Make it a DUPLO

Until researching this post I had no idea the word “DUPLO” comes from the Latin duplus, which means double. I did know that DUPLO bricks are twice the length, height and width of traditional Lego bricks, but now the name makes sense.   I also discovered that DUPLO is manufactured in Nyíregyháza, Hungary and the basic brick has been around in one form or another since the their rather limited debut in 1969.  It is very rare that I come across DUPLO themed models in my internet travels and what I do find is typically less than intriguing.  While visiting my Vegas legoratory today, fellow KeithLUG member Andrew Lee drew my attention to a builder on Instagram that specializes in the oversized bricks.  Bjørn-Magne Stuestøl,  a.k.a Duplobuilder , has amassed quite a collection of large-scale sculptures that are instantly identifiable and no doubt delight his young children.  Bjørn has also amassed a rather large following on the popular app.  Until Andrew pointed me to Instagram I had no idea there was a LEGO nerd contingent there.  I probably should have known better, the hobby seems like it’s everywhere now on every concievable platform.

Although I regularly use DUPLO bricks as unseen internal support structure for my large-scale dioramas, I typically don’t have much use for them as elements.  I once tried my hand at a DUPLO-centric model for the 2011 edition of the MocAthalon building competition on MOCpages and the results were disastrous.  The contest features teams made up of 5 builders each who construct models in a variety of categories that are in turn scored by a group of judges.  I didn’t appreciate a particular judge’s score and I made one of the biggest mistakes of my decade in the hobby: I rage quit the game.  It was not a good look, the score was perfectly reasonable in hindsight and even writing this article makes me cringe a little at the keyboard.  I’m not going to make excuses for why I did it, my team was off to a good start and I let a personality conflict with one of the judges get the best of me.  It earned me the contempt of the judges, the other players and worst of all my teammates.  The whole thing was ridiculous but I deserved every minute of the misery that followed.  About the only good thing I can say about it is that I still like my entry for the DUPLO category called “Yo DUPLO Game Show!”, which was equal parts Yo Gabba Gabba! and your average Japanese game show.

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To add insult to injury a former fanboy of mine was also in the competition and was motivated by my antics to build a scathing and beautifully accurate diorama to immortalized the whole sordid affair.  Entitled “Boned”, the model was a perfect way to close out the event and his miniaturized version of my “Yo DUPLO Game Show” diorama was very well done indeed.  Many thanks Chairman Zhang, I owe you one buddy.  Looking at it for the first time in years, the floor is a very interesting design.  When it first debuted, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate the finer details and immaculate lighting.  At least Nannan was kind enough to give me a full head of lustrous black hair.

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I’ll end our brief and personally embarrassing exploration of DUPLO with a SHIP (Seriously Huge Investment In Parts) by dark_syntax.  “8 Belle Space” is better than I thought possible for a starship constructed entirely from DUPLO and it was even competitive with some of the System builds from the annual SHIPtember building contest.

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After posting this article I was reminded by several of you that the greatest DUPLO model of all time is without a doubt “My First DUPLO Bar” by BrickManGraeme and the good folks at ToroLUG.  The model was created for BrickWorld 2015, and I think we can all agree that nothing is better than a fully stocked bar after public day.  I apologize for the glaring omission, the look on Simon’s face says it all…well played my Canadian homies.  I’ve also included a shot of an ambitious and operational DUPLO mini-golf layout that was great fun for the participants of this year’s Brickworld.  Thanks to constant reader Christopher for including a link to the course in the comment section.

Let us never speak of this again.  Next time you’re tempted to rage-quit I urge you to remember my cautionary tale of personal embarrassment and avoid doing so at all costs.

12 thoughts on “Make it a DUPLO

  1. Dark’s SHIP has to be the record for the least amount of bricks used to achieve 100 studs. Looks fantastic too.

    I have to admit that I groan a bit every time I see a Duplo sculpture. Not for any lack of talent or skill but more for the over-simplified medium. It just always rings cheat to me. I don’t know, it sounds kind of preposterous as I write that. I have to admit that the My First Duplo Bar by ToroLUG at BW2015 was absolutely brilliant.

    My First Duplo Bar

    I guess there’s the added bonus of nostalgia that goes even further back than system that I can appreciate recalling as simply and childishly passe. Duplo definitely has its place though.

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    1. I’m kicking myself repeatedly for not including the bar, I have edited the post to include this brilliant model and public service by ToroLUG. Thanks for the video!

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  2. A cool mix of a traditionally unexplored segment by AFOLs and personal catharsis, Keith. The subjects were both new to me. As far as the ragequit, I think to some degree or other every person that has taken on any sort of organizational or leadership role, or has even found exceptional success in this hobby has a similar story to tell. Could be something about the dynamic of personal expectation colliding with public expectation, mixed in with the poultice of shortcomings that seep freely in us all. To be honest, it’s what has often kept me from going from a fairly casual toe-dipper to a hooping cannonballer into the community. I just know that I would have somehow taken something to heart in the wrong way and likely have whimperquit, withdrawing back into my own emotional Econoline van parked down by the river. Kudos to you for the guts to dredge your own experience back up to the light and share it with generous scoops of mea culpas – not an easy thing to do.

