Monthly Archives: February 2010

Hi-res pictures of Star Wars sets coming August 2010 [News]

StarWars.com has high resolution pictures of the entire lineup of late 2010 Star War sets, including 8093 Plo Koon’s Starfighter, 8095 General Grievous Starfighter, 8096 Emperor Palpatine’s Shuttle, 8097 Slave I, 8098 Clone Turbo Tank, and 8089 Hoth Wampa Cave.


8093 Plo Koon’s Starfighter (175 pcs, $24.99 USD / $34.99 CAD): Includes Plo Koon and R7-F5 minifigures


8095 General Grievous Starfighter (454 pcs, $49.99 USD / $69.99 CAD): Includes General Grievous, Nahdar Vebb, and EV-A4-D minifigures


8096 Palpatine Shuttle (592 pcs, $59.99 USD / $79.99 CAD): Includes Palpatine, Darth Vader (wounded), Clone Pilot, and Medical Droid minifigures


8097 Slave I (573 pcs, $79.99 USD / $109.99 CAD): Includes Boba Fett, Bossk, Han Solo and Han Solo (in Carbonite) minifigures


8098 Clone Turbo Tank (1139 pcs, $119.99 USD): Includes Anakin Skywalker, Clone Trooper, Clone Commander, Tactical Droid, Cad Bane, Ahsoka Tano, and Aayla Secura minifigures


8089 Hoth Wampa Cave (297 pcs, $39.99 USD): Includes Luke Skywalker (Hoth), Zev Senesca, a Skeleton and Wampa minifigures

Depictions of the Chinese God of Wealth

I don’t know about you, but I got my red envelope on Chinese New Years a few weeks back. Here, two builders from Asia, rack911 and MrH have created the God of Wealth (財神). You can see the character 財, meaning wealth, depicted in both creations (in the latter it appears on the stand).

Here’s hoping your wealth comes in Lego bricks!

Lego Humvee with instructions

While you’ve been occupied with the discussion on crediting building techniques, Tyler (Legohaulic) has once again been making instructions for a model that I’m sure many would want to build, and they’re FREE. What a riot.

Andrew: Though I don’t object to Nannan blogging this, I have to admit that I’m very uncomfortable with the first photo in the pair above. We’ve had some productive discussions about modern military LEGO in the past, but perhaps it’s time to revisit that discussion in a future editorial.

No it is not *your* technique – credit is currency and should be paid [Editorial]

In what I believe is a first (apologies if I’m neglecting credit) for The Brothers Brick I’ve decided to write a somewhat counterpoint editorial to Andrew’s latest editorial.

Andrew argues, with merit, that demands for credit are excessive and potentially “stifling (of) others’ creativity”. While I don’t disagree with his major points I do feel that his post has risky consequences which I do disagree with: discouraging credit when it can and should be given.

As a medium with a finite parts pallette, building technique is not just a means of aiding the design process but an integral part of the design process. Technique is not just a tool but can be an inseparable part of a creation. This is, for me at least, one the most interesting aspects of building with LEGO (and/or other construction toys).

The LEGO fan community has developed in an environment of sharing, cooperation and mingling of ideas. From the earliest days of rec.toys.lego through to the diaspora of today one of the key elements of the online community has been the active sharing of the techniques that go into a model in addition to the sharing of the model itself.

However, this sharing is encouraged, at least in part, by the giving of credit where credit is due. If someone knows that a clever trick they’ve spent hours developing will be used by others without so much as a thank you they may not feel so compelled to spend the time to show a cutaway version.

Likewise if someone sees a neat idea they’d agonised over being used and lauded without acknowledgement a week later by a more experienced builder they may feel justifiably aggrieved. Credit isn’t just polite, it is a driver of the shared creativity that drives the hobby.

So no, it is not your technique. If you got it from someone else then give them the credit they deserve for their creativity so that they’ll feel happy sharing other techniques. Credit is a currency and if you don’t pay for the service you may find it goes away.

An unpleasant surprise for Guderian

I’ve just finished reading a couple books about the war on the eastern front in WWII, so it was good to see this model by Henrik Hoexbroe of a Soviet T-34 tank. I especially like all the equipment attached to the exterior and the little red flag on the back.

LEGO Henrik Hoexbroe T-34 tank

For those of you who are extreme nerds like me, yes I know it’s a 1944 model, so it probably wasn’t as much of a surprise for the wermacht as the 1940 model. I took a little artistic license.

No, it is *not* your technique – it’s time for “open source” LEGO design [Editorial]

Merriam-Webster defines the act of plagiarism as:

to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : [to] use (another’s production) without crediting the source.

Unfortunately, plagiarism is something we LEGO fans witness all too often online. “Hey, some kid on LEGO.com stole my photo and entered it in a contest. And he won!” or “There’s this scumbag on eBay selling copies of a MOC that I designed!”

