Greetings MOCpages, and welcome to my coverage of the VirtuaLUG invasion of BrickWorld 2014! This was, without a doubt, THE best BrickWorld yet! There’s a lot of pics and some great stories here so let’s get started…
My prep for the event started before the show, and I’m not just talking about Lego building. For our group Display, we decided that using the regular hotel tables wouldn’t work as some of our sections needed to go below the table height. So we decided that I would build our tables and bring them with me (being as I live 4 and a half miles from the event hall).
Here you can see the plexiglass portion of Lee's Hades build (which we'll get to later on, but it's fun to see what goes on behind the scenes with stuff like this).
On Wednesday, Dr. Lee Jones came over to help load up the U-Haul truck, rented to get the table and many of our group’s builds to the hotel. Here’s the truck, empty, before the load in with Lee and my daughter…
And finally, we’re done. Nearly 300 square feet of table and a LOT of Lego (Yes, you read that right. Nearly 300 square feet. By comparison, The Wizard of Oz build last year was about 66 square feet). My daughter was riding her bike for most of the time and didn’t take off her Monster High helmet for the pic. It’s all good though, that see-through table for Hades “looks” like it could fall at any minute (although Lee and I strapped that puppy in so it wouldn’t move an inch).
Annnnd, we’re off! The truck sat in the parking lot at the hotel over night until…
Thursday morning load in! I was told that load in started at 9:00AM. So naturally, when I woke up at 8 to get ready and get over to the hotel, I found a text on my phone from about 2:30 in the morning. It was Lee saying that load in started at 8… whoops. Needless to say, by the time I showed up at 8:45, the entire truck had been unloaded and Lee was driving the truck out of the event hall, yelling out the window “Thanks for the help a**hole!” Good times… good times… Here’s Kyle Peterson (BrickForge) on the left with Mr. Halliwell (Tyler’s dad) and Leda Kat looking over things.
And assembly of the table begins… First, we lay out the sections in their proper places.
Kevin Walter, the HGIC (Head German In Charge) of this year’s collaborative, saying good morning to everyone. In the back is Mr. Halliwell and on the far right, Matt Rowntree (who couldn’t have been a BIGGER help during load in, but we’ll get to that in a bit).
I gave my camera to Leda and asked her to take pics while we put the tables together. So naturally, she and Kevin decided to take a selfie.
I designed the tables for easy transport.
All we had to do was attach the legs and BAM, good to go!
After the legs were on, it was time to put them back in place and in the correct order.
Dave Sterling and Lee Jones obviously discussing something dark and sinister.
More of the Halliwells (Tyler on the right) continuing the table construction…
Rowntree and I putting the legs on while Kyle (and someone on the other side, don’t know who in this pic… probably Kevin) hold the thing in place.
“Hey Chris, is that a screw in between your lips or are you just happy to see me?”
Once the table was assembled, it was time to test just how sturdy it was.
Of course Leda (being the smallest LUG member) was our sacrificial lamb to climb up on it and see if it could hold people. And of course as soon as Matt sees a woman on a table HIS first thought is to take out dollar bills…
Here’s Matt in his natural environment… on his back under a table.
He was actually screwing the table together to make it one solid piece. Now, let me just tell you how awesome Matt is… In the original plans for the table, Kyle had told me that he was providing his own portion of the table and that I should just leave a space for it to fit in. So we get there, start setting up the table (as seen above) and Kyle says to me “So, where’s my table?” Through our communication mix up we realized that he only had a short stand for his build, not an entire table. So Matt and I got in his truck, ran a couple other errands that needed doing (like returning the U-Haul and picking up more paper for the table and so on). Then we went back to my house and built an entire section of table for Kyle’s moc, made to the very specific specifications that he needed to have the top portion of his build even with the rest of the table AND to also come out from the side a couple of feet, leaving the sides open for viewing. Matt, let me just take this opportunity to say… you’re awesome man! Thanks SO much for your help! I couldn’t have done it without you!
