Ask a LEGO Fan

Creating a new LUG

Posted in AFOL Events, LUGs (LEGO Users Groups) by lfanquestions on March 30, 2010

Stephen writes:

Myself and a couple of friends who are all Adult LEGO users/collectors are thinking of forming a local LUG.


Have you any idea where we might be able to get some general information about what is required to set up a LUG? What if any legal issues there are? Is there some central point of registration with The Lego Group?


I realize that locality will have an effect on legislative issues – but any help at this time would be good.

Dear Stephen,

LEGO Users Groups can be very structured with a large bureaucracy or an informal group of fans that meet regularly.  I would recommend the latter type since you live in a large country where many fans are separated by distance.
A few basic decisions must be made for a new lug:

  • Will we require an annual membership fee?
  • What types of club officers are needed (Treasurer, Webmaster, President, etc)?
  • How old does a person need to be to join our club?
  • Where will we meet?
  • How often will we meet?
  • How often will we have club shows for the public?
  • How will we raise money to support the club layout?
  • What type of club gear is needed (shirts, name badges, etc)?

Try to keep club rules to a minimum.  Massive club bylaws can be a huge distraction.  Just ask any Wamalug member about this.

Add your new lug to the lugmap: http://www.lugnet.com/map/ You can also request a lugnet newsgroup for your lug.  Publicize your shows online.  This is the best way for TLG to notice your lug.  Once your lug is active in the local community, you will be eligible for participation in TLG programs such as LUGBulk.

If your club grows by leaps and bounds and is raking in cash, you will probably want to become a LLC or non-for-profit organization.  My suggestion is to have fun meeting with other local AFOLs on a regular basis.

Sincerely,

LFan

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Starting A New Community

Posted in LUGs (LEGO Users Groups), Online Fan Communities by lfanquestions on February 22, 2010

Alex writes:

What advice/resources can you suggest for new communities? Are there any guidelines or tips? Does Lego provide any resources on this matter (other than sets for contests & co)?


Dear Alex,

First check and see if there is a LEGO Users Group in your area: http://www.lugnet.com/map/

You may need to start a new LUG if other groups are too far away.  Check out websites of current lugs above to see how they handle meetings and events.  You will need a meeting place and a website to promote your club.

TLG has supported lugs in the past by donating small amounts of brick for displays and catalogs, posters, etc to give to the public at events.

Online communities are formed by like minded fans without the support of TLG.  Find other fans at existing community sites.  Discover the people that are interested in starting a new site.  Check out the major theme and community sites to see how they organize their forum, set archives, article sections, events, etc.

From time to time TLG donates new sets for contests on major theme sites such as Classic-Castle, FBTB.net, etc.  Thanks TLG!

In the past certain Lego resource sites have been assisted financially by TLG until they became self sufficient.  Currently it is unlikely that a new fan site would have this level of support.

Sincerely,

LFan

Custom Colored Element Order?

Posted in LUGs (LEGO Users Groups), Marketplace by lfanquestions on December 7, 2009

John writes:

Hello,

Would it ever be possible for a group of AFOLs (LUG or LTC) to have a custom batch of parts molded by The LEGO Group? To maintain any remote chance of the answer being yes, naturally there would be restrictions:

– Current part mold

– Current ABS color

– Minimum quantity (multiple K8s)

Thanks for the terrific website!

John

Dear John,

It is unlikely that TLG would allow orders of elements in colors that are not in production.  Currently they are testing out a LUGBULK order for many lugs around the world (but not the USA).  This allows lugs to order pieces for their displays which TLG is already producing.

LEGOLAND theme parks could order unique colors in the past.  This ability was taken away after the parks were divested from TLG.  Small batch orders of parts are expensive for Lego to produce.

A more realistic solution would be for fan communities to contact TLG through their LEGO Ambassadors and suggest popular elements to be placed in future sets.  Ideas include fall colored foliage, doors and windows in less common colors, etc.

