I was stunned to learn today of the passing of Nate “nnenn” Nielsen in an automobile accident. Keith of the Brothers Brick has posted an excellent eulogy which I encourage you to read along with the many comments from members of the online community included in the post.
It’s relatively rare that we learn of the death of a LEGO hobbyist, but whenever it happens I always wonder what would happen to my collection of bricks after I’m gone? Estate planning is always a touchy subject, but I would encourage everyone to give it some thought, as I will be doing.
And even if you’re not a space builder, consider building a Vic Viper for the Missing Man Fly-In at BrickWorld in Chicago in June or BrickCon in October. Keith is collecting contributions for a group display honoring nnenn’s work.
Today the Castle theme gets a new figure – this time it’s a human warlock, casting a shadow bolt spell. She has apparently run out of Soul Shards and cannot summon her Voidwalker. Perhaps tomorrow’s set will provide a minion for her?
Meanwhile the diver from yesterday gets his fins along with a “diver down” flag buoy thingy and life vest. The fins are attached to the sprue from molding. Remember when 1×1 round plates came that way? Ah those were the days…. Anyway, I don’t see how he’s going to dive down very far to use his speargun with that life vest on!
I built it 7-wide (not counting the rocket engines), thanks to an idea I got from Flickr users Lego Monster and Mad physicist since it leaves room for an aisle; see their bus for the inspiration.
I also detailed the interior, with several students in varying degrees of good behavior and a driver inspired by the one from South Park. There are two thugs in the rear who are either conspiring or fighting, maybe both. There’s a boy facing backwards, harassing the girl in the seat behind him. And then in the front there are two reasonably well behaved kids whose hands are raised to report all this bad behavior to the driver. (Well really, their hands are raised because otherwise they wouldn’t fit in their seats)
The bus is a hovercar, using the same kind of smooth underside that I used on the Cadillac and red aircar with the ‘Wedge 4 x 4 x 2/3 Curved’ (45677) and/or ‘Wedge 4 x 6 x 2/3 Curved’ (52031) parts on the underside to represent antigravity units. I also added some 1950′s sci-fi style rocket engines for those longer hops between lunar settlements.
At a recent BayLUG Space meeting, Justin brought a red aircar that he had built several years before. 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.
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….
The car is identical to Mike’s design, with a couple of changes:
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.
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.
Built 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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
Last Saturday, we changed out the display at the LEGO store in Santa Clara.
The Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group installed a new display at the Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, CA featuring a large spaceman model and various nanoscale spaceships by Charles and Adrienne, and a rocket-powered knight by Bruce. This replaces my Blackburn Hotel that had been on display since May 31.
Click the big picture to go to the set page on Flickr, or you can view a slideshow of the photos.