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Inside the Lego Master Builder Search 296

blackdefiance writes "As most self-respecting geeks know, Lego is currently searching for a new Master Builder to hold the enviable position of building with Lego all day and getting paid for the privilege. One applicant describes the nerve-wracking experience of going through the first-round interview."
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Inside the Lego Master Builder Search

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  • Hrm (Score:5, Funny)

    by gasaraki ( 262206 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:49AM (#7927790)
    They should look at hiring this guy []. The comedy more than makes up for any lack of technical skill.
  • Is Lego even alive? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tuxette ( 731067 ) * <> on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:50AM (#7927795) Homepage Journal
    I heard on the news yesterday that Lego has a 1,4 billion DKK deficit and that the vice administrative director Poul Plougmann was fired with immediate effect.

    They also interviewed a bunch of little kids who were all very uninterested in Legos. What a shame...

    • by Mengoxon ( 303399 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:53AM (#7927827)
      yes, they are alive, but they are going through restructuring and repositioning. I hope they succeed. p/ 20040108/ap_on_bi_ge/denmark_lego_1
    • well what do you expect?
      They don't advertise anymore, and the kits are WAY overpriced.

      I remember as a kid, I could only get them for xmas because they were so damn expensive, and then there wasn't even much to them... I had to put the pirates and castle people together to get a decent village/war going...
      • Have you been to a movie recently? Every one I've been to in the past couple of years has been prefixed with a Lego ad of some sort. Before, they were mostly Bionicle [](*spit*) ads, but recently it's been for their new creator / designer / inventer [] sets.

        These new lines make me feel more secure for Lego's future -- for a while, they were very distracted by "action toys", instead of focusing on the one thing they do better than anything else: making supplies for *creative* building. It looks like someone insid
    • by jabberjaw ( 683624 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:59AM (#7927882)
      They also interviewed a bunch of little kids who were all very uninterested in Legos. What a shame...
      It really is a shame. Legos got me interested in a career in engineering, which in turn got me interested in the sciences at a rather young age. Hell I still consider Legos to be pretty cool especially the mindstorms [] kits and I am 19.
    • by CaptainAlbert ( 162776 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:02AM (#7927906) Homepage
      Didn't hear about the firing, but I did hear about the financial trouble. Sad, because I used to love Lego in all its forms. (sigh)

      So I started thinking, "I wonder what happened to all that lego?", and it turns out that my mom still has all of it, in some big plastic boxes in the attic. A quick survey reveals that this is the fate of all lego - it's never thrown away! It just gets kept because everyone remembers how cool it was and wants to keep it for their kids. (Or in my case, my little sister got it as hand-me-downs.) I bet it's one of the few toys of which this can be said, although I don't plan to trawl through landfill sights comparing the frequencies of Barbie-parts and lego-bricks. Anyone?

      So, that's my theory as to why it's not selling. Plus it all went downhill when they started cashing in on franchises. I had spaceships and castles and that was good enough for me, dammit!
      • by kisrael ( 134664 ) *
        It's also durable as heck...only the pieces I used as chew toys to help me focus on building (kind of like gum, but much grosser) are any the worse for wear over the years.

        When we were kids, really, Lego was one of the few ways kids had of making stuff in 3D...sort of like a physical CAD system. (Which is why I liked having space sets w/ lots of cool wings and engines and ain't one of those people longing for the days of basic bricks only...and I liked space because while we know things today and stuff in
    • The BBC covered this yesterday as well, you can find the story here [], but it's mainly financial news. It very sad, but a lot of the toy comapanies I grew up with (and in some cases my Dad too) are really struggling in the Internet age. Hornby seems to be the latest one trying to adapt, with an Internet enabled version of Scalextric []. And I mean, *Internet enabled*, it's not just F1GP with model cars on your computer - you use the track and everything. That could be *sooo* cool!
    • by sosegumu ( 696957 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:06AM (#7927945)
      Harrrumphhhh...real men build with Lincoln Logs or Erector Sets.

    • And OH YES, Lego is alive. At least at my house.

      I have Jurassic Park legos strewn all over my office. My ofc has become a part time dinosaur preserve.

