Feb 02

Everything is Awesome!! The LEGO Movie Premiere Display

Despite a snowstorm, excitement was high at the Warner Brothers premiere screening event for The LEGO Movie on February 1st. CoWLUG was invited to showcase a display of creative builds in the expansive lobby of the United Artists Colorado Mills Stadium 16 IMAX Movie Theater. Let’s take a walk around the tables of the display. Above, as guests entered, they were greeted by mosaics by Jim W., a museum by Todd P., Bionicle creatures by Jeff and a dramatic Sin City layout by Ian.

Rounding the corner as Imagine, Jeff and Lester discuss LEGO themes between crowd surges, two of Mark’s brick-built figs play chess at the back of the table. In the front corner, Ryan’s builds include his Record Store (which makes a very brief appearance in The LEGO Movie,) his ShopBot, and a SHIP built entirely of Modulex elements.

After rounding the corner, guests were color-blasted with Imagine’s Coliseum scene as he guessed it might look from the scant images glimpsed in The LEGO Movie trailers. Since all CoWLUG members participating in the premiere display were also granted access to the advance screening of the movie, we won’t say just how close he got to the actual structure as depicted in the movie – you’ll have to go see it for yourself! Surrounding the structure on the table are a plethora of Cloud Cuckoo Land floating cloud scenes by Ryan.

After the clouds we come down out of the sky into the city with skyscrapers by Duane and city buildings by Lester. The streets are filled with the city vehicles by several CoWLUG members as well as various “vehicle” sets from The LEGO Movie and the black box micro managers which play a part in the movie as well.

As you can see, some of our smaller guests spent time joyfully studying all the details of the builds as viewed from the opposite side of the tables.

A bit of the action between micro managers and the city residents as viewed in front of Lester’s buildings. The largest micro manager in front of the yellow building is a scaled up custom build by Jessica – lest it be said she only organizes the masses and never has time to build.

As we move down the street/tables, Samantha’s colorful lighting illuminates her salon building and delightfully prepares the eye for a vibrant ice cream shop. The public enjoying a cone can watch on as the last part of the city undergoes demolition and construction – a collaborative effort begun by Derek’s contribution of a crane and soon filled with various members’ additions.

Rounding the next corner, the city gives way to a western landscape filled with detailed western buildings by both Lester and Samantha, all which still stand amidst the Imagine’s steampunk Tarantula.

The western landscape really came together with fabulous details – as represented here in more of Samantha’s buildings.

Creative collaboration abounds as we move down the final display side where Reed’s transparent, crystal castle changes colors with cool LED lighting behind motion filled vignettes of tornados and a wind turbine by Todd E. and various sci-fi vehicles by him as well.

Matthew R.’s SHIP presents a commanding segway into the motion packed amusement park, Riverside Park, by Jim M.

Jim’s Riverside Park blurs with all the motion. See how it all runs and makes the viewer dizzy with the activity in his video here. At the center of the amusement park, Donnie dropped in his Joker’s hideout – a perfect addition to the crazed and colorful! See more detailed shots of the entire display at Jim M.’s Flickr photostream.

Greeting guests at the opposite entrance to the theater, Wil upped the dizzy factor several levels with his spiral train layout running two trains at high speeds. Needless to say, it was great fun, even when derailments caused spectacular wrecks.

Many thanks go out to every single CoWLUG member and their families and friends for pulling together a fabulous display and making the trek out in bad weather. A huge thank you goes out to Warner Brothers for inviting us to be a big part of an exciting premiere. We hope we did the day justice for you and all your guests. Finally, the help of the entire staff at United Artists Colorado Mills Stadium 16 IMAX Movie Theater and Regal Entertainment Group is very much appreciated. Thank you!

Dec 29

Wow! Children’s Museum Free Build.

Early in December Todd E. volunteered on behalf of CoWLUG to run an afternoon of free build fun at the Wow! Children’s Museum in Lafayette. Known for its interactive, child-oriented exhibits, the museum was thrilled to have a table of bricks for building during the holiday season.

