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NWBrickCon

Discussion and planning of large-scale Castle Themed displays and events

Postby smcginnis » Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:51 pm

This looks like it was really fun. I agree, that castle layout looks like the best I've ever seen, but I'm not sure. All the non-castle stuff, especially the space and steampunk, looks cool as well. I wish I could've gone. Maybe next year.

BreadMan wrote:btw, brickshelf is taking forever to moderate my folder, so I put the vids up on youtube:
http://youtube.com/profile_videos?user=BreadMan017

Brickshelf never makes folders with videos in them public (IIRC). The only videos that they'll make public are .gif videos. I think this is because Kevin Loch does all the moderating himself, and it would take too long for him to watch all the videos.

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Postby BreadMan » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:02 pm

wunztwice wrote:Everything seems to match up well and the farm standard looked great (that's what it was right?).


Negative sir. :) It was all Base8.

http://www.copernicanstudios.com/landscaping/
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Postby wunztwice » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:19 pm

BreadMan wrote:Negative sir. :) It was all Base8.

http://www.copernicanstudios.com/landscaping/


Ah! Close, but not really... thanks.

Also, those videos are pretty neat. I had no idea that airship functioned at all!
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Postby JoshWedin » Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:11 am

All right, here is my really long journal of the Con!

NWBrickCon 2006 was an awesome experience. It was my first real time Lego event, so I had no idea what to expect. Of course, I had read about Brickfests, previous Cons, and other Lego events, but nothing prepared me for the real thing. The following is a journal of my Con experience.

Friday-
Early in the morning, my cousin Jeremy (aka Kinux) and I piled our stuff into my Honda and drove down to Seattle. We were both a bit nervous and were wondering if we were going to be surrounded by a bunch of freaks all weekend! Fortunately, nothing could have been farther from the truth.
After getting checked in to the Con by Sealug member, Thomas Garrison, we began hauling in my MOCs and setting them up. At the castle tables, the first person I met was Tedward, followed soon after by Merlin and Thomas Rafert, the castle area coordinator. I couldn’t believe it! Real live members of Classic-Castle! Thomas already had his layout mostly setup and Darkie had been there the night before to set up her layout as well. But there was still tons of work to do, so we all dove in with a will. Soon our ranks were swelled by the additions of The Blue Knight, Breadman, Dunechaser, and Frank Filz. Thus began the frantic process of finishing the 2006 NWBC Castle layout.
After lunch, Dunechaser, Kinux, and myself abandoned the others and attended a presentation on custom pieces. Presented by Will Chapman of Brickarms.com, the presentation was very informative and well executed. Will is a very knowledgeable person and excellent speaker, as well as a really nice guy, who made us feel like we too could mold custom Lego weapons. Dunechaser even bought some of his weapons, so he must have been persuasive! I outfitted my figs with Brickarms weapons too. Just so you know, a Viking berserk with double AK-47s looks pretty darn cool.
Following a roundtable discussion of storage techniques, led by Gary McIntire, we headed back to the exposition hall. With the addition of John Langrish and others, the layout was complete. You should have been there, it was beautiful!
At seven that evening, Steve Witt gave an excellent keynote address, but fended off any questions about future products (he was a good boy). It was a great talk and he is a cool guy to get to know. After Steve’s address, Dan Harper talked about the Lego Certified Professional Program. This was quite interesting, as I had no idea that the program even existed. Once the addresses were over, I headed back to crash in my hotel room, but I hear there was a rowdy Dirty Brickster that ran until eleven or so that night. I’ll definitely have to stick around for that next year!

Saturday-
The morning dawned with wild, giddy excitement! Today was the day of the AFOL breakfast at the Bellevue Square Lego Store! Not trusting Lego’s food, Kinux and I met Tedward and his friend Rod for an early breakfast in our hotel. Then the four of us jumped in Ted’s van and headed out for Bellevue through a blinding sunrise. When we arrived the Lego store was a sight! It was packed with people grappling over the pick-a-brick, examining new sets, eating doughnuts, building figs at the fig bar, swapping stories, and buying everything in sight. The first thing I did was dig into the fig bar, where Dunechaser was already burrowing happily. After grabbing as much Lego as marital accord would allow, we loaded it all into Ted’s van and headed back to the Con. Upon our arrival, we discovered that Dan Harper had brought huge bins of unsorted used Lego and was selling it in the Brick Bazaar! He was calling it ‘Used Pick-a-Brick’ and you could get a one-gallon Ziploc bag for twelve dollars. It almost caused a riot. After lots of shoving, pushing, and blocking, I got away with 13 horses, a ninja barding, a ton of foliage, log wall pieces, a pile of castle/pirate doors and a number of other odds and ends. Sweet! There were many other vendors there as well, selling everything you could imagine. Storage bins, loose figs, old sets, custom weapons, new sets, T-shirts, custom sets, and more. You name it, it was probably there in some form or other. The Brick Bazaar was a huge hit for vendors, attendees, and the public alike.
Dealing with the public on Saturday was a lot of fun. It was a blast to watch the faces of the kids and adults as they took in the myriad of details in all the MOCs. It was quite a thrill to watch the kids recognize Rapunzal in Blue Knight’s tower, or as they recognized a piece that they owned as well. The adults were just as much fun, as everyone was a budding AFOL. I talked with one man for half an hour about the older stuff in our layout. He was very excited to see many figs that he had owned as a kid. He was so enthralled by our layout that he talked about how he wanted to do something similar. He asked me for directions to the Lego store and finally pulled himself away.
In the evening, we had the Castle Landscaping roundtable, led by our very own BreadMan. Very well thought out and informative, he did an excellent job of presenting his new standard. It was intriguing to see the number of Townies and Spacers who came and they were very interested in the BPB Base 8 Standard. Many of them also asked how to get ahold of NWMap, the tool BreadMan used to plan our layout. They were very excited about the possibilities of maping their layouts as well. The roundtable was followed by a playtest of a new game by Big Ben Bricks, which was called ‘Imenhotep: a pyramid building game’. I wasn’t involved but it seemed to be going well.
The evening addresses consisted of a fun Q&A session with Steve Witt and a very cool talk on Freelance Building by Bill Vollbrecht, a former Master Builder at Legoland California. Following Bill, Steve Barile gave a talk on the Ultimate Train Box project, in which he was very involved. Once again, after the evening addresses, I headed back to my room to play with my newly acquired Lego. However, I heard the Master Build and Draft were awesome and I should have stayed, dang it!

