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.
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!
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]
Along with the TransAmerica Pyramid , this was built for the display that my LEGO club, the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group, had at the LEGO store in Pleasanton, CA. In January 2006 we used “mini-scale San Francisco” as the theme for our display.
More pictures of the model can be found on Flickr and on Brickshelf (once moderated).[tags]lego,lombardstreet,sanfrancisco,mymodels,microscale[/tags]
These two fish were built as part of a display that my LEGO club, the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group, maintains at the Stoneridge Mall LEGO store in Pleasanton, CA. On February 20, 2006 we installed an “aquarium” theme there, which lasted for about a month. Read more about the installation and see more pics.
More pictures of the model can be found on Flickr.
The TransAmerica Pyramid is one of the most distinctive structures in the city of San Francisco. In January 2006 my LEGO club, the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group chose “mini-scale San Francisco” as the theme for our display at the LEGO store in Pleasanton, CA. I built this model, along with a scene of Lombard Street, for that display.
More pictures of the model can be found on Flickr and on Brickshelf (once moderated).[tags]lego,pyramid,sanfrancisco,mymodels,microscale,transamerica[/tags]
This old-fashioned fire truck was built in July, 2004 for the display that my LEGO club, Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group & Train Club put on at a museum in Pleasanton, CA. Since the 4th of July was during that exhibit, we added a parade to the layout, and what’s a parade without an old-fashioned fire truck? So I built one.
More pictures of the model can be found on Flickr and on Brickshelf.
Friday evening, March 10, I was at the Santa Clara Convention Center helping set up(*) the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group & Train Club layout for the 2006 Cal-Stewart Spring Meet of the Train Collectors Association. It’s a combination conference and show, running all weekend. Saturday, March 11, it’s open only to conference attendees, but on Sunday it will be open to the public (for a small fee). Come on down and visit us! See the event information on the BayLUG site for details.
Pictures of the layout can be found on Flickr. Click the photo to see them.
(*) – not really. I was really late showing up and the other guys had already done the hard stuff. I just put a few buildings and cars down and took pictures….[tags]lego,baylug,bayltc,trainshow[/tags]
With other members of the Bay Area LEGO Users Group, I helped install a new [tag]aquarium[/tag]-themed display at the Stoneridge Mall [tag]LEGO[/tag] store in [tag]Pleasanton[/tag], CA on Feb 20, 2006. My contributions to this display were two fish and some seaweed.
The fish that appear to be floating in air, and the seaweed that I created (on the left side of the “tank,” made out of LEGO palm frond pieces) are suspended by threads, at the other end of which are magnets that cling to the shelf above the display. The large octopus is suspended by threads too, but it’s too heavy for magnets so the threads are wrapped around the shelf supports.
See photos on Flickr or on Brickshelf.
This is another model that I built 3 years ago but only recently posted the pictures online.
This, along with the recently posted Road Bridge, was built for the BayLTC train layout in 2003.
The cliff module was designed to come apart into several sections for ease of transportation and storage. Each section connected to the next one using Technic pegs. At one end, I built a peninsula with a space for Russell Clark’s lighthouse. It had an opening, recessed by one plate’s thickness, to accomodate a 16×32 stud baseplate.
The launch ramp road piece, like the road pieces on the bridge, came from LEGO’s 6600 Highway Construction set. It had stairs leading down to a small dock.
The lifeguard tower and beachgoers were contributed to the layout by club member Mark Benz.
In 2003 (or maybe 2002) I built a bridge for the BayLTC train layout. But it wasn’t a train bridge, it was a road bridge (for cars and trucks).
The road pieces came from LEGO’s 6600 Highway Construction set, and the bridge’s structural elements were built of Technic bricks.
Most of the angles in the bridge truss design follow some multiple of the 3-4-5 triangle. This is one of the most useful laws of trigonometry: if you have a triangle with sides 3, 4, and 5, or any multiple of that (such as 30, 40, 50) then they will form a perfect right triangle (a triangle where one of the angles is exactly 90 degrees). Why? Because of the Pythagorean Theorem: in any right triangle, the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the 90° angle) is always equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. And it so happens that 32 + 42 (9 + 16) is equal to 52 (25).
In LEGO, the 3-4-5 triangle is achieved by attaching pieces in distances of 4-5-6 studs. Why? Because of the “fencepost effect” – if you make the connection on the 1st and 4th stud, that’s actually a distance of 3 (since 4-1=3). The same goes for the 4 and 5 unit length sides. In this model, the center trusses are formed by 3-4-5 triangles scaled up by a factor of 6. So the “4” sides (the vertical) are really 24 (actually 25, because of the fencepost effect) tall. The angled trusses are made by sheer guesswork, however. Luckily, there’s enough slop in LEGO connections to make it not really be necessary to always get it just right. When working on this, I built what I called a “Pythagorometer” – a model of the 3-4-5 triangle at various scales – to try to make the angles work out. I’ll post more about that later.
I recently discovered a batch of pictures of this bridge that had never been posted online, taken at the July 2003 GATS layout. You can see them at a Flickr gallery.
Today I met with other members of [tag]BayLUG[/tag] to set up a new display at the Stoneridge mall [tag]LEGO[/tag] store in Pleasanton, CA. We had a display there for the past month with a Christmas theme, but I wasn’t involved in that. The new theme is miniature models of [tag]San Francisco landmarks[/tag]: I made [tag]Transamerica Pyramid[/tag] and [tag]Lombard Street[/tag] models, which are now on display along with a Coit Tower model from Russell Clark and a waterfront scene by Paul Sinasohn that included a tall ship and the car ferry Sausalito.
My wife Holly took photos of the event and put them on Flickr. UPDATE 21-Feb-2006: Photos also now available on Brickshelf.