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The Magazine for LEGO® Enthusiasts of All Ages! Issue 60 • December 2019



in the US

Flynn DeMarco’s Treasure of the Snake Queen Stacy Sterling’s LEGO® Haunted House

Building A Scene from Alien

Instructions AND MORE! 1

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Issue 60 • December 2019


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


Scaling a Mountain: Our Adventure Building Treasure of the Snake Queen........................3 Iain Heath: Building an ALIEN Moment.....................12 Stacy Sterling’s Haunted Dollhouse........16

Building Koen Van Der Biest: LEGO Sculptor................................................22 Building the New York City Skyline: One Skyscraper at a Time!........................28 Djordje Dobrosavljevic: Building Beasts!.............................................36 Minifigure Customization 101: Where in the World is..................................40 You Can Build It: MINI Ecto 1......................................................44 Leonid An’s Figure Builds.............................51


Building to Heal: Amy Willis and TherapeuticLUG............54 Crazy Arms: Custom Poseable Arms for LEGO Minifigures..................................57 Jürgen Kropp: Celebrating Kennedy Space Center.....60 Presenting the Ultimate Skylab Set!.......64 Building the Man on the Moon................70 Building a Space Program: An Interview with Corvin Stichert........72 Community Ads...............................................78 Last Word.............................................................79 Bricks in the Middle........................................80


uilding a small MOC from scratch can be a daunting task. Building a MOC meant to be 4 ft. square and 4½ ft. tall is an entirely different level of daunting. Add storytelling, two EV3 brains, eight motors, eight sensors, an arduino microcontroller, lights and sound, and you have a recipe for either success or a mess. Fortunately, our experience was of the former, but there was certainly plenty of the latter along the way!


Act 1: Planning & Design Hot on the heels of our Best In Show and Public Choice wins for our first large MOC display, California Dreamin’ (featured in BrickJournal #50), we decided to go in a different direction for our next project. Where California Dreamin’ was wide and sprawling, we went for something tall and relatively narrow. One of the things people seemed to love about CD was the movement and the storytelling. We had small stories happening all through it for people to look at and discover. For this next project however, we thought it would be fun to tell one central story, a narrative that people could follow from beginning to end. We knew people would be walking by in a crowded convention situation and it needed to grab their attention, be short enough to take in quickly, and most importantly, be accessible enough to be understood by anyone watching, regardless of language. Being avid gamers, both video and tabletop, we both have a strong affinity for the fantasy genre. Dungeons & Dragons has been a part of both of our lives, together and separately, for years, so we figured that was a great jumping-off point—a classic adventure story that could be told visually. Once we had settled on that, we looked at the stories we loved and started picking out classic scenes that people would recognize. Like any good D&D adventure, it had to start in a village. The theme for Bricks by the Bay that year was animation and I was immediately struck by the movement meaning, but also the “cartoon” angle. In my head I was watching the cast of ScoobyDoo or the Flintstones running in the center of the screen while the same background scrolled behind them on

Scaling a Mountain: Our Adventure Building Treasure of the Snake Queen Article and Photography by Flynn DeMarco and Richard Board of TrickyBricks Additional Photos by Davin White 3

Inspiration and sketches are seen here, with rough layouts drawn out on paper. At the right is Maleficent’s castle from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, designed by Evyind Earle.

an infinite loop. What if our first scene was a classic D&D party of five (Barbarian, magic user, Dwarven fighter, thief, archer) passing through a village? The concept would be the minifigures moving in place while village buildings, which were built onto 9v train cars, would pass behind them. Once we had established that this was viable, the rest of it all sort of fell together. We would tell our story in six parts, each in a different location. Some of those locations were classic fantasy tropes: Bucolic village, spooky forest, haunted cave, gloomy crypt, and of course, the imposing castle of the titular Snake Queen. But how to move our figures through this epic adventure? When making California Dreamin’, we had experimented with a couple of small mechanics utilizing EV3 motors and sensors, including a moving shark and a bear that popped out of a cave. These were great, but we knew that we would need more than a few simple machines if we really wanted to impress. Even at this early stage, we knew four motors would not be enough to accomplish our many movement goals, so we purchased a second EV3, which gave us another four motors and four sensors to help meet our goals. We also quickly realized that each scene would need its own set of five figures in order for them to be visible in each section.

The interior of the layout, showing the conveyor belts in the center used to move the party of minifigures.


