Posts Tagged ‘Pirates’

Official Miniland scale figures in a set

March 3, 2014

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know I love Miniland scale. Ever since my first trip to LEGOLAND I fell in love with the scale. And once I started working at the Model Shop, Miniland USA was my responsibility for 4 years. So naturally I fell in love with the scale. Minifig scale is all well and good, but you are limited by their very small size. Minilanders are bigger, brick built, and much more versitle than Minifigs.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this on BrickSet

Now its not the first time that there has been a miniland figure in a kit. There was one in 2003 –King (Legoland Deutschland)

And one was designed by a co-worker of mine, George Corn, at LEGOLAND California in 2006

Neither set was widely available however, which this set seems to be.

There is something distinctly “wrong” with the new set — they have no chins! Whoever designed this set clearly didn’t consult the LEGOLAND Model Builders when they created it. None of the Miniland people are built without chins, and the mom looks rather anorexic.

Here’s some samples of Minilanders I’ve designed —

Wonder Woman 3

Mini Superman 2

Segway 1

Mermaid 2

You can see more on Flickr

Now granted — some Miniland building techniques would not stand up to the rules of proper set building — there are different guidelines on what can and can’t be done depending on if you are a set designer versus a Master Model Builder. But that doesn’t excuse the lack of chins. All they would need is to add an extra jumper plate (1×2 plate with a stud in the middle) under the head. The lack of chins is a common mistake when people are building Miniland people for the first time, but surely a set designer that is right by the LEGOLAND park in Denmark should have fixed this before it when into production.

On one level I’m happy that LEGO is recognizing Miniland as an official scale outside of the LEGOLAND parks. But on the other hand, these set figures are poor representations of the scale.

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The LEGO Movie –The Spolier Free Review

February 9, 2014

So this past weekend I watched the LEGO Movie 3 times in 3 days. I wasn’t really planning on seeing it that many times, it just sort of happened. The fact that both Regal and AMC theaters were offering a limited number of free minifigs — a different one at each theater mind you — was definitely one of the reasons.

I’m not one that has to have all the special poly bags, but I kind of liked both the figs — Emmet wearing pajamas at Regal and the DJ Robot at AMC. I wasn’t going to go for the DJ robot, but then I saw the torso, which looks an awful lot like the LUGOLA (LA LEGO Fan Group) logo and since I’m a LUGOLA member, I made the half hour trip down to San Diego to get the fig.

So, back to the Movie. When I first heard about the plans to make a full length LEGO movie about 2 years ago I was a little worried. Images of the Smurfs movie– which I still have yet to see and no desire to do so — were what I feared the LEGO movie would turn into. Sure, there have been the Star Wars mini movies, the Ninjago series and the lesser Chima series (sorry, but I just don’t like Chima). But they were different and on a smaller scale. I wasn’t sure what the LEGO Movie would turn into, and until the trailers started showing up, I wasn’t all that excited.

But then they did start showing up. And the more I saw, the more I liked it and wanted to see it. Even if I wasn’t into LEGO, I would have wanted to see it for the animation. I’m something of a movie nut — which has made me contemplate writing a blog on movie reviews, but even though I go to a LOT of movies, there are a lot I don’t go to and wouldn’t watch so a blog on movie reviews would only be the movies I like and want to see.

Now that I’ve finally seen The LEGO Movie, and seen it and seen it, I still want to watch it again — on DVD — frame by frame to catch all the cool stuff that happens so fast you miss it. There’s a lot, and I mean a LOT, going on in the background, in the foreground, or for only a fraction of a second. The LEGO Movie was everything I wanted it to be in terms of LEGO times ten! The “Everything is Awesome” song is fun, although it does stick in your head, and by the third time seeing the movie I wanted to sing along with the movie.

Is the movie one big commercial for all the LEGO Movie kits, and LEGO in general? Yes. There’s no question about that. Unlike other movies, you can literally make what you see in the movie, even if they don’t make kits for some of it, you can make it. Maybe not in all the colors — Cloud Cuckoo Land is guilty of this — but you could still build it. That’s the point. So I’m okay with it being one big commercial, encouraging more children to create their own worlds with LEGO is something I fully advocate.

To me the LEGO Movie is what I dreamed of building when I was a kid. Unlike now, I didn’t have a huge collection then. But what I couldn’t build, I dreamed about. That’s what made me want to become a Master Model Builder. I could see making a whole castle valley, with towns, forests, mermaid lagoons, pirates, the works. And this movie shows what dreaming about building can do. If you had unlimited bricks that is.

