Scarlet Mayhem

Studless, smooth, and sleek, this racer, known as “Scarlet Mayhem,” was the winner of the first annual Earth to Mars race, which tests a ship’s performance in atmosphere, interplanetary, and reentry situations. Scarlet MayhemThe two-man crew take turns flying the craft, similar to the Le Mans car race. Detailed photos are available on Flickr.

The scoops on the tops of the wings provide air for the engines when running inside the atmosphere in scramjet mode. It has a lot of SNOT details – the bottom of the fuselage is mounted studs-down, and covered in tiles and slopes so that no studs or undersides of bricks are showing. The wings are studs-out, made of bricks, and the only conventional part of the ship is the wingtips which do show their undersides. Because of the studs-down bottom, there are no studs inside on the floor for the minifigs to sit on (to add a studs-up floor would require the roof to be higher, ruining the lines, or removing too much interior space for the minifigs). As a result, the minifigs are sitting on 2×4 plate “sleds” which slide into the ship and sit loosely. The cockpit canopy is hinged on the sides.

This model was built mainly using parts from the Enzo Ferrari 1:17 set, borrowing parts from Prehistoric Power and Speedboat sets. Why such a limited source of parts? I’m on vacation in the east coast away from my LEGO collection, but I bought the above sets at the LEGO store during BrickFest 2006.

It’s a little strange to be building LEGO away from home, and with an unfamiliar and reduced palette. Still, I got a lot of great new parts which I look forward to combining with my collection at home when I return.

Update: I have also posted pictures of this model on Brickshelf.
Update: I also posted about this on Lugnet and[tags]lego,space,snot[/tags]

BrickFest 2006, Day 3 – Turn out the lights, the party’s over…

So that brings us to the final day of BrickFest 2006. My pictures are up on Flickr and just about everyone’s gone home.Brickfest  Day 3 I started the day by attending a discussion on Capital Ships run by some of the experts from, including Jon Palmer, Adrian Drake, Mark Sandlin, and Chris Giddens. We met in a conference room on the first floor where we discussed some of the techniques and challenges for building and transporting very large spaceships made of LEGO, and then we went up to the exhibit hall where some of these things were demonstrated on the ships there.

After that I went to a discussion on LEGO as art vs. LEGO as toy, which was led by Roy T Cook, who in addition to being a LEGO builder is also a professor at Villanova University. I think the consensus was that while LEGO is a toy, it can be used as an art medium, but it depends on a number of factors including the context in which the model is made. I learned a lot about the philosophy of art and it gave me a lot to think about.

The afternoon was taken up with dealing with the crowds who attended the public exhibition. After they cleared out around 4 pm, we started tearing down the displays in the exhibit hall. My vignettes took about 30 seconds to tear down, but some of the guys didn’t finish until after midnight. We had closing ceremonies in the evening with a lot of door prizes being handed out. I didn’t win any, but I was pretty happy winning the small vignette contest.

Holly and I went out to dinner at a great Japanese restaurant in Fairfax called Blue Ocean (where we had also had the most amazing lunch on Friday). The food was great, but they were very busy so the service was slow.

After dinner we returned to the hotel where I hung out with the Classic Space guys and we stood around chatting until they were done tearing down, then we retired to the (closed) hotel bar where we all sat around talking until about 1 am. I drove Tom McDonald to the airport, came back to the hotel, and went to bed. I can’t wait for next year! In the meantime I hope we can attend Northwest BrickCon in Seattle and/or BrickSouth in Atlanta next spring.[tags]lego, brickfest, brickfest2006[/tags]

Brickfest 2006, Day 2 – and some good news

I’ve uploaded my pictures of Day 2 of Brickfest 2006 to Flickr.Brickfest MOC Exhibit - Day 2

The good news? We won!!! Our model “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” won the award for best small vignette out of all the vignette models at Brickfest! Holly and I are very pleased. Thanks to everyone who voted for it. Here’s a picture I took the other day of the winning model:
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening[tags]lego,brickfest,brickfest2006[/tags]

Brickfest 2006, Day 1

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

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

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

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.

BayLUG Museum Show Wrap-Up

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.

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

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]