Month: March 2009

BayLTC at TCA 2009

Published / by Bill

This past weekend (March 21-22), the Bay Area LEGO Train Club did a show as a part of the Nor-Cal Division of Train Collectors Association Cal-Stewart Meet. We set it up Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, and then the show was open to TCA members all weekend, but only open to the public on Sunday March 22.

Group Photo

View the photoset or slideshow on Flickr.

This was probably the largest layout we’d ever done – we’d used all 28 tables in our club inventory before, but when we did it was to make the depth larger. This time we kept the depth at a maximum of 5 feet and went with a larger footprint.

Friday night we got a little desperate for track and baseplates, but we got enough reserves Saturday morning. With a great last-minute idea by Loren to add a lake next to the campground, and Bruce’s construction zone, we were able to cover the bare wood before the show opened. In the end, it turned out pretty good.

One nice thing about the trackplan for this show was the use of a “wye” on the outer loop and track leads in both directions on the inner loop, enabling trains to be switched in and out of the yard on both loops in both directions without “hand of god” operations (except for those locomotives that can’t go backwards…). It was also visually interesting to have one of the main lines run behind the downtown instead of having both loops run side by side all around.

LEGO Luxury Motor Yacht

Published / by Bill / 4 Comments on LEGO Luxury Motor Yacht

A few months back I was sorting through bins of LEGO and came across an item that has bugged me since I first bought set 7994, LEGO City Harbor.

The cargo ship hull in that set is just a little too big for any container I own, so it’s been sort of bouncing around my LEGO shelves on its own ever since I took that set apart and sorted the parts into my collection.

So as I was holding this darn hull in my hands yet again trying to figure out where to store it, I was inspired to instead try to build something out of it. As a cargo ship, it’s really way too small for minifig scale. But since it’s about 72 studs long it’s just about perfect for a motor yacht!

I did a quick Google search on 72 foot motor yachts and found the Adagio 72 as a PDF file, complete with floorplans. The hull shape wasn’t quite right, and I couldn’t do anything with the forepeak (the triangular area inside the bow) but I figured I could do a pretty good approximation of the floorplan based on the available space in the LEGO hull and set to work…. the result is my Luxury Motor Yacht (slideshow). Hope you enjoy it.

If you want to see it in person, I plan to bring it to BrickFest in Portland later this month, and will also be showing it at Maker Faire at the end of May as a part of BayLUG‘s exhibit there. Stop by and say hi!

My Coast Guard helicopter featured in YouTube video

Published / by Bill / 1 Comment on My Coast Guard helicopter featured in YouTube video

A photo of one of my creations was (very) briefly featured in this video:

At the very end, when he does the “you can build anything out of bricks” bit, there’s a brief shot of my Coast Guard helicopter. No, I’m not annoyed that they didn’t give credit, I think it’s cool that it was chosen to represent the helicopter genre.

I guess I need to repost the Coast Guard base pictures on Brickpile — it’s currently only posted on my old site (and occasionally appears on BayLUG‘s layouts).

Seen at Bricley’s Words.

LEGO Ads found via Twitter

Published / by Bill / 2 Comments on LEGO Ads found via Twitter

A collection of LEGO ads with some very clever pictures. I recently subscribed to the RSS feed (in Google Reader) for a search for “#lego” on Twitter. This is a great technique to follow “hashtags” that I learned on Amy Gharan’s blog.

Anyway, back to the LEGO ads. I don’t think these are real ads, since some of them seem quite out of character for LEGO’s style (especially the sex/drugs/violence ones). They seem more like what a designer might propose to the LEGO company for use in an ad. But anyway, this one was my favorite:


The check’s in the mail

Published / by Bill

Well, checks that is. Two of them. One to the IRS and one to the California Franchise Tax Board (which oversees California income taxes).

And no, I am not talking about my 2008 income taxes. I am talking about my applications for 501(c)(3) tax exempt, non profit status for a new corporation that I’m forming along with Bruce and Loren from BayLUG/BayLTC: Bricks by the Bay, Inc. The three of us met on Tuesday evening to sign the bylaws and review the paperwork before I sent it in. We’re using the Nolo Press book “How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation in California” to set it up.

Why are we forming a nonprofit? Well, we’re putting on a show! We haven’t made any official announcements yet – we’re waiting for the tax exempt status before the deal can be finalized – but the plan is to have a LEGO conference in the San Francisco bay area in April of 2010. We’re forming a nonprofit to run the conference as well as other local LEGO-related events, including BayLUG/BayLTC exhibits.

We need volunteers! You don’t have to be local, or even come to the show, to help! If you’re interested in helping out in any capacity, please let me know. We have a mailing list and a wiki to help with planning.

For official announcements, visit the Bricks by the Bay Web site. I’ll be blogging here periodically as we continue through the planning process, too.

LEGO, Robert Indiana Style

Published / by Bill / 2 Comments on LEGO, Robert Indiana Style

Inspired by my LEGO version of Robert Indiana’s "LOVE" sculpture, I made another one that spells "LEGO," incorporating different colors for the interior of each letter.

LEGO, Robert Indiana Style

The only hard part design-wise was coming up with a “G” design that matched the other letters, since “LOVE” already provided me with a design for “L,” “E,” and “O.” But structurally, I found it to be much more of a challenge to build the “LEGO” sculpture, largely because the round letters on the bottom didn’t provide nearly as good support for the top letters as the “VE” in “LOVE” did. However, thanks to some very long bricks (1×16 and 2×10) I was able to make it work.

My wife and I discussed the color scheme extensively before we finally decided on the one you see here. I wanted to keep blue and green apart from each other, and I wanted to keep red on the right hand side in case it is displayed next to the “LOVE” sculpture. (Sadly, I don’t have any good photographs of the two together – I didn’t have any place big enough that didn’t have a horrible background – but hopefully I can update later to add one.)