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

    Problem With 1x1 Bricks

    The coolest "axle issue' I've ever seen was a 6L axle that was over-torqued into a ~5L screw with a good 15-20 or so full twists turning the lengthwise ridges of the axle into 4 spiral inclined planes; all very uniform. Shockingly, the thing never snapped and remained dead straight even as the winding shortened the length. The application that caused the damage was a very large GBC that was pushed to run faster than designed.
  2. ShaydDeGrai

    Problem With 1x1 Bricks

    I've kept (for artistic accents) every Lego piece I broken in the past twenty years. I have one black plate, one gray gear, two black axles, two red bricks, one yellow brick technic beam, and a couple zip lock baggies full of dark red and reddish brown of all different shapes, so YES some colours do seem far more prone to cracking than others.
  3. ShaydDeGrai

    [REVIEW] 11010 - White Baseplate

    Fantastic review, best I read in months. This is clearly a "Must Buy" for my collection, I was on the fence looking at the official marketing photos (they just don't do the set justice) but you review clinched it for me. BTW, I suspect the concept of Schrödinger's Lego kit shall be with me for life now... Thanks for that.
  4. ShaydDeGrai

    Set Builders vs. MOC Builders

    I'm both, though scope and scale varies. I buy and build sets on a regular basis. If I pick up a set, it's a foregone conclusion that I'm going to build it according to the instructions at least once - usually when I first open it. Depending on what it is, it might sit in that state for a few days or a few years depending on its appeal as a display model. Then, over time, other pressures move in (gravitational disturbances, cats, my child, my own boredom with it or a lack of display space) and sets get scrapped for parts for my MOCs. I'm a very deliberate (and occasionally over ambitious) MOC'er. I can spend months designing/tinkering/prototyping/agonizing over a piece before I start the build in earnest and, then the builds themselves tend to be far bigger than most sets, so for me, MOCs are really _projects_ that might span months of effort and hundreds (if not thousands, but don't tell my wife) of dollars in bricks whereas sets are just _activities_ to chill out with after a long day at work. Since becoming a dad I really haven't had much time for big MOCs (though I'm trying to ween myself back to more modest efforts to squeeze some in) so sets, particularly ones my daughter can join in on have become a more common weekend hobby.
  5. Very, very true. Even when you don't see a single Technic element, the strength of those connections may be essential to builds that would otherwise collapse under their own weight if relying on clutch power alone. A case in point, my Titan of Braavos MOC is build around a Technic skeleton and 'skinned' with system blocks. There's no way system blocks, even with clips and hinges could support the weight of his shield (or balance on his ankles for that matter) without pin and beam construction at the core. Hey, I remember being very excited to get a window frame that wasn't red for the first time - not to mention getting a piece in green that wasn't a baseplate or a shrubbery ( as I think about the days of Lego before they even had minifigs, you kids have it easy - and get off my lawn )
  6. While there's a lot of overlap between the Technic and traditional System audiences, I think that Technic also has a pretty sizable "Technic only" audience as well. While an extension to the traditional Lego System, Technic is really a head-to-head competitor in the Erector Set/Meccano play space. Meccano and Erector sets beat Lego to the market by half a century (Meccano being invented by Frank Hornby in 1898 in the UK and Erector being (supposedly independently but very similar product wise) invented by A.C. Gilbert of Gilbert Toys USA in 1911). Those were steel beams and axles with brass gears, all held together with actual machine screws and nuts (Gilbert even had to file for an exemption to stay in business during WWI because the government wanted to ban metal toys to free up material for the war effort - in the UK Meccano had to stop production during WWII for precisely the same reason). Erector sets were THE number one construction toy on two continents for much of the early half of the 20th century and inspired a number of other construction sets along the same vein (the biggest probably being Tinkertoys - a wooden alternative) It wasn't until Gilbert died in the 1960's, his company was absorbed by Ideal, and the new owners started cutting corners in the quality and strength of materials department that it's popularity really started to wane. On the other side of the Pond, Meccano had similar problems having grown too fast too quickly and overextending themselves financially until they too were bought out by a company that sought to improve profit margins by cutting quality. People still wanted that sort of construction toy but they wanted something with fewer sharp edges, was easier to work with and it wasn't made of flimsy plastic. While it's pure conjecture on my part, I strongly suspect that this dissatisfied Erector Set/Meccano audience growing up to have children of their own and complaining that their kids wouldn't have a the same sort of Erector Set experience they had had informed TLG's decision to introduce the Expert Builder series in 1977 (not to be confused with Creator Expert, this was actually an early Technic line). The beam and pin construction was very much a sturdy plastic analog to the old Erector/Meccano style of building. The new system introduced gears, dedicated motors and, over time, vastly exceeded the range of parts once supported by the Erector Set catalog. Obviously it's compatible with traditional Lego, but as a construction toy it was really competing against the latest incarnations of Meccano (which eventually reorganized and bought the Erector brand) and modern Erector competitors like K'Nex) not Megablocks or any of the many "clone blocks" that have cropped up since Lego's original patents expired. So yes, I'm not surprised that Technic is a top seller nor am I surprised that its popularity may come as a shock to many 'traditional' Lego fans. I know people who ONLY do Technic sets (I also know people who ONLY do robots with technic and mindstorms - so you have specialties within specialties) , it's a different style of building that also appeals to a different audience (in addition to its overlapping appeal to many).
  7. ShaydDeGrai

