2018 LSB Contest: Week 2 Wrap Up

We’re two weeks in to the annual LSB contest on Flickr and the number of entries has spiked from 7 to 36 with even more bikes floating around the pool, untethered from the official threads.  I planned on going back and comparing the totals to last year’s numbers but as it was pointed out last week, this edition of the contest is it’s own unique creature and probably shouldn’t be compared too closely to it’s predecessors.  So I’ll leave that kind of analysis until the final wrap-up or maybe leave it for Ted if he chooses to close out the proceedings with a piece for the Manifesto.  I’m also quite lazy and just keeping up with commenting and offering my unsolicited critique on each and every entry is taking up a good deal of time.  On that note, my favorite aspect of the contest seems to be getting stronger with each passing day, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many contestants not only accepting of feedback but also willing to go the extra step of incorporating the better suggestions into second drafts.  Critique should rarely be taken in it’s totality but rather approached with a salad-bar mentality where you just grab the ingredients that make sense and taste good.

Jonathan Gilbert took his bike to the next level with a little help from the audience.  Although I’m not one of these guys who think every exposed stud must be covered with a tile, the first version of this bike was just too knobby.  The background so overwhelmed the bike in terms of quality that it was distracting, so cheers to Jonathon for going after it aggressively and smoothing out the bike while adding details like a windscreen, side mirrors and headlight.

The same can be said for FonsoSac, who improved not only the bike but the base as well and with one revision took his bike from participant to contender by paying attention to the criticism.  I think some people are just mailing it in when it comes to the base because the rules say the base will not factor into the judge’s decision making process.  Now, while I’m certainly NOT calling the judges liars, I do believe that if two bikes are really similar in quality the bike with the better base will win.

ska2d2 cites the encouragement and good advice of fellow competitor Pico Von Grootveld for improvements to his entry, and again, it’s not just the bike that’s better for the the criticism but the base as well.  Just changing the orientation of the motorcycle shell made a world of difference but he went the extra mile and improved the rider, and nearly every significant aspect of the design.

To quote Deltassius in one of the conversational threads, the “roaming critic gallery” may be small, only three or four builders, but it does seem to be having a positive impact on both the quality of the bikes and the community spirit of the contest in general.  I’d bet money that the gallery will eventually comes up against someone who doesn’t want to hear their (our) jackassy opinions, but for now it’s been unusually gratifying to promote the concept of constructive criticism rather than just gasbag about it on the blog.  Shout-out to Werewolff who I see comment on just about every single entry, it’s one thing to participate and build a bike, but it’s another thing entirely to reach out to a competitor with words of encouragement and critique.  I just wish there were more constant readers out there making the rounds with us.

As for the bikes of week two, there were a lot to choose from when it came down to highlighting the best of the group, so I decided for the sake of brevity (wouldn’t want to make anyone’s patience grow too thin with excessive commentary) to limit my observations to one example from each category.

The ABIDE category is proving to be the most popular, varied and intriguing of the group so far.  My favorite of the most recent crop of offerings is the “Sea Snipper” by P.B., I actually liked halfbeak’s entry better as a pure bike, but if I was a judge this would be my pick.  Unlike halfbeaks’ bike it has a clear purpose, offers a bit of comedy and tells more of a story with all the attachments and the robotic sidekick.  I really like the spindly look of the front, out there on a single precarious bar/antenna.  The octopus camouflaged in the water is a great addition to what is otherwise a pretty simple base.  25394476857_7a66d58d29_o.png

The ENFORCE category is where you’ll find most of the boilerplate of the contest, there are some slick entries to be sure, but everything is very…expected, that is with one notable exception of the “Impounder” by halfbeak.  Most entries are content to resemble highway patrol bikes, suitable for pursuit and very little else, but this bike has the specific and somewhat horrific capability to snatch a driver and/or it’s bike right out of the not so friendly skies.  The friendly Frisbee drone is also a nice touch (tied in by the decals), along with the simple but effective base.  The lime green really pops and helps accent the bike.


