Last week I attended BrickWorld Chicago 2011 and had a great time. Unlike last year however, J and the kids (M and K) were not able to join me for various reasons. Disappointed that he was not able to go, M (age 7) insisted that one of his LEGO MOCs (based heavily on something from a Space Police III set) go with me on the trip to hang out in the Micropolis layout. I imagine his reasoning was that if he couldn’t attend, at least one of the creations that he imbues so abundantly with personality would be able to do so and would be the next best thing. I thought of it as M sending along an avatar and decided that “Robot”, as M called him, would get to have an adventure.
The rest of this post is a collection of the updates I sent to Twitter and TwitPic saved here primarily for later nostalgic purposes though I may insert some additional commentary along the way. A comment about the photography: I am not a great photographer and was shooting all of this on my HTC HD7 smartphone, most one-handed, in highly variable lighting. Any blurriness, odd angles, bad lighting, or general bad image quality can be explained by the preceding note.
When I pack the quarter block Micropolis modules I tend to take the tall spindly things off before they come off in the bag in more pieces then I would like. Most of the process of assembling the city is taking items out of their containers and doing that big of reassembly. In the case of the water tower module, it’s just easier to pop off the water tower.
I had already decided that Robot may not always be a nice creature. Posing him for this one was kind of fun.
The Cathedral needed more help then I was thinking it would have. This is J’s latest build, and possibly one of her best. In particular the stained glass windows are pretty spectacular. I imagine we’ll have pictures up elsewhere eventually.
One of the best things about Micropolis is that we always exhort other people to bring their own modules to contribute to the layout. The layout is primarily populated with TwinLUG modules but only because we build the most of them so far. So it’s always nice to see stuff that other people bring. This module in particular is based on the actual DEA headquarters building which Michael Harrod brought this year. Michael hung out for quite a bit of the weekend and helped keep an eye on the layout that was much appreciated.
J had asked where Robot was the next day in her Twitter stream, so I kept this reply in the stream for reference. It was a good reminder to get it out again and start taking more pictures.
The Westin Chicago North Shore has a couple of really good restaurants in it. Not too long after answering J’s question I was thankfully dragged to lunch at one of those restaurants by A and Other J. I got what turned out to be a modern western interpretation of a bento box, which came with a nice almond cookie. J’s earlier question had got Robot back in my mind so I figured it would be best to start playing around again. Later I decided that Robot probably doesn’t eat human food, but at this point I had not thought that far ahead.
These last two also kind of epitomize the classic kinds of photos on Twitter: food people are about to eat and weird avatars.
FYI – That Eiffel Tower is as tall as I am. Better photo of it, along with the back of my head.
Lightcycles built by Chris Doyle of ReasonablyClever.com.
Chris also used these MicroFigs in his Brick House web comic.
I tried a few different shots with Robot of this one but eventually settled on this. There was really an amazing amount of activity going on, just too much to really capture it all.
I grew up on Classic Space and got out of LEGO just about the time that M:Tron was being introduced. Blacktron I loved, with the stark black and little bits of yellow for highlights. M:Tron always seemed too garish. That said there was a lot to like in this layout. There was some really cool parts usage and generally good building techniques. I just wish it could have been a better theme.
The best thing about this build is the color scheme. Everything is greyscale except for some very specific colors in very specific locations. It’s a fantastic build and rightfully nominated for best creature..
Arthur Gugick is well known for his architecture builds, and his mosaics. He is always up for one or two awards and actually got the Master Builder award this year, which was well deserved. I’ve had a chance to get to know him a bit over the last two conventions and can say that he’s great to hang out with and was one of the people involved in the late night emergency mosaic speed build.
A fun build by TwinLUG member Lisa Parker. She had to mod some parts to get the La Crosse sticks to work right, but I think it might have been worth it.
There had been quite a bit of drinking the previous evening, some of which had inspired the previously mentioned mosaic speed build though no one involved had been drinking from what I remember. Seemed reasonable that Robot had probably imbibed as well. It’s entirely possible that this experience is what turned him off all organic foods in the future.
Yes, the original tweet had a typo. Thus, the advantage of editing.
Marc-Andre Bazergui does some really amazing Mindstorms creations, though his most famous are probably his Wall-E reproductions.
The Lord of the Rings group layout was probably the second largest, after the Norther Illinois LEGO Train Club’s usual huge collaboration, and contained a good variety of MOCs from lots of different builders. There are better builds then Minas Tirith (The White City), but it made for a good shot with the army massed outside it. The guy who had built Khazad-dûm had apologized for being the likely reason that it had been so difficult to find the roof parts for J’s Cathedral this past spring.
This one was entirely for M. It’s exactly the kind of thing he builds, and these will probably be the level that he’ll be building in about 10 years.
The crowds had started to thin out a bit and I was looking forward to the end of the public hours. In other words: Time to goof off.
I had wanted to do some pictures of Robot helping to pack up but we just didn’t have time. Public hours ended at 3pm and we had to have EVERYTHING packed and out by 4pm so that they could put in chairs for closing ceremonies. We got it done, and with time to spare, but there was absolutely no time for taking photos of the process. I was pretty amazed though that I was able to get everything into the car. I had made a few purchases (not more then a few thousand pieces. Well, not very much more then 10,000 pieces…) so the car that had been very full on the way to the convention was even more full on the way back.
This build is my Dirty Buildster entry that was titled, “ClownBot number 6 was never really very funny.” It’s not a great build, but I wanted to have at least one photo of it.
Taken from across the street after the traditional TwinLUG post-convention dinner. This year Buca was full so we ended up at the RAM.
Madison has a problem with their transit design in that a fairly busy freight rail runs right through the middle of downtown. Granted, building the city on an isthmus makes for limited options, but it can be irritating getting stuck.
My sister Rachel pointed out that Robot does not actually appear in this image. It was just starting to rain so I wanted to get into the car relatively quickly _and_ somehow load the soda somewhere into the relatively full vehicle, but Robot had been left in the car. Rather then risk getting soaked I just took the picture without him. Hopefully it didn’t feel too left out.
In my own defense I had not been intending to buy three cases of soda, just one. When I arrived at Cost Plus World Market in Madison is when I found out that Bundaberg had released three new flavors at which point my path was clear. I was disappointed I was not able to get a case of the Guava as well as the Blood Orange and the Pink Grapefruit.
I figured this was a relatively fitting end to the adventure and would allow for me to pick it up again later if the inspiration appeared. If I do then Robot is likely to get his own blog and Twitter account. I do have some ideas of where I could go with this, and at the very least I do have BrickFete in just a month, so we’ll just have to see what happens.