The Newsletter of The Brickish Association



The Newsletter of The Brickish Association
Spring 2013
Issue 28
The Newsletter of The Brickish Association
The Brickish Association
The Association Matters
Chairman’s Report
The Brickish Association (BA) is a UK based community
of Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs).
Hello all
Martin Long
Ed Diment
Julie Greig
Michael LeCount
Lucy Boughton
Robert Clarkson
This will be my last report as Chairman of the Brickish
LEGO is a trademark of The LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorise or endorse The
Brickish Association or this publication.
Please send submissions for inclusion in the next edition of The Brick Issue or general enquiries about this
newsletter to the editor care of: [email protected]
I am pleased to see that we have as large a membership
as we have ever had and I genuinely believe there is a
strong role for the Brickish Association within the LEGO
fan community, not only in the UK. It has been commented on by many people, and I am inclined to agree, that
within the association are some of the most talented
LEGO builders in the World; some of the most knowledgeable experts on both the LEGO product range and
the LEGO company; and some of the most enthusiastic
supporters of the hobby out there.
It has been a pleasure being your Chairman (even during
the rough bits) and the vast majority of all the friends I
have in the World are BA members – and long may this
continue. I only hope that whomever is the next Chairman
of the BA that they are more able to get moving some of
the things that need doing than I was able to.
Simon Burfield
Peter Corish
Tim Goddard
Peter Reid
Anthony Tomkins
Editor’s Letter
The agenda for the AGM has been separately emailed to
all members with names of the candidates nominated for
Chairman and Treasurer. Please give them your support
and remember to vote. If you cannot attend the AGM in
person, you can vote by proxy to the Secretary
([email protected]).
Welcome to the 28th edition of ‘The Brick Issue’. I will
start with an apology: in issue number 27 on page two, I
misspelled the surname of Adrian Croshaw. Also, I didn’t
check my page numbering and so after page ‘7’ was page
‘12’! This should have been page ‘8’ of course. What can
I say but oops, sorry! I’ll try not to do this again.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the
AGM. So long and thanks for all the fish.
Members who gain notoriety and recognition through
their work are well represented in this issue. Be they
Ed Diment, [email protected]
touring the world with a well appreciated model (Simon
Burfield), preparing for a live BBC broadcast (Tim Goddard), gaining popularity on Cuusoo (Peter Reid), creating a cartoon series (Peter Corish), or painstakingly
crafting a well designed model (Anthony Tomkins).
There is also information for new members, describing
some of the ins and outs of accessing the BA web site.
This is based on questions and queries I have seen on
the forum from our members. I hope it proves helpful.
The AGM is coming up in the middle of April. For firsttimers this gathering can seem a bit daunting as it appears that everyone else knows each other, but you know
hardly anyone. Well, my advice is to take the plunge, say
“hello” to someone you do not know, tell them about
yourself and friendships can build from there.
Robert Clarkson [email protected]
Page 2
Ed appears to be
having on of those
‘trouble with LEGO
model’ moments.
Why don’t you
send in a suitably
amusing captions
based on this picture to:
[email protected]
Knobtown Road Station
Knobtown Road is a twin-track raised railway station,
modelled loosely on the suburban halts found in the
south west of London. It is intended to fit into a complete
circle of viaducts and bridges that I have made over the
past 7 years. This is a brief summary of how it was built.
by Anthony Tomkins
weight of a large model are major considerations. Last
November I had the opportunity of a couple of days off
work and decided on a bridge system with an attached
station building. Use of a cantilevered platform extension
would serve to both mimic a typical 1900’s station upgrade and save on bricks. I had a lot of spare red, white
and blue bricks, so having a blue girder bridge colour
scheme fitted this quite well.
Half of the station was to be on a girder bridge. This was
fairly quick to build up with a big collection of gone-off
blue to give it that weathered look. Black plates were
used for the track bed. The supporting walls were made
mainly of sun-blushed white. This section was made 4
tracks in length and given two platforms.
