Thursday, December 31, 2009

and welcome 2010!

With the new year literally around the corner, I'm happy to be looking forward to what lies ahead.

BrickJournal is still growing, and now there's a podcast available on iTunes, and there's more coming! It's a very exciting time for the magazine as new media is becoming part of BrickJournal's expanding mission.

And we're doing something else new...a new event. It'll be another chance for the LEGO fan community to meet and show their talents.

So it's a time to move forward. I am very happy and proud of what has happened so far, but more importantly, I am very happy to have met so many people this year who share our hobby. I am most excited about meeting all teh people that have yet to be discovered - the AFOLs who only lurked online and decided to come to an event, the AFOLs I know all over I will no doubt see again, and the AFOLs to be we are showing how to build and create.

So Happy New Year to everyone!

Buzz Light(up)year!

Take a look at the latest brickmod by Rob Hendrix!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009


If you were wondering what was going on at LEGOWorld from the NXT guys, here it is!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

LEGO-oriented article

The British newspaper The Mail ran this story. It's a pretty good look at how LEGO has prospered in the past few years. There's some nice photography too.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The LEGO Life

The LEGO Life, originally uploaded by jonpalmer.

Click on the pic to the essay he wrote.

This is from one of the first LEGO builders I met, Jon Palmer. For those who are AFOLs, this will resonate tremendously. And for those who aren't, it'll give you a hint about us.

Friday, December 4, 2009

LEGO Universe Coverage

LEGO Universe is the online multiplayer game being developed by the LEGO Group. There has been coverage on, but here's some more information from other sites:


LEGO Universe is set for release in 2010.

Hat tip to

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

MORE business cards...

Got some more business cards to look at:

More will be coming to soon!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Twins Tower

Twins Tower, originally uploaded by MisaQa.

One of the traditions of the holiday are advent calendars. LEGO has two currently available (well, only one in the US - the Pirate Advent Calendar is only available in Europe, which has caused much consternation elsewhere), and there are AFOLs who build their own.

One of the best known AFOL advent calendars is built by the Japanese builder MisaQa. Every year, she builds a thematic calendar - in 2005 she made birds. 2006 had her build Victorian ladies, and 2007 she did a microcity. Last year, she built mythical creatures.

This year, MisaQa starts out with a micro skyscraper. Looking forward to what she is building for the holiday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

LEGO Business Cards...

Got this today from Hadley Scrowton:

New business cards were issued to LEGO employees - and here's an image of the old cards.

The bottom two views are of the new cards. So who"s the new minifigure? More coming on the BrickJournal site!

Helping the Community...

A fundraising event is going on now to provide LEGO sets for underprivileged children. Leading AFOL builders and vendors have donated models and services for auction, with over $1000 in revenues so far for Toys for Tots. This charity event is maintained by Nannan Zhang, an AFOL.

Builders contributing models for auction include: Kyle Peterson, Jason B, Michael Jasper, Don Wilson, Keith Goldman, Brian Kescenovitz, Heather Braaten, Jordan Schwartz, Dave Kaleta, Zack Milenius, Tom Williamson, Tristan Bowersox, Alex Eylar, Tyler Clites, Dan Rubin, Lloyd W, Jörg F, Jared Burks, and John B.

Current auctions can be seen here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another build in Orlando

Buzz Build in Orlando!

DSC09688, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Festival of the Masters is going on now at Downtown Disney, Orlando, Florida and the LEGO Imagination Center is doing a Master Build with Buzz Lightyear! Here's the reference model.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Biggest LEGO Mario ever built - Grootste LEGO Mario ooit

To the many that missed LEGOWorld, here's a look at one of the models there that *wasn't* done by LEGO model builders!

When You Wish Upon a Star...

Here's something that is going on in Japan:

LEGO Cuusoo is a site that has been around for a bit, but only recently got translated to English. You can read the FAQ here.

