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The Magazine for LEGO® Enthusiasts of All Ages! Issue 41 • September 2016



in the US

Out of This World LEGO! Space Building with Lia Chan Board 2001: a Space Odyssey’s Orion with Nick Dean John Wolfe’s Rockets

Instructions AND MORE! ISBN-10: 1-60549-070-9 ISBN-13: 978-1-60549-070-0 50895

9 781605 490700

Issue 41 • September 2016


From the Editor........................................................2

Review A Look at LEGO’s Ghostbusters HQ...............3

People Building a Space Program..............................10 Luigi Priori: Classic Space Cremona............20 John Wolfe: Rocketman....................................29 Brick in the USSR: Russian Spacecraft.......37 Nick Dean’s Spaceplane Orion......................42

Building You Can Build It: MINI Soyuz Spacecraft....................................46 Minifigure Customization 101: Engineering a Custom Minifig..................51

Community Brickfilming with Kevin Ulrich......................57 Creating a LEGO Idea: Billy Burg’s L.E.G.O................................................60 Countdown to Building...................................67 Community Ads...................................................78 Last Word.................................................................79 AFOLs........................................................................80

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Building A Space Program Article by Lia Chan Apollo 17 astronaut at Space Center Houston Starship Gallery.

A new builder on the scene talks about building her own spaceships, and launchers, and spacemen...


Space walking astronaut with MMU/EMU.

I started playing with LEGO when I was about 4 years old. One of my mom’s best friends gave me two sets, the Basic Building set numbers 10 and 50. I wasn’t really into LEGO at that point with these two sets. It wasn’t until I got the Advance Basic Set 911 that I was hooked. By the time I was 7 years old, I was playing with Technic sets, with the first being the set 856 Bulldozer and the set 960 Power Pack. I had many more sets since then, but I own them mostly to use them for parts. The only LEGO sets that I would build from instructions are LEGO Technic sets since I do like to sit for hours playing with them. My love for aviation and space exploration started around the same time that I got into playing with LEGO. Since I was still in Hong Kong at the time, I remember sitting on the roof top at my cousin’s house watching planes landing at Kai Tak Airport. I would build planes out of LEGO and little cities and have my own tiny version of the airport. The James Bond movie Moonraker was what got me hooked with space exploration. I did build my own version of the Space Shuttle and space station, and I wanted to get all those LEGO Classic Space sets. I did put off the love of space exploration for awhile, but really got back into it when the Space Shuttle mission 51-L became the highlight in my sixth grade science class. I remember everyone was excited about a teacher going into space. After the Challenger accident, I would try to find out as much about the Space Shuttle and the future for space flight as possible. Most of the things I built out of LEGO since then were space-related.

Space Shuttle at Launch Pad 39A My very first huge space related project was the Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A. LEGO had come up with the set 10231 Shuttle Expedition back in 2011. That got me thinking about creating the entire launch pad. It took me about three months to build. I was lucky enough to find detailed blueprints, photographs, and drawings from the NASA website. Building large MOCs really did test my limits on building techniques. It took me about two weeks just to get the design right for the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) to have it strong enough to support its own weight. I did have several mishaps while I was building this MOC. I actually knocked down the entire launch tower and RSS while I was putting the mobile launcher onto the pad. I went to my first LEGO convention the following year (2012), Brick Fiesta in Houston, TX. The only MOC I took with me was the KSC launch Pad. I didn’t know anyone at the convention at the time. Only one or two people knew I was the one who made the launch pad, since they saw me setting it up. Everyone at the convention finally found out that I was the one who made the MOC at the award ceremony. I won in the Best of Space large category. I think I was a little more well known in the TEX-LUG community right after that. The biggest improvements that I have made to the MOC since then is I made it motorized. I used 4 LEGO L-motors, 1 LEGO XL motor, 4 LEGO M-motors, 1 S-Brick, 1-LEGO 8881 Battery box, 2-LEGO 88800 Battery boxes, and 2 IR Receivers. I will eventually add another S-Brick so I won’t have to use the IR receivers anymore. Since I have so little room to work with inside the crawler, I had to make the support legs on the launch pad to raise and lower instead of having the crawler to raise and lower. The Rotating Service structure does move to enclose the shuttle in the servicing mode. The crew access arm and liquid oxygen vent arm swing forward. I will add LED lights and a fog machine later to simulate a shuttle launch at my next convention.

