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The Magazine for LEGO® Enthusiasts of All Ages! Issue 42 • November 2016



in the US

Looking and Learning at LEGO Education

WeDo Robots! Reviewing the New TECHNIC Porsche! Modular Building! Instructions AND MORE!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60549-071-7 ISBN-10: 1-60549-071-7 50895

9 781605 490717

Meet Milo: WeDo’s Spokesbot

Issue 42 • November 2016


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


Bruce B. Heller’s LA City Hall..................................................................3 gets his own Minifigure!.....................7 Sneak Peek: Benjamin Hann’s Mech Bay............................10


Technic Set Review: Porsche 911 GT3 RS............................................12 Making Modular Castles!....................................19 Making Futuristic Modular Interiors!...........25 Minifigure Customization 101: Minecraft!..................................................................31 You Can Build It: MINI Resurgent and Imperial Star Destroyers.........................36 BrickNerd’s DIY Fan Art: MINI Space Shuttle and Crawler.....................40 Godspeed John Glenn.........................................44


The JUNO Diaries: How 3 Minifigures Made it to Jupiter!.....46 Ultimate Builders Competition.......................52 LEGO Education and NASA: Space Explorers!....................................................55 Redoing the WeDo.................................................61 A Talk with Colin Gillespie: Leading LEGO Education Forward............68 Pavel Mikush’s Universal Assistant Robot for People with Visual Disabilities...............72 Community Ads......................................................78 Last Word.....................................................................79 AFOLs.............................................................................80

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Bruce B. Heller’s

Los Angeles City Hall Article by Joe Meno

For animation artist Bruce B. Heller, it took a movie to get him back into building. The movie? The LEGO Movie, of course. For him, the movie was a love letter to the brick and his childhood, so it wasn’t long before he picked up the bricks again. He also bought the Master Building Academy sets, which validated the building habits Bruce had in childhood, and supplemented them with new ones. He also started collecting at least one set of every theme that was out—and he found so many new elements compared to the time he built in the ’90s. However, the MBA sets played a big part in his current project, Los Angeles City Hall.

Colin Gillespie, President of LEGO Education North America.


An overhead view of City Hall.

It didn’t take much building for Bruce to start this project— in fact, he only did a couple of custom models beforehand. From those small models and the MBA sets, he learned some of the techniques that he used in the City Hall model. He wanted to build City Hall because he wanted to build something with the bricks in the Architecture Studio set and wanted his model to be iconic and recognizable. While he was considering what to build, he was ridesharing in LA, so he saw amazing buildings every day.

Apparently, the prototype was recognizable, as Nate Hayward, a Public Projects Manager at City Hall, saw it and invited Bruce to a tour of the actual building. There, Bruce was inspired to build a better and more accurate version of City Hall. To do this, he researched the building and the surrounding area, where he made a discovery: the building was on a hill. This would make building the model more challenging, as the ground floor on one side is actually the third or fourth floor on the opposite side of the building.

Once he chose his subject, it took him one night to make a prototype. He started with the tower, which is recognizable from shows such as Dragnet and sci-fi flicks. If he could get the tower to look right in the smallest scale possible, the rest would fall into place.

He began building in LEGO Digital Designer but reached a point where he needed to build in real brick to figure things out. Working too small and dense made moving stuff around hard. By the time he had built the tower and its wings in LDD, he was also building with real brick and rebuilding



Gets His Own Minifigure Article by David Calkins Photos by Ben Gibbs and Joe Meno Have you wondered what it would be like to get your very own minifig? Obviously, this is no small feat. There are fewer than 100 minifigs of real people in existence (not movie characters, but actual people). LEGO Education recently honored professional musician, producer, inventor, and educational philanthropist with his very own minifig. While most people know that is a highly successful musician, few know that he grew up in a poor neighborhood of Los Angeles and is an entirely self-made millionaire. Although he grew up in the Estrada Courts housing projects within the poor Boyle Heights neighborhood of LA, his mother wanted to ensure he grew up to be great, so she sent him to John Marshall High School to help him focus on music and technology. Well, you probably know the rest of the story. He went on to co-found the Black Eyed Peas and has had numerous #1 songs and ubiquitous airplay. What most people don’t know is that Will never forgot his roots.