In some ways, it looks like LEGO Design byME. You can create your own set. However, there is a big difference - LC allows for the opportunity to make production runs of selected sets. The LEGO Group is an official partner in this, also.

The site is in open beta, so there are bugs, and the error messages are in Japanese, so have Google translate handy. Registration takes a few moments to do, but it allows you to vote and create wishes.

However, the idea is pretty cool - make a wish, get 1000 supporters, and your wish gets considered for a production run!

Main Street Train Station, Walt Disney World

DSC02102.jpg, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

In a few days, I will be at Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney, Orlando, Florida. It's an arts show, with chalk drawings on teh sidewalk and many, many vendors. The LEGO Imagination Center has a display from the local LEGO group to join in the fun. This year there will be a Master Build of Buzz Lightyear too!

This is one of the models on display in 2008. Built by Robin Werner, this is a nice rendition of the Main Street Train Station at the Magic Kingdom.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Clutch Powers?

Busy news week....

It doesn't look bad.

Tip of the hat to Katrin Elster of Strategic Play.

LEGO Rock Band!

Coming out today (Nov. 3)!

Competing Brands...

DSC03900.jpg, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

It was a bit ago that there were a few competitors to the LEGO brick, including the military Blockmen and of course Megabloks and Best-Lock. One competing brick that did not last was the Tyco brick. Here's an ad from them, displayed at the LEGO Idea House in Billund, Denmark.

From BrickJournal's photo archive.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lighted LEGO Lamp Post

Lighted LEGO Lamp Post, originally uploaded by brickmodder.

If you want a light for your layout....Rob the Brickmodder made some self-contained lights!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Odds and ends...

For those using Power Functions motors and controllers, there is an updated version that is superceding the previous version. The hardware is the same - it's the firmware that is different. You can get more information at TechnicBRICKS For the most part this will not affect the casual user yet but for those who are using the NXT with Power Functions, this adds more potential functionality.

If you want to see a nice model go to this link. It's not very often that real objects are modeled, and this is pretty cool in that the model does everything but actually work.

And if you are a Mac user and play with building LEGO models with Bricksmith, there is a new version out that you can get here! I use it for making models (yes, I did build Wall-E, but it's a 2000 part model!!) and use it with LPub to make instructions.

And there is progress with the website going on...more in a bit on that.

Saturday, October 31, 2009's New Groove

One of the things that has been lagging with is that is that it has not really worked as a web counterpart to the magazine. There has been a long-range vision for the magazine for it to be part of a media platform, with the magazine being one part of a larger group. This makes sense, because printed media is only one way to present the hobby, and a way that has advantages and disadvantages.

Print advantages are:
1. Very portable - you can carry around the mag at will in your bookbag.
2. Nice presentation - well, if designed correctly:-)
3. Easy to disseminate - why pass a link when you can pass a publication???
Print disadvantages are:
1. High investment - need some programs to produce content
2. Production cost is high - to make cost-effective, there have to be large magazine runs.
3. Decay - a magazine will last only as long as you take care of it.

The web as media offers:
1. Video - some displays, like the Great Ball Contraption at events need to be seen in motion to appreciate them.
2. Audio - an interview that is taped has more than the written word.
3. Space - for photos and instructions - the web is as big as we make it!
4. Interactivity - links to galleries, other pages, and more can be made...

so the question is: how can these be worked together? There's some ideas already being floated around...but the first priority is to make (or at least try to make) the website a destination for those wanting to know about the community and the magazine.

As a designer (I have a design degree from North Carolina State University), I realized early on that the web has tremendous potential for showing MOCs. A viewer can see all of a model with a video and with new media. I am planning BrickJournal to be part of this and am doing some research and development on my own some areas. Stay tuned to see what is going on:-)!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hey! What happened?

yes, the website is changing. Not to this blog, mind you, but to a new site design!

Here's what happened and what is happening...

We switched webhosts from Near-Time, as they are changing their services to a new model. Notice was given to us about a month ago, and with that the process of receiving all the files from them was done over the next week. From there, a new webhost was found and set up, and...