The biggest plot point is that you can build whatever you want, with whatever parts you want. It can be crazy, multicolored, and make no sense at all. That’s okay. I can’t tell you how many parents ask me what glue to use so that the sets stay together and don’t fall apart. My response is always the same — you aren’t supposed to glue it together. Its supposed to fall apart and make something else, that’s the point. If this movie can drive that fact home to all those misguided parents, then that’s great.

The characters are fun. I really like Emmet, the unexpected hero. And I love Wild Style, although she could have been a little bit more of her own girl rather than having to cling to her boyfriend — Batman. Batman was just perfect. The only portrayal of Batman that I like better was the 90’s cartoon version. Bad Cop / Good Cop was awesome! UniKitty manically cute. Vitruvius is Morgan Freeman — nuf said! And Lord Business was everything an evil overlord should be. Oh and Benny, I love Benny. Spaceship!!!

Now when I saw the trailers, I thought that the LEGO Movie looked like a child’s version of the Matrix, and without getting into spoiler territory — it pretty much is. And no, I don’t want to do spoilers, there’s enough reviews out there already doing that.

Are there some holes in the film? Yes, but that won’t stop me from watching it again. Like I said, the lack of a really strong female that can stand on her own was a tad buggy. The story could have been better, and there’s a section at the end that could have been left out without really hurting the movie at all — it almost might have been better without it in my opinion.

There were a ton of things I loved — nods to the AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) community and things that only we would get how funny or cool that they were added. One of my favorite parts, without spoiling it, is how the “Master Builders” see the LEGO world.

And no, I’m not going to breakdown the whole movie, the characters, etc. There’s already a ton of reviews out there doing that, and putting way too many spoilers in the reviews. Besides, if I do write a post with spoilers, it will be a separate post, this one is already too long. 😉

So my overall score — 9 out of 10 bricks! See it — in theaters and watch it at least twice so you can catch more of the background. You don’t need to see it in 3D, although I did all 3 times (again mostly for the figs). It doesn’t really add that much to it other than a little sense of depth. I’m not really a fan of 3D though. And if you really love LEGO like I do, get it when it comes out on DVD.

They are already talking about a second LEGO Movie, and I’ll be there at the first showing I can get to. 😀

Benny!

January 23, 2014

The LEGO Movie Benny

So Chris Miller, one of the two directors of The LEGO Movie, tweeted this picture of what Benny, the Classic Space Guy will look like in sets.

Now if your of my generation, you’ve got a few of these guys. They were known for their space logos rubbing off and for the chin strap braking. Which is exactly why Benny was made the way he was.

Of course his chin strap is thicker than the original ones and the “rubbed” off torso is printed that way. 🙂

Benny will be available in two awesome sets coming out later this year

Metal Beard’s Sea Cow
The LEGO Movie 70810

And Benny’s Spaceship, Spaceship, Spaceship!
The LEGO Movie Benny's Spaceship 2

These sets aren’t on the cheap side, but they are both stunning and two of the best sets from this theme.

Even if you were not interested in the LEGO Movie (and who isn’t?) if you like Pirates or Classic Space then these two sets have something for you. 😉

Make sure to brush your teeth

January 15, 2014

I know, I know. I’ve been MIA (missing in action) here on my blog for a while. If you’ve been following my Facebook Page or my Twitter feed then you know I’ve been working on a large model. It has a head, torso, arms and legs — but that’s all I will say till after I’m finished, which should be soon. So until I’m done, enjoy this cool model. 😉

You know, for teeth!

Carl Merriam has done it again with this over sized tooth brush. I love how he gets all the details of the bristles and rubber that makes up the head.

It makes me think of the giant tooth brush that I designed at LEGOLAND, sadly I don’t have any pictures. 😦

It was for the Splash Battle Ride in the Pirates area of the park. If you’ve been to the park I’m sure you’ve seen the giant shark on the ride. Well one of the models that didn’t make it, but was designed, was supposed to go on the shark. The initial concept was of someone holding the mouth open, but I thought that joke had been done too many times so my idea was to have a cabin boy straddling a tooth in the mouth of the shark with a very nervous expression on his face and a giant tooth brush in his hand.

