Paul Hetherington on Building Lego During the Pandemic

Atomic Ranch

Fellow club member, Paul Hetherington, talks with Raji Sohal on CKNW’s Mornings with Simi about building Lego, the VLC, and what he’s building during the hiatus of gatherings.

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MILS Part 3: Brickcan Presentation

In part 3 of our series on MILS, we take a look at Neil’s slides from his talk at the May 2021 Brickcan.

The first section of Neil’s presentation goes over specifications of the new Lego road plates, as well as how to possibly integrate them into your MILS module.
Brick-Built Roads Build Along

In the second section, a step-by-step instructional on how to build two road types; asphalt, and blockwork. Both included types include instructions for a gutter, and edge line variant.
Brick-Built Roads Building Instructions

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Part 2: Time To Spruce Up Those MILS Plates!

In the second talk of our ongoing MILS series, former VLC president Allan Corbeil, shares with us the creativity of brick built trees. In his talk, Allan breaks down the different build techniques he has mastered in creating his award winning tree designs.

Though if you were to ask him he would humbly tell you the brick built tree designs were originally in creation with David Guedes, who adapted a design by Micah Beideman.

Allan is well known in the VLC not only for his brick built trees but his breathtaking landscape designs. In his project titled: “Going West” you can see the differences he created by using different variations of tree heights, colours and elements.

By using a wide variety in textures and colours, Allan was able to bring out a more complete and realistic take in his storytelling. Subtle changes in element colours to the fullness of the trees added a new level of depth and complexity to his design.

For those of you that have been following along so far in our MILS journey, I have left a link below to the wonderful PDF Allan put together on how you can create trees to add a new level of dimension to your landscapes.

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How to level up your city! (With MILS)

Whether we have just received our first set of bricks as young children, or have fallen in love with the crisp ABS as adults, building cities just comes naturally. Creating tall towers, babbling brooks, and pothole free road ways, are just so rewarding. Even more rewarding is getting the oppotunity to show it all off!

Have you ever thought about adding your city creations into a larger city layout for a display or event? What happens when you are integrating and collaberating with other people? How do you know what specs are going to work for all builders involved? The MILS or Modular Integrated Landscaping System may be the answer you are looking for!

In early January, AFOLs from around the world joined virtually for BricksLA, an online LEGO ANE fan convention based in Los Angeles. At the event, VLC member Neil Snowball gave a presentation on the VLC’s efforts to move towards the use of the MILS system for the club’s larger collaborative displays. During his presentation, he outlined the basics of the MILS system, and provided examples of build techniques and integration ideas.

Check out Neil’s presentation: Moving to MILS

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Extra! Extra! VLC Member William Fong Writes for BrickNerd!

As MOC builders, we all from time to time have grand ideas of what we want our projects to look like. We spend countless hours pouring over brick styles, colour palettes, and designs. But what do you do when the pieces don’t quite fit your design? Have you ever considered using non-brick LEGO elements in your MOCs?

In an article written by William Fong, Will discuses all the barely legal and dubious LEGO connections you may not have thought of using! Check out the article link below for some clever tips and tricks to create unique angles and connection points.

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Vancouver is Awesome – An article about Will Fong’s LEGO Public Transit and Trains recreations

One of our VLC members, Will Fong, was interviewed about his LEGO creations which meticulously recreate local public transit.   The following is gratuitously cut and paste from the VancouverIsAwesome website.  And the article can be found at the following link:


This Vancouver man’s elaborate Lego creations will blow your mind (PHOTOS)

“In total, the model ended up being 3500 pieces.”


Photo: Will Fong

A highlight of Expo ’86, Vancouver’s SkyTrain opened on Dec. 11, 1985, but a local man is giving the transportation system a new pint-sized Lego look. 

Born and raised in Vancouver, Will Fong’s detailed transportation creations may look like the fruit of a lifelong passion. However, he tells Vancouver Is Awesome that he’s only been building Lego for about four years.

“My objective is to keep my models as accurate to life as possible,” he notes. “I try to replicate everything, from the graphic design to the interiors.”

In total, Fong reports that he’s built six unique Vancouver-based models, including ten duplicate vehicles of those which are still in his possession. He explains how his process for each project begins with hours of research, which includes hours of reading as well as photo and video research.

“That can include books, documentary and video footage or even scouring someone’s Flickr stream for source material,” he adds.

Following the research step, Fong says he moves into preliminary design, which involves building a digital model.

“It begins as a rough sketch, trying to figure out what elements of the subject matter I can incorporate,” he describes. “When it gets to be about 75% complete, I begin to build some portions physically. That allows me to have a hands on approach to figuring out how to get around some of the geometrical problems a medium like Lego can create.”

will-fong-digital-modelPhoto: Will Fong

After the digital model is complete, Fong compiles it into an excel sheet to determine which Lego parts he’ll need to order to finish the project. He notes that, “Unlike some other people in the community, I do not have an infinite collection of Lego.”

While he’s waiting for his final parts to be delivered, Fong collects the graphics he’ll want to include in the model. He highlights that, “This can range from the stripes, to the numbering, down to The Buzzer magazine boxes and license plates. I then get them professionally printed.”

After putting the pieces together, Fong’s final touches include wiring up the electronics and soldering dozens of LEDs into place. 