I looked at this as an opportunity. While had some good things about it, I wanted to see more.

For those wondering about the subscription for the site, it's gone. The subscription was meant for a premium level of accessibility for the website and its contents, however, it was a failed experiment. The site generated a very small amount of revenue, but not enough to support the site and any content I wanted to use as enhancements. The revenue gathered was used for support of the site, but it ultimately declined to a very low level and shut off entirely by Near-Time.

So, the site as we know it is now gone. The content is now with the new webhost, but will have to be reconfigured for something new.

So what is going to happen? In the next couple of weeks, there will be some new construction going on with the website. Instead of a blog like page like it formerly was, will look like, well, a website. There will be a section devoted to the current issue with exclusive content, such as video and photos that didn't get in the magazine. A second section will have the current news items that we get from LEGO and other sources, such as DK Publishing. And a third section will have exclusive content on the site, such as video and instructions. And that's just the beginning...

And now is an opportunity for you. What would you want to see on the new BrickJournal site? Drop a line here - I'll be watching.

And I'll be putting updates on the website design - a basic design has been decided, and now refinements are going on. As we closer to launch I will be posting some layouts.

So when is launch? The goal is to have the site set up and running to cover the Festival of the Masters in Florida, in about two weeks. As new sections are completed, they will be added.

Excited? I am!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Caption Contest Winners!

This past weekend, we held a caption contest with prizes from DK Publishing. Here are the captions that won a LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary Minipak (a copy of the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary and a launch event t-shirt):

By Alfred Jr:
I find your lack of height disturbing.

by Edward:
How come I always get stuck with R2?
Where's my bikini-clad slave Leia?

by inkblob:
You can see here, the Death Ball orbiting the forest moon of Encrab.

and the winning caption of the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary Megapack
(LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary, one launch event T-shirt, one San Diego Comic-Con postcard pack, and a Darth Vader minifigure):

by wyndryder:
That's right, son. Now run up and kick it!

I need mailing addresses for all the winners to send their prize packages, so send your mailing info to:
Many thanks to all who entered and also to DK Publishing for providing prizes!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Caption Contest Deadline

The deadline for caption submissions to the three pictures is 12:00 AM Monday, October 12 Eastern Standard Time. So take a look and drop a line or two!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Caption Photo 3

DSC00133, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Here's the last pic to caption - you can choose from one or all of them. Put your caption in the comments and the best one overall will get a LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary Mega Pack, and the next three will get the Mini Pack! Have fun!

Caption Photo 2

DSC00132, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Here's the second pic to caption - you can choose from one or all of them. Put your caption in the comments and the best one overall will get a LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary Mega Pack, and the next three will get the Mini Pack! Have fun!

Caption Photo 1

DSC00131, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Here's the first pic to caption - you can choose from one or all of them. Put your caption in the comments and the best one overall will get a LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary Mega Pack, and the next three will get the Mini Pack! Have fun!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Of Sets and Contests...

The response from Alfred about his return to building reminds me of a goofy comment I made about a set...

I was asked about the smaller Millenniun Falcon set that came out about a month ago. I bought it when it arrived on the shelf, so a friend wanted a review.

I told him that it was a pretty nice set with a lot of parts for building other stuff. When asked if I liked this set over the Ultimate Collector's version of the Falcon, I quickly answered tha I liked the smaller much better. Why?

It's more swooshable. Really.

On another note, the contest for the Mega and mini packs is going to be a (drum roll)....
wait for it....a CAPTION contest!

I'll be posting pics late tonight, so the idea is to come up with the funniest caption - best one gets the mega prize, and the next best 3 get the mini packs. And yes, I plan to have more than one photo. So see ya soon!

Star Wars: A New Beginnng...