Once the various scenes were settled on, Richard started working on mechanical prototypes, and we decided that conveyor belts would be our best method of movement for the bulk of the story. After some consideration, we felt that six scenes of conveyor belts would get boring quickly, so we opted to utilize turntables for the final two scenes of the story. During this phase we were also looking at source material for the castle. A simple internet search for “spooky castle” resulted in a lot of cool images, but the one we kept coming back to was Maleficent’s castle from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Designed by exceptional artist Eyvind Earle, it had everything we wanted, and we would return to his designs many times over the building process. We also made several drawings of our own to figure out the eventual layout of the full MOC. The entire initial design and concept phase took about a month, but we would end up changing and adding things in a more organic way throughout the building process.


<OPEN DISPLAY FILE> </file:DSC_987734> ........ <RECOVER DATA> ........ Revived from hypersleep, the crew of the Nostromo investigates a transmission from the moon LV-426. Discovering a derelict alien ship, Executive Officer Kane enters and finds a chamber with hundreds of objects that look like eggs. On closer examination, one of the eggs opens… -----**xxx------<DATA RECOVERY INCOMPLETE> -----------

Kane’s fatal mistake.

Iain Heath: Building An ALIEN Moment 12

Interview by Joe Meno Photos by Iain Heath

In choosing the subject of the build, I followed my normal schtick and focused on the human characters in the movie, as to-date most LEGO builds inspired by the Alien franchise have focused on the aliens and vehicles.

Totoro (left) and Jabba (above), the sources for Iain’s sphere-derived construction.

I zeroed in very quickly on the iconic facehugger scene, as this represents the turning point of the movie, where it shifts from slow-paced 2001-style sci-fi to suspenseful horror. This is a moment that forever changed screen sci-fi, and has become a very recognizable image. I chose to portray the moment just before the alien hatches, rather than portraying it attached to the character’s face, as I wanted to capture the sense of anticipation that the scene invokes. How did you design and plan the build? Picking the scale was the first step. I usually determine that by deciding how I’m going to build the smallest element­—often the eyes—and work up from there. But for this model the visor needed to look authentic, and there were limited parts that would work, so that became the starting point.

The layout in daylight.

Next I tracked down reference material for this scene: Stills from the movie, photos of resin models other people had made, and some great shots of the original spacesuit prop taken from multiple angles. The egg was straightforward, as I decided to adapt the same sphere building technique I used for my Totoro and Jabba builds. Dark tan can be a hard color to source parts for, and this technique only relies on simple plate elements. The character is built with articulated joints so that I could lock down the pose at the end, and sculpt the suit around the joints to cover the gaps. The base was also a vital part of the design, both to provide a place to lay out the egg’s tendrils, as well as providing a way to anchor the character in place (his feet are actually connected securely to it). How long did it take to complete? This was a solid 40-hour build, spread over a two-week period.


What was the hardest part to build? The shoulder pads. They’re curved in multiple directions and trying to capture that at this scale (and incorporate


Stacy’s Haunted Dollhouse.

Stacy Sterling’s

Haunted Dollhouse Article by Stacy Sterling Photography by Chris Malloy


In our house, it’s Halloween most of the year—spooky decorations, lots of black, skulls... you get the idea. Growing up, I was the kid who spent her summers eagerly accompanying Nancy Drew on her adventures and solving mysteries; watching episodes of the Addams Family and wishing that I could be Wednesday Addams; staying up late to watch episodes of Tales from the Crypt and scaring myself in the process. When I started building again as an adult, it would come as no surprise that many of my builds would be influenced by these things. One of my first truly ambitious builds as an adult was the Addams Family house. The goal was to recreate every detail on the interior as well as the exterior of the house, and then tuck it into our city layout and see just how many people would recognize it. The hours spent searching for photos of the interior so that I could get all the details just right was the most exciting part of the build for me… that is, until I realized that most people would never see the interior unless I was there to show them. It was disappointing to know that some of the best features of the house, and some of the most unique little creations, were ones that only I would ever see. That didn’t stop me from creating detailed interiors for all of my buildings, because that was something I loved doing, but it did make me think more about different ways to show off the interior of my creations. It wasn’t until I saw Heather “LEGOgirl” Braaten’s incredibly detailed dollhouse at BrickCon that I realized this would be the perfect way to show off the interiors of my buildings without having to take them apart floor-by-floor. Her builds were what inspired me to build my own version of a dollhouse that reflected my interests: Gothic and Second Empire Victorian-inspired architecture, and the macabre.

