Category: City/Town

Log Cabin 3X

Published / by Bill

I really like the relatively new LEGO Log Cabin set #5766 with its three different models of log cabins. I bought three of this set, and built each of the versions, and for a while had them setting on a table in my living room together. But as I was looking at them it seemed to me that they were just a bit too small, and that the parts from these sets could be combined to make a much bigger, nicer cabin. So I took them all apart and used the parts to make this:

Log Cabin 3X

Click on the picture, or view a slideshow to see all of the photos (including pictures of the cabin on display at Maker Faire last weekend).

Here’s a picture of the original set for comparison:

LEGO set 5766: Log Cabin

City Park

Published / by Bill / 2 Comments on City Park

At train shows, we (the Bay Area LEGO Train Club) have developed a standard city block system, where our downtown area is divided up into blocks that are 2 by 3 32 x 32 baseplates in size (i.e., 96 x 64 studs). For some time now I’ve shown my Blackburn Hotel and its accompanying city block (but I have never done a proper photo shoot of those buildings either, I just realized) at various shows and conventions and you have probably seen that featured here a few times.

For Bricks by the Bay and the upcoming National Train Show in Sacramento, I’ve built a second city block. But instead of tall buildings, it just features a city park. Each of the six baseplates has its own feature:

  • Tree and picnic/grassy area
  • Playground with swingset, slide, merry-go-round, and carousel
  • Life size (for minifigs) chess set
  • Flower garden
  • Basketball court
  • Tennis court

In addition, there is a fountain in the center and various tile mosaics and other decorative aspects. The whole thing is surrounded by a wrought-iron fence with gates on each of the four sides.

I haven’t done a proper photo shoot of the park yet, but I did take detailed pictures of it at the most recent BayLUG meeting. I hope to take better pictures soon, but for now, take a look at these (click the image to view the set, or click here to view a slideshow)

BayLTC at San Jose train show

Published / by Bill / 2 Comments on BayLTC at San Jose train show

The Bay Area LEGO Train Club (BayLTC) just got done with a train show. For the past few years we’ve been participating in train shows over Thanksgiving weekend in Pleasanton, at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, but this year the show was held in San Jose instead. We put together a large train layout as usual, but since several key members weren’t able to participate we had a little difficulty filling the space. Still, I think it was pretty successful over all.

BayLTC at Great Train Expo

Click the picture above or view it as a slideshow.

Big Yellow Taxi

Published / by Bill / 2 Comments on Big Yellow Taxi

I’ve built an iconic New York City yellow Checker taxi cab.
Big Yellow Taxi
Throughout building this, the Joni Mitchell song has been running through my head…

Late last night I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi carried off my old man
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

As usual, click the image above to see all the pictures, or view them as a slideshow.

Glacier National Park Bus

Published / by Bill / 1 Comment on Glacier National Park Bus

Glacier National Park is famous for its iconic old-fashioned tour buses with ten doors and an open roof. I’ve never been to the park, but I built the bus for BayLUG’s "National Parks" theme building contest at the September 2010 meeting, and displayed it at BrickCon 2010 in Seattle. I’ve made a few minor adjustments since then, but the original build was done in only two hours.
Glacier Bus
The Glacier Park Inc. Web site has the following to say about these famous red buses:

The White Motor Company between 1936 and 1938 built glacier’s red-with-black trim vehicles. This fleet of Red Buses is considered the oldest intact fleet of passenger carrying vehicles anywhere. These 17 passenger convertible touring sedans are more than a mere means of transportation for locals and visitors – they are cherished, elegant icons of Glacier National Park.

Here’s a picture from their site of the real thing in action:
Glacier Park Bus in real life
As always, click on my model to see the rest of the photos in Flickr or view them as a slideshow.

2009 Advent Calendars

Published / by Bill / 5 Comments on 2009 Advent Calendars

Like last year, LEGO came up with two advent calendars, only one of which was sold in the U.S. The 7687 City advent calendar was sold everywhere, but the 6299 Pirates calendar was only available in Europe. (If you’re not familiar with advent calendars, they basically consist of 24 different gifts, one to be opened on each day of Advent, the traditional Christian season that precedes Christmas, or in other words December 1-24. These days, it’s secularized – fine by me, since I’m not religious – but the name has stuck.)

