Tag Archives: SEALUG

SeaLUG display at Emerald City Comic Con

What do Hogwarts, the Batcave, the Shire, a four-foot Borg cube, and an eight-foot Space Needle have in common? They were all at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle this last weekend!

Emerald City Comicon Logo

I spent three days immersed in nerd-culture and am only now beginning to recover. What an awesome time! This was the second year that SeaLUG has put on a display at ECCC and it was definitely a success.

There were many highlights throughout the weekend but a big personal highlight was getting my Patrick Stewart, Christoper Lloyd and Batman mosaics signed.

Patrick Stewart Signed Mosaic Christopher LLoyd Signed Mosaic! Batman Mosaic Signed!

The display itself was like a “Who’s Who” of impressive builds. Alice Finch brought her incredible Hogwart’s. Wayne Hussey and Carlyle Livingston brought The Batcave, Shawn Steele brought his Space Needle, Dan Parker brought an enormous Borg Cube, there was a collaborative build of The Shire, a Miniland-scale BrickCon, DisneyLand, Mosaics, Space Ships (with Space Kraken) and much, much more.


The entire weekend was full of good times, good food, catching up with old friends (Hi Will!) and making new ones. Celebrity sightings were a common occurence. I’m told Felicia Day came by and checked out the LEGO display. I attended the panel she co-hosted with Wil Wheaton but missed her apperance at the Sealug tables. Panels, sessions and workshops are a huge part of comic book conventions. I attended several, including Patrick Stewart’s (yes, he is awesome). Mariann Asanuma got LEGO on the agenda running a panel on “Building with Lego – for a Living!”

KR-KN Destroyer Destroyer

The convention attendees seemed to be impressed with the display of LEGO creativity. There was a constant flow of traffic at the tables on Friday (the only day that wasn’t sold out), but Saturday and Sunday were packed. People were lining up around the corner to check out our LEGO creations. I heard cries of delight all the way down the display and quite a few people wanted to know how to get involved with the hobby. We passed out SeaLUG business cards and BrickCon bookmarks like they were candy and people wanted even more information.

Our Admiring Public!

For many it was the first time they had seen what adults could do with the amazing little bricks we play with and it was a whole new world to them. So, to sum up, SeaLUG had a great time at Emerald City Comic Con. If there is a similar event in a city near your LUG, I highly recommend getting involved. It’s a great way to spread the word about your LUG, show off your creations and to meet new people!

The Brothers Brick Van

SEALUG at Emerald City Comicon Mar 1-3, 2013 [News]

My local LEGO club, SEALUG (the Seattle LEGO Users Group), will be putting on a display at Emerald City Comicon in two weeks at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. Day and weekend passes are going fast, so get your tickets now if you want to join us there.

SEALUG is coming to COMICON!

Flyer by Iain.

With over a hundred active members, SEALUG is one of the largest LEGO fan groups for adults in North America, and we know how to put on a display! You can see photos of our display from last year in my photosets on Flickr, and in the group pool.

Get building! BrickCon 2012 collaborative displays + MOC registration reminder

While some other LEGO conventions have individual builders reserve their own table space, BrickCon is all about large-scale collaborative displays. Each year since 2008, The Brothers Brick has sponsored a display, ranging from a highly coordinated zombie apocalypse to our anything-goes celebration of all things Japanese.

Last year, we tried something even more anarchic than a zombie apocalypse — a totally unstructured experiment in planetary colonization — which we think came together fairly well, so we’re going to try it again this year, as “Numereji 2422”.

Numereji 2421

As we said last year:

Our hope for the Numereji 2421 display at BrickCon 2011 is that the contributors will be free to create their vision of what kind of community would develop from a group of crash survivors isolated for a generation, and how their reconnection with other space travelers would play out.

