Wednesday 26 December 2018

AFOL PSA - Powered Up! Bluetooth Battery Hub

Australian pricing has been released for LEGO part 88009 Powered Up Bluetooth Battery Hub which is used to power and control various elements of the new Powered Up system that replaces Power Functions.

This is going to cost you $79.99 AUD from LEGO Shop @ Home...

Stock up on these from BrickLink while you can :)

Monday 24 December 2018

Benny's 2018 LEGO Christmas Layout

Originally I wanted to have all my Christmas themed LEGO sets under and around our Christmas tree. I especially liked the idea of the train circling the base of the tree. But with babies and kids around I decided to move everything and make a small and simple LEGO Creator Winter Village layout, separate to the tree, combining the 4 most recent Christmas seasonal sets and some advent calendar goodies.

  • 10249 Winter Toy Shop
  • 10254 Winter Holiday Train
  • 10259 Winter Village Station
  • 10263 Winter Village Fire Station

Before I moved everything from the tree I had made up a quick cargo wagon to hide the Powered Up battery hub and train motor for the Winter Holiday Train because I never liked how the official instructions intend us to butcher the look of the train and tender to make the  Power Functions fit. I tried to make it look like a wrapped present covered in holly. The bonus is I can also just run it around my City layout.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Christmas.

I'm looking forward to expanding on these ideas for 2019!

Sunday 23 December 2018

Benny's LEGO City Update #3 - Modular Buildings Area

I really love the official Creator Expert designed Modular Building line. I always had a space reserved for the current and some future sets in my City layout. Most of these buildings lend themselves well to replication or expansion. So I will be either making them taller by adding floors or making them wider, or BOTH! In this first batch which makes up one block in the City, I have included the following sets, all modified to some degree:

I'm going to be making individual videos for each of the customized buildings, giving my quick thoughts and detailing any expansions, additions or changes I've made as well as going through any interesting design or build techniques I found.

Saturday 30 June 2018

Custom LEGO - 1:4 scale Bricks and Plates

I'd like to share with you one of my custom builds that really fueled my creativity about 6 years ago. A bunch of 4:1 scale LEGO bricks and plates. Made from the original smaller versions of themselves.

The funny story behind this build is that the idea came to me while I was asleep. Whaaat?! Yeh I literally dreamed up the idea and, like some sort of Inception moment when I woke up I was just compelled to see it built. 

I shall call it... biggie me.

These parts are 4x larger than their standard equivalent.

Hank Pym worked as a consultant on this project...

The anti-stud side of the bricks and plates. Tubes Up!

The parts were all pretty easy to source except for the 2x2 round tile in blue. I initially wanted to make the 2x4bBrick in blue, my favorite color, but I didn't know at the time the blue round tile was extremely rare. They were only found in some sets from the mid 90's, but have since shown up in abundance because of the 2017 40174 Iconic Chess Set. Back then I could only find about 3-4 TOTAL on BrickLink!

Pretty straight forward build, since my brain already did all the work while asleep.

I do have some ideas for more parts in the future including modified bricks and tiles. Don't forget to check out the video for a better look. Thanks guys, Cya next time.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Custom LEGO BrickHeadz - Benny the 1980-Something Space Guy

Check out my take on Benny the Spaceman in LEGO BrickHeadz form! I think soon I'll work on Emmet and Wyldstyle versions to go with him as well.

"Hey, I'm Ben! But you can call me Benny! And I can build a spaceship. Watch this."
- 1980's Something Space Guy, The LEGO Movie
The tank on his back took me the most time to be happy with.

Saturday 23 June 2018

Custom LEGO Star Wars - Benny's Modified X-Wing

What I would love to be my personal fighter if I was living in the Star Wars LEGO universe. The T-70BA is a blue and black reskin of Poe's T-70 X-Wing Fighter (set 75102) with engine modifications and weapons systems upgrades.

S foils locked in attack position!

T-70BA X-Wing Fighter specs:
  • 4x KX14 Laser Cannons
  • 4x concussion missile Launchers
  • 2x MG7 Krupx Proton Torpedo Launchers
  • Incom-FreiTek 5L5 fusial thrust split-engines with turbo intake modifications
  • Hyperdrive
  • Deflector Shields 
  • BB series Astromech Droid 

Upgraded laser and missile systems.
With these engines I'll give Dom Torretto a run for his money.