I’d been experimenting with LEGO railway bridges as a
form of therapy to help survive the time when I had to
commute to London and back every day. After a few
false starts with narrow and short spans I decided on
bridges 15 bricks high to the track height and 10 studs
wide between parapets. The arches were made with
standard plates and bricks, with red as the main colour
and white, tan or dark grey as coping. The bridges and
viaducts were made modular with lengths of 1, 2, 4 or 6
tracks in length. The supports were (eventually) made
with tiles on the top to allow disassembly with the least
effort. A couple of embankments were made to use up
an excess of green. I also made a rising viaduct, which
has been tested a few times but is so long that I’ve never
really had the chance to create a proper layout with it.
The viaduct became useful when I’d devised a method of
curves. This used a modular system using each curve to
connect the supports together and having the span fit
between the supports. The main issue was allowing
enough room on the outer walls for the train noses to
swing out and in, and on the inside for long carriages to
clear the walls. The beginning of each curve also needs
a wider bridge section to allow the front of trains to clear
properly. These have even been tested with Emerald
Night, although it must be said the clearances are very
The main part of the station was formed of a 2-track
length bridge and a walled section. The main station
building was a separate model which could be slotted
into place for ease of storage and setting up. A rear
entrance and some stairs were built into the section very
much as it was created. The bridge section has a blue
cantilevered platform section which meant hunting
around in the blue inverse slopes box for suitable parts.
The main station building was made with three floors.
Once the general size was decided, the window surrounds were made up with white parts and the red walls
filled in around them. I wanted some detailing in the
booking hall and so bought in some 1x1 white and black
tiles which will always look effective. I found some pearl
light grey parts for the ticket machines and barriers which
I’d stashed away after a behind-the-scenes visit to
LEGOLand Windsor about 10 years ago.
The three floors were built up using whatever pieces I
had left. Mrs T. suggested a clock tower for the main
architectural feature, so I made this up over the entrance
door. The idea was to have a coffee shop in this corner
at station level so I could play about a bit with arches and
curved bricks. A big stroke of luck was finding some
2x2x3 capping roof pieces in the dark grey box (another
LLW find) which appear to be the only ones in existence.
Some stairs were put into the model for the commuters
I’d wanted a raised station for some time but hadn’t really to run or trudge up.
got enough inspiration to create a good sized design. It
is quite astounding how many bricks can go into one of The platforms were populated with some Minifigure Sethese projects and, apart from cost, the storage and sheer ries Eight city gent guys and various oddballs from home.
Page 3
Cuusoo ~ The Story So Far
by Peter Reid
Four years ago, I made an Exo Suit as part of my Neo
Classic Space fleet. It didn't seem particularly important
at the time; though in hindsight I was building some pretty
hot stuff back then. The Exo Suit was surprisingly wellreceived on the internet. It's one of the few models I've
made which received significant attention from outside the
usual AFOL sphere.
Nine months ago, I decided to upload the Exo Suit to
CUUSOO ( In a relatively short
time, the model gathered voter momentum and, just recently, achieved the required 10,000 supporters to make
it eligible for the official LEGO review stage. It's been an
interesting experience watching the number go up. I
should have taken some screengrabs.
A search of Bricklink revealed that blue lampposts were
rare and expensive, but some red ones were found in
Germany which were OK. Platform signs and train time
display boards were created with stickers – these were
made with Corel Draw which I’d used previously for train
logos. A lift was built from pearl light grey for the centre
platform, and various benches were fitted. It was at this
point that the station was called ‘Knobtown Road’, as no
other more mildly amusing name could be dreamt up at
the time. An approximation of SWT-type signage was
printed. The station railway sign was changed from red
on white to white on red soon after these photos were
Two on-track long sections were built to cater for the two
points sections I had made earlier that could switch from
single to double track. The most probable layout will
have a single track for most of the circuit with an expanse to double track for the station. This would work
as a passing loop.
Now I find myself waiting. Waiting for the review, which is
due in a few months. I can't pretend not to care. It would
be amazing to have an official LEGO set out there. The
final decision is, of course, beyond my control. All I can
do is get on with my secret project, and try not to think
about it too much.
