For this year’s Bricks by the Bay LEGO convention, which had the theme “California Dreamin’,” I built a model of the California state flag.
The flag of California consists of a white background with brown grizzly bear walking across a green meadow, a red star in the corner, a red stripe at the bottom, and the words “CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC” in block lettering above the red stripe.
I looked up the dimensions of the flag components online, and did the rough design for the flag using LDraw software, but didn’t design the details of the bear or the grass in software – just flat brown and green – or include details about the star.
The star was probably the hardest part. It’s not easy to do 5-way symmetry in LEGO! I accomplished it by using hinges and only attaching it by one stud so that the points can be adjusted. To cover the center part, a red 4×4 radar dish is mounted separately to the background via a round 1×1 brick.
As for the lettering, most of it is pretty simple. I made extensive use of the Brick, Modified Facet 2 x 2 for the beveled edges of the letters. The real flag has dark brown letters but I went with black as I didn’t think I’d find enough LEGO dark brown parts. However there were a couple of trickier letters, such as A and N, that I had to get creative with:
But the big star of the show is the bear of course. He’s several plates thick, standing out from the smooth white background, and is made entirely of brown and tan plates except for the eye, teeth, and claws. Like the real flag, the left front paw has no visible claws, and also like the real flag, he’s walking very unnaturally with the left front and back paws moving forward and the two right paws behind; almost all mammals walk with the left front and right rear paws moving forward together, and the right front with the left rear. The artist doing the flag didn’t do a great job, but that’s not my fault! Here you can see the flag at an angle, showing the depth a bit:
Besides Bricks by the Bay, the flag has been displayed at the BayLUG meeting in September, and as part of BayLUG’s exhibit at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire in October. The club is having a month-long show from December through January at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto, and it will be displayed there. Come check us out every Friday through Sunday there – details at www.baylug.org.
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