An important part of Los Angeles Unified School District is their after-school program, LA’s BEST. One of the things that LA’s BEST recognizes is that one of the most important parts of a child’s daily life isn’t just in-school class hours, but the 3-5 hours between the end of the school day (about 2:30) until their parents get home (between 6 and 7pm.) LA’s BEST is a structured after-school program serving over 200 schools in LA, helping to keep kids excited about learning and to keep them off the streets after the normal end-of-school bell rings. One of their most successful programs is with LEGO Education. Using everything from StoryStarter for early elementary to MINDSTORMS sets in their middle schools, LA’s BEST does an excellent job of continuing to educate kids after the normal school day—and with MINDSTORMS—to get them curious and involved in programming and technology. What most people would never know, is that this is how Will got started with the technology that supports his music. And he hasn’t forgotten that.


TECHNIC Set Review

Porsche 911 GT3 RS Article by Geoff Gray

Photography by Geoff Gray, Porsche and The LEGO Group


On April 25, 2016 The LEGO Group announced the upcoming release of set number 42056, the LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS. The set was officially released for purchase on June 1, 2016 in certain markets, and will be more broadly available in August, 2016. The set was designed by Andrew Woodman and Uwe Wabra (their biographies, along with the full text from an interview provided to BrickJournal by The LEGO Group can be found here). The LEGO Group partnered with Porsche AG to design and release this model. BrickJournal was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of the set from The LEGO Group, and the following article reflects Geoff’s opinion of this set.

Picture of the set’s box. Courtesy of The LEGO Group.

Item Pieces Dimensions Model Scale Price

About the Actual Car To fully appreciate the beauty of this model, you also need to know a little about the real car. While I am not an expert in high end sports cars, I do know a little about them and I love learning more. When I found out that I would be receiving a set to review, I immediately went to Porsche’s website and started digging into the specs and details about the real car itself. Porsche has done a good job of exposing details so that you can drill into several different key design and engineering aspects of the car. For instance, the engine is designed with two oil pumps per cylinder, plus two more at the crankcase. This is so that oil stays flowing to all parts of the engine regardless of the G-forces being applied “especially in the presence of the powerful lateral and longitudinal forces that can be experienced on the racetrack” ( usa/models/911/911-gt3-rs/drive/dry-sump-lubrication/). Another interesting feature on the car is called Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK). It is a double-clutch transmission that allows the accelerator pedal to remain depressed while the driver shifts gears using buttons on the steering wheel (http:// porsche-doppelkupplung-pdk/). This feature is especially important to call out since the LEGO model contains the shifters on the steering wheel assembly. Although I doubt I will get a chance to take one of these beauties for a spin on a test track, I can still dream about it. I had a couple of opportunities to drive a 1984 911 Carrera 3.2 Cabriolet (my parents bought one the first year it was released) and I could tell how well it handled. My father had participated in road rallies when he first moved to South Carolina, racing a 1958 Triumph TR-3, so I learned a few tricks about handling and driving from him. Reading about this new machine, I can only imagine how well it must handle.

42056 2704 22.4” by 9.8” by 6.7” ~1:8 $299.00 US

“When we started our initial drafts in 2013, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS project remained top secret. Therefore, I had to build the first LEGO version using photos of the camouflaged prototype of the original from the internet. The first LEGO prototype was ready in a matter of weeks.” Quote taken from an official LEGO interview with Andrew and Uwe.

Pictures taken from the website.



