Tag Archives: MOC

Lego “Pictures With Santa” MOC

Merry Christmas! 

An opportunity came up recently to create a Lego vignette for a build competition held by Lego at their Rebrick site. The task was to create a room to add to one of Lego’s modular buildings. The Grand Emporium is the Lego shopping mall, and being Christmas time, malls across the country feature a pop-up Christmas display where parents and children line up to get their picture taken with Santa. It can be a happy and exciting time, or it can be a frustrating and miserable experience. Sometimes both at once! It has become a modern tradition to parade our children in front of Santa so they can happily tell him what they want for Christmas or they can ball their eyes out in a wild screaming fit. Either way, picture worthy and parents line up for hours to roll those dice to see what reaction they’ll get that year. I tried to capture all of the usual elements in one small scene. 

This vignette was more fun than usual because I enlisted my lovely wife to help me design it! She has a very good asthetic  eye for design and decorating so she was able to help with the layout and ideas for what to add and I was able to interpret those ideas into the model. A perfect team! Even got her doing some building, she created the holly decorations on the wall flanking the fireplace, which is an elegant touch and I love it. As someone who hasn’t been overly thrilled about my Lego hobby, it was a great experience to get her involved and share that time with her. We stayed up into the wee hours of the morning one night making this, and she said she had trouble sleeping because she kept thinking about ideas for things to change or add. Welcome to the club honey. 😉 

So this vignette is a typical festive scene, centered around Santa in an oversized comfy chair in front of a fireplace, which does light up in fact! I mounted a light brick on the back side of the wall to illuminate the fireplace with a warm glow. 

Includes the familiar Christmas fare like Christmas tree, North Pole sign, snowman, table with milk and cookie, and presents. One child in line has a happy expression and one is crying, very typical in this situation!


Also features a mother who brought her baby in for first pictures with Santa, and her and the photographer doing whatever it takes to get a smile out of baby, also very typical for this scene!

This was a lot of fun and I loved finally doing a Christmas scene in Lego, and having my wife help me was a joy and I think the result was far better than it would have been if I did it on my own, and it got done much quicker. Thanks for checking it out, I hope you enjoy and Merry Christmas! 


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. 


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.


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.




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.)


The lineup of creations.


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. 😉


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.


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.


Tesla’s Lab MOC – Lego Build Competition

Nikola Tesla in Lego

Nikola Tesla in his LEGO lab.

Back in August I noticed an announcement for a Lego build competition at brickset.com. It was being held by Radley’s, a company that manufactures scientific glassware and laboratory instruments. The competition was to build your own science lab. It could be something wildly crazy and new, or something more classic, and there was mention of impressing them with something historical or real. Some time passed while I thought about what I could build, wanting to enter the competition. It’s always fun to have a chance to build something new and with certain guidelines or a particular topic, some direction. My mind kept wandering towards Nikola Tesla. I always thought he was cool, and wanted to do something not quite so obvious. Even though Tesla is well known, he’s not what I think people would go to first. After some google searching I found this image popping up a lot, a famous shot of Tesla sitting reading a book in his lab in Colorado Springs, CO during some experiments with his high voltage wireless electricity and coils.

Nikola Tesla conducting his famous high voltage experiments in his lab.

Nikola Tesla conducting his famous high voltage experiments in his lab.

I also found a couple other images from different angles of the same space that I would use for reference. Even though I was concentrating on recreating this particular shot (above), I wanted to fill the lab out and complete the idea and make a nice display piece.

Another angle of Tesla's Lab used for reference.


This screamed out at me as the perfect scene to try and recreate in Lego. I started with doing a couple of the coils/transformers shown in the image, just to get a feel for the size and what parts would work, and that I could do it really. Then I began the floor layout, realizing quickly with all of the pieces I needed to include I would need more space than a standard baseplate. Combining a full baseplate (32×32 studs) along with a half baseplate (16×32 studs) I felt I could include all of the things I wanted and keep it to a reasonably realistic looking scale.

The very beginning of the lab layout. Stormtroopers looking on.

The very beginning of the lab layout. (Stormtroopers looking on, wondering “WTF is going on out there?”.)

It was a fun process, using trial and error to get the best looking coils and stands, trying out different parts and building methods. It was also fun tearing apart various Lego sets and diving into the bags of unbuilt sets to pilfer the parts I needed. There is a very handy website called Rebrickable that allows you to keep track of all of the Lego sets you own, and it keeps inventory of all the sets, so as you look up a particular part you are after, you can see how many you have, in which colors, and in which sets, so you can quickly find the part you are looking for. This site was invaluable as I never would have found the parts I was looking for in a timely manner, or even known what I had! I took from A LOT of different sets to build this, even completely dismantling half of the Pet Shop modular, requiring all of those brown bricks for the walls.

Half of 10218 Pet Shop modular awaiting dismantle to become the walls of Tesla's Lab.

Half of 10218 Pet Shop modular awaiting dismantle to become the walls of Tesla’s Lab.