The build itself started with a table scrap, as many of my builds do. It was a window design that I had created and then set aside on my building table, hoping that someday it would spark an idea and find its way into a MOC. My building table is littered with these table scraps just waiting for the right MOC to be built around them, and most of the table scraps come to be as I’m sorting or parting out sets. I find that when I’m sorting I’m more likely to look at pieces from a different perspective—maybe I use the underside of the brick as a decorative feature on the exterior wall because the stud pattern looks like bas relief panel, or the thin Technic lift arms (3 x 3 L-shape with quarter ellipse) because they look like iron scrollwork on a balcony. I am able to see ways to use parts in a manner other than how they were intended

Window Dressing

The windows and doors of Stacy’s house are decorated with parts to accentuate the creepiness of the setting. A breakdown below shows that only a few parts are needed to haunt a house!

A look inside the house.



Koen Van Der Biest: LEGO Sculptor! Article and Photography by Koen Van Der Biest

European comic character Asterix.

Koen Van Der Biest is a builder that lives in the town of Mol, Belgium. He works as a supervisor in a company that produces pharmaceutical products, and in his off time builds large-scale LEGO figures. BrickJournal talked to him about his sculptures. BrickJournal: How long have you been building? Koen Van Der Biest: From the moment I got my first LEGO set somewhere around 1983—set 3654, a small Fabuland ‘country cottage.’ Interesting fact: I still use that first Fabuland figure—Lisa Lamb—as my avatar. I don’t remember it that well, but it must have been love at first sight because after that, all I wanted was more Fabuland, and when I got older I wanted more LEGO. What I love about the boxes in that period, and miss about the current boxes, are the alternate builds depicted on the back and on the sides of the boxes, for which there were no instructions. It was a challenge trying to build them, and I truly believe that’s where my insight of how to build with LEGO came from. It forces you to convert something you see into LEGO, not just follow some step-by-step instructions. When growing up, my focus shifted more towards Technic. That was the result of a memorable moment when I got a Technic tractor (set 8849) for my birthday! My favorite vehicle and favorite toy combined—wow! Needless to say I made a lot of farm equipment as a kid. Take note that I did not make any sculptures in my youth. Those came much later. I vaguely remember trying to build a cow and a lion, but without success. Did you have a Dark Age? If so, what got you out of it? Yes, as many AFOLs do, I too went to the infamous Dark Age. My interest in LEGO faded away during the college years, and disappeared during my high school days. I’m sure that sounds familiar to many AFOLs. It was only when I started working and got the cash I didn’t have as a kid, that I got back into LEGO. What got me out of it were two things: Number one was set 8455—a Technic backhoe. I hesitated before buying it because it was studless and I was more a Technic bricks guy (I still am today), but hey, it was a tractor! And it had ten pneumatic cylinders! Number two was the discovery of Bricklink. I am 100% sure that without Bricklink, I wouldn’t be here today talking to you. Suddenly a whole new world opened up, with only money as a limitation. The first thing I did on Bricklink was orderer parts I lacked during my childhood. I believe my first order was for Technic caterpillar tracks... finally, after all these years, I could make an excavator! And just like that, the little boy in me was back. What is your favorite theme? Of all-time, I choose Fabuland for nostalgic reasons. That’s where it all started for me. I like the bright colors of it, I like the Fabuland figures. I like them so much I am currently designing upscaled versions of those figures in a 6:1 scale. And I have even bigger plans with that project but it’s still a work in progress, so I will leave that as a surprise.


When we are talking about the current themes, I prefer the creator series because that’s what LEGO is all about, in my opinion. It promotes building alternate things, it has useful parts, it’s not as expensive as licensed products, and the focus is not on the minifigures. (I’m probably the only

AFOL that does not care about minifigures at all (although I do make upscaled versions of them... am I weird?). Anyhow, Creator is not for building a model that sits on a shelf for years and years. It’s designed to put in a big pile and start building away! What inspired you to build large sculptures? When I got out of my Dark Ages, I kind of continued where I left off, building cranes, tractors, trucks in a mixed Technic/model-team style—the difference being that I had more parts now, and more access to pictures and blueprints. The interest in sculptures sparked when I stumbled upon the site of Eric Harshbarger. ( Wow! How did he do that? I was so impressed with his work. It was so different than anything I saw before. So I started to try it myself. First I made an Easter bunny, then a nativity scene. They were nowhere near as good as Eric’s models, but I was hooked. What I also found interesting was that building large sculptures out of basic bricks was something that not a lot of people were doing. When I entered our local LUG (BeLUG) in 2007, I was a bit of an outsider. I didn’t do trains, I didn’t do minifigures, I did sculptures... say what? But I got similar reactions from the public like I had when seeing Eric’s work at first... “Wow! How do you do this?”

