The Lego Americana Roadshow

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There seems no better time than the night of the 2016 Presidential Election to showcase some incredible United States themed Lego builds. The Lego Americana Roadshow is a traveling exhibit of iconic buildings and architecture from around the United States created entirely out of Lego bricks.

I had the chance to visit a local area mall that was hosting the exhibit during the second half of October. On Saturday October 22nd I packed the family up and dragged them to the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood, WA so I could stare at some Legos assembled in some incredible shapes.

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My adorable family being dragged along (prior to meltdowns).

 

Upon entering the mall and quickly scanning the area I found the first display and secured a map with all the necessary information. I’m going to go down the list and share my pictures of each one, but let me just say that these were all AMAZING! They were huge in scale, way bigger than I had anticipated, and intelligently spread throughout the mall to provide some space to gather around, and made it a bit of a scavenger hunt. The map also had a question for each model, so kids (and adults) could learn a thing or two, which they could find the answer to on a sign posted near the model which had information on both the original piece of architecture and the Lego model alike.

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This completed form could have been turned into the Lego store for a free poster of the event, but my typically adorable children reached meltdown status during the last couple of models so we rushed right on out of there to avoid being judged by strangers.

 

And here are the models. I don’t have a lot of commentary for these other than they are flat out impressive. Not just size which is obvious but detail, and sheer number of bricks when you are looking up close, for each one. Incredible. For most of these I had to stand quite a ways back in order to get the whole model in the frame, so that says something about the size of these. You can click on a picture to see a larger version and there’s an option to see full size image.

 

1. Statue of Liberty

 

2. Old North Church

 

3. Jefferson Memorial

 

4. The White House

 

5. Lincoln Memorial

 

6. The U.S. Supreme Court Building

 

7. Independence Hall

 

8. The Liberty Bell

 

9. U.S. Capitol Building

 

10. Washington Monument

 

Well I hope you enjoyed those images and could appreciate the scale of these models. As an added bonus, we went on the weekend where they had a “make-and-take” event. There was an area set up where people could line up and collect pieces to make a miniature Washington Monument to take home for free. My daughter and I each took a set home. Nothing beats free Lego. They had a different “make-and-take” model for each stop on the tour, you can find the instructions for each one here.

 

 

 

j.


Dia De Los Muertos en Lego

In honor of the Mexican holiday Dia de los muertos, or Day of the Dead, I recently put together this Lego minifigure. The head, or “sugar skull” as they call them, is a custom creation by the incredible minifigs.me crew. Beautiful! (They also made their own pair of fully custom Day of the Dead minifigures which are pretty sweet!)

I thought it would go perfectly with the Mariachi collectable  minifigure from the most recent series 16. I think I was right. So cool! 

j.


Lego “Radius Church” Vignette MOC


This was a very special build for me. Vignettes are my favorite type of build to make. I love little scenes, snapshots. I’ve had this nagging idea to make my own Lego sets, specifically for people that are special to me, and give them as gifts. My family has been part of a new church, Radius Church, and a week before launch date, my pastor said something that struck a chord in me. He emphasized the need to pursue the things God puts on your heart. In that moment I knew I needed to commemorate this special time for the church and for my pastor. I set to work on creating the stage at Radius and designing the custom elements that would make this build truly unique. 

One tricky part to this build was from the initial idea to completion the decoration on the stage changed. It started out pretty simple (table, stool, microphone, speakers) and then they added furniture to the stage (couch, rug, coffee table, etc.) so I had to add in some little furniture builds to keep it relevant, which I was thankful for because it really fills out the build and gives it some more color. The back wall features a large poster in the center (which is ever changing) flanked by two television screens which has bullet points and scripture throughout the sermon. One of Pastor Hubbard’s well known sayings and probably my favorite is “Where you’re at is not where you have to stay.” So I had that printed on tiles for the screens. I had the church logo printed on a black tile to make the center poster, which is how it was on launch day. The accessories included (coffee mug, tablet/phone, Bible) are typical staples on the pastor’s table. 

