BrickFair 2008, Day 3

I’m writing this during the closing ceremonies. I have packed all of my models into a box, and have my suitcases beside me. “I’m leavin’ on a jet plane….” The final door prize raffle is going on now.

This afternoon I got a chance to take part in a fun event, a live Skypecast for LAML Radio Podcast. Six of us met in a hotel room on the 22nd floor, and gathered around a laptop and listened to James interview his guests live, and then joined in for a live discussion. There were a number of technical difficulties, as seems to always happen with Skypecasts, but I think it worked out OK. I’m looking forward to hearing how I sound on the podcast when it is published.

BrickFair 2008, Day 2

Well, the first of two public days is over, and the hotel was absolutely swarmed with people. They raised over $8000 for the SladeChild Foundation charity, which is great news.

Crowds at BrickFairAfter the public cleared out, there was a game of Bingo, a few awards were handed out, and three games were announced: a chess tournament, a speed build of the new Taj Mahal set, an Agents Turbocar Chase set build-off, and a chess tournament. Participation in the games was by raffle, and sadly I didn’t make it into any of them, so I just wandered around, taking photos and chatting with people.

I took over 200 photos today, and they’re all up on Flickr. Hopefully soon I’ll have a chance to sort through them and pick out the best ones, which I’ll put into a new set. Also, some of them probably require some editing, to rotate the images or fix color balance, exposure, etc. I have RAW images of each photo so I may be replacing some of the photos if they’re worth the effort.

Now, it’s time for bed and I have to also get my things partially packed to go home tomorrow…

BrickFair 2008, Day 1

I flew from San Francisco to Washington DC on Virgin America, and I have to say that it’s been the best air travel experience I’ve had in decades. Can’t say enough good things about that airline. Here’s hoping when I go home Sunday I have as good of an experience.

Anyway I got to Dulles airport and took a SuperShuttle to the hotel and checked in without incident. I got here just in time for the keynote speech by Tormud Askildsen, LEGO’s head of community development. After that, I set up a few of my recent models (some that have been blogged about here, and others that haven’t yet…) and found some guys who were heading out to dinner and then over to Pontiac Mills for the 50% off scratch-and-dent sale at the LEGO outlet. We got there too late for the best deals but I did score an Indiana Jones set (#7623) and four train motors, all for under $60!

Now I’m heading to bed (3am local time). Tomorrow I plan to take some pictures of exhibits etc.

Classic Space NASCAR

Inspired by the NASCAR fad that’s been going around the Flickr LEGO community, I built this using the layout photo from mikepsiaki. However I thought I’d do one with the Classic Space esthetic….

Classic Space NASCAR

The car is identical to Mike’s design, with a couple of changes:
Driver

  • To get the Classic Space logo on the sides, I had to replace the 1×2 panels with 1×2 bricks. That meant the 1×1 brick with studs on two sides would no longer fit, so I substituted 1×1 Technic bricks with half-pins instead.
  • Mike didn’t have anything between the rear wheels and the car body above. You could see clear through the car above the rear tires, and the car was very fragile. But the space was perfect for a 2×4 brick! Perhaps Mike uses that in his real model but just didn’t show it in the instructions layout image?
  • Since this is Classic Space, I used the old style 1×1 plate with clip :)
  • There’s a red Classic Space minifig inside!

Of course, I really wanted a big Classic Space logo on the hood. I have a few of the 3×6 slopes that would have fit but it would’ve ruined the lines of the car, so I elected to stick with the original parts and just put Classic Space printed bricks wherever I could fit them. I used a dark blue windscreen; I don’t think they were ever made in yellow, so this is more like the 6890 Atomic Cruiser set than the 497 Galaxy Explorer esthetic that people tend to associate with Classic Space. But that Atomic Cruiser was probably as big of an influence on me as a kid as the Galaxy Explorer anyway.

Check out the LAML Radio interview with Mike Psiaki to learn more about the NASCAR fad, or just to find out how to pronounce his last name… :)

Miniland Classic Spaceman

My version of a spaceman from the Classic Space of the early 80′s. Built to "miniland scale" like the models in Miniland in the Legoland theme parks.

Miniland Classic SpacemanBuilt for the LEGO Creativity Challenge #6. I just wish LEGO had produced the 1×2 brick with classic space logo in red! I thought about building a white one, but my white classic space bricks are too faded — although I think they were pretty pale when I first got them almost 30 years ago. Plus, I don’t have all the parts in white I’d need…

Still, I’m hoping that even in blue, it’ll still tug the heartstrings enough to help win the contest!

Click the picture for the Flickr gallery, or view a slideshow.

August 2008 BayLUG Space Meeting

We had a meeting for the space-heads of the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group at the local Round Table Pizza in Mountain View, CA on Sunday, 8/18.August 2008 BayLUG Space Meeting

Click the image for more pictures or view the slideshow. Justin, a 19-year-old member who’s about to go back to MIT this fall, brought the biggest collection of ships to display. Charles and Adrienne brought a good assortment as well. Bruce, who almost never misses a BayLUG event but isn’t as actively into space, brought some trains and a LEGO wind turbine model which he’s been working on, and a clone brand Transformers-like set he had recently bought. We also had two kids, Aleks and Nikolas, and their mom Karen, who brought some Star Wars stuff and contest entries. I brought my Caddy as well as a new Classic Space truck.

Bruce’s wind turbine is an interesting item; it was produced by LEGO as a limited edition set made available only for employees of the Danish wind turbine company Vestas. Bruce got a copy of the instructions online and built his own out of parts in his collection. Many LEGO fans have been clamoring for LEGO to offer it to consumers at large, but so far no luck.

Justin and I had a little aircar rally; he brought an older aircar he had built years ago, and parked it next to my Cadillac. We had a group discussion about what changes we might make, given some of the cool new curved pieces available from LEGO.

2059 Cadillac El Dorado

Last night I was surfing around the Legoverse trying to find some inspiration to build something space-related, and I came across the Building The Future That Never Was Contest on classic-space.com. I got to thinking about the whole retro-future thing, and thought of doing a Jetsons-style aircar, which of course means using the clear dome, and then I thought of capturing the Cadillac fins of the late 1950′s and early 1960′s. After much experimentation, this is what I came up with:

2059 Cadillac El Dorado

I’m especially happy with the studlessness of it… the only studs showing are the headlamps (which don’t count, in my opinion) and a few studs half-visible on the rear part of the hood. The underside is also smooth, using SNOT (Studs Not On Top) construction to mount parts upside-down.

See the rest of the pics in my photoset: 2059 Cadillac El Dorado, or view a slideshow.