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.
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.
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.
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.