"I'm not such a bad pilot myself"
- Luke Skywalker, Star Wars

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Custom LEGO BrickHeadz - Ben "Swolo" (Kylo Ren)

Ever since 'that scene' in The Last Jedi, I knew the pop culture memes and jokes referencing it would be plentiful.The internet definitely hasn't disappointed. A while ago I saw a fan made Pop! Vinyl box art for a topless Kylo Ren titled Ben Swolo and knew I had to contribute my creativity to the cause in the form of a BrickHeadz character. I really had a fun time giggling like a school boy while building it.

"Can you put on a cowl or something?"
- Rey, The Last Jedi

I definitely plan on making a bunch more custom BrickHeadz and I already have so many parts ordered to get them done, So I'll share them all soon!

Saturday 16 June 2018

Custom LEGO - Train Rolling Stock

With such a large city train track layout I thought I'd better get some train related stuff rolling on the rails. I made up a few common official LEGO sets but they just don't seem epic enough on their own. Some of the cargo carriers have a decent look to them so I just modified and multiplied them, while also creating some completely custom cars.

7x Open pallet cargo carrier.
2x Vehicle transporter.
2x Coal car.
2x Mining hopper.

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Custom LEGO Star Wars - Benny's X-Wing X-Wing X-WING!

One afternoon while staring at Benny's Spaceship Spaceship SPACESHIP I was inspired to build a hybrid of it and a Resistance X-Wing (set 75149). Then with the release of the LEGO Batman Movie Batwing (set 70916) and its awesome Trans Yellow Windscreen piece, I had all I wanted to kick this project off.

The T-70CS X-Wing Fighter is a throwback to the LEGO Classic Space theme with parts and colors selected to bring the look of the modern X-Wing in line with what might have been made back in the day. And obviously making it way more awesome!

"Spaceship Spaceship SPACESHIP"
- Benny, The LEGO Movie

T-70CS X-Wing Fighter Awesome specs:
  • 4x KX12 Laser Cannons
  • 4x BA7 Ion Pulse Cannons
  • 4x Flick Flick FLICK Launchers
  • 2x MG7 Krupx Proton Torpedo Launchers
  • Incom-FreiTek 5L5 fusial thrust split-engines
  • Hyperdrive
  • Deflector Shields 
  • B2-A1 Astromech Droid 

Engine and Weapons systems.

Forgot my helmet...

Thanks guys. I have another customized X-Wing on the way next week. Cyas!

Monday 4 June 2018

Benny's LEGO City Update #2 - Train Track & Ballast

G'day, I want to start this post with a bit of a story.

When I was a child my Opa has several HO scale train layouts. My cousin an I would spend hours and hours making up trains and controlling them around. My Opa was a very talented man and would hand make and paint all the scenery, mountain landscapes, roads and he was especially good at waterfalls and rivers. I always loved my own LEGO train sets as a kid and when I started planning a LEGO city I knew that trains would play a very large roll in it. Here's hoping I have inherited some of Opa's talent and can do justice with my own layout.

The longest stretch of track covers the entire length of the table.

Full curve in place to help line up the ballast.

Plate outline of one of the switch tracks.

Switch tracks were the most complicated to get the under details lined up.
This is where 2 switches almost touch.

Unfinished train yard. The colored plates have no significance,
they were just cheap to buy in bulk and made good filler.

Finishing up the train yard... bags of parts and tracks everywhere... organized chaos.

Extra studs for detail will be added to the inside of the curves.

Quite a while ago I was trying out a few designs for the train track look. A popular method is using 1x4 black or brown tiles alternating every other stud, which I think looks amazing. However I decided to go with 2x4 plates in the middle and 1x2 plates on the outside, both in reddish brown, not just to be different but to save me a LOT of money. With so much track on the table it starts to add up fast. The tracks are placed on a double layer of built up grey plates with further layers of smaller detail to be added after the tracks are in. I made some final prototypes before going ahead to be sure I'd be happy with the design.

Straight section prototype.

