About Dan

Dan Rubin has been an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) since he became an adult. He joined the larger AFOL community on LUGNET in 2003, and that was also the year in which he attended his first BrickFest. Dan largely builds space MOCs, so it should come as no surprise that he is also the Main Admin of the forums at Classic-Space.com. He is also the creator of the Galactic Inquisition space theme. Dan has been a member of the LEGO Ambassador program since the third cycle of the program. Read more about the program here. You can check out Dan's LEGO creations on Flickr.

Posts by Dan

70816: Benny’s Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP! [Review]

As most regular readers know, I am a big fan of LEGO space. Like most fans of 80s LEGO space, I loved the character Benny in the LEGO movie, and was excited to see that his ship would become a set. Even better, fellow Brother Brick Simon found this set for sale at his local LEGO store, ahead of the launch date for my part of the world. He kindly sent me a copy, so that I could bring you this review. First, let me get the obligatory “spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP!!! out of the way.”

Benny's Classic Spaceship!! 01

I have to admit that it has been a long time since I built an official LEGO set. I tried to build and review the Palace Cinema, but only managed one floor. Sifting through bags of parts to find the right one is something of a chore, compared to my sorted collection. Coupled with that, I’m no great fan of following instructions. The instructions for this set did recall a bit of a peeve, which is that LEGO seems fond of putting multipliers for assembly instructions at the end. The first few pages of the instructions are for the detachable little ships on the wing, and at the end, an exciting “X2″. Fortunately, it wasn’t the nightmare that the same treatment in the original ISD caused. None of this was enough to keep me from building this entire spaceship, though, and I must say that it was worth it.

Parts
Space builders are going to want to pick up a few copies of this set, which is sure to kick of a new frenzy of Neo Classic Space creations. First off, we’ve got three new pieces in transparent yellow. All three are great windscreen parts (I never thought I’d see the UCS X-Wing canopy in another color!), or useful to build large enclosures. There are a lot of new elements used throughout the ship, though I don’t think most are exclusive to the set. We also get three slopes with the Classic Space logo printed on them, which look fantastic. Speaking of that logo, we also get it printed on four stickers with clear backing!! Here’s a shot of an original printed logo next to the new incarnations. The sticker sheet is just outstanding, as it also includes sticker versions of classic space computer screens and buttons. It does rain one complaint, and a bit of an idiosyncrasy for the set. That is the placement of stickers on slopes. I never feel like stickers adhere well or long to most LEGO slopes, due to their textured surface. I suspect that LEGO may feel the same way, as they printed the logo on three slopes for this set. Even so, I’m generally happier with clear-backed stickers than I am with printed parts these days, so I’ll take it. In fact, I didn’t apply most of the stickers, because I want to use them on my own creations.

Minifigs
This set doesn’t skimp on the figs. Most of the figs are unique to the set, and they’re all awesome. I’m going to consider astronaut Unkitty a minifig, but we should remember that she’s made of parts, which include a 1×3 arch printed with the CS logo, and gold 1×1 plates. That arch has tons of potential for use in space creations, and I hope they end up being affordable on Bricklink, though I rather doubt it. This set’s Emmet has wrapped his face and the Piece of Resistance in foil, which makes for a pretty bizare looking minifig head, and a pretty awesome silver brick. I don’t remember Wildstyle changing into a different outfit for the spaceship scene, but it’s pretty cool seeing the graffiti style applied to a classic space uniform, and it gets us her hood piece in blue. The bad-guy robot has a pretty cool space suit, with an Octan logo in the center.

Finally, we have Benny, now available outside of the Sea Cow. I don’t have the budget for the Sea Cow, and hadn’t actually seen a Benny fig in person yet. While I love the Character for nostalgia, the fig himself doesn’t wow me. The scratched up logo on his chest is in worse shape than anything from my childhood collection, and I’m not sure I can see myself using it in a creation. I’m also not sure I see much utility for the “broken” helmet, though the cover of Inherit the Stars springs to mind. LEGO went all out with Benny on the nostalgia factor, though, and printed a classic smiley face on one side of his head. Bravo!!

Benny's Classic Spaceship!! 03

Playability
This is another spot where this set really shines. First, it’s very strong, built with technic frames locked in place by plates. This means I can swoosh it with one hand. I feel confidant that I could let my three year old play with it, and while I’m sure some fins and antennas would come off, the main body of the ship would probably be fine. I’ll have to remove all the shooters, so his baby sister keeps her eyes, though (they sure plaster the don’t shoot your eye out emblem everywhere, don’t they?). Second, the set has many of the play features we expect in Classic Space sets. There are little robots to deploy, single-fig fighter/scouts to detach and fly away, rotating radar dish, and an internal lab. Of course, the set also has four spring loaded projectile launchers (two are the new 1×4 brick launchers, which are surprisingly strong), as well as the ubiquitous flick-fire missiles. Finally, you can push one of the engines forward, to open the wings wider, revealing two of the guns. The motion of this feature is quite smooth, and the mechanism is simple and effective.