I realise the Exo Suit is unsuitable for production in its
current form. It's got non-production parts and illegal
moves all over the place. The three CUUSOO projects
produced so far had a serious reworking from the LEGO
designers. A redesigned Exo Suit could still work if they
can retain the form.
My CUUSOO success doesn't make me want to try again
with another project. I think I'll bow out of the game while
I'm ahead. There are so many excellent models languishing in obscurity, and it saddens me. I realise how lucky
I've been.
I'd like to thank everyone who supported the Exo Suit. The
project had a strong start thanks to a large number of
The two most suitable trains I have for the station – SWT
Brickish votes, and I am hugely grateful for your support.
classes 455 ‘red train with blue doors’ and 450 ‘blue train
with red doors’ are a little swamped by the colours. The All I can do is now is wait, and hope the Exo Suit makes
various other trains (Virgin and Grand Centre HSTs, it past the review phase. I'll definitely buy one or two sets
Virgin Voyager, First class 166, Hitachi Javelin) all work if it appears on shelves. Fingers crossed ...
quite well, but most are too long for the platforms…
Page 4
A Brush With Fame
by Tim Goddard
It's funny where this hobby can
take you. On the 8th January
2013 it took me to Jodrell Bank
and a brief appearance on
BBC2; although things did not
turn out quite exactly as
After an enquiry early in
researcher Natalie wanted
something LEGO related and
based around a mini LEGO
Curiosity rover made by
someone at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to
feature on BBC’s ‘Stargazing
Live’ show. Ideas ranged from
a live build to a full-size
recreation (she was informed
this would cost thousands of
pounds and take months to
As I had a model of the Mars rover I was volunteered to
help Natalie out. After a few phone calls and e-mails I
was on board to bring my model for display, maybe a
quick chat and to do a stop motion type video of the
construction of the JPL mini rover.
Over Christmas I somewhat honed my model to improve
a few details and make sure it would not fall over if Brian
Cox looked at it too hard. The model was initially created
for a show at the National Space Centre in Leicester in
2010. This event commemorated a few space events,
including the 50th anniversary of manned space flight and
the last NASA Shuttle launch. I decided to look forward
rather than back so I built the Curiosity rover that was at
that time hurtling through space on its way to Mars.
I also had to gather the parts for the JPL version which
includes some pretty rare elements including 2 white
neck brackets. Luckily I had most of the parts although
Peter Reid had to help me out with some 2 x 2 x 3 dark
orange slopes; the terrain for the model included 20
which is more than what was available on Bricklink in all
of Europe at the time and I only had 9!
On Monday 7th January, when everything was ready I set
out with my wife, Sharon, for the long drive from London
to Cheshire. We arrived late at a rather posh hotel in the
middle of the countryside after passing Jodrell Bank and
the Lovell radio telescope, wonderfully lit up in the
Cheshire rain.
The next morning we went down to breakfast and were
directed into a room reserved for the BBC. There was Dr
Brian Cox a few feet away on the next table. He was
talking about the expanding universe. Really! After
eating he was working on what looked like ‘sciency’ stuff
on his laptop.
Later on we followed the BBC coach to Jodrell Bank as
previously arranged and eventually managed to track
down Natalie. She sat us down for lunch and after talking
to some of the crew for a few minutes Brian Cox sat down
opposite Sharon. We had a conversion about our jobs,
Meccano, LEGO and I discovered Brian's 4 year old had
got a LEGO police station and fire station for Christmas.
After lunch I was introduced to one of the producers and
he set me up in a room with a camera to film time lapse
construction of the JPL LEGO model. It seemed rather
dark but what do I know? The room was shared with Dr
Chris Lintott, the co-presenter of the Sky at Night
amongst other things, who was working on the
Stargazing Live website. Sharon helped him out with
some earth bound analogies for geological features
found on Mars which ended up on the website. He was
interested in LEGO in general and we had the standard
conversation about where to get bricks and how some
coloured pieces are more expensive than others etc. He
took a picture of the model to put on his Twitter feed and
said he had voted for it on Cuusoo. I tried to tell him
about Pete's Mech ‘Exo Suit’ but I think he lost interest at
that point, otherwise he seemed like a nice bloke.
