Sunday, October 03, 2010

Last Day at BrickCon

And it was a doozy. Almost 5000 people came on Saturday, and the crowds on Sunday looked as bad from where I was sitting. The article about BrickCon showed up in the Sunday Seattle Times, but I didn't make the cut (no surprise). The article itself was a little small, I thought, for such a big event. They supplemented it with a photo gallery of 15 images from the convention, but only online. The paper version only had about three images. The tenth image online shows a couple of folks picking through the bricks at the Math 'n' Stuff booth, pretty close to where I was most of the convention.

Let's start today's image gallery with the Big Hairy Spider, one of my favorite all-time LEGO creations simply because I never would have thought of it, and the way it was accomplished was so fantastic.

Big Hairy Spider

As you can see, it's BIG... it's hairy, and it's a spider. The dots around it on the table are a legion of little LEGO spiders from various sets. The entire table was devoted to bugs. Now, a close up of the Big Hairy Spider reveals what it's made out of:

Big Hairy Spider Close Up

Those hairs are the little handles that the minifigs use in their machinery. They are basically levers, the knobs at the end fit in a minifig's hand. It's so freakin' awesome that someone saw those handles and thought, "Those would make excellent hairs for a terrifying spider creation!"

Also on the "bug" table was this nightmare (click to make bigger):

This is an actual, living beehive with a ton of very bored and frustrated bees in it building their hive around a bunch of LEGO bricks. I don't know about anyone else, but it had me shivering from a bit of bee terror.

Let's move on. *shudder*

On the Microscale table I had to stop and take pictures of this TARDIS and Dalek.

Microscale Doctor Who

Microscale is a tough one to master, as it is the art of suggestion along with the art of restraint. Personally, I'm very impressed with this pairing. There were a ton of great microscale models there, most of them incredible if only due to the sheer imagination that went into them. For instance, look at the dalek. The base is four minifig binoculars. The eyestalk is a minifig wrench. I'm not even certain what the plunger is, but the gun is a lever like the spider hair. Thinking sideways is required to be a good microscale builder.

On the other end of the scale is the miniland size figures. These are the size of figures that you will see if you go to LEGOLAND and look at their models. In this case, there was a set of superheroes. Four DC Comics figures with a couple of Marvel ones in the middle that I ignored (*grin*).

Miniland Green Lantern and Batman

Green Lantern and Batman. The logos appear to be custom, but everything else was pure LEGO.

Miniland Wonder Woman and Superman

And Wonder Woman with Superman. Hey, where's Aquaman?!?? I need my Aquaman fix. *grumble*

Over near the Math 'n' Stuff booth was this wonderful arch:

Big in Japan Arch

On Friday, when we arrived, they were just starting to set it up. It took several hours and several people to get it put together safely. As I write this I'm willing to bet that some people may still be removing it. I left in all the background to it so you can get an idea of just how big it is. Very impressive.

Ok, this post is getting really long, so I'm going to put in a cut here. Just follow the link to get the full post. Folks reading this via RSS or a direct link should just see an extra line after this, then the rest of the post.

Still with me? Good, then let's head over to the train section where we find a Dudley Do-Right running to the rescue of a hapless maiden tied to the railroad tracks.

Dudley Do-Right

This was set up by my old PNLTC friend Steve, who asked as he set it up, "Is the knife too much, do you think?" (referring to the villain standing over the girl with a knife in his hand) and was assured by those around that the knife was perfect.

Now I want to show you what may have been the crowning achievement of the convention, at least in my opinion. This display was HUGE, and included a harbor being attacked by pirates, an ocean with a swirling whirlpool, and an undersea world including the swirling bottom of the whirlpool and a sunken ship. I've made each of these pictures clickable to get a bigger image so you can see more of it. I apologize for the blurriness of some of them, but I *was* using a phone's camera. Remember, click for a bigger image:

This shows an overview of the display. I did not take detailed pictures of everything, but I know many people were, so you might be able to find more online in a day or two. The harbor is on the left, and the whirlpool toward the center.

The whirlpool and the Kraken. Inside the whirlpool, a pirate and soldier fight on a spinning plank. Note the Kraken has captured the girl and is holding her in the air. On the island in the upper left are a couple of mermaids.

