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  • Re: How to place rectangular plates at an angle between wedge plates?

    So, for studding down and lining up flush with the surface (using tiles), you can do this:

    Sorry, I don't have any handy photos of how a finished MOC would look, but I'm sure there are a lot of pictures of this technique out there!


  • Re: How to place rectangular plates at an angle between wedge plates?

    I think you're fighting against geometry.  The plates you're using have either an 18.43 degree angle or a 45 degree angle, which have non-integer hypotenuses.  The hole for your enclosed 4x4 plate (for example) is sqrt(2)*3 studs (about 4.24 studs), which leaves a 0.24 stud gap (1.94mm), which is only 0.12 studs when placed "centrally".

    LEGO doesn't make any "wedge plates" (in BrickLink-speak) that are integer-based right triangles (Pythagorean triples), but it'd be great if they did.  In the meanwhile, we're left with with "fudging it".  If your hole is (say) 7.98 studs wide, you might be able to squeeze a full 8 studs inside there-- or if it's 8.04 studs wide, you can see if the small gap is objectionable.

    I'm not sure if there are any combos that work especially well at the scale you've got.  If (say) you were looking to get a full 48x48 baseplate or more rotated at a funny angle, there are a few oddball options that might work.  But in the "16-studs-and-under" size, not too much.

    There may be other oddball things (like your 2nd option) where there's some space left at the corners, rather than uniformly all around, but I'm not aware of any offhand.

    One option for uniform gaps is using the new 2x2 wedge plate:

    Using 5 of these on each side (20 total), you can get a 63 degree rotated 11.18 hole that's got a gap of 0.18 studs (0.09 studs when place centrally, which is only marginally better than your 4x4 square)

    You can also use these plates:

    Using 4 of them, you can get a hole that's 4.12 studs square, at a 76 degree angle.  That's not too bad, but it's not a big square to work on.

    Another option are these:

    That'll get you a 12.17 stud hole, with an 81 degree angle.

    Apart from that, other solutions I might work towards would be:

    1) Make your base thicker, and use a tiled surface under your angled structures.  That allows you to get whatever angle you want, but it does mean removing the underlying white plates from your buildings, and it means using more pieces.  Keep a handy chart of the Pythagorean triples handy so that you can "stud-down" your larger buildings with more than just a single stud.  (This is usually what I try and do)

    2) Cover up the holes.  Some strategically located small "snow mounds" scattered all around can hide the holes, and provide a different landscape texture.

    3) Put white plates/tiles, or even just white paper underneath the holes.  With everything else going on in the scene, I'm not sure the gaps would be all that noticeable-- particularly when they're white.

  • Re: Local Independent LEGO Shops - An Ominous New Trend?

    Wait a year or two, and the ones you're complaining about will have changed or gone out of business.
    I would mostly agree, depending on how they make their money.  It boggles my mind that you could actually consistently run a store that only sold LEGO collector's items and current LEGO products, especially with the wealth of online competition in BrickLink, eBay, etc.

    But I do think there's value in an in-person LEGO experience, like LEGO-themed parties and activities.  That's always seemed like a potentially viable business model (and obviously there are a bunch of these out there).  So if they're making money this way, I think they're less vulnerable if they have non-AFOL staff.

    The other thing I've always been curious about is re-selling with a retail discount.  IE, buy sets from LEGO, offer them on shelves, and if they don't sell, then break them apart and sell them on BrickLink.  LEGO won't sell to a retailer unless they have a storefront (or, at least, that certainly used to be true, I assume it still is), but could a retailer then grind up MISB sets into parts to sell and still be in the clear with LEGO?

    Anyway, the realist in me says that if they're making any significant portion of their money from selling effectively "collector's items" like the classic space figures or old MISB sets, they're probably doomed to fail-- all the more so if they don't know the market.  But if that's just some income on the side, then they might be able to chug along for quite a while, I'd think.
    he rolled his eyes at me and assured me that he didn't need my help. Then he continued to push the shelf, crushing the boxes that had fallen.
    The other thing to consider is that it's possible he wasn't the owner (although he could be, I obviously don't know!).  I know someone locally who owns a LEGO business, and he has to find people to employ since he doesn't want to work 7-days a week straight!  And I'm not sure he's ever actually been able to land a true AFOL as an employee.

  • Re: Lego to cut 1,400 staff

    One thing that's interested me is AFOL burnout.  When I joined the online community in 1999, I started going crazy-go-nuts-insane buying LEGO.  But by 2003 or so, I started slowing down.  I was realizing that I definitely shouldn't aim to be "complete" in various themes, and I didn't really have a strong desire to buy multiple copies of the same set like I had before (I had 7 copies of Pharoah's Forbidden Ruins, 12 copies of the Snowspeeder, 8 copies of the re-released Guarded Inn, etc).  After 5 years of rabid buying, I just wasn't freshly passionate about LEGO anymore.  Not that I lost my passion-- it just didn't have that "new-passion-smell".

    But that seems to happen to a lot of AFOLs.  They start out active, but then start to lose interest after a few years.  In fact, that seemed to be the demise of a lot of LUGs in the US, where the "core" member (who managed the website or organized train shows, etc) ended up falling out of the hobby for one reason or another.

    So how do you tell the difference between your own mellowing-out and a change in direction from LEGO?  Especially when LEGO's changing all the time?  Did LEGO make a misstep, or were you destined to start getting bored with the hobby of your own accord?  Or maybe some of both?

    Legoboy said:
    ...  I havent just slowed a little, but almost altogether because as a completist I can no longer be satisfied.
    Here's another interesting tidbit.  I used to want to collect everything, but after calming down, I've stopped.  I'm content not to own everything, and I've sort of accepted that.  But then again, I'm also interested in building MOCs as well, and doing things in the community.  So I've got energy for the hobby along other avenues apart from collecting.  But if people are driven primarily by being collectors and completing their collections, then vast product expansions from LEGO really do threaten those hobbyists.

    I wonder if there's any sort of correlation between AFOLs who feel exhausted buying LEGO with those who are more primarily collectors versus MOC builders?

  • Re: Is this the high water mark for Lego

    I've seen people suggest that perhaps this year's sets have been a testing of the waters, to see how big and expensive sets aimed at the AFOL end of the market can get.
    I would say that "testing" wasn't really limited to any particular year, except maybe 2000 (UCS and Sculpture sets).  LEGO's been gradually producing larger and larger sets over the course of the last 18 years, tailoring itself more and more to the adult market, and price points and piece counts have been getting higher and higher.

    I remember (for instance) thinking that the $150 price point of the UCS X-Wing was too high, since most other high-end LEGO sets were at most $100 (except for train sets, which were in line with other starter toy train sets and Mindstorms, which was definitely in a league of its own!).  But sure enough, in 2002 we saw the UCS ISD retail for even more money!  And it's definitely expanded ever since.

    I think the real question will be where things go next.  Will we keep seeing these pop up, but in lower volume?  Will they go any higher?  Only time will tell!  As you point out, we'll only ever know any better if we get detailed access to their sales figures, which I'm sure we won't!

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