The REBEL category is a little problematic in it’s vague definition and I think it’s the most difficult for the contestants to fully engage with.  It reduces the basic concept to stereotypes like the rebellion of Star Wars or Mad-Max style biker gangs.  I’m prepared to be persuaded that the category is actually the most liberating and nobody has really taken advantage of it yet, but so far it houses my least favorite entries.  Of course there are always exceptions and if I had to declare a winner of week 2’s offerings it would be the “Junkspeeder” by GolPlaysWithLego.  I think it definitely falls into the Star Wars spectrum of rebellion, but it adheres to the rule of cool and looks very fast and aggressive.  I’m not sure if it looks like it was created in a junkyard…but the roll cage makes up for any thematic weakness.  The base is modest but a cut above many of the competitors, that tentacle throws just enough of a monkey wrench into the mix.  Is it a plant?  Is it a tentacle?  Is it a snake?  I don’t know but it looks odd in the best possible way.


It’s still early so there are only a couple of entries into the diorama-based DISTRICT 18 category. I’m not terribly moved by either one so I’ll wait until week 3 to add those into the mix here on the Manifesto.  Since the action over here has faded a little as we slip towards the jaws of DA3 and hiatus, why not head over to the LSB contest and encourage the participants?  There is a hunger out there for good quality feedback which is rarely in short supply around here.

25 thoughts on “2018 LSB Contest: Week 2 Wrap Up

  1. I’ve been off in metaphorical Siberia sorting a quarter century of Lego after being inspired by the interview with Ace. (https://keithlug.com/2017/11/30/andrew-and-ace/). All I have left is White pieces, but it’s amazing how much cruft can accumulate. It’s even more impressive what people will pay for old Pirate, Wild West, and Castle sets, and odd monorail tracks, and baseplates of all things. It’s considerably easier to find 1×2 black plates in my new system instead of rummaging in two large bins of black, and sorting is a necessary evil that I need to see through and finish, but I’d rather be building a hoverbike.

    That said, I’m impressed with the orange and blue bikes you’ve curated. I saw the first drafts and wasn’t too impressed, but what a difference well intended feedback and a week can make. The fishing cycle is an oddball (in the best possible sense) and the tentacle cycle is truly Lovecraftian. I’ll mosey over to the group and see if I can offer something more meaningful than a fave and “nice build”.


    1. Had to look up “cruft”, thanks for the new addition to my vocabulary. Not sure if I’ll be able to put it to use, it still feels alien on the tongue. Congrats on the sorting, it always feels good to reclaim order in the collection and I hope all this newfound organization means we’ll see a speeder bike from you this year. You’ve got me thinking yet again about selling off some high-dollar parts that don’t mean as much to me as they do the collectors. Bricklink just seems like such a hassle from the seller’s side of things. One of these years I’m gonna give it a shot. I need to clear out space if I’m going to be able to add much more to my collection.

      You should definitely join us in the roaming critic gallery, you’d make a great edition since you’re always adding good insight over here. My favorite part of the contest is seeing the bikes change and improve. I’ve never seen a contest group so thoroughly embrace the process of critique. Hope to see you there and thanks for the comment.


  2. Another great round-up, Keith. Thanks for the commentary.

    “I think some people are just mailing it in when it comes to the base because the rules say the base will not factor into the judges. Now, while I’m certainly NOT calling the judges liars, I believe that if two bikes are really similar in quality the bike with the better base will win.”

    That is our stated intention… but you are 100% right that in actual practice presentation is still key, however it is accomplished.

    There is a reason why so much money goes into product marketing and placement at stores. You want something that grabs the buyer’s attention, and highlights what makes your product the one the judges should buy into. Why leave that to chance, especially if there are massive amounts of entries? What makes YOUR speederbike stand out on the store shelves?

    It is still early on the “District 18” dioramas, but a reminder to those reading this; a diorama really should go “edge-to-edge” in the photo (i.e. not a vignette view). Anyone who gives the judges the vibe of looking at a scene out of a movie will be in the lead pack…yes that is a major pain to accomplish, but we also said you could Photoshop, a mix digital and physical bricks, etc.


    1. I went back and looked at the announcement and I don’t see any mention of the “edge to edge” recommendation for the backgrounds, so you might want to address that in the group as well, I don’t think many of the competitors are reading these wrap ups. I might have missed it, it’s been a little hectic trying to keep up with the entries this week.

      I agree with your analogy about the speeder based being advertisement, the box doesn’t really matter in terms of the quality of the product being sold, but it’s very much a part of the appeal.


      1. So we had two contest formats that we were considering prior to the contest launch, and two sets of rules (3 bikes + 1 diorama vs 1 vignette and 1 diorama). I called that out in 1V+1D format, but I guess I didn’t carry it over into the description for this 3B+1D;

        “DIORAMA Build a diorama that displays all 3 types of speederbike users. No size constraints. When you take your a photo, be sure that you crop it so that the outer edges can’t be seen (in other words, it should look like a full-screen movie).”