      Last year it was Star Wars. Now it'd Dinosaurs.

      My wife ONLY buys Legos when they're on clearance though. They drop to about 40% of their original price ($7 vs. $20, by waiting a few months).

    • by molafson ( 716807 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:14AM (#7928012)
      What LEGO needs to do is reposition itself to compete in today's marketplace. Currently, the best strategy for doing so is:

      (a) Fire anyone who produces anything and dump your whole production line. (b) Hire a large team of lawyers to work on contingency. (c) Shore up your IP. (d) Sue anything that moves. (e) ??? (f) Profit.


      (a) Launch a branded online music store with excessive DRM and no price advantage. (b) Compete directly with Apple. (c) Hide under a pile of coats and hope everything works out for the best.
    • What's that in real money?
    • Oh, yeah!

      My kids are really into Legos and Bionicles! We spend a hefty amount of money on them!

      My son says his goal someday is to work for Lego (or perhaps, Pixar). He'd absolutely LOVE to have this job! When he told me he wanted to work at Lego, I told him, "Well, you know, at Lego, they don't pay you to play with Legos all day long!"

      I guess I was wrong!
    • They also interviewed a bunch of little kids who were all very uninterested in Legos. What a shame...

      I know first hand that thats not entirely true. On christmas I "played lego" with a young cousin of mine. We put together a basketball court where the lego people stood on a spring platform so you could bend them back, let go, and pray the ball goes into the hoop. While I first saw this as another example of specialized bricks and commericalization of a creative toy, it soon became fun to give people mor
    • Lego CAD package (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gefafwysp ( 707762 )
      I've been using the MLCAD [] software for some time now. It comes with almost all the bricks in existence, so if you've got a year or two to spare, you might want to check it out.
    • by ClubStew ( 113954 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @12:48PM (#7929212)

      I blame the over-use of specialized pieces. Heck, when I was constantly building LEGO assemblies the most specialized piece was the human figures. Now many LEGO packages are made up of human figures, a contoured bottom, and two or three pieces to complete the set. I realize creativety is lacking these days, but who wants to buy LEGOs to assemble a whole 3 or 4 pieces?

  • by RecipeTroll ( 572375 ) <> on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:50AM (#7927798) Homepage Journal

    Like a lot of kids, 9-year-old Katie Lemberg loves LEGOs.
    In honor of her favorite locking blocks, Lemberg and her mom developed an ingenious concept, the LEGO party.

    "It was great," Katie recalls. "None of the adults knew what it was--and all of the kids did."

    1 13- x 9- x 2-inch sheet cake
    8 cupcakes
    White frosting
    Food coloring (your choice of color)

    Step 1:
    Turn the cake upside down and place the cupcakes on top as shown. Hold each cupcake in place with a toothpick.

    Step 2:
    Frost a bright color such as blue, red or yellow.
  • by dafoomie ( 521507 ) <dafoomie&hotmail,com> on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:51AM (#7927802) Homepage
    ...Zack, the Legomaniac? I think he's available.
  • by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:53AM (#7927824)
    Ok, enough with those bionicle, tenticle, barbie Lego sets. They need to release a line of Lego toys like no other. Call it "Lego gun set", when you get to assemble M-16, AK-47 and rocket propell grenades with Lego blocks.

    Of course they don't actually fire, but wouldn't some kid feel great loading clips and clips of ammo and tweaking with sniper scopes. Hey you can even have belts of ammo so kids walk around the living room feeling like Rambo.
    • The original inventor specified that he didn't ever want guns or even military camoflage in LEGO products. They're stretching it a little now, mind but you wouldn't ever get anything overtly military with LEGO.
      • Are you on crack?
        I'm 25 and one of my first LEGO sets was in fact a cammo bucket set which was military themed. Of course I mostly used it for making bridges, bases, and other engineering things for my action figures but LEGO most certainly sells and has sold for a long time military themed kits. Of course that stuff pales in comparison to Technicks and Mindstorms (I had the Technicks 4' working car!)
    • Call it "Lego gun set"

