ShaydDeGrai

Eurobricks Knights
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About ShaydDeGrai

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    Architecture

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    New England

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    USA
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  1. ShaydDeGrai

    Overreacting? It's _just_ a MOC...

    My family has a cleaning person who comes by about once every two weeks to help reset the household to a tolerable state of chaos (between pets, a young child and two parents with full time jobs, it can be hard to keep entropy in check without bringing in reinforcements periodically). The cleaning person knows that my home office / Lego room is a "no clean" zone. I deal with that space myself and she is not to enter. However, sometimes I display my MOCs in other areas of the house or in some cases even let my daughter play with them (with supervision - my daughter can do as she pleases with her collection but knows ask me before playing with my creations (just as I ask her permission before touching her MOCs)). SO I was very surprised when one of my MOCs disappeared from its display space in the living room. I was even more surprised to find about half of it mixed in with my daughter's parts bin. I questioned my daughter and she had no explanation; the MOC had disappeared on the day the cleaning person had been there so I asked her as well, she also claimed ignorance. So I checked the nanny cam footage to see if it had happened to catch anything and I find that the cleaning person's assistant had jostled the table. The MOC (a monster truck - mostly System, not Technic ) had rolled off the table and been reduced to its technic frame and a few bigger chunks (the parts I found in my daughter's bin) and several hundred smaller fragments. The cleaner then put the recognizable parts in my daughter's toy bin while the assistant swept up the loose pieces and threw them in the trash (probably over hundred dollars worth of parts). My gut reaction when I discovered this was to charge them for the parts and then fire them for lying about it, but my wife tells me I'm overreacting. Accidents happen (our marriage survived the utter destruction of the Death Star II and a smashed star destroyer (which was barely held together with magnetic train couplings in the first place) which she, herself had tried to blame on the cat). She says good help is hard to find and I should just let it go. I, however, can't help but think that yes, accidents do happen, but "good" help takes responsibilities for their actions, and doesn't try to frame a little girl for their own carelessness. I'm a bit torn, should I let to go? Should I confront the cleaner with the fact that I know what happened and that she lied? Should I risk my wife's wrath and be in the market for another cleaner (in fairness, other than this incident, she's very good at her job compared to others we've had; her assistant is more ... meh), Maybe I'm just older than dirt and getting crankier by the year, but it really bugs me that they tried to both cover up the accident and make it look like my daughter was to blame (the MOC was clearly not the work of a preschooler, so if you're going to sweep half the MOC into the trash, why salvage the other half and mix it in with my daughter's parts then claim complete ignorance of the whole affair? ) I'm sure I can't be the first person to get upset by a smashed model/MOC and a poorly executed cover-up. Would anyone care to share their experience?
  2. This engine is absolutely beautiful; the attention to detail is very impressive work. Well done indeed.
  3. ShaydDeGrai

    Do you only buy lego?

    I'm a Lego purist. I have a small collection of modern clone bricks that have snuck in with inherited collections from others (dark age salvage, attic clear-outs, etc), but I never deliberately buy them (or use them). When I pick up a cache of random bricks of questionable provenance, the first thing I do is filter out all the non-Lego.
  4. ShaydDeGrai