        At this stage, I will adjust my expectations vs. adjusting the rules. If competitors aren’t reading the weekly wrap-ups, then they most certainly aren’t going to be re-reading the rules. I may lay down the recommendation in the announcement discussion, but vignettes will be valid entries.


      2. If that’s what you were expecting, then you worded the category completely wrong; a dio is a large vignette, not a perspective based build.

        Even if you rephrase it, and even if someone re-reads it may be too late; starting work on a dio doesn’t mean you can just change things around and turn it into a full screen build; it’s a completely different approach.

        As for the base counting in case of a tie; that’s nothing unusual. Any small detail will count in case of a tie, from a certain part use to photography or whatever unrelated bits that draw the eye. Hell, all these things will have a say in general judging as well on a subconscious level.


  3. Vitreolum,

    Yeah… Vig and Dio are different things… and so they require different approaches… and therefor the wording in the rules is relevant… but only if the builder is operating at a certain skill level. For many, the difference is simply a question of how close you hold the camera to the subject!

    I suppose it makes sense to assume that the people in the running for 1st place would all be building at the level where the distinction matters. After all… they are in the running for 1st place, and therefor, they are the best builders in the contest (and yes, there are some assumptions packed inside that statement).

    But if I am reading the “reason for this contest” correctly, then I think the distinction is largely academic. They want the most people to build the most stuff… the largest display of creative effort possible… so the distinction is best left in the realm of “would make it better” and not in the realm of “must be this way”…

    Like saying: Look, if you are in it to win it… you are going to need to do this… but if you don’t do this… your still OK in the contest, but you are just not going to be as competitive.

    Treat the DIO vs VIG as a criteria of comparison, and not as a screening criteria for eligibility.

    All that said, I am glad to see that the number of entries has really taken off! Cross commenting seems fairly high… but like Keith, I wish more guys from this blog were over there. It’s an opportunity to encourage builders, grow the hobby, and enhance the quality of the competition (and thus to contribute to the state of the art).

    Ted, keep swinging… your half way through!


    1. Exactly; Recommendation vs. Requirement.
      Plenty of analogies can be found in the Winter Olympics going on right now. In the snowboard half-pipe, figure skating, etc. doing the difficult tricks will give you the highest scores, but they aren’t “required” for participation… but if they want to win gold, they should consider doing them…

      I considered adding the “edge-to-edge” recommendation to the announcement discussion yesterday, but I’ve decided to leave it be. People can have a tough time distinguishing between recommendation vs. requirement when it comes to contest rules (even after segregating them into different sections). To bring up the recommendation now would cause too much confusion (and people making bad crops of photos). The goal of the “District 18” category is still to “tell the story of day-to-day life” in their speederbike world; Dioramas tell stories.


      1. The organizer’s idea may be participation, but there’s this part to consider – the guy entering – the assumption should be that everyone is there aiming for the first place, whether they have what it takes or not, not that they’re participating to tick the box, to add to the numbers. So letting them participate with something that doesn’t have a winning chance is unfair, since they were not informed about this bit. Also, since you didn’t ask for a full build, you may not get a single entry doing that. The judging criteria should match what what you asked for, not what you’re hoping for.

        Telling a story can be done in any shape or form, the same way a dio can tell no story whatsoever, just paint a pretty picture.

        That’s what I wanted to say, you shouldn’t add any recommandation now, quite the opposite in fact, alter the judging criteria to reflect what you asked for.


  4. “the assumption should be that everyone is there aiming for the first place, whether they have what it takes or not, not that they’re participating to tick the box”

    Ehhh… I don’t think that assumption is valid. Two reasons:

    One. Statistics. Everybody knows it’s a zero sum game. Most entrants KNOW that most entrants CANT win in a given category. In fact, most entrants know, that ONLY ONE entrant can win… so most entrants know that they probably won’t win… MOST are not surprised when they don’t win. I think this is true of most contests in general. There can be only one… and they all know it.