Curved prototype was very time consuming...

And just some number crunching, this layout is made up of:
  • 433 Straight Tracks
  • 93 Curved Tracks
  • 15 Switch Tracks (8 Right, 7 Left)
  • Over 1500 redish brown 2x4 plates and over 3000 1x2 plates to make up the main sleepers
  • Around 600 light grey modified plates + 1200 cheese slopes for station sleepers
  • Over TEN THOUSAND various grey plates making up the ballast and details
  • So far...
Thanks guys be sure to look at the YouTube Video for a complete dynamic run through of the finished layout. Next up I will be adding in some further details and getting some trains running.

Monday 7 May 2018

Benny's LEGO City Update #1 - Baseplates

Video Link: Benny's LEGO City Update #1 - Baseplates

G'day all. After a bit of a break due to the birth of my beautiful baby girl, the first progress post for my custom LEGO City is here.

Since I am elevating a majority of the City off the table top height (sea level) I chose to go with a wooden MDF built rise rather than spend an absurd amount of money on LEGO that would never be seen. So with the help of my bro in law Shane, we activated expert master carpenter mode and got into it.

We started straight in this corner and hoped it would all line up at the end as well.

The size of the MDF sheets definitely meant I needed a hand.
Working our way around the table.

Plenty of room for subway train lines perhaps?

Just over half way through the elevation process We ran out of stumps. It's the same with LEGO parts, always underestimating how fast they get used up. Back to Bunnings for extra timber, and a cheeky Sausage Sizzle never hurts.

Over 100 of these stumps were used.

And then finally some LEGO on the table in the places it's meant to be. Over the past week I used my design on BlueBrick on the TV to lay out all the baseplates.

Time to unpack and spread all this!

I tried my best to have the different colored baseplate zones make sense and represent real world things:
  • Blue = water or ocean
  • Green or Bright Green = grass, paddock or unturned land
  • Tan or Brown = sand or dirt
  • Light Grey = concrete
  • Dark Grey = concrete or tar
In some cases I know there will be other parts covering the baseplate, such as footpath tiling out the front of buildings or sand on the beach.

Have a look at my Video on YouTube to see the completed baseplate layout.

Thanks for checking out my first City Update. Next week I'll start working on what I've been looking forward to for a long, long, time. Train tracks!

Thursday 1 February 2018

Benny's LEGO Room - Part 3 - Complete Room Tour & Entertainment System

G'day everyone welcome to the third and final part of my initial LEGO Room setup.

Look, actual LEGO sets, that makes it official! I was actually still in the process of installing the rest of the under table LEDs so I had just placed everything on top of the table and on the shelves, roughly sorted by theme.

The view of my spare parts from the door. Chewie checks my credentials before I'm allowed to enter.

Star Wars UCS good guy ships.

Star Wars UCS baddies. Lots of yet to be opened Star Wars boxes.

Mixels (for the kids) and random Classic boxes.

More Star Wars boxes yet to be opened. Including the Executor.

Lots of City stuff for... the City...

Starting to get into the more interesting City and Licensed Theme stuff.

Trains Trains TRAINS!

Creator Expert Modular Buildings, some are multiples for expanding options.

Smaller Creator 3in1 houses and buildings.

Super Heroes - No arguments from me, I love both DC & Marvel!

The centerpiece of the entertainment system is the 65 Inch Samsung KS8500 4K Curved TV. Normally I wouldn't go for a curved TV but I got this on a great sale at JB Hi Fi one day compared to its flat screen brother and for a while it was my main TV in the GEEK Room but have since swapped it out for an OLED. So into the LEGO Room it went. One of the reasons I considered this TV in the first place was a review on the RTINGS website. These guys do very in depth reviews of modern TVs and are a great resource for setting up and calibrating a new TV.

65 Inches of curved.

Straight on view looks sweet.

The other main star of the entertainment system is the new PC I built. It will be used for LEGO digital designing & BlueBrick, streaming YouTube & Netflix etc, sneaking in some games while sitting in the City and now video editing for my YouTube channel and this Blog. Originally I was going to wall mount it next to the TV but it just stuck out too far and I didn't trust my clumsy self enough to not smash my shoulder on it every time I walked past. It's now found it's place to the far right of one of the main shelves and when I finish rebuilding the UCS Death Star II (in the tub) they will sit side by side. One to destroy and one to create.

