Battle For District 18: The Lego Speeder Bike Contest returns

The Manifesto is a proud sponsor of the 2018 Lego Speeder Bike Contest that started today over on Flickr.  The familiar trio of Cole Blaq_zenn and friend of the blog Ted Andes are back in action, providing the arena, some rad brick-built trophies and assorted prizes.

By far the most fun I had with Lego in 2017 was the annual LSB contest, it inspired me to get off my ass and start building again.  Unlike many challenges where people work feverishly in relative isolation, last year’s event saw a great deal of teamwork where builders would provide each other with constructive criticism and encouragement.  For once the social aspect of the contest was almost equal to the raw output of cool models.  There was also an interesting arms-race that developed where dioramas came to the forefront (even though they did not factor in the judging) and builders engaged in an escalating battle to one-up each other.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it and I’m sure this year’s iteration will generate it’s own unique character.  So if you’ve got some free time in the next month (the contest ends midnight March 4th), you really have no excuse not to give it a shot.  One of the best things about LSB is that it’s very low-impact in terms of time and the amount of building required.  For the first time digital entries are permitted so throw those excuses out the window and get working on your bike.

For more information, check out the on LSB GROUP Flickr.



16 thoughts on “Battle For District 18: The Lego Speeder Bike Contest returns

  1. Thanks Keith. In honor of that epic 2017 arm race, we’ve changed the rules this year so that the ENTIRE SCENE will be judged in the final “District 18” category (not just the bikes). Since dioramas can be resource intensive, we also decided to take the shackles off digital building to help level the playing field. This is definitely a “No Excuses” LSB contest this year.

    – Have no bricks? Go digital.
    – At college (or out of the country) and away from your collection? Go digital.
    – Just got back from a con and don’t feel like sorting? Go digital.
    – Don’t have a good camera, or good lighting, and you take crappy photos? Go digital.
    – Worried that digital builders will have an advantage? Go digital yourself. You’ve got time. There are plenty of articles now on the Manifesto with digital program advice… Or instead, remember that physical builders can still use cut/custom parts (and stickers!) in this contest.
    – Still prefer physical building, but don’t have enough bricks? Then learn how to clone in photoshop!

    Digital and physical builders will finally have a chance to go head-to-head! (… Is this a building contest first? ) If it wasn’t for the honor system, or a builder’s reputation of being digital, I’m not sure we could tell the difference between them anymore, with the great rendering being done these days (LDD screen caps likely won’t cut it).

    In addition to the prizes for the winners, we plan to give a custom printed 1×4 tile to the people who enter the District 18 category (still working on getting the vendor started on it – at this rate I might order after contest is over to get an accurate count).

    Looking forward to seeing another great speederbike competition!

    (It would be cool to see competitors combine their “District 18” diorama entries into some future convention collaboration display too… or at least the physical builders…D’oh!)


    1. Are you saying that digital builds need to have a proper rendering to be considered for the win? I’ve never done one, but they are either difficult or cost money right? I’ve never tried before, but that is what I’ve gathered. I’ll agree that screenshots are hard on your eyes compared to a photo of a physical model. I kind of wish there was more than a month for the contest, but I guess I better get moving if I’m going to attempt a dio, not sure about that. Anyway, cool contest.


      1. I’m saying “Sweep the Leg!” I’m saying “Commit!” – remember that you are not competing against the rules, but against your fellow competitors. To win, you have to put in a little effort to rise above the rest. Realistic rendering isn’t the only way to go. People could go the artistic route, like that one example of those flying airship posters that Keith blogged about awhile back…

        I’m just saying that a low-res, raw screen cap out of LDD with that building grid below (or that vast desert) is kind of like the equivalent of a blurry picture… And in a field of nearly 100 entries, not very likely to stand out… But who knows?…


      2. Youtube probably has a smattering of hard-to-follow videos showing how to render a Lego creation well, but there are possibilities out there. You might be familiar from my article about the restraints of the Mecabricks render system. That’s still probably what I will use. Build in LDD, tweak in Mecabricks, and render onsite. It will give small pictures (unless I pitch a few dollars in) but it will probably stand out on the photostream! A couple bucks is a small price to pay for true art.

