This is pretty impressive!
And if that’s not enough, also check out the side-by-side with the original movie…
…and even the making of, too…
That’s a lot of work!!!
This series of Lego Collectible Minifigs is really driving me nuts.
I don’t know if it’s bad luck, bad mix at the factories, maybe there are people feeling through the bags long before I get to them … something is making Series 11 even more painful than most have been as of late! I normally get my minifigs from Target. Walmart never seems to have them, and I guess I’ve gotten a few from Toys ‘R Us, even though they mark them up another quarter, which is annoying. But as you can see from the pile of duplicates shown in the picture above, I’ve literally had runs where every pack that I bought was Constables … to the point where I’ve almost got enough to form my own squad, or platoon, or whatever the heck a gaggle of constable is called!
I honestly wonder if my local Target has been subject to some bag feeler-uppers. I know that people have been doing it for a while, but I think it grew exponentially worse with the quest for Mr. Gold last season. Personally, it kind of bugs me because the whole thing is supposed to be random, so if you go in and fish out the rarer minifigs to complete your own sets, then I’m left with Mechs and English Police Dudes only needing a couple left to finish up my own set without a glimmer of hope in sight…
It kind of reminds me of collecting sports cards and later Marvel and Magic cards back in the day, except that there was no real way to cheat at grabbing packs of those. It hasn’t been uncommon for me to actually find opened packs in the display at Target lately … and I’d even consider buying them anyways if all of the pieces were still there, but they’re never minifigs that I actually need. I keep saying that I’d love to just buy an entire box of the new series when they come out and call it a day, except that there are 60 in a box, which makes that box cost $180 … a bit tougher to justify than $10 worth each time I go to the store!
Anywho, I’m trying to avoid just buying the last five that I need via BrickLink because I haven’t placed an order in a while and I could really use some more of the older ones to fill in gaps in my collection, so I hate to waste money on buying the latest ones when I’ve got a whole pile here for trading if I can find an eager trading partner. I finally threw up a new post on reddit this evening soliciting such help, so if you’re interested, do hit me up over there and let’s talk!
For series 11, the only ones that I still need are:
- Pretzel Girl
- Island Warrior
- Holiday Elf
- Lady Robot
I haven’t seen a date yet for series 12, but I’d really love to wrap this one up … along with some of the older stragglers … before the new ones come out.
Hey! Remember that really cool NES Lego Mosaic that I made something like 5 months ago?!
Well, I finally got around to actually finishing it!
And by finishing it, I mean gluing and framing it to hang on my wall … so let’s talk about that.
So finding the right glue to do this is part of why it took me so long because it was kind of a pain and I wanted to make sure that I tested them before inadvertently ruined my 8-bit masterpiece! I first tried a couple of different spray adhesives from Walmart and Home Depot because I wanted something simple … I’ve read one or two accounts of mosaic creators essentially building the whole thing and then going back through and gluing each brick into place by hand one at a time … which I have nowhere near the patience to do!
I figured that a spray would be easy, but after testing it on a simple 10×10 square that I made with extra bricks on a spare base plate, neither of them ended up drying clear and they looked pretty bad. So I tabled the whole idea for a while until my wife had been working on some puzzles and had gotten her glue out to glue them together afterwards, and it made me wonder if the same stuff would work for bricks, too.
And it did!
The stuff is called Mod Podge and you can buy it pretty much anywhere. It looks a lot like Elmer’s Glue, and the trick is to put it on super thin – you can see in the pictures that I basically applied some to the bottom half of the mosaic, and then pretty much used the excess from that to cover the rest…
It ended up going on pretty easy, though I’d still recommend a test run to anyone just so that you know what you’re in for before slathering down a layer of glue on something that you’ve worked really hard on. And note, the goal here wasn’t to make the completely and utterly unbreakable - as I found with my test piece, I could bend the board and see separation between the bricks – but as long as you’re not tossing the thing around the room, they’ll at least stay in place after a simple coat. I would’ve loved to not need the glue and just leave them natural, but some of the bricks are a little loose on the board and even when you just hold it vertically to look at it, pieces would fall out all over the floor. *cringe* So the glue was really a necessity.
It probably took me maybe 5-10 minutes to lay down the glue, mostly just brushing back and forth to try and spread it out as much as possible. You want to get rid of where you can see white accumulating as much as possible because while it does dry clear, you can still see the excess glue around the pegs if it goes on too thick. And be sure to get the edges, too – if you’re framing like I did, you won’t even see them anyways, and it’s a really good opportunity to get some added support along the sides where bricks are more likely to fall loose.