    Lego Dots 2020

    Speaking as the father of a four-year-old girl who is constantly raiding my parts cabinets for 1x1 tiles for her "mosaics" I think it's pretty obvious where the idea for this product line came from and that, yes, it will sell to a certain audience and no, that audience is not most AFOLs (at least not in bulk). While I'm not sure I'd even pick one up as a parts pack for myself, my little one has already already seen the ads and is pestering me to "make sure the Easter Bunny knows" she wants the big set ( and maybe a few bracelets too).
  8. ShaydDeGrai

    Which truck will you pick (only one) 60182 or 60254??

    I _think_ the term you might be looking for is "Cabover Design" (or COE - Cab over Engine in the US, or in Britain I think they call it Forward Control Design). That's when the front of the truck is very flat and boxy, the driver is literally sitting directly above the engine (and usually has to climb up a ways to get there), and there's no horizontal engine hood (or bonnet, depending on which side of the Altantic you're on) to speak of. You often see this in the design of Fire trucks, Grabage trucks and long-haul Tracker-Trailers. In the US. you see it most on really big vehicles, but in Europe there are quite a few smaller examples as well. It that the look you're going for?
  9. ShaydDeGrai

    Which truck will you pick (only one) 60182 or 60254??

    I actually own both of those. 60182 was definitely the better kit. For a tracker-trailer rig, I thought the cab on the 60254 was a bit small and lacking in details. I would have preferred something more along the lines of the cab from 60027 the monster truck transporter or something more like the 60254's thematic predecessor, the 60085 4x4 with Powerboat. @ks6349 As for more towing cabs/transporters, I think the heyday for these was really the Great Vehicles sub theme of CITY circa 2014-2015. They had quite a range of Transports, Semis and dedicated utility vehicles (tow trucks, cement mixer, garbage truck, logging truck, snow plow). It was quite a refreshing change from the usual cadre of fire and police vehicles. Of course they've always done these sorts of vehicles off and on, but it was nice to see a lot of variety hitting the shelves at the same time rather than being the token "non-first responder" truck option on a shelfful of squad cars, ambulances, rescue trucks and emergency helicopters.
  10. ShaydDeGrai