With BrickJournal helping out with the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary launch, it's appropriate to write something about the sets and the phenomenon behind it. Another blog came up with a top ten list of LEGO Star Wars sets. There have been reviews of the book too (I will post one pretty soon), but I decided to give a more personal reflection of what the sets are to me.

When the sets first came out in 1999, I was working at Disney World (Downtown Disney at DisneyQuest). I needed to get a second job to get things financially stable, so I decided to apply for a job at the LEGO Imagination Center. Working at DIsney, it wasn't had to get in at the LIC, and after training, I was placed on play area duty..outside.

One of the benefits, though, was the discount, and the first set I bought there was the first version of the Star Wars X-Wing. The set was grey and had the fighter and a support vehicle. And I opened it and built it outside the store. It was a nice day, and I just found a space in the shade and started building.

After six weeks, I left the LEGO job - it was too hot working outside. But I kept on buying sets, which led me to finding LUGNET and Ebay online, and after that I became an AFOL.

So for me, the Star Wars sets were a new beginning for me. I know that more than a few AFOLs came back to the hobby because of the Star Wars sets which one got you back into building?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Skinny on the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary Launch...

On Saturday, there will be a launch event at 65 locations in the US for the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary. BrickJournal was one of a group of websites and bloggers selected to document and celebrate this event. Thanks to DK Publishing, I have some prizes and contests for you, but they will only happen Saturday, so be online Saturday at noon!

The prizes:

Well, here are the things I get to give away:

1 Mega pack - which is 1 LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary, 1 10/10/09 T-shirt (commemorating the event), 1 postcard pack from San Diego Comic-Con, and 1 Darth Vader minifigure.

3 Minipacks - which each have 1 LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary and 1 10/10/09 T-Shirt.

How do you win these? Hmmm......

Ultimate Collector Spread

Ultimate Collector Spread, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Last spread from the Visual Dictionary - now available!

EchoBase Spead

EchoBase Spead, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Spread 4 from the Visual Dictionary

Droid Army Spread

Droid Army Spread, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Spread 3 from the Star Wars LEGO Visual Dictionary

Death Star Spread

Death Star Spread, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Spread 2

BrickJournal's webpage will have a review soon of this book.

Cloud City Spread

Cloud City Spread, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Spread 1...

Check out the BrickJournal blog for some contests - more after the pages are uploaded!

LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary Cover

For those in the US, there will be a launch event happening for this book on 10.10.09 - you can go here:

for event sites. From the DK event site:

LEGO STAR WARS: The Visual Dictionary, which was a prominent feature this year at San Diego’s International Comic Con, will be released on October 10th at select stores across more than 65 cities.

Fans can meet and take pictures with the StormTroopers of the 501st Legion and other STAR WARS characters. The public event will include giveaways such as posters, stickers, LEGO product, limited-run LEGO STAR WARS postcard packs, and other freebies.

In the meantime, here are some spreads to look at...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Brickcon Video 1

from Tommy Williamson...

LEGO STAR WARS Visual Dictionary Fun!

Drop by this blog Saturday to get in on the LEGO STAR WARS Visual Dictionary launch, happening at LEGO stores and selected stores! I'll be doing some giveaways and having fun, and hopefully getting some photos from our store here! If you are nowhere near a store, drop by here!

See ya soon!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Standing Small spreads

Standing Small spreads, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Here's a spread from The LEGO Book's companion book, Standing Small. This book is focused on the minifigure, and will be sold as a set with the LEGO Book. It's from DK, and due out in October!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The LEGO Book's contents...

Table of contents, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Here is the content spread for DK's book, The LEGO Book, coming out next month!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Toy Story LEGO sets!

100_4023, originally uploaded by Loren Javier.

Spotted at the d23 convention in Anaheim - you can see a high res pic at this Flickr page.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

DK LEGO Books coming up

DSC05646, originally uploaded by jmenomeno.

