Archive for October, 2006
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Getting away from NWBC, now. Man, I wish I could have been there! The pictures show too much good stuff to take in at once!
Fradel Gonzales, commonly known as Slice151, have built a very nice pair of mechas that he call Chirashis. They are viewable in his flickr photostream, and are certainly fantastic in their black sleekness.
First up, coverage by Josh and me here on The Brothers Brick:
- Off to NWBrickCon Day 1
- NWBrickCon Day 1 Report
- Breakfast at the Bellevue LEGO Store
- NWBrickCon Day 2 Report
- Dave DeGobbi’s Goliath Steampunk Airship
- NWBrickCon Day 3 Report
- Josh Does NWBrickCon (with link to detailed write-up on Classic-Castle Forums)
Brendan Mauro has kindly posted a batch of videos to YouTube, capturing many of the creations with movement of one sort or another. Check out the camera mounted to the front of the moonbase monorail:
Next, various conference attendees have uploaded their pictures to the Web. I created a NWBrickCon group on Flickr, and it currently has over 380 pictures from the weekend. Check out the member list to see Flickr members who attended the ‘con. Josh also uploaded all of his pictures to a nicely organized set of galleries on Brickshelf.
Finally, the bazaar was a huge draw at NWBrickCon this year, with many vendors and individual sellers presenting their products for sale. Here are the ones whose contact info I remembered to grab:
- AuctionBrick: Buy and sell LEGO products.
- Big Ben Bricks: Ben Fleskes’ custom 9-volt train sets and parts.
- Brick Creations: Former master modeler Bill Vollbrecht’s custom LEGO creations.
- BrickArms: Modern minifig weapons from Will Chapman.
- Horseshoe Bend Rail Road: A LEGO Christmas train from Matt Chiles (Matt, if you see this, let me know if you want me to publish your contact info).
- Little Armory Toys: Custom minifig weapons.
- Math ‘n’ Stuff: Local Seattle toy store.
- Matt’s Mushroom Bins: The Perfect LEGO sorting solution from Matt Chiles.
- The TBP Group: LEGO Certified Professional Dan Parker’s company (ditto, Dan).
Post links in comments if you run across blog posts, more pictures, other videos, or anything else TBB readers might like to see.
My path to the dark side assured, let’s get a head-start on Halloween with some great “abominations” from self-described “evil mad scientist” Windell Oskay:
Windell has written up a nice article on How to hack LEDs into Lego minifigures for Halloween, as well as a second article on his many Lego Abominations.
Here’s a hilarious example titled “Squid King Fu”:
Be sure to check out the full photoset on Flickr.
Thanks for sending this in, Windell! You’re such a bad influence… ;-)
After spending an incredible weekend at NWBrickCon this last weekend, I finally got my journal online.
You can read it here.
It was a ton of fun to see all the creations and meet so many Lego fans. Of course, the highlight of the weekend was finally getting to meet Andrew in real life. As I looked through my pics of the public hours, I had a bunch of Andrew so I give you the Dunechaser Montage!
With his roaming Aztec gods:
Pointing out the finer details of Castle building:
Posing with his Serenity crew:
*ahem* Moving on from current events…
Brickshelf user snyderman has recently uploaded pictures of a very cool model of a Geisha:
Also check out Anime Character and Cameraman:
…doesn’t necessarily stay at NWBrickcon if you post pictures of it on the internets.
First up, I, Andrew “Dunechaser” Becraft used custom parts in a creation. I armed Jayne with an appropriate “Vera” (an M4) and handgun from BrickArms (*shock*):
Second, as shown in the photo above, Mike Rayhawk makes Wash somewhat move movie-accurate with a spear shaft. Wash just keeps on grinning…
Third, here’s an inside joke for fellow Brothers Bricker Nathan, who thought about coming but chose not to. Silly midterm exams. This is what you get when you’re not there to defend your honor:
Instead of writing up the day’s events, I’ve spent the evening getting started organizing my NWBrickCon pictures. I split my pictures into creations and events. I haven’t finished adding titles, captions, and tags to everything, but if you see something you want to know about, post a comment on Flickr and I’ll add the missing information.