A huge thanks goes out to Todd E. for running the event and to Ian & Abby for lending the bucket full of basic bricks that have now traveled to several free build events.

Photographs are courtesy of Wow! Children’s Museum. They were so happy with the visitor excitement and interaction with the free build that they’d love to hold another in the future.

Dec 10

A Loveland Holiday with Lester!

CoWLUG can boast about its many fine LEGO® builders, but Lester’s enthusiasm and devotion to continuing with enhancements for his builds goes above and beyond. Recently he pulled out all the stops for a one-man show in his hometown at Loveland’s First United Methodist Church.


The overall layout encompassed five tables with three train loops, one with a full time running train and the other two activated by push buttons for the kids to run.

Other button operated items included a steam plant and an ATM. “I also had a ball contraption which ran when a quarter was dropped into it, with all the funds from it donated to one of the missions that our church sponsors.” Said Lester.

Children from the church were invited to construct a building, a scene, or a vehicle to add into the display.

The event ran both Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 23-24) with enthusiastic crowds there for craft events as well. Lester explains how the build bug can hit anyone at any time. “On Saturday, one of the visitors talked to me about his LEGO® collection and his small home layout. On Sunday, he came back with a Galloping Goose that his son made for him. We ran that on the layout for awhile. The next day, I started to build my own version of the Goose.”

All photographs are courtesy of Lester.

Nov 16

Laramie Train Depot Open House 2013!


Video courtesy of Ben.

Held Sat. & Sun. November 2-3, the Laramie Train Depot Open House is an annual event organized by CoWLUG’s Wyoming stronghold, Stuart. He had several things to say about the success of this year’s exhibit: “Since it is a community event, CoWLUG shared space in the building with N scale, HO scale, O scale and 027 layouts. Our portion was approximately 17′ x 14.5′ and was by far the most complete of the rail layouts. Great scenery folks!”


Photo courtesy of Tanya (Ben’s Mom.)

Stuart provided a list of New/Notable features:
– Duane’s dropped table with river (3×3 baseplates) with 2 rail bridges and a car bridge
– a 3×7 baseplate raised section (~22 bricks off the surface with buildings, 2 train tunnels)
– Lester’s elevated railway
– Stuart’s 4 interactive arcade style buttons. The buttons activated:
– Lester’s elevated rail way
– Lester’s steam plant
– Lester’s steam punk building
– Lester’s fantastically geared ATM and Duane’s helicopter on top of a very tall building.
These buttons were specifically set up to allow the smaller visitors to interact with but not touch the layout.
– PF IR controlled trains (both PF and 9V powered rail from the same controllers). Stuart hacked the PF lines to accept wall warts so we weren’t running 9V trains on batteries.
– The Doofenschmirtz Evil Inc Building courtesy of Duane Hess’s Eeeeeevil Build Table (lots of fun comments about this one)
– MANY new builds by various members My guesstimate is that we had 50% new builds.


Photo courtesy of Tanya (Ben’s Mom.)

And notable returning
– The Duplo touch table on Sunday with motorized Duplo trains (Thanks Lisa for organizing and watching this! And thanks to Sam & Star for helping out here too.). This is our 3rd year for a Duplo touch table.
– The reopened and now CC standardized Luigi’s Pizza


Photo courtesy of Tanya (Ben’s Mom.)

The Laramie Depot Open House also boasted a microscale train ornament set designed by a former LEGO designer, Joel Hoornbeek. This set of an engine and 3 cars was used as a fundraiser for the Depot.

Stuart’s best estimate is that 800 people attended over the course of the weekend. He explained that CoWLUG helped advertise and prep the community for the event: “We reserved and filled a display case at the Albany County Public Library. Lester and I filled the case with a Western scene that was 4.5 baseplates x 1.5 baseplates and designed as a visual scavenger hunt with a list of items for the passers-by to find.”


Photo courtesy of Duane.

Additionally, there was immediate, positive feedback from various people including serious model train buffs. Stuart: “On taking my son Asher to school after the weekend, I had feedback from parents about how their kids not only loved the exhibit, but went right home and started building. I think that’s where I can count our greatest success for this event!”