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  • Writer's pictureMatt

Lego exhibiting

Updated: 5 days ago


Where it all began

In the beginning I started collecting Ice Planet sets as a way of reliving my youth and hitting that nostalgia drug. I hadn't ever considered exhibiting the collection until September 23, in which I took the family to a local Lego show in town.

It was mainly traders selling Lego for prices any collector knew to avoid. However there was a guy there displaying his late 70s to 80s Space sets;

We got talking, mainly to do with the fact I was wearing an Ice Planet t-shirt (I dressed accordingly for the event) and discussed how the IP range wasn't as expansive as the Classic Space theme so I had started to recolour sets in the IP white, blue and trans neon orange.

Once home and the during the following weeks I started to consider how I would display my sets, as Classic Space Guy (which is how I'll refer to him moving forward) said I should bring my models to the next show in 2024.

So I ordered a few base plates, got shocked at how much people wanted to sell 16x16 plates for and begun work on a backdrop to display the various 90s space sets I have. All with the aim to display by March 2024.

However before that date came around, Classic Space Guy informed me that the local Lego club was putting on a small display at a local school. So local I could walk it, albeit it would have been a few trips. No in the end my wife drove me round the corner so I could play with Lego... I know, I know it doesn't exactly help the image of grown men collecting toys but my car has once again broken down...

Anyway, back to the point of this blog. Since November 23 and my first exhibition my display has already changed a fair bit, so I wanted to start cataloguing the change so I (and the few interested people around the globe) can refer back to in the years to come.

November 2023

My aim was and still is (as of writing) to display a Spyrius attack on an Ice Planet base. With a few Space Police 2 thrown in for good measure.

The terrain was simple with a few ice spikes scattered around. Some might have realised this without trying to build something like this before, but those 200 pieces you ordered from Bricklink doesn't go very far once you start clicking them into place.

Anyway, here's a few more shots from the day on the very first edition of my Ice Planet MOC;

What I didn't realise either, is that these types of shows give people who display a 1x6 brick with the exhibition's name and date printed to it. When I got home I built this into the side of one of the base plates and I'll continue to add these as a form of passport stamps to the display.

Overall, footfall wasn't great and it was typically 30-somethings who stopped by to take a look. Clearly spotting something they remember as a kid, as their own kids tried dragging them away to look at all the new shiny things. It was a fun day all in all and being able to speak with like minded people was definitely a bonus for ideas and suggestions.

December 2023

The Ice Mountain. Well it wasn't much of a mountain before. Take a look above to the left of the Spyrius advance. See the "mountain"? No? Well I don't blame you, it was two rock pieces next to each other. I was happy enough with it at the start, until I put models next to it and realised just how inefficient it was to serve as a backdrop to the whole MOC.

So I set about rebuilding it with the various pieces I had been winning via random ebay listings since the November show.

The aim was to have a forward base built into the side of a large ice spike. Behind the build and under the base's floor, there's lots of yellow bricks acting as support and a gear mechanism which pushes out a cut section of the ice if you turn the wheel in the base itself.

My son had the idea to hide his Lego dino guy in this section as if he's a prehistoric find frozen in time. Until he asks for his figure back I guess.

January 2024

To summarise the January update, I think I'd have to defer to a renown poet of the 20th century. A Robert Van Winkle once stated "Ice Ice Baby". What January lacks in babies, it makes up with in the former.

First up is a rebuild of the front left of the display. I had a small icy pond made from a few trans blue tiles. This has been expanded into the very front left and that module has also been replaced with an old Aquashark base plate. I looked at the old grey crater baseplates in Classic Space Guy's display with envy. Until I remembered this style of crater plate were also produced in light blue. A few white tiles to help it blend in and it adds another aspect to the terrain.

The dark blue trans clear tiles do help blend the two plates together but not perfectly as one lot is over white, unsurprisingly. This will probably be revisited in time but an improvement in the short term.

Up next is the first designed build for the terrain. As in I planned what I was building here first and didn't just smash loads of spare bricks together. I had seen something similar done in the past for a Rock Raider crystal and wanted to give it a go for the ice world.

I purposely set out to use the various shades of trans blue bricks to give it a darker gradient towards its centre.

However I still need to remove it from this baseplate and add it to the main display. Not quite sure where it's going yet.

