27 September 2013

Bricks, Inc.

"The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES."

Extract from T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

When we were kids and played with LEGO® alone, naming an element was no issue; we had a mental image of what we wanted and we located it. But many of us also liked to build with our siblings and friends and this is where our naming issues began. I might have asked my sister for "a red two-er" but this did not guarantee I would be passed the red 2X2 brick I had in my mind - she may have given me a red 1X2 plate instead. More successful were our nicknames; if I asked for a "milk bottle" I would confidently get a white 1X1 round brick and an "empty milk bottle" would gain me one in Trans-Clear [BL] / Transparent [TLG]. Those were simpler times. Now milk is sold in all kinds of packaging by many different companies.


14 September 2013

Back to basics

When I started this blog I was fearful there wouldn't be enough in the way of new elements to keep it going. Quite the reverse is true... I still have elements I obtained in June waiting for their moment of glory! This really comes down to the time involved in each post - researching, playing with the new parts and making some tablescraps from them, photography, Photoshopping (I don't like dust)... oh yeah, and writing.

So today I figured I would play a little catch-up, by listing a few of the new elements released recently that frankly don't need any tablescrapping from me... you know what they do already, 'cos they're plates and bricks. This is not a complete listing, I just wanted to bring some of the cool stuff on my "to-do" list to your attention, in the hope you have need of some of these.

8 September 2013

The jumper that warms my heart

Whenever AFOLs are asked to name their favourite LEGO® parts, there are a handful that consistently make the grade. One is the jumper plate, because it is the cornerstone of the "offset technique" - it permits finer detailing by "jumping" i.e. shifting parts placed on top of it by the width of half a brick. Well, I bring news today in the world of offset, because the jumper has just evolved. It can now also jump parts placed underneath it.

Plate 1X2 W. 1 Knob

Element ID 6066097 | Design ID 15573

Colour Light Bluish Grey [BL]/Medium Stone Grey [TLG]




4 September 2013

Walkie Scorchie vs. LEGO®

The last time London architecture threatened my very existence was in June 2000 on the day the Millennium Bridge opened and then unexpectedly wobbled a lot. It was thrilling (until I thought about those "When Things Go Wrong" kind of TV shows and wondered if I was about to end up in the Thames). So when I read yesterday that a new city office block under construction, nicknamed the Walkie Talkie thanks to its shape, was inadvertently creating a concentrated beam of sunlight strong enough to melt the plastic on the body of someone's Jaguar (and, it was soon discovered, hot enough to fry an egg), I had to check it out. If only to answer the terribly important question facing us all - can it melt LEGO?

2 September 2013

LEGO® Play Book, an insider's view

Let me start with some trans-clearancy; I'm not discussing new elements today, this post is frankly a bit of a plug! Today sees the official release of a book that some AFOL colleagues and I have contributed models to, so I'm a tad excited.

©DK 2013
"LEGO® Play Book" has been produced by Dorling Kindersley Publishing (DK) and follows the same concept as 2011's "The LEGO® Ideas Book" (which was back in a New York Times Bestseller List again as recently as May this year). A group of AFOLs were each given a theme to produce models in and each forms a chapter of the book. The models are presented in the layout style that DK are renowned for: essentially richly annotated visuals. There are no instructions; these models are intended to inspire rather than be imitated but that said, there are lots of exploded views and annotations to explain how the trickier things were achieved. So it's by no means just a kiddy's book - hey, they even use the term SNOT! Racey stuff. You won't find any brand new elements in there though, as the models were created almost a year ago now. But I suspect you'll spot plenty of nice piece usage you've not tried before, indeed having now seen everyone else's work I can confirm there's many techniques I intend to nick be inspired by!