After the table was assembled, we covered the whole thing in blue wrapping paper and used blue plastic table covers as table skirting. Then the mocs started to make their way on…
Lunchtime, day one. Counterclockwise starting in the right corner, Dennis Price, Matt Rowntree, Leda Kat, Dave Kaleta, Tyler Halliwell, Hans’ friend (who's not quite LUG member yet but well on her way) Misty and finally, Hans Dendauw. There’s more people here for lunch but not in the picture.
After lunch it was time to take Olympus out of it’s many boxes. Bart had packed this thing SO incredibly well that it took 4 or 5 people to finally get it out! This shot is SOME of the torn boxes and foam that was involved.
Here’s Olympus itself halfway through the unpacking process.
Then it was time for opening ceremonies. Indulge me for a short story… For those that remember last year, I had had my name read out as the winner of the grand prize. It was a mistake on Bryan’s part as he was sleep deprived and the name that WAS pulled was kinda close to mine. You can see the whole story here. So, I was about to head on home, it already being 8:00PM and I had told my wife I’d be home around 8:30. I was saying goodbye when Lee said “You can’t leave, you’re part of the ceremony.” Well… this was news to me, but I sat my happy butt down and got comfy for the ceremony. A little bit into it, Lee goes up to the front and begins to retell the story of last year’s grand prize SNAFU. Then he calls me up to the stage and I’m presented with The Simpsons House from Lee and a Bad Cop LED Keychain from Bryan Bonahoom! I keep trying to tell everyone just how awesome these people are… Thank you SO MUCH!
Day two and things are starting to come together nicely! Here’s Betsy and Hans working on their portion of the build.
Here’s Lee with his bag-o-Spartans. 301 to be exact. This was for his 300 build and since it’s King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans… we get 301.
Leda working on her moc in the middle of the table.
Of course Lee couldn’t let the girls have all the fun, so he climbed his 6ft 2 butt up there as well. Not that he’s not USED to being on his hands and knees on a table but… you know. Moving on…
Here’s Barty! Bart arrived Friday afternoon (you know, after all the hard work for his build was already done) to assemble his (AWESOME) Mt. Olympus moc (which you can see full coverage of here)
Table assembled, mocs in place, lighting added and we’re starting to lay in the water.
While we’re here, let’s take a look at the individual builds shall we?
Here’s my portion of the collab, the city of Troy.
The beach with the invading Greek armies. Matt Rowntree built the Trojan Horse for me, again, thanks Matt!
Custom shields and figs provided byBrickforge! Head on over there and show them some love! Thanks Kyle!
Inside the city walls… what city would be complete without a slave auction? The correct answer in case you were wondering would be “none.”
A shot from the front gate up the street towards the palace.
A portion of the market place.
The other side of the market.
I decided early on that I would have a working water feature in this moc and here it is!
The palace with the king and queen overlooking their city as it’s invaded by the Greeks.
Annnnnd… the cause of the Trojan War… Paris and his infatuation, Helen of Troy. Also known as “The face that launched a thousand ships.” We only had four but you know… even Rowntree couldn’t build a thousand of em.
The backside of Troy. You know me, it wouldn’t be a Phipson post without a good backside shot.
From the exterior, rear left. Thanks go out to Lee for providing both the Greek and Trojan armies for this build!
An overall shot.
And since I’m not going to do an individual post for Troy…. One last one.
Here’s the invading Greek Navy. As you can see, we enlisted the help of the Chicago Bears in the invasion…
And we even had a Wookie contingent in the fray.
And really, what invasion would be complete without V-Lug themselves involved? The boat (which for some reason I can't find the picture of but you can see in the youtube video linked below) had an army of V-Luggers assisting in the invasion of Troy. Leda with the whip was a nice touch.
Moving on through the collab… Here’s Dennis Price’s “The Lotus Eaters.”
And yet again, Mark Kelso couldn’t be here with us. It’s weird actually… he’s been such a big part of our collabs over the years but has YET to see one in person… Even though he wasn’t with us in person, he sent this awesome rendition of the island of Polyphemus to add to the build. Thanks Mark, and get your butt here next year would ya?!!?
The Island of Aoleas, the god of the winds built by Kevin Lauer.
Kevin had a rotating wind bag (which oddly enough is EXACTLY what his wife calls him)...
...and this beautiful working waterfall!
The island of the Laestogerians built (ironically) by our own giant, Tyler Halliwell!