    New VIP Rewards Centre survey

    The possibility of buying retired sets was tempting and a few of the other "selling points" sounded like they might have potential to be worthwhile, but there was nothing there that I'd be willing to pay for on a recurring basis (and given the amount I already spend on LEGO, that's saying something). A lot of the ideas were either things that we already get for free from third parties (inventory management (e.g brickset), alternate builds, "expert" tips, MOC showcases, etc.) and other things were features that, in the interests of a decent brand loyalty program, they should just be/once did/occasionally are doing as part of the free VIP program (early access, GWP, free shipping, etc.). Even where they cited potentially interesting bonuses (ordering retired sets, free gift with purchase with every purchase) recent experience with their notion of "VIP Rewards" makes me think the teaser would be more interesting than the actual implementation. I doubt they'd open up their entire back catalog, more likely, they'd offer a handful of highly popular kits from the recent past (that most die-hard fans already own) based on stats gathered by the service about where most subscribers interests lie. As for a "gift with every purchase" they never said it would be a free lego set with every purchase, just "a gift" I don't need/want posters, trading cards, mini-comic books, sticker sheets, discount coupons to LegoLand, wrapping paper, digital cheat codes or any of the other "clutter bling" TLG has sent me over the years as "gifts." Maybe I'm being cynical here, but I'm still jaded by their "upgrade" to the old VIP program and seriously question that this proposal would be any better. The proposed services also seem to want to cater to families with young kids (or maybe the survey engine just biased my questions because I told them I have one) but most of what they are offering for the younger audience is digital content (effectively, a slightly more interactive but ephemeral take on the old lego magazines they used to give out free subscriptions to in years past). After nearly two years of school closures, remote learning, zoom sessions, and situations where an iPad was the only available nanny when mom and dad have to be on a call, the _absolute last_ thing I want to do is have another reason to put my daughter (or myself for that matter) in front of a screen. If you cross everything off the list that is connected with digital content delivery (quizzes, videos, tutorials, building instructions, etc.) there isn't much of a program left. So, at least for me, as an AFOL, I wouldn't subscribe because I see little value in the offering and what is there, I fear they would implement poorly. As a former educator and current parent of a child who loves LEGO, I wouldn't subscribe because it's too biased in favor of digital content rather than physical building and in-person socialization. And FWIW, that's exactly what I told them on their survey.
  5. ShaydDeGrai

    Would you rather build in person or online?

    I've been staring at computer screens professionally for over four decades now. Nothing sucks the joy out of an activity like needlessly putting a computer in the middle of it for me at this point (I don't even check in here as often as I used to...) Lego is my way of GETTING AWAY FROM computers. I'm physical bricks all the way. I also want printed instructions not digital ones and I've stopped buying Technic sets that require smart phone apps to control them. I'd rather have the limited options of a simple pullback motor than corrupt my lego experience with the presence of a phone or tablet in the mix. (The Hidden Side kits were at least interesting even if you ignored the app, but Control+ is a big step down from PowerFunctions as far as I'm concerned). I've used digital design software (and written some for that matter) and was a designer of an IDE for MindStorms programming, so I have a pretty good idea of what I'm "missing" by shunning the digital side of the hobby, but if you add it up, I've spent many unpleasant years of my life dealing with computers and they just aren't _fun_ anymore. Give me a bucket of physical bricks any day.
  6. ShaydDeGrai

