Official Packaging Design for LEGO Bricklink AFOL Designer Program Revealed

On September of last year, the LEGO-selling platform and building community Bricklink announced a LEGO partnership to host a set Designer Program for AFOLs. The number of submissions by interested AFOL designers was then pruned to 16 finalists. Preordering these neat sets began last February, and this week we get to see their official boxes.

It’s understandable that the packaging be showcased now. The Bricklink AFOL Designer Program preorder period will only be until April 15 after all. With each of the finalist sets being of varying sizes, so to for the boxes the LEGO bricks will be stored in.

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To further sell just how unique these AFOL Designer sets are, they come with a “Thank You” card from Bricklink and the designers. In addition, they each come with large foldable and incredibly beautiful backdrops. As seen above, the background really makes Legopard’s Wild West Saloon even more imposing looking.

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At the latest, 13 of the 16 AFOL Designer finalists have reached the needed preorder support to go into production by Bricklink. We offer congratulations to the well-supported designers and hope the prospective buyers enjoy their supported Bricklink sets when they arrive. Remember, preorder support ends next week, April 15.

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Duke University (NC) Senior Records Campus Life with Shoulder-Camera Rig Made from LEGO Pieces

We’ve covered a number of LEGO MOCs in the past that have gone beyond mere play or aesthetic purposes. These builds were of a utilitarian bent, like the wheeled frame for a post-surgery recovering animal, made from Technic pieces. Reading about them certainly reaffirms the sheer function versatility of LEGO.

Now here’s another MOC we found that may be worth talking about. Back when Jeffrey Wubbenhorst started as a freshman in Duke University, North Carolina, he was inspired to try recording his life as a student. His idea was to mount a camera frame on his backpack, pointing front over his left shoulder. His search for a steadying material to mount his GoPro cam led him to using LEGO Technic.

Thus, with his shoulder-camera LEGO-mounting named “Felix,” Wubbenhorst began documenting how he spent his day studying and attending classes at Duke, as well as other activities in between all that.

“I also have some kind of understanding that life at Duke is not normal,” says Wubbenhorst, “and that not-normalcy should probably be preserved for posterity.”

Now a Duke Senior, Wubbenhorst remarks that the constant presence of his recording camera somehow helped him make friends around campus, due to interest in his video-taking and the LEGO rig he uses for it. The fact that footage is constantly being recorded of his interactions has also aided him in keeping his “social consciousness.”

Wubbenhorst has begun uploading some of his video footage on YouTube. Thus far sample footage looks relatively stable for being atop his shoulder, a testament to Wubbenhorst relying on stable construction offered by LEGO sets.

LEGO Builds Another 1:1 Brick (Non-Functional) Sports Car: McLaren Senna

Using LEGO bricks to build life-sized vehicle models isn’t a new thing. The practice did get a boost following LEGO and Bugatti’s 1:1 recreation of the Technic Chiron set as a functional brick-built car. Many creations from other builders followed, though they lacked the Chiron’s ability to move under power.

Recently LEGO has partnered with McLaren to once again do an official life-sized brick build. The subject is McLaren’s Senna sports car, currently interpreted as one of this year’s LEGO Speed Champions sets (75892). A 42-person team took 5,000 hours in total to assemble 467,854 to form the finished product.

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In comparison, within the same timeframe as the LEGO and McLaren collaboration, the latter could have manufactured nine real Sennas. Like the brick-built Chiron, this creation also included non-brick components from its namesake car. We’re talking real McLaren tires, steering wheel, pedal box and carbon-fiber driver’s seat in the thing.

Again, however, this impressive 1:1 LEGO McLaren Senna is lacking the multiple Power Functions motor setup that enabled the brick-built Bugatti Chiron to actually drive. In compensation, the car’s start button will instead play a recorded Senna engine sound over loudspeakers. It’s a poor substitute for the real thing though.

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The LEGO McLaren Senna build can only be appreciated in images for now, but it will debut “in the plastic” later this summer. UK fans can catch it on exhibit at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England.

Researchers Use LEGO Pieces to Build Setup to Create Lab-Grown Meat with “Organic-Like” Texture

This won’t be the first time we’ve featured a LEGO MOC that’s geared towards scientific ends. Before, we’ve covered a brick-built sundial and even a scanner setup for detecting nerve gas and airborne biological agents. And now, we’ve come across another far-out scientific application for LEGO bricks, producing cultured meat.

Lab-grown meat research isn’t exactly new, but using LEGO pieces to make equipment to do so is now a thing. Researchers from Penn State University and the University of Alabama have been pondering on how to make cultured meat from starch fibers have an “organic” texture. The solution was a device that spins the starch fiber into a “meat-like” structure.

According to Food and Wine, the research teams hit upon constructing a spinning wheel for the cultured-meat fabric using various LEGO parts and moved by Power Functions motors. Plastic was the material of choice they used due to being non-conductive.

