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???
Apparently on eBay going for between $600-900, if you really want to find him…
This kinda bugs me, and not just because Series 10 technically isn’t even supposed to be on sale for another week and apparently the stores in my area are the only ones actually following that rule! It’s a really neat idea, somewhat reminiscent of a certain golden ticket contest from Hollywood yesteryear, but just as we saw in the fictitious Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, as soon as adults and their money get involved, it kind of starts to ruin the fun for everybody. People buying up cases of minifigs at a time, store employees feeling through lots in the warehouse before even putting them out for customers, all with the hopes of turning up this rare golden chap of whom only 5,000 were made, not with the intent of showcasing him at the helm of their Collectible Minifigures display that’s now been several years in the making, but simply to flip him online for a quick profit.
It always rubs me the wrong way when the same thing happens around the holidays for new video game consoles, too, so instead of picking up a new PS3 or X-Box 360 for $600 … which is already a steep price as it is … now they’ll only find their way into the homes of kids whose parents were willing to plunk down double or triple that just to make sure that their kids have the latest and greatest on Christmas Day. Sure, that’s technically how good, old-fashioned capitalism works and all, but when I pull up eBay and am already seeing over a dozen listings for this exclusive minifig that technically isn’t even supposed to be available yet, I just wish that they were sitting proud on somebody’s dresser instead of just a quick way to make a buck.
Didn’t feel much like writing last night, so I started revisiting my concepts for my next NES Lego Mosaic, and low and behold I actually already had a fair number of the bricks that I need for it! I used up pretty much everything that I had and now need to order what’s left, as well as figure out a background color because I don’t think that black is going to go as well with the characters themselves being outlined in black for this one.
I’ve also got some new ideas that I’m entertaining for how to hang these things once they’re done that might look a little better than my original plan of just gluing a picture frame hanger to the back of the plate, so I’ll let you know how that goes once I get a chance to buy some stuff and do a little experimenting.
Can you make out what this one’s going to be yet??? I kinda spoiled it in my last post, though you’d probably have to have actually played the game to be able to make anything out at this point…
Look what I made!!! Look what I made!!!
I last spoke about this little project back in January … it took me a while to gather all of the pieces, mostly due to a little color mishap, but I think I’m pretty happy with the end result and now I’m really looking forward to doing my next one! But first, I thought I’d share just a bit about the steps that I took to put this one together and a few of the things that I learned along the way…
1.) Designing My Mosaic
First thing’s first was to come up with my basic design. I knew I wanted something simple that would fit on a 32×32 base plate for starters, so I ended up doing a mock-up first in Excel, though if I get to do a big one later, I’ll probably try to use Photoshop instead. The transfer was actually really easy, though, because I was using all 8-bit graphics which are already pixelated. I simply searched Google Image Search for the ones I liked, and then copied them pixel for pixel over into my grid in Excel.
If you want to check out the final Excel doc that I made, you can download that here – there are also a couple of other samples that I was playing with in there as well!
I’d guess that I probably spent the better part of an afternoon trying to pick the right sprites – I wanted something classic, but also colorful. At first I was just going to do Mario, but then I thought about being infatuated with The Legend of Zelda growing up and the sprite of Link holding the Triforce above his head seemed pretty cool. I struggled with something for the third position for a while – my first instinct was Mega Man because I played Megan Man 2 to death when I was a kid, but as you can see in my spreadsheet, he’s just too big and would almost need his own base plate all by himself! I also dabbled with some of the Final Fantasy heroes (spoiler: they’ll probably be my next mosaic…), but ultimately ended up coming back to the original Dragon Warrior – a game I got for free from Nintendo as a free gift one year for being a subscriber to Nintendo Power…
2.) Counting the Bricks
Next was to count up the number of bricks that I needed for each color – I did this using math, though if you download an app to do it for you, it’ll take a lot of the guesswork out of it for you!