The set also comes with a little bad-guy fighter, so you can play out your own dramatic battles. It’s small, but has a nice shape to it, and a fairly clever SNOT technique in the nose. Compared to Benny’s ship, it’s rather tiny, but it got enough attention that it’s not merely a throw-away model. It’s swooshable, and has a few lasers, so you can fly both ships around and go “pew pew pew!” Honestly, what more do you need?

Overall:
My overall impression of this ship is that it was a fun and interesting build, with plenty to hearken back to the Classic Space sets of my youth. The ship has the gray engines, gray wings, blue body, and trans yellow windscreens we all love. It has a little lab inside, a radar dish, and some helper robots, just like old times. The set has tons of play features, some interesting construction techniques, and is SWOOSHABLE. It’s a bit pricey ($100) but the 980 part count helps with this, as do the bevy of unique figs and elements. I intend to buy a few copies, and if I ever catch it on sale, I might go nuts.

Welcome to the Planet of the Grapes

I honestly can’t say enough in praise for this creation by A Plastic Infinity (A Plastic Infinity). The purple alien landscape is lovely, and the lime acid fluid pops against it perfectly. The building has some cool little details, and the scene for an alien planet just works.

My only “complaint” is that I bought 8 cups of purple at the Lego store this weekend, with the intent of using it for an alien landscape, and now I’m late to the party!

Colonial Living Unit

It’s Training Time!

My education in trains and train creations is woefully incomplete, fortunately Tim pointed out this creation to help me along the way. This is a German BR64, built by brickshelf user abhf. The truly amazing thing about this creation is that this photo is not the work of forced perspective. This is a huge an detailed display. I bet it looks amazing in person.

LDraw to sue Bricklink for Copyright Infringement [April Fools]

[Edit] Well, April first is over, and for those who didn’t pick up on it, yes, this was an April Fools Day prank. Folks from the Ldraw steering committee got in touch asking for help spreading their prank, and I was happy to be involved. I thought that this joke had an important purpose, to draw community attention to the recent bricklink TOS change, which attempts to claim ownership to a great deal of community work. For those who aren’t aware, every time you see a rendering of a brick on bricklink, that came from LDraw, and the 3D model was created by a Lego fan for use by all. The photos are contributed by members (usually store keepers), part names are part of our hobby culture, and of course the numbers are molded onto the bricks. Those aspects created by community members were meant to help everyone equally, and I think Bricklink management should think long and hard about what sort of message this move sends to the community.

As for my personal character, I was putting on a greedy persona to help drive the message home. Also, as a warning, it’s a road I’d hate to see the Lego community go down. Yes, I’m a lawyer, my day job involves helping the government recover money lost from banks that failed in the financial crisis. I’ve been a perennial volunteer/organizer at Lego fan events since BrickFest 2005, and if you ask around, you’ll find many Lego fans to whom I’ve offered free legal advice. The Lego fan community is a fantastic and tight knit group of people, and I don’t want to see it torn apart.

With the politics out of the way, please enjoy our regularly scheduled posts about fantastic creations!

Big news today, as LDraw has announced they’re suing Bricklink for copyright infringement. As The Brothers Brick’s resident attorney, I just have to say how excited I am. For years, the Lego fan community has flourished under a system of community spirit, with large projects being built together under Creative Commons (whether stated or not). It’s great to see that we’re finally moving towards a litigious atmosphere, where everyone jumps to claim rights to anything under the sun. We don’t all live in the Danish socialist utopia, some of us have bills to pay.

Read the full press release below, then click on over to LDraw to donate to the cause. I’ll be offering them my legal services, provided enough is donated to cover my fees.

LDraw sues Bricklink for copyright infringement

LDraw.org, a system of free software tools for modeling Lego creations
in 3D on a computer, is preparing to file a lawsuit against Bricklink
Limited, for copyright violation. BrickLink.com is a
venue for individuals and businesses from all around the world to buy
and sell new, used and vintage LEGO. LDraw.org is furthermore sueing
for trademark infringement, unfair trade practices and more, seeking
damages for willful infringement.

LDraw.org, known for its parts
library of over 5000 virtual representations of LEGO bricks, which is
under continuous maintenance and extension by the LDraw community since
1997, might have decided not to file a legal objection to the use of
images rendered from its library in the year 2000 when Bricklink
started business, but the organization isn’t ready to simply roll over
on the intellectual property front, either.

The LDraw Steering
Committee (SteerCo) decided to take legal action after Bricklink
Limited rolled out new Terms of Service in September 2013. Bricklink
appears to also be claiming the exclusive rights to the common naming
system for LEGO pieces, through threatening legal action to competitors
claiming: “you are using our unique numbering and naming systems for
the LEGO pieces”.

“It is evident that the online community of LEGO
fans supplied much of the data and images and continue to do so to this
day and that in the early days of Bricklink many names, numbering
systems and even images came from co-existing sites such as LUGNET,
Peeron or in our case LDraw” said Willy Tschager, member of the LDraw
Steering Committee.

