LEGO Birds Set Review

January 20, 2015 by

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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.๐Ÿ™‚

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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?๐Ÿ˜‰

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.๐Ÿ˜‰

I love the look of the box, both the front and the back are very pretty and totally theme appropriate.
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On to building!
Hummingbird

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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
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First build is the base and flower. I like how the flower is built, simple but nice.
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What I really like is the nonconventional building, most of the hummingbird body is upside down
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Now sure, I build like this all the time, but for the burgeoning junior Master Builder, its a great teaching set.

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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.
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Max had a lot of fun building these.
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Here you can see the central core of the Robin, this allows for having studs in all directions
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I love how the finished Robin looks
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Not the greatest pic, but you can see how nice the back looks even if the photo is blurry
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Blue Jay

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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.

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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
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Final Thoughts

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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.๐Ÿ™‚

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Thanks Max for all the help!

Living in Microscale

January 13, 2015 by

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 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 visit๐Ÿ™‚

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

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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.
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He also created this cool insect scene
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).
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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
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I built the windows like this so that they would look clear through, and also attach to the rows above and below them.
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As they wanted some landscaping to complete the model, I created some mini trees
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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.๐Ÿ˜€
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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

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Although I built this set a while ago, I’ve been saving this for Halloween.๐Ÿ˜‰

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
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I love the back especially, I just wish the set came with proton packs that actually glowed.๐Ÿ˜€

The instruction booklet is really nice with a cool pic from the movie so you can see the real life versions,
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and their LEGO counterparts.
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The parts are pretty decent
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Especially the set exclusives
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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
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As well as scared faces when they come upon something really scary
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The build is a nice one too with some really cool techniques like the white and red trim on the back.
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The finished model really captures the look of the movie car
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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

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There’s a lot of really cool parts in this set.
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Its a pretty simple build, and really cute. Open the wings…
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And poof, a pumpkin appears!๐Ÿ˜€
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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.๐Ÿ™‚

So naturally the best way to thank everyone for following here on the blog, on Facebook and on Twitter is to do a giveaway.๐Ÿ˜€

1500 giveaway

All the treats and none of the tricks.๐Ÿ˜‰

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!