2014 by


Although I built this set a while ago, I’ve been saving this for Halloween. ;)

Ghostbusters is one of my favorite Halloween comedies, has been for years — although I clearly remember being afraid of the ghosts when the movie came out, I was 7 after all. So when this set came out it was a must have! Back to the Future just didn’t do it for me, still haven’t picked up that set, but this one, yes, I needed it. Okay, needed is rather strong. Really, really wanted is more like it.

The box art is awesome
I love the back especially, I just wish the set came with proton packs that actually glowed. :D

The instruction booklet is really nice with a cool pic from the movie so you can see the real life versions,
and their LEGO counterparts.
Ghostbusters Ecto 1

The parts are pretty decent
Ghostbusters Ecto 1

Especially the set exclusives
Okay technically the dark red 1×1 round with hole is also in Emmet’s Construction Mech as part of Angry Uni-Kitty, but its still rather rare as a part. And all the printed elements are set exclusive as are the printed torsos for the Ghostbusters.

The figs have happy faces — sorry for the dark lighting, it doesn’t capture Winston too well

As well as scared faces when they come upon something really scary

The build is a nice one too with some really cool techniques like the white and red trim on the back.
Ghostbusters Ecto 1

The finished model really captures the look of the movie car
Ghostbusters Ecto 1

Fun Ghostbusters related fact —

LEGOLAND California used to have a Ghostbusters scene that they put out every Halloween

One of my first assignments was to rebuild the hearse that was in the New Orleans Miniland area after the original one (that was tan — why tan, I have no idea) was stolen. As I didn’t have the original one the only way I could build it was to reverse engineer the hearse from the Ecto 1 model.

Then, several years later, right before I left LEGOLAND California I built a Halloween version of the Hearse that is still used every year for Brick or Treat.

Halloween Hearse 2

Happy Halloween every one and may the Holidays commence!

Batty Bat — 40090 Set Review

October 29, 2014 by



There’s a lot of really cool parts in this set.

Its a pretty simple build, and really cute. Open the wings…

And poof, a pumpkin appears! :D

1500 Likes and growing! Plus — A Giveaway!

October 25, 2014 by

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!

Purple Mixels Sets Review

September 11, 2014 by

Wow, sorry for the long absence. I kind of got out of habbit entirely of posting here. I post a lot more on my Facebook page, but I don’t want to completely forget this. I even missed my 5 year anniversary of this blog which was in August.

Anyhow, I just recently got the new Purple Mixels sets and I really like them


If you like purple as much as I do, and I like it a lot, then these are definitely a must buy! I will most likely be buying multiples of these. Now don’t get me wrong I love lots of other colors too, but the fact that purple is one of the more rarer colors — a lot less rare than it used to be — I’m super happy that its part of the Mixels sets. And fun fact there was a more reddish purple but that was replaced with dark purple when they made the first Knight Bus for Harry Potter.

I’ve broken down each of the three in pictures on my Flickr Page


The part selection of the flying one is really nice — sorry I don’t know the names.


I missed the wings in this pic, they were still in the bag. I’m liking all the 1×2 purple plates, the 1×2 curved slopes and the fun eyes and teeth.


He’s got kind of a evil flying wizard vibe going on, somebody told me they are supposed to be the wizards, which may or may not be true. I’m not watching the show, I tried one episode and it was just too stupid for me, but the sets are awesome parts packs so I can forgive a stupid show. ;)

The second guy is kind of the happy wizard, at least that’s what he looks like to me.


Another nice parts pack, and he even comes with one of those little black creatures — don’t know what they are called either.



Oh and the extra parts with the completed models are the extra parts in the sets.

The third and final of the purple guys is kind of a spider / dog monster just not quite as “scary” as the recent spider dog prank. **Link might be a little scary for younger kids**


Of the three it has the least interesting — at least to me — parts


He is pretty cute when built though ;)


I also picked up one of the green slime guys. I thought about getting all 3 of each color, but I just didn’t want to spend that much that day.


I guess I missed on taking a parts pic for this guy, but here he is built.


I totally got this guy for the trans-neon green starfish, and I’ll probably be buying a few more for that very reason.

All in all a good part to price ratio. At $5 a pop you can’t really go wrong with all the good parts and colors in each line.

Now that my convention tour is coming to a close, I’ve only got BrickCon in Seattle at the start of October, at least that’s all I’m planning on doing convention wise for the rest of this year. So I can settle back into posting on here more regularly. The whole 3 conventions in 3 weeks — Comic Con, BrickFair and Bricks by the Bay — really took a lot out of me and I didn’t want to do anything at all for a while. 3 conventions sounds fun, but by the second one the lack of sleep and traveling cross country twice was really starting to catch up to me then after flying back from Virginia and 2 days later driving up to Northern California for the last convention I was just wiped out. Luckily that won’t be happening next year. There’s still 2 Cons back to back — Comic Con and Bricks by the Bay, but then I get a week break before BrickFair.

I do have lots of pics that I took at all three cons, I have to go through and check if I have made them all publicly available. And I still have to group them into sets so that you don’t have to stream my entire Flickr feed to look at them.

I should really do a recap of all three, there was a lot going on and Comic Con did have a lot of great info and set releases.

Okay that’s all for now, I promise I won’t wait 2 months to post my next post. ;)

21109 Exo-Suit Review

July 11, 2014 by

A couple of days ago I got sent a very special package in the mail.
Look what I got from Denmark

I’ve never gotten a set before the release date direct from Denmark. I don’t know how I got on the list, but I want to thank whoever at LEGO put me on it so that I could get to review such a great set! :)


This is the first LEGO Ideas set that I’ve opened. I bought the Ghostbusters set, but I’ve been too busy to get to it yet — isn’t it a bummer that I’m too busy building with LEGO to build with LEGO? (totally sarcastic) ;)


The instruction book is really nice, with great pictures of Peter Reid — the LEGO fan that created the original concept and Mark Stafford — Senior LEGO Set Designer

As well as the story of the Exo-Suit Adventure

This set also features new green suit Classic Spacemen (and woman ;) ) as well as Peter’s signature turtle

I have to say, I love the new green suits! When Classic Space originally came out green wasn’t even a LEGO color yet or we would have seen this sooner I’m sure.

The suit design is simply stunning! I’m not a mecha builder, but this just might convert me! There’s so much greebling. This model is sleek, totally pose-able and just plain awesome!



This isn’t the greatest pic, but it shows how well the five fingered exo-suit hands can hold the turtle.

Here’s a quick time lapse I made of the build

So my final verdict — buy it!!! Its coming out August 1st and will be $35 USD. I was already planning on picking up the model brfore I got this, and I’m certainly interested in getting more than one of these, its just that cool!


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