Using the setup pictured above, the researchers were able to have the spinning mechanism cause the starch fabric to align into muscle cells just like with real steak-grade meat. Of course, the small LEGO setup used means the quantity of lab-grown meat isn’t much, but the experiment has proven the concept, making the team confident in replicating the method with a larger version in future.

If you’re curious as to whether the experimenters will continue to use LEGO in their later studies of making organic-like cultured meat, the answer’s actually no. But again, the iconic toy brand has come through with its wondrously wide applicability that even scientist can rely on it for their work.

First US Appearance of LEGO Life-Sized Bugatti Chiron in Disney Springs, Disney World

It’s been over six month now since LEGO unveiled their proof of concept that LEGO bricks can build anything. The proof was a life-sized brick-built Bugatti Chiron, using the same elements as the official LEGO Technic Chiron set (42083) and able to actually run, powered solely by Power Functions motors.

For the rest of 2018 the 1:1 LEGO Bugatti Chiron has been on a grand European tour, appearing in racetracks, auto shows and LEGO Stores. After last hearing of it in the UK, we’ve learned that the life-sized LEGO Chiron has already crossed the Atlantic for its first appearance stateside.

When guests at the Disney Springs commercial hub in Walt Disney World, Florida noticed that open space was being prepared in front of their LEGO Store, excitement started to build. Now they can announce that the 1:1 LEGO Bugatti Chiron will be making its first US stop at Disney Springs.

In case you need a refresher, a crack LEGO design team assembled this epic e-car with over a million LEGO Technic pieces, or 90% of the total construction. The “engine” housed 2,304 Power Functions motors driving 4,032 Technic gear wheels to move its genuine tires. Considering it weighs 1.5 tons it’s a miracle the LEGO Chiron can actually manage 20/km.

The LEGO brick-built Bugatti will be parked at the Disney Springs LEGO Store in Disney World over the weekend, from March 22 to 24. Unfortunately no test drives are allowed, but guests might sit inside and marvel at it all.

LEGO Event “Brickish Weekend” at UK’s National Space Centre in Leicester this Saturday

While a member of the European Space Agency (ESA), the UK has a national space agency all their own: the executive-level UK Space Agency (UKSA). In addition, there’s an educational resource museum in Leicester, the National Space Centre that exhibits a number of historical spacecraft plus related technologies and facilities.

The NSC also has a partnership with the UK-based LEGO-building AFOL community the Brickish Association. For nine year past they have hosted an annual event called the Brickish Weekend, where they fill the National Space Centre with a colorful exhibition of awesome tabletop builds of various subjects and tile-mosaic art.

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For this year, the tenth Brickish Weekend event at the NSC will take place right at this weekend, from March 16 to 17. Once more the Brickish Association builders will put their best foot forward with their anticipated LEGO exhibits.

Their displays will include a dedicated gallery featuring official and MOC space-related LEGO sets and builds, fitting for the venue. Whether based on real spacecraft or the fancies of the imagination, these exhibits will form the central core of the event, which will also feature official and custom creations of every other LEGO theme available.

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Brickish Weekend will offer guest activities too. Visitors will be able to play with LEGO bricks at provided building tables. A LEGO mosaic will also get guests to contribute tiles to complete the giant image.

This annual tradition at the National Space Centre in Leicester will definitely enhance the space history experience that the museum is already famous for. Tickets for Brickish Weekend can be booked at the official website.

Nifty MOC Featured on Reddit: Nintendo Switch-Shaped Game Card Storage Case

LEGO and the Nintendo Switch might be one of the best “unexpected” cross-brand interactions ever. Last year we ran a feature on how LEGO pieces (traditional bricks and Technic components) can be used as sturdy alternatives for the cardboard building material used in the Switch’s innovative “Labo” gaming-construction toy platform.

This new MOC we’ve found may not be not have as “active” a role as the LEGO-brick Labo components before, but it certainly looks snazzy. Redditor Squid50s posted on the Nintendo Switch subreddit his LEGO creation: a carrying case for Switch game cards, shaped like the Switch unit with Joy-Cons.

Squid50s apparently got his flash of inspiration for this MOC when he realized that Switch game cards are just under the size of a 3×2 LEGO brick. Working off on that, he designed a container part with four game card-sized compartments using some very uncommon flat and bracket-shaped LEGO elements.

The container is secured by a swinging LEGO-built lead that’s secured by a single peg at the bottom. Constructs of the red and blue Joy-Cons on either side, with black circle pieces, complete its image of a LEGO Nintendo Switch replica. Even the green interior of the storage space was a copy of a real Switch unit’s internal circuit board.

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On a follow-up Reddit post, Squid50s also revealed that he only managed to complete his project thanks to LEGO itself. He needed some blue 3×3 corner plate pieces and inquired with LEGO online to buy some. The company revealed that the pieces were discontinued, but they were willing to send his needed bricks for free.