Here are some proofs of the DK LEGO books coming out in October - the LEGO Book and Standing Small (about the minifig), which are in a slipcase, the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary, and the Pirates Brickmaster book, which has parts and minifigs!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grand Carousel Preview

This set is now available at LEGO stores and Shop at Home, so here's a video preview of the set:

A review is coming soon on the set! You can order it here from LEGO Shop at Home.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

gearing up....

It's official.

BrickJournal will be going bimonthly.

We have enough content, and the mag is growing in stature, so we are kicking it up a notch. 

Our output will increase by 50%, which is exciting - that much more space for articles and photos.

And there will be some great stuff coming...Issue 6 will have some Space stuff, Issue 7 some stuff on LEGO Architecture, Issue 8 looks like Castle....

I do need some layout designers!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

so much to do...

Working on BrickJournal 5......ARGH!

Way too much going on. Went overseas, then to NYC for Toy Fair, and saw some new sets (not all of them) and chatted with Sean Kenney, a LEGO Certified Professional. 

Sean is also the person behind MOCPages, a site dedicated to showing off creations by the LEGO community. The site was relaunched this year to allow comments, favorites, and groups, so it has become a viable site for AFOLs. Other things Sean has done include lots of models and commissions, both for LEGO and other companies.

He's also a great guy to talk to. I wanted to talk to him about how he got to build some LEGO props for the TV show "30 Rock," but got a lot more discussion, ideas, and laughs! He's got a great job and a great attitude with it. We talked about MOCPages, his work, and even BrickJournal. I'm excited about some the ideas that came up and hopefully you will be too. Expect some collaborative projects to come from BrickJournal and MOCpages. 

As for "30 Rock," there will be a story coming on that...and maybe more from Sean. 

Other odds and ends:

LEGO Acquires Rights for 3 Disney Movies: Toy Story 3, Prince of Persia, and Cars. WOW! I am VERY happy with this, mainly because I was a Disney person before I came back to LEGO building. I've built a lot of LEGO Disney models, and have been hoping for something to happen since knowing that talks had been going on for a few years. The three movies here are only a jumping point for more, so I'm hoping for something based on the theme parks (micro castles?) or other movies.....

On that subject, here is my want list for LEGO models I want to build that are Disney related - this is NOT what I want LEGO to create (for the most part) because these are mostly Disney-geek kind of stuff:

1. Micro castles - Cinderella Castle is a prime candidate, as well as Disneyland Paris.
2. Ride vignettes - Tokyo Disney has these on sale from a LEGO knockoff, but I would want more detail. Pirates would be a good one to do, as well as Star Tours and the Haunted Mansion
3. TRON - Lightcycle (and they could do the UPDATED bike from the upcoming movie)
4. The villian's helicopters that were on Bolt.
5. The Incredibles - the vehicles would be fun to build.
6. Mickey Mouse
7. Donald Duck
8. The enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast.
9. A bust of Belle
10. A bust of Briar Rose

There's much more to do too....

and that's a great thing! Sales went up because the percieved value of LEGO sets went up - some of that was because of the brand, some was because of the product that came out the past year, and some was because of the fallout from the Chinese imports that tainted the toy market. The LEGO group made it clear that their toys met or exceeded safety regulations, and the market responded.

On a related note (idle speculation), the prices for sets went up a little to reflect oil prices that shot up last year. With oil now really low, I would expect sets for next year to have higher piece counts. But this is idle speculation.

Saw this at Toy Fair - wow! It's a nice set and one I would think about getting for the price. The functionality is great (and yes, it can pick up the AT-TE) and the detail is really nice!

A new train set - and one that's a steam engine! I REALLY like this one, mainly because it has the piston wheels! (To train fans - I don't like modern diesel trains...they look kinda plain to me. Older trains are much more appealing...or high tech trains. Sorry.) Now does it have a motor? For the price, I hope so.

New sets I want?
Most of the sets coming out this year have something new and neat, but I am saving for Agents 2.0 - that's the theme I will be dumping money on.

So what are you planning to buy?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Interesting local development..