    Two. Inclusion. Inclusion alone… is a powerful motivator. Participation awards are often sighted as powerful incentives for participation in events (often… and especially… competitive events). Why? For precisely the reason I sight above. Most entrants don’t expect to win… but they want in on the action! They want to say they were involved, a part of this larger noteworthy event. Participation in an open competition, like most online Lego events (with no pre-lims, or heats)… allows new guys, low guys, and all around not very good guys… to stand next to experts… as peers. In a sense, as equals, colleagues… compatriots. That desire to “be a part of the same team as the best” is a gigantic motivator for many entrants.

    For both the basic statistical reality, and the reality of social motivations… I don’t think we are well served to assume that everybody who enters is trying to “win”.

    I still think that for many entrants, the visual and narrative implications of vig vs dio are obscure at best. I get it. And I agree with you… they are different, but I don’t think my agreement makes it any more relevant to most entrants.


  5. I’ll have to admit that I’m not really in it to win it necessarily. Don’t get me wrong. I’m going to put together the best speeder I can and all the prizes are really cool and a great incentive, but mostly I want to be a part of the action and I want to build something that is cool and fun. I’ve learned that some of my favorite builds are liked a lot less than some of my least favorite builds. I’m not sure that I’m on the same page with what other people think is cool, so it is more important that I like what I’m building than worrying about whether it will win the contest.

    I have a question for Keith. Forgive me if I sound like an idiot, but what exactly do you mean when you say something is “boilerplate”? That it is common and not original? Are there negative connotations there? You use it a lot and I’m trying to figure out what I should read into it, if anything.


    1. When I participated in the LSB contest last year I wasn’t in it to win it either, I figured I didn’t have much of a shot but I wanted to be a part of the action and support the contest my friends were running. I think most people have that attitude, because everyone knows guys like Carter and Tyler Clites are gonna swoop in at the last second, take all the hardware and not say anything to anyone in terms of reviews or encouragement. If the only goal was winning, I’d never bother entering a contest.

      Boilerplate’s traditional definition is formulaic or hackneyed language, as in the “legal boilerplate” you see at the end of drug advertisements or contracts. So yes, there is a slightly negative connotation when I use it, but there is nothing wrong with boilerplate in the Lego sense, so long as it’s well done. Generally when I say boilerplate I mean commonplace, tired, expected, typical etc.


      1. Yeah, the mindset “I don’t stand a chance” is more than common, it’s probably the norm, but that doesn’t mean you don’t hope for a win along with the fun; you just don’t expect it to happen. It applies to me as well. But the reason for not expecting to win is the better builders, not the fact that I haven’t guessed what judges would really want, when they asked for something else. My point stands; misinformation has no excuse – an organizers needs to ask exactly for what he wants.

        If you think it doesn’t matter, try it: start a contest, ask for one thing and the at the end say you were actually expecting people to build something else, so they never had a chance anyway, see how many will find this right. And if you’re truly a masochist, do so on mocpages; hell hath no fury like a little zealot scorned. :))

        Besides, not all contests are about the fun; take a rebrick contest for example, there’s no reason to join something like that unless you want to win. Still won’t change the fact that you’ll enter with the “I don’t stand a chance” attitude.


      2. Nobody here is excusing misinformation. I’ve run at least a half dozen contests over the last decade and I don’t need to conduct your proposed experiment to know the value of clear rules. I think you’re arguing here just for the sake of arguing. Last week you said:

        “Rules are should never be followed blindly, everyone should take a moment and think why rule x is there, and if it can be worked around, great.”

        So you’ll forgive me if I don’t take your advise on the topic too seriously. You’re like that little gremlin in Return of the Jedi, you don’t care about the argument, you just want to see a fight break out so you can cackle and never be pinned down because you’re a contrarian.

        So climb off Ted’s back, and take a rest, he’s not trying to willfully spread misinformation.

        The vast majority of contests are all about the fun, Rebrick not withstanding.


      3. I’m flattered to be in the same category as Tyler for contest swooping but I feel the characterization of me not participating otherwise is a little unfair. I’m certainly not on the level of the roaming critic gallery but I’m weighing in when feedback is requested or a bike or thread catches my eye.