The committee set up policies on third parties
capitalising on the considerable volunteer time, effort, and ingenuity
represented by the part library and the LDraw System, which give the
users almost total freedom in the usage of rendered images. “One thing
is making cash with the efforts of others, but claiming it is yours is
a total different story and we are going to demand to delete their
image and text contributions to the database which have been drawn from
LDraw”, Tschager said.

In addition the LDraw Steering Committee is
looking out for angel investors to back the lawsuit financially.
Donation can be made to Peeron.com as hosts of LDraw.org (a Paypal
Donation Button can be found in the top left-hand corner of LDraw’s
homepage). However paying tribute to the fact that LDraw.org is a
completely volunteer organization the SteerCo prefers workmanship
contribution, such as part authoring, parts reviewing, writing programs
or tutorials over financial return.

Sometimes Less is More, Others More is More

For an example of the first, check out this photo by frame*. A few rocks, a custom minifig, and that’s it. The composition, however, is very nicely put together. The minifig pose looks well thought out, while the white space and depth of field of the image make for something interesting to view.

mickey mouse and his friends

As a counterpoint, please check out this creation by Pippo Zane. I spotted this weeks ago, when it was first posted, and never managed to find time to post it. It should not be overlooked, though, as every crevice of this large diorama is crammed with interesting detail. My favorite detail is the twisted column (both of them, really), but that’s just one of many spots of detail that draw the eye. The display is large enough to draw the eye into detail and make the viewer forget the scale of the entire piece.

The Gun Club

Steampunkikoma? Steampunk Prospector Bot

I’m not always a fan of steampunk creations, but I love this build by Ted Andes (Ted @ndes). There are a lot of nifty little details on this build, and they’re largely intentional. I especially like the big glass eye, and the glass old style gauges on the side. The builder’s description of the symbiotic relationship with the wind-up cowboy is also a nice touch, and the perfect bit of steampunk absurdity.

Prospector

LEGO Unveils New 75059 UCS Sandcrawler [NEWS]

Apparently, while I was laid low by the flu this weekend, LEGO went ahead and unveiled the latest in the Star Wars UCS line. They also revealed that, starting with this set, UCS sets will have different and distinct packaging from other sets in the Star Wars line. It looks like they’ve done their best to cram this thing full of play features, which helps justify the hefty price of $300 USD. Read the full release from LEGO below, along with photos and the designer video.

75059_box5_in

75059 Sandcrawler™

Ages 14+ 3,296 Pieces

US $299.99 – CA $349.99 – DE 299.99€ – UK £249.99 – DK 2,799.00 DKK
*Euro pricing varies by country. Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.

Collect a true icon of the classic Star Wars™ universe – the mighty Sandcrawler™!

Recreate unforgettable scenes from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope with this amazing LEGO® incarnation of the Jawas’ desert-going vehicle, the Sandcrawler™. Turn the knob at the rear and steer the Sandcrawler into position, lower the front ramp and offload the droids using the 2 working cranes. Luke Skywalker™ and his Uncle, Owen Lars, are sure to be impressed with the selection on offer: there’s R2-D2, an R1-series Droid, an R2 unit, R5-D4™, a Treadwell Droid™, Gonk Droid™ and even C-3PO™. When the sale is complete, lift the side panels and top to reveal more great features inside, like the engine, storage bay, cockpit and more. There’s even a speeder bike for when the Jawas need to venture outside. Includes 7 minifigures: Luke Skywalker™, Uncle Owen, C-3PO™ and 4 Jawas™, plus R2-D2™, R2 unit, an R1-series Droid™, Gonk Droid™, R5-D4™ and a Treadwell Droid™.

Travel the dunes with the LEGO® Star Wars™ Sandcrawler™ with working cranes, detailed interior, 7 minifigures, 5 droids and lots more!

• Includes 7 minifigures: Luke Skywalker™, Uncle Owen, C-3PO™ and 4 Jawas™, plus R2-D2™, R2 unit, an R1-series Droid™, Gonk Droid™, R5-D4™ and a Treadwell Droid™

• Features 8 tracks with steering function, lowering front ramp, opening side flaps, removable top, working cranes, speeder bike, opening hatch for easy access to the boxes, attachable handles for lifting boxes, and a detailed interior including engine bay, storage bay and cockpit

• Also includes stock for old droids and droid parts

• Weapons include a lightsaber for Luke Skywalker™

• Sell droids to Luke and his Uncle

• Keep your droids well maintained

• Pretend to suck R2-D2™ up into the Sandcrawler™ – just like in the movie!

• Own your own iconic vehicle from the classic Star Wars™ universe

• Relive classic moments from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope

• Measures over 9” (24cm) high, 18” (48cm) long and 6” (16cm) wide

Available for sale directly through LEGO® beginning
May 2014 via shop.LEGO.com, LEGO® Stores or via phone