The design you see above ended up requiring the following:
- Yellow – 60
- Tan – 38
- Lime Green – 52
- Dark Orange – 78
- Red – 64
- Tan – 43
- Reddish Brown – 71
Dragon Warrior Hero:
- Blue – 91
- White – 55
- Tan – 31
- Black – 441
3.) Pricing & Ordering the Bricks
Now admittedly here’s where I learned my first big lesson because originally I had wanted to do this project using 1×1 plates as opposed to 1×1 bricks because I thought that having a thinner profile would make it easier to frame and eventually display on the wall … but what I failed to take into consideration was just how much more expensive plates are than traditional bricks! It ended up literally being about 25% of the cost to go with bricks instead of plates, and considering that ultimately I’d like to do more of these, I figured it only made sense for my pocketbook to go with the cheaper bricks.
I should probably note that I’ve seen some builders consolidate bricks down into larger sizes to help save costs (i.e. buying 1 2×4 brick instead of 8 1×1 bricks), but for my first run I really wanted to try it using the smallest ones and besides, I didn’t feel like doing any of the extra calculations to break them up like that anyways. Now if you’re using an app like Photobricks, it’ll do a bunch of that crunching for you and even later spit out a data file that you can somehow feed into BrickLink to aid in your search, but I ended up just doing mine the manual way…
Anyways, I ordered all of my bricks through BrickLink, which frankly for this particular project was a gigantic pain in the butt simply in terms of trying to figure out how to place as few orders as possible to save on shipping costs … but it’s still cheaper than paying $0.10/brick from Lego Direct. The problem is that you’re not going to find a single seller with everything that you need, so I ended up doing a lot of shopping cart juggling to see who was the best to order what from. I ended up with 5 orders which totaled about $75, or roughly $0.05/brick after shipping costs with about 450 extra leftover because I over-ordered in just about every color just in case, and also in anticipation of future projects.
Black was probably my worst color to find due to the large quantity – I actually had black bricks in every single one of those 5 orders because there just wasn’t anybody who could sell me 500 at a time at a decent price.
I also had a huge snafu with the Dark Orange because low and behold, it was actually sent to me by mistake - the seller thought it was Reddish Brown. Unfortunately, this caused two problems because although I actually liked that one for Link better (I originally was just going to use Reddish Brown for both Link and Mario), not only did I not have enough Reddish Brown to finish up Mario, but I also didn’t have enough Dark Orange to finish Link and had a devil of a time actually figuring out what color it really was! The guy who sent them to me in error didn’t know for sure, the other guy who sent me Reddish Brown wasn’t sure, and so basically the main reason that I wasn’t able to post all of this a month ago was because I ended up putting in three new orders (one of which got lost in the mail) of different shades of brown and orange to try and figure out what it was that I actually needed!
At the end of the day, I am very happy with the color choice, but jeeesh!
So in summary, at the end of the day my total cost was probably right around a hundred bucks including the base plate itself, though again, that does give me a small amount of inventory for my next mosaic.
4.) Assembling the Bricks
This was the fun part!
I had originally wanted to wait until I had everything for all of my orders, but that didn’t last long and instead I worked a little each night to place whatever bricks had come in the mail that day. Here are a few in progress shots of that taking place…
P.S. While you’re building, do keep an eye out for non-Lego bricks that got tossed in with your order – I was surprised to find half a dozen or so black bricks without the Lego logo on them by the time that I was done! It wasn’t enough to complain, especially because I was buying in bulk and had bought extras, but it’s still something to look out for if you’re a little obsessive compulsive like me!
P.P.S. And if you really want a challenge, try putting them all on your base plate facing the same direction, as in LEGO from left to right! My wife suggested it mostly as a joke, and after about three hours of re-building, my mosaic was just about as OCD as one can get!
5.) Gluing the Bricks
The one step that I actually still need to do is figure out how to glue the whole thing down to its base – the bricks don’t all stay in one place on their own, so it’s definitely a necessity unless you’re going to leave it resting flat on a table and probably also take it apart again later. I’ll post separately once I figure out how to do this, and also how to mount it to the wall – I think I saw another mosaic builder just use some sort of spray adhesive and then glue picture frame brackets to the back of the plate, so we’ll see.
