Author: Bill

Brickfest 2006, Day 1

Published / by Bill

Day one of Brickfest 2006 is done.Brickfest MOC Exhibit - Day 1

I spent a lot of time looking over the MOCs that had been brought in since the night before, and attended a facinating presentation on making brickfilms, which I recorded on my camcorder and plan to post on YouTube soon. The exhibit halls had been updated quite a lot with new models being brought in that morning so I took a lot of new pictures.[tags]lego,brickfest,brickfest2006[/tags]

Poetry Vignettes

Published / by Bill / 5 Comments on Poetry Vignettes

My latest models were unveiled at BrickFest yesterday: vignettes illustrating poetry by Robert Frost and A. E. Housman.

These poetry vignettes are not just my work, however. For the first time I have collaborated with my wife Holly to create LEGO models. While I did almost all of the actual assembly, she had the basic idea, did most of the minifig work, and helped a lot with the design, especially with the “Yonder See the Morning Blink” model. I really enjoyed sharing my hobby with her and hope that we can do more projects like these together.

Click the photo or title to see a bigger picture of each vignette, and a link to the text of each poem:

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
“The Road Not Taken”

by Robert Frost
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

by Robert Frost
Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now by A. E. Housman
“Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now”

by A. E. Housman
Mending Wall by Robert Frost
“Mending Wall”

by Robert Frost
Good Creatures, Do You Love Your Lives by A. E. Housman
“Good Creatures, Do You Love Your Lives”

by A. E. Housman
To an Athlete Dying Young by A. E. Housman
“To an Athlete Dying Young”

by A. E. Housman
Yonder See the Morning Blink by A. E. Housman
“Yonder See the Morning Blink”

by A. E. Housman

Or, view all the photos in my photoset on flickr. New! Also available on Brickshelf.[tags]lego,poetry,vignette,vignettes,housman,frost,aehousman,robertfrost[/tags]

Brickfest MOC Exhibit – Setup

Published / by Bill

The annual Brickfest LEGO convention has begun! Brickfest MOC Exhibit - Setup It starts today (Friday) but all day yesterday folks were setting up their models in the exhibit room. I took these photos late last night.

This is the first time I’ve been able to attend Brickfest, though I have gone to a similar conference, BricksWest, twice. Brickfest is being held in the Sheraton in Tysons Corner, VA and is being put on by folks from the Washington DC area LEGO club, WAMALUG. Holly and I are staying at the hotel here and will go visit her family in Pennsylvania afterward.

The LEGO designer moonbase Contest seems to have been won by my favorite – Hungry Hippos. Or at least, I spotted it in the Moonbase layout.

If you’re at Brickfest introduce yourself to me. If not, keep watching the blog as I’ll be adding entries all weekend. But now, I gotta get downstairs and see what’s going on![tags]lego,brickfest,brickfest2006[/tags]

Vintage Vehicles & Family Festival

Published / by Bill / 2 Comments on Vintage Vehicles & Family Festival

My LEGO club, BayLUG at the Vintage Vehicles festival the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group had an exhibit at the Vintage Vehicles and Family Festival in Palo Alto on August 13, 2006.

The event was a benefit for the Museum of American Heritage, held in a park along El Camino Real, just across the street from the Stanford Shopping Center. Mostly, it consisted of interesting cars on display and occasionally being driven around. While I never left the BayLUG display area, I saw and heard about several of the things there, including a working Stanley Steamer (steam-powered car from the early 20th century)!

In our area, we had three spaces, with canopies covering them. The LEGO models on display were in the middle space, with for-sale items on the two sides. One of the sides was devoted entirely to “Uncle Dan,” our club’s professional LEGO vendor. The other side featured items for sale by various members.

In the middle, we had some vintage Technic vehicles on display thanks to David Wegmuller, several pirate ships by Brian Thamer, and I brought my DC-3 airplane, a few cars & trucks, and my RV’s. We also had the contest entries on display. The theme of the contest was “vintage vehicles” and my entry in the contest was a vignette of “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. I’ll be displaying it, along with a few other poetry vignettes that Holly and I have been working on, at BrickFest in a couple weeks in Washington, D.C.

Click the image to view all my photos of this event on Flickr.
[tags]lego,baylug,vintagevehicles,paloalto[/tags]

BayLUG Museum Show Wrap-Up

Published / by Bill

Last weekend we (members of BayLUG, the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group) tore down our museum display, which had been on display at the Museum on Main Street in Pleasanton from June 18 to July 30, and before that in Danville at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley from June 6-17.

LEGO Museum DisplayUsually when we have a club show like this, I post pictures that I take on my Flickr account and blog about it here. But alas, I forgot to bring my camera!!! However, another club member, Russell Clark, brought his and took some pics and posted them on Brickshelf.

My participation in this exhibit was somewhat limited due to schedule conflicts, but some of my buildings were on display including the Blackburn Hotel (black and tan hotel) and a couple of other downtown buildings, some houses, and the San Ladrillo train station.
[tags]lego,baylug,museum,pleasanton,danville,trains,town[/tags]

You’re never too old to get LEGO for your birthday

Published / by Bill / 2 Comments on You’re never too old to get LEGO for your birthday

My birthday was Thursday, and we met last night with my mother for dinner to celebrate at the Willow St. Pizza in Los Gatos. Now as you might guess from the content of this blog, the thing I have always wanted most for birthday/Christmas/whatever gifts has always been LEGO. The fact that I’m now 35 years old doesn’t change that! My mother got me several sets that are full of great parts.