Special thanks to the team at minifigs.me for perfectly executing my requests and direction in their design and printing of all the custom pieces, which not only included the tile pieces but the head and torso pieces to create a minifigure version of Pastor Ken Hubbard. 

Reference image sent in for minifigure head design.

They created a head piece with his signature white goatee and a double sided head, one with glasses and one without, as Pastor Hubbard is always switching back and forth as needed. They also printed a torso with his cross necklace. 

And as a bonus, there is a second option for Pastor Hubbard. Outside of church he enjoys riding his motorcycle so there’s a more casual attire with biker jacket and beanie. 

Pastor Hubbard has been known to move about the stage so here he is enjoying the various vantage points.

I hope you enjoyed checking out my latest creation. It was an absolute joy to create.  As stated before, it is very special to me, as is my church. And I’m so thankful for an amazing pastor. 

j.


Lego “Mad Scientist Lab” MOC

Another year, and another build competition held by Radleys, a manufacturer of scientific glassware and laboratory instruments in the UK. If you remember last year, I submitted a recreation of Nikola Tesla’s famous laboratory. This year, I thought doing something more “fun” with some moving parts might fare better. It was a good challenge for me and definitely increased my building skills figuring out how to pull off this idea.

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The concept was to have a lab where the mad scientist was experimenting with fusing minifigures and objects/animals together to make unique creations. Lego has an ongoing line of Collectable Minifigures and they often have some interesting “suits” for the minifigs, depicting them as animals (penguin, chicken, etc.) or food items (hot dog, banana, etc.). I wanted to play with the idea of how these creations may have come to be. So I have one conveyor belt pushing minifigures into a hopper on one side, and on the other side a conveyor belt bringing in various animals and food items. The fusion is meant to take place inside the hopper and a tube which connects to a caged lift, revealing the abomination. Each manually operated conveyor belt has a control station manned by one of three lab assistants (I used Ugnaughts from the Star Wars line). I thought it would be fun to keep them all the same, sort of like Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka. And of course you have the Mad Scientist’s operating platform looking out over the lab, with some appropriate decor in the corners and on the walls.

 

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Here is a video I did showing off all the moving parts and running through how the lab works.

 

 

And here’s a bunch of pictures showing the different areas of the build in detail. (All pictures can be clicked on to enlarge.)

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The lineup of creations.

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The lineup of unfortunate minifigures, all looking a bit anxious.

 

This green station is what I would call the Chemical Control Station.

 

The red station controls the minifigure conveyor belt. The minifigures slide into position in turn, and another mechanism pushes them into the hopper.

 

The main conveyor belt station, which drops in the animals/objects. This is powered by a knob that sits outside of the wall nearby for easy operation.

 

This is the lift cage that reveals the minifig creation.

 

And of course the mad scientist’s platform overseeing his experiment.

 

And some other various angles.

 

Here is the lineup of minifigure creations and what creates them. I did try to match them up somewhat so it would make some sort of sense. *shrug*

 

Thanks for taking the time to check out my latest Lego creation, I hope you found some enjoyment in it. Unfortunately, as good as I thought I did with this idea and build, it didn’t win or even get a special mention. (Results.) But that’s ok, I had fun coming up with idea and bringing it to life. Like I said before coming up with all the moving components was a new challenge that was really satisfying. And my nephews LOVED it, so I consider that a win.😉

j.