One housekeeping note: Dan Sabath suggested during the closing ceremonies that all of us blogging NWBrickCon and posting pictures to Flickr should all use the “NWBC2006″ tag so the posts and photos will be easy to find. Great idea, Dan! For your subscription convenience, here’s the Atom feed for pictures tagged “NWBC2006″ on Flickr. Looks like I’m not the only one with photos in that feed. Hurray!
Edit (10/12/06): Updated write-up on day 3, as promised…
Got up fairly early this morning to make it downtown in time for the “Wacky Racers” competition. I joined event organizer Dan Sabath for a quick cup of coffee. I hadn’t brought anything to race, so Dan explained that the object of the game depends on various arbitrary rules. This year, in addition to distance traveled, the winning score would include a calculation of the distance that the minifig pilot was ejected from the vehicle. Here’s the ramp down which the doomed drivers would be sent:
Competitors began trickling in, and Dan convinced me to send Leftenant Cavendish down the ramp in his marvelous amphibious contraption. Here’s a lineup of several competitors and their vehicles:
The race soon begain in earnest, with various levels of success. The three-wheeled racer with huge wheels made it all the way to the end of the room, but failed to eject the driver. Our very own Josh (L) and Tony Hafner (R) get their vehicles ready:
Tony won when his racer ejected its driver (from a rubber-band-powered catapult thingie) a whopping 36 feet.
The wacky racers event was followed by voting for the awards later in the day, and then by four more hours of the general public taking a look at our creations. By the afternoon, we were all pretty exhausted, operating on little sleep, and quite probably fighting off half a dozen bugs from the thousands of parents and kids coughing and sneezing on our LEGO.
At 4:00, we began taking down the displays, folding tables, pulling up tape, and so on. Closing ceremonies were held at 5:00, during which the awards we voted on earlier were presented. By that point, my camera’s batteries were long dead, and it didn’t occur to me to take notes, so I’m waiting for the official winner’s list on the NWBrickCon Web site or on the SEALUG mailing list. Congrats to Josh for second place in the Castle category for his awesome Lighthouse! My own steampunk creations had no chance against Dave DeGobbi’s Goliath.
With closing ceremonies out of the way, we finished packing up, stood around chatting for a while, and headed home. Counting two previous SEALUG meetings, this was only my first “in-person” LEGO event, and I’m excited for more. Getting to spend time with Josh was fantastic, and getting to know so many other LEGO fans I’ve interacted with online was great. What was kind of funny, though, is that I didn’t make the connections between some people in real life and their online personas until fairly late in the weekend, and many people didn’t figure out I was “Dunechaser” until a couple days into the ‘con. Case in point: I’m kicking myself for not putting Mike “Count Blockula” Crowley’s familiar face with his name until we were wrapping up and heading out. Sorry dude!
Finally, a huge round of virtual applause to Wayne Hussey for organizing a fantastic event and to Sean Forbes for being the public face throughout the weekend. So Wayne, when do you start accepting checks for next year’s ‘con?
First, the video:
Dave DeGobbi of Burnaby, B.C., Canada attended NWBrickCon 2006 over this past weekend, and stole the show (well, at least the steampunk section) with his Goliath airship:
Naturally, the Goliath won the Best Steampunk prize for the show! Inspired by my favorite movie of all time, Hayao Miyazaki’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky, the airship includes many cool features:
Dave says it took him about eighty hours to build, based on three years of parts collecting. The movement is powered by seven regular LEGO motors and one micro-motor. He estimates that Goliath includes over 7000 LEGO elements, which he spent more than $1000 CDN to purchase. (Multiple Yoda sets on clearance helped with the tan.)
Those of you who transport large LEGO creations may also be interested to learn that Dave included a 3/4″ x 1 1/4″ x 4′ Brazilian cherry beam in the Goliath, which makes it strong enough to survive long trips. As an added bonus, it makes the airship strong enough to hang from the ceiling. Here’s a picture of the DUPLO cradle and straps he uses to secure the Goliath:
Be sure to check out the full photoset on Flickr for lots of detailed shots. Dave’s awesome airship has been showing up in lots of Flickr photostreams, so you might see some new details in other people’s photos as well. Thanks for sharing this info and sending me the video, Dave!
After a very early morning in order to get to the LEGO Store by 8:00 for breakfast, I’m fairly exhausted so this’ll be short.