    Lego colors - coming and going

    I've been at this long enough that I still recall how excited I was when they introduced things like tan and sand green. For the first decade of my Lego playing experience, I could count the number of colors in my collection in on my fingers with digits lefts over. Earth Blue and Dark (Brick) Red were fantastic additions in my mind. Finally, I could start drawing from a color palette that made me feel like an artist rather than an adult playing with kids toys (don't get me wrong, the classic red, blue, white, yellow, black, clear with green pre-fab trees were great, but the expanded, less in-your-face-Beyer-primary-color selection just opened up a new world where I didn't need to stretch my imagination to a land where bricks and coverts were the same shade of red and dessert sands could be mistaken for cheap mustard stains. I look at my daughter's collection (mostly drawn from Friends, Trolls and assorted Disney sets) and realize she has more color variety in her parts than I do, even though, by shear volume, I easily have her beat by over a million parts. On the downside, though, we really can't build anything of any real scale with a monochrome color palette in most of those wonderful colors. They are great for accents but many of them fall flat on the basic-brick-variety and volume scales. A Classic bin of exclusively contemporary colors in classic form factors (1x2's, 2x4's, etc) would help with this. The palette is broad enough now you could even give bins particular color themes "spring pastels", "special dark", "color explosion", etc. on the more AFOL side of things, I remember being enamored with the 21050 Lego Architecture Studio ( well, the concept and the parts, not so much the price). I wish they had taken the basic concept and turned it onto an "Adult Creator" bin under the guise of "architecture"; lower the price, sell the book separately (as, while I liked the book I don't need - or want to pay for - six copies of it) and just bundle up a large number of very useful parts in limited color options. The original 21050 was basically a box of white, just do the exact same thing for Tan, Light Bley, Dark Bley, Dark Red, Sand Green, Pale Yellow, Nugart, etc. (each color variety sold separately) as core "architecture" colors (say 1000 parts in commonly used, very versatile form factors) padded out with another couple hundred plates and tiles in accent colors (clear, trans-light blue, black, white, brown, green - the usual sort of things one might use for windows, water vegetation, etc). I think it would have been a nice way to buy a "buildable set" worth of a particular color without having it come off as a box of "random" parts. This might not be an effective way to market bulk buys of _every_ color in their (now extensive) palette (sorry fans of pink and pearlescent gold) but I could see it working for fans of Architecture and Modular Building style MOCs for some of the more "mainstream" colors.
  7. I'm pretty much in the same boat here. I've been amassing parts for the better half of a century now. My BrickSet registry is always incomplete (I'm terrible about updating it) and I rarely bother registering duplicate copies there, but after decades of pick-a-brick cups, buying parts by the k-box, bulk bricklink buys, assimilating other's collections after they/their kids have lost interest in the hobby, and just generally scooping up targets of opportunity, I have no idea how much I have these days, let alone what the individual parts are. I've spent enough of my life just sorting parts, I think cataloging them all would push me over the edge (how many cheese wedges are there in a kilogram again??) plus, now I have a little one at home who routinely supplements her collection with parts "borrowed" from my own so even if I tried tracking everything, the complications caused by my beloved source of domestic entropy means any given part might well now be part of the furniture in her dolls' house or inside the vacuum cleaner, and not associated with any other Lego at all. I'm pretty organized about the stuff I use on a regular basis for MOCing, but I don't really "track" my consumption (other than thinking thinks like, "hmm, running low on white 1x4 tiles, better pick up a couple hundred to fill up this slot in the tray before I actually need them..." and add them to the "watch list" for my next trip to a pick-a-brick wall or brick-link surfing trip. As for the more esoteric stuff, I gave up keeping track of that a long time ago. I've got a pretty good memory so I'm usually pretty good at recalling the basic, "don't I have some of those?" sorts of questions, but the further removed any given part is from something I use in bulk in a color I favor, the more likely it is that I'll just order a new one off the web if I need one rather than spend a week trying to find it in my shoeboxes of one-offs and odd-balls.
  8. ShaydDeGrai

    Unpopular Opinions about LEGO

    Did you _have_ to point that out. I remember watching the original at a Drive-In Theatre... Oh, and I'm pretty tired of building X-wings at this point, same for snow speeders and AT-ATs. Been there, built that, stepped on a brick barefoot... (Maybe I should put that on a T-Shirt)
  9. I'm not going to get too worked up about this at this point. I have baseplates that date back to the days when they were rectangular and had some of the studs painted white to show where the first tier of bricks was supposed to attach. Baseplates have been around for a long time and even if TLG stopped making them tomorrow, between existing stock and clone offerings, they're not going to become as rare as monorail track overnight. That said, I think it's entirely possible that TLG is just going to bring them in-house and continue to offer a "new" part with the existing form factor. They certainly have the resources to get into the thermoforming business if they chose to. This might also be their chance to do more with their soy plastics. If they are looking to "improve their numbers" from a ratio of ABS to "greener" plastics standpoint, baseplates would be a good way to up the amount of material used on the green side of the scale. Existing baseplates are already a bit flexible, so that's not an issue; there are no bottom connections so precision molding and design for clutch strength can focus entirely on the array of studs. The DOTS line has already flirted with alternate manufacturing techniques for stud arrays with their rubber wrist bands; it's not hard to imagine that someone at the TLG is at least considering a different way to make a baseplate out of a different material while keeping the same basic form-factor and functional tolerances (clutch strength, stiffness, durability, etc.) If they go with traditional plates (at full plate thickness), I could see a lot of Modular collectors getting very irate. (Imagine the shift to 8-wide for Speed Champions backlash on steroids...) Aside from the backwards incongruity (which, to be honest, wouldn't phase _ME_ much, I live in a neighborhood where the sidewalks are all different level and the roads are speckled with pothole patches so a slightly higher curb on my next modular would just be art imitating life), I concur with other here that they'd likely have to use four 16x16 plates and piece them together. The smaller plate solution could introduce weakness when moving models around (or constrain design to compensate for those seams. Given the occasional warping I've seen on some larger plates, I'm skeptical of TLG attempting to introduce a 32x32 ABS plate as a baseplate alternative. It feels like a large, but thin, form-factor compared to their typical injection molds and might even require different timing and/or post-processing to ensure that it cools flat without warping or cracking. And once it's in the field I'd worry about its brittleness and the risk of torquing or twisting the surface. Two plates thick with appropriate webbing and flanges on the underside, I could see; one plate thick with full anti-stud connectors across the entire bottom sounds problematic to me. Assembling a base out of smaller sections is probably the better idea. But as has been said before, this could be nothing more than a ploy to move production of an identical baseplate in-house. We just have to wait and see.
  10. ShaydDeGrai