We worked up quite a backstory and suggested lots of inspiration last year, but many potential contributors said they didn’t really get the concept until they’d seen the actual display at BrickCon (ah, the consequences of an experiment in anarchy!). Here are a few links to help refresh your memory:

Naturally, there are many other opportunities to contribute to a display in whatever way works best for your building style or preferred theme. Here are a few of our favorites:

Theme Description Info/Discussion
Numereji 2422 The official collaborative display for readers of The Brothers Brick. Do you have space fever? Will you be a peaceful colonist, a rogue smuggler, alien trader, or the long arm of the galactic law? You decide! Right here, or on Flickr
Bricks of Character The notorious Iain Heath & Tommy Williamson are at it again, bringing together LEGO and all your favorite characters from TV, movies, and video games — as long as they’re not minifig-scale! This year’s Bricks of Character display also includes Heather Braaten’s Darlings, a memorial to a beloved LEGO fan we lost earlier this year. Info | Discussion
Castle BrickCon is famous for its massive, sprawling, and still somehow well-coordinated castle displays. Each year, LEGO Castle builders up the ante with taller spires, bigger armies, and more integrated motion. I can’t wait to see what Josh and his team pull together this year. Classic-Castle.com
The Dark Side Most LEGO models are meant to be appreciated in the light. But Roger Hill’s “Dark Side” display brings together all the LEGO models that glow in the dark and blink their lights. Given how hard it is to photograph LEGO in the dark, these are models you’ll definitely want to see in person. Contact Roger through BrickCon.org
Microscale Coordinator Steve Oakes shared a wonderful vision for the Microscale display at the SEALUG meeting yesterday. In addition to the usual Micropolis modules and mini-trains, this year’s micro display will include a microscale version of BrickCon itself, complete with tables, stanchions, and Miniland-scale attendees! So, build a tiny version of whatever you’re bringing to BrickCon, along with a Miniland version of yourself to admire your own tiny creation. Awesome. Contact Steve through BrickCon.org
Superheroes With the release of official DC and Marvel Super Heroes sets from LEGO, now’s the time to bring all those LEGO superheroes and supervillains together — LEGO Avengers (and others) assemble! Sean Forbes is coordinating this display, which isn’t just limited to minifig-scale models. Bring your mosaics, statues, vehicles, and anything else inspired by comic books. Contact Sean through BrickCon.org

See the full list of themes & collaborations — from Architecture to Town/Train — on BrickCon.org.

Not sure which theme, collaborative display, or category your LEGO creation fits into? For example, does a microscale space fleet go in Microscale or Space? (Probably Space.) Read over the full list, and then just ask us and we’ll get you pointed in the right direction.

Important: Regardless of whether you choose to contribute to one of the group builds, it’s still important to register your LEGO models (MOCs — My Own Creations) as well as yourself. Registering all the MOCs you plan to bring ensures that coordinators know how much space we’ll need. You can’t just show up on Thursday morning with a six-foot spaceship! This really wasn’t an issue until last year, but BrickCon has grown to over 500 registered attendees, and only registered MOCs will be guaranteed table space.

Sad news: Heather Braaten found

It’s with a heavy heart that I share emerging news that fellow LEGO fan Heather Braaten’s body was discovered yesterday afternoon.

Thank you to everyone who helped get the word out last week that she was missing. For our global readers, we’re going to conclude coverage of this tragedy here on The Brothers Brick at this point. If you’re interested in learning about local arrangements for services, please join the SEALUG mailing list or keep an eye on news here in Seattle.

Our thoughts are with Heather’s family and friends. If you’d like to share something, please feel free to do so in the comments. As we’ve done with other members of our community who’ve died, we’ll pass along your thoughts to Heather’s family.

If you have photos of Heather or her LEGO creations, please feel free to add them to a new group on Flickr.

Missing person: Heather Braaten (aka “LEGO Girl”)

No, this is neither a drill nor a joke. Unfortunately, Heather Braaten, whom many of you may know as “HeatherLEGOGirl” online, has been missing since last Tuesday (March 20, 2012). Heather is an active member of SEALUG here in Seattle, a regular BrickCon attendee, and active on Flickr, MOCPages, and Bricklink (where she was active as recently as the day she was last seen).