Sincerely,

LFan

Getting Started as an AFOL

Posted in General Questions, LUGs (LEGO Users Groups) by lfanquestions on November 19, 2009

Matthew writes:

Dear LFan,

You might be the best person to ask.  I just recently got really back into Lego bricks and as an adult wanted to know what I can do.  I see the websites of MOCs but my skill level (and budget) is not there yet.  Also Lego Groups website about activities for adults and even the certified/ambassador programs leaves me more questions than answers.

How can I become professional/certified/ambassador status?  Or at least..what would the first step be?

Thank you for your time and your quick response.

Matthew

Dear Matthew,

Getting involved in the Adult Fan of Lego (AFOL) community is a great idea.

First you should check and see if there is a Lego Users Group (LUG) near you.  Check out the map here:  http://www.lugnet.com/map/ Lugs hold regular meetings where you can join other fans to share creations, build new sets, and discuss everything Lego related.  They also have public displays several times a year.

Next you should look into online forums and sites for Lego fans.  Most themes have fan sites.  Take a look at the following communities and join the ones you are interested in:

www.fbtb.net – Star Wars

www.classic-castle.com – Castle

www.classic-space.com – Space

www.forbiddencove.com – Pirates

www.classic-pirates.com – Pirates

www.trains-n-town.com – Trains and Town

www.bzpower.com – Bionicle

The third step is to attend a large fan festival.  I recommend attending the convention that is near you.  Check out information about the North American Fests here:

www.brickfair.com – East Coast in Washington, D.C.

www.brickworld.us – Mid West in Chicago

www.brickcon.org – West Coast in Seattle

Lego Ambassadors represent lugs and online communities by giving fan feedback to the Lego Company.  Certified professionals build large models on commission for companies and individuals.  Both groups represent a small niche in the community.  I hope you have found this information helpful.

Sincerely,

LFan

Which convention should I attend?

Posted in LUGs (LEGO Users Groups) by lfanquestions on November 1, 2009

Chris writes:

Which of the major US Lego conventions (BrickCon, BrickWorld, BrickFair) would you recommend to an adult first-time attendee?  How do the conventions differ?  Thanks for any advice!


Chris

Dear Chris,

My first recommendation is to attend the nearest show.  This will reduce travel expenses and increase the amount of time you can spend at the fest.

Each convention has advantages and disadvantages.  BrickWorld is the largest convention.  It draws many people due to the central location near Chicago.  The festival is located at a Westin Hotel and has more of a “corporate” feel than other fests.  A large portion of the convention is dedicated to public days.

BrickCon is slightly smaller convention located in Seattle.  It offers a friendly informal atmosphere similar to the BrickFest conventions in the early 2000’s.  Many AFOLs and TLG employees prefer attending this type of fest.

BrickFair is the most recent convention.  This fest actually had the most attendees last year of any USA convention.  Many families attended with children and teens bringing their own mocs.  A large portion of the organizers were involved with BrickFest throughout the last decade. With this vast amount of experience, BrickFest offers wonderful sessions for AFOLs.

Attending your first large convention will be a blast no matter which one you choose. Have fun!

Sincerely,

LFan

AFOL Pronunciation

Posted in LUGs (LEGO Users Groups) by lfanquestions on October 30, 2009

Stephen writes:

Hello,

A simple question. How does one say AFOL?
From time to time I will see an obvious AFOL in the LEGO section of a department or toy store. I’d dearly like to ask…
“Are you an AFOL too?” to start a conversation with a fellow collector/builder. However – no matter how I pronounce it – it always sound slightly offensive. Probably best not to spell out what I think it sounds like. But think of an insult starting with A and ending in ole.

Ay-fol could be mistaken for A Hole….

Aff-ol sounds like the same sort of insult with a lisp.

Ay Ef Oh El sounds – well too long winded really.

I suppose I could just ask if my fellow shopper is buying for himself or a child. But even that sounds a little odd and I guess intrusive.