        Truthfully though, IMO not a lot of the designs I’ve seen have been particularly fresh. There are absolutely some notable exceptions, but a lot of the builds submitted so far just feel like retreads of designs that have already been done to death. Obviously no harm in boilerplate, good to have participation, newer builders who haven’t seen 10 versions of their same bike in the past etc etc, but few of the entries thus far have been exceptional. It’s also entirely possible that I’m just a jaded lego nerd who’s comparing the speeders built in the last two weeks to a mental best-of list from the past 10 years. I expect this feeling will diminish as we go into the second half of the contest and start seeing more bikes that have been stewing for a little longer, but it’s hard to leave a useful comment on Standard 2-Pronged Speeder #183. Strangely, I feel a lot of the builds posted to the LSB pool in the span between last year’s contest and this one are overall more original and technically interesting. At the risk of alienating the judges, I do think this year’s prompt of ‘cops and robbers and civvies’ is relatively uninspiring.

        I do appreciate the spirit of constructive critique that the roaming critic gallery has fostered; blunt feedback is what I miss most about CSF and the honest smack talk that incubates on this blog and seeps out into the wider lego ecology is a welcome change from the generic “nice build” x10 commentary. The improvements shown in the post above are impressive and it’s genuinely heartwarming to see builders improve their entries so significantly after applying the critique.

        It is surprising to me that almost no one thus far has embraced the full-screen scene background yet. While stands don’t technically count for points it was clearly the winning strategy last go-round.


      4. Apologies if my memory is failing me (perhaps too much of the halfling leaf), but I don’t remember being you being very chatty last year while you were administering a beat down to the field. I’ve seen you a couple of times this year in the comment section so maybe I need to revise my opinion. I certainly didn’t go back to verify so I’m prepared to admit that I was wrong in lumping you in with Tyler, who is the epitome of what I’m talking about. Genius builder who has not time for the mere mortals. Again, my apologies my good dude, but guys like you have so much to offer and when I don’t see you sharing it makes me cranky.

        I agree with you that by and large this year’s crop hasn’t been any great shakes, there is a lot of mediocrity in the pool but it’s also an opportunity to put all the high-minded talk I engage in over here in terms of the value of critique and feedback to good use. Too often we talk about the kind of community we’d like to see and enjoy, but do nothing about it. I’m just really happy that people seem more receptive to the suggestions than usual, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many revisions in a single contest. I also agree with you that the overall quality level will no doubt rise as the snipers wait until the last hours for the big reveal and the blue collar builders finish grinding out the last details. Not everyone wants to here the opinion of the peanut gallery either and although i hadn’t considered it before now, maybe it’s causing some people to shy away from early posting? Not sure but it’s an interesting notion. I’m not so sure the categories are the problem though, even though the “REBEL” concept has no meaning to me and I keep seeing the contestants struggle with it. I think it would be very easy to subvert each category, flip expectations and really separate from the field, so I put most of the lack of creativity on the builders and not the creators. It’s certainly not what I would have done, but there is plenty of room for ingenuity.

        I’m surprised nobody has gone full-screen, edge to edge as well, I think only F@bz has gone that route with his rebel entry…which also happens to be the best in the category in my opinion.

        Thanks for the comment dude, you’re sorely missed around here.


      5. What’s wrong with you lately? You just keep on dismissing everything you don’t like for no reason.

        I’m not on Ted’s back, I’m on Mike’s, who said clear categories doesn’t matter anyway because people aren’t good enough, capable of making a distinction and aren’t in for the win anyway, and yours for backing him up. Isn’t asking for one thing and expecting another misinformation? It’s the same thing you complained about regarding Matt’s 100 part contest, asking for a 100 part build then accepting a 103 entry.

        It’s also amusing to see how you’re saying that fun is the main goal, yet preach how important rules are; shouldn’t rules be as lax as possible then, since fun’s the aim and they only tend to get in the way of that? Why take it so seriously, if people aren’t in it for the win? You’re losing me here.

        And how the hell does my stance on rules contradict what I’m saying here? If anything I’m doing exactly what I preached, contesting Ted’s idea to change the rules halfway through the contest.

        Your idea that all rules are equally relevant and inability to analyze them on a case by case basis doesn’t make my comments null; I clearly stated that if there’s one thing that should not be changed throughout the contest and that’s akin to chess moves and the likes is the build subject. And you should be able to notice that my stance on rules refers to participants questionings the rules, not to organizers – how does saying that organizers should not follow blindly their own rules and work around them make any sense? :))

        It helps actually reading what I say instead of going “Eh, here’s Absurde being contrarian again, let’s do the same”.