    Lego Architecture - rumors and discussion

    A quick review of UNESCO heritage sites shows that there is no shortage of subject matter with cultural, historical and architectural significance that they _could_ explore (and plenty of "modern wonders" that haven't made the list yet). They do constrain themselves a bit in that many of the best/most interesting architectural subjects are also places of religious significant as well, so that knocks a lot of churches, cathedrals, temples, mosques and shrines off the list (pity, really, as some of these examples are stunning works of art in their own right whether you share the convictions of the original designers/builders or not), but with roughly six thousand of years of human civilization to draw from, I think there's still plenty of room for fresh models. I can understand why you would ask the question though. While I like many of the "revisits" they've done of late better than the originals, it does tend to make the theme seem a bit tired. Personally, I'm kinda over the whole skyline sub-theme. The first couple forays were interesting (if redundant, subject matter wise); increasing, it feels like just an excuse to overcharge for a bunch of 1x1 and 1x2 plates rather than a "real" Architecture kit. While I'd _prefer_ something fresh, I can't say I'd object to a Space Needle revisit on par with the scale of the Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty models. Say something 35-40 cm (14-16 inches) tall? That would have potential to be interesting without breaking the bank piece-wise and still fit on a shelf.
  11. ShaydDeGrai

    New VIP system

    An old friend from college was working for a media company that was going to do a promotion at San Diago Comic Con one year and when they were debating how many freebies to produce, he naively suggested that since they know how many tickets had been sold that they should make enough for everyone and give one to everybody that stopped by their booth or attended their talk. The marketing guys openly mocked him and told him in no uncertain terms that no one gets free press on social media by making everyone happy, if you want "buzz" you need conflict - make people fight over you and both the winners and the losers will value you because they are so caught up in being either a winner or a loser that they won't notice you're the reason they are fighting in the first place. I can't say one way or the other if anyone at TLG subscribes to this mentality, but the Ulysses "reward" rollout certainly felt like the on-line equivalent of a major corporation (that could have made enough for everyone) throwing a handful of Comic Con Exclusives out into the mosh pit of Hall H to let the masses fight it out in the name of stirring up social media.
  12. ShaydDeGrai

    10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery Discussion

    For those who care (or just want to continue ranting about the Ulysses Space Probe Debacle ) I resurrected the "New VIP System" thread over in the GENERAL DISCUSSION section. Perhaps we could redirect complaints/ commiserations/ suggestions regarding the poor handling of this reward kit rollout to over there and let this thread get back to the more specific focus of the space shuttle kit itself. Personally, I'm very interested in both discussions, I just think we've gotten a bit off topic here and (in the unlikely event that someone from TLG is browsing the forums) I think we should make our opinions about the Ulysses "reward" and the VIP system itself easier to find. Speaking of getting back on topic, I liked the Discovery Space Shuttle so much I've decided to pick up another one. It's an enjoyable (and occasionally clever) build; nice display model, slid enough to be swooshable; articulated enough to hold my 5 year olds' interest; and a good parts pack to boot. Definitely a winner in my book.
  13. ShaydDeGrai