If you live in Seattle and would like to put up posters, you can use this (click through for larger version):

Heather_Missing Flyer

Heather, if you’re out there and can read this, we hope you’re safe and sound. Just know that there’s a whole world of people who care about you, and we’re worried. Please, reach out and let one of us know you’re okay.

You can see the official Missing Person Report on the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs website.

If you see Heather or know where she is, please contact the Seattle Police Department or braaten1@yahoo.com.

You can also chime in with a comment here, on Lino’s photo (link on pic above), or send Lino an email: linotopia AT hotmail DOT com. Lino is in touch with Heather’s mom and will be passing along any leads that come through online channels like TBB comments and Flickr.

AFOL: A Blocumentary by Jess Gibson

Documentary filmmaker Jess Gibson has just completed a 30-minute movie about adult fans of LEGO here in the Pacific Northwest. You can watch the complete “AFOL: A Blocumentary” right here:

AFOL A Blocumentary from Jess Gibson on Vimeo.

Jess attended BrickCon 2009, joined us for a SEALUG meeting, and interviewed many fans who’ll be familiar to readers of The Brothers Brick:

The description on Vimeo says that this is the “first in a series of Blocumentaries about the Adult Fans of LEGO,” so we’re looking forward to more from Jess Gibson in the future.

Lugging pt. 4: Starting a LUG

What if you’re interested in joining a LEGO User Group (LUG) because of Part 1, but the tips in Part 2 let you down and you couldn’t find a LUG? Or what if the experiences described in Part 3 weren’t quite up to snuff? Then you have the option to start your own LUG. Since I have absolutely no experience doing that, I’ve gathered a sort of panel of experts to help describe how they’ve gone about organizing their LUGs.

Chris Piccirillo, Jeremy Scott, and Dave Shaddix are members of CactusBrick, a LUG in the Phoenix, Arizona area. They’ve recently begun formally organizing (they explain why) as a sub-group of AZLUG, which covers all of Arizona. Gary McIntire is currently a Master Model Builder at LEGOLAND California, but started off as a member of SEALUG in Seattle, then moved to Utah, where he helped revive ULUG, then moved to San Diego and helped revive SandLUG as well. Gary is generally acknowledged to be awesome.

I’ll let them speak for themselves first, but at the end I’ll add a couple editorial comments about what I noticed from the interchange and what I’ve gathered from my exhaustive and authoritative research (cough – BS! – cough).

The Brothers Brick: How did you go about organizing or reviving your LUG?
Chris Piccirillo: You need people and a place to meet. If you make it too complicated, everyone will run away screaming. Plan some fun things to do, research how other LUGs have fun, and hold that meeting. I gave a lot of my personal time to get that first meeting held. After that, it was easy. It was like watering a plant.
Jeremy Scott: Yeah, save the details for later. We didn’t want leaders, we wanted to have fun. Now that most of us are deeply into it one year later, do we find ourselves with the need for the details.
Dave Shaddix: We have a few things that we try to accomplish for every meeting, a speed build and parts draft, but its pretty chaotic and just down right entertaining most of the time. Fun is still our foremost concern, but we are realizing that we’ll need some structure if we are to become an active, viable member of the community.
Gary McIntire: Personal contact is key! When I restarted ULUG I first started scouring the internet for other LEGO fans out there. I sent out numerous emails and finally made contact with two guys who were doing the LEGO thing. Reviving SandLUG was much easier, since I was coming in contact with so many local LEGO fans at LEGOLAND. The main thing is to be outgoing and make friends with local people who are into LEGO and just start hanging out and talking LEGO.