Dopey, one of Walt Disney’s Seven Dwarves. Garfield.



Deepak’s skyline: The Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, the Hearst Tower, 70 Pine Street, and 40 Wall Street.

Building the New York City Skyline:

One Skyscraper at a Time! Article and Photography by Deepak Shenoy


Skyscrapers have held a great fascination for me ever since I was a child growing up in India. Back then I had never seen any skyscrapers in real life, but I couldn’t help being awestruck by the few pictures I had come across of skyscrapers in cities like New York and Chicago. It just blew my mind to think of buildings that could rise a hundred stories or more into the sky. Little did I know then, that it was only a matter of time before I would find myself living in the US, not too far from New York—the one city that is most synonymous with skyscrapers. Over the 25 years that I have now lived in the US, I have visited New York numerous times, but my fascination with skyscrapers has not waned one bit. In fact, to this day when I visit New York, I still marvel at the skyscrapers there with wide-eyed wonder—as if I am seeing them for the first time. Going from being just a skyscraper enthusiast to actually building models of them using thousands of LEGO pieces was still quite a leap to make—especially for someone who never played with LEGO as a child. While I had been vaguely familiar with LEGO as an adult living in the US, I never had a chance to get my hands on any actual bricks until my daughter received a LEGO Creative Bucket as a birthday gift. As I helped her put together simple models using the instructions that came with the set, I became quite impressed by the quality of this so-called children’s toy. The plastic bricks were built to remarkably tight tolerances and fit together with just the right amount of friction. The beauty of this toy was that it was endlessly reconfigurable, and the only thing limiting you was your imagination. It wasn’t long before my daughter grew tired of building the same animals and vehicles over and over again and was ready to move on to something bigger and more original. She suggested that we try creating a “really tall building” with LEGO. That was just the “a-ha” moment I needed to realize that I could use LEGO as a medium to create my own versions of the skyscrapers that I had long admired. The first skyscraper that came to mind was the Empire State Building and I started wondering what it would take to create a version of it using LEGO.

Showing off the skyline at Brickfair Virginia 2019.

A little bit of digging on the internet opened my eyes to a lot of things that I had been completely oblivious to: The large worldwide community of adult fans of LEGO (aka AFOLs), the wide and impressive array of LEGO creations (aka MOCs) out there that I could take inspiration from, and of course Bricklink—a site I could use to order all the LEGO pieces I needed. It also became apparent that I was far from the first person to think about building a LEGO version of the Empire State Building. In fact, I was a little surprised by the sheer number of different versions already out there—everything from small and simplistic (like the LEGO official set 21002) to a massive 25-foot tall model that was once displayed in the Toys ’R’ Us store in Times Square, New York. Out of all these versions, the one that caught my eye was the model built by Sean Kenney (which had been displayed in the gift shop at the top of the actual Empire State Building). It seemed to hit the sweet spot in terms of scale—it was big enough to be able to capture most of the relevant details from the real building, and yet it was not so big that it would be too unwieldy or costly to build. If I was going to build my own version of the Empire State Building, I didn’t want it to be simply a copy of Sean Kenney’s model. I wanted to start with the dimensions of the actual building and figure out for myself how these dimensions would map to LEGO. I was excited by the prospect of being able to design and build something that would be my own unique creation. And while the roles had sort of reversed (now it would be my daughter helping me with my builds, instead of the other way around), this hobby would still give me the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time with her, and that was like the icing on the cake. Needless to say, after diving headlong into this hobby with my first MOC (the Empire State Building) a little over two years ago, I have continued to build models of some of the other skyscrapers that make up New York’s skyline (the five models I have completed so far have used a total of over 85,000 LEGO pieces!).

Deepak Shenoy.