Fong’s first creations were the Mk II Skytrain cars. He notes that they were first displayed at Brickcan 2016 – Vancouver’s first Lego convention.

will-train-2Photo: Will Fong

After these, he describes how between November 2015 and April 2016, “I revamped it and ended up with a model that I can run on train layouts and has all exterior and interior lights.”

“In total, the model ended up being 3500 pieces.”

will-inside-trainPhoto: Will Fong

Fong currently has a miniature SkyTrain on display at Science World in Towers of Tomorrow Exhibit.

will-science-worldPhoto: Will Fong

Have a look at some more of Fong’s work. 


victoria-transitPhoto: Will Fong


will-skytrainPhoto: Will Fong


will-north-vancouver-trolleyPhoto: Will Fong


will-inside-train-2Photo: Will Fong
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Richmond Teen’s Lego Kits shared locally, globally – Richmond News

This is the kind of feel good story that we like to read in the morning.

Copied from the Richmond News website link below:

Story and photograph by Maria Rantanen of the Richmond News

Caleb Wu, 15, has combined two big parts of his life – Lego and a light box – into a hobby that is bringing a constructive pastime to many struggling kids.


The Richmond teen has been going to BC Children’s Hospital three times a week since he was three years old to spend a few minutes at a time in an ultra-violet light box to treat his lymphoma, which manifests on his skin.

As a small boy, the short time he spent in the box felt like “forever.” As he got older, he realized other kids were spending much longer periods of time at the hospital in Vancouver for treatment, and he imagined their frustration and boredom.


“I can’t imagine someone in a bed for six hours doing nothing,” he said.


 That’s when he started making small Lego kits for his fellow patients – mini-racers – out of his own Lego that he’d been playing with since he was small.

He made seven kits at first – and they were a huge hit. He next created the Lightbox Raptors kit, which is a fighter jet.

The challenge was to find enough of the same pieces to create several kits of each design.

When he ran out of his own supply, he started buying Lego with the money earned working at Dave’s Fish & Chips in Steveston.

One of his sets went to a 16-year-old with autism who had to stay at BC Children’s for long-term care, during which he was “super anxious and nervous.” He later heard that this set kept him occupied and help him through his stay.

“It was my Lego set and instructions that kept him calm,” Caleb said. When he heard this story, it was “really touching,” he said, and he couldn’t wait to create more Lego kits for other kids.

Caleb has dubbed his initiative “Project Lightbox,” and, this fall, he won $2,500 prize in Coast Capital Savings’ “Power of Youth” contest. He estimates this will keep him supplied for about three years to make up to 500 kits.

Caleb was one of the four winners of the “Power of Youth” contest. Amanda Welschlau with Coast Capital Savings said they were looking for passionate young people who were doing simple acts that could have a large impact. Caleb’s Project Lightbox fit this to a T.

When Caleb’s family was planning a missions trip to a girls’ orphanage India this summer, he decided to create Lego kits to take along to give to the girls living there.

His first idea was to design a Lego snake that several girls could add on to, but that was deemed too frightening and maybe overwhelming in its complexity for kids who hadn’t had any exposure to Lego. His next idea was a fairly simple design called Lightbox Flowerbeds – this was a smash hit and he watched as the older girls at the orphanage in Pune, India, taught the younger girls how to build them.

After his trip to India, he started noticing that there is also poverty around him here in Canada, and he reached out to the YMCA where one in five kids comes from a home in financial need. As a result, he will be making kits for their kids programs as well.

Caleb creates his own designs out of pieces he has, and once he has the prototype, he draws the instructions using Lego Digital Designer, and then he starts searching for and collecting pieces to assemble the kits.

Anyone who wants to donate Lego pieces or Lego gift cards to Project Lightbox can contact Caleb at

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LEGO Big Ugly Tree Trunk piece

AFOLs like their acronyms, so when this piece came out, it soon became known as a BURP (Big Ugly Rock Piece)

This rock panel piece is smaller and became known as a LURP (Little Ugly Rock Piece)


Well, in our online chat today we were talking about this new piece.

And Sean Jackson and Will Fong have deemed it the Big Ugly Tree Trunk.  So go forth and spread the news!

* This is only meant to be humourous and hopefully no one will take offence of the sometimes juvenile side of the minds of our members. 

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15 of the World’s Most Talented LEGO® Builders Exhibit at LEGO House

Joe Meno from BrickJournal posted this article on their website which includes one of our own, Paul Hetherington.   Please read further in the link below.  Photo is from BrickJournal.

15 of the World’s Most Talented LEGO® Builders Exhibit at LEGO House


photo credit: BrickJournal

We Built This City is a colorful celebration of the creative potential locked inside each LEGO Brick.

At the center of the city is a LEGO brick shaped factory that is pumping out colorful LEGO parts. These parts are transported by conveyor belts up to the top of the city where a giant Robot is putting the finishing touches on the one of the buildings with help from the construction minifigs.

The overall look was inspired by the style of graffiti and cartoon line drawings.

We Built This City will be on display at the LEGO House in Billund Denmark from Sept 2019 – Sept 2020.


Here’s a link to Paul’s Flickr album to see more of his fabulous creations.

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Beyond the Brick interviews at BrickCan 2019

A highlight for many at BrickCan 2019 was the attendance of Beyond the Bricks, Joshua and John Hanlon.  They did interviews with attendees about their MOCs, as seen here.

Sarah Von Innerebner for her Beauty and the Beast Library.


The Great Ball Contraption layout

Jurassic Park by SausageLUG

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