I LUG NY LUG Showcase at Elmhurst, Queens LEGO Store, March 26, 2013

Newer LUG member Cody, Victor and I switched out the LUG Showcase for the Queens LEGO Store on March 26th. We swapped out Rick and Will’s gallery of Mechs for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles scene.

The centerpiece of the display is Cody’s beautiful TMNT moc which is a three level display. The top tier is a street scene with a custom TMNT Party Van arriving on the scene to battle Baxter’s Robot, a middle tier showcasing a subway and Krang and the bottom where Fishface and a Foot Clan soldier are attacking the Turtle lair with ooze. Vic and I only added official TMNT sets to the moc as a way to help showcase LEGO products. Scattered throughout the scene are over 20 Foot Clan soldiers, the Turtles and Splinter, April, Baxter and 6 Mouser Turtles and Fishface. Setting up the Foot Clan soldiers was easier said than done as Cody’s moc was nearly studless and Vic came up with some clever ways to display the figs. Also, we made use of magnets to hang a Turtle glider-this is sort of a trademark detail for us Queens Showcase builders-we always try to incorporate something hanging from a magnet to the roof of the showcase.

This model will be on display until the 3rd week in April. There are too many details to see in this model so go check it out at the Queens LEGO Store inside the Queens Center Mall.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Parts Draft Fun

I LUG NY held a parts draft of set #75002 at our monthly meeting on March 16, 2013. For those of you who do not know what a parts draft is I’ll share how one works and explain the benefits of holding a parts draft.

To begin with, each member brings their own copy of the same set. If you are thinking about holding a parts draft of your own there are some points to consider such as what parts are in the set and if the set can be bought at a discount. Seeing as the Star Wars set, #75002 AT-RT was on sale at the time at Wal-Mart and other retailers we went with this set. We have started using the inventories provided on brickset to see what parts and how many of each are in a set (http://www.brickset.com/detail/?set=75002-1).

Sorry, no sets were found for that query

75002_crop          Now the fun begins as members rip open their sealed copies of the set. What we have done recently that helps make sorting parts more efficient is open each numbered bag at separate parts of the table where the draft takes place. Once all of the parts have been separated we find elements that were in multiple bags and combine them. The next step is to look at the piles of elements and gauge which are too big and need to be separated into 2 or more piles. We usually build the minifigs and they become their own pile (1 fig per draft choice so members get multiple opportunities at obtaining the figs in the set). The last step in setting up the draft is deciding the order that we will be making our selections. I LUG NY goes high tech with this and scribbles numbers on small bits of paper to be picked out of a hat. The person who selected 1 gets to draft first and in this case the person who pulled out the number 8 would go last in the first round. Number 8 then selects 1st in the second round and number 1 selects last. You keep selecting parts until there are no more piles to pick from. The picture below is my draft selections from this draft:I LUG NY Parts Draft March 16, 2013                   As you can see I acquired a large quantity of several items, some harder to find than others. I had my eyes set on the robot arms and am glad they were still on the table when I picked. These were actually in two piles as there were a decent sized quantity available. Some parts I was not so lucky to draft (grated cheese slopes and the 501st trooper fig for instance). Not only does drafting a set give you the opportunity to add parts in sizable quantities, you also have the shared experience of drafting a set with your LUG.

  • One last word of advice, keep the box your set came in so you can place your draft selections inside and carry home your new parts.

March Builder of the Month: Brian Wygand

The term “dark ages” is less likely to be associated with a hobby and more with the historical era before Enlightenment.  But for Adult Fans of LEGO, or AFOLs, “dark ages” have come to refer to the period of time between when they first picked up their hobby — usually in childhood or adolescence — and the moment they, as fully-grown adults, rediscovered their love of the LEGO brick.

For Brian Wygand of Massapequa Park, Long Island, the dark ages took place sometime between the release of “the classic Town sets from my 80’s childhood” and a chance visit to the LEGO Imagnation Center at Florida’s Downtown Disney.  

