Monthly Archives: December 2012

Life-size LEGO Bag End built by LEGO Model Shop

LEGO posted photos on their Facebook page yesterday of a life-size version of my favorite LEGO set, 79003 An Unexpected Gathering.

Life-size LEGO Bag End

Here’s what LEGO says:

It took a team of 12 model shop employees 3,000 hours to build this life size model of the LEGO Bag End set. In addition to containing over 2 million 1×1 bricks this model has working lights in the fireplace and over the bookstand as well as a chimney that really smokes!

I suspect that this display model was built for an upcoming trade show, like Toy Fair. We’ll ask around and update this post as we learn more.

You can see more views on the official LEGO and LEGO Shop Facebook pages.

Ninjago: 70500 Kai’s Fire Mech [Review]

Another of the sets I bought last week is the smallest of the 2013 Ninjago sets. This is the last wave of Ninjago sets before Legends of Chima takes its place as the go-to theme for battling minifig games, and I’ll be sad to see it go.

Now, I didn’t follow the mythos of Ninjago, or watch the show, so I can’t tell you a lot of backstory about the theme beyond the very broad strokes, but it’s sure included some sweet sets, and 70500 Kai’s Fire Mech is definitely one of them.

79100 CompletedThe set contains a small mech and two minifigures, and feels like a bargain with 102 pieces and a USD $9.99 MSRP. The mech is basically the little sibling of the previous wave’s Samurai Mech, which is my favorite set of 2012. The mech is built with ball joints, which allow it quite a lot of pose-ability. Add to that the full-fingered left-hand, and this is probably Lego’s best mech of this size.

The gold highlights are terrific, especially since so many of them are weapons, which are always useful. This is also the cheapest set thus far to include the new inverted 2×2 tiles. All of the printed parts except for the minifigs are stickers, which I didn’t apply, even though they do look very nice. The only new piece here is the fire mech’s sword, which is transparent yellow infused with transparent neon orange, for quite a cool effect. Here are photos of the inventory pages, for those who are interested.

79100 CompletedThe minifigs look great. Kai has a snazzy black and red outfit, which is just generic enough to be useful for other themes.

The bad guy has a fantastic grimacing visage reminiscent of the masks samurai wore to look fearsome, and a red quiver and hat, both of which are new in that color to this wave of sets. Both minifigs have back printing.

My verdict: this set is a winner. If you’re a fan of Ninjago, mechs, or good Lego deals, you should pick this one up. I enjoyed it so much, I’ve already bought two.

HispaBrick Magazine 015 out now [News]

The latest issue of the excellent HispaBrick Magazine is now available in both Spanish & English.

HispaBrick Magazine 015 cover

Articles in this issue include:

  • A history of flying machines, from a massive LEGO Hindenburg to a Technic Sukhoi SU-37
  • Coverage of recent LEGO fan events, including BrickCon, LEGO Fan Weekend, and HispaBrick’s own event
  • An interview with Sean & Steph Mayo (Siercon & Coral)
  • More tutorials on POV-Ray, LEGO MINDSTORMS and the MILS system
  • And much more…

You can download HispaBrick Magazine 015 for free from HispaBrickMagazine.com.

Dec 18 – last day to order LEGO with free shipping by Christmas 2012

Tuesday, December 18 (tomorrow) is the last day you’ll be able to order from both Amazon.com and the LEGO Shopicon with free delivery by Christmas. Free shipping starts at $25 for Amazon.com, and $49 for LEGO.com.

Not sure what to buy? Check out our comprehensive LEGO holiday gift guide for books, custom LEGO kits, and apparel — everything but official LEGO sets.

If your LEGO set budget isn’t tapped out yet, Amazon.com has many of the new 2013 LEGO sets right now, as well as lots of current sets on sale, starting with the new Spider-Man set 76005 Daily Bugle Showdown.

Other notable new and/or discounted sets include:

Want to pick up more 2013 sets now? Our friends over at FBTB have the full list of what’s available now — and you can lend your support to FBTB by clicking through over there to buy the sets, if you haven’t already helped support us here at The Brothers Brick by clicking through on this end.

Ganondorf from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Rod Gillies (2 Much Caffeine) departs from his comfort zone to build a large-scale Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. An entry for the Like a Boss contest that we’re sponsoring, Rod’s Ganon even manages to capture the evil expression of this legendary villain.

Great King of Evil

Leigh Holcombe: The masked avenger inside us all – Boilerplate & Beyond Vol. 16

My next guest destroys the long held belief in the community that a builder must always keep the proper signal to noise ratio. Although Leigh Holcombe has a stable of well built and some might say handsome models, he may be best known for his numerous postings in various LEGO related fora. Armed with a sharp wit and a willingness to use it, this keen observer of the community has made his own mark through the years. I caught up with Leigh, better known as worker201, on a barren stretch of flatland about halfway between Houston and Waco Texas. We talked about the ELF, the WTO and ELO. We also talked about LEGO.