Perhaps we need to develop an AFOL secret handshake to recognise each other in public?

 

Dear Stephen,

Fans use a variety of ways to pronounce AFOL.  Since it is an acronym, I personally prefer A.F.O.L.  Check out an interesting discussion regarding this topic on Lugnet.com:

http://news.lugnet.com/general/?n=50824

Many fans are not very fond of the term AFOL.  Some prefer LEGO Enthusiast or Lego Fan.

Sincerely,

LFan

Growing up to be a LEGO Designer

Posted in General Questions, LUGs (LEGO Users Groups) by lfanquestions on August 18, 2009

Mrs J. writes:

I am contacting you today on behalf of my 11 yr. old son.

He has an obsession with Lego’s.  There you have it!!!!!!!!!!  :o)

He is emphatic about being a Lego Designer when grows up.  He’s a pretty sharp cookie that consistently comes up with his own unique LEGO/Bionicle designs and is constantly “tweaking” his creations for hours at a time.

I would like to help him in his quest.  After perusing the LEGO site, I came across info on the Ambassador program and would like to know if this is the right area for him to experience, maybe to find a “mentor” who could guide my son on this path.

We reside in Florida & I’m curious to know if there is a local group in the area.

I’m just a mom trying to help my son pursue his current love of LEGO’s

Can you help me?

Thank you.

Dear Mrs. J.,
Most LEGO Product Designers have a degree in product design, art, architecture, or engineering.  Your son should take many art classes so that he can sketch and render concepts before they are built with bricks.  Each product line has several types of team members.  Graphic artists design printed elements such as minifigure torsos.  Others design box art and logos.  Some team members sculpt new elements like a hair piece, Bionicle claw, etc.  Others work on creating concepts and designs for a line of sets.  There are many constraints such as time to design the line, price points of elements, retail input, and feedback from children.  This job is very rewarding but it is difficult at the same time.

Almost all design of LEGO sets takes place in Billund, a small town in Denmark where LEGO was founded.  Anyone wanting this job would have to move and live there.  If it is within your budget, I would suggest taking the LEGO Inside Tour at Billund.  This would let your son meet real LEGO designers, take a factory tour, etc  http://www.lego.com/eng/info/?page=eventdetailed

Every other year or so, LEGO will post an opening for a LEGO designer on their Jobs section of LEGO.com .  Another great way to meet LEGO employees is to attend a large fan event.  Meeting designers or writing letters could possibly lead to an internship at LEGO in the future.  Most designers are in the 25-45 year old range.

Florida has a LEGO Users Group (LUG) for Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOL’s):

http://www.gflug.org/

Fan groups exist all around the United States and world.  Some welcome children as long as they are accompanied by an adult.  Please contact the Greater Florida lug to see what their policy is.  They have an upcoming event, the Festival of the Masters, in Orlando.

Nationally, there are several large LEGO conventions held each year in the United States.  These include BrickFair in Washington DC, BrickCon in Seattle, Washington and BrickWorld in Chicago, Illinois.

http://www.brickcon.org/

http://www.brickfair.com/

http://www.brickworld.us/

Attending these events are a great way to meet other fans, LEGO employees (sometimes including designers), and see thousands of fan creations.  Most conventions have two days for the public to view the creations and talk to fans and a day for the adult fans to have seminars on various LEGO topics.  I would highly suggest attending the Festival of the Masters and one of the larger Conventions.

I hope you have found this information helpful.

Sincerely,

LFan

How do I start a lug?

Posted in LUGs (LEGO Users Groups) by lfanquestions on August 18, 2009

Mr L. writes:

How would I start a Lego Users Group if there is not one in my area?

Dear Mr. L.,

Please see this recent helpful articles on the Brothers Brick regarding starting a new lug:

http://www.brothers-brick.com/2009/07/30/lugging-pt-4-starting-a-lug/

Sincerely,

LFan