Author Archives: Chris

Boy in Red

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Here’s a recent portrait I was commissioned to do for this young man’s bar mitzvah. He is a big fan of LEGO, and will very soon enter the world of “TFOLs” (teen fans of LEGO). This project was a bit different in that he wanted to be able to build the mosaic himself. So I did the design work, assembled the LEGO bricks, put together a little instruction booklet, and shipped the package off.

LEGO Portraits: Pinned Heads

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pinhead* –noun
1. the head of a pin.
2. something very small or insignificant.
3. Slang . a stupid person; nitwit.
pinned head -noun
1. the face of a minifig appearing “pinned” on a backboard, particularly as portrayed in the form of a LEGO mosaic

I recently wondered how it would look to do a series of portraits of LEGO minifig faces, peeling away the normal look and shape of a minifig head, and concentrating on the face.  This series is the result.

So, does this make me a pinhead (definition #3 above) for making pinned heads? 😀


* pinhead. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pinhead (accessed: May 16, 2012).

The Wicked sMartans

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LEGO has an amazing product line called Mindstorms — programmable robots that you design and build with LEGO parts.  And there are actually quite a few organized competitions and leagues where kids work together to build and program these LEGO mindstorms robots to manage specific challenges. These events are great contributors to kids’ understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Not only are they learning amazing things, but they get to do it with LEGO “toys.”

This past year, one such league chose “The Yellow Brick Road” as their theme … so all teams came up with team-names based on the wizard of oz. One of the teams found my LEGO mosaic “A Wicked Smile” and asked if they could use the image  for their T-shirts. “A Wicked Smile” is my LEGO interpretation of Elphaba’s (the wicked witch of the west) smile from the Broadway musical, Wicked.

The Mindstorms NXT kit can be purchased from LEGO on their website or at your local LEGO Store.

National Geoplastic, a LEGO Mosaic by Duckingham Design

LEGO Mosaic: National Geoplastic

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National Geoplastic, a LEGO Mosaic by Duckingham Design
Sometimes the job of friends is to remind you of your own epic fails in life. This one may not be *quite* as epic, but it has been a year since I built this mosaic, not to mention displaying it at BrickMagic 2011, so … mildly epic fail, at least. 🙂 So, thank you, Sue, for reminding MamaDuck to remind me to get this thing posted. 🙂

Another thing … the “built the mosaic” and the “display[ed] it at BrickMagic 2011” are very closely connected. In fact, MamaDuck, Duck Jr., and I put the whole thing together in our hotel room at the Hilton the day before the event. I’d designed it by hand on the computer already … we just hadn’t had a chance to piece it together. This also explains why our van was weighted down with excessive amounts of loose LEGO brick, too … had to make sure I had enough of everything. As it stood, we were *extremely* lucky to find that the Raleigh LEGO store *did* in fact have yellow 2×6’s and 2×4’s to help finish out the distinctive border. Something tells me that this mosaic wouldn’t have had quite the same effect if the border had been … say, green, or blue. 🙂

National Geoplastic is the third in my series of LEGO mosaic magazine parodies, following Mime Magazine and DuckJournal. For those of you who *just don’t get the reference* the idea here is a LEGO brick parody of the great adventuring magazine, National Geographic, and the famous cover with King Tut, here replaced with a LEGO King Tut. This is an homage, not only to the magazine, but also to the Pharoh’s Quest series of LEGO sets from 2011. (one of my favorite LEGO lines of all time, though sadly my set-buying budget has been down, and I only walked away with the 2 small sets from the series.)

BrickMagic LEGO Festival 2012

BrickMagic 2012 is Coming Up!

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BrickMagic LEGO Festival 2012

The 3rd annual BrickMagic LEGO festival is coming up this May. The public days are Saturday & Sunday May 19-20 at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown. Public days are for those who want to come and see what others have built. If you would like to build something for display and come early for a few more special events, you can register as an exhibitor.

I’ve been thrilled to be able to display my creations along with those of the many other talented builders that come. Last year I had the privilege of being able to display several of my larger mosaics in the main entrance hallway. This year it looks like I’ll get to be involved a little bit more hands-on, but I’ll have more information to share about that later.

In the meantime, here are a few more of the details, and be sure to check out the website, too:

  • Meet Certified Professional LEGO builder DAN PARKER, and help him build a 5 ft. wide DEATHSTAR!
  • See a huge hall of custom LEGO creations by top builders from around the country!
  • Play with over 20,000 loose LEGO bricks in our FREE BUILD ROOM (sponsored by Lay-N-Go)!
  • Meet professional minifigure customizer JARED K. BURKS, who will hold free minifig workshops!
  • Attend workshops on building tips and techniques!
  • Meet the team from SHATTERPOINT ENTERTAINMENT, as they demonstrate the making of animated LEGO films (which will run continuously in our Theater Room all weekend)!
  • Watch a robotics competition by First® LEGO® League teams, and try hands-on demonstrations of MINDSTORMS robots!
  • Shop for hard-to-find LEGO parts and sets, and purchase our special LIMITED EDITION SPACEFIGHTER EVENT KIT, available only at BrickMagic!
  • Be the first to see the TOP SECRET NEW SETS that LEGO will debut exclusively at BrickMagic 2012!
  • Meet JOE MENO, editor of BrickJournal magazine, and author of the new books YOU CAN BUILD IT and THE CULT OF LEGO, which debut at BrickMagic 2012!
  • Enter the SPACESHIP BUILDING CONTEST and win prizes!
  • Plus lots more!