Sunday-
Sunday morning was a whirlwind of crazyness and fun. I arrived soon after the doors opened and found that Castle had been invaded! A large bulldozer, built by Justin Major, had started work on one of our castle walls. So, naturally, my Vikings had to attack. It turned out that Train/Town was also invaded by a large MOC of the battleship Missouri. Later on, the Spacers attacked Castle with troops set on retaking the bulldozer, overrunning John’s Stoneguard Keep, and mechs attacking our sheep. However, Castle eventually prevailed. The sheep conquered the mechs and John’s Falcons ran the cowardly Spacers off a cliff. On a side note, Darkie and I continued the violence with a private war in a small courtyard on her layout. Unfortunately, it ended badly for my Rogue Knights. Darkie was able to defeat them with some black kittens and a stray monkey. It was sad, really it was.
Sunday morning we also had the Wacky Races. For those who don’t know, Wacky Races entail building some kind of gravity-powered vehicle on wheels and sending it down an eight-foot ramp. Points are awarded for distance traveled as well as distance traveled by ejected pilots. Hurrahs are given for spectacular crashes. My own racer was the first to eject its pilot, but only a meager foot and half. By comparison, the winning racer flung its pilot nearly forty feet, via an onboard catapult! Entries of note included Dunechaser’s Steampunk canoe, a trike the traveled 90+ feet (but no pilot ejection) and a Ferrari Spyder that went off the ramp three feet in the air and landed on its head. Now that was a great crash!
The Con’s greatest tragedy occurred near the end of the Wacky Races. Two great crashes were heard over by the Mech table and we all ran over to see what had happened. The two largest Mecha had both gone over backwards off the table and were reduced to rubble. How did it happen? No one could say for sure. It could have been a gust of wind, a slight tremor caused by crashing racers, or the Mecha may have decided to shoot it out. I think it was a shootout. In any case, their builder, Mark Neuman was able to rebuild one of them in time for the public hours. But the other mech was gone for good.
Sunday’s public hours were just as good as the previous day. All told we had over 3200 members of the public visit over the two days. Wayne Hussey, the Con coordinator later told us that the Con was finally self-supporting.
When the public hours were over, we began the long teardown process. At the closing ceremonies, thanks were given to all those who worked so hard and prizes were awarded to the best MOCs in each category. “Best Castle” went to John for his Stoneguard Keep. Congratulations to John for an excellent example of SNOT work!
With the ceremonies over, teardown complete, and all good-byes said, NWBrickCon 2006 was over. It was truly a memorable experience!

Josh

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Last edited by JoshWedin on Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Thomas » Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:09 pm

What a great event! Huge thanks to you Brendan for pulling it all together for a great display and everyone for contributing such great MOCs. It was great to see new faces (Brendan, Josh, Jeremy, Ted, Steve, and Mike) and familiar ones too (John, Caylin, Andrew, Richard, Bradley, Frank, and Justin). Everyone brought such wonderful elements to the display and worked so well together I was happy to see such a large turn out for the Castle area.

Next year I think I'll ask for a lot more room. :)

If I don't have someone to watch my Brick Bazaar store next year I won't have one, that was the first time I had one and I missed out on good visiting hours with all of you and of course attacking Space! :(

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Postby Norro » Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:15 pm

Nice journal. Are you in the pic on the front page?

