Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ribbon building event for Milwaukee LEGO Store

LEGO Store ribbon sets.
I recently joined the Madison-based WisLUG to try and connect with some other adult builders. We were graciously invited by the folks at KLUG to come help build sets for the new LEGO store opening this spring in Wauwatosa. We spent about 12 hours on Saturday building 60+ sets for the new store. We had about 15 adults working on the big stuff, while some of the KLUG kids handled the Hero Factory and smaller sets.

We started with the "ribbon" sets for the store. These are the permanent installation pieces that are present in just about every LEGO store. They all have high piece counts and are very colorful models that don't really follow any theme. I only saw a few that used mini-figs, with most characters and animals being entirely brick-built instead. Some of these were intense builds, but the finished products were very rewarding.

Check out those glorious feet.
The first build I tore into was a pair of feet in sandals. Each foot had several hundred pieces and followed the legs up to just above the ankles. Now, normally this would seem like a pretty quick task if you're used to the standard instructions that come in most LEGO sets. However, the ribbon models do not come with such a luxury. The feet were built with about 30 steps of instructions, with each step pretty much showing where all bricks went on each layer. This proved to be a very challenging build that ended up taking about three hours. Probably a half hour of that was sorting the massive amounts of yellow pieces in to zones of plates/bricks/general dimensions.

While the feet (or at least the instructions) were pretty intense, I got off easy. Another WisLUG member tackled a backyard swimming pool scene that ended up taking over six hours to complete. The entire base plate of the scene was made up of like 50 8x8 plates in two layers. I did not get many pictures, but this Flickr gallery has examples of quite a few of the models we built. The other ribbon set I did was a small dog walking scene, with all the people and animals being brick-built.

SSD in progress.
After diving into those, we each had the opportunity to start grabbing some of the retail display sets to build. I started off easy with a couple CITY vehicles to get those out of the way. Sadly, a couple of guys grabbed the Super Star Destroyer before I could get to it. I was hoping to build that one myself since I probably will never actually be able to afford one or have room to display it if I did.

Of course, there were plenty of other sets to pick from still. I settled on Diagon Alley to finish up my day. I could have done the Grand Emporium, but I have a copy of that to build on my own. I wanted to stick with sets I'm not planning to buy/build for my own collection.

Would you like fries with that?
The set itself is actually a lot of fun to put together. Each building has its own bags and instructions, and utilizes some very different building techniques. It took me about an hour per building and it really felt like building three different sets. Really, I may end up picking at least this set up from the HP theme because the finished product looks amazing. My phone was near death by this point in the day so I did not get any pictures of my finished build, but you can see the photos in the link to the set. My personal favorite was Gringott's, mainly for the columns and the tile details on the exterior walls.

Overall, this was a great experience and I would love to do it again someday. There's just something about spending a day in a room building with a bunch of other AFOLs. We all had a chance to check out some great and interesting sets and it feels nice to have a connection with Wisconsin's first LEGO Store. Of course, the whole process also made me want several sets I had not previously considered (such as the Red Cargo Train), but that's half the fun of it all.

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