I took these pics before everything was %100 set so one of the giants was laying down. He fell once and shattered so Tyler decided to leave him down while we were all still working on the table. Good idea Tyler.
Some shipwrecks that were added to fill out the display a bit.
Hades, built by Dr. Lee Jones.
First, the Hell Ship build by Adam Reed-Tucker to ferry souls across the river Styx.
Some details of the underworld.
At the gates of Hades, souls enter under the watchful eyes (all six of em) of
Cerebus, built by Master Shifu!
A couple of shots of the interior of Hades. Those gold rounds on the platforms there hold a nice little surprise that I’ll get to later…
The rotating and illuminated portal in Hades. This was a VERY cool feature that we actually had to cut out a portion of the table to allow the mechanics to fit in.
I went back later to get these pics. The parts that looked like simple gold rounds actually housed unholy magic!
Floating above the ground and held in place by the chains of hell itself, this platform hovered in Hades thanks to Lee’s mastery of the dark arts… Ok, so he used magnets, but still it’s pretty cool huh?
Here is where the Isle of Circe, built by Leda Kat should be but I can't find any pics of it. I requested pics from her so hopefully I'll have this updated soon...
The Island of the Sirens built by Dave Kaleta.
That little pool in the center cave there lit up…
…and I gotta tell ya, those trees were awesome!
Mount Olympus by ElBarto! You can find a link to full coverage his build above. This was just an AMAZING centerpiece for our layout.
Scylla and Charibus by Kevin Walter.
Just some amazing work on the creatures here.
And that whirlpool! It’s like the Sarlaac’s underwater cousin, only cooler!
And Here’s Kyle Peterson’s Isle of Helios. I’ll let the pics speak for themselves as I’ve already told the story of how much “fun” this was to put together. I gotta say, that underwater area was just SWEET!
This is where Heath Flor's Isle of Calypso should be, but again... can't find any pics. I asked Heath to send me some pics so hopefully I'll have this updated soon as well...
And finally, the last (and technically first as well I guess) portion of the collab, Ithica. Built by Hans Dendauw and his friends Betsy (Now an OFFICIAL V-Lug member) and Misty.
Again, letting the pics do the talking of just how killer this build was!
Ochre Jelly also tweeted something to the effect of (not the exact quote but as close as I can remember it): "VirtuaLUG's Odyssey display has made all other displays obsolete. Please pack up your bricks and return them to Billund."
Thanks for the awesome tweet man!
On Saturday, my wife and daughter were able to join us for a bit. Here’s my daughter in her official VirtuaLUG dress!
Thanks again to the Jones family who had this dress made for her! Did I mention how awesome that family is?
Joe Meno taking the BrickWorld group photo. I yelled out “Stage dive” but he didn’t listen. Too bad, that woulda been a great BrickJournal article.
Friday night, after our annual LUG meeting we headed out to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. Here we have Dennis Price, Dave Sterling, Betsy and on the left, Hans…
Here is Matt (in the bottom left corner), Tyler, Leda, Kevin Walter’s parents with Kevin, Bart and his family on the left top and Dave Kaleta and Mr. Halliwell at the head of the table.
Back to the hotel and Bart and Dennis are discussing… something, I dunno. With Lee contemplating something in Hades.
We were able to procure a ladder from the hotel and took some overall shots of the display.
Here’s where I’d usually make a joke about Bart finally being able to see the top of the table once up on the ladder but I think I’ll let it slide this time…
Now we’ll take a step back from the collab and see what other goodies the V-Luggers brought to BrickWorld this year. Again, I’ll let the pics do the talking…
At over 7 feet long, Lee’s “Pillar of Autumn” was a sure show stopper!
But the piece that really blew me away was his rendition of 300!
Just LOVED his daughter’s Bat-minion!
And some more V-Lug stuff. Our talented group was able to bring home some awards, including (but not limited to) best mecha (Matt Rowntree) and best creature (Tyler Halliwell)!
Saturday night at the world of lights! I’ve never stayed for World of Lights and I’m so glad I did this year! It was amazing!