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    1. Thanks Gil! I didn’t set out to write a mea culpa, but I couldn’t address the topic of DUPLO without covering my own idiocy. I’ll have to remember whimperquit for the title of my never to be written biography…or maybe poultice of shortcomings.

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  3. This article lacked focus. You address two excellent topics Duplo and Rage-quitting. I think you wrote almost as quickly as you were thinking. As a result, the tone is very candid, and very credible. And of course, as always, your article is chalked full of good dope and cool links. But each of these two topics could have been taken to greater depth in articles of there own. You have left me wanting more detail on each topic. No, I refuse to entertain the notion that this was your exact intention. Don’t even try to ply me with that lame rebuttal.

    Specifically, I would like to have seen a pic or two of Duplo being used as filler in one of your dios. Just to better illuminate the utility of Duplo along side your excellent treatment of the esthetic of Duplo.

    As for rage-quitting… a timeless topic, and certainly excellent material for an AFOL discussion. We have all seen it, and most have done it… some more than others. A very relevant topic of discussion for a population that can’t wait to tell everybody how they have struggled their whole life with Asperger’s syndrome ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome ). Your decision to exploit your own… miserable… disgusting… embarrassing… hitting self in forehead with hammer… no going back… can’t ever ever ever un-do it… experiment with rage quitting was spot on. Your account was both mundane, credible. Obviously, you know your own story, and so you tell it. No collateral damage, no poop throwing, and no operatic tails of betrayal and vengeance. Just a story about the time you totally lost your mind in the public eye. Right on man. But you also let everybody know that this behavior, while unflattering is also… common. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just a blunder. Rub grass on it and walk it off. It’s a good message, and certainly one worthy of public declaration (and one would hope… subsequent discussion).

    So I liked your selection of both of these topics… but you ripped us off by lumping them together.

    Gil! Your the man! Poultice? You used the word “poultice” in normal conversation. The last person I heard use that word was Granny Hawkins when she was talk’n to the Josey Wales ( http://www.quotes.net/mquote/71182 ). Hearing that word… its like a soothing balm for my word parched ear! Your feedback was better than Keith’s whole rambling post.

    You rock the poultice Gil!

    Good post Keith.

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    1. Mike wrote a novel…but man, I kinda agree with the old man, at least on some points. I guess…selfishly…your intriguing style of storytelling leaves me wanting more. Which is, come to think of it, not an entirely bad thing. When you started writing about Duplo and then went (gracefully) into some history…and on both fronts I felt myself wondering about the details. Pics of Duplo supports in your MOCs would have been awesome…behind the scenes insight is what people will cherish in your posts. Also, the story about MOCathalon or MOC Olympics or whatever happens on MOCPages…small details about what it is and how it works would be nice. Personally, MOCPages…much like Eurobricks…are two corners of the AFOL religion that I was never baptized in. While most AFOLs might know about whatever shenanigans happen at either locale, you might better serve your readers by adding commentary regarding traditions that some might not be aware of. Aside from small criticisms, I will say your blog is keeping my attention and is genuinely thought provoking. Each new post is lowering my productivity at work, as I’m finding the need to instantly view the posts no matter what I’m doing. Keep it up man!

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      1. Get used to it, Rutherford is the one who should have a blog, he’s got no end of opinions on a wide variety of topics. When you and Rutherford both agree that combining two separate themes into a single post is short changing each one…I should probably pay attention. It’s also a good takeaway from your comment that I should be careful not to assume a wide body of knowledge on topics like MOCathalon, I should add more depth to the explanatory sections. Glad the blog has your attention Zach and I really appreciate the comments, they are really the only exterior reward for writing the blog, and I dig it. As far as your workplace productivity, just stop with the online poker at work and it will even out. Cheers!

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    2. I looked for shots of DUPLO as infrastructure, but I couldn’t find a single one. I’m really bad about not keeping old WIP shot, I usually delete them when a model is posted, I should probably stop doing that. The two topics seemed logically interrelated to me when I was writing but I see your point about the value of separating them with more complete coverage of both DUPLO and rage-quitting. That’s the downside of not planning what I’m going to write until I sit down at the keyboard. It’s a little like Andrew on Bricks&Beer with his stream of consciousness style. I’ll watch out for the split-themes in the future.

      Also, you’re mom’s a poultice.

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  4. Three points:
    1. Keith – you need therapy.
    2. Chairman Zhang- That recreation brought me to the scene. Love the floor and lighting. And the fact that you made a MOC about an actual incident! You could work for “Unsolved Mysteries”.
    3. “My First DUPLO Bar”- Heaven on earth. Lego+Beer.

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    1. 1. Therapy is for Canadians and suckers.
      2. Chairman Zhang is a master indeed, if he wasn’t busy repairing brains then I agree he should work for Unsolved Mysteries, but they probably couldn’t afford him.
      3. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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