TBB: Where did you find other members so it wasn’t just you talking to yourself in a mirror?
GM: The internet is awesome! Check out Facebook, Flickr, and of course LUGNET. Even a Google search can deliver surprising results sometimes.
JS: Some LEGO fans in Arizona had tried to organize a few times in the years before. A few of us were part of those failed attempts. We never got further because there weren’t enough people. I saved some names and email addresses of these people I found on LUGNET, etc, and hoped to try again one day.
CP: When I decided it was time for our LUG to finally form, Jeremy and other’s efforts had been long before my time. I told him about my plan, and he shared his mostly out-of-date contact list with me and said ‘good luck’. On my side was our upcoming LEGO brand store opening soon; local fans were in a buzz. I threw a few announcements out onto Craigslist and asked everyone who contacted me to pass around the news and soon we had a list of 20 or so people. From that list, six people showed up. From those six, 5 haven’t missed out since.
DS: Chris’s mom actually told me about group…

AZLUG R2-D2 BuildTBB: What was the key to the group starting to coalesce?
CP: For us, it was the opening of the LEGO store (photo, right). Not only did the upcoming opening have people excited, but LEGO needed its adult fans to help with it. Steve Witt [LEGO community relations representative] was very enthusiastic, calling me an answer to his prayers, and got me in contact with an ambassador to help me turn our spark into a fire. Having the group of us staff the master build and grand opening was awesome fun for us, and helped us new co-club members become instant friends.
GM: Pick a day that the club will always meet and stick to it! Try to find a day that works for the few people that are involved initially, say the first Saturday of every month, or every third Thursday night. Make it the same day every month and always meet on that day, roughly around the same time. That way everyone knows that every month on that day, rain or shine, there will be a meeting. sometimes not everyone will be able to make it, but have it anyway, even if it’s just two guys having a good time!

Gary Umbrella ManTBB: How is your LUG organized, if at all? Why is that?
GM (photo, left): I think that too much organization creates unnecessary politics. Every meeting the only points of business that are necessary to be addressed are where the next meeting is going to be and what, if anything, are we going to plan on doing there. Every LUG I have been part of has rotated meetings around to different peoples’ houses every month and most of the meetings feature a set draft or a dirty brickster of some kind, and sometimes have additional activities like games/competitions or parts trading.
CP: At first we all unanimously decided that we wanted nothing in the way of organization. No leader, no officers, no money, no rules, no nothing.
JS: However, we learned the hard way: we need it. Right now, we are writing the by-laws and such that will officially organize us. We have decided to pursue organizing as a US-charity (or 501(c)3) so we can be tax-exempt and also use our club as a community youth-outreach platform as well as a social hang-out for us dirty-mouthed adults.
DS: Yeah, we are pushing for some loose leadership right now, without some structure we will ultimately regress to trading our Garbage Pail Kids cards and random LEGO-centric conversations. There are a bunch of great guys (and even some females!) in the group, with a little direction we will be able to get some really cool stuff going in the future. And there is a real part of me that would like to somehow be involved in the direction of a bunch of dirty-mouthed adults …oh and LEGO stuff!

TBB: What were some of the challenges of starting the LUG?
CP: Getting people to come to the meeting. LEGO collecting is an easy-to-hide geek hobby. We aren’t known for our social geekiness, like the [Dungeons and Dragons] geeks and Pokemon collectors. So, getting the adults who aren’t afraid to admit their habits to come out of the closet is hard. What they learn when they join a LUG is that LEGO is more fun in public. Our hobby doesn’t have a Comic-Con yet, but we’re getting there.
GM: Finding the first few people and getting a day for the first meeting nailed down.
JS: Honestly, I feel the hardest part of getting the club together was finding people. With the large realignment of the online LEGO community away from the LUGNET-centralized community we had a few years ago, you have to go to every corner of the net to find people. It would be nice to have a general announcement board again. (*ahem*, LEGOfan.org)

TBB: What would happen to the LUG if you were suddenly raptured?
JS: They would breathe a sigh of relief.
CP: They would lose their best man.
JS: Seriously though, we have enough excited people in the LUG that it couldn’t possibly go away. We are more in danger of death by disagreement than by death through the loss of one of our members.
GM: Well, I kind of was, from ULUG. I was raptured away to LEGOLAND, and now the LUG is more than twice the size it was when I left. A fact of which I am very proud. If a club is centered around one or two pivotal members it can easily fall apart. That’s why I am happy to take credit for helping to organize a club and get it off the ground, but I don’t want to be the “leader”.