One of the other really cool things about this event is being able to meet so many people! I was lucky enough to meet Mathew Oh (pictured here) and George Marshall of MOCpages! I didn’t get a pic myself with George but he has a pic and hopefully will post it here on the pages. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me guys! It was great to meet you! And George, next year don't let me forget to get my own pic with you! Remind me! haha
Before the public was let in on Sunday morning, I decided that I needed an overall shot of the entire hall. Pictures do NOT do this justice. This place was HUGE!
And I took a little walk around to take in some of the sights. Here’s just a small sample of the awesomeness of BrickWorld…
Quick note: This Bender build opened up to reveal a minibar! No, that’s not a joke… there’s an ACTUAL bar in Benders chest.
And... some more BrickWorld Awesomeness...
And once again, V-Lug has done it! Winner of the best collaborative build, The Odyssey! Congrats V-Lug!
Of course someone (no names shall be mentioned) had to go and make sure that it was, in fact, “Homer’s Odyssey.” Doh!
V-Lug’s group shot. Do you know how hard it is to get all of us in one place at the same time? It’s like herding cats! So anyway… here we have Bryan Bonahoom, Dave Kaleta, Lee Jones, Adam Reed Tucker, Tyler Halliwell, Kevin Walter, Dennis Price, Matt Rowntree, Betsy Sandberg, Leda Kat, Heath Flor, Adam Stasiak, Hans Dendauw, Dave Sterling and me in the bottom corner on my knees (which Lee says is my natural state… not sure what he meant by that…)
Now, if you’ll indulge me in a little story… So Sunday morning, there’s an announcement for “the following people” to go and see Bryan (the coordinator of BrickWorld) Bonahoom. My name was among those announced so I’m like “Great, I’m being sent to the principal’s office.” So off I go to find Bryan. He reveals something to me (no, not like that) and swears me to secrecy. I agree to his plot of course and go over what I’m going to say when the master plan is revealed. I go through my quick speech and he looks at me and says “Yeah, now if you can get through that without crying it’ll be great.” (all will be revealed in a moment…)
So the rest of the day goes well, my camera battery dies so I’m unable to get pics of the tear down or closing ceremonies (too bad) which is where our little plan is revealed.
At the end of the awards, right after Bryan announces the winner of best group collab (V-Lug), I get up and make my way to the stage. Bryan hands me the microphone and I say…
“There’s a saying that you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. I beg to differ. I’d like to invite my brother, Lee Jones, to come up and join us.” Lee started walking up to the front. “Lee, you’ve always been there for all of us and we wanted to do something for you.” I hand him a small black dufflebag with the BrickWorld Logo on it. He looks at it and says “Should I open it?” I nodded yes and he reaches in and pulls out the BrickWorld Master Award! I hope someone has a pic of that somewhere (if you do, let me know and I’ll link to it). Lee of course starts crying (and here I thought I’d be the one crying) and as he and I start walking back to our seats, he puts his arm around me and says “You A**hole.” Which in Lee Jones speak means, “Love ya brother.”
So closing ceremonies ends and we get back to load out. My wife and daughter arrive for our annual Phipson/Jones dinner. After they help a bit, the wives and kids head up to the restaurant. I stayed to help Lee pack all of his monster builds. About 2 hours later we finally finish and join the families upstairs. Lee took the heat on that one to get me out of the doghouse for making them wait so long but if I hadn’t helped, he’d probably STILL be there two days later!
And after dinner, you’d think my Brickworld adventure would be over…. But you’d be wrong…
We had loaded the entire table and all my (and other luggers) Lego into Bryan’s trailer. Monday morning (well… morning for them… closer to noon for the rest of us) he and Lee bring the trailer over to my house to unload.
After that, it was back to the hotel to load the trailer again with all of Bryan’s stuff. Bryan was a harsh slave driver. As you can see from the photo, not even my daughter was immune to his wrath when she wouldn’t move fast enough!
So in closing I’d just like to say THANK YOU to all my VirtuaLUG family for making this the BEST BrickWorld yet! Now we just have to wait another year to do it all again.
Quoting George G.
