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Brick Fiesta 2012 After Action Report . This rendering of the fest logo really set the tone for Brick Fiesta 2012. . My son Phillip and I were able to get down to Houston from the 4th of July to the 8th of July for the second annual Brick Fiesta! We were joined there by the famous Nevada snake-cult leader Keith Goldman, and White Snake roadie Ryan Scott Rubino. The 5 day event was hosted by TexLUG and featured a terrific town and train layout brought all the way from the everglades by the Greater Florida LEGO® Users Group GFLUG, who's mission statement is "One club, many parts". The Johnson Space Center was also nearby. The entire event was held under a massive geodesic dome built by the GFLUG (Greater Florida LEGO Users Group) guys. Based on the original design by John Palmer, the dome has never been put to better use. All the displays featured in the rest of this post were actually displayed inside of this amazing structure. It was awesome! The fest venue, which was a hotel, attached to the massive mall, included a food park was equally awesome. In the sweltering tropical heat of Houston, this arrangement was more than convenient, it was life saving! Like having a fest inside of a hab' dome on Venus. Best castle in the fest, built by one of the best participants in the fest. Chris Du Pond, who was also one of the fests two Co-Chairs, built this castle, which is an astounding reproduction of the real castle of Chenonceau. I had seen this thing on line, and when I saw it in person, it blew me away! The artist was quite willing to open wall segments, remove parts of the roof, and discuss his techniques in detail. This thing has interiors that are awe inspiring! A tile floor that I wish I had in my own real house! A great MOC presented by a great guy! One of the anchor points of the fest! More of the same mind blowing work! This remarkable Space Shuttle and Launch Pad was built by Mick Chan. I think this guy works at the Johnson Space Center during the day, but he moonlights as a real life ninja. He was walking around at the fest for three days before I realized he was "The Space Shuttle Guy!". A real gentleman, he was also quite interested in discussing the works of the other builders at the fest. This MOC was one of those that I kept going back to see again and again. For me, this was another anchor point in the fest! Ryan Rubino resented the fact that the Space Shuttle beat him out for "Best Space" diorama. He felt that his life size Lego model of the Saturn IV rocket was better both in terms of visual impact and detail. I told him that he should have displayed the rocket upright (the geodesic dome was tall enough... I checked). But Ryan was unwilling to entertain my advice, and I think it cost him the trophy. These excellent aircraft were all built by Justin Mainman Vaugn. I had seen most of these on line as well. And like Chris Du Pond’s castle, the pictures do not do them justice. They are astounding when seen in person. The use of parts is so minimal, nothing wasted, not one extra part, and yet, all the aircraft are easily identifiable at a glance. I was particularly taken with his B-52. None of these were the "Best Aircraft" at the fest though. My very favorite aircraft by Justin, who we all took to calling Henry by the end of the weekend. And nope…This wasn't the "Best Aircraft" at the fest either. Sorry Henry! THIS won "Best Aircraft" at the Brick Fiesta! SURPRISE! Steve Jackson was at Brick Fiesta! I had the great pleasure to meet him! I used to play his games before everybody had cell phones! Before pagers! When Magnum P.I. was still a new show! Ogre, and G.E.V were my favorites, but most people will remember Car Wars. Cool and inexpensive,Jackson’s games came in little plastic bags, and you had to cut the game counters apart with scissors. Apparently, he is about to re-release the game again, in a larger and more robust format. An AFOL did this rendering of the Ogre cybernetic tank for use in his new version of the game. Meeting Mr. Jackson was an unexpected delight! Great guy! Great games! Great Caesars Ghost! Another striking build by a true gentleman. Mr. Steppe brought these excellent wonders all the way from Utah. One of the first MOCs my son and I saw, we were taken with them at once. I thought my boy was really on his game, naming each wonder correctly... until I saw that Mr. Steppe had labeled them quite clearly with the Lego letter tiles. Sigh... I guess my boy was on his game. I just have to keep track of which game it is at the moment. He's a sly one...(my boy not Mr. Steppe!) Yet more excellent offerings by Justin/Henry. His models really opening my eyes to the potential of this scale. I normally ignore it... but these buildings were like a rebuke to my sensibilities. Forcing me to re-evaluate the potential of this scale. Just good stuff. One of a very small number of micro scale space craft at the fest. This was built by Vincent vhmh on Flickr. A very slick little ship, it really made me wonder why nobody does large space stations where dozens of this small ship MOCs could be displayed. This same builder (a real nut, make no mistake about it!) also built an interesting DIO that we will see in a moment. Except for his unfortunate acceptance of Brick Arms products, Vincent is a real up and coming talent. I'm optimistic that he will grow through the Brick Arms thing... it's just a phase. Ever wonder what it would have been like if The Empire had used Agent Orange on Endor? Well now you know! The Nightmare Before Christmas by Mark Bancroft. One of Keith's all time favorite films. This mosaic was stunning. The colors were perfect, and the sheer size of it... the work that was evident. This thing was so big it had two time zones! Again, I kept coming back to look and re-look. It was difficult to photograph without part of it having a glare spot though. We found Keith sleeping behind it more than once…not a good scene. This thing was another anchor point at the fest for me. My presentation, entitled “Long Distance Collaborative Building”. It was a less than riveting 45 minute production (Goldman was right, I should have gone with interpretive dance). The second Brick Fiesta Co-Chair TJ Avery told me that I would need to bring a laptop, but I dropped the ball and showed