Month: September 2008

Sushi Bar

Published / by Bill / 1 Comment on Sushi Bar

My latest building is a sushi bar.Sushi Bar It is part vignette and part town building.

I built the interior first, starting with a bare baseplate. Only when that was completely finished, I built a basic box for walls with windows and a door in front, and a back door in the rear. The box lifts off easily; the perimeter of the baseplate is tiled, with only one stud on each side (a jumper plate) holding the walls in place.

On top of the walls there is a simple roof, with 6×8 slopes for an overhang and homemade signs, made with my trusty P-touch label maker. (The name of the restaurant is Hoshi Sushi; hoshi means “star” which is because I found that my label maker could make stars….)

The restaurant is staffed by two people: a sushi chef and a waitress. Both are rather overworked, as it is a prosperous enterprise. It was inspired by and loosely based on my favorite local sushi place, Masa’s Sushi in Mountain View, CA.

Some things to look for:

  • Chopsticks made from (Minifig Feathers with Pin)472 Minifig Feathers with Pin stolen off the roof of my 10185 Green Grocer set. See them clearly here.
  • The overpreponderance of maguro nigiri (tuna over rice) on people’s plates. This is because the only transparent color I have in 1×1 tiles that looks at all like raw fish is trans-red. I wish I had some trans-orange 1×1’s so I could have sake nigiri (salmon) but alas, no. I have some 1×2’s in trans-orange in the sushi bar waiting to be cut, however. I also have some people eating (non-trans) brown, which I decided is unagi nigiri (eel). None of the other 1×1 tile colors looked at all appetizing, and I couldn’t figure out a way to make maki (rolled) sushi at all at this scale…
  • Soy sauce bottles – some are full, others are empty. (I ran out of trans-smoke cones)
  • The slightly-too-big-for-minifig-scale maneki neko (beckoning cat) which sits in the back left corner (the prosperity corner, according to Feng Shui traditions) to attract money. Masa’s has a maneki neko in that spot too, but instead of a gold coin, it’s holding a bottle of Asahi beer. I guess Masa wants to invite more beer into his life :)
  • See if you can guess what each minifig is thinking….

This model was at BrickFair, but I had a hard time deciding where to put it. I didn’t want to put it on the train layout, since I wanted to show it with the roof and walls removed. There was a “town, non-train” section against the far right wall, but it was full, so I put it on the nearest table to that which was the mosaic table. I also brought it to last Saturday’s BayLUG meeting. But if you missed it, I’m bringing it to BrickCon as well… hope to see you there!

To see all of the pics, click the picture above or click here for a slideshow

Caltrain F40PH v2

Published / by Bill

This is my second attempt at modeling a Caltrain diesel locmotive, as seen running commuter trains between San José and San Francisco, CA.Caltrain F40PH v2 Years ago, I built a model of the Caltrain F40PH locomotive. The trickiest part of this engine to model is the nose, which has a “V” shape and also slopes back. In the earlier version, I mounted tiles at a complex compound angle, but was never entirely happy with that. The relatively new 1×1 “cheese” slope piece offers new opportunities for ways to achieve angles like this. But in order to get a smooth slope, I had to use half-plate offsets. I’m pretty happy with the result.

It is an EMD F40PH, similar to the ones Amtrak used to use for all their long haul trains, used by VIA Rail in Canada, and widely used in commuter lines around the USA and Canada.

This model made its debut at BrickFair, but I couldn’t post about it here since I only finished building it the night before I flew to DC for the convention. I also brought it to this past weekend’s BayLUG meeting in San Leandro.

Other notable features are the windscreens, which are made from 1×2 panels mounted on jumper plates and turned at a slight angle, half-plate inset panels on the sides, and another half-plate offset on the rear door. I’m planning to give a talk on half-plate offsets at BrickCon next month in Seattle. Like the previous version I used 4×4 old style turntables for the roof fans, but in this version there is a Technic gear representing the fan blades. I thought about motorizing them, but haven’t tried it yet.

September 2008 BayLUG Meeting in San Leandro

Published / by Bill / 1 Comment on September 2008 BayLUG Meeting in San Leandro

On Saturday, September 6, we had a meeting of the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group at Johannes’s church (Bay Area Family Church) in San Leandro, CA.BayLUG Meeting

Several members brought their latest creations and/or items for sale, and Johannes had a huge display of Star Wars models and classic LEGO car sets. I brought a number of my newer models, including a new motor yacht that I haven’t quite finished (you’ll see detailed pictures in this blog when I get it done).

Click the image for more pictures, or view them as a slideshow.

Justin’s Aircar Reimagined

Published / by Bill

At a recent BayLUG Space meeting, Justin brought a red aircar that he had built several years before.Justin's Aircar Reimagined At the meeting, several of us were discussing how newer parts could be used to make it better. It started with the windscreen; several of us suggested replacing the one Justin used with the new curved windscreen seen in the Agents and Speed Racer sets. Then I started thinking about the various angled pieces Justin used, and how those could be replaced with curved pieces that are now available from LEGO, and asked Justin if he would mind if I made my own aircar based on his.

After that meeting, I built an exact copy of Justin’s design based on pictures I took there, and then started thinking about how to update it. I included a few features that I thought were essential to his:

  • Suicide doors built using 1x2x2 panels, with a corner plate to form a rear-view mirror. But I added a cheese slope to it for streamlining (and studlessness).
  • Front grill using a grill tile mounted on a 1×2 plate with 2 finger hinge
  • Minfig seats used as air scoops
  • Overall shape and color scheme, including ridges on the front “grill” which Justin made using 1×3 33 degree slopes, but on mine are 1×3 curved slopes.

I also redesigned the underside and rear, which I felt could use more detail. I built the underside studs-down and studless, similar to how I did the 2059 Cadillac aircar.

Click the thumbnail for more pictures or view a slideshow.

BrickCon here I come

Published / by Bill / 2 Comments on BrickCon here I come

I just bought my plane tickets (on Virgin America, natch) and am looking forward to my second brick convention this year! I’ll be arriving at Seattle airport at 11:35am on Friday 10/3 and leaving Sunday evening. I have a room at the Hampton Inn (official hotel for the con). Question is, how do I get there from the airport? I would rather not rent a car…

Home from BrickFair, thinking about BrickCon

Published / by Bill

I made it home safely from BrickFair last night around midnight – another pleasant Virgin America experience. I can’t say enough good about that airline. The employees actually smile! When was the last time you saw that?

Anyway, the next LEGO convention is BrickCon in Seattle in October. Virgin America flies to Seattle too. :) I had other plans that weekend but I’m seriously thinking about changing them…