Friday, January 24, 2014

Bonus build: Pirates Digging Up Treasure

I had a lot of parts still left over from my build of An Unexpected Gathering (79003).  From the leftovers, I decided to build this little guy.

I've always liked the builds where someone is digging or leaving tracks in the mud, so I thought I would give it a try.  I like the trees more than I should.  I know they don't really look like palm trees, but I feel like they are effective just the same.

I also liked the trim on the outside.   It gives it a very finished look.  I think the map and the lantern worked well here too.  It is simple, but it makes for a fun little scene.

Build plans can be found HERE.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Tree on the Hill

Taking a break under a tree on the hill.
I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out.  It's pretty simple and smaller than I was hoping for, but it feels pretty nice.
I managed to do a little bit of the Studs Not On Top (SNOT) style.  My first attempts were just not working for me.  I had things a bit less rounded with the upper layers spanning just as wide as the lower layers.  I think I might have been able to make that work if I had a lot more pieces.  I just wasn't getting enough variation between layers to make it look good.  Moving to more of a rounded curve on the bottom with a much smaller second layer started to make it come together.
The SNOT continues on the back.  I liked the way the layers of corner plates turned out.
I was also happy with the way the layers on the side look.  I was originally trying to make a 'cut from the Earth' piece that would be flat on two or three sides, but having the model built on all sides makes me happy.  Build instructions are HERE.

I had plenty of pieces left over.  I wanted to build more, but everything I tried to add to it made me like the model less.  Perhaps I'll build something else with the rest later.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Unexpected Hobbits

It's time for another build.  For this one we will be heading to the Shire for An Unexpected Gathering (79003).
I really wanted this set for the terrain pieces.  There are a lot of sloped and curved pieces to work with.  The trees and the flowers were a nice bonus to have.

Once I had the set, I found that I really liked a lot of elements of it.  The wood fence with the gate in front is very nice.  The wood bench and the flowers in the windows look good.  I love the little lantern that hangs in front of the door.  The carrots in the barrel with the carrots growing in the garden I didn't pay attention to until I was building the set.  Likewise I appreciated the stone walkway and the tiles in the entryway more as I put it together.

I found the big round window in front to be extra special.  It uses square turntable base plates on round clear pieces and encased in two arches to make the round shape.  The interior light above Bilbo's book is also built into this.  The whole assembly slides into place.  It is really a fantastic element.
I really like this set.  I had more fun building this set than I expected to.  When it is completed, it is a nice playset, but it is time for a change.

I would like to build some type of terrain with this set.  I want to try to do some of the Studs Not On Top (SNOT) techniques where LEGO bricks are attached sideways.  I would like to build a tree on a hill.  I think I can make the tree included with the set a little bigger.  I'd also like to make a path going up the hill with the brown or tan pieces if possible.  I'm anxious to see what I can do here.

We'll see what I can come up with in the next post.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sydney Ostrich House

Here's the bird I put together from the Sydney Opera House set (21012).

The wings came out of playing with those white sloped pieces.  After I decided that it was a bird I was building, I had to try to make something of a body.  I ended up using some of the plates from the base to give the body a bit of thickness.  The neck came from playing with those hinge pieces.  The head went through a few revisions.  It's a little odd, but I like the shape.

For the base I tried to add what levels I could.  I also wanted to do some water with those clear bricks.
I was thinking maybe there was a spring where the water was originating.  I tried to make some water dripping and splashing from the bird drinking.  That didn't work out so great.  Using clear black tiles doesn't help too much.  Otherwise, I like having the display base.  It gives some much needed stability to the build.

Unfortunately, the bird is rather fragile.  It can be moved around with its base well enough, but it fell apart a lot while trying to put it all together.  The limited number of pieces made for some less than ideal build choices.

Overall it was an interesting challenge.  Full build instructions and the MLCad file can be found HERE.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Heading Down Under

For my next build, I'm going to try something from the LEGO Architecture series.  This one is the Sydney Opera House (21012).
I really like this set.  The building is so unique that it makes a very interesting model.  I've had this model sitting on my desk at work for a while.  It looks great, but it's time for a change.

Now the LEGO Architecture models are a bit different than many of the other LEGO sets.  They tend to be a bit more expensive.  There are no mini-figures.  They don't have any play-action features.  They look more polished and are intended to be display pieces.  It is a different style than the other LEGO playsets.  I think they are neat, but they are not for everyone.

This should be an interesting build.  Being an Architecture model, it doesn't have many standard LEGO bricks.  There are a lot of smooth tiles and I will need to find something to do with those large white slope pieces.  There are a lot of hinge pieces which may help.  Maybe I could make a hand using the white slopes as parts of a finger.  There might be a cool spaceship there.  It would be nice if I could keep that display base in tact.

We'll see what I can come up with in the next post.

Speaking of Australia, there is a cool website based down under called REBRICKABLE.  It has a large database of LEGO sets (official and custom builds) that you can cross-reference with sets you own to find new things to build.  I'll be putting instructions for my sets there as I build them.  Check them out.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Star Wars #1 fan

Well, here's the final result:
Overall I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

This was also my first major build using MLCad.
Hopefully this will serve me better in describing the build than trying to photograph everything.

I designed the bridge first.  I worked and reworked the circular body of the falcon to give me the nice ring I needed.  I eventually made a chain of two alternating parts that make up the 12 wedges of the bridge.
 You'll notice that the connector width on 175 is shorter than the width of 152.  This creates a slight offset between the two parts that helps everything fit in a slightly tighter circle.  The wing pieces on top have slightly different placement to adjust for the offset.

The body came next and came together quite quickly.  The front was largely taken from the side of the original Falcon model.  Next I was just trying to use all of the sloped pieces I had across the top and building a solid block for below it.  Finally I shaped the tail.  I was happy that I managed to use the half cone piece from the cockpit of the falcon.  It's not the best fit, but I think it captures the shape of the Enterprise's tail pretty well.

Finally we come to the twin engines.  Running low on long, solid blocks, I turned my focus to the hole-filled Technic blocks.  These could probably look better, but my main goal is to get the impression of the Enterprise.  I think these serve that purpose well enough.  I also decided that the long tan plates were the best of what I had left to serve as support arms.

As I completed the model, I needed to add some supports to handle the weight of the bridge.
Overall this was a lot of fun.  Nobody seems to have any problems recognizing this as the Enterprise.  I have also had some fun reactions when I tell people that it is built from the pieces of the Millennium Falcon.

If you'd like to look at the step-by-step instructions or want to download the MLCad file, you can get that HERE.