      6. Whats wrong with me lately is that I no longer take any pleasure from this circle jerk of constant bickering over nothing. My opinion doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, so move on dude. I read what you say very closely but as difficult as it is for you to imagine…I don’t agree with your position on the topic. I respect you as a builder and a person but I can’t engage in this stupid dance anymore. I lack the patience or apparently the ability to explain my position any more clearly so I surrender the field. If you’re still looking for a good fight, Rutherford is always up for it, or keep going around in circles with Ted but I’m out. Out.


      7. “I do think this year’s prompt of ‘cops and robbers and civvies’ is relatively uninspiring”.

        Some people felt the same way about racers last year too… Right now the majority of entrants have been taking that “obvious path” and interpretation (which is perfectly fine). As has been mentioned before in other Manifesto discussions, those 3 components of conflict ENFORCE/ABIDE/REBEL also apply to almost all other LEGO themes. The opportunity for inspiration may shine through more when more people consider the District as something other that a cyberpunk city, and envision speederbikes in other areas; Jurassic Park anyone? (Park Rangers, Guests, and Animal Poachers?) Pirates? Castle (The Robin Hood Wolf Pack)? The Wild West? Pharaoh’s Quest? The French Revolution?… The folks doing just that might be those yet-to-be-seen builders, as you probably need to envision your District first vs. jumping in to build bikes first (easier to just take pictures of their bikes within their District too).

        Anyway, it will be fun to see what happens in these final couple of weeks.


      8. I’m kind of with Carter in that I don’t find the categories all that interesting this year, though I had the same problem last year. What’s been inspiring me to build is the other bikes, not the contest itself, and what I’ve built won’t fit the contest without a large shoehorn, so I’m tempted to just post on the side or after the contest is already finished. To me it’s more a theme month than a contest at this point. February is just that time of year.

        On the other hand, I’ll also chime in with Ted on the lack of creative interpretation of the categories on the part of contestants thus far. Where are all the bounty hunters in “enforce?” Where are the smugglers in “rebel?” Cops n’ robbers with Timmy’s first hoverbike in School District 18?

        I think part of the problem is you guys presented “District 18” as the setting like it was a convention collaboration and everything had to fit in that setting. Same thing goes for the categories last year; though that was arguably worse because not only was it a specific world but also a specific aesthetic you guys were looking for. Got a cool racer that doesn’t look like something from Tron or Mad Max, or something that’s not a racer at all? Tough shit. I know I’m just bitching about my bike not fitting in last year (“inclusion” and all that), but I do think all three categories were interesting last year, which is more than I can say for this year. “Abide” is the real star this year and the other two at the moment are restricted to boilerplate.

        P.S.: I will bribe Cole to come back if you guys do a “speeder bike built for two” theme next year. There’s so much untapped potential there.


  6. The bottom line is this:
    -The rules that were set when the contest launched are the rules. Any entry that fits within them is valid.
    -For each entry category, each judge determines their list of top 10 builds, the ranks are combined, and a winner determined. In other words, judging is COMPARATIVE against all other entrants. It is not scored against any list of criteria. I can’t predict everything someone might or might not do to make their model and entry photos the best they can be. Cropping the photo like a scene from a movie is just one idea of many (and if the build quality of the entry is bad, it won’t make a lick of difference). Before the end, I’m sure we will be surprised by someone doing something totally unexpected but still well within the rules.

    I’m not going to rewrite my article on “strategies to win a contest”, but it is all laid out right there. https://keithlug.com/2017/12/07/ted-talks-sweep-the-leg-blog-or-die-entry-2/


    1. You miss my point. You asked for one thing in the rules and now you say this: “a diorama really should go “edge-to-edge” in the photo”. You did not ask for edge to edge build in the rules, which is a completely different type of build than a diorama. So not only should an e2e build be considered more valid, I for one wouldn’t even consider it fitting for what you asked.

      Maybe we’re thinking about different things when talking about dioramas, but the current standard for dioramas in hobbies and museums is this:

      or this to give a lego example

      Basically it’s the same thing a vignette is, the only distinction being is size – a vignette is small, although I have no idea what are the norms; it does not ask for perspective, although sometimes a backdrop can be used.

      I know the word has an alternate definition, but this is the norm in lego and other modelling hobbies; if you want something else, you need to word it accordingly.


      1. I understand that point, and that definition of a diorama that you have just illustrated is how the entries will be judged. I acknowledge that edge-to-edge photo thing is just a coincidence when it happens, and irrelevant to the definition of a diorama, and is irrelevant to any contest expectations. I was wrong to say that they really should go edge-to-edge (that just happens to be the way Keith and others photograph theirs).