Making Modular Castles! Article by Michael Kalkwarf Photography by Erik Bell Instructions by Joe Meno

I really did not play with LEGO as a kid; I got into building castles through my two young boys. It started with me building alongside them and quickly evolved into staying up late on Saturday nights to build them a new spaceship or castle. I have always had a weakness for castles and spaceships since I was a kid. I work in the technology industry where modular reusable code blocks are always a consideration. It was a natural step to start building space ship parts that were modular so that without staying up too late I could have something new for my kids to play with the next day. Â

After a while my kids asked me to build them a castle. My first castle section included the same LEGO TECHNIC pinhole design that I had used for my modular space ships. Since I have always been building for my kids, making it fun to play with as well as durable were always my primary design criteria. I quickly realized that I could not build a new castle section in an evening so I started thinking about making many small modules. Â I did a bunch of research to find a modular castle system that used small pieces allowing you to quickly rebuild a fun to play with castle in a short period of time. I was more interested in finding a way to build a castle for my kids than designing one. I was very disappointed that I was not able to find what I was looking for. In May of 2015 I started experimenting and having my kids and their friends play-test what I had built. By September I had a system that we were all very excited about. I decided to display for the first time at BrickCon where I was able to work with the visiting kids to help them build a castle how they wanted, and leave with a picture of their castle. It was a lot of fun and convinced me to pursue this idea further.



A double-length interior module.

Paul Hartzog is a dad, husband, musician, drummer, futurist, and programmer, who has been building since the first set he got, the Moon Landing set 565-1, in 1976. In those years he has built models to fit his love of design, so he has built modern houses, sports cars, and futuristic sci-fi. He also loves sharing and community and is one of the creators behind the LEGO Moonbase standardm way back when in 2002. Building things that will inspire others to build nad share, either individually or collaboratively, is another interst of his. He spends a lot of time grabbing images online of design— modern houses, sports cars, futuristic sci-fi movie interiors, spaceships, concept art, other people’s lego builds There’s a lot to be inspired by (in terms of building) for Paul. His latest project is building modular interiors. When asked what inspired him to work on interiors, he answers, “Several things. First, I love sci-fi interiors. Second, other systems that use modular designs—movie sets, game engines and textures. Third, a frustration with how long it takes to build things because I obsess over details. I needed a faster system.” For Paul, the real breakthrough in his design ideas came from videogame design and forums like polycount. As he notes, “In videogame design you simply can’t model everything, so you have modular shapes and textures that get mapped onto those shapes. It’s very efficient.” What are some of the highlights of his designs? Detail. Paul obsesses over detail. It really slows him down, but he feels happier with his results. He likes music that can be listened to many times, and still have new things to be discovered in it. The same goes for LEGO builds that he likes—he appreciates “many views” and always seeing something new. Paul’s modular design is simple but not complete. There are still some kinks to work out: the base, the height, connecting, stacking, etc. At this point he would love to attempt a community build. He states, “It’s not as simple or easy as Moonbase, but I think some dedicated builders could do something fun, and I think with more people involved, the evolution would go faster than simply me alone.”

Making Futuristic Modular Interiors! Article by Joe Meno Photography by Paul Hartzog Instructions by Joe Meno He continues, “My dream is to do a ship interior and then put a hull around it. I’m actually using Space Engineers as a test environment for building right now, where I am attempting the same thing. I test a lot of ideas in Lego Digital apps also.” For new builders, Paul offers this advice: • The motto around my house with me and my kids is this: “Building is re-building.” • Don’t get discouraged. Keep evolving and trying new things. Learn from others. • I love the way that LEGO turns so-called mistakes into learning opportunities. If something falls apart, make it sturdier; if it is ugly, make it more stylish. As a dad, I think there is an important life-lesson there.



For inspiration for this particular article, I looked to my eldest daughter Branwen, who has been completely taken with all things Minecraft: playing Minecraft, building LEGO Minecraft, and even watching Minecraft videos. She is consumed with the videos as she constantly learns something new about the game that inspires her creativity. Branwen has gravitated to watch one particular presenter, Joseph Garrett, otherwise known as Stampylonghead or Stampy Cat. His videos can be found here: https://www. While I know little of Minecraft beyond what I have picked up hearing Garrett’s videos running in the background I do know that he has a very unique Minecraft character, Stampy.

Minifig Customization 101

Minecraft! Article by Jared K. Burks

So I decided to make my daughter a Stampy Cat Minecraft figure and show everyone here how I did it.