Djordje Dobrosavljevic is a builder who builds with mostly Bionicle parts, which means that he spends a lot of time creating organic builds that can look perfectly creepy. His latest model made the rounds online on Flickr (his Flickr name is djokson) and is featured here! He also took time out to talk about building and a few of his creations. BrickJournal: What do you do outside of building? Djordje Dobrosavljevic: I’m a translator by trade. My interests outside of LEGO also include animation and music and the three usually end up mixing with each other in some way or another! How long have you been building? LEGO’s been in my life in some form or another since I was a very small kid, so I’ve been building practically my whole life! I only really started posting online around 2013 though. What got you into figure building? I’ve always been a fan of LEGO’s action figure lines like Bionicle, so that had a great deal to do with it. I also really enjoy making expressive things that show emotion, and figure builds are the perfect medium for it. Describe your building process—do you sketch a model, or just build it? It depends on the build, really. Sometimes I’ll start with a solid concept in mind, maybe even make a sketch or two of it before I begin. What happens a lot more often, though, is that I’ll pick up a part and start messing with it, trying to see how I could use it in an interesting way. The rest of the build then follows from that. How long does it take to build a model? Again, it depends on the build, but I usually work pretty fast. I try to ride on the back of short bursts of inspiration and not linger on a particular build for too long. Of course, there are exceptions and sometimes I’ll have an unfinished thing sitting in a box for months, waiting for that spark of inspiration to come again. All three of the builds here are essentially my experimenting with metallic parts. I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with them because the parts that come in these colors are usually strange, hard-to-use shapes. 

Halgvozd the Purifier in progress.

Djordje Dobrosavljevic:

Building Beasts! Article and Photography by Djorde Dobrosavljevik


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Gorilla Scorpio

Gorilla Scorpio was built for the Marchikoma event on Flickr, where builders come together every March and post creations inspired by the Tachikoma, also known as think tanks, from the Ghost in the Shell series. The designs of the Tachikoma are already pretty organic looking as far as robots go, but I wanted to take it a step further with this build. Taking cues from its namesake animals and various pieces of military equipment, the Gorilla Scorpio was supposed to evoke the look of a jungle fighter robot, both agile and tough. It also takes a good amount of inspiration from Metal Gear Solid 4â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biomechanical designs, namely the Gekko walkers and their synthetic musculature. The part Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m most pleased with is how the eye turned outâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;it gives the whole thing a creepy, inhuman look. Work in progress. Some views of the completed model.

Building Minifig Customization 101:

Where in the World is...

Article and Photography by Jared K. Burks

Article and Photography by Jared Burks As I have noted before, my inspiration for figures comes from my interests or my kids’ interests, but it is always best when our interests intersect. This article will focus on an element for a figure I am building from one of those occasions. For this article, I will not complete the figure, but hope to show the finished figure in a later article. Here, I will explain the processes where I created this figure’s signature element. With that said, cut to the theme song: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Carmen Sandiego before her current Netflix show.


For those with Netflix and kids, you are likely aware of the show Carmen Sandiego. This is a rebooted/re-envisioned show from the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? game show. The game show was broadcast on PBS in the 1990s and won many awards. The ’90s show was a geographybased game show based on the computer game series that started in the ’80s. The game show also featured the acapella group, Rockapella, who sang the show’s theme song. That song is now likely stuck in your head if you are old enough to remember it; if you are not, check YouTube and it will be stuck in your head shortly thereafter:

If you look at old school, nostalgic Carmen or new Netflix Carmen, she wears a similar outfit with some slight variants: A large brimmed hat and a trench coat. This article will focus on the construction of the hat. Her hat is the one item of her costume with the largest variance from the old show to the new show. The old show appears to be a simple Fedora (, while the new style appears to be a larger brimmed style hat more similar to the one Cad Bane wears ( catalog/ This is one of the reasons I will not complete the figure at this time as I am still tweaking which hat and how I want it to look on the final figure, which translates to Classic Carmen or Netflix Carmen. This is where my interests and my kids’ interests digress, but this is strolling away from the point. On either Classic Carmen or Netflix Carmen, the next largest feature is her flowing curly hair below the hat. On Classic Carmen it’s black, and on Netflix Carmen it is dark red; either version is similar in style for a LEGO figure. The best option I can find is catalog/ For this article we will merge these two elements, as it is no longer acceptable to merely place a hat on a figure’s head and be done; there should be hair below. LEGO has recognized this; merely look at the number of newer hats with attached hair. So how do we create a hairpiece that fits seamlessly under a hat? Remember the bottom of the hat is not a flat surface; it has a complex curve in multiple directions. To work on this, we need a few new tricks to come into play, and a little luck.

Carmen’s old (left) and new (right) outfit.

Hat and Hair.