Guitar Retrospective #10: “7-String Koi”

 

DSC00921Beginning 2008 I picked up a guitar body on eBay for cheap thinking I would refinish it and resell it. It was a bit of an experiment to see how quickly I could turn around a guitar body and how much I could resell it for. I found an Ibanez RG 7 string body and stripped it down from its metallic burgundy finish to bare wood. I had another Koi fish fabric print on hand I wanted to use and this was a perfect opportunity. The fabric was dark so obviously suggested a black paint accompaniment. Also, since I was trying to do this quickly, I ended up just doing fabric on the front, and painting the back. It was pretty straight forward and took just a few months of working on it nights and weekends. I wish I could remember what I sold it for, but I don’t remember making a bunch of money on it, otherwise I would have done it a lot more. I went back to doing full guitars after this, so that’s a pretty good sign I hope I broke even on it.🙂

Here’s a gallery of progress shots on this project.

FRONT:

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BACK:

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GLAMOUR SHOTS:

j.


Lego “Trail of Tears” MOC

IMG_2419(Joe Wilbur Trail of Tears 2)

“The Trail of Tears”

My latest Lego creation is a depiction of the tragically famous “Trail of Tears”. During this stretch of time from 1830-1850, Native Americans were forced to leave their homelands in Southeastern United States to lands further west that were designated to them. The journey was devastating, to say the least. It’s pretty dark subject matter for Lego, but it’s something I’ve had the idea of doing for awhile, and the opportunity came up through a competition to finally build it.

While visiting Brickset one day, I discovered a new competition posted. Kockice, a Croatian LUG (Lego User Group), hosted an online build competition where users could build in 1 of 4 categories: 1-Greatest Inventions, 2-Ancient Civilizations, 3-The History of Art, or 4-One Moment in Time. It also had to be built on a standard 32×32 stud baseplate, or larger area. I couldn’t fit enough of what I wanted onto a baseplate of that size, so I went with a 48×48 stud baseplate.

My idea was to illustrate the pain and sadness of this event by having the native people walking away from the luscious green and bountiful landscape of home towards a barren, dark, scary and unknown land. It’s a simple idea, I just tried to use enough detail in the landscape to make it come across.

Sadly, I did not make the finalists, there was some incredible competition. BUT it was very satisfying creating this as it checked another box on the “things to create” list, which is always a win.😉

To see the full album of submissions, click this link. Brickstory competition submission gallery. I was only able to upload 3 pictures, so here is a larger gallery of pictures showcasing my build. I need to improve my photography skills, or perhaps take the time to edit the photos some.:-/ I hope you enjoy. You can click on the images to start a slideshow of enlarged images.

j.


Results Are In – Lego Science Lab Build Competition

Recently I posted about my Lego Tesla’s Lab creation that I submitted to Radley’s Lego competition. I received an email from a representative at Radley’s, quoted here.

Unfortunately, it is with great regret that I have to tell you that your entry didn’t win the competition – but you are one of the few who will receive a special mention, as we enjoyed your entry so much. You will also be featured on a gallery on our website alongside all of the other entrants. Feel free to share this with your friends and family so that they can all see your amazing work. You can also get more information on the winners of all categories herehttp://bit.ly/1RqPxHa

We started this competition for various reasons: to keep children busy during the summer holidays, to get girls to explore a field that they may have thought was closed to them, and to get children interested in science – after all science is fascinating! For all adults it’s an excuse to get you guys to have some fun, and to feel that same childhood type of excitement again.

Whatever the reason you took part, we hope you had a wonderful time making your spectacular creations, it truly was a difficult decision.

So that was a bummer not to win, BUT, after checking out the gallery of all the entries they posted, and there were MANY, I found that my project was listed first behind the winner in the special mention section, which tells me they enjoyed it quite a lot. And seeing the other projects I could tell they certainly must have had a very difficult time choosing a winner because there were several I thought were really impressive and very detailed.

So again, here’s a link to the results page: http://www.radleys.com/news/blog/blog/2015/10/05/find-out-who-won-the-radleys-lego-competition!

My entry is down the page in Level 3, and if you click on the link provided it will take you to a full gallery of all the entries in this category. Mine will be in the beginning starting off the special mention section. I’m quite proud of this considering some of the other entries which were just spectacular, so that’s pretty cool.

j.