Construction of the Rotating Service Structure.

Detail of the Fixed Service Structure of Launch Pad 39A.



Luigi and his Winter Village (only partially visible in the photo) at ItLUG Lecco 2014.

Luigi Priori: Classic Space Cremona Interview by Francesco Spreafico Photography by Luigi Priori

This issue we go to Italy, interviewing one of the best ItLUG (Italian LEGO® Users Group) builders: Luigi Priori, wellknown in the Italian AFOL world for his Winter Village… and not just for that anymore! BrickJournal: Hello Luigi, could you introduce yourself to our readers? Luigi Priori: My name is Luigi Priori, I live in Cremona, a town in the north of Italy, and in the AFOL world I’m known as Priovit70. In 2010, after discovering the ItLUG website, I realized that I was not the only adult who had started building with LEGO bricks again. So, together with six friends of mine, I founded the “Cremona Bricks” association, with the intent of gathering fans of LEGO from my hometown


and the surrounding area. Four years later, after Cremona Bricks had been recognized by the LEGO Group as a LUG, I became its Ambassador. Now Cremona Bricks has 95 members and still growing. Obviously, I’m very happy with that. Routine question: did you have a Dark Age? And if you did, how long did it last and how did you get out of it? I think that almost every AFOL experiences a Dark Age. Years pass, priorities and tastes change, you become 18 and you don’t even look at bricks anymore. That happened to me too. It’s nothing odd. In 1993, while I was at university, I bought some Pirates sets, like the Renegade Runner (#6268), and those brought me out of my Dark Age for a little while. After that, I was definitively through with LEGO for fifteen long years. I kept loving LEGO, as I browsed avidly through the new catalogs whenever I had the chance to keep me up-to-date with sets and themes, but nothing more than that. Until, in 2009, surfing on the Web, I chanced upon a picture of the upcoming set 10199, the Winter Toy Shop, just presented, but not available yet in Italy. Being a mountains and snow enthusiast, I could hardly believe my eyes seeing such a set, with an unquestionable mountain style and a lot of snow, even if in form of white bricks. It was love at first sight! I bought it immediately from a California seller on eBay (because I didn’t even know of LEGO Shop@Home) and, just in time

because I think that photos are not meant be seen only on a computer screen. In all these photos, the main character sometimes comes with co-stars... well, it’s not that difficult to guess, that my sig-fig and often the “memoirs” are autobiographical in a certain way.

“Renovation Works” from Benny’s Adventures in Space—Benny and Mr. Robot start renovating their space station.

In the wake of this series, and with the renewed passion for Classic Space, I started a new project, similar to the old one, but with Benny as the main character. So, in this last year, I’ve been working on Benny’s Adventures in Space, that counts, for now, more than 100 photos. I had a book printed for some friends with the first 40 pictures, and a new one is almost on its way. The biggest difference between the two projects is that in the latest one the pictures tell a story that I have vaguely in my mind, and that sometimes takes sudden turns, because of crazy, totally unexpected ideas. The photos are, for the most part, taken in Benny’s space station. The project has been on hold for some months because I was very busy working on a new MOC I presented at the latest event held by my LUG, “Mattoncini all’ombra del Torrazzo” (“Bricks in the shade of Torrazzo”, the tall bell tower of my hometown’s cathedral). Obviously it’s a space MOC, a typical American diner in Classic Space colors, with a robot as owner and chef: he’s really grumpy, but he makes the best hot dogs of the southern quadrants. This creation is a further evolution

“Let’s Get This Party Started!!” from Benny’s Adventures in Space—Benny gives an outpost warming party (blogged by BrickNerd on July 19, 2015).

“Fully Charged and Ready to Cook!” from Benny’s Adventures in Space. Benny, sick and tired of his space dried food, decided to buy a robot chef. “Big Wednesday” from Benny’s Adventures in Space—Benny and Mr. Robot are about to surf. LEGO replica of the famous photo “One last peek before bedtime” of Captain Samantha Cristoforetti aboard the ISS.