I have previously covered in several articles how one can use LeoCAD ( to export LEGO parts as “Obj” files using the Export to Wavefront option. These exported Obj files once loaded into Autodesk’s Meshmixer (, will ultimately be used as “Stl” files for 3-D printer’s slicer program for printing. This would be great if you merely wanted to recreate a replica of an official LEGO part—not what I am interested in here at all. What I am after is the unionizing of two parts in pieces. This sounds odd, yes, but bear with me and I believe you will get the goal. This is one of the reasons I am not finished creating this figure. Sometimes challenges turn out harder than one envisioned, but the process is what is important, as that is where the learning occurs. Anyway, back to the plan, I now have 3-D models of the LEGO Fedora and Hair Female Long Tousled with Center Part (BL# 20595); what to do with them?



You Can Build It MINI Build MINI Ecto-1

Design and Instructions by Christopher Deck If there’s something strange in your neighborhood… These are the beginning words of the famous Ghostbusters theme by Ray Parker Jr., the title song for the first Ghostbusters movie of the year 1984, and the beginning of the Ghostbusters era! Ghostbusters are still popular today, and even a couple of Ghostbusters LEGO sets were released during the last years: The original Ecto-1 (set 21108 from 2014), a newer version of it from the recent movie (set 75828 from 2016) and the Firehouse Headquarters (set 75827 from 2016), as well as several smaller sets of the Dimensions and BrickHeadz series. Our focus, however, lies on the original Ecto-1 emergency vehicle as introduced in the first movie 35 years ago. In this spooky issue of BrickJournal, we will construct a mini-model of the Ecto-1 containing more than 100 pieces, and featuring some creepy cool techniques. So let’s begin! The Ecto-1 is a long and sleek vehicle with elegant curves and shapes. Remarkable details are semiconcealed rear wheels, the large tailfins, and of course all the gadgets on the roof. One old piece, which appeared on the LEGO parts horizon one year after the release of the Ghostbusters movie, plays a key role in making this model a success: The 1x2 panel from 1985 (part 4865). It first allows us to shape the tailfins for the vehicle’s rear. In between the fins we place the rear window, and fortunately the 1x2 slope is now 44 finally available in trans-clear this year!

As there is no mudguard piece with closed sides in the parts catalogue—because it would be too narrow to fit wheels and tires underneath—we use panels of the same kind, but upside-down this time! Then we can use the standard axle for the wheels, but instead of the normal wheels which are still too wide, we use narrow Technic bushes with tires on them. Inside we need a nice SNOT converting structure to invert and revert again the studs’ orientation. This is done by two submodels which are big fun to build and slide together. Now back to your bricks and try it out! I wish you happy building, and I’ll see you next time!

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

Qty Color 1 Blue 1 White 2 6 6 2 1 1



6190.dat Bar 1 x 3 2436a.dat Bracket 1 x 2 - 1 x 4 with Square Corners White 3005.dat Brick 1 x 1 White 4070.dat Brick 1 x 1 with Headlight Trans-White 3004.dat Brick 1 x 2 White 6091.dat Brick 2 x 1 x 1 & 1/3 with Curved Top White 3788.dat Car Mudguard 2 x 4 Dark-Bluish-Gray 59900.dat Cone 1 x 1 with Stop

Leonid An (flickr name: ...TheChosenOne...) is a builder that has been online since 2007. In that time, he has gotten notice for his figure building. BrickJournal talked to him about his building and techniques. BrickJournal: What do you do outside of building? Leonid An: This summer I graduated university majoring in Mathematics and recently got myself a job as an intern in a decently big Russian systems integrator. Aside from LEGO, my hobbies include data science, mathematics and videogames (mainly shooters). How long have you been building? It’s a bit of a tough question. I got LEGO as a gift for the first time I was about three. From that moment and for the whole of my childhood, it became my primary toy. In April 2007 I signed in to a local Bionicle forum and since then I became actively involved in the life of the community, posting MOCs being a part of that. What got you into figure building? It’s pretty simple—Bionicle were my favorite LEGO series since I was a kid (some of the reasons being a rich and engaging lore and a large selection of unique and unusual pieces), so the majority of my MOCs in one way or another fall into the action figure category, although I still like experimenting with styles and themes new to me. Describe your building process—do you sketch a model, or just build it? I build right away from scratch, keeping an estimated desired end result in mind. Sketching requires a minimal drawing skill, which I, unfortunately, do not possess.


