Monthly Archives: June 2009

Nowhere to run

LEGO plague zombies in space

Sometimes, the words we write for our blog posts can’t do justice to the wonderful LEGO creations we feature. Here’s Kevin (Legorevolution) in his own words:

The NSR (or New Space Reich) lost contact with the battle cruiser Andromeda a little over 2 light years ago. Since the vessel was exploring an uncharted sector of space, whatever they had mapped or come across was vital to our database and to the progression of our colonies. As a trained veteran in both military, technological, and scientific affairs I was natural chosen to find the ship and bring her and the crew home. However no training could have prepared me for the frightening discovery I have just made. The ship is in utter ruins- the crew all dead and seemingly infected with some sort of unknown agent that turns their skin tone green. Scouting out the lower hull of the ship so far has produced various wall murals written in blood. The most disturbing of which I have just found in one of the hangars spelling out ‘RUN’. Why RUN? The quietness is so eerie; all I can hear is myself breathing in my hardsuit. My god, what has happened here…

Propping up the bar

Bar and clip technique

I don’t think I’ve ever blogged a technique before but since this one is fast becoming one of my most ‘favorite’d pictures on flickr I thought I might share it more broadly. I came up with the idea after seeing Peter Norman (swoofty) post these incredible (and complicated) stripes. As I am lazy I wanted to simplify them.

Many of you will be familiar with studs-not-on-top (SNOT) techniques and many of those will actually know what it means (for the rest it means building with the studs not pointing vertically, not building a smooth model). Commonly this is achieved using certain popular bricks such as headlight bricks, bricks with studs on two or four sides and brackets as well as plenty of others.

What many of us forget (myself included) is that bars and clips provide an alternative way to change stud directions which is sometimes more compact and simpler than using bricks. It can be easy to get caught up in trickery [1] and neglect the simple answer. I would guess that set designers more often use these techniques than AFOLs and I suspect that part of this is that they are working to harsher constraints than we are. Their models must be simple.

Anyway, the point of this rambling is that LEGO so often provides many different ways to achieve the same result and that sometimes looking outside your usual tricks can be a good way to find them. You never know, it may save you an hour of work.

[1] On the topic of overcomplicating things I can remember one memorable occassion where I spent about an hour trying out various SNOT techniques for a train windscreen. One of my friends then pointed out that a windscreen piece would do the job perfectly. It did.

I’m of one mind about Two Michael’s furniture

They’re great. I noticed Michael Lasky-Saparito’s (Two Michael’s) furniture and modular houses while I was first cruising for possible TBB posts about a month ago. When he recently emerged from his annual hibernation, I thought it would be timely to features this great furniture set.

Two Michael's Desk

The rest of his photostream showcases great buildings that use a lot of colors that I find vibrant and interesting, but don’t see often enough. Worth checking out.

Interview with an Admin: Classic Castle

LEGO Classic-Castle Medieval Forum

We continue our series of Admin interviews by talking to Ben Ellermann of Classic Castle.

TBB: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? What are you known for other than an Admin at CC?

Ben: My name is Ben Ellermann and I am a huge LEGO Castle fan! On I work on contests, interviews, various articles, and the sets archives. Offline I am involved with my local lug in the Saint Louis area, GatewayLug. I also have been a theme coordinator and/or presented at North American Lego fan festivals (BrickFest, BrickWorld, and BrickFair). From 2006 to 2008, I served as a Lego Ambassador giving fan feedback to TLG. Other than designing castle mocs, I also enjoy building in the Western, Pirate, and sculpture themes. Occasionally I dabble in Town and Space as well. This year I also teamed up with several fans to found a new Pirate fan site:

TBB: How long has Classic Castle been in existence? Can you give a brief history?

Ben: has been a part of the online fan community since September 2003. A small group of like-minded Castle fans felt that was not meeting all of the castle communities needs. The active early administrators were Troy Cefaratti, Anthony Sava, Lenny Hoffman, Kevin Blocksidge, and myself.

TBB: What is purpose of CC?

Ben: Our mission is to meet the needs of LEGO Castle fans. We try to do this by providing castle articles, set reviews, building tips, preview pictures of new sets, contests, highlighted mocs, designer interviews, a chatroom, and a friendly organized forum.

TBB The site is called Classic Castle. What does that mean? Do you exclude things that aren’t “classic”?

Ben: When Classic-Castle was founded in 2003, the retail Lego Castle theme was not in production. Castle fans were looking for a well-designed Classic-Castle line of products similar to lines of the 1980’s and 1990’s.

We accept all castle fans, including those who love Knights Kingdom 2. Many fans have a favorite castle sub-theme from when they were children. We have a General Lego forum for discussion of other Lego themes in which are fans are interested, such as Space, Pirates, and Steampunk just to name a few.

TBB What is your vision for the future of CC?

Ben: My vision is that Classic-Castle will remain relevant by continuing to meet the needs of our community. Fan sites must be able to adapt and grow over time in order to survive. To do this we must always listen to the fans and incorporate their suggestions into the site.

TBB What issues are you dealing with as CC grows?

Ben: Real life is an issue that most Lego fan sites have to deal with. Members, moderators, and administrators often move on from our community due to real life circumstances. Fortunately we are always gaining new members, excellent moderators, and talented admins. Classic-Castle has always been a team effort. This prevents our site from ceasing to exist if one person tires of running it.

TBB Why should someone join CC?

Ben: If you are a Lego fan who loves castle, please check out our site and forum. We are the source for all your Lego Castle needs.

Classic-Castle also recently completed a forum upgrade and it’s looking good. Go join now to immerse yourself in all things medieval!

Crime and Punishment

Seems appropriate to feature these two creations in the same post, since they capture very different sides of the same coin, but I found them within 24 hours of each other.

The first is a great detail-rich street scene by SlyOwl capturing a scene inspired by the film “Die Welle.” It’s apparently based on the American book “The Third Wave” by Ron Jones, and after-school special “The Wave” about a teacher trying to illustrate to his students how autocracy can take root anywhere and doing a bit too good a job of it. Definitely worth checking out the other angles and detailed deeplinks that SlyOwl has included.

SlyOwl Die Welle

This second creation, by Igor Makarov (Zeek), called Precinct 56 is a great take on the traditional LEGO police station sets, which have always struck me as too small. This is more fitting of a big city police headquarters and sure looks lite it’ll fit more than one cubicle, parking space and holding cell.

Zeek Police HQ

LEGO pirates ply the crystal-clear waters of Portugal

Portuguese LEGO fan group 0937 hosted the 2nd TomarLEGO between June 11 and 14 in Tomar.

One of the centerpieces of the event was an enormous, custom-built tank full of water, plied by a fleet of LEGO Pirates.

LEGO Pirates

See lots more photos from this event in Rupi’s Brickshelf gallery.

UPDATE: Biczzz has a full roundup of all the photo galleries from attendees, along with a few videos like this one below.