        With that being said, if I do find any good digital rendering tutorials in the next couple weeks, I’ll comment back here and let you know. Step 1: build.


  2. D18 sounds like I have no excuse not to enter this time; nevermind I couldn’t build an sb if my life depended on it, I’ll just rip off someone else’s and focus on the fun part. :))


  3. Ted,
    Last years contest was an unexpected blast of cool fresh air (and hot rhetoric!).

    I hope this year proves just as spicy and delicious!



    1. The credit goes to everyone who got together and spurred each other on in those group build chats. The dynamic energy created from those interactions elevated the expectations, and took things beyond anything we could have architected into the contest. Beyond “Keith & the Cronies” (that’s gotta be a band name), I know of at least two other groups of builders who did some type group chat too. That energy also helped draw in a bunch of new builders… and got a few “castle” builders to cross enemy lines for a couple weeks too 😉

      This year, we’ve tried to keep what worked from last year, improve what didn’t, and all we can do now is sit back and watch the action unfold…


  4. Ted,

    “all we can do now is sit back and watch the action unfold…”

    Don’t kid yourself man! The start of an effort is just that. The start. Now, you and the other two hosts need to establish the tone. Answer the entrants questions quickly and concisely. Offer encouragement and feedback on entries. KEEP ADVERTISING.

    Never just fire the starting pistol and then walk over to your easy chair. Fire the pistol and then start yelling! Sometimes, an effort that seems to start slowly will gain momentum as time passes. It’s not a random factor though. That momentum is often the result of the staffs energy level. The action can indeed simply “unfold” itself. But your not off the hook to unfold it the way you want it to go. It’s like watching a wad of crumpled paper unfold, or grabbing it and making it into an origami crane!

    Get on it brother! Get on it and ride it like you stole it! Work that crowd man!

    Sitting back is a seductive and destructive option. Yeah… it’s what most people do… but don’t be like most people.

    Now more than ever… “You control the action!”

    Perhaps even shake it… the way one might shake a polaroid picture…

    Attack brother attack!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You mistook what I meant there by “sit back”. It was more a comment of that we can only do (and will continue to do) the things that are within our control (and appropriate) as contest hosts. Rest assured that someone is manning the ship the entire way. If you go back to my “Party Hosting Tips” article, you can see that we know the score, and have a track record from last year’s contest. Like last year, we will continue to promote and do everything within our control – setting the stage, managing the theater, lighting up the marquee, freshening the bathroom towels, etc. After all of that, “the action” of the show itself still comes from the players who pass through those doors and step up on stage as entrants.

      We also recruited Keith in as a “sponsor” and as someone that can offer comments to entrants as they come in (which aren’t always appropriate to be coming from one of us judges, like myself – one of the “improvements” I mentioned). The proposed “weekly action review” here on the Manifesto will also keep things entertaining along the way.

      … and we better see you throw down in this contest. It’s would be interesting to see if your speederbikes crumble apart as easily as the Demeter did 😉


  5. Yeah. I want in, but wont commit until i have at least one entrenin hand. I hate two kinds of contest comments
    First, the comments to the effect: Looks like fun… But i wont be able to participate.
    But worse… Is the guy who says hes in…but then fails to make good on his commitment.

    I just pulled the second one just a few weeks ago with Nanen Zhangs charity drive. I was sure i could get a moc done by the deadline… And i said i would contribute…And i didnt. I feel like a total dirtbag for it.

    So… I aint saying boo out loud… Until i have an entry on the table.

    All that said, your points about NOT sitting back are sweet music. So many contests treated as “fire and forget … Once launched, the tempo of communications is key man.

    The three catagories are dope man. They interlock well in terms of building towards a dio…


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