So I live in Raleigh, North Carolina - not the center of the known universe, but not the armpit either. I have the luxury of being about four hours away from the nearest LEGO store in Washington, DC and about six hours (maybe more) away from the store in Atlanta. I say luxury because four hours as a road trip isn't bad for me and could be a bit farther.

That will change in the summer, because Raleigh just got a LEGO store. The news was announced here, and the location is minutes away from where I live. 

And no, I didn't have anything to do with it...well, that I know of.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Community notes (Not directly LEGO related)

So a few of you may know who Jake McKee is - he was the first Community Liaison to LEGO (before Steve Witt) and was responsible for much of what got the LEGO Group involved with the LEGO community. Since leaving the LEGO Group, he has gone on in developing online communities and has been a speaker on this subject at various seminars and conventions. He also has a website.

He also started another site, Connected by Distance, recently. The site's goal is to show what online communities have done on a personal level. This isn't a sales site - it's a story site. And the AFOL community is a great setting for these stories. All of us are connected - is there a story that you can tell? Go to CbD and drop a story there.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I am a supporter of the community - although it may not be easily noticed. There are a few that have made me out to be someone with his own agenda, and it's true. I do have an agenda.

My agenda is simple -  to help grow and mature the community. What do I mean by that? Well, BrickJournal is a publication that spotlights the community in a positive way. The magazine is a viewer to the AFOL community that is different than anything else, as it can talk at length with a builder and show their models. While the mag is a gallery, there is some time devoted to trying to find out why people build. There's a story behind every builder and every model, and BrickJournal searches for those stories.

As Editor, I also strive to be as professional as possible with the mag. I believe that if we are to be taken seriously by the LEGO Group, we need to act with respect and professionalism to them. For the most part, this means that our articles are written in a voice that is open and inviting to others (at least for the most part). I don't allow articles that are more opinion than news...anyone can write an article about why item X 'sucks' to them, but that 's a opinion. A BrickJournal article will put out the facts and let the reader decide. 

BrickJournal strives to have articles that are open and accessible to the public. This goes to my thoughts on community. I want others to join and I want the community to grow. In order for this to happen, we have to be open. And we also need to take the time to answer questions about how we do things and how we build. I have seen wonderful photos online of models that are inspiring, but without a little direction as to how to build, it's easy to get discouraged as a new person. 

And there are new things too - since BrickJournal started, there have been articles on FIRST LEGO League, and LEGO Serious Play. Both are things that are not very well-known to the AFOL community, but the mag is slowly changing that. 

In other aspects of the community, the mag is a contributor. There are AFOL initiatives that have reached out from the AFOL community to the local community, where LEGO has become not only a way to build, but also to teach. BrickJournal has provided support to these efforts and will continue to do so in the future.

So am I for community? You better believe it!

So what was the Big Trip???

After having returned a couple of weeks ago from it, I can tell you.

It was a college orientation. No, I not going back to school (though some have suggested it to me) - this is an orientation that I took part in. And there were many things that made this a special event....

1. This orientation was for a college that hasn't opened yet. Located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) is scheduled to open this fall. The first class of graduate students met for the first time at an event called "Discover KAUST," which is what I was involved in. 

2. LEGO was used in teambuilding exercises, both for groups and down to the individual level, using LEGO Serious Play and LEGO MINDSTORMs sets and projects. For me it was the first time I have seen either done on such a large scale (approximately 300 students)

3. I was one of the press pool - originally I was slated to be a facilitator, but my camera won out:-). There were some other community people who stepped up to be facilitators (MINDSTORMs people) as well as others. Facilitators came from Taiwan, Denmark, Germany, the US, and Egypt, and the coordinators were from Sweden and France. I was a truly international gathering that reflected the students participating.

While the event itself happened over a week, our part was only two days. But the impact lasted, which is really nice to know.

The event opened my eyes a little bit more to other cultures and people. ANd also opened my eyes to what the brick and NXT can do beyond building.