    Please recommend a few sets like this

    There's the 60183 Heavy Cargo Transport from 2018 but still available on Amazon below MSRP and (the similar, but more non-truck stuff included) 60049 Helicopter Transporter from 2014 (but still available on Amazon at only $10 over original MSRP. There's also the 60151 Dragster Transporter from 2017, but that involves more shopping around as it originally retailed for $30 and some vendors are asking for nearly twice that (mint in box) which I think is a bit ridiculous for a 300 piece City set (the same goes for 60079 Jet Transporter ). The 79116 Big Rig Snow Getaway had a nice looking Semi (and actually the other truck wasn't bad either) and despite being from six years ago (and a licensed set at that) the price wasn't bad and hasn't really appreciated/inflated over time (one Amazon vendor was selling at MSRP, several others were <$10 over MSRP as of the time of this writing). In part you're paying for TMNT mini-figs, but you could probably resell those individually to recoup some money if all you're after are the trucks (which, to be honest, was the only reason I got one back in the day).
  11. ShaydDeGrai

    [MOC] Florence Cathedral

    Simply Marvelous. Brilliant work on the designs of the domes using the 1x2 rounds, truly excellent.
  12. ShaydDeGrai

    LEGO Masters US Show

    To give credit where credit is due, I felt episode 4 was a marked improvement over the first three. It still wasted a bit of screen time on personal drama when it could have been focusing on the builds (and they kinda spoil the ending giving far more screen time to the (soon to be) departing team and the eventual winners than the middle of the pack) but the needle was definitely pointing the right way this time. I hope they continue to improve and keep the focus on the process and products rather than personalities. @KotZ as always, great job on the set dressing and thank you for your contributions to this show.
  13. I used to teach at a university that had a school of early childhood education and we were lucky enough to have a Lego lab. Every year TLG gave us thousands of dollars worth of parts and, in exchange we sent them reports on curriculum development, kids' levels of interest and attention span, demographics of the kids involved, etc. We even had a big play room with a mirror/window for unobtrusive observation of free play (and reps from Lego Education - with prior notice and parental authorization could come and covertly observe how kids in various age groups where relating to various elements/animal designs/story narratives, etc). Most of that work just went into what sort of teacher curriculum suggestion cards where going to get bundled with a given Lego Education classroom kit. I have to believe that if they went to that level of expense and effort just for a few printed bits of card stock to stick in a tub of bricks destined for a pre-school (or a high school in the case of our robotics stuff), they must be taking the question of market research and focus group seriously when it mainstream commercial products. As for the actual question at hand, I think there's certainly something to the argument that they don't want Star Wars to cannibalize Space or Castle to undermine Harry Potter, but, as has been pointed out, that can't be the whole story because there's nothing competing with Pirates and Nexo-Knights managed to co-exist with Star Wars for years. Personally, I think it all about controlling the narrative. When I was young(er) and mini-figures were new, they were all generic, the only backstories they had were the ones I invented for them. Outside of CITY, we've really kinda lost that these days. Everything seems to be heading in the direction of a pre-packaged franchise. Generic pirates were a blank slate, but TLG seems to be gun-shy about making large commitments to blank slates. They've found a formula that (generally) works for them (hell, Bionicle probably saved them) of controlling a standardized narrative with shows, comics, merchandizing and kits. That level of world building takes time, and once you've down the groundwork you want to reap the rewards for some time as well. They don't want to be fours years into development for a new pirate theme/show/movie with the first kits hitting the shelves in a years and then find out that the year after that a new PotC movie is coming out and if they want to license _that_ IP Disney wants them to drop any in-house pirate stuff for the duration of the contract. Personally, I'd love to see a return of Pirates, but I'm afraid that if it ever were to happen, every crew member would have a name and a backstory and the kits would center around recreating popular episodes of the obligatory Nickelodeon show. Free play just ain't what it was anymore. On a side note for the Thomas followers: I think "Big World Big Adventures" is too hyper, I appreciate the more diverse (gender/ethnicity) representation of the various engines, but I strongly prefer Thomas and Friends seasons 15-20 (CGI animation without going over the top) and miss Toby, Henry and many of the recurring characters from Sodor.
  14. ShaydDeGrai