“My wife and were celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary and happened to arrive at a 10-plus-foot-tall tyrannosaurus rex built completely out of LEGO,” recalls Brian, a founding member of I LUG NY, the New York City metro area band of AFOLs.  “I was blown away by this and the other models there.”

Brian’s Butcher Shop. The Lego pig was not harmed in the creation of this MOC. 🙂

While he didn’t buy any sets that day, Brian immediately set about recapturing his LEGO hobby — and coming out of those dark ages.  “I called my mother to see if she still had my childhood sets, and to my dismay found out she had given away most of it” to a relative.  “Fortunately, she had saved the instructions — with what little LEGO she held on to — and several hundred dollars later, I had reacquired the parts that I needed from BrickLink to build all of the sets that I had the instructions for.”

Fellow ILUGNY’er Sid Dinsay had a few questions for our Builder Of The Month.

SD:  Did you, or do you, have any other hobbies?

BW:  I have always enjoyed drawing, painting and LEGO was my favorite childhood toy and as an adult I just see LEGO as another creative outlet. It is like drawing but with bricks.

SD:  What are your favorite LEGO sets of all time?

BW:  For nostalgia purposes I’d say the classic Town sets from my 80’s childhood that had the yellow diagonal LEGOLAND stripe on the boxes and instructions. Presently, I love the Modular series but my guilty pleasures were the Tiny Turbos Racers sets LEGO produced up until acquiring the Cars license from Disney.

SD:  What was your first set ever?  And what’s your favorite set?

BW:  I don’t remember my first set ever.  But the first sets I did own were prominently displayed on my dresser once they were all built.  One day, my brotherly and I got into a spat and he knocked them all on to the floor.  (Oddly enough, I think that episode of sibling rivalry led to my desire to build a town out of LEGO, which other than the friends I have met through this hobby and through ILUGNY is my favorite aspect of being in a LUG. Creating our town displays for shows is quite a feat but also something that brings this childhood dream to life.)

My favorite set of all time has to be the Green Grocer.  I know the Cafe Corner came first and was fun to build, but it doesn’t have an interior: I felt somewhat cheated by this. The Green Grocer has not only a beautifully detailed exterior and balcony but it also has a fire escape ladder and a completely furnished interior. The first floor especially is filled with awesome details — such as the mouse eating cheese under the stairs.

SD:  Do you have a favorite MOC?

BW:  I built an HSBC Bank back in October of 2009. I see this branch twice a day on my daily commute, and this MOC marked the first time I was inspired to construct a “real-world” building.  I knew I was becoming a seriously dedicated AFOL when I began to see things in the real world and thought, “I should build this out of LEGO.” This was accompanied by self-doubting questions such as “Can I do it?”, “Do I have enough bricks to pull this off?”  “How do I make the HSBC logo out of LEGO?” et cetera.  I know this MOC hasn’t received much attention from the online community but it was my first foray into replicating real buildings out of LEGO.




SD:  What do you look to to inspire your builds? Do you have any favorite AFOLs?

BW:  I get inspiration from several outlets. I’ve recreated three real world buildings out of LEGO. I often am inspired by LEGO sets and use the instructions to base MOCs off of. My LEGO Butcher Shop and Bikes-N-Boards are built using the Pet Shop directions for inspiration. I am a proud child of the 1980’s so I have built many 8-bit video game sprites. I also enjoy building in the style of the Tiny Turbos as this line combines my love of LEGO with another favorite childhood toy, the Hot Wheels car.

MegaMan, rendered in Lego bricks.

I have favorite AFOLs whose work I enjoy looking at, or from whom I’ve learned a lot about architectural detailing, SNOT building and presentation: Chris McVeigh, Mark Stafford, Jameson Gagnepain, Mike Psiaki, Arthur Gugick, David Pagano, Sean Kenney, Bruce Lowell and Tyler Clites, to name a few. It is amazing what LEGO fans have done with LEGO. Many of the members of our LUG are awesome builders and speaking with them, seeing their works, and listening to them explain how a detail was achieved has helped open my eyes to more that can be accomplished with LEGO.