One of the characters of Luigi’s latest MOC. He’s a distant cousin of the more famous HAL 9000 and shares with it some behavior problems. He’s the grumpy owner and chef of Al’s space diner, where you can find the best hot dogs of the southern quadrants.





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John’s Saturn V first stage.

Saturn V First Stage The real Saturn V first stage.

John Wolfe: Rocketman! Article by John Wolfe

Origins My idea for building a rocket came from a family trip to New Orleans in 2011. While there we visited the Michoud Assembly facility where NASA and their contractors built the Saturn V first stage, and they still have one on display outside. I took many photos for reference and began thinking about how I could build it in LEGO.

The first model I built was an S-1C first stage booster that measured 33’ diameter by 178’ tall. After several tries at making a brick-built cylindrical structure, I settled on a diameter of 22 studs—1.5 feet per stud. From that dimension, I calculated that the height should be 1.9 feet per brick. To match my picture from New Orleans, I also built the shop transporter that was used to move the boosters around during manufacturing and testing. Initially I didn’t think about using a specific scale, I just used 1.5 feet per stud and 1.9 feet per brick. Eventually, I calculated this as approximately 1:60 scale. This is slightly too small to be minifig scale, but the math worked out better for many of the pieces I used. All of the large rockets I’ve built has been to this same 1:60 scale. It’s important for me to have the correct sizes, but I think it is more important to be able to show the relative sizes of most of our rockets and spacecraft. I was happy to have built a MOC that was special to me, but my LUG friends felt I shouldn’t stop at only a first stage. They challenged me to build a complete Saturn V rocket, a kind of challenge they would continue many times.


Saturn V

I set out in late 2011 to build the additional stages, but I began to have difficulties with weight and fragility. The first stage had to be rebuilt with Technic beams inside to hold the layers together. This kept everything tight and has been used in all my larger rockets since. The enormity of the project became apparent as my 1.5/1.9 scale meant that the whole rocket was going to be just over 6 feet tall. But the scale helped as the 4x4 curved panels gave me the opportunity to have a true round section for the service module. It wasn’t a perfect match on diameter, but it was close enough to use and looked much better than a brick-built cylinder. My first showing of the full rocket was at Brickworld in 2012. It was impressive as it stood 6 feet tall and was displayed on top of the show tables. This version was 192 bricks tall and weighed 20 pounds. Of course I didn’t count how many pieces were used, so I had to make a guess when people would ask at shows.

More Rockets My LUG friends again challenged me to build a tower and launch platform, but I felt that was too large of a project and kept myself busy building several more rockets. My chosen scale of 1.5/1.9 made building a Mercury/ Redstone rocket almost perfect for using 4-stud diameter cylinders. And the Gemini/Titan rocket was almost perfect for the 6-stud diameter cylinders. So far my scale had lucked out for three different rockets. After these two “round” rockets, I built a brick-based Saturn IB rocket that was 14 studs in diameter. While not as tall as the Saturn V, it was still very large at almost 100 bricks tall. I did have a desire to build a tower and launch platform, so I decided to go simple and build one scaled for the LEGO Saturn V model from set #7468. To go along with this display, I also built a Space Shuttle and launch platform of roughly the same scale as #7468.

Other rockets, from left to right: Saturn I-B, Gemini/Titan, and Mercury/Redstone.


More of John’s rockets: a microscale space shuttle and Saturn V with gantry.


The Vostok spacecraft.

Break out the vodka, comrades! Sit back and enjoy these spacecrafts straight from the Soviet Union. The famous Vostok and Soyuz are two of the most notable Russian spacecrafts. I had the privilege of building these for a client who is an out-ofthis-world space enthusiast. His name is Jordi Gasull, he is a well-known film writer from Spain, and his latest film Capture the Flag (an animated feature) is all about space. Over a number of years, I have created a wide variety of fictional and real world spacecrafts for him. Everything from the Lunar Rover, to the Apollo 11 command module, to the Moon Tanks and Rocket from the Tintin comics, and even the EVA Pod and Moonbus from 2001: A Space Odyssey. These two particular Russian spacecraft were a fun challenge. Not only did I want to accurately capture the shape, but I also wanted to include some interior details and room for minifigures. I just couldn’t justify making the Vostok without a Yuri Gagarin minifigure. The biggest challenge for both of these crafts was to capture the appropriate shaping of the cylindrical and sloping shapes. On the Vostok, the round capsule was very difficult to achieve while still leaving room for the figure. The easiest way to remove the figure while keeping a strong spherical shape was to have a removable seat for the figure.