Next, I set up my bigger rover in the presenting studio off
to one side, they would have 90 seconds to carry it over
to the table in front of the presenters between the two
shows which made me a bit nervous but I talked to the
floor manager and showed him how to carry it.
We were not needed for the next few hours and it turned
out that I would only feature on the 'Back to Earth' show
shown at 9pm rather than the main 'Stargazing Live'
show which had previously been implied. To kill the time
we went around the visitor attraction which was good but
Page 5
fairly minimal. The outside part of the exhibit would have The program started with comedian David Baddiel right in
front of me. He was asked what elements various
been better if it wasn't dark and raining.
periodic table symbols represented but got them all wrong.
We arrived back at a sort of green room (staff tea room)
at 7pm and watched a full rehearsal run through of The program continued, then suddenly there was 'LEGO
'Stargazing Live'. The following rehearsal of the 'Back to Curiosity, Tim Goddard' on all four autocues. I stood up
Earth' show was only 10 minutes for a 30 minute program straighter. Dara and David spent two minutes talking
but there was my model on the table in front of them and about the pronunciation of 'potato', then my name was
I got a name check. “Is Tim here?” they asked but I was gone. They moved on to a question from K-9 about salted
in the green room. My heart was in my mouth when Brian peanuts. I was cut, denied by the vagaries of live TV.
leaned over and grabbed the back and gave it a tug but
After the show Natalie and the floor manger were very
it held together!
apologetic; the video would appear on the Stargazing
Fifty people would be in the audience for 'Back to Earth' website in a day or two at least. I packed up the models
including some Jodrell Bank staff and some people from and headed back to the car amidst the crush of the rest
a Liverpool astronomy club. Disappointingly there would of the audience getting autographs and pictures, which is
not be enough space for Sharon as they were only not really me.
allowed 50 people on 'health and safety' grounds.
Sharon was more annoyed than I was, it was
At about 8.50pm we were marshalled outside the studio disappointing but at least I was on the tele and my model
and told to be quiet. We would also have 90 seconds to featured very prominently even if it wasn't mentioned.
get in to the studio between programs. The time came
and we jostled in ready for the start of the show. There If I had known from the start how it would turn out would
were five cameras, most with an autocue attached, I still have done it? Most definitely.
pointed in our general direction standing behind the
presenters and guests. I had a pretty good view, even I wonder where LEGO will take me next?
through Brian May's hair!
Around The World On A Wheelchair
The idea for the LEGO wheelchair came about from 3
main events as I remember. At the Great Western LEGO
Show in 2011, I took along a rather large (5ft 7inch) robot
called 'George'. This was greatly received but people
said: "Now you have built this, what will you do to top
this?" My first reaction was to build a full size car however
I could not see how I would do the wheels / axle let alone
get enough LEGO. So the idea was put on hold.
by Simon Burfield
giant robots, I happened to say that that I could make
something that would move a person around using the
Rotacaster wheels. Steven said that it would be a brilliant
project and off I went. Luckily Rotacaster also thought it
was a brilliant idea and helped out a lot.
The second part to this story was when I discovered
Rotacaster's multi-directional wheels (http://www.rota
ible-robotic-wheels.html). These allow creations to move
in any direction, however I had another idea for them.
One of the major issues with 'George' was that it was very
heavy and created a great deal of drag on the tracks.
This meant it really struggled to
move, especially turning. But using
the Rotacaster wheels, turning
would not be an issue and they
could also support a lot of weight!
So my plan was to use these brilliant
wheels on my future robots.
The chair is still a prototype however; I have spent
around 40 hours building it. Generally before I start to
build anything, I plan it in my head for a few days considering what LEGO elements to use. When completed the
chair contained 7 LEGO MINDSTORMS intelligent
The final part to the story was a conversation with Steven bricks, 14 NXT motors, 16 NXT touch sensors, 12 RotaCanvin, online community manager for LEGO MIND- caster multi-directional wheels and just over 6000 LEGO
STORMS at LEGO. When we discussed cool ideas for Technic pieces.