What Color is Stampy?

I started this figure by trying to determine what color Stampy is in a LEGO context. As this figure is for my daughter, I showed her all the available color options (Orange, Medium Orange, Bright Light Orange, and Yellow). I was hoping she would choose yellow or orange as there are Minecraft heads available in both of these colors. Branwen decided that Stampy was Bright Light Orange. Luckily there are complete figure parts available in Bright Light Orange, however there isn’t a LEGO Minecraft head available in that color. So I had two options: To paint or to mold and cast a Minecraft head in this color. If you have ever tried to color match LEGO elements, you are aware of just how difficult it can be due to how color changes in different lighting environments. I wanted something more hard wearing as this is for my daughter, so I decided to mold and cast.

Some reference of Stampy Cat.


I am going to be covering multiple techniques in this article (pressure molding, pressure casting, and decal design and application). As such I am going to go over the details quickly; if you want or need more information, please see the videos, or for the most detail, my books on Minifigure Customization. My focus for this article will be on the processes I used to create the figure and how decisions were made at the various steps.

Making a Block Head Mold

Color matching.

Head on the block. By using a 2x2 tile with a hole cut in the middle, the head can be easily supported while casting. This blocks the interior space while creating the first half of the mold. Simply use the tube on the bottom of the tile as a guide to cut the hole.

The mold box.


Molding the LEGO Minecraft head presents an interesting challenge due to its size and shape. The head is one of the departures in the typical LEGO system as it is 1.5 bricks wide; typically LEGO works in thirds (3 plates to a brick, for example). As always in mold design, you want to conceal the part lines, which means you want the two-part mold to separate on an edge of the part you are molding. For the Minecraft head, this is at the bottom edge of the head, so you can’t see any imperfections created along the part line. With this knowledge, I started trying to build a mold box that would allow me to mold the bottom side of the head first, so I could include the fill tubes. Fill tubes allow the resin into the mold and air out of the mold. In order to accomplish this task, I would need to completely embed the head in either clay or bricks. Since the head is 1.5x1.5 (height is irrelevant) bricks, this presented a complication. Then it hit me that I was overthinking the problem. This is commonly the issue when creating a custom figure; it is easy to get locked into a thought process and ignore a simpler or easier way to create. I could have spent many hours digging into this issue and trying to solve this problem, which is possible given headlight or jumper bricks. Simply put, it wasn’t worth the time. By putting in a bit more thought and looking at the problem from the other direction, I found a better way. The other direction was literal. By molding the outside of the head first, it allowed me a way to hold the head and still get the part line I was after. In order to mold this way, I had to hold the bottom of the head (not the bottom of the neck) against a flat surface or I had to fill the bottom of the head with a special non-curing clay that is messy. I decided to sacrifice a LEGO tile. By cutting a hole in a 2x2 tile I could hold the head flush against the tile, which blocks the interior head space, while creating the first half of the mold. Luckily there is even a guide on the bottom of the tile to show where to make the hole. So I brought out my rotary tool (Dremel) and cut a hole. Now I needed to place this inside a 4x4 space. I need the extra studs around the tile to give lock and key registration of the two-part mold. So I built a 6x6 box out of LEGO around the 2x2 tile that I then plugged the Minecraft head into—now to figure out how much and what type of mold rubber to use. How much is simple. Measure the box in centimeters; length, width, and height. Here is the key and one of the reasons the Metric system rules: Cubic centimeters (cm) = milliliters (mls). Therefore, length x width x height = volume. I use two types of mold rubber, both from Smooth-On: Dragonskin platinum cure silicon and Oomoo 30 tin cure. Dragonskin is a very stretchy and flexible rubber that is great for imbedding parts. Oomoo 30 is great for rigid molds that need more structure. Given

You Can Build It MINI Model

MINI Resurgent Star Destroyer and Imperial Star Destroyer Design and Instructions by Christopher Deck Hello everybody, I’m glad to join you again for the newest issue of BrickJournal! Today we want to continue building the vessels from the latest Star Wars movie: The Force Awakens. We already built the new Incom T-70 X-Wing Starfighter some issues ago, and now want to take a look at the new Resurgent Star Destroyer, the First Order’s successor of the infamous Galactic Empire’s Imperial Star Destroyer. From the first moment when the Resurgent Star Destroyer Finalizer crosses the screen, you notice that this must be a new type of Star Destroyer. The intimidating dagger-shape is typical for Star Destroyers, however there are some remarkable differences compared to the Imperial Star Destroyer.