TBB: How does the group make decisions? How do you deal with drama/conflict if it arises?
JS: The drama so far has been minimal. What we have encountered so far led to our desire to formally organize. We determined that the things that bugged us couldn’t be addressed because no such rules were in place. So first we are going to write the rules. As for decision making, we haven’t had many to make. A yes-no vote on the next month’s draft has been the most heated debate yet. When we organize we plan to use online voting for all minor decisions, and in-person elections once a year.
GM: You’d be surprised how easily a group of like-minded people can make decisions. Majority rule and general consensus have always worked for me.

TBB: What’s your vision for where you want the LUG to be in a few years?
CP: We want to be one of those LUGs that people name by name when they discuss the “great” LUGs. We have the organizational manpower to do it, and we have a push to see it done.
JS: We want achieve this with a secondary focus, beyond our primary focus of club socialization, on outreach, both within our greater LEGO fan community, and within our local community. We chose to become a charity so we can benefit our local community in educational and youth support programs. Though not all of our members want to participate in that aspect, those who do will have wonderful personal reward from it. We also plan to begin the process of hosting a southwestern states convention for LEGO fans and the public, and intend to forge partnerships with other southwestern LUGs to have this convention travel around the southwest annually, with each lug taking a turn hosting every few years.
CP: Obviously some of this is in our longer-term agenda.
GM: I would love to see SandLUG big enough to host a LEGO convention in the next few years. I think it’s well on its way.

TBB: Thanks guys!

I sure learned a lot doing research for this series, and I hope it helped some of you out there. A few themes in the interview deserve bullet points and others didn’t show up in their comments, but could be pretty helpful so I’ll pass them along:

  • Find people. It’s hard, but kind of the whole point.
  • Wait to decide on the structure/organization until you have people. Come to some sort of consensus that gets buy-in from the core members. There are no formal requirements for the rules or structure. It’s up to the members.
  • If a dead LUG already used the name you want, you may be able to find the original members of that LUG and just ask nicely if you can resurrect it. You may even get additional members that way.
  • Keep a routine.
  • Don’t over-complicate things. Having a website or other infrastructure can be great, but sometimes free tools like Google groups or Yahoo Groups can be easier to use and meet all the communication needs of the LUG, especially early on.
  • If your LUG gets too big, covers too large an area or otherwise just isn’t doing it for everybody, don’t be afraid to reorganize or support and encourage members to start a new nearby LUG.
  • Be welcoming, try to avoid drama, and most importantly: PLAY WELL!

Comic-Con Barbecue

A lot of people have helped me in this project, especially members of SandLUG (Above: Comic-Con Barbecue at Monsterbrick’s house) as well as luggers from around the world who participated in my lugging discussion and group on flickr. They have have passed on a wealth of information to me that I’ve tried incorporated in the series, but can’t possibly do full justice. Thank you all!

They call it “The Secret Underground World of Lego”

Ignite, a presentation event, recently showcased “the secret underground world of Lego” in a five minute talk about the crazy things we hardcore LEGO fans do. Check out this stand-up comedy styled clip from Hillel Cooperman, a member of SeaLUG, who recently came out of his dark ages.

Edit: Those readers with young children may want to know that there are a few expletives used in this presentation. Use your own discretion. (J)

Stuff I Saw at SEALUG Yesterday

Okay, a quick post to highlight some of the creations I saw at the SEALUG meeting yesterday.

First up, Todd Kubo’s skull inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean:

(C’mon Todd, post new pictures with your wicked awesome voodoo charms!)

Next, Justin Pratt’s tank with urban survivability package:

Finally, Mark Neumann’s mecha inspired by Soren and Tim’s instructions:

Thomas Garrison graciously took photos of the meeting, and you can see a few more creations in his gallery. Here I am talking to Dan Sabath and Caylin Feiring:

That’s me in the green shirt. No, our faces aren’t intentionally blurred out — we just all happend to be moving our heads at the same time I guess!

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