Miniland Classic Spaceman

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.

Miniland Classic SpacemanBuilt 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!

Click the picture for the Flickr gallery, or view a slideshow.

August 2008 BayLUG Space Meeting

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.August 2008 BayLUG Space Meeting

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.

2059 Cadillac El Dorado

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 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:

2059 Cadillac El Dorado

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.

See the rest of the pics in my photoset: 2059 Cadillac El Dorado, or view a slideshow.

Hollywood Display at Valley Fair Mall

This past Saturday, we installed a new display into the “Window on the Community” display at the LEGO store in Valley Fair Mall (Santa Clara, CA).

The Artist and his work

This time, we featured the work of one of our younger members. CJ has been providing our layout with an impressive diorama of a Hollywood studio for the past few train shows, including the NMRA national convention in Anaheim last month. This display is taken from that diorama, and features a building façade with a car bursting out of it, and a film crew capturing the action. In the train shows, there’s a motor moving the car in and out, to show that it’s teetering on the edge of falling, but we didn’t have the ability to power the display at the LEGO store.

Click on the image to view the images on Flickr, or see the slideshow.

LEGO fan convention in northern California?

UPDATE – The convention, Bricks by the Bay, took place on April 9-11, 2010, and we’re in the planning process for the 2011 event. You can read more about it at the Bricks by the Bay site.

Some of us in BayLUG have been talking about having a LEGO convention here in northern California. This would be similar to some of the existing ones that have been taking place around the country for years:

Brickfest (Washington DC and Portland OR)
Brickswest (San Diego CA)
Brickcon (Seattle WA)
Brickworld (Chicago IL)
Brickfair (Washington DC)

There’s a thread on LUGNET about it started by Russell Clark, the BayLUG president.

If you haven’t heard of these before, here’s the basic idea. We take over a hotel or convention center for a weekend (hopefully a 3-day weekend), and 100+ LEGO fans descend upon it from all over the country (and maybe a few from overseas). The LEGO company usually sends some high level executives and other representatives. The local LEGO store usually has some special discounts and an after-hours sale just for con-goers.

We’re currently looking at hotels in and around Santa Clara and San Mateo, since that’s where our two local LEGO stores are. If you have any ideas for venues or would like to offer support, please let Russell or me know.

Sorting bins

I recently bought some plastic bins at the local pharmacy (Longs Drugs, if you’re curious) and found them to be very useful for sorting LEGO parts.

Sorting bins

These are sold for organizing small things in a drawer. My mom used to have something kind of like it to sort her silverware when I was a kid (though not the little ones). I’ve put them to use sorting LEGO. I connect them together in a big array on a small table, and then designate each one for a particular type of LEGO part.

Using bins to sort

It’s usually not possible to have enough bins for every possible category of LEGO part, so I do a multi-stage sort. First I sort into broad categories, which is what you see here, and then I take each category and do a secondary sort, and in some cases even tertiary, to their final categories.

How do you sort LEGO?

Another 2006 Garden Gnome by another Bill posted by another Ward

In Ted Ward’s pictures from Northwest BrickCon 2006 I came across a picture a while ago of a garden gnome, created by Bill Volbrecht, former LEGO Master Builder.

Bill Volbrecht's Garden Gnome

As far as I know, Ted Ward is no relation to me, and neither is Bill Volbrecht.

As to why this is interesting, I built my own garden gnome in 2006 as well – while I was in Fairfax VA for the Brickfest convention (it wasn’t at the convention; I built it from parts I bought there, in my hotel room afterward). I posted it here shortly after I built it in September 2006. Here’s mine for comparison:

Bill Ward's Garden Gnome.

As for comparing the two, well I think that he did a better job on the mouth and eyes, but then I was limiting myself (as I’ve done for almost all of my sculptures) to only basic bricks, not plates or slopes or round parts. However if I may be so bold, I like my hat better: it is asymmetrical. I also think the details on the belt are better on mine. But the clincher is that his is functional: I believe that the hands are designed to hold business cards. Mine are hidden behind his back because hands are too hard to model :)

Spaceman/Nanoscale Display at Valley Fair Mall

Last Saturday, we changed out the display at the LEGO store in Santa Clara.

Spaceman/Nanoscale Display at Valley Fair Mall

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.

Ski Slope Display at Hillsdale LEGO Store

On June 1, 2008, we set up a display at the Hillsdale LEGO store featuring models by several members of BayLUG.

Ski Slope Display at Hillsdale LEGO Store

The base and the snowboarders were by Anne, with trees and a snowmobile by Bruce, a ski slope and concession stand added by Jim. I added several minifigs (skiers and snowshoers) and a snowmobile.

Click the big picture to go to the set page on Flickr, or you can view a slideshow of the photos.