First, there is a kind of ram at the very bow of the ship, an extension which is not part of the dagger-shape. Second, there is a large horizontal gap along the equator of the ship. While the second feature is quite easy to design in brick, it took me a while to figure out how to realize the “ram bow” section, finally ending up with two clickyhinge plates. With almost 3000 meters in length, the Resurgent Star Destroyer is a little less than twice the size of the Imperial Star Destroyer which is 1600 meters long. As a bonus we will build an Imperial Star Destroyer which is to scale with his larger cousin. My favorite part here is the rounded 1x1 plate with open stud. It allows us to attach a 1x2 plate in centered orientation on top of it where the studs of the 1x2 plate resemble the shield generators of the Star Destroyer. I wish you happy building, and see you next time!

Parts List (Parts can be ordered from by searching by part number and color) Resurgent Star Destroyer

Qty Color Part 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 2654.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 60471.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 30383.dat 4 Dark-Bluish-Gray 4073.dat 3 Trans-Light-Blue 4073.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 3023.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 3710.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 3666.dat 2 Light-Bluish-Gray 3022.dat 2 Light-Bluish-Gray 2420.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 3021.dat 1 Dark-Bluish-Gray 3021.dat 1 Dark-Bluish-Gray u8200.dat 1 Dark-Bluish-Gray 3795.dat 2 Light-Bluish-Gray 2419.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 3031.dat


Description Dish 2x2 Hinge Plate 1x2 Locking with Dual Finger on Side Hinge Plate 1x2 Locking with Single Finger On Top Plate 1x1 Round Plate 1x1 Round Plate 1x2 Plate 1x4 Plate 1x6 Plate 2x2 Plate 2x2 Corner Plate 2x3 Plate 2x3 Plate 2x4 with Square Underside Studholes Plate 2x6 Plate 3x6 without Corners Plate 4x4

Qty Color Part 4 Dark-Bluish-Gray 85984.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 32474.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 3701.dat 1 Dark-Bluish-Gray 32002.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 3709b.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 3070b.dat 4 Light-Bluish-Gray 43723.dat 1 Dark-Bluish-Gray 43723.dat 4 Light-Bluish-Gray 43722.dat 1 Dark-Bluish-Gray 43722.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 48183.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 54384.dat 1 Light-Bluish-Gray 54383.dat 2 Light-Bluish-Gray 3933.dat 2 Light-Bluish-Gray 3934.dat

Description Slope Brick 31 1x2x0.667 Technic Ball Joint with Axlehole Blind Technic Brick 1x4 with Holes Technic Pin 3/4 Technic Plate 2x4 with Holes Tile 1x1 with Groove Wing 2x3 Left Wing 2x3 Left Wing 2x3 Right Wing 2x3 Right Wing 3x4 with 1x2 Cutout with Stud Notches Wing 3x6 Left Wing 3x6 Right Wing 4x8 Left Wing 4x8 Right

Tommy Williamson is no stranger to BrickJournal, having been featured previously for his Jack Sparrow miniland scale figure. Since then, he has gone farther into building, making some remarkable Star Trek props and other models. He’s now doing a column for BrickJournal: DIY Fan Art. Here, Tommy takes a little time out from his busy schedule at to make a model of his choosing for the magazine.

