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A Catablog of Tools, Tips, and Techniques for building with LEGO®

While I liked the simplicity of the old theme it was … getting old. And there were a number of things I needed to do here on BricksABillion to get it up to speed. This new theme, Eos 1.3,  from SRS Solutions is simply brilliant. I wanted something fixed width, centered, more modern looking with an RSS feed button at the top, more navigation at the top, space for a splash blurb, and some helpful advertising, without compromising the existing posts.

Oh, and it wasn’t a requirement, but now that I see it’s there I’m twice as happy — I love the quotation marks setting off the Block Quotes. See, for example, on the Angus MacLane interview.

By the way, if you catch anything broken or not looking right — give me a holler, I’ll be tweaking some things for a few days to make sure everything is “just so.” 🙂

I hadn’t seen this anywhere else, so I wanted to document it.  A very brief article on New Media Age mentioned it. This stood out to me since:

  1. I’m into LEGO
  2. I’ve felt for a while that LEGO needs to revamp their site (more about that below)
  3. My day job is working on an eCommerce website.

There are several aspects of the LEGO site that may or may not be transparent to all consumers, but stand out to me as a webmaster. To their credit, these things are small, and not impossible, be improved on. continue reading…

Here’s a great technique that is pretty self explanatory. Use a bunch of headlight bricks in a circular fashion.

Now I’d like to see a whole tower built with them.

Streets of London, originally uploaded by SlyOwl.

SlyOwl has successfully created a beautiful yet sad city street MOC apparently inspired by Ralph McTell’s song “Streets of London,” which he also links to one of many YouTube video’s of. I did not realize so many artists had recorded the song. The only time I’ve heard it before was from a folk group in Maine that I grew up listening to, Schooner Fare on their album “Day of the Clipper.”

SNOT Mission Sign

It’s almost obscured by the Street Light, but is a key part of the building. Notice the use of black and grey cheese to add a little more personality to the S’s.

Anti-boring Wall techniques

SlyOwl has also done a number of things to keep the walls from being boring. He has a great rain gutter/down spout. I’ve seen a few of these here and there in MOCs; they’re especially nice to see in a modern-era MOC.

He’s also got an effective mix of old and new grey to a beautiful effect. You get the idea of the mixed materials and shades of damage to the wall, especially with the 1×2 modified bricks.

Street Junk

You definitely have the idea that this is a dirty street of London — boxes, newspapers, an apple, etc.

Alicia Robichaud is doing a 365 day photography project — not all LEGO, but is doing a full week of LEGO this week. This is her second day of the week, and day 23 out of the 365. This seems to be a classic “damsel in distress” scene. Not quite a Rapunzel, but with a much less headache-causing solution for the Damsel.

Climbing Rose Vine Technique

I’m highlighting this image because of the excellent technique of the rose vine climbing the tower. There are a lot of techniques out there for breaking up the monotony of an otherwise boring wall, but I’ve not seen greenery done like this before.

I feel that the roses bring a lot more life and even story to the picture. A guy might add a vine growing up part of the castle wall, but it takes a woman to make it a rose vine. =)

Of course, you don’t want to see every castle have every tower covered with rose vines — that would just be silly. Another variation, perhaps to add a bit of “evil” to the vine (not on Alicia’s MOC — on yours) would be to intersperse some of part #55236 (it’s been made in 8 different colors, most of which would look good and thorny).

Breaking up the Wall

I also appreciate Alicia’s use of the 1×1 cylinder bricks to break up the monotony of a what would have been an otherwise boring wall. It adds an extra hint of beauty, and gives  the eye something to linger on as it makes its way to the vine and finally  to the damsel, the focal point of the image.