Comments on Reddit are concerned that a LEGO-built Switch game card case isn’t made for longtime carrying around, but will at least look nice to keep within reach of one’s Nintendo Switch unit.

The limited capacity comes from the fact that Switch games are available either on hardcopy or digital form, so this is for gamers who prefer their game titles in a tangible format. Those interested in recreating Squid50s’ MOC can look for the LEGO-piece list and possible instructions on the Reddit post’s comments.

Expansive LEGO Mount Rushomre Build Featuring at BrickUniverse Event at Raleigh, NC

LEGO-related news lately has been featuring some impressively large MOC builds. This week if you can recall, we covered a tabletop LEGO roller coaster and playground set that’s fit to earn a Guinness World Record. That MOC by James Burrows is also scheduled to go on the road for exhibition.

Speaking of which, Raleigh is hosting the BrickUniverse LEGO Fan Convention again this year, and on the coming weekend to boot. Like its official website says, we can expect plenty of big builds being showcased for participants and guests. One of them is a stunning scale copy of Mount Rushmore.

Created by Rocco Buttliere, a LEGO builder for Chicago, the sprawling model is made out of about 22,000 bricks, rendering Mount Rushmore – and the four Presidential faces carved on it – down to some sharp detail, including the rubble pile underneath.

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And that’s only on one side of the whole build. The rest is given over to a recreation of the forested terrain and the rest of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial complex: visitor’s center, Lincoln Borglum Museum and Presidential Trail.

According to WRAL.com Buttliere took around 400 hours to finalize the design of his LEGO Mount Rushmore model, and that the actual construction took him 150 hours more. That’s par for the course for Buttliere, a well-known LEGO builder with international awards and exhibits of his work.

The BrickUniverse LEGO Con kicks off at the Raleigh Convention Center from March 9 to 10, 9AM-5PM. Highlights will include the usual free-building areas, meet and greets with popular builders, a Challenge competition Zone and a “Star Wars” set display.

Hereford LEGO Builder Requesting Brick Donations to Complete Old House Model for Brick History Exhibition at Real Old House

In Hereford, UK there’s an old house built during the 17th Century that serves as one of that cathedral city’s main tourist attractions. Constructed in the half-timbered Jacobean style and painted black and white, the Old House – now a museum – is the subject of a LEGO build that’ll soon become part of its own exhibits.

With the Hereford Old House soon to host a LEGO Brick History Exhibition, Shona Ashton has decided to contribute a brick-built scale model of The Old House. Thus far her project has progressed thanks to contributions of bricks from donors in her community; but her build is not yet complete.

With the Brick History Exhibition kicking off Saturday next week Ashton, a designer from the local New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) school, has put out a request on the local press and social media. Her LEGO Old House is still several bricks short.

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Ashton’s post on her Twitter page actually lists the specific LEGO bricks and elements she needs to finish her Old House model. From her recent photo of the build, it’s still missing pieces for roof tiles and the white “timber” to fit between the black “posts” on the second floor.

Besides Shona Ashton’s Old House, other models to be showcased by NMiTE builders at the LEGO Brick History Exhibition will be builds of various mobile phones, the DNA double-helix, the Big Bang, and LEGO statues of Martin Luther King and Mozart, among others. The exhibit, launched in partnership with the Herefordshire Council, begins March 16.

New “Build a LEGO Church” Fundraising Event for Washington National Cathedral Earthquake Damage Repairs

LEGO has long been an uncommon but effective partner with drives for charity. They’re either given away as donations by charitable organizations, or actively used in raising funds. An example of the latter was the campaign by St. Edmundsbury Cathedral in the UK last year. A similar charity drive is now open in the US, specifically in the national capital.

The Washington National Cathedral was built in the early 20th Century and is part of the National Register of Historic Places. It sustained damage during a 2011 earthquake, necessitating repairs that are ongoing to this day. But funds are drying up and more is needed.

Much like what happened in St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, the WNC is in turn spearheading a LEGO building campaign. Visitors to the cathedral will be given the privilege of adding a brick to the scale replica of the WNC for every $2.00 donated to the repair fund. LEGO volunteers would supervise the model’s construction, guiding donors where to put their pieces.

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In an interview with DCist the Cathedral’s communications chief Kevin Eckstrom relates that the 2011 Virginia Earthquake caused them $34 million worth in damages. So far only $15 million have been successfully repaired, hence the idea for the LEGO campaign.

We suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise why the Washington National and St. Edmundsbury LEGO campaigns are similar; both were initiated with assistance from the UK-based LEGO group Bright Bricks. The WNC charity project, when finished, will have 400,000 LEGO pieces (potentially making $800,000 in donations), 13 feet long and 1,400 pounds heavy – the size of a minivan in estimate.

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The charity campaign began last Friday, March 1. For the occasion, the mascot of the Washington Nationals MLB team Teddie placed the LEGO-brick cornerstone on the model. This commemorates Teddie’s origin, President Theodore Roosevelt, doing the same for the actual WNC way back in 1907.