This past Saturday, October 18th, was the first Twin Cities Brick eXpo (TCBX), and my first time displaying at a LEGO event. I attended BrickWorld 2008 this summer in Chicago, but did so with my family just to view the displays. Although, TCBX was smaller than BrickWorld, it included many different types of displays, offering a great cross section of LEGO projects.
The event was free and the number of visitors were not counted. The consensus was that we had at least a few hundred visitors and there was steady stream of people at my tables all day. It was mostly families and it was great to see so many kids pulling parents between items saying, ‘Wow, look at this!’
I only learned about TCBX about one week before the event from the Fascinating LEGO Model of the Day, and was very gracious that event organizer Stein Settergren was able to accommodate me with such short notice. I met members from TwinLUG and the Greater Midwest LEGO Train Club on Saturday for the first time and everyone was very friendly and welcoming.
The event was in Bloomington, Minnesota, which was about a 3 hour drive for me. After arriving and setting up my stuff, I took pictures of the other exhibits before the event opened to the public at 10am.
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All pictures below link to larger versions.
I was particularly impressed with the collaborative project by TwinLUG titled Micropolis. I had seen a portion of this on display a month or two ago at the Mall of America LEGO Store, but it has grown larger since then, with 5 or 6 members contributing sections to this modular city. The micro-scale display is made up of 16×16 stud panels connected by technic pegs, using the same technique as the back of my LEGO Cat Birdhouse.
You can find more pictures and information about Micropolis on this Flickr Page.
Another display I enjoyed was a wonderful scale home model constructed by Dave Savage. Well, actually it is two models, both of Dave’s childhood home in Iowa built from his memories and family photos. He had a smaller 1 foot per stud version and a huge 2 studs per foot version on display. Both are designed to come apart in sections to expose the interior walls and other construction details.
The Micropolis display highlighted above included a micro-scale version of the Hall of Justice, but this wasn’t the only model of this building at TCBX. Also on display was an awesome minifig-scale version built by Roy Cook. Some of my favorite features of this model are the smooth stud-free look and the beautiful reflecting pool mosaic in front of the building. The mosaic pool is constructed of colored plates covered with clear plates which diffuse and blend the colors. This technique creates very convincing water reflection.
Another large model on display was beautiful minifig-scale gray cathedral built by Brian Kasprzyk. I was particularly impressed with the use of colored transparent bricks and plates as stained-glass windows. The cathedral also has gorgeous layered door and window archways and corner decorations.
You can find more pictures and information on Brian’s MOCPages.
Another item I wanted to highlight was the large lighthouse within The Greater Midwest LEGO Train Club layout. This model uses the same brick sculpting style I use in many of my models to achieve the round, tapered shape. It also has a wonderful balcony around the top and a working, rotating light.
You can find more pictures of the train layout in this Brickshelf Galery.
In addition to his contributions to Micropolis, TwinLUG member Garth Danielson also brought a large collection of diorama scenes. These creative models span a wide variety of different types of scenes and many tell a story with their intricate details.
Garth has a website where he features many of his LEGO creations, including many recent entries on his dioramas and Micropolis contributions. Check out the LEGO Category on his website to see more pictures and information on his work.
Also on display was huge battleship on a massive LEGO stand and many smaller military vehicles built by Daniel Siskind.
You can find more pictures and information on Dave’s creations on his website, Brickmainia.
Max Braun, who is also a contributor to Micropolis project, brought along a unique model of a large cretaceous ship. It was a very creative model that used the flexibility of large 2×1 brick walls (positioned flat) to create an protected inside cavity. Kids were definitely drawn to this model.
You can find more pictures of Max’s work on his MOCPages page.
Another huge layout at TCBX was the colonial port town built by Brian Kasprzyk. This project included tons of houses and hundreds (maybe thousands?) of minifigs. It was the kind of layout you could keep making laps around all day and still find new details each time. One of the details I really enjoyed was the boat being tossed by the water spout.
There was also a large DUPLO train on display by Judy and Bill Payne. I never realized there were DUPLO sets available in so many varied themes. This was a very unique and impressive setup.
Overall TBCX was a great day and I’m really glad I made the trip. Since I didn’t stay over night it was a long day (5am-10pm), but well worth it. Happily, my dad joined me for the trip to help set up, tear down, and keep me company. Thanks Dad! My only disappointment is that I live too far away to attend TwinLUG meetings, but I look forward to attending next year, hopefully to display again.