MINI Space Shuttle and Crawler Design and Instructions by Tommy Williamson

About this issue’s model:

I’ve always had a deep respect and admiration for the American space program and NASA. My earliest childhood memory is sitting on my dad’s lap as a toddler and watching a live transmission from space. I live just a few miles from where the West Coast shuttle launches were supposed to happen, but that program was scrapped after the Challenger tragedy. It was also always my hope to get to Florida for a shuttle launch, but the one opportunity I had got scrubbed for weather, so I never saw one of these lovely birds launch in person. This little MOC is a small tribute to all the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve this country’s space program.

Parts List

(Parts can be ordered through by searching by part number and color)

Qty Color Part 1 Trans Clear 3062b.dat 2 White 2450.dat 1 White 3020.dat 1 White 3023.dat 8 White 3062b.dat 4 White 6141.dat 2 White 4081b.dat 4 White 4589.dat 1 White 6192.dat 1 White 30602.dat 1 White 44661.dat 2 White 54200.dat 1 White 99781.dat 6 Orange 6143.dat 1 Orange 30367a.dat


Description Brick 1x1 Round with Hollow Stud Plate 3x3 without Corner Plate 2x4 Plate 1x2 Brick 1x1 Round with Hollow Stud Plate Round 1x1 with Solid Stud Plate 1x1 with Clip Light Type 2 Cone 1x1 Brick 2x4 with Curved Top Slope Brick Curved Top 2x2x1 Tail 2x3x2 Fin Slope Brick 31 1x1x0.667 Bracket 1x2 - 1x2 Down Brick 2x2 Round Type 2 Cylinder 2x2 with Dome Top with Blocked Stud

Qty Color Part 4 Dk Bluish Gray 2412b.dat 2 Dk Bluish Gray 3005.dat 1 Dk Bluish Gray 3020.dat 1 Dk Bluish Gray 3023.dat 2 Dk Bluish Gray 3069b.dat 1 Dk Bluish Gray 3460.dat 6 Dk Bluish Gray 3666.dat 1 Dk Bluish Gray 3794a.dat 2 Dk Bluish Gray 4070.dat 2 Dk Bluish Gray 30039.dat 3 Dk Bluish Gray 32028.dat 8 Dk Bluish Gray 32523.dat 1 Dk Bluish Gray 41539.dat 1 Black 3023.dat 1 Black 3176.dat 2 Black 6141.dat 4 Black 6558.dat 2 Lt Bluish Gray 4510.dat 4 Lt Bluish Gray 32529.dat

Description Tile 1x2 Grille with Groove Brick 1x1 Plate 2x4 Plate 1x2 Tile 1x2 with Groove Plate 1x8 Plate 1x6 Plate 1x2 without Groove with 1 Centre Stud Brick 1x1 with Headlight Tile 1x1 with Groove Plate 1x2 with Door Rail Technic Beam 3 Plate 8x8 Plate 1x2 Plate 3x2 with Hole Plate Round 1x1 with Solid Stud Technic Pin Long with Friction and Slot Plate 1x8 with Door Rail Technic Pin Joiner Plate 1x2x1 & ½


Godspeed, John Glenn Article by Brian Williams

On the morning of February 20, 1962, a lone Atlas rocket stood precariously atop Launch Complex-14 at Cape Canaveral Florida, its mirror-like metal skin reflecting the rising Atlantic sun. In the cramped capsule named Friendship 7, sat astronaut John Glenn waiting patiently for the launch order, just as he had done 11 times before over the preceding two months. Delays and setbacks had plagued America’s new space program and everyone knew what was riding on this flight. Russian rhetoric against the United states was escalating. The Kremlin had launched the first man-made satellite in 1957… and then beat America again by launching Yuri Gragarin into Earth orbit in 1961. NASA responded a month later by launching Alan Shepherd into space, but not orbit. So now it was up to John Glenn’s Friendship 7 to prove America could equal the Soviets, and give hope to the free world fighting Communist aggression.