First off, I’m an idiot, and so I forgot my camera on its charger. Josh took plenty of pictures, but he’s going to upload them when he gets home. In the meantime, Mark Neumann has also been posting NWBrickCon pictures to his Flickr photostream. In lieu of pics for today from me, check his out.
EDIT (1:45 A.M.): Flickr user David Caley also visited NWBrickCon today and has a good chunk of pictures from the public hours. Check out his photoset on Flickr.
Second, today was a complete madhouse, with public hours from 11:00 to 4:00. I met my office-mate Crystal and her family and showed them around the exhibition hall. We went out to lunch, where Mike Rayhawk, a fantastic illustrator and graphic designer who created much of the concept art and accompanying illustrations for LEGO’s recent Knight’s Kingdom II theme. One interesting tidbit I learned from him is that LEGO needed some last-minute face designs for some marketing people, and he whipped a few out based on people he knew. His father inspired Vladek, for example. The minifig designers at LEGO ended up using Mike’s face designs for the characters, and despite some of the complaints I’ve heard about the “jellybean” knights, I think they’re some of the best face designs in years.
Third, I attended a presentation by Brendan Mauro about the “8cre” standard for modular castle layout design. I’ll try to convince Brendan to upload his presentation somewhere, and I’ll link to it when it’s up. Well worth the read, with lots of cool techniques for large layouts.
Finally, I want to take a moment to talk about prejudice. I’ve found that prejudiced people are generally people who haven’t encountered the person or idea they’re prejudiced against. Well, I was prejudiced against non-official, “custom” parts integrated into LEGO creations. Between his presentation yesterday and seeing his goods up close today, I couldn’t help myself. Will Chapman of BrickArms is a really nice guy, with a passion for high-quality minifig accessories. By the end of the day, I ended up with two sets of his awesome modern weapons. My name is Andrew, and I’m no longer prejudiced against custom parts. Heh heh. Anyway, here they are, minus an M4 and a handgun of some sort I put in Jayne Cobb’s hands:
Oh, and the horse barding — one I didn’t have — is from our very own Josh. Thanks dude!
Got up at 6:45 this morning so I could be sure and make it to the Bellevue LEGO Store by 8:00 for a special event for NWBrickCon attendees.
I think everybody ignored the food for the first hour, concentrating on unique Pick-a-Brick items, including build-your-own minifig bins. Any combination of five minifig parts (torso+head=1) was $1.99, or $1.59 with our 20% convention discount.
I hope I don’t give LEGO Star Wars fans a collective myocardial infarction by saying I picked up several yellow slave Leia minifigs (minus ponytail) for $1.59 each. Sweet!
Now I’m headed downtown for the rest of day 1. More tonight…
It was definitely a long day, but I had a fantastic time! As I admired the beginnings of the castle layout, Josh came over and introduced himself. Hey, remember, we had never actually meet “in real life.” We spent some time in the “bazaar” room, poring over the loose inventory from a couple vendors. The seller wasn’t actually there, so we set aside our picks so we could come back and ask how much they were later. I ended up spending about $25 for a bunch of miscellaneous parts and dozen or so minifigs I didn’t have or needed more of. On BrickLink I think I would’ve paid at least double.
Over lunch I told him that I was relieved to know he wasn’t a freak. Heh heh! People spent most of the day setting up their creations — the aforementioned medieval landscape, about a hundred moonbase modules, a huge train layout, and a Technic/MINDSTORMS “great ball contraption.” The empty tables at the beginning of the day gave way to tables overflowing with LEGO creations:
Interesting sessions included a presentation by the designer of modern minifig weapons (mostly unavailable from LEGO) at BrickArms, a discussion of sorting, and a series of talks from people whose jobs are LEGO-related, including Steve Witt from the LEGO Company and LEGO Certified Professionals Dan Parker and Robin Sather.
Well, I’m off to get a good night’s sleep so I can get up in the morning and go to the Bellevue LEGO Store for breakfast. Hurray for make-your-own minifigs (new there tomorrow)!
With a lovely breakfast of doughnuts, I packed up my (surprisingly few) creations and I’m heading downtown for NWBrickcon:
Naturally, I’m wearing my new “I’m Blogging This” T-shirt from O’Reilly.
For the curious, here’s what my living room looks like after a couple weekends of building:
See you at the ‘con!