So after the glue came the framing, and this too required a bit of testing because I found it more difficult to find a 10″x10″ square frame (the size of a base plate) than I would’ve thought! I first tried an old record frame that I had laying around, but that ended up being too big and I really didn’t want to hassle with trying to matte them or anything. Eventually my search took me to Michael’s where they have those make your own frame kits, and it even took two stores to get both kits that I would need, but after dropping $10 and 1/4 tank of gas on frame parts, I got home and found … the frame wasn’t deep enough to fit around the bricks. It was pretty close, but still off by just enough to make the frame useless, so at that point I turned to a company online that I’ve ordered frames from before with great success - frameusa.com.
Honestly the only reason why I didn’t just go with these guys in the first place was because the shipping kinda hurts unless you’re buying a bunch of frames at once. Case in point – the parts I ended up ordering was the same two frame kits as before for about $10, but then I also paid another $10 in shipping. I knew that I’d probably need more in the future, but I wanted to make sure they would work before sinking a bunch of money into frames that wouldn’t … I even ended up e-mailing customer service before I placed my order to check and they verified that the model I was interested in was 1/8″ deeper than their standard line.
The kits that I used were these:
Assembly is super easy – you just screw some little plates into the edges to connect them together around your piece, and they also include these little spring clips that you can put in behind the piece to make sure that it fits nice and snug. Now that I’ve seen how they look, I’m sure I’ll end up ordering several more for my next mosaics, and it’s kind of neat that you can get them in different colors, too, because although I think simple black works well for these video game mosaics that I’m doing now, I could see possibly trying some other colors for future mosaics maybe for a kid’s room or something where you might want to be a little more colorful than just black.
Anyways, so here’s the final piece now mounted on my wall…
I’m really happy with how it turned out, and the lighting in the picture doesn’t really do it justice. The glue adds a nice shine to the bricks without being overbearing, and I didn’t end up using any glass or anything so I like how you can still feel the texture of the bricks if you touch it.
So my next steps – there’s enough room on that little strip of wall above the light switch in my office that I want to put two more video game mosaics there – one above and other below this one to kind of wrap up this little vision. I need to literally dust off this one for Final Fantasy and figure out what bricks I need to order to complete it … unfortunately, it looks like I lost the Excel file that I’d designed it in so I kind of have to do it all over again.
As for #3, I’ve been going back and forth with it because there are so many great characters, but I think I’m going to dedicate that one to Mega Man because the others are all about my favorite classic games and the blue bomber was definitely up there on the list of games that were in heavy rotation during my childhood, too.
Plus, I’d still love to eventually do something much bigger like this massive collage, so all of the other characters hopping through my mind could still make an appearance over there instead.
Also, my wife has a Disney-related one of a bit larger scale that she wants to do sometime in the next six months, which may end up being my first multi-base mosaic, so I suppose that’ll give me some practice for eventually doing one even bigger!
So this is a little project that I started way back around the 4th of July, but between it being a very busy summer and a lot of unexpected challenges popping up with it, two months later I can finally say that my Legos have a new home in our family room … and I think it looks kinda cool!
The main goal for this project was more space, more space, more space.
We previously kept our completed Lego sets on a pair of bookshelves that I used to have in my office, with overflow pretty much anywhere we could find it, which was getting a little out of hand as the collection continues to grow! I wanted to build something that I wouldn’t immediately fill up overnight – something that we could grow into over at least a little while.
…and ironically you’ll see that free space is already less abundant than I would’ve thought, but more about that later…
It’s kind of funny that I sort of had this same type of setup in my bedroom over my bed back home when I was growing up. My Dad had recognized the need, so he got a bunch of brackets and mounted them to the wall, then threw up five or six pieces of counter-top remnants that he had for one reason or another, and that’s where my childhood Lego collection grew – from monorails to pirate ships to castles and everything in between!
Now that I’m an adult, my collection may have started anew, but it’s still growing probably even stronger than before because I’ve got a job that pays more than $1/week! I needed a new place to store a collection that will keep growing and growing both before and after we have kids, so that’s a pretty tall order to consider…
Anyways, the idea started back in July when we were wandering around Lowe’s picking up stuff for various home improvement projects that we wanted to do. We kinda/REALLY went overboard and ended up buying about 5 projects worth of stuff – one of which was the first of several sets of the boards that I picked out for these shelves. The plan in theory was pretty simple – the back wall in our family room would become covered with shelves, from floor to ceiling, with a small cut-out in the middle for my wife’s fish tank.
…which we later decided is actually going to become a Lego fish tank, so stay tuned for that!
All in all, the finished plans would yield 45.5 feet of shelf space across the four tiers you see, with roughly 14 inches of vertical space between shelves and some extra height on the top and second tiers for extra-tall models like the Space Shuttle and the Tower of Orthanc.