Pirates advent calendarLast year, LEGO accidentally shipped a few sets of that year’s specialty calendar, which had a Castle theme, to the U.S. Shop-At-Home warehouse, and since the fans were complaining so loudly about it not being available in this country they were convinced to make them available through a special mail-order setup. But we didn’t have any such luck this year with the Pirates calendar, so unless you had a friend in Europe willing to ship it to you, there was no way to get it.

Well, my friend Holger Matthes in Germany was willing to do this favor for me, and I was hoping to get it in time for December 1st so I could post each day’s set like I did last year (each of those words is a link to a different day’s calendar from last year; days 1-7 and 24 are shown, but I bet you can find the rest). But alas, the package took a long time getting here (not Holger’s fault; he shipped it as soon as I gave him the details – but DHL took its sweet time in delivering it. Next time I’ll pay extra for airmail/express, or just order sooner. Though hopefully LEGO will have learned its lesson and won’t require me to jump through such hoops…)

If you want to see more clever coverage of the Advent calendars than I can provide, check out Chris Doyle’s Reasonably Clever blog where he’s included each day’s calendar prizes into the BRiCK House web comic.

Anyway, I didn’t get the Pirates calendar until December 18th, so I put photos on Flickr of the first 19 days the next day and have updated it today with the rest. You can see the City and Pirates sets for each day in my 2009 Advent Calendars set (or view as a slideshow).

I was surprised to see that both calendars had the days in the same quasi-random order. It made it easy to build them side-by-side; once I found that day’s door in one calendar, the other calendar had the same number in the same position. It did seem to me that all the doors were printed upside-down; the flap of the box was in the way if you tried to open the doors with the printing facing right-side-up. Last year, the direction of the printing was opposite on the two boxes, if I recall correctly.

Little Australian Houses?

Published / by Bill

One of my pictures has been used by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on their Web site to illustrate a radio story about the relative merits of buying versus renting a home. You can see it on the ABC News homepage as a small thumbnail on the right hand side, and if you click the “Best of” link it takes you to a “best of” page where that story is featured with a larger version of the image at the top of the page. Here’s the photo they used (from their Web server):
Little houses via

My photos are published with a Creative Commons attribution license, so I’m not mad that they used the photo, but they (as far as I can tell) failed to credit the photo which I think is in pretty poor taste. (If you like the models, I have posted the LDraw instructions online.) Here’s the original photo, linked to its page on Flickr:
Little Houses on Flickr

You can really see the blurriness created when they cropped it and re-saved the JPEG (probably with a high level of compression). Thanks to Stephen Calder, aka aussiechef67 for pointing it out via a comment on Flickr.

Desert Road Trip

Published / by Bill / 1 Comment on Desert Road Trip

Flickr user jedimasterwagner has made a great little desert diorama, featuring my Shasta Teardrop travel trailer, a Jeep by Mike Psiaki, and a cactus based on an idea that Flickr user brickpoor brought back from BrickWorld.

Desert Road Trip

Found via Lego Diem. Looks like the diorama was created using LDraw and rendered in 3D. I think it came out quite good – and great work on the mosaic billboard!

Fleetwood Revolution LE 42K Motorhome

Published / by Bill / 5 Comments on Fleetwood Revolution LE 42K Motorhome

This high-end luxury motorhome allows you to travel in class! Features three slide-outs, including one that is almost the entire left side, a powerful diesel engine in back, two bathrooms, plentiful storage underneath, a well-appointed kitchen, and much more.

Fleetwood Revolution LE 42K Motorhome

It is based on the Fleetwood Revolution LE 42K Motorhome but I should admit I took a lot of artistic license, especially with the artwork on the sides.

This is pretty much the diametric opposite from my last RV model, the Shasta Teardrop Travel Trailer that I made a couple of weeks ago. While that one was small and minimalistic (with only the most basic interior, and no removable roof) with classic styling from the 60’s, this one is modern and contains all the amenities you could wish for. However, neither model has 4 wheels, so both are eligible for the All But Four challenge on LUGNuts. It’s also eligible for a new Flickr group I created, LEGO RVing.

Hope you enjoy it, and please post comments here or on Flickr. If you want to see it in person, come to the BayLUG exhibit at MoAH in Palo Alto, CA – I’ll be bringing it there tomorrow and it will be there through January 11, 2009.

Click the photo above for the photoset on Flickr, or view it as a slideshow.