The Build

J-Flo's Flower ShopKG: Your early builds were mostly in the sci-fi or military genres, but then you switched to chairs and a bit of town with J-Flo’s flower shop. Was there a reason behind the switch, and in a perfect world, what direction appeals to you the most? Do you think builders in general, get too locked into one genre?

LH: I think sci-fi is the geek default, because the designers in that field literally get paid to ignite the imaginations of their audience – being inspired by that genre is so easy. It’s a lot harder to get inspired while walking through IKEA, but I swear it does happen.

Chair Study #2I think this hobby is a textbook cross-section of different levels of obsession and focus – of course some builders get bogged down in a single genre, and some can’t sit still long enough to even have a genre. I’m somewhere in the middle – eventually, I’d like to build something castle or train, but I’ll probably make more spaceships too.

KG: Many young builders begin by recreating the work of builders who came before them. You, however, came in on the ground floor of the hobby or very near to it, so where did you look when you started building?

LH: When I was a kid, back in the late 70s, there was nobody else – just me, the bricks, and the back of the box. I think that’s how it was for most AFOLs. My dark age ended when the Star Wars sets first came out – I couldn’t believe how awesome that first Snowspeeder set was. Then I got on the internet and found Shaun Sullivan’s AT-ST , which was really inspirational to me. He posted instructions for it, and they helped me to remember all the techniques I had forgotten. Realizing that something so awesome was made with basic bricks attached with normal clicking techniques really flipped a switch for me.

KG: Whether it is a job, school, deployment, health issue or even a stay in prison, like many builders, you have been in a position where you want to build for an extended period of time but have not been able to. As the time goes by does it make you think about LEGO more or less? Does it change your mind-set on building, and when you do get a chance to build, does it change anything?

LH: Oh, it’s tough. Lego is a creative outlet and a stress reliever, and not having it is like trying to quit smoking. Plus, keeping up with Flickr and TBB every day puts inspirational stuff in front of me all the time, and I can’t do anything about it. I have so many hypothetical projects lined up, and I’m afraid I’ll never get around to them. The only time I really get to build is when I visit my nephew – and then, I’m mostly making stuff to impress him, like big guns and weird minifig combinations.Grasshopper Drone - 3

The Community

KG: You created a popular and polarizing fan-forum called Stajinaria when the equally popular and polarizing JLUG went down. Talk about those two forums, what they formed in a reaction to, why they ended and what they offered that was unique. Is AFOL 16+ the latest version of this tradition?

LH: I don’t know exactly what Janey and Ross were thinking when they started JLUG, but it pretty quickly became the home of community criticism. At that time, Lugnet and Classic Space Forums were dealing with censorship and leadership issues, and the people at JLUG seemed to enjoy calling out what they deemed hypocrisy and conservativism in those communities. After JLUG disappeared, a lot of its members decided that the group of people was more important than the site, so I took it upon myself to create a new home for “merry pranksters”. Someone accused JLUG once of being a ‘staging area’ where mischevious activists planned their shenanigans (not one of which was planned), which is where Stajinaria got its name.STAJINARIA

Many of the core group are still internet friends today, but the mass migration of the community to Flickr made the forum extraneous, so I shut it down earlier this year. Both sites were based on the sandbox rule – if you don’t like the rules in someone else’s sandbox, make your own sandbox. AFOL 16+ was a sandbox that didn’t allow young kids, who were becoming an increasing annoyance in the Flickr Lego group. I think it started out with a bunch of venom and righteousness, but now I think of it as just another group of people who are familiar enough with each other to kid around and be sarcastic. (I also run Lego 35+, a place where grownups can interact, but nobody ever goes there.)

Read the full interview after the jump!

Gratuitously garish GARC

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a genuinely successful LEGO bandwagon — remember Cave Racers and IATTAR? — but it looks like GARC (which, as you may recall, is a thing) is taking off quite nicely.

One of my favorites so far is this garish beauty by Uspez Morbo that he calls the “Techno Ohmu” (Uspez gets additional points for the Miyazaki reference).

GARC Racer -- Techno Ohmu

For the uninitiated, “GARC” stands for Galactic Asteroid Rally Circuit, and each space-racer must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have 2 crew members per ship (pilot & navigator)
  • No weapons
  • Must look FAST :)
  • The crazier the colour scheme the better

In addition, the builder of the LEGO model must post a picture of the racer being swooshed. Why? Because SPACE! Duh.

No less garish but in somewhat more traditional colors, this GARC racer by Ted Andes sports a spoiler to keep the “Torranix Quattro 5″ firmly pressed to the racecourse in the vacuum of space.

GARC Torranix Quattro 5

Finally, halfbeak gets in on the action with his “Ajax Xenojet-Z” in my favorite color.

GARC Ajax Xenojet-Z

Ouch! I’m off to rest my weary eyes…