Brick in the USSR: Russian Spacecraft by Tyler Clites Article and Photography by Tyler Clites


The Soyuz spacecraft.

The Soyuz is much larger and left more room for the three minifigures. Creating rounded shapes that could be easily opened to allow access to the interior made for an interesting challenge. The cylindrical back section too was tricky because I needed to capture a very specific diameter.

After building these two models, I have a huge appreciation for the new brackets that LEGO has given us in recent years. They were vital in so many areas of the construction on these two crafts.

The Soyuz modules.



The Orion Spaceplane.

Nick Dean’s

Spaceplane Orion

Article by Joe Meno

Nick Dean started his hobby a few years ago as a TFOL (Teen Fan of LEGO) and became well-known for building military models, and then turned to other themes. One of his most recent creations is a replica of the Pan Am spaceplane Orion, seen in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. BrickJournal talked to him about building the spacecraft. BrickJournal: To start the interview: What do you do? Nick Dean: I’m an industrial designer. Industrial design is the design of the aesthetics and usability of products for mass production. I recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design in April of 2016 and am currently interning at Smart Design, in NYC. When did you start building? I started building around the same time as most kids. My first LEGO set was 6441, Deep Sea Refuge. Like a lot of TFOLs today, rather than have a Dark Age, I discovered the online LEGO community in Sixth or Seventh Grade and kept building with the help of the community.

Another angle.

A look at the tail.


What were your favorite themes? That’s a tough one. I’ve always been partial to the Xtreme Team sets. And the original Star Wars sets. And the divers sets. And the Life on Mars Sets. Actually, one of my favorites was the line-up LEGO did for the Tour De France years ago. I got one of the sets off eBay and cherished it… until I found a use for its parts, at least. What got you into space building? I’ve always loved space. I had plenty of non-LEGO space toys as a kid, and visited Kennedy and Huntsville when I was 7. I think ultimately however, the reason I built space was I ran into Classic Space Forums (classic-space. com) when I first found my way into the online LEGO fan community. I saw people like Chris Giddens, Adrian Drake, and Mark Stafford building the first SHIPs and I was awestruck and wanted to be on their level. The Classic Space Forums were very welcoming to young builders and provided plenty of constructive criticism then.

You Can Build It MINI Model

MINI Soyuz Spacecraft

Design and Instructions by Christopher Deck Hello everybody, I am certainly glad to join you again for the current issue of BrickJournal! I am also particularly excited about the lead topic of this issue—Real Space! As some of you might remember, there was the fantastic official real space theme called Discovery in the year 2003, coming with a badge of six sets. I very much liked this theme and found it very inspiring, as it featured huge designer models as well as micro-scaled models. It was this real space theme and the first wave of Star Wars mini models of the same year that encouraged me to start building my own mini models. I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute my first mini model to the Discovery space theme here and now in this issue. Together with you, we will build a mini

version of the Soyuz spacecraft which is used to shuttle astronauts to the International Space Station in orbit around Earth. I hope you will find this a nice addition to your real space collection! Just one small note about the construction: While the construction is pretty straight-forward this time, and is concentrated about that cool cylinder piece which I always wanted to use for a mini model, you might not have enough pearl gold plates for the solar panels. But no worries, you can also easily replace them with orange or yellow ones. I wish you happy building and see you next time!

You can view Christopher’s webpage by going to or scanning this QR code!