LEGO History

This is my story from the time I worked at the LEGO Group and got to work on what I personally believe was my single-most coolest accomplishment! My childhood was filled with science-fiction, the last throes of the Apollo program (I remember the gumball collector cards with the astronauts) and tall tales of technological advances in robotics and space exploration. Years later, my life would be replete with those two favourite subjects, when in 1998 I landed a job at the LEGO Group as Senior Designer at the newly established LEGO MINDSTORMS® (LMS) team. At my first job interview for the position, I told my future boss that I wanted that job or to become an astronaut. Knowing I could not pass the PE or had the skills for the latter (I had to be honest to myself...), I pushed to make the first—and I did. My story about the JUNO project took place when I was acting as the LEGO MINDSTORMS Community Manager—dealing with all the LEGO robotics fans across the world. My previous track at LEGO had seen me work as Senior Designer and then Design Manager for MINDSTORMS, followed by a stint as Senior Designer in DUPLO. Later on I returned to LEGO MINDSTORMS in a whole new capacity, as Marketing Manager for the brand. I transitioned into the Community Manager role for a few years before leaving the company in 2013. Chapter 1: First Contact It started one day in the Fall of 2010 at lunchtime in the cafeteria in the PMD (Product and Marketing Development) building in Billund. Standing in line to pay for my food, I bumped into Vicki Stoltz, who at the time was Marketing Manager for LEGO City. NASA and the LEGO Group had signed a Space Act Agreement in 2010 with the purpose of creating an educational initiative called Bricks in Space, where LEGO would deliver some experiments made with LEGO bricks for astronauts to carry out on the International Space Station (ISS). In 2011 the LEGO City team would have their little Space Shuttle sent up to ISS on Space Shuttle launch STS-134* scheduled for February of that year. Being ever the space buff, I asked Vicki how things were going with the cooperation and the mission to send up the little shuttle. She told me that STS-134 was supposed to be the last Space Shuttle flight and it had been postponed to May 2011, and that there would be a multi-day LEGO building activity set up around launch time at the Kennedy Space Center for the public who came to watch, and that the launch would be attended by President Obama himself.

PMD Cafeteria. Image credit: Bosch + Fjord.


What really got my attention was that Vicki also mentioned that NASA had another launch coming up of a deep space probe called JUNO. They had suggested LEGO should be involved in the project, mainly because the chief scientist on the project was keen on getting LEGO on board, literally. JUNO’s destination: Jupiter, the biggest planet in the Solar system. Ping! I was stoked! I sooo wanted to be involved in that project! I asked Vicki who I needed to talk to in order to facilitate this particular part of the collaboration, and she pointed me to my old friend Lotte N. Andersen from LEGO Education. Due to the educational nature of the cooperation with NASA, LEGO Education was involved in


Ultimate Builders Competition by Michael Brandl

In 2001, LEGO did a competition in Austria, Germany and Switzerland called The Ultimate Builders Competition. The aim was to build a robot for the astronauts of the ISS, the International Space Station. The main rules were: 1) Use only the parts from three specific LEGO sets: • Robotics Invention System 1.5 • Ultimate Accessory Set • Exploration Mars Builders could use unlimited amounts of any parts of these sets, but... 2) the robot had to fit in a box 30x30x30 cm and must not weigh more than 1.5 kg. Each builder was allowed to build the robot as a single piece, or modular with up to four pieces. The astronauts would then connect the pieces together at the Space Station. 3) The programming language used? Freestyle: any programming language was allowed!

Muscle Trainer My idea was to build a muscle trainer for the astronauts, because when a crew member is stationed for a longer time at the Space Station in a zero gravity environment, their muscle mass will decrease. This muscle trainer was attached to a person’s upper arm and and he or she had to bend and stretch their lower arm against the resistance of a number of rubber bands. There was a clever motor-driven joint in this muscle trainer to relieve pressure after each move of the astronaut. The muscle trainer was built by a team from Austria, Germany and Switzerland The jury decided to award my Muscle Trainer with a special mention!

Munich, Germany, Jury for the competition.

The “Muscle Trainer” Team: (front) Simon Frei, (back row, left to right) Steve Matter, Mike Brandl, Martin Humel.

