One of the best of way of learning and staying inspired in your LEGO hobby is to stay in touch with other brick enthusiasts and picking up a tip or two from them. Some forums and groups even have a creative twist on how to get people all fired up for exciting and never before seen MOCs and creative builds. One such group in particular is Builders Lounge, a private community of AFOLs (Adult Fans Of LEGO) that “fosters a friendly atmosphere of creative freedom for LEGO builders through constructive criticism, input, and the continuing development of building skills”. Joining the Builder’s Lounge is by invitation only, so being included in its current roster of 452 members is already such a great honor. Check out their Flicker page right here.
However, being invited to join the Builders Lounge doesn’t end there. Once you’re enlisted as a member, you are expected to sharpen your LEGO building skills by dishing out some of the best MOCs that you have kept under your sleeve. You don’t need to worry if it is not at par with the builds made by veteran forum members because the cool part of it is you’ll get plenty of suggestions, building tips, and techniques from other members that will prove to be useful for your next project.
Other than sharing the tricks of trade, Builders Lounge came up with their very own contest to sharpen each other’s brick building blade. Sounding more like a grueling brick building triathlon, the Iron Builder (IB) regularly pits forum members against current title holders with the hope of bagging the coveted Iron Builder Title. Running for four years now since its inception in November of 2012, the Iron Builder contest seems to have evolved a life of its own via its Flickr page. LEGO fans and enthusiasts are now free to join the Iron Builder group and be part of the IB challenge.
The rules are simple: you will be pitted against a current or former IB champion where you will challenge each other with some of the best MOCs that you can churn out. The catch? You will do so for a month with MOCs that feature a LEGO ‘mystery piece’ announced at the start of the contest. This mystery piece must be prominently seen in all the builds that will be submitted. Of course, the audience wants to be entertained so a healthy dose of non-threatening taunts and teases are allowed and even encouraged. At the end of the month-long MOC throwing and bantering, a panel of judges will review the MOCs that each contestant has submitted. These will be judged based on the following: Building Skills, Presentation, and Use of the Mystery Part. Each criterion has 20 points, giving a highest possible score of 60. The LEGO combatant with the highest number of points acquired from the panel of judges will be considered the winner of that IB round.
For this year, we already saw 8 IB rounds that were concluded and a 9th currently on-going. The most recent IB Round saw the German challenger Legopard (aka Jason) being the victor of the nail-cracking, month-long competition over Canada’s pride, One More Brick (aka Tim Schawalfenberg). You might remember that our very own Tom Baker once had an interview with Jason featuring his Monster Maris MOC. We also featured Jason’s LOTR themed pinball machine, and it was a hit! In response, Tim countered with his technically impressive 37th build, the Bicycle with its beautifully arranged wheel spokes.
Here are Jonas’ entire set of entries, all 33 of them.
And of course, even if he did not emerge as the victor, Tim has provided us with a collage of his awesome 48 builds.
Here are some of our favorite MOCs from Jason and Tim’s entries:
The Monstrum Maris
The LoTR Pinball
Steampunk Brass Bug
Starcraft II Siege Tank
ASUS P9X79-E WS – Motherboard
GIGABYTE G4M-XPZ Motherboard
The idea of choosing a LEGO mystery part and building your MOCs around it is a cool contest in itself. You may start one on your own together with your friends, and even have some experienced LEGO builders to judge your work. Be sure to follow the Iron Builder series to keep your LEGO creative juices flowing.
What do you think? Do you have what it takes to be a champion Iron Builder? Share your thoughts on the comments below.