Page 6
The future
The chair has already been to LEGOWorld Zwolle, The
Great Western LEGO Show and WRO. However it still
seems to have some life in it. I have been asked to show
it off at Treloars, a school for physically disabled children
and invited to take it to LEGOWorld Copenhagen. There
are also plans to do a LEGO workshop day at a disabled
camp as well as a science fair abroad.
I have already started on other project to, trying to build
something that people will enjoy. I have built a prototype
LEGO cart that I can drive around. Its pretty basic but
youtube I have also been investigating integrating other things into MINDSTORMS for
instance the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino platform.
I never expected the LEGO Wheelchair to be so popular.
If it had more hits than 'George' I would have been just as
happy and it did beat it by a considerable margin
(107,000 to 4,000). It was even featured on’s
homepage under 'Trending Now'. The biggest thing to
come out of this was my invite to the World Robotics
Olympics in Kuala Lumpur. This was a great honour and
was one of the best experiences I had ever had. I got to
meet AFOL’s and teams of kid’s competition in LEGO
competitions from all over the world. I even got to sign
A Newbies Guide To The BA Website
Some members can find it a little difficult getting around
the BA website. Here are some tips to help you out.
New members are encourage to introduce themselves
when they join us. On the 'Discussions' page select
'General' and on the right of this page 'Post new message'. In the 'Subject' box say something brief to introduce the topic (e.g. "Hi all, new member here") and in the
'Message' box add a few lines describing your interests
in LEGO and if possible provide links to images you have
stored elsewhere online (e.g. on flickr). Other members
always appreciate this type of introduction.
You can always provide more information about yourself
on your own page. Go to 'Members Area' and then click
on the 'Edit your profile' link on the upper left of the page.
Beneath your address is the 'Location on map' option
where you can add a red dot to the UK map to let others
know whereabouts in the UK (or the world for that matter) you live. Go to 'Members area', 'Members map' to
see your results and find out who lives nearby.
Part One
On your profile page it is important to consider selecting
from the options at the bottom of the page. They are:
'Include me in member list', Yes is to have your profile
visible to other members, though your address and
telephone details will not be shared; 'Include me in email
news' and 'Send me a printed Brick Issue'. This means
you can opt out of eceiving a paper version in the post.
Access to the current and back issues in electronic
version (in pdf form) is through the website under the
'Brick Issue' menu.
Feel free, in fact we strongly encourage it, to provide a
response to other messages in the discussion forum.
However, when typing a response in the discussion
forum, make sure that you type your entry above the
grey text of the previous message. This way your message will appear blue thus making it easier for everyone
to see the new entry you have made.
If you are responding to a message but with a different
topic, please change the ‘Subject’ heading accordingly.
Page 7
The Back Page
Forthcoming Events
Answers to ‘Spot The Difference’ in BI 27
16-17 March 2013: LEGOMania at Milestones Museum
13-14 April 2013: BA LEGO Weekend and AGM 2013, Wadsley
Panel on wall changed to lime green
Alien has yellow eyes
Victim on table has eyes closed
Controls on panel switched around
Handle on overhead probe extended
Knob on end of alien’s probe removed
Icon on green button (to left) removed
Rat on floor
Parish Hall, Worrall Road, Sheffield, S6 4BB
4 May: The Aldershot LEGO Show
11-12 May 2013: LEGO trains at Glenrothes, Scotland
15 June 2013: Alresford Festival of Toy Trains 2013
Clock Face
22-23 June 2013: National Space Centre, Leicester
Can you work out the time on the blank clock
for more details on these and other events being planned go to
Real Triangles
How many equilateral triangles, of any size and
orientation, can you find in this collection of
space buggy wheels in the picture on the right?
To count, the triangle must have three wheels
placed exactly at its respective corners.
Some members can find themselves in a position where they are unable to access the ‘Members‘ Area’ of the BA
website. This can be for a number of reasons; for example, like me you forgot your password not long after joining. Anyway, not accessing this side of the Brickish Association means you are missing out on a lot of the discussion and information related to the BA and the wider LEGO community.
This situation can easily be rectified by contacting the BA president (Martin Long) via the web page ‘Contact Us’
option ( and request assistance. I hope to ‘see’ you there soon.
Page 8