Don’t miss Jared K. Burks’ two books Minifigure Customization: Populate Your World! and its sequel Minifigure Customization: Why Live In The Box? (both are available now at


This hobby has brought me many opportunities and enjoyment. The activity I enjoy more than most any other is watching the creative process of children. This is why I am always excited to help out at events at my local Children’s Museum of Houston. Recently I was asked to plan an activity for the Maker’s Space at the museum to celebrate National Engineering Week. I had to ask myself what to do—clearly a custom figure, but which one, and how to wrap it in an engineering concept? The most famous fictitious engineer of all times, Scotty, “I’ve given her all I can Captain, and I can’t give her no more!”? Naw, this would be too easy and doesn’t use enough engineering techniques. So I planned on capitalizing on that creative muscle children have to create an “Alien Engineer.” I wanted to allow them to completely create something for their own and customize as many details as they would like. Given that this was an event at the Museum, I had to create the foundations for their creations, which is what I will be covering in this article. To create a cohesive set of figures for the children, I had to decide on the color palette for the figures and all the parts the children and I would be creating. I commonly start with a color palette when designing any custom figure. I make sure not only all the colors used in the design fit the palette, but the accessories and weapons do as well. This is a practice LEGO follows as well, which is why we end up with all these oddly colored weapons and accessories on occasion.

Minifig Customization 101

Engineering a Custom Minifigure! Article by Jared K. Burks

This started with the decal designs for their Alien Engineers. I wanted to base this on a NASA space suit, preferably one that was a bit more futuristic, so I looked into concept art. To look at concept art I searched the web and found a suitable concept suit for the Alien Engineer to wear that resembled current suits, but had the futuristic edge I needed for the figure. The inspirational concept art was created by Oscar Cafaro, and published on the Humans in Space website. Color Palette



Astronaut downtime. My Homage to the FebRovery Flickr group—the spirit of Lego in online form!

Creating a LEGO Idea:

Billy Burg’s L.E.G.O. Article and Photography by Billy Burg Surface Skimmer mapping the lunar surface.

Billy Burg is a 40-something AFOL from the UK. He’s also a lover of: climbing, cycling, whisky, the great outdoors, science (I was a researcher/academic in Organic Chemistry), aviation and spaceflight, nature, music, photography and most things small—especially little plastic bricks! Bitten by a tick, he contracted Lyme Disease 12 years ago. As a result, he has been very ill and largely housebound since. Billy has been rediscovering LEGO and when up to it, for him, putting bricks together has been a great therapy and real lifesaver. Billy’s building began in 2010 with an alternate build to a LEGO Technic motorcycle. From there he progressed to building modern vehicles and now builds space-related builds and models. His latest project is one close to his heart: the Lunar Exploration Geological Outpost, or L.E.G.O. Inspiration for the set came from a love for the Classic Space sets. While Benny and his Spaceship were kind of cool, his ship did not feel like the Classic sets of old. Also, there are no Classic Space sets to buy at the moment! No disrespect meant to LEGO, as they make the most wonderful fun creative ‘system’ in the world, but Billy thought any Classic Spacer knew what he meant:


“I’ve always loved the blue classic space men. They always put a smile on my face, so by default they would have to be my favourite thing about the set I designed. In terms of the rest of the Idea/set, it’s hard to pick out a most-liked feature, which brings me nicely on to the most difficult aspects of the design process for me. As might be imagined, a lot of my other Flickr models/uploads are intended as display rather than playthings.”

LL-1923 Galaxy Patroller off on a mission.

Billy’s idea is intended to be a fun self-contained play set. There is a larger Galaxy Patroller spaceship, a 6 -wheeled Lunar Utility Vehicle, a Lunar Surface Skimmer for zipping across and mapping the lunar surface, together with a total of six minifigures, dog- and hover-bots plus other accessories. Including the baseplate, there are just under 800 pieces in total. He thinks a retail price of £60-65 (or $70-80) should be realistically achievable. Each model has been developed to be child friendly and only ‘legal’ LEGO connections have been used to join the parts together. The Galaxy Patroller (above) has been dropped from several feet and it stays virtually intact. It features retractable undercarriage, opening canopy and removable under-wing stores. It’s fun to play with and is very swoosh-able!