Contestants delivered ideas initially to LEGO and they chose ten suggestions, and returned the requested material to the contestants. After that those ten participants (or teams) met at the Siemens Forum in Munich, Germany to show their robots to an international jury, which included people like Soren Lund, LEGO Mindstorms Director. 

The Muscle Trainer 52

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Worksheets from LEGO Education’s space activities.

Interview by Joe Meno Photography and art provided by LEGO Education Lotte N. Anderson has been with the LEGO Group a little more than ten years. She has been in LEGO Education all this time but has been in different positions. She was part of Development and part of developing the WeDo back in 2008-2009 when it was launched. While she has been in the development side, she is now more on the marketing and sales side. BrickJournal was able to chat with her about LEGO Education’s recent work with NASA.

BrickJournal: I wanted to talk with you about how the LEGO Group is working with NASA, so the first question is how long has the company been working with NASA? It seems to be a lot longer than I thought it was, based on some of the information I have read. Lotte: The LEGO Group had worked with NASA on and off for many years. When I started working with NASA from the LEGO side, it was 2010, and before that I was told, NASA was in contact with Tormod Askildsen. I know that Tormod was working with NASA on putting two astronaut minifigures on the Mars Rover in 2004. It was Opportunity—the two minifigures were Biff Sterling and Sandy Moondust, and they were on the Mars Exploration Rover. Before that, and I don’t know if it was directly with NASA on the ISS, they had RCX robots working—I saw a video a long time ago. (See article in this issue - Ed.) The NASA program was in 2010 because LEGO City was launching the newest Space launch, and the fact was that NASA found it much more beneficial to promote education and see how NASA Education and LEGO Education could work on especially making STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education more fun and interesting for younger students. So what we did was at the same time that LEGO City launched their shuttle, we had a program with NASA— we had several of our models sent to the ISS with activities for the astronauts to do, different activities with the models in space tested in microgravity, 55 where the students could test the same model in the classroom.


The heads of WeDo 2.0 development (from left to right): Yannick Dupont—Senior Content Specialist, Hanne Hylleberg Ravn—Senior Marketing Manager, and Louise Aagard, Concept and Design Lead for WeDo 2.0.


2EDOINGTHE7E$O Interview by Joe Meno Photography provided by LEGO Education 2016 was the year WeDo 2.0 was released by LEGO Education. A JHQHUDWLRQDOFKDQJHIURPWKHĂ€UVW WeDo set, WeDo 2.0 was almost completely redesigned. BrickJournal interviewed Hanne Hylleberg Ravn, Senior Marketing Manager and Portfolio Lead on WeDo and Elementary Science; and Yannick Dupont, Senior Educational Specialist on WeDo (responsible for the content in the app) to talk about the redesigned set and software!




robotics by DAMIEN more! +DQQH That’s a good question. I think in general and alsoKEE,toandset the scene, I don’t (84-page FULL-COLOR magazine) know how familiar you are with LEGO Education and how it’s linked to$8.95 LEGO. (Digital Edition) $3.95 WeDo 2.0 is part of LEGO Education, which is a part of the LEGO Group. We are PDNLQJWKHVHVROXWLRQVIRUFODVVURRPVIRUWHDFKLQJZLWKLQGLͿHUHQWDUHDV6RRI course, our driver for this one was to develop a solution for elementary science. So to do that, we looked across the whole spectrum of how we make the best user experience for that.

One of the parts of that experience is the hardware, but you can see there’s not only the hardware, but the software and also the content, which you could say we SXWHTXDOZHLJKWWR6R,WKLQNIURPVSHFLÀFDOO\DGGUHVVLQJ\RXUTXHVWLRQVDERXW WKHKDUGZDUHWKHUHZHUHGLͿHUHQWUHDVRQVWRJRLQRQHGLUHFWLRQ2QHRI them was the trend of having tablets and iPads—these things that are get ting into more and more schools, especially in an elementary perspective


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BrickJournal #42  
BrickJournal #42  

BrickJournal #42 (84 full-color pages, $8.95), the magazine for LEGO enthusiasts, goes to school with LEGO Education! Editor JOE MENO takes...