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Postby The Blue Knight » Thu Oct 12, 2006 6:51 pm

In the picture are from left to right;
Josh, Ted (kneeling), Brandon, Steve Witt, John, Bradley (kneeling) and yours truly replete with vacant expression and beer-gut from the previous night's frivolities :)

What hasn't already been said? Well, Josh at my first con (BF PDX '04) I was on my own. I walked in and just pushed my hand into the hand of the only other person I saw at the castle table. It was some wandering vagrant named Lenny that security had evidently missed! The "Marquis d' Krakhed" was just the first of many great folks I met there. Many AFOLs can be pretty reserved at first. I think it's due to the acceptance factor of our hobby ("oh you still play with little kid's toys!"). But people eventually warmed up and so did I. This con was much different. I already knew Tom Rafert, and was a new member of the GPLR, the Greater Portland Lego Railroaders, of which Frank Filz is a founding member. I had been part of the emailing beforehand and spoken to Bread. I also was not on CC.C prior to BF PDX. Even though many of us hadn't met in person, we treated each other like old friends.

Castle more than held it's own against the better-established moonbase and town/train layouts. Ours had life. Minifigs everywhere, rivers, roads, Vikings with assualt rifles, intoxicated Black Falcons, even a Princess with a pear (don't ask).
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Postby BreadMan » Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:30 pm

The Blue Knight wrote:In the picture are from left to right;
Josh, Ted (kneeling), Brandon, Steve Witt, John, Bradley (kneeling) and yours truly replete with vacant expression and beer-gut from the previous night's frivolities :)


Who's Brandon?

:wink:
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Postby The Blue Knight » Fri Oct 13, 2006 4:29 am

BreadMan wrote:
The Blue Knight wrote:In the picture are from left to right;
Josh, Ted (kneeling), Brandon, Steve Witt, John, Bradley (kneeling) and yours truly replete with vacant expression and beer-gut from the previous night's frivolities :)


Who's Brandon?

:wink:


Ah, some wandering spacer type. He was dealt with by Darkie and her pear! Bwahaha!

Oops. Brendan. Brendan. Brendan. Sorry my friend :oops:
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Postby Dunechaser » Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:46 pm

Fantastic write-up, Josh! (Took me a couple days to find time to read it -- sorry for the delayed response.)

The highlight of the 'con for me was definitely getting to meet so many online AFOLs in real life, Josh in particular. See you all next year!
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Postby Lord Felix » Fri Oct 13, 2006 3:13 pm

Wow... I CAN'T wait to go next year, if I can convince my parents :lol: . How do you plan the standard for the buildings? Like the castles? I wanna start working on something right away for next year.
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Postby ffilz » Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:27 pm

I was glad to be there. I kinda wish I didn't have a brick bazzar table so I could have socialized more and interracted with the public. I'm sorry not many people got to see the interior detail of Scorpion Castle.

Gosh, I missed the landscaping roundtable... Durn it.

I really like the Base8 BPB standard. I will have to actually work on some nice terrain instead of just flat fields (at least I had lots of trees to disguise the flatness of my terrain...). And NWMap is not a bad tool for planning these things out (and planning this out was a real benefit, I think it really helped our display that we were able to figure out how things fit in).

Thanks also to the crew that built many 8cres worth of terrain at the last minute.

What was most cool to me is how well our different contributions blended to make a unified whole, with a consistent story - amazing that three people, without any prior coordination, came up with a unified theme of factions that allowed us to display an army, originating from Scorpion Castle, crossing the sea on a Dragon Knights ship, and attacking the folks on the other coast.

Lord Felix: there are relatively few details to the standard for the buildings. Thomas brought a bunch of CC-Town compatible buildings, which basically are buildings built to fit on 16x16 plots. My wharf scene was built to the BrickFest 2002 modular castle town standard (which specifies 32x32 city blocks surrounded by a grid of 8-wide BPB cobblestone streets). This standard is easily compatible with BPB Base8 (though technically, BPB Base8 roads are one layer of tan plates on top of a baseplate plus brick base, but had I interfaced to the standard roads, the interface would not have looked bad at all). Scorpion Castle was not built to any standard. Once the BPB Base8 standard was decided upon for the display, I proceeded to build my moat to interface to BPB Base8. It has one river interface, and the rest is brick high edges. The moat itself does not conform to the river standard and is semi-custom, though the end section can actually be used at either end. I did have to add some 8cres in front of the gate house because the gate house entrance was not aligned on an 8-stud boundary, so there is a 16x32 baseplate that contains a jog in the road to line up.

Oh, I think I also made a Base8 coast interface for the end of the coast away from the port.

That's the beauty of these standards, they are actually so simple that many things not built to the standard are easy to work in.

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Postby Dunechaser » Sat Oct 14, 2006 6:43 am

ffilz wrote:I was glad to be there. I kinda wish I didn't have a brick bazzar table so I could have socialized more and interracted with the public. I'm sorry not many people got to see the interior detail of Scorpion Castle.

But I did. :twisted:

As he was tearing it down, Frank kept taking blocks of the castle off to reveal more and more and more detail -- barracks, bedrooms, kitchens, dungeons... All very cool. Any chance you have pictures you can point to, Frank?
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Postby ffilz » Tue Oct 17, 2006 5:41 pm

I have not yet taken pictures of the inside.

Someone did take a video as I did one of the walkthroughs (sorry, I can't recall who it was...).

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