    TLG acquires Bricklink

    I would totally go for an "Acquaintances" theme. This reminded me of bad translations of English movie titles on bootleg videos (and to a lesser extent to a cement mixer I bought from China once that had, shall we say a colorful, metaphorical mistranslation for the word "screw" throughout the assembly directions). Can we also have a Velocity Victors theme? Buccaneers might sell. I wonder what TLG would have to say about non-Architecture, Edifice Erections? The way things are going I think SOMEBODY'S going to have a lot of work to do - recreating a viable alternative to BL. If I decide to rage-quit my current job, perhaps I start my own company - I know a lot about software engineering, databases and web app design (and have a contact list of very smart people who know lots of things I don't) but I don't have the time right now and don't really want to be in the business of running and maintaining something on that scale. Still, the more TLG "honors" their pledge not to change anything, the more I think the community needs a new alternative. It was really a strategic blunder for TLG to buy BL directly. Invest in, partner with, okay - maybe - but assuming a controlling interest puts them in an impossible position. They can't turn a blind eye to the actions of a wholly owned subsidiary and they can't bring BL in-line with the rest of the corporation without fundamentally changing what BL is to the community. They lost their buffer of deniability in buying BL and I don't really see what they are getting out of fostering all this ill-will and anger. It's not like BL was a multi-billion dollar cash cow in the first place.
  15. ShaydDeGrai

    LEGO Masters US Show

    @KotZ Thank you for all your hard work, the set looks great and your MOCs definitely add to the product as a whole. Sadly it feels like your behind the scenes experiences are more interesting than the show itself. I'd never seen any of the international versions of the show before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I've seen thus far has left me a bit disappointed. I'm not a fan of "reality" tv in general, but from what little I've have seen I think the show runners should have spent more time mimicking the formula of a show like the SyFy channel's Face/Off (a SPFX makeup/creature design contest). Between the casting and the cutting, I'm not sure if the show wants to celebrate talented AFOLs as artists or put them up for public ridicule as a bunch of weirdos with poor coping skills who get stressed out while playing with toys. That sounds a bit harsher than I intended but to date it's hard to know where the show's heart is. I really don't want a show about "interesting personalities/stereotypes" hosted by a guy acting like drunken frat-boy. I want to see MOCs front and center, not simply as an excuse to get partners bickering or freaking out about time constraints. On Face/Off, the host is there to get the ball rolling and get out of the way. The judges and guest experts are there to critique and advise. And the show itself is about the artists' creative process of vision, design, execution and final product. Sure, there are the obligatory meltdowns/conflicts, but 30-35 minutes of each 42 minute show is focused on the product and process, not the personalities. So far Lego Masters seems to have flipped the ratio, barely giving the MOCs any screen time while focusing on the antics of the host and the interpersonal dynamics of contestants. Maybe I'm just a boring old dude myself, but I'd rather have the show filled with ordinary people producing great MOCs that speak for themselves than a cast of made-for-tv personalities that seem (thanks to the cutting room decisions) to spend more time talking about their art and their feelings than actually creating anything. The MOCs should make the audience want to understand the artists, the artists shouldn't be a spectacle in their own right. Should any contestants be reading this (or judges, or production hands, etc.) I mean no offense to any of you, I've caught glimpses of interesting MOCs and I'me sure that over the course of these marathon builds there has been no shortage of footage that shows the design process, works in progress, on-the-fly redesigns and all the other aspects of the creative process what could really showcase the talent everyone has brought to the show. My disappointment is really with the way the show is cut, mistaking conflict and stress for "drama", reducing complex personalities to cliches, and shortchanging rather than showcasing the creative process itself. Perhaps once the crowd thins out, there be more time to focus on the MOCs.