    New VIP system

    Not to go waking the dead (thread-wise) but after this week's "VIP Rewards" Ulysses space probe fiasco I thought I'd bump this guy to give all the people complaining about the VIP system over in the Discovery Space shuttle thread a specific place to rant that was more on topic. I'll throw the first stones: Treating your customers like a pond-ful of ducks encouraging them to fight over a crust of bread does not make people feel like VIPs and TLG ruffled more than a few tail feathers with both the over-hyped time-specific rollout of a high demand set (apparently produced in very small quantities) and a website that crashed/locked out immediately as the promotion went live. They then added insult to injury when customer service released a statement whitewashing the whole stunt by saying that the handling of the promotion "wasn't quite right." There are OH SO MANY ways a total idiot could have done better just based on past VIP Reward debacles. They could have done a pre-promotion over the course of a couple weeks to gauge interest in the kit. Then, produced enough kits to cover the orders (and then some) and simply mailed them out this summer (no redemption code or accompanying purchase required). It may not be as "exclusive" or make those few people who actually got a code feel like "winners," but tat least it doesn't make the rest of your customer base feel like losers and good things are worth waiting for. They could have made this kit a VIP-only, set-specific GWP (like the batmobile pairing or the chariot and Coliseum sets). Yes, this makes things more "elitist" in that only VIPs in a position to spend $200 on a new kit stands a chance of getting the "free gift" but at least it sets an honest expectation, unlike hyping the kit as (virtually) free to all only to have the promotion in the browser go from disabled to sold out in the same refresh cycle and show up on eBay asking hundreds of dollars within hours of the offer "going live" They could have raffled them off. Give people a week or two to buy (with VIP points) as many tickets as they want (but any account VIP can only win once) Then close the entry period and draw the lucky 5,000 (or whatever) winners. Personally I'm not in favor of this scheme, I think customer loyalty points are an _earned_ currency and TLG should "reward" customers outright for their business not be in the business of giving customer a random chance at being rewarded for their loyalty, but whatever, a lottery, even if I don't personally like the concept, would still have been a more fair scheme for doling out such an exclusinve and high demand "reward." And for the record, I'm not posting this as "sour-grapes" over not getting the kit. I've seen this scenario play out too many times since the whole "New VIP" system went live to even expect that I stood a chance of landing one of those Ulysses probes. This fiasco played out in a thoroughly predictable fashion and has only served to reinforce my profoundly low opinion of what has become of the VIP system. The old system wasn't perfect, but it worked a lot better than the current one.
  14. ShaydDeGrai

    10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery Discussion

    If it didn't take so long to package and distribute the sets, they could really throw a wrench into scalpers' plans by doing a VIP pre-order scheme where the offer goes live for a week or so EVERYONE who tries (and has the points) gets a coupon code for the set and then TLG produces enough sets to satisfy all the issued coupons (and then some) and ships them out at a later date. Sure, it ruins the whole immediate gratification thing (for those lucky few who actually get a set under the current system) and makes the kits less "exclusive" but it takes the whole "overloaded server" and connection roulette tech issues off the table and feels more like a company making a true "offer" to a customer rather than pitting customers against one another battling for a prize. Besides, if you _know_ 250,000 loyal customers want a set given set (because they spent their points to get it) you'd earn a lot more good will if you actually produced enough to keep everyone happy rather that a paltry 5000 (or whatever) to make 2% of your customers really happy while disappointing/angering everyone else.
  15. ShaydDeGrai

    10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery Discussion

    Well I got exactly what I expected. Site goes down just as offer is about to go live, by the time it comes back up, kit is sold out. Such a failure on so many levels. As a bonus tie-in to the space shuttle rollout they should have just bundled this to actual space shuttle purchases (and produced more kits). As a VIP bonus, this is worse than a SDCC exclusive. It doesn't make customers feel "very important" at all it makes one feel like a hungry duck in a pond fighting with dozens of other ducks over a few crumbs of stale bread while some kid with an entire loaf laughs at us plucking each other tail feathers out from the shore. It's a bad business model that offends and disappoints far more loyal customers than it "rewards." I can't really say I'm disappointed though, I've long since passed the point where I'd even hope this scenario would play out any differently than their past fiascos. Seriously, the only thing the revamped VIP system has done as far as I'm concerned is to increase the amount of money I spend at Amazon and Target.