Underneath is the undersea mountain, home to various denizens and covered in white barnacles (which is why the picture looks a bit washed out). The whirlpool spins down here too, letting you see the shark constantly circling as it waits for the victims to come to it. The undersea mountain is topped out by a temple, which in turn is actually that island with the mermaids up on top.

Another view of the ships in the harbor, and the lighthouse. This display was amazing, and had tons of detail that you wouldn't notice on a casual glance. For instance, on the far side of the display you get a cut-out view of the buildings on shore, and the view extends into the ground. In the "ground" you see a fossil of a dinosaur. But that was only if you were looking at the outside of the display.

Last, but certainly not least, of the whirlpool display was this sunken ship, sitting out on the corner so that kids could get a very close look at it. Overall, I thought this was the best display of the year. The motion of the whirlpool just added a new dimension to it.

Ok, let's get back to my role in the chaos. I was at the "make your own minifig" table, and got to stare at minifig heads all day:


Well, no, not really. Actually for the first hour or so, before the public was allowed in, my view was pretty nice:

My View - Before

But it quickly became this:

My View - After

And it stayed that way for about five hours until I escaped with a co-worker and went "home". There was only one really bad moment.

I had my back to the rest of the booth, and there was heavy traffic in the booth. For most of the time, people were careful, recognizing that there was a person sitting there and that they probably shouldn't bump them. I got hit in the head by purses a couple of times as mothers turned suddenly and forgot themselves. At one point, a guy accidentally rested his backpack on my head for a moment.

Those were minor annoyances compared to the woman who was holding two large LEGO boxes with their corners out and on level with the small of my back. When someone bumped her, the sharp corners of the boxes slammed into me with a fury that I cannot describe except to say that everyone around me was lucky I didn't have enough voice to scream.

The pain! I have fibromyalgia, and was somehow, by some miracle, managing to keep it totally in check this weekend. But when those boxes hit me, whatever magic was protecting me stopped, and a week's worth of agonizing pain radiated through my back so badly I just about keeled over and died right there.

I managed to tell my co-worker, and even (this surprises me) managed to take some money and continue business through tears that I could not stop from streaming down my face. I was terrified that I would scare some kids and ruin their day, but help quickly arrived when my co-worker summoned them, and I was dragged from the seat and over to the rest area we had set-up. When none of my co-workers had painkiller, I begged a woman standing nearby for some children's Tylenol. A co-worker got an ice pack on my back, I drank some water, and 15 minutes later the pain was back under control. But for those fifteen minutes I thought I might not be able to drive back to my parents' house, because the pain was so bad. I was panicked about that and getting back to Churchville.

After I hit the restroom to wash my face so the tears wouldn't show, I got back behind that table and did another two hour shift. For the rest of the day, I encouraged people to stand behind me as protection while they watched their kids pick out minifigs. If you know me, you will recognize that this is not my normal behavior. I usually hate it when people stand behind me.

After the Exhibition Hall closed to the public, and while I was getting ready to leave, I spotted this wonderful little creation in the bulk LEGO bricks we were selling:


While it didn't make everything all better, it certainly gave me a little smile.

I won't be going home until tomorrow in the daylight. After what happened the last time I drove back to Churchville in the dark, I don't want to take any risks. So instead of heading home tonight, I'm going swimming with my Mom in the morning, then taking my time heading over the pass to go home. I hope any lingering pain from the events at the convention will be gone before I start my three hour drive.

If you do a search on Flickr for BrickCon 2010 you will find many more great pictures, including better pictures of many of the items I've got pictures of.

One final picture, then I'll go. This is a more complete picture of the ninja forest from the Big In Japan display. I will point out that in the original version of this you can find posted on Flickr there were 13 ninjas. But there were more in this one, I counted at least 16. I think you can see them all in this picture (click for full size) but I'm not 100% sure.

So I guess I'll just ask again, how many ninja can you see, and how many of each color? The guy in the center on a horse is a samurai, not a ninja, so he doesn't count.


David Oakes said...

The plunger is the other end of the gun. The levers have knobs on top to fit in mini-fig hands, while the other end is a disk with a slight depression. The disk locks into the slot in the lever base, and swings back and forth on raised bumps cupped in the depression.

The also make a passible lolipop or microphone for mini-figs.

Tegan said...

It's been so long since I've taken a lever apart I completely forgot how they work, but your post brought it all back! Wow.

Carolyn said...

That spider looks like a replicator.