      2. The size he builds, a close-up from Keith is usually bigger than the standard dio.

        But for me, Keith is actually an example of “how not to present your build”. :)) I always hated that he won’t take a proper overview shots of the build; I get it, with such a big build, you need close-ups to show everything, but the overview is key; it’s what puts things into perspective and it’s the main draw. Everything else is just details shots, and must follow after.

        To take the Bucharest dio, the random close-ups Keith posted told me nothing at all; it wasn’t until Matt posted a shitty overview shot that I was truly drawn in by the build and had an interest to take a closer look. You can’t even figure out what the entire thing looks like from the close-ups alone.

        And the worst part here is that between Keith’s close-ups and Matt’s lame shots, there’s a build that deserves a lot of attention and it won’t get it, because the presentation sucks.

        Of course, there are cases when he properly stages shots and the result is spectacular, like the avatar one, but most are just random and messy.


  7. Carter,

    This line:
    “the spirit of constructive critique that the roaming critic gallery has fostered”

    I hope your right man. Keith and I go on and on (and on…) about critique, and it’s role in the growth / improvement of the hobby. If hitting all those bikes with legit critique has affected the behavior of the entrants in regard to one another… then I’ll call that “pay dirt”.

    I think Keith characterized our perspective pretty accurately. We both look at you guys (you guys… mostly younger, mostly better, mostly more popular)… and we see a study in potential. We tend to fixate on the hobby as a culture. A group in which the behavior of the more senior people, informs, influences, and guides the behavior of the more junior people. In this Lego Hobby context, seniority relates entirely to popularity or perceived skill… not age, or income, some kind of arbitrary rank.

    Specifically, we both think that as a culture… the Lego Hobby is weak. Not a culture of weak people, but people who are in a weak culture. Our culture (all learned behaviors that constitute being an AFOL) is weak. Like a tribe that will not endure but will eventually scatter. Like the Shakers… We are not doing things that will serve the hobby well in the long run. For example, we, AFOLs don’t do a good job of encouraging young people to engage in this activity. We often wait for particularly skillful kids to distinguish themselves, and then we might, on a good day, throw them a salute. As a result the hobby misses out on a lot of potential talent. We are not putting young builders on the path to become AFOLs. As a culture, we are lousy recruiters. For contrast, look at sports, especially in Europe.

    Another thing we are not good at is critique. and Bla bla bla… everybody here has heard our own take on that… but the point is that we think it’s important.

    And I think that is why Keith and I get cranky or preachy or mouthy about it. We look at the POTENTIAL for influence that you guys have… and how little you exploit it. I’m not saying you live in a soap bubble… ivory tower… splendid isolation… No. You guys do stuff. You offer some encouragement to lesser builders… You run contests and talk to cats at conventions. Your not “oblivious” to the world around you. Shit, I think youve been up to your chin in one of the several variations of travailing shows we were talking about in Teds last article. Like an activity focused event, aimed specifically at youth right? So, Im not saying you guys are “not contributing to the fight”… cause you are.

    But we get bitchy because “we want you to do more.” I know. I know! It’s presumptuous. Intrusive. Arrogant. I know I know… guilty! Look, I’m just trying to explain why we get bitchy… not why we are “right”. For Keith, and me, and a few others… this cultural perspective is crucial.

    Contests, challenges, annual events, conventions, all this stuff… it all matters. But right here… in regards to this one narrow topic (levels of rhetorical participation in Teds LSB contest) we just want to see more critique from all you guys because, even though it’s a pain (yes… don’t lie! It is totally a pain to hit every entry! Jesus… my eyes are still burning!) but I beleave (I hope… I’m pretty sure?) the cultural impact can be huge! It’s how “A people” can teach themselves how to behave… Kids who are new to the hobby will take this as the “tone” of AFOL public discourse. It’s in contests like this where a “Tradition of Public Critique” is learned, and eventually maybe even… dare I say it… normalized.

    I think that is the greatest value of contests like LSB. Its a laboratory or a test bed for establishing constructive behaviors across the hobby.

    Oh, and… more critique it totaly makes Teds contest mo-bettah!

    Hey, if I’m out of line I’m out of line. Telling other people that they SHOULD or SHOULD not do stuff…

    In the mean time, I sincerely hope to see more comments from you in this iteration of LSB man!



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