Posts Tagged ‘Sculpture’

Sneak Preview of the LEGOLAND California Death Star

February 11, 2015

LEGOLAND California Star Wars Days is just around the corner and they have just released a few sneak peeks of their newest addition to the Miniland Star Wars area — the Death Star.


It may not be planet sized, but its plenty big. 13 feet high, 8 feet wide and it weighs almost a ton! That’s some serious stats!


One thing I love about these pictures is that it answers that often asked question — are LEGO Models hollow?

As you can see its not hollow, but due to the shear weight of the model and the fact that its a sphere, there is some serious bracing on the inside! The cross sections help hold the model together. When Master Builders make bracing on the inside, the bricks don’t all have to be the same color because except for rare occasions like this, you never get to see the inside of the model. For buildings and less complicated models, there isn’t this level of bracing, some of the smaller buildings are just hollow shells. So now you know ;)

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2015) – The LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland Death Star Model Display has arrived to LEGOLAND® California Resort! The planet shaped LEGO® model, made out of more than a half million LEGO bricks, stands 13-feet high, 8-feet wide and weighs more than 1,900 pounds. The LEGO Death Star is the largest LEGO model to be added to LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland and opens to guests on March 5.

Under the watchful eye of R2-D2, a team of builders used a fork lift to maneuver the massive LEGO model into position high above LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland, which opened to guests in 2011. The LEGO Death Star is designed from the version featured in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The new model display also features the famous trench run scene where Luke Skywalker maneuvered his X-Wing fighter through the combat zone to destroy the Death Star. Below the LEGO Death Star, guests are invited to use their imaginations to construct their own LEGO starships at building stations, while LEGO X-Wings, Tie Fighters and Y-Wings circle overhead.

The unveiling of the new LEGO Death Star on March 5 kicks-off the fan favorite, LEGO Star Wars™ Days event on March 7 and 8, where guests can spend the day participating in Star Wars™ related activities. LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland Death Star Model Display is included in the cost of admission to LEGOLAND California Resort.

I’ll be at Star Wars Days so I will be able to give my impressions of the model first hand in just a few weeks.

LEGO Birds Set Review

January 20, 2015


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. :)


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? ;)

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. ;)

I love the look of the box, both the front and the back are very pretty and totally theme appropriate.

On to building!


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

First build is the base and flower. I like how the flower is built, simple but nice.

What I really like is the nonconventional building, most of the hummingbird body is upside down

Now sure, I build like this all the time, but for the burgeoning junior Master Builder, its a great teaching set.



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.

Max had a lot of fun building these.

Here you can see the central core of the Robin, this allows for having studs in all directions


I love how the finished Robin looks

Not the greatest pic, but you can see how nice the back looks even if the photo is blurry

Blue Jay


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.



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


Final Thoughts


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. :)

Thanks Max for all the help!

Ring Ring

January 8, 2015

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

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!

Kaiser Permanente Model

November 6, 2014

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.

Brick in a Bottle

May 19, 2014

Square Peg, Round Hole

This new model by Kristi of Custombricks kind of blew my mind. I’ve seen a few models built in glass bottles before, but this is so tight, its amazing!

Makes me want to try this…

Master Oogway

February 3, 2014

LEGO Master Oogway

Bruce Lowell has done it again. Master Oogway from the Kung Fu Panda movies is perfect in his LEGO form

Bruce even got the cape Oogway wears right by using Jabba’s Sail Barge sails.

LEGO Master Oogway

Now my question is will this Oogway dissolve into peach blossoms too? :D

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.

2014 year of the Horse

January 7, 2014

2014 year of the Horse, originally uploaded by Omar + kamitera.

So apparently 2014 is the year of the Horse. Even if it wasn’t this is an amazing model with a wonderful sense of movement and life about it. I love the legs mid-gallop and the tail waving in the wind. The Chinese character above it stands for horse. ;)


January 6, 2014

TO-TO-ROOOOO!!!, originally uploaded by Carlmerriam.

I’ve always loved Totoro and this awesome model by Carl Merriam is a great model to start of 2014!

I can hear Totoro’s roar as he awakens to the new day. :)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 87 other followers