Leonid An’s Figure Builds Article and Photography by Leonid An

Mr. Jack O’Lantern.

Usually I start with the head (it’s convenient, because then you can just adjust the scale of the rest in relation to the head) or with some particularly interesting piece combination. If it’s a humanoid action figure, then the approximate order is as follows: Head, feet, legs, body (moving upwards), hands, and arms. Usually I build with medium amount of detail work, and after all of the parts are built and assembled, I replace placeholders and add/change up the rest of the fine details. Weapons, pedestal/backdrop—all the extras—are last on the list. How long does it take to build a model? Depends on the model, obviously. I’m very impatient and a big procrastinator, so I build relatively fast. The fastest MOCs to be finished took only a couple of hours of actual building. On the average my timeframe is around a week or two. Slow burners also happen; these take about a month to finish. I should, however, point out that thinking over the concept is a pretty big part of my process that often happens kind of in the background. Let’s say if I’m building for a contest and the deadline is two weeks, one week of the two I’m walking around thinking, gathering sources, ideas, and inspirations, and the remaining week is spent actually building, buying missing pieces if I have the opportunity, shooting and editing pictures, working on the text description and such.



Amy’s haunted house and grounds.

Building to Heal:

Amy Willis and TherapeuticLUG Article by Joe Meno Photography by Amy Willis

Building with LEGO is different things to different people. For some, it’s a hobby where a person can replicate an environment or object as close to reality as possible. For others, it’s a way to express creativity by building imaginative sculptures or mosaics. For still others, it’s a medium of play, and for a few, it’s a medium of mindfulness. Amy Willis has been building since childhood and now uses it as a mindfulness exercise to express herself when she can’t find the words. One of her recent models of a haunted mansion was part of a therapeutic process to help her communicate her emotions and thoughts related to grief and loss. This began when Amy was in third grade. Her father suffered a heart attack while working building a high school. He was in cardiac arrest and taken to a hospital where he was revived. However, his brain didn’t receive enough oxygen in time, and as a result, while Amy’s father was alive, he was in a reduced mental state. It took five years before he passed away. The trauma from this has affected Amy ever since, with grief and anxieties.


Her grief was something that cycled in her as she was growing up. Since most other children had not experienced what she had, Amy was in a place that proved to be isolating. She couldn’t communicate her experience and feelings with her classmates, so she felt unheard and


Presenting The Ultimate Skylab Set! Article and Photography by Joseph Chambers I am somewhat ashamed to admit that LEGO’s Apollo Saturn V was the first LEGO set that I had assembled in probably twenty years. I was back in school working on an Electrical Engineering degree and a particularly hard semester made me realize that I needed something to help me decompress from the endless hours of math that I was then experiencing. What better than a scale model of one of my favorite pieces of space history built out of the preferred building toy of my childhood to do that for me? While it delivered the needed catharsis, the experience was over far too quickly, and I almost immediately THIS PREVIEW, needed something else IF to YOU workENJOYED on. I CLICK THE LINK TO ORDER THIS still had another yearISSUE of school and OR DIGITAL FORMAT! IN PRINT you can only do so many differential equations without wanting to Kragle your eyes shut. So, after a little searching I found the very well-made Skylab modification created by Grant Passmore. This small project brought me into the MOC and AFOL world and taught me how to source parts, find communities of like-minded builders, and how to create my own LEGO rocketry designs. And of course, during this time, I also found the amazing Saturn V Launch BRICKJOURNAL #60 Umbilical Tower design by Valerie MYSTERIOUS, SPOOKY LEGO BUILDING! FLYNN Roche. DeMARCO’s motorized Treasure of the Snake Queen, Laika’s MISSING LINK by HOLLY WEBSTER, STACY STERLING’s HAUNTED MANSION, “AFOLs” by GREG HYLAND, “You Can Build It” instructions by CHRISTOPHER DECK, BrickNerd’s DIY Art with TOMMY Joe’s rocketFanseems poised forWILLIAMSON, launch. Minifigure Customization with JARED K. BURKS, and more!


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Profile for TwoMorrows Publishing

BrickJournal #60  

BrickJournal #60 (84 full-color pages), the magazine for LEGO® enthusiasts, descends into mysterious and spooky building with a creepy visit...

BrickJournal #60  

BrickJournal #60 (84 full-color pages), the magazine for LEGO® enthusiasts, descends into mysterious and spooky building with a creepy visit...