I think we can all agree that stealing photos or selling someone else’s design for profit are both damaging to the legitimacy of LEGO as an artform and to LEGO builders as a community.

(Some good news is that the Brick-Busters are doing a good job of dealing with the kids on LEGO.com, though the problem is much broader than their scope.)

However, accusations of plagiarism seem just as common between LEGO builders. “Dude, aren’t you going to credit me for combining these three pieces in this particular way?” or “Here’s a photo of an awesome technique I just thought up. I call it SNOT. Please credit me if you use it.”

I believe that claiming ownership or requesting credit for building techniques can have a stifling effect on the creativity we all value so much, and therefore doing so can be just as damaging — in different ways — as real plagiarism. I’m proposing that we embrace a more open approach to building techniques by abandoning the possessive attitude too many of us have about the way we’ve put a few LEGO bricks together.

copyleft symbolOf course, what I’m suggesting as it applies to LEGO isn’t unique either. Open source software has proved competitive with traditional boxed products. An increasing number of writers are embracing “copyleft” and open content philosophies as alternatives to traditional copyright.

Creative Commons logoBoing Boing contributor and science fiction author Cory Doctorow releases his work under a Creative Commons license — specifically, the same license under which The Brothers Brick releases our original content. (All of my own LEGO photos on Flickr are also posted with the same CC license.)

What I love about LEGO builders as a community is how collaborative we are. In most cases, someone who finds what they consider a new type of connection or an innovative use for a part shares it with their LEGO friends expecting nothing in return. It might be easy to dismiss my earlier examples as coming only from the sticky typing fingers of the pre-teens and early teens crawling all over Flickr these days, but I read those kinds of comments from adults all too frequently too.

This attitude is self-congratulatory at best, and has the danger of stifling others’ creativity. Before I had my “open LEGO” epiphany, there was more than one occasion when I paused while building to think whether I wanted to bother listing in my photo description later all the potential places where I might have first seen the technique I was using.

In a creative medium that values collaboration and innovation, I don’t believe claims of ownership for building techniques have any place.

What do you think? Are these claims just annoying, or worse? Sound off in the comments.

July 18, 1887 Eiffel Tower

Eiffel tower

Andrew’s blast from the past reminded me to check my own list and I discovered that I hadn’t blogged this masterpiece. Steven Marshall makes use of his design talents and, I suspect, the TLG rendering libraries to present this excellent virtual recreation of the Eiffel Tower under construction. It’s really, really, really excellent.

How to make current LEGO train tracks backwards compatible with 9-volt trains

It seems to be a slow day for blogworthy LEGO creations, so I went back through my bookmark archive and ran across something we really should have blogged the second we got the link — Chris Meyer‘s how-to guide on making plastic LEGO train tracks backwards compatible with legacy 9-volt and 12-volt systems.

LEGO train tracks

The problem (and benefit, depending on who you ask) with current Power Functions and RC systems is that they’re battery-powered. For LEGO convention attendees and train show participants who may run their trains for hours at a time, this means stopping everything in the middle of their layouts to replace the batteries, over and over again.

But since LEGO no longer produces externally powered trains, the tracks are exorbitant on the secondary market. Chris solves this problem by applying conductive foil tape to easily purchased plastic tracks. It’s a cheap solution, and looks much less time-consuming than sifting through eBay.

Read the step-by-step guide on ChrisMeyer.org.

Colony Ships of the fleet RHIA

We feature a lot of LEGO microscale creations, but it seems like the huge stuff always gets the limelight. Sometimes, though, it’s not about how much LEGO you own, but how you use what you’ve got.

These little spaceships by Craig Lavergne (Tayasuune) aren’t built from very many pieces, but demonstrate originality of design and several interesting parts uses.

LEGO microscale spaceships

The red ship looks like it could do some serious damage if it rammed the fragile white ship with the gravity rings.

You are the resistance.

After really enjoying Terminator Salvation last year, I thought we’d see quite a few LEGO creations inspired by the movie, but the only LEGO I’d run across was my own Terminator Salvation minifigs.

Thankfully, tbone_tbl seems to have appreciated what I think is the best movie in the series, and has created a microscale vignette of the first scene in the movie.

LEGO Terminator Salvation diorama

The micro A-10 Warthog in the foreground is certainly nice, but that Harvester mech in the background is excellent.

Home Alone house + X-Files bonus

This microscale version of the McCallister house from Home Alone by Rob H. (rh1985moc) evokes cold Northeast winters and warm nights by the fireplace.

LEGO McCallister house

Like several of his previous creations, Rob has added LEDs to the windows so it lights up in the dark.

Of course, this also a good excuse to highlight Rob’s older microscale J. Edgar Hoover FBI headquarters building.

LEGO microscale J. Edgar Hoover FBI Headquarters

It’s a really nice building, but the same photoset yields Special Agent Fox Mulder at his desk in the basement office relegated to the X-Files.

LEGO Fox Mulder