A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

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Getting back to LEGO, Pt. 6

Getting back to Legos 12This post continues the series of auto-ethnographic posts concentrating on my venture back to LEGO at an adult age.

I was getting pretty fired up with my new hobby. As I was getting prepped up with my shop.lego.com process, I was also scouring the Internet for new LEGO models, sites, video blogs, etc. And when it comes to LEGO, these are in no short supply. The web is full of LEGO aficionados and builders. I’m talking about countless blogs and bigger sites like Brothers-Brick.com which are updated many times a day and highlight LEGO related news, phenomena, and most of all, MOCs (short for My Own Creation, the word used for custom LEGO builds). If you add to this the fact that most every MOC builder uses Flickr photostreams and/or MOC pages to showcase their creations from every possible angle, I was quickly spiraling into a situation where I could get sucked in to the world brick-building-ingenuity for weeks.

In case you were wondering, great many of the MOCs are by and far more impressive than anything LEGO itself has ever created.  This is mostly because LEGO needs to keep tabs on the cost and affordability of its models, whereas MOC builders throw apparently endless resources and staggering amounts of bricks into their creations. (That is not to say there aren’t very impressive MOCs build with very limited number of bricks.) Obvious talent is on display for example on the numerous, awesome MOC castles and towers around the web. Or take this Batcave, or this Star Wars sand crawler, or this Pakistani style Isuzu truck. Or, or…

Gathering the know-how of thousands of gifted, innovative builders, the Internet seems to be an endless supply of building techniques. The things I had learned as a child, building sets like the King’s Castle, had somehow locked my mind into a specific formula for LEGO building. Looking at these masterful MOCs was like reinventing laws of gravity! Talk about thinking outside the box! (Ok, to be fair, it is obvious that the classic sets, such as King’s Castle, have no doubt inspired many of the modern builders in hugely important ways.) And, the building techniques themselves are many times so entrancing precisely because they are so simple (take a look at this curved wall technique, for example, or this offset window technique, or this guy’s awesome sewer pipes – ok, that stuff cannot be called simple anymore) .

Another seductive sub-sector is microscale building. Building in micro scale basically boils down to figuring out how to represent specific objects, like trees and people, with fewest possible bricks and it’s remarkable how stylish it can get. Microbuilds aren’t of course far-removed from architecture builds such as this train station (which also highlights the effect a good photography can give to a MOC model). Of course, LEGO has for a couple of years now put out architecture sets itself that are microscale building at its finest.