SD:  Do you have a favorite LEGO part(s)?  And what element do you think is absolutely essential for building, besides bricks and plates?

BW:  I guess my favorite part would have to be the so-called cheese slope. This comes from my love of Tiny Turbos as cheese slopes are prominently featured in nearly all of these small cars.

But I have also learned from building with LUG members that any part can be essential at any given time. While helping Mike Bader build the mountain pass part of the Lord of the Rings display for New York Comic Con 2012 I was shocked to see that the mountains were supported by Technic beams attached to Technic bricks. I would have never thought of this and now look at these and all parts differently.

Brian created this piece for New York Comic Con — inspired by the famous “comb the desert” scene from the movie “Spaceballs”

SD:  How much time do you devote to building each week?

BW:  I’d say I get down to my basement — I call it my LEGO Lair — to build a few times a month but don’t have a set amount of time for building each week.

SD:   Any advice for a wannabe AFOL?

BW:  You are either an AFOL or you are not. Once you do become an AFOL, you can learn many building techniques from LEGO sets, from online groups on flickr, and by building MOCs.


Brian (left) with LEGO Master Buildr Dan Steininger during an R2D2 build event, 2010.

And an AFOL without a LUG is missing out on what a LUG has to offer. Mainly friendship, building techniques, how to find the best deal on LEGO (Trust me — this is important.  –ed.), sharing a hobby with others and collaborating on a layout for the public.  In short, join a LUG and if there isn’t one near you start one.  In the words of the great Yoda, “Do, there is no try.”

Cuusoo Projects by ILUGNY Members

One of my fellow LUG members and regular Brickset tipster Murphquake just alerted me to some Cuusoo projects posted by new ILUGNY member C3brix.  I’m using it as an excuse to post about the newly discovered projects, and some other projects by ILUGNY member SonicStarlight:

First up: Ghostbusters Ultimate Collection (http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/35110)

Ghostbusters Ultimate Collection on Cuusoo

Not sure where to start on this one.  Maybe I’ll just throw it out there that I had the Kenner Ghostbusters Firehouse playset (https://www.google.com/search?q=kenner+ghostbusters+firehouse) when I was a kid, and C3brix‘ rendition is way cooler.  There are many Ghostbusters projects on Cuusoo, but this is by far the largest and most detailed.  I’m not going to make any guesses on what LEGO might say about the license, but it was a Saturday morning cartoon for a while.

Next at bat: STARTREK NCC-1701 STARSHIP ENTERPRISE (http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/35107)


Again, from C3brix, it’s an excellent reproduction of the enterprise from the new Star Trek franchise (which from what I understand, is a significantly larger ship than the NCC-1701 we knew and loved from TOS).  With a new Star Trek movie coming out this summer, it might be time for LEGO to cash in on the trekkie fan base.

Switching gears: Galaxy Diner and Empire Theater (http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/10585)

Galaxy Diner and Empire Theater

This theater and attached diner from prolific modular builder SonicStarlight is great, not only for the great aesthetic on the outside, but the detail on the inside.  There are tons of pictures of it on flickr, and we’ve even got the ldd file for a mini version here: GDET Mini Modular

Last but certainly not least: Bricklyn Borough Courthouse (http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/10475)

Bricklyn Borough Courthouse

Another one of SonicStarlight’s creations, this is an immense building, and is simply jam packed full of awesome.  From the hexagonal floor patterns, to the office equipment and elevators, there’s a lot going on in this building.  To give you a sense of size, the LEGO modular town hall is dwarfed by this building.

Anything else?

So, today I found out about two Cuusoo projects I didn’t know about, and took some time to grandstand about some projects that deserve more attention.  Anyone else have projects on Cuusoo that they’ve been keeping a secret?