This week we cover the latest contests, new Legoland Discovery Centers and the Lego company’s efforts to go green. Our guest this week is Roland Cao, a Brickset admin.
This weeks Lego guest is Roland Cao. You can find his works on Brickset.
1. Mi-Fi Contest
You have until June 25th to enter the Micro-scale Sci-fi contest.
2. Two new Legoland Discovery Centers Toronto and NY (joins other ones in America in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City)
3. Lego going green Wind Farm
Lego has started two using FSC certified paper and building wind farms to help the company go green
Your LEGO History
1. When did you start building?
My parents actually bought my first system scale LEGO sets for me when I was 1 year old. They purchased 588 Police Headquarters and 733 Universal Building Set on clearance. They gave them to me when I was old enough to play with them and it began my lifelong love of LEGO.
I consider myself a collector first and foremost, and just trying to keep up with the collecting aspect of the hobby easily could consume any free time I have. I do enjoy building though, and becoming active in my local LUG last year was the catalyst I needed to dive headlong into building MOCs.
I highly recommend LEGO enthusiasts to join communities, on and offline, as I find that they really amplify the enjoyment of the hobby.
2. Did you have a dark age and, if so, when?
Yes. I entered my dark age around 9th grade. I don’t recall any drastic need to distance myself from my childhood toys. I think I just got busy with school, extracurricular activities, and hanging out with friends.
I emerged from my dark age when I graduated from college in 1999 and found myself gainfully employed. eBay was just starting to hit its stride at the same time, and I became obsessed with buying all the sets that I had ever longed for as a child. I haven’t looked back since.
You and LEGO Lately
1. Any recent mocs to note? Joshs and Matthews favorite MOCs you have built.
Most of the MOCs I’ve built have been with the intent to at one point or another be used as LUG showcase models. The modular library is built in the style of the popular Modular Building series and I restricted myself to primarily using pieces from a Fire Brigade set and Pick A Brick to demonstrate that sourcing parts for a MOC doesn’t necessarily have to be a difficult bricklink endeavor. The California State Capitol was my first model completely designed in LDD before a brick was laid and the repetition of the design made it ideal for that approach. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory model and have been met with nods of agreement when I mention it was one of my favorite books growing up. I guess that further proves that the kids in all of us is not too far out of touch.
Telll us about the Wedding MOCs
2. How did you come to be involved with Brickset and what are your duties on Brickset?
I used the cataloging feature of LUGNET for a very long time. My collection is quite large so even though I recognized that LUGNET was deteriorating as early as 2004, it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I finally bit the bullet and moved my collection over to Brickset. At the beginning of 2011, I noticed that the news articles were prompting a lot of comments from users, so I approached Huw, the site owner, and convinced him to implement a forum.
I’m still not sure if Huw is an amazingly shrewd judge of character, or just got incredibly lucky, because he recruited six people to administer and moderate the forum, and I was one of them despite never giving Huw my credentials.
I, along with most of the staff at Brickset, where a lot of hats. Most of my duties are centered around the forum, but I have the authority to update the set database, post articles to the main news site, and perform a lot of administrative duties on Brickset. That really is a testament to Huw; he’s incredibly receptive to suggestions and very trusting such that we wear so many hats and interchange them freely.
3. Brickset, like the LEGO company and the greater LEGO community, has experienced rapid growth in recent years. Do you think this rapid growth has been beneficial to the site or has it made the site too copiously large?
I think it’s been beneficial thus far. I find that interacting with others enhances my enjoyment of the hobby because I’m constantly being made aware of new things and perspectives to which I would otherwise be oblivious. If this is true for others — and by all accounts it is — then as the number of brickset users increases and the sense of community is galvanized, the more we all gain.
4. Brickset has expanded its offerings over the past couple of years by increasing the amount of news coverage, adding a forum, and incorporating more information to the database. Do you think these changes have improved or negatively affected the user experience?
Just as with all things, growth forces compromise so that certain aspects may suffer. I think thus far Huw has done a good job of maintaining the proper focus for Brickset and keeping the user experience paramount. We are always eager to hear about the pain points and suggestions from users.
5. Conventions/shows we can find you at?
If you’re in the Northern California area, you can find me at any event in which my LUG — Sacramento Brick Builders — participates. I missed out on Bricks By The Bay this year because it coincided with my daughter’s birthday, but I hope to make it in the future. Otherwise, the best place to find me is wherever the next great LEGO sale or clearance is :P
1. I noticed you are a software engineer, why do you think so many AFOLs have computer related jobs?
Software engineering — like most engineering disciplines — requires analytic thinking to construct a system from functional parts. This is the same process as building with LEGO.
For me, I am not sure if playing with LEGO as a child steered me in the direction for a future in engineering or if I was drawn to LEGO because I already had an affinity for analytic thinking. One thing I am sure of, though, is that LEGO helped develop those skills.
2. Tips for people who are trying to buy rare LEGO sets or find sets that have been recently discontinued for reasonable prices?
Sites like eBay, bricklink, and Amazon all have notification features. With the appropriate amount of patience and diligence, if you set a realistic goal for what you would pay for a set, you’ll usually make out fine. Learn what factors affect the movement of aftermarket prices — availability, popularity, demographic of buyers, time of year, length of retirement — and determine if you should buy now or later.
It probably is obvious, but you can save yourself all that effort by buying sets before they retire. Prioritize what you buy to favor sets that have been around longer and thus are likely to retire sooner.
3. Favorite Lego set ever produced? Dream LEGO set?
It is simply impossible for me to name one set as my favorite because I like many sets for different reasons. Here are some questions that are easier for me to answer, which following the rationale, might qualify them as my favorite set:
If you were stranded on a desert island with only one set, which would you choose?
What set do you have the fondest memory of?
What set do you think you’ve logged the most play hours with?
What set do you regard as the most beautiful set?
If you had to choose one set to give to someone to make them a fan of LEGO, which would you choose?
And in spite of all those selections, I would probably prefer this set over any of them on any given day:
As far as dream LEGO set, I’d love to see the introduction of a theme that gives us motorized carnival rides in the style of the excellent 10196 Grand Carousel. I think a carnival embodies the ideals of fun and youthful exuberance with which TLG aligns and presents it in the quintessential LEGO setting: town.
→ Someones moc carnival rides, pretty neat.