Here are a few shots of the build in process, you will notice certain things changing along the way.

Tesla Lab in progress

Started tiling floor, early ideas of coils and larger transformer still in place.

Tesla Lab in progress

Adjusted color details of top/bottom of fencing, changed design of main transformer to be more accurate at the base.

Tesla Lab in progress

Tiled out more of the floor space. Added Tesla reading book in his chair. Altered designs of all coils/transformers, started playing around with how the electricity would work.

Tesla Lab in progress

Added left side of lab equipment according to reference photo.

I changed the designs as I went along of the different coils and transformers. Partly because I came across certain parts that I felt would work better and partly because I felt I needed to make things more accurate. I also had to deal with a limitation of certain parts, so that meant deciding how which piece would be built a certain way. For example, I had several different stands holding coils, but each one is different. The primary reason for that being I only had a few of a particular part, so the next stand would require different parts to make it work. I also wanted to give some variety to the coils and equipment. Most everything is black and round. But instead of using just round 2×2 bricks in black, I opted to change one coil out for all tires, or using 2×2 round plates instead or in conjunction with bricks, or finding technic connectors for a different size, and also using modified 2×2 round bricks to add some texture. Changing the solid outer shell of one of the transformers to different fence pieces to make it look like more of a cage, like the photos depict, was also a smart move I believe, and meant a great deal of ripping apart sets, mostly more modulars, to find enough pieces.

OMG, you guys…I just realized how incredibly nerdy I must sound, to go into such detail about how I built a friggin’ stand or tower while using Lego parts language. Sheesh! Oh by the way, MOC stands for “My Own Creation”, it’s one of MANY acronyms found in the world of Lego speak.

So, obviously the elephant in the room when starting this project was, how was I going to do the “lightning”? I honestly wasn’t sure at first, even when I was halfway done with the build I wasn’t sure, I was just focusing on getting a layout that I was satisfied with. I had begun to think I could somehow “fake” the electricity in the picture as long as I had everything else looking good. But then I remembered the rules, “it must be built entirely out of Lego!”. Just so happened the latest Lego catalog had showed up in the mail, and as I was ignoring my children and browsing it I noticed a set that had lightning bolt pieces! And a lot of them! There was a new Ninjago set called Master Wu Dragon, and this set became the first set I ever bought not for the set itself, but for the pieces it contained. I had officially reached a new level in AFOL-dom. (AFOL = Adult Fan Of Lego) I had a moment, like a celebration, I could hear trumpets playing, Angels singing, kids screaming — oh shit, the 3 year old has the baby in a headlock again…

Alright I’m back, everyone is good. The girl is on the couch with a popsicle watching a movie and the boy is in the Jumperoo with his Sophie giraffe, chewing the paint right off of it. I couldn’t possibly leave out the sole mini figure in my set here, Nikola Tesla finally in Lego form. I actually did spend some time looking through the minifigs I owned trying to come up with something that would resemble him, hoping I wouldn’t have to go purchase some rare mustache head or something. Using Brickset’s amazing online tool of keeping track of the mini figures you own I was able to easily browse what I had without digging through bags or sets. My Nikola Tesla is actually a combination of three separate mini figures. I used the body of Abraham Lincoln, along with the head of William Shakespeare, and the hair piece of Marty McFly. So, this is pretty sound evidence that Nikola Tesla is actually the historical love child of Bill Shakespeare, Abe Lincoln, and McFly. And here you probably woke up thinking you weren’t going to learn something today. Heh. Stupid.


There was a good period of going back and forth fiddling with the build, changing things, changing things back, moving things around, all of that. It was all good fun, and it was therapeutic for the OCD “Lord Business” part of me to mine numerous sets for parts, not knowing at all when they might return to their 100% complete status again! As I unload a bunch of final pictures for you, pictures that I submitted to the competition officials over at Radleys.com, plus some extras, I just want to thank Radley’s, Brickset, and Rebrickable. Nobody asks for these “thank you’s” or links because frankly, they don’t know who I am. But I sincerely couldn’t have created this without all of them existing, doing what they do on a daily basis, and so they deserve thanks in the credits of this creation. Radley’s for hosting the competition, that’s very cool of you and a great way to get your name out there and have some fun while doing it. Brickset for covering the news of this opportunity and therefore bringing it to my attention. You have successfully allowed people from different circles to cross paths and become aware of each other, very cool. Brickset again for having the tools available at your site to help me create this display piece. Also can’t forget Rebrickable, invaluable resource for Lego creations. Nothing gets done in Lego creations without your site and the service it provides in keeping track of so much information. Pretty awesome. I’d still be digging through Legos and who knows what my kids would be up to if it weren’t for your time saving tools. 😉

Final Images of my LEGO Tesla’s Lab:












I hope you enjoyed my breakdown of Tesla’s Lab recreated in LEGO. I definitely hope I win! But if not, without this competition I never would have thought to make this, so I owe the existence of this creation to Radley’s, forever grateful. Thank you.