up without one. Fortunately for me, TJ graciously provided me with not only a computer but also supplied me with three LEGO sets to hand out during my presentation. Without the swag, I doubt I would have drawn or maintained a crowd of that size. The two Brick Fiesta Co-Chairs Chris and TJ were all over it! Philip Rutherford's offering to the Fiesta! A futuristic motorcycle race. I’m not sure where all the contributing ideas came from, but a little bit of Roller Ball (the old one and the re-make I think. We watched both together) little bit of Akira... about 75% straight up Phillip crazy talk. International teams race super bikes on a track that looks like an old elastic metal watch band. He even had a bike from Gahanna (it had crashed however). Good carousel! A tragic admin blunder on my part: the MOC card listed ME as the builder. NOT a source of COOL POINTS with the boy! It was his first major MOC at a fest, and on the whole, he gave the event mixed reviews. He really liked eating in the food court, and watching the NCIS marathon in our hotel room upstairs. He's a free spirit. What can you do? Two troglodytes posing behind the MOC Keith and I brought to the fest. When we built it, registered it, and brought it, and assembled it, we thought it was a 24 square foot military diorama. It turns out we were wrong though. Take a quick look at the MOC here. Now, having seen the MOC, would you categorize it as a Space diorma? Well, if you said yes, then there is a future for you at Brick Fiesta! But honestly, Space... Military... both are cool themes. At the end of the day, a dio is a dio right? But wait, there's more! Turns out, after we set it up, that the judges actually determined it to be... not a dio at all, but rather... A boat! SURPRISE! Imagine our embarrassment at having tried to foist it off as a dio! This explains why we had so much difficulty assembling it on site! We didn't know what it really was! Isla Guadalupe was nominated by the judges, for the category "Best Boat". The judges identified this thing as a 24 square foot boat MOC. And nope. It was not the best boat at the fest. Turns out THIS was the best boat at the fest! In retrospect, I think this builder was lucky. If those same judges had nominated this boat in the category of Best Military Dio (and such things have been known to happen) he might have been knocked out of the running for Best Boat. Well, what can one say. It is an excellent boat! They even said so up in Chicago. Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! Remember I promised to show you another MOC by Vincent, better known on Flickr as vhmh. This was entered (and happily judged as) a military dio. The featured faction is called "The Japanese Association of the Cherry Blossom" which for the record I think is a crazy name! Sounds like an Asian agricultural insurance agency. And they have flowers on their faces...and...and... Brick Armz. Well, aftermarket products notwithstanding, this dio was very slick. Vincent was very interested in the MOCs of others, and a real communicator. One of the guys who makes the fest better for all who attend. I blew it in my photos of this MOC. My favorite part was the cool aircraft.). Had a lot of fun talking to this guy and the other military and space builders. Young Turks the lot of them! Attack! Sign, sign, everywhere a sign Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign? Well Keith couldn't read the sign, so Kevin Bacons Iron Man reached on over and broke his mind! This astounding MOC was without a doubt, the most yellow and maroon of any MOC at the fest. It's a good thing Black Sabbath’s Iron Man is a righteous tune, because it was filling the air throughout the fest for every hour of both public days. That particular song really enhanced the mood of the whole fest, especially at around the 9th hour of public viewing. This MOC was awarded the "Public’s Choice" trophy. An interesting bit of trivia: the public never actually got to vote at Brick Fiesta. It was the Brick Fiesta Judges Guild which proclaimed, on behalf of the public, that Iron Man had been the people's choice. For the record, I think this guy would have taken it fair and square. The appeal of the theme, coupled with The Avengers having just been in the theaters would have earned him the trophy either way. Everything Clayton Shilling brought was excellent. His collection of highly detailed modern military vehicles, the BMP, the MLRS, the Super Stallion...all of it, was of a surpassing quality. His professional bearing and personable nature, his obvious pride in his school and his chosen profession, all served to illustrate the traits one would expect from a member of the renown Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. Meeting him and his family was yet another pleasurable and memorable part of this event. A candid photo of Ryan and Henry in a metal chamber where, apparently, you have to watch your head, and Master Card, Visa, and American Express are all accepted. Not sure what more I can say about this. A gaggle of complete imbeciles on "Last Day". This was my fourth Lego Fest. Seattle, DC, Chicago, and now Houston. For me, the people always define the value of the effort. The level of "Pay Off". My boy and I had fun. We met lots of fellow brick heads, young and old, caught up with some old friends, hung out, ate some, drank some, and laughed a lot. Look at this collection of rabble, and tell me it doesn't look like we had fun. If you like LEGO, and you have never been to a fest, I am telling you... you have got to try it! They say you can't have a Lego Fest without a Lego Store. I think that is a lot of hot air. Fests don't arise out of retail sales opportunities. They arise out of AFOLS shared desire to get together and cut lose. At the fests we Create, Compete, Communicate, and Collate. But... just TRY to have a Lego Fest without THIS GUY! I dare you! Never happen! This cat is at each and every Lego Fest in the Quadrant! He's the AFOL who built the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs! He IS the spiritual totem of all AFOLs! Without THIS got nothing! Look at him! Literally swimming through the SNOT Waters of the shores of Isla Guadalupe! Like the great white sharks that the island is famous for! Attack!

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