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!”

Oct 05

NoCo Mini Maker Faire Fun!

A handful of CoWLUG members participated in very successful first annual NoCo Mini Maker Faire on the Colorado front range. Held in Loveland this first weekend of October, over 3000 people turned out for the one-day event.

Above: Ryan, Imagine, Tommy & Barbara chat as the first crowds begin to filter in.

The CoWLUG Open Build table was busy all day. The LEGO Group should take notice of the plethora of girls who enjoyed building with the standard brick – in standard colors, without a minifig or Friends character in sight!

For those who have never had the chance to attend a Mini Maker Faire, here’s a little sampling of what could be seen (and tinkered with) today. There was a room full of cardboard for cutting and building, using special snap/hinge pieces facilitating making that kept pace with the mind. There were people playing music on carrots with their noses! And electronics of all kinds – interactive, artistic, idea generating. Finally, there seemed to be a 3D printer in every corner.

Participating and visiting members of CoWLUG all enjoyed an inspiring day. I’d like to thank Tommy for bringing our attention to the Faire and also for bringing his wife Barbara to help tend the Open Build table for the day. Their enthusiasm and encouragement fostered a creative spirit among the kids and adults that was truly contagious. As you can see above, everyone’s creations soon filled up the space. A grateful thank you also goes out to Ian and Abby for providing the brick for the Open Build table. It was very well used.