Hi Chris, terrific work with the layout - its always great to see what the community can do when they all come together! Reading through the recent comments about the MOColympics has got me all excited: reaching the semi-finals in '11 and '12 just makes me want to push again and go for the win! But alas, my collection is all
inaccessable at this present time so I shall not be able to, but if there is anything I can do to help out, if you're still looking for judges or anything then I would be more than willing :) I love the games and the years I particapted gave me my best builds to date!
Quoting David Alexander Smith
When you see the combined talents of virtual lug lined up like this it's pretty impressive. It makes me proud to know you all in this strange virtual space. BTW Matt just tempted me to throw my hat in the MocOlympics ring again this year.
Hi Chris, terrific work with the layout - its always great to see what the community can do when they all come together! Reading through the recent comments about the MOColympics has got me all excited: reaching the semi-finals in '11 and '12 just makes me want to push again and go for the win! But alas, my collection is all inaccessable at this present time so I shall not be able to, but if there is anything I can do to help out, if you're still looking for judges or anything then I would be more than willing :) I love the games and the years I particapted gave me my best builds to date!
When you see the combined talents of virtual lug lined up like this it's pretty impressive. It makes me proud to know you all in this strange virtual space. BTW Matt just tempted me to throw my hat in the MocOlympics ring again this year.
Quoting Seth .
Hey! First of all, great coverage of your trip to BrickWorld, but I mainly came here to ask about the MOCOlympics. Is there any set or estimated date yet? Can't wait to compete and thanks!
Yeap! I'm getting things set up now and should be opening the group within the next week or so. ~ Chris.
Wow, I just realized I didn't comment on this yet. *Bangs head on table* Fantastic overview of BrickWorld Chris, so many great pictures (one in particular ;) )! Loved the overview of how you guys got your display there and set it up! I had a fantastic time meeting you and talking with you, here is to next year! :)
Best weekend ever! So glad to finely meet my LUGmates in person and you guys did not disappoint! Thanks for the great write-up, as usual. Can't wait until I can do it all again. 'Til then, keep it crispy!~H
Chris, this is a very good After Action Review. Lots and lots of info. Great coverage of this massive event. But the best pictures by far were those of the rare Homo-sapiens rowntRee-icus. This elusive species has dodged the camera for long enough, and you captured him in all of his shocking glory! Now the whole world knows: rowntRee has the perfect face for radio! Attack!
In a word….no, actually there isn't a word. The creativity and talent is wonderful and next year Dave says the boys and I have to go! We'll start planning now!! Thanks for all the pics and documentation - a decent substitute for the real thing.
Simply amazing. I wish I had the time and resources to do something like this. Maybe when I'm out of college, well, probably not till I retire...
On a side note, the Goa'uld Death Glider and Piller of Autumn look fantastic.
WHAT? Only ONE picture of the Lotus Eaters? The build that made the entire layout? Foul, good sir, I cry foul. For this insult, I call you out on the field of battle: Five Guys - large burger and fries shall be the weapon and we shall duel, oh yes, we shall. Your stomach cannot withstand the onslaught that is coming your way next year. As I walk away in triumph and you slump from a stool in a puddle of tears, all shall point and laugh when you admit you have wronged me. I declare no mercy! (Seriously, that was awesome, huh? All the builds were great, but the fun we had was even better. Lots of good stuff from the LUG, plus such variety from other participants made it one of the best BW's yet. You went all out on this one, buddy, and so did Lee and Matt -- just fantastic. To those of you who were there, you know. For the rest, pictures don't quite cut it, but they come close.)
Congrats to you guys on a well-deserved win! Your VLUG collaborations are always excellent but this year I think you've collectively outdone yourselves. In particular your Troy moc was a highlight Chris, some majestic structures there Best. Build. Ever! Congrats guys! Much love to y'all!
There's a couple bottles of Jameson's somewhere in there as well. XD Great coverage Chris. You helped make this one of the best experiences ever for me and in spite of the quantities of adult beverages, the most memorable. And yes Luke, I have a bit of hair. Looking to buzz it off soon so don't expect it next year. ;) Fantastic job by everyone in VLUG. Congrats to all, can't wait for next year! Yes, I'll bring some more Jameson's. jeeesh!