LEGO Basset Wedding Cake Topper

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A LEGO Basset Wedding Cake Topper?

“I like the Basset you built out of LEGO. Could you make one for a Wedding Cake Topper?” That was the question posed to me by a client recently.

The client had seen my previous LEGO basset sculpture, (a quarter of life-size), and was engaged to a man who is really into LEGO toys and has a Basset. She wanted to surprise him with a cake topper that combined some of his favorite things.

Since the previous sculpture I’d built was a little too big to fit on top of a (normal-sized) wedding cake, I pretty much went back to the drawing board on scale and shapes.  Fun challenge!

image of a LEGO Basset Cake Topper 1
image of a LEGO Basset Cake Topper 2
image of a LEGO Basset Cake Topper 3
image of a LEGO Basset Cake Topper 4

LEGO Mosaic: DuckJournal Magazine

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DuckJournal Magazine: For LEGO Duck enthusiasts everywhere!

 

All good AFOLs (Adult fans of LEGO) know about BrickJournal magazine. After I built my Mime Magazine mosaic, I started brainstorming about other magazine titles that would be fun to cover as LEGO. BrickJournal seemed to be an obvious choice, and mixing it up with a Duck followed pretty quickly.

It’s not always easy to get an idea of the size of LEGO mosaics when all I do is include a photo of just the mosaic, so I got a little help from some of the little girls in my life (above) to give you a better idea.

Here is DuckJournal on display with my Mime Magazine mosaic at BrickWorld 2011:

 

LEGO Mosaic: Mime Magazine

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image of Mime Magazine Mime of the Year LEGO Mosaic by Duckingham Design

Building a LEGO magazine cover

Mime Magazine is the first in a series of 3 LEGO mosaics I built and displayed for BrickMagic 2011. Each of the 3 mosaics is a parody of a popular magazine. Playing on the popularity of the new LEGO Mime minifig, I thought it appropriate to announce a “Mime of the Year” in Mime magazine, complete with the red-bordered representation of the original magazine, Time.

Facts about LEGO Mime Magazine

Built: February 2011
Size: 35″ x 45″
5 Colors: Black, Red, White, Lt. Grey (Bley), Dk. Grey (Bley)
4500 pieces

image of Mime Magazine LEGO Mosaic, work in Progress in Progress early February 2011 image of Close-up of the finished face of Mime Magazine image of the Mime putting together a piece for the Mime Magazine LEGO Mosaic

The Life and Death of a Logo (LEGO, or otherwise)

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The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks

The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks

The specification for HTML is one of those rare things that is the successful result of being run by committee. Or two. Considering the tens of thousands (if not millions) of HTML coders worldwide, we accept that a committee (or two) is superior than a democracy.

But, as something being run by a committee (or two), we still get iffy things like the occurrence this week of the announcement of a logo for the up and coming HTML 5 standard as well as another announcement that HTML 5 will not be known as such, but as simply HTML, which completely obliterates the logo.

But, since the whole thing is still run by a committee (or two), it is not clear at this time with the life and/or death of the HTML 5 logo will be.

In the meantime, fresh after the first announcement, I commenced upon my own personal interpretation of the logo in LEGO bricks. And post it here for posterity, regardless of the outcome. 🙂

The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks with Builder and Builder Jr.

The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks with Builder and Builder Jr.

LEGO Dog Sculptures: Basset Hounds

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LEGO Dog Sculptures: Basset Hounds

LEGO Dog Sculptures: Basset Hounds

These LEGO Basset Hounds were a recent commission I did for someone who really likes Basset Hounds and was looking for a unique gift for his wife (who also really likes Bassets). He was looking for something similar to the Basset out in front of the LEGO Store in Orlando, but not as costly to build. They are one-quarter the size of a real full-grown Basset.

I’ve seen the display at the LEGO store; I’ve also seen the miniature version Dan Steininger made of those dogs (since he had several on display at the LEGO R2-D2 Store Event in Lawrenceville a couple years ago). Dan had a miniature Basset there, and I had taken 1 or 2 not very good pictures.

After spending a great deal of time poring over those pictures and comparing to pictures of the larger model (I don’t have any Bassets I know personally that I can work from  ) I was able to build something similar.

I was a little short on plates up front, esp. in brown, since most of my work to date has been exclusively with bricks, so I built my prototype in blue with old brick. Once I was satisfied with a solid design, I ordered the remaining parts I needed to finish a brown Basset, then took pictures of the new one, with the original prototype. Well, the client loved both of them, so I had to scramble to put a new blue one together. 🙂 The images here are of the finalized bassets made of new brick, glued, and ready to ship.