All in all, this was a whole lot of fun and I’m definitely looking forward to building out more from here! That said, I’m also kinda glad that I limited myself to a single base plate for my first attempt – figure that’s still 1,024 bricks, which can add up quickly based on just how many colors exist in your design. Eventually I’d still like to do a much bigger video game mosaic to cover a wall in my office, and my wife still wants to do a Disney-related one, too, but next I’ve decided that I’m going to do at least one more NES-themed mosaic - most likely Final Fantasy based, although I really like the Megan Man one, too, so in that case I might have to pick 3 more just so I have an even number to display on the wall!
That said, I’ve always been amazed by mosaic designers and just thought it’d be pretty much the coolest thing to hang up on your wall, and now that I’ve been bitten by the bug I’ve got a feeling that I’m going to be buying a lot more 1×1 bricks in my future!
Boy, are these things ever addicting … when do I get to start my next one?!
It’s kinda sad that the reason I discovered this was due to a memorial post over on The Brothers Brick because the creator of this scene passed away, but I absolutely loved it. He had a very unique take on all of the Muppet characters, and it almost makes me want to go on Bricklink and order the parts to make a Lego Super Grover myself!
Be sure to click through the image to the creator’s own website, where he’s got a couple of dozen photos of the set and individual characters from all angles. Very cool, very sad loss…
So a long time ago I had declared that I wanted to make one of those awesome Lego mosaics.
Today I found this incredible feat of geek ingenuity…
Mind you, my original plan had been simply to start off with a couple of simple 8-bit mosaics of Mario and Link to get the ball rolling, and then later after posing the idea to my wife, she mentioned that she wouldn’t mind doing a Disney one if we can find a suitable picture to convert. But this is definitely a fantastic long-term goal to strive for in my eyes because good god, is that a whole lot of nostalgia and Legos wrapped up into one amazing collage!
If you click through the link, you can see that this thing takes up the better part of the guy’s living room wall, and coincidentally *I* have a rather blank office wall right now that I think would make a great area to display something like this! At first I didn’t think that I’d really be capable of designing it all, but after some mulling it over, I realized that by using 8-bit characters they’re pretty much already pixelated for you, so from there it should simply be a matter of picking characters and organizing them. Looking through this guy’s choices, I think we’d have a lot of similar ones, but not entirely … not sure if I’d want to mix 8-bit and 16-bit yet or just stick to the NES.
Also, what I think would be really cool is if I could do the layout in a way where it could actually grow over time, meaning that instead of dropping thousands of dollars on bricks all at once, it’d be neat if I could do a few panels at a time and arrange to hang the piece on the wall as its being built.
Lotta variables here, and really, I do need to try my hand at something just a bit smaller before diving into a 518,400 brick monstrosity (he used 15 48×48 base plates – do the math!!!).
Somebody ask me where those little mosaic starters are in a couple of months when I totally forget about this…
For fans eagerly awaiting the premiere of The Hobbit – a life-size model of the same set that Lego recently released featuring the very beginning of Bilbo’s unexpected journey at Bag End!
(via the LEGO Facebook page – click the photo for more pics!)
Or if video games are more of what you seek, how cool is this giant Mecha Bowser, complete with plumber-munching jaws and everything?!
I spent a lot of Christmas mornings after gifts were unwrapped putting together whatever Lego sets I happened to find under the tree each year.
This weekend Sara and I have been kicking back around the house, watching whatever random Christmas movies we can find on TV and putting together some new sets – my wife, the Pet Shop modular building we got from my Mom for Christmas, and me, a veritable stockpile of the Alien Conquest sets that I’ve been saving for a rainy day!
Let’s see – her’s has 2,032 pieces, and mine all together have barely 1,100 … who do you think will finish first?!
Man, have I been out of the loop on new Lego sets because this is the first I’ve heard that one of the new themes for next year was going to be TMNT!
I was never really into the Turtles growing up – nowhere near my sister, who I believe actually went as Michelangelo one year for Halloween. I still had a favorite, though – Donatello, because he did machines and I was just budding as a computer geek at the time … plus, Don’s bo staff looked a little like the walking stick that I carried on our hiking trips in the Boy Scouts…
…ok, so maybe I was into them a little…
I don’t know if it’s a series that I’d actually want to collect at this point because between Lord of the Rings and now The Hobbit, we need to find some shelves for this house, but I wouldn’t mind picking up a set or two for the turtle minifigs and the pizza! Good luck finding them this late before Christmas, though…