I think that best layout trophy belongs here in Toronto safe and snug with its proper home with ToroLUG in Simon's apartment ;). I also find it funny how you have a photo of the Uni-kitties, but just so conveniently happen to be missing a photo of the CMF habitats, aka VLug's competition, aka the group collaboration that "should've" won ;). Seems a little, suspicious... just kidding, congratulations to you and Vlug, your build was amazing, guess next year ToroLug will have to step up its game!
It was really cool to see you guys! I apologize for not introducing myself, but I was the guy that came up to say bye to Hans (short gravel blond haired guy with the Canada shirt) on the last day and offered to help you guys finish packing up your builds, but you seemed just about finished. The apologies for not being able to stick around, we had a 9 hour drive ahead of us to get back to Toronto, and start work literally the day after.
Anyway, it was cool to see you! Say hi to Hans for me, and see you guys BW2015 (hopefully)!
No words do this justice, bro. Just mind-blowing. I can't believe the scale and the amount of work that went into the project. It's an honor just to have been able to be involved in some small way. Congratulations to VLUG once again. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to seeing what's next with this incredible group of people!
Wooooow! What an absolutely brilliant display! My favorite picture is the overall shot of the entire layout. That's a lot of water! The city of Troy looks amazing as do all the other sections. I just love the gallys and the floating platform that's just brilliant. I've always wanted to see one of these shows and your excellent covarge has givin me a fantastic glimpse into the fun. Thank you!
What a huge effort by all involved; what a stunning result! Troy looks very good indeed but the grand prize here belongs to Bart, and Matt for apparently doing the work of ten men! Kudos to all of you for this magnificent, classically beautiful display.
Thanks for letting us all enjoy a little bit of the crazy fun and shenanigans of Brickworld Chris! It was fascinating to see the amount of effort that goes into a collaborative display like that - speaking of which you guys nocked it out of the park. The entire display is full details and presents a beautiful picture both when examined closely and viewed from afar. Well done to all of VLUG and great job with Troy!
Chris, thanks for sharing all the fun with us! I really enjoyed your pics of the behind the scences woodworking too. My hubby is a long time woodworker and I suppose that after these many years some concepts have rubbed off on me, because one of the first things I thought of (no kidding) after viewing Dave's Flickr photos of the Odyssey was... what kind of tables did they use? Looks like a great time was had by all! :)
Sounds like another adventure, thanks for the great coverage. Your city of Troy is spectacular, you definitely did it justice. The water fountain is very cool, and I love the overall layout. Really, the entire display is absolutely phenomenal - no wonder you guys won best display. I've been looking forward to seeing Lee Jones use magnets since your last BW recap, so that was really cool to see. Hopefully he posts a page for Hades here as well. And man, Matt rowntRee really is Chewbacca! Despite Ron Mitchell's beard, I think Matt's hair triumphs for Chewbaccaness. ;) (Sorry Ron.) While on the subject of jokes, I'm surprised you let your daughter get in a truck with Mr. Jones... (Sorry Lee.) Immaturity aside, I'm really impressed by what you all presented here. Every year the BW collaboration is a highlight of MOCpages, and it's nice to see V-LUG still going strong.
My heart is overjoyed at seeing this, Chris, you made us LEGO Fans who could not be there feel like we were. for that a very big THANK YOU! I enjoyed the fact you also showed many skills are involved in pulling this off - for example - carpentry! I like the way you told the story and evolution of your booth! I finally got to see LEDA KATT as you are so is she one of my favorite MOCpage builders! You aced it and you rock Chris!
As always, I am incredibly jealous that I don't like in the states and so can never get to these fantastic events, but hey ho! I'll visit one day! Amazing builds all around. Just goes to show that LEGO really is the best tool for art.
Quick, before someone else says it: EPIC! This was indeed another epic display, the brilliance of which was best appreciated in person. Well done V-Lug! You guys are a crazy bundle of Lego talent. Though to be perfectly honest...I think Oz still narrowly takes the cake for me. Yup, somebody had to be the sour grape in the crowd (or perhaps the sour lotus fruit in this case).
It was great meeting you too! I'll try to get my own recap up soon, but I'm away at architecture camp right now, so I won't have time for a while. Definitely getting a better picture next year though, and hopefully I'll have some stuff of my own to show. Great seeing you, and can't wait for Brickworld 2015!