The parts breakdown worked out about like this:
- the shelves themselves – 11 boards @ $10 average each (Lowe’s cut them into the sizes I needed)
- brackets – 13 sets of 2 @ $10 each
- wall anchors – 2 per bracket plus several errors and trialing different types … about $50
- misc. screws for anchors and securing boards … about $10
- anchor plates to run between adjoining boards … about $15
- estimated total – $315
The numerous challenges that I encountered throughout this two-month journey…
- My first Lowe’s didn’t have enough boards and brackets, so I ended up having to go to a second store.
- It wasn’t until I started opening up the brackets that I noticed many of them were bent … at least half a dozen … and returning to store #2, I found many still on their shelves looked just as bad. Was lucky that the rep worked with me to create matching pairs of good ones with whatever they had left and promptly exchanged the ones I had, no questions asked.
- Realized that my laser level was pretty much dead, and was subsequently shocked to see how expensive laser levels are these days.
- Took a while to get all of the brackets installed because even with the level I kept measuring wrong and drilled some holes in the wrong spots.
- When I got ready to install brackets on the side wall to the left, realized that opposed to the internal wall that most of the shelves are on, that side wall is actually the external wall to the house … meaning that there’s concrete brick within a few inches of the other side of the drywall. Crap. Took some experimenting with different drywall anchors to find a style that would actually work. Ended up using the same ones that I used elsewhere, but drilled two holes side by side to fit the anchor in already mostly extended, then turned it to lock it into place.
- Also had to buy just the right length of screws to work with said anchors that would hold the brackets in place tightly without running out of space at the concrete bricks. 1/4″ ended up making the difference, and yes, I bought both sizes before I found the right one…
- Had to go to Home Depot to find anchor plates to run between the boards that touched (to level them) because I couldn’t find them at Lowe’s. Eventually did find them there, too, because I needed more and didn’t want to go to two stores, but wasn’t super thrilled with the ones I got because Lowe’s was out of the smaller ones.
- Ended up having to pull out and realign several of the brackets for the top shelves after finding that they were a couple of inches too high at the right end.
- The shorter screws that I bought the first time to hold the boards down to the brackets … sucked. They were a self-drilling type, which I thought would be better because I knew that the particle board was really tough to dig into, but on the contrary, the “self drill” tip ended up taking up half the shaft of these screws that were only 3/4″ to begin with, so they ended up falling out of the shelves because there was barely anything to bite into the board with after the drill part. Ended up swapping them out for normal screws that I had to pre-drill holes for and those worked great.
- Also, I wish that I’d discovered the benefit of pre-drilling holes earlier in this project!!! I honestly didn’t start until the final push and it was so much easier than fighting each wabbling screw until it finally took! This alone probably would’ve cut down my frustrations by probably 25%.
- Stopped and started this project many times throughout all of this because each of these items became very frustrating … I’d literally set aside an hour to work on my shelves and then get maybe 10 minutes before a new problem would arise and I’d be making yet another trip to Lowe’s for more parts! I probably made 6-10 trips for these stupid shelves by the time all was said and done … maybe I should add a fuel surcharge to that cost list, too!
But nonetheless, they’re done now, so take a look at the final product!
As I eluded to earlier, I guess my biggest concern is that even with a seemingly large 45 feet of space, you can already see where most of the shelves have been accounted for with various series, even if they’re not very full yet. I would say that the LOTR/The Hobbit section will be the most full, considering that I have two other sets sitting here that I haven’t built yet, but even look at the modular buildings or the lake house/cottage/whatever it’s called collections that Sara has been working on – a few more sets and each of those are going to fill up pretty quick!
It’s kind of funny because my Mom has slowly been mailing me down my old Lego sets a few at a time – she literally has a huge bin with all of them, so every so often she picks a few manuals and finds the pieces for them, puts ‘em in ziplock baggies, and throws them in a box for me! So far they’ve just been stuck away in that same priority mail box because I didn’t have shelf space to unload them, and yet even now with this new project, I still wouldn’t have room if she were to send me many more of them!!!
Good grief, that’s a lot of Legos.
I think the tough part for me is that not only do I want them on shelves, but I want the shelves to look nice and be somewhat organized … meaning not having sets piled on top of each other and being able to lay them out by theme, even in some scenes like I’ve done with LOTR. I’m sure that these shelves will manage for a few years, but once we’ve got a kid who’s getting just as many Lego sets for holidays as I do?!