We got as far as designing most of the model, and I made both a two foot prototype and a four foot long toothbrush model with a big dollop of toothpaste, but for some reason the final version of the cabin boy was never finished and I have no idea what happened to the model. It still might be somewhere in model storage or it might have been recycled (yes that does happen), either way, I wish I had the pictures now.

My toothbrush was in no way as detailed as Carl’s, but it was still a fun project.

LEGO FriendsHats and other thoughts

January 13, 2012

The controversy over LEGO Friends continues to rage. Although I try to stay out of it for the most part, not commenting on other blog or Facebook posts that are clearly misinformed or just plain wrong, I can’t help but feel that certain groups have taken an innocent toy and superimposed their political views on top of it. LEGO has even gone as far as issuing a press release about it.

One of the biggest misunderstandings with the new LEGO Friends figs is that they aren’t compatible with regular minifigs. Its as if these unimaginative people can’t see the building potential. They don’t see Friends as an addition to all of the other products that LEGO produces but more of a “this or that” toy. Like the children can only like LEGO Friends or like “normal” LEGO. But what is “normal” LEGO?

Friends is just a new form. Before 1978 there were no minifigs, before 2000 there were no Bionicle, before last year there were no LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean — do you get my point? LEGO is constantly evolving, changing and growing. Friends is just a new type of LEGO figure.

While the figures themselves can’t easily interchange with Minifigs, all the Friends hair can be worn by minifigs and vice-versa. And that goes for the accessories too.

This great video by LDM showcases the headgear.

And the customizing of LEGO Friends has already begun. Check out these custom Friends figs:
G.I.Julie

Haircut

Punkrock Girl

And “Wrist articulation: achieved”
Wrist articulation: achieved

I even decided to change my Facebook picture in support of LEGO Friends
Friend Sig Fig

And yes, as a LEGO Artist, I really use power drills, wrenches and all manner of tools daily. I have to use math — fractions and geometry especially — to create my models. Because of LEGO not only was it a wonderful, ever changing toy that was only limited by my imagination as a child but it has allowed me to achieve two of my dream jobs — LEGO Master Model Builder and Writer. It has given me not one, but two careers and endless hours of enjoyment.

Like I mentioned in my previous post I was skeptical of LEGO Friends at first. But the more I see of the sets and the things that are already being done with the new figures I like them more and more!

LEGO Friends — Controversial or Cool?

January 9, 2012

If you’ve been paying attention at all to the buzz around the internet, you’ve probably seen at least on or several posts or articles about the LEGO Friends line. When I first heard about a new girl theme coming out over a year and a half ago at the LEGO Conventions I kept hearing “It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.”

My reaction, like most AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO), was — we’ll see.

The first low-res pictures didn’t do much to sway my cynical opinion. It looked like a rehashing of older themes. Once I finally saw good quality pictures, I thought it looked a lot like Polly Pocket. And it does. But so do a lot of other toys geared towards girls.

Unlike previous girl LEGO lines, LEGO Friends was widely promoted by the company. And almost before the first press release got out, the backlash started.

“LEGO already has a LEGOs for girls — they are called LEGOs” one person touted (and I apologize to all who cringe when an “s” is added to LEGO).

This comic posted on FBTB.net showed another side of it.

But what a lot of those who are complaining don’t know, or don’t care to research. Is that this is hardly the first time LEGO has made girl sets. They’ve been doing it for decades. Ever since the first Homemaker sets in 1971, LEGO has made sets clearly geared towards girls. That’s over 30 years people!

So why now? Well part of it is just because these naysayers can. Part of it is because LEGO didn’t promote previous incarnations like Belville and Scala as strongly as LEGO Friends. So all of these people who never really paid attention to LEGO themes before are taking sides over LEGO Friends. There’s even a petition to stop LEGO Friends.

A petition? Really? Don’t we have anything else to worry about?

I admit, Belville, Scala, and Clickits were never my favorite lines. I felt and still feel that they were an insult to my intelligence. There were no difficult builds and the figures looked like Barbie for LEGO — especially Scala. The only girl lines I liked were the Homemaker line which is a little bit before my time, and Paradisa.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I’m not a girly girl. In fact I took over my brothers’ LEGO bricks when they grew out of them. Something I never did. So even though I like Paradisa, it was too girly for me. I much preferred Castle or City — before it was populated only by cops, firemen, and robbers. I grew up in the golden age of LEGO when some of the truly great lines came out. I was just as into space and pirates as my brother (my little brother was a little too young at the time).