LEGO sets received Birthday Cake

After Holly and I got home she presented me with my cake. We were both looking forward very much to the lemon cake with lemon butter cream frosting that she had ordered from the Buttery in Santa Cruz. But alas, they messed up the order and used whipped-cream frosting which we had specifically asked them not to do. The cake itself seems to be just white cake, and the frosting is just basic white frosting with a tiny trace of lemon zest. We had the same problem with Holly’s birthday cake a few months ago from a different bakery. I had high hopes for the Buttery – when we lived in Santa Cruz they seemed like a quality operation. What does it take to find a decent bakery nowadays?

LEGO embraces Moonbase

Published / by Bill / 1 Comment on LEGO embraces Moonbase

The LEGO company has set a challenge to their own designers – create a moonbase module and present it at Brickfest!

I think this is the first time that LEGO has embraced a fan-created system like this. It’s great news for the relationship between adult fans of LEGO (AFOLs) and the LEGO company.

You can vote for your favorite of the designs presented. Here are the candidates; click the images to see more pictures:


1. The Loony Luna Knight

2. Command and Defence

3. Squidman Module

4. Space Hungry Hippos

5. Ice Planet Dome

Personally I voted for the Hungry Hippos. Remember that game from when we were kids in the 70’s? See the video if you’re not convinced just how cool this LEGO model is![tags]lego,moonbase,space,contest,brickfest[/tags]

What to do for Brickfest?

Published / by Bill / 1 Comment on What to do for Brickfest?

I’m attending my first Brickfest this year. This annual convention for LEGO fans is held in Washington D.C. every summer and since we were going to go back east to visit Holly’s family anyway I finally am getting my chance to go to Brickfest!

But my problem is deciding what to bring? There are a lot of contests and building challenges being discussed on the LUGNET BrickFest forum.

Here are some ideas…

  • There are several Town / Train contests that I might want to enter. But what to bring? Existing MOC’s or new construction? If the latter I’d better get busy…
  • As for Space, they’re having an Asteroid Field Display and Contest, and of course a Moonbase display. I was thinking about building something for the Asteroid thing but I’m not sure if it will work out. I don’t know if I can transport a Moonbase module cross-country in my suitcase but maybe if there’s a micro-moonbase layout it would be doable…
  • The Great Ball Gathering & Gladiator Sumo contests – I’m not much of a Mindstorms person but I’ve been meaning to do more robotics…
  • There’s also a Micro-Scale and Vignette contest that might be more suitable for me as a suitcase-based attendee.
  • How about the Dark Room (Undersea)? I wonder how many people are building angler fish for this?

But, what can I realistically build in the next few weeks and carry in my suitcase to DC? That is the question.

Of course, I plan to bring some spare bricks so I can participate in the Dirty Buildster game, shop at the Brick Bazaar, take lots of photos and video, and meet a lot of people I only know from online.

Are you going to be there? What are you bringing?[tags]lego,brickfest,space,town,trains,microscale,robotics,mindstorms,anglerfish[/tags]

BayLUG Space Meeting June 18, 2006

Published / by Bill

On June 18, the Space contingent of the Bay Area LEGO Users Group had its first Space-only meeting.

We met on a Sunday evening at the Round Table Pizza parlor in Mountain View. They have a nice back room that you can reserve for free if you call ahead, which we’ve used for various members-only events in the past. Besides bringing our latest Space models to show off, we also had a contest and a parts draft.

My winning 'top greeble' contest entry
My winning “top greeble” contest entry

The contest was for “best greeble” and there were two categories: top greeble and bottom greeble. But what is a greeble? When they were building the models for use in the Star Wars movies, the modelers used the term “greeble” for the little bits of detail used to break up the otherwise smooth skin of the spacecraft. Read more about it on Wikipedia. Members brought examples of greebles on both the top and the bottom of their models (or looking another way, studs-up vs. studs-down). I won in the “top greeble” category!

Parts laid out for drafting
Parts laid out for drafting

The parts draft was an opportunity for us to leverage our buying power to get large numbers of interesting parts. A parts draft is where each person brings a particular LEGO set and then we sort the contents of the boxes into piles, and take turns drawing from the piles. We used Set 4881 “Robo Platoon” since it could be obtained for $5 at the local LEGO store (it sold out before the meeting was held though, so some members couldn’t get a copy), and had a lot of great parts. We limited it to 2 copies of the set per person, to keep things fair. We sorted the parts out into baggies and literally drew straws – Pizza Hut drinking straws cut to various lengths – to determine the order for selecting. Even though everyone got at least one unwanted bag (toward the end the choices were pretty limited), I think everyone was happy with what they got for their $5 (or $10 for those who brought two boxes).

The meeting date for our next Space meeting hasn’t been set yet, but it will probably be later in the summer. We did select a contest theme though – build a spaceship without using any grey (light grey or dark, old or new).[tags]lego,space,baylug,meeting,partsdraft,greeble,greebles,contest[/tags]

3D LEGO Chocolate Printer

Published / by Bill

Hey, your chocolate got on my LEGO! Hey, your LEGO got in my chocolate! Two great tastes that taste great together.

Well, one that tastes great, one that’s great to build with I guess. Anyway, this is one of the most novel uses of LEGO I’ve ever seen – and one of the most novel uses of chocolate at the same time! It is a contraption made (mostly) out of LEGO that creates three-dimensional objects using chocolate!

The tricky parts are not built out of LEGO – the chocolate is melted and the temperature is carefully calibrated so that the desired amount of liquid chocolate comes out for each “pixel.” But the “print head” is moved around using LEGO mechanisms to build objects of any shape. It creates the design one layer at a time until the desired shape is completed.

This isn’t exactly news but it’s new to me. Frankly I don’t know where I came across this first. It’s been featured on LUGNET, BoingBoing, and Slashdot.
[tags]lego,chocolate,contraption[/tags]