I guess we’ll just have to cross that path when we come to it…
So a few quick takeaways before I wrap this up, if I were to do it again:
- I’d add a couple more inches between shelves. These were based on 14″ – the same dimensions of the bookshelves I was using prior, but it didn’t click that my biggest sets had been sitting on top of the units. About 16″ would probably do it … 18″ if I wanted to fit the shuttle, too. The Tower is a whopping 28″ tall, but I kinda planned for it to be in that corner where it is! Not sure what I’ll do if they build a matching tower for Sauron, though…
- Mapping out shelves was really important – before I got too far, I sat down with a pen and paper and sketched out roughly what I was envisioning with measurements so I’d know how many boards to buy and how they needed to be cut, like so:
- Making a list before going to the store with specific counts for things like anchors and screws would’ve reduced my number of trips.
- Paying attention at the store also would’ve helped, as one trip was because I thought that a package had 12 screws in it, whereas they were #12 screws with a quantity of 8 per bag. Likewise in my favor, when I was looking for anchor plates, I had to pass on the size that I did want because the one bag that they had only had 3 plates inside instead of the 4 that it should’ve.
- Measure twice, drill holes in the wall once.
- Do it all at once instead of dragging it out so long. Whenever I’d get frustrated, I’d often times screw up more and then eventually give up altogether. If I’d just dedicated an entire weekend to building these, frustrations and all, they’d probably have been done back in July…
Either way, though, they’re done now, and now I can get back to the fun part - building new Lego sets to put on them!
Somebody’s got some building to do!
*Note: Birthday Legos technically also include the awesomely impressive Tower of Orthanc that very magically did show up on my doorstep as a birthday gift from my Mom … albeit a couple of months ago…
**Sub-Note: Definitely need to take some cool pictures to post of all of my LOTR Lego sets to date once I get around to finishing my awesome Lego shelves for the family room…
***P.P.S.: But you technically don’t really know about those, either, so … ummmm … will post more info soon!
So after having these things piled on my desk for the better part of two weeks now, I finally got around to reorganizing them and putting them back up on the wall tonight! It’s crazy to think that if you look back at that original post from less than a year ago, was just closing in on filling up one base plate, and now today I’ve got enough for going on three plates … by the time they’re ready to launch series 11, I’ll need to add my fifth base plate to the wall!
The reason I have them spaced out as much as I do is that I’m trying to fill up some of my older sets – you can see that I don’t have anything from series 1 or 2 and only a handful from series 3. The rest, I’m closing in quick on, though … trading over on Reddit has been pretty lucrative, though I’m guessing that I’ll probably just have to go on BrickLink and pony up the dough for those early ones … which I need to do sooner than later before the prices start going up even higher.
In the meantime, though, if you happen to stumble onto this post and feel like doing a little trading yourself, I’ve still got plenty of duplicates! I’ve put together this Google Docs spreadsheet that I’ve been sharing on Reddit and seems to be a lot easier to keep updated, so feel free to take a look and either PM me on Reddit or leave me a comment here if you’d like to trade!
“Help find us a new home!”
For a long time I guess you could say that I’ve sort of enjoyed reddit from a distance. I’m a big fan of their AMA series and occasionally I’ll get caught up in a random comment thread that just sucks down ridiculous amounts of my time, but I never really posted much myself.
Really only one post – I officially created an account last fall during my whole Sears customer service fiasco – but even then I was really nervous about the whole thing because from what I can tell, they’re typically not too keen on you posting links to your own works. Which sucks because the result ends up being a lot of imgur posts that fail to cite the original source, meaning whoever first created that photo/blog post/whatever doesn’t get any reciprocal traffic from the posting.
Anyways, I guess it’s a little ironic that I circled back to reddit a couple of weeks ago when I finished my Lego NES Mosaic and wanted to share it with people. Considering that reddit was where I came across that huge video game mosaic a few months ago, I ended up doing a little digging and finding a Lego sub-reddit that seemed like it would be a good fit … but I didn’t want to be that guy who just does nothing but post his own links (anymore), so after spending a little time exploring I commented on a handful of posts myself, and it was kinda fun!
I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me earlier, but there are a lot of subjects these days that have their own dedicated sub-reddits, and before long I had amassed a little collection worth following myself…
- /r/lego - lots of random custom builds, but also some pretty impressive large-scale models as well, which are my own personal favorites (like the ones all around Legoland)
- /r/legotrade - a group of people looking to trade Lego minifigs, which already has proven to be a lot more productive than selling my duplicates on BrickLink and then having to still search for the ones that *I* need!
- /r/waltdisneyworld - duh!
- /r/dvcmember - I’m not a member yet, but this is something that my wife and I definitely want to do when we find a spare $18,000 laying around the house, so in the meantime it’s nice to find someplace to hear feedback from actual members.
I still don’t necessarily see myself being a huge poster - I’ve mostly been commenting and upvoting other people’s posts that I like, but it’s still a neat, little community (LOL – “little”) and I’m curious to see what other sub-reddits I come across that might be worth subscribing to.
Got any suggestions???