So when Scala and Belville were finally available in the US — they were originally only available in Europe — I was already a die-hard LEGO fan. These sets annoyed me and I ignored them. I refused to buy them because I didn’t like them. But what I didn’t realize was how many cool accessories there were. Food and cooking elements especially. So as I got more building savvy and started looking as sets more like parts packs and less like sets, I started to purchase Scala and Belville.

So what do I think of LEGO Friends? Well I wanted to wait until I had gotten some before I gave my opinion. I was getting more and more excited as I saw all the fun elements. And now that I have a couple sets I really, really like them.

Even with the images I’d seen of Friends to Minifig scale comparisons, I didn’t really appreciate how very small they Friends dolls are. They are tiny! Which naturally makes them cuter. They won’t replace my love for the Minifig, but they won’t be relegated to the back of the LEGO box either.

When I saw the sets in the stores I wanted to buy all of them! Okay, maybe that is my girly side coming out, but I am a girl, so that’s okay. 😉

Lots of non-LEGO people are complaining about the pink. But there is actually very little pink in the sets. And there are all these great new colors and parts! There are just as many, if not more, male AFOLs wanting these sets because of the accessories.

So in short — after this long rant — I like LEGO Friends. Is it exactly what I would have wanted as a child? No, but that’s what Modular Buildings are for. I do want all of the sets, if not multiples. I love the new accessories and colors. The MOC (my own creation) potential is very high! And I will be recommending them to everyone. I hope they come out with more. My opinion — Cool. 🙂

Newest Contributor to the Model Building Secrets blog

September 25, 2011

I’d like to introduce the newest member of the Model Building Secrets team — Paul Lee! Not only is a great builder, he is a professional LEGO Comic Artist for the LEGO Club Magazine. If you’ve received your Club magazine lately, either here in the States or abroad, you’ve probably seen his work.

Here’s a couple samples:
Alien Conquest Comic
You can see my sig-fig being abducted by aliens in this page. 😀

Pirates of the Caribbean Comic

He will be posting from time to time, sharing his unique finds and for the first one . . .

Building Jack Sparrow

May 12, 2011

Master Model Builder Erik Varszegi talks about how a life-size model is built.

Erik has created many other life-sized sculptures during his tenure at LEGO such as Woody and Buzz from Toy Story, Capitan Rex of Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Batman.

Mini Neverland

May 2, 2011

Now I normally try not to repost something that’s already been on Brother’s Brick for the simple reason that you most likely look at both blogs anyways. But when I saw Rod Gillies micro scale Neverland Island from Peter Pan I just had to post it too.

Neverland

Part of the reason I love this model is because it has always been a dream model of mine to create a full minifig scale version of Neverland ever since I saw the miniature version on the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland.

Flying over Neverland on Peter Pan's Flight

It’s not like I couldn’t do it mind you, I’ve thought about it and even how I would do it. Heck, they even have the mermaids for the Mermaid Lagoon now. But its more a matter of time than anything else. If I were to create a full scale version of it, the model would have to be at least 4-6 feet wide and 3-4 feet tall. I would naturally include all the well known scenes such as Tiger Lily’s capture, the Lost Boy’s Treehouse, and the Captain Hook’s pirate ship. But that would take a lot of time and space I don’t have for such a project at the moment. So I guess I’ll just have to keep dreaming and enjoy Rod’s model instead. 😉

Brick Fiesta coming in July

January 13, 2011

LEGO Cons seem to be cropping up every where! The newest will be in Texas!

Mark your calendars and get ready to attend the most unique LEGO fan event in the central United States. The first Brick Fiesta is being held in Austin, Texas from June 30th to July 3rd, 2011. So save the date and come back to visit real soon, ya’ll. We’ll be looking forward to your attendance.

I’m certainly excited about this one, of course who knows if I’ll be going yet. There’s quite a few LEGO Conventions this year — at least 7 in the US alone! It certainly a sign that LEGO as a hobby is growing by leaps and bounds! Registration is now open so sign up now! 🙂

On a related note, there are two LEGO conventions happening on the other side of the world from me:

Which is being held in Melbourne, Australia this weekend Jan 15th -16th.

Bricks Adventure 2011

Bricks Adventure 2011

Date: 12th – 22nd January 2011
Time: 10:30 am – 8:30 pm
Location: Multi-Purpose-Room A&B, 4/f, Amenities Building, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

What a great year for LEGO AFOLs!!!!!!