Sacrificing some LEGO real estate for the PC and Xbox.

My new Ryzen beast. I named it BenZen.

Blue and Orange lighting to match my Blog branding.

The fans have a swirly pattern that reminds me of the round things in the TARDIS.
I've always liked the round things. What are they? I don't know.

The tech specs if anyone is interested:
Case: Thermaltake Core P3 with Tempered Glass
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700X overclocked to 4.0GHz on all 8 Cores, 16 threads
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kracken X52 240mm AIO Radiator Cooler
Motherboard: ASUS Crossahair 6 Hero - X370 Chipset
RAM: 16GB G. Skill Trident Z RGB overclocked to almost 3000MHz
Graphics: EVGA GTX 1070 FTW2 (nVidia)
Power Supply: Corsair RM750x Gold 750W
Primary Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB M.2 SSD & Samsung 850 EVO 1TB SATA SSD
Secondary Storage: Seagate 2TB HDD
Custom black sleeved cables from CableMod
Windows 10 Pro & Adobe Photoshop/Premiere Elements 18

View from the middle of the City.

We ran 2x USB booster cables from the PC , up the wall, across the roof , down the opposite side behind the corner shelving unit and then to the middle of the tables where my keyboard and mouse await. We did it this way so that there were no crossing cables to trip on around the walkway. I use a Corsair Lapdog on my lap when I'm gaming on the couch in the GEEK Lounge so I grabbed another one on Black Friday for the LEGO Room. Any table room taken up by a keyboard means less space for LEGO and we can't have that. Throw in a couple of Star Wars bar stools I got for Christmas and we are all set.

Corsair K70 Rapid Fire mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX silver linear speed switches.

Corsair M65 Pro mouse with handy slow DPI button in easy thumbs reach.

Keyboard and mouse housed nicely in the Corsair Lapdog.

I added an Xbox One S primarily for watching Blu-Ray. I'm going to build a custom LEGO shroud around it to make it blend in with the LEGO models. Will need to include plenty of exhaust with these things of course.

Xbox One S - 500GB - White.

As I mentioned earlier I was still finishing up the LED strips and in the previous post I described my initial trouble with them not sticking. Happy to say after my solution they are now holding strong and showing no signs of letting go. I finished up the last 2 tables and am very pleased with the result. I can turn them on/off independently from the roof lights.

The LED strips will do justice for the models that will eventually be under the table.

This one reminds me of the old Nokia phone game Snake.

Underneath the tables I left enough space to either build or buy some form of storage. After looking through Bunnings at various drawer systems and tubs I found one particular 40 liter tub made by Ezy Storage that could be accessorized with trays and containers that hook onto a purpose lip under the lids. Taking one home to test I found it fit under the bottom shelf with barely a milometer to spare. Perfect. Around the entire table and including the middle standing area I could fit 36 tubs without double parking them. Back to Bunnings and I cleaned them out of everything they had in that size, which was only 16 tubs, and a bunch of accessories  I'll definitely grab more ASAP because I'd hate for them to swap styles in the meantime. I'll use them for parts storage once I start sorting it all again. I've already used some for my instruction books, train track and spare baseplates.

Like they were made to fit under there.

Great for storing my spare LEGO parts. Notice the hanging mini tub accessory inside.

A few less interesting yet important things of note are the 1080p security camera which works great in low light as well. We have 8 of these around the property... just in case.

Benny is watching!

Also a split system air conditioner to keep my collection cool in the Aussie summer... and me too I guess. I tried it out recently on a 40oC day and it managed to completely cool the room to a comfortable level in less than 15 minutes. I have a few ideas for the wall below the air con.

It's cool and quiet when I want it to be.

So that's about it for the LEGO Room initial setup for now. There will be minor updates when I add or change things around. If you haven't already please watch the accompanying video I made (my first) which goes in depth with a few plans and ideas and shows the room after I tidied everything up a bit more.

Leaving the room with the roof lights turned off. Looks nice.

Thankyou for following. Cya next time.