Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Custom LEGO intermodal STS container gantry crane MOC complete!

At long last, I have a functionally complete ship-to-shore crane in New Jang City!  I previously did a few progress videos, plus a few updates on Instagram, but now there's a single video to show the last additions plus the basic operations of the whole thing.


Want to see the earliest suggestion of one of these types of cranes coming to my LEGO layout?  You'll have to go all the way back to my June 2013 city update!  Ha!!  On to the next thing, and here's hoping whatever that is won't take almost a half-decade to turn into reality.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Something new, something blue: Animated backdrop for real LEGO

Take a peek back, if you will, at my original undersea display that I put together in 2015.  It brought great personal joy to me, satisfying my love of underwater scenes that previously surfaced in my first LEGO city in the year 2000 and my zoo's aquarium in 2014.  Once I dedicated a whole table to this theme, though, I just couldn't stop thinking about it.  I doubled its size in 2016 and added a shipwreck in 2017. Behind the scenes, though, I was desperate for more.  I've given very serious consideration (and dedicated plenty of research) to all manner of techniques to add more depth & "life" to these displays, but it wasn't until today that I realized I should just add... a display.

My very first flat screen TV, now over a decade old, hasn't gotten much use in the past couple of years though it still works fine, making it a nearly perfect candidate for conversion to looping video backdrop duty.  I say "nearly" because it's a fraction of an inch too tall to fit under my tables upright, thus requiring me to angle it back very slightly.  It's a small price to pay, for not having to pay for a whole different TV.

I've wrapped my existing backdrop drapery around the back to preserve a clean backdrop for the adjacent Nexo Knights display, and I've started using some thick weatherstripping to create baffles to eliminate reflections from my colored light strips.  I've also angled the LEGO table towards us slightly to improve visibility.  The video looping on the screen, meanwhile, is a quick merge of a few stock clips with some real underwater sounds, playing from an outdated Android tablet that at least has a micro HDMI port.  

Some further tuning is warranted, but this is a big step forward for one of my favorite LEGO things in the world, simple as it is.  I'll definitely apply this technique to the other seafloor display (since it's split in two these days) in due time, but hopefully I'll be able to resist going deeply into debt adding all the TVs to all the things.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A bit of LEGO room work

Over the past couple of days I've been tearing apart, putting back together, and shifting around large areas of New Jang City and its adjunct displays.  Table tops have been reoriented & legs removed.  Fresh ground has been prepared for new building.  In all, I have over 350 sq. ft. of easily-accessible tables dedicated to LEGO displays, with space to add still more in the future!  For the sake of context, the last time I measured the surface area it was under 250 sq. ft.

Time to order up some more under-table lighting and some bulk terrain parts to kickstart some of the new displays!

Monday, January 8, 2018

LEGO city layout plan & queue (updated Jan. 8, 2018)

The basic plan for my LEGO layout was formulated when I began in 2013.  When I moved to a new house in 2015, I gained some space and added a handful of items to the list.  Any empty space you see in any photo or video is already reserved for future build. Anything that looks incomplete is incomplete, and will eventually be completed to my specs over time.  Any official LEGO-designed structures or vehicles are only stand-ins and will ultimately be replaced by my own custom builds.

This is not a crowd-sourced project.  While I appreciate that many viewers have ideas for how they would do things if New JANG City belonged to them, this is my own personal project, being designed & built by me, in my own home. I do not use viewer suggestions for changes or additions at this time*. The number one, key, core reason for any of this to exist is for me to freely express my own personal creative interests & desires. I do not add, remove, or change anything on request.

Here's how the build queue looks as of the date in the title of the post...

I will include:

  • Metro area (with at least 4 very tall office buildings)
  • Freight harbor with ships, containers, crane, trucks, etc.
  • Industrial area with factories, etc.
  • Residential neighborhood with custom houses and possibly an apartment complex
  • Planetary Defense Force base (above and below ground)
  • Second elevated narrow-gauge passenger train stop
  • Small city maintenance crew yard
  • Pet store
  • Chinese restaurant
  • Dance club
  • Underground mining area
  • Small underground dinosaur/prehistoric zone
  • Cars, Trucks (passenger and commercial), other normal vehicles you'll find in any city
  • People
  • Trees & plants
  • Underground "Mellemby district" area for mostly official LEGO sets, details TBA
  • There will be much more that's not on this list!
  • I do not add to this list on request -- as explained above, this city is all about my own inspiration & creativity.

Already added:

  • One skyscraper (the first of at least 4)
  • Police station (currently awaiting full rebuild)
  • Fire station
  • Shopping mall
  • Small boat marina
  • Zoo (to be expanded some day)
  • Gas station with car wash and adjacent car repair/service garage
  • Arcade
  • Ice cream shoppe
  • Bike shop
  • Musical instrument store
  • Laser tag arena
  • Two 9V standard-gauge rail loops
  • Standard-gauge rail yard
  • Elevated narrow-gauge rail loop
  • Large passenger train station with elevated rail connector
  • Second mainline passenger train station
  • Large train yards
  • Stand-ins for residential area
  • Stand-in for cargo harbor
  • Underground Minecraft overworld & Nether displays
  • Temporary Nexo Knights battle diorama

I will not include:

  • Airport.  NO AIRPORT, PERIOD!  An airport would ruin the plan for the entire city by taking up an absolutely enormous amount of space (if done to my satisfaction, and everything in my city must be done to my satisfaction).
  • Heliport.  Same as above, just smaller (but equally undesirable)
  • Above-ground parking garage.  Again, tremendous waste of incredibly valuable space (would need the area of at least 4 modular buildings to be even halfway decent).  Maybe an underground one some day, way off in the future?
  • Big ol' bland, basic parking lot. Same as for the parking garage, except even worse since a parking lot is only one level and thus an even worse waste of valuable space that could be used for an entire multi-level commercial building, residence, or at least a park.
  • Super Heroes area
  • Ninjago area
  • Chinatown or Japantown
  • Star Wars area
  • Race track
  • Minecraft End City
  • Certainly countless other things will not be built in my layout.  Stay tuned to this blog and my YouTube channel to see what I do build!

*These unfortunate disclaimers have had to be added in response to increasingly large numbers of increasingly rude viewer demands for additions to & removals from my layout, at worst numbering in the hundreds per day when major updates are posted.  The enthusiasm behind normal, casual suggestions is appreciated, but demands for changes are simply unacceptable.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

LEGO Creator Downtown Diner 10260 review

The newest big modular building for 2018 transports the much-loved series forward by a couple of decades, landing square in the middle of the 1950s.  It's not just a new gimmick with a pretty exterior; this is actually one of the more spacious big builds to date.  In addition to introducing some new prints and basic part recolors, this set brings back the classic "teal" color that was wiped from the LEGO palette over a decade ago.  Grab a snack because this is a long video!