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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Summary for the week

This was a slowish week on the video side with "just" 10 videos released in 7 days.  With the transition away from release season I completed one MOC (for now), made good progress on a new one, and did all manner of cleanup & important foundational chores around New Jang City. 


With those couple boxes of parts received from Bricklink, I've since finished paneling off my elevated rail track and dove back into the terrain work for the Planetary Defense Force corner. I hope to have more to show on that in a few days.

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!

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!