The Lunar Utility Vehicle and Lunar Surface Skimmer (below) are also robustly built. The Utility Vehicle features a detailed seating area, spare air-tanks for the astronauts, tools, working rear suspension, multi-position crane/grappling claw and sides that can be lowered to allow the easy loading of the accessories. The Surface Skimmer features retractable landing gear, a large underside radar for mapping the lunar surface and a positionable rear radar dish for monitoring the flights of the Galaxy Patroller. Other accessories include a small transportable radar station, cargo for the Utility Vehicle, a tool box, a jet pack for one of the astronauts, and roller skates and hand held rockets to give the Outpost team something to do on their days off!

Utility Vehicle, Surface Skimmer, crew and accessories. Ready for play.



Love to build with LEGO® bricks? Got an idea for a new LEGO product? Got Internet access? Great! Then you have all the criteria needed for designing the next LEGO Ideas product!

Upload your idea on and it might end up being a real LEGO product. Put your creativity to the test today!

LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2015 The LEGO Group.


Printed in China


Countdown to Building Article by Valerie Roche

My name is Valerie Roche, I am the mother of two creative “AFOL” children. Everything started about eight years ago when my husband found a trunk containing his old LEGO bricks from the ’70s, which has given our family passion for LEGO. Having purchased and assembled many LEGO sets, we quickly realized that we obviously still lacked the necessary bricks to build our own original designs! It was then that we discovered this awesome freeware: LEGO Digital Designer. From that moment, my children have had the freedom to design without the limits of missing pieces. My husband and I have tried to help realize some of our children’s ideas by bringing our experience in the artistic or mechanical and technical fields. The concept of the LEGO collaborative design was born! I leave it to my children to do all the research and documentation for their chosen project ideas because I think it brings more culture in this wonderful educational plastic brick. Once the project is finalized, we submit it at LEGO Ideas so that maybe, it becomes an official LEGO sets sold in toy stores. Because I think again that for my children, in addition to the satisfaction of one day seeing one of their idea compete with LEGO Group products, this will bring to them some values like humility, culture of well finished work, and the spirit of competition. After submitting twenty family original projects, I was invited by some LEGO Ideas friends to collaborate with Dr. Circe Verba on two science-related projects called Research Geology and Research Geology Adventures. Left: A version of the Apollo 11 rocket with the launch gantry and transporter crawler. Below: A closer look at the crawler.




OUT OF THIS WORLD LEGO! Space-themed LEGO creations of LIA CHAN, 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Orion space plane by NICK DEAN, and Pre-Classic Space builder CHRIS GIDDENS! Plus: Orbit the LEGO community with JARED K. BURKS’ minifigure customizing, step-by-step “You Can Build It� instructions by CHRISTOPHER DECK, BrickNerd DIY Fan Art, MINDSTORMS robotics lessons by DAMIEN KEE, and more! (84 FULL-COLOR pages) $8.95 (Digital Edition) $3.95

The Space Launch System.

NASA Space Launch System Orion Program

In our latest project, NASA SLS Orion Program, on the theme of “Journey to Mars!� (online at LEGO Ideas in June 2016), Dr Emmanuel Urquieta, Patrick Hess and I wanted this design to be modern and innovative, yet look to the future. This new collaborative project and also the Project: Saturn V & Mobile Launcher will be built in real LEGO bricks E\'U(PPDQXHO8UTXLHWDGXULQJDQR΀FLDOPLVVLRQIRU NASA at Houston Texas: HERA CRM3 mission XI. The training starts on June 28, 2016, Mission day one on July DQGVSODVKGRZQGD\VODWHU7KH+(5$;,FUHZLV made up of three males and one female. Dr. Urquieta is one of the crew members and will be assembling the Saturn V LEGO model designed by Valerie Roche and Patrick Hess, as well as an Orion LEGO model. This mission is honoring Apollo XI by using some of the details from the patch into the HERA XI patch. The assembly of the Saturn V rocket also will serve as a tribute to Apollo XI. This brand-new 1:600 scale, 785-piece model features similar attention to detail and great playability as previous nanoscale designs. A few of these details include:


BrickJournal #41  

BrickJournal #41 (84 full-color pages, $8.95), the magazine for LEGO enthusiasts, goes into space to make an out-of-this-world issue with th...