Lastly for Jan, I've generated instructions to build this Crystal if anyone wants to follow suit. The snowy base to the crystal gets a little janky in the instructions but not impossible to follow. I think the SNOT technique (studs not on top) has thrown the algorithm which constructs these guides;

February 2024

This next addition, the upgraded runway, wasn't planned to be completed so soon. I had wanted to move away from using the classic space runway baseplates on account of them being slightly discoloured and their yellow markings. I thought about repainting them orange but in the end decided on the proper route, building them in the SNOT (studs not on top) technique.

It took me a few evenings in Studio, designing the new runway sections including the Ice Planet logo landing pad. I know a lot of builders mock this sort of stuff up physically first but I don't keep a huge spare part inventory. Studio allows me to get through all the trial and error of designing a MOC like this without having the bricks to hand. Once I'm happy with it, I can directly port it into BrickLink and order the pieces.

As for the Ice Planet logo, I first designed this in Excel by resizing all the columns and setting an Ice Planet Logo as the background image. Then it was a case of colouring each cell as if it was the side of a 1x1 plate. Once each cell was filled with a colour, I started merging the cells to make either bricks or plates.

One of the harder parts to the construction of the logo landing pad and the loading zone opposite, was the fact these flat sections are built out of multiple panels. It's a little easier to see in the loading zone below, but each different direction of the orange or white lines represent a new panel with the studs facing a different direction. In the end, the loading zone is made up from 6 different panels all joining together. Eight if you count the cargo lift presumably taking supplies below ground.

As for the number 93 on the main runway, this is a reference to 1993, the year Ice Planet sets were first released. The technical part here was reversing the direction of the studs mid panel so that two cheese wedge parts faced off against each other. I didn't need to make this more complicated but I think the numbers look better being somewhat rounded. This was achieved by using 1x1 bricks with a technic pin hole and a technic pin. It leaves a small gap but not big enough to really notice. I know this same effect can be achieved by simply leaving a gap for a cheese wedge part and pushing one into it, but I don't want any parts of my MOC not actually connected to another part, hence the redirection of the studs.

So anyway, here's the digital proof before the brick link order went in;

All that was left was putting it together, carefully checking my digital render each evening as different parcels arrived. Then, once it was complete, getting the whole display out on the kitchen table again and blending these modules into the rest. Luckily I had just enough slope pieces to do the job but I'm relying on too many discoloured white bricks for my liking.

Anyway, I'll hold off on pictures on the full display until my next exhibit. For now, here's the images of the 5 completed runway modules;

That's it for now. I have an exhibit coming up in March so that's about all I'm going to get done in time for that. The only other addition was some frozen trees and bushes but I'll wait for the show before taking photos of those.

March 2024

So this Sunday just gone (17th), I exhibited my display at the Plymouth Brick Festival. For this part of the UK, it's arguably the biggest locally.

Turn out was great and I was lucky enough to have crowds of people around the display most of the day. I also created a little can you spot list which helped keep the crowds at my stand a little longer. Overall, really enjoyed the day and manged to come home with a couple of Ice Planet figures recued from a trader. Not that the trader mistreated the tiny plastic figures, but they had mismatched hands and legs etc. Something cathartic about restoring Lego figs back to their original state.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the day;


June 2024

This month saw the first National Brick Events show all the way down here in Plymouth and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The show organisers are very friendly and are keen to come back to Plymouth next year too!

All in all, there were 4-5 manned displays, maybe about twice that for MOCs the NDE crew had brought with them and a fair range of traders.

I think they had hoped for more local traders volunteering and I know after speaking to a few locally, people had a wait a see attitude on this first NBE show. I take a slightly different view, turn up, show your work, make it good enough so they'll be a second show.

Turn out from the public was good, but the event organisers told us the recent debacle at the Birmingham NEC and Brick Fest Live might have put some people off buying tickets. Not that these two shows are in anyway linked, being a different location and most importantly, a different company putting on the show, but we all reckoned the NEC show left a bad taste in a few people's mouths as it got national coverage.

Anyway, this was my fist time displaying my 4x7 baseplate Ice Planet base and even managed to finish off my Spyrius Stealth Tank MOC in time too.

and because pictures aren't always enough, here's a really simple video taken on the day.

There is one final phone from the day, and it's myself looking like a total dork! Not sure what the Ice Planeteers are thinking. You can't see anything through Trans Neon Orange!


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