Posts Tagged ‘LEGOLAND California’

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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜‰

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
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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?

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.
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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. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜‰

Man turned away from LEGOLAND Discovery Center

July 9, 2013

Via CTV News

An article on the CTV News website from Canada brought about a little known and rather stupid (in my opinion) rule of the LEGOLAND Discovery centers — “Adults must be accompanied by a child to visit the attraction.” (straight from the website).

And sure, its on the website, but John St-Onge didn’t even think about checking there before he and his adult daughter took the 3 hour drive to get to the Toronto attraction. And who would? I certainly didn’t when I was recently in Chicago for BrickWorld. I only found out when I was there that they would turn you away at the door.

I was almost curious to go and see if they really would turn me away, even though I have a Merlin Pass — which lets you into all the LEGOLAND parks and discovery centers in the US. No one mentioned this rule when they were upselling me the pass at LEGOLAND California, and of course they don’t turn non-accompanied adults away at the theme parks, they’d loose too much money. I did end up making it there, but I went with a friend and her kids, so there wasn’t an issue — for me.

Apparently to compensate for this, they have an “Adult’s Only” night once a month, but that too is rather stupid and weird in my opinion. I suppose I can see reasons for not allowing lone adults into a kid’s attraction, but still, its not like there are lots of dark corners in the tiny two story building that takes less than an hour to go through. And as far as I can tell, its only the Discovery Centers, they don’t have this rule at the SeaLife Center that is next door to LEGOLAND California. I guess its okay for adults to want to see fish, but heaven forbid they want to actually look at the LEGO models.

There is an alternative to going to the Discovery Centers — LEGO Conventions (which have many more interesting models anyways in my opinion). And I have it on good authority that Mr. St-Onge has been invited to BrickFete, Canada’s only LEGO Convention happening this weekend in Toronto. As it is an AFOL (Adult Fans of LEGO) event, all LEGO loving adults are welcome. πŸ˜‰

I still haven’t made it up there yet, partially because I already go to five conventions a year, and partially because its too near to the San Diego Comic Con, which is happening next week. But from all that I’ve heard its a great show!

I feel sorry for Mr. St-Onge that he didn’t know ahead of time, so I’m posting it here — if you want to go to a LEGOLAND Discovery Center take a kid, or they won’t let you in. Not cool Merlin Entertainments, not cool at all.

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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜‰

Monsters, Rockers and Business Card Holders

August 15, 2012

A few new sets are starting to appear. First there was the Beach Set that came out earlier this year, now there are two more offerings. Remember when LEGO Rock Band came out, I kept saying we needed a set, well this is probably the closest we’ll ever get.


They are basically the same as the collectible minifigure versions except with slight color variations and brick built instruments.

There’s also a Monster Fighter’s set that is similarly packaged.

The both retail at $14.99 USD, and are already available at LEGOLAND California. Most likely they will appear at the LEGO Stores soon.

There is also a new official Business Card Holder set. Although not as cool as the Business Card Holder I make, its still pretty awesome. πŸ˜‰
LEGO Business Card Holder

LEGO Business Card Holder Parts List

Also available currently at LEGOLAND California and retails for $16.99. For me the most exciting thing is the return of the letter tiles that were last seen in 2004. I got a whole bunch of the letter tiles then, and I’ll most likely buy a good selection of them now.

Thanks to my friend Jason for letting me know about the sets and Eurobricks for the images of the two minifig sets. πŸ™‚

Darth Vader and Amidala Wedding Cake Topper

August 27, 2011

The words Darth Vader, flowers, and wedding don’t often come together, but in this instance they make perfect sense. πŸ™‚

On the heels of my earlier Star Wars Wedding Cake Topper, or more accurately because of it, I was asked to create the iconic symbol of the Dark Side Darth Vader and his lovely bride Queen Amidala standing in a field of flowers.

Vader and Amidala on Flower Patch 1a

Okay, so Anakin married Amidala before he became Lord Vader, but heck Vader’s cooler than Anakin any day. πŸ˜€

I really wish the picture showed Vader better, but I still don’t know how to properly capture a black model. Even with extra lighting, it still mainly looks like a lot of black and you can’t see all the very cool details.

Vader and Amidala on Flower Patch 2

Even so, I can say that I’m much happier with my version versus the official on that is on display at LEGOLAND California

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Although I have to admit I didn’t design the Vader helmet, that credit goes to my brother Mike Asanuma who also made the Stormtrooper helmet. He made both quite a while ago, and then challenged me to make the bodies. It just took me a while, and a request from clients, to get around to it. πŸ˜‰

Star Wars Wedding Cake Topper

May 30, 2011

A few days ago I was asked two questions in an email —
1. Do I make bi-racial couples
2. Can I do theme cake toppers.

Naturally my response was yes to both. πŸ™‚

I love the requests I get from people because sometimes I end up making things I wouldn’t make otherwise. So, I created this:

Leia and Stormtrooper Wedding Cake Topper 1

Leia and Stormtrooper Wedding Cake Topper 2

Now I have to admit, I did not make the Stormtrooper helmet. My brother actually designed that and then challenged me to make a full Miniland scale Stormtrooper. He also designed a very cool Darth Vader helmet, but that I’ll leave for another post. πŸ˜‰

I also drilled into the 1×1 green plates to make the flowers. But as I mentioned in a previous post, sometimes its necessary. The main reason this time was not so the Princess Leia would have a funky bouquet of flowers, but because the bride specifically asked for lime green and purple. And, as LEGO only makes official flowers in a handful of colors, drilling 1×1 round plates was a good solution. Especially as I have a huge bag of them that I got from Pick A Brick.

With the new Star Wars Miniland area at LEGOLAND now open, I’m thinking about creating a whole bunch of the iconic characters. Oh, and here’s a fun fact — when we had Miniland Florida at LEGOLAND California we actually had Han Solo and Princess Leia hidden in the cluster by the Rocket Garden. We also had Agent J and K of the Men in Black with very shiny weapons looking for alien threats. πŸ˜€

Star Wars Miniland Almost Here!

March 5, 2011

I stopped by LEGOLAND California yesterday and guess what I saw in the Model Shop window? Miniland Star Wars models!

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Now of course this is just a mere taste of what is to come, but I’m already getting very excited.

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The area where the Star Wars cluster will be is still dirt, but by the Star Wars grand opening, I know it will look fantastic!

You can see the full set of images on my Flickr photostream.