      Lego used to have a policy of no militaristic themes. I don't know whether it still stands... those pirates and spacement sometimes look a bit violent.
    • actually, according to a press release at LEGO (see the PR archive at sarchive), they are making a return to the basic building brick this coming year and doing away with all those bizarro themes.
    • I used to build a lot of guns using those big Lego bricks (I don't know the exact name anymore). Then, me and my brother, played soldiers, wearing my father's helmets (he's a soldier in the Austrian army). Oh, those were the days of being a kid, innocently "shooting" your brother and your friends for fun. ;-)
    • by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 ) <> on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:32AM (#7928195)
      Like this:
      Lego Beretta []
  • by Guano_Jim ( 157555 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:55AM (#7927838)
    The best way to get a job like this would be to get some experience building stuff.

    Legos are CHEAP on eBay [] available in bulk lots or even Complete mindstorms sets []

    And if not for you, buy them for your kids. Beats letting them rot their brains out watching TV all day.

    Just watch out, stepping barefoot on a 2x2 lego in the middle of the night is worse than medieval caltrops.
    • The best way to get a job like this would be to get some experience building stuff. Legos are CHEAP on eBay available in bulk lots or even Complete mindstorms sets

      This is the Slashdot mentality that also thinks management jobs are easy.

      Building Lego professionally is one of the most difficult tasks out there. The amount of material needed to build displays for shows, events and parks goes beyond what you can buy off Ebay because "Legos are cheap".

      Imagine someone saying that writing code or administ

    • Lego sets haven't been cheap on ebay for years. Notice that the reserve isn't even met on the collection you link to. And complete mindstorms sets are going for over what I paid for them new. No thanks.

  • "The top model builders from each city will be invited to Legoland California in Carlsbad for a chance to become the eighth Lego master model builder and build and maintain the huge Lego sculptures in the park. The winner will be paid $13 to $15 an hour."

    Thats pretty good pay for doing something you were do at the age of 5, or for some of us still doing today.

    Clicky [] (
  • Already Slashdotted (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:56AM (#7927846)
    • Many people may think that linking to a Google cache, hosting a copy of information on a personal website, or just copying and pasting an article into Slashdot is a fast and simple way to swipe some karma, but we often forget about the guys like me who have company-installed web blockers and don't have a fast enough connection at home for tunneling. It is thanks to the dilligence and karma grabbing of these individuals that we web eunuchs are able to get the latest news. "WebSense-It's About Productivity.
  • by Denver_80203 ( 570689 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:58AM (#7927866)
    Seems like I have witnessed the downfall of my only childhood toy (save a bike). Once legos involved hours of building.. stacking little peices together to form only the boat's haul. Now you get a boat and it comes with the haul peice, the mast peice and the rudder peice. Oh yeah the little figure with the 5'oclock shadow and eye-patch.

    Where's the imagination and ability to shift around that? I loose the freedom to go my own direction. all the set levels have gone this direction over the years and I miss the old 40 page manuals and endless posibilities you could do on your own after that.
  • by shuz ( 706678 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:59AM (#7927872) Homepage Journal
    This last christmas I was buying legos for a young cousin of mine. I wanted to just get common or plain pieces so that he, my cousin, could design his own things. I remember dumping out a large container of legos, mostly 8, 4, and 2 connector pieces. I would be able to create just about anything I could imagine. Now Lego seems to sell more specialized kits. In that I mean they have a lot more preformed large plastic pieces that are only good for that specific set. They also have been pushing a lot more advertising type sets based on movies, tv shows and what not. What ever happened to Race day set or giant pirate ship made out of 8,4,2's and a flat base? /rant off
  • Where lego has been (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Saven Marek ( 739395 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:01AM (#7927905)
    This is, ok a bit off topic but the current mars lander has lego on board, with a photo of it here [] as part of an experiment
  • by foxtrot ( 14140 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:03AM (#7927920)
    But I've been to two Legolands, and I knew better than to even consider applying.

    Let me give you some background: an entire room of my domicile is devoted to Lego. (Well, it's a walk-in closet, but it's a big walk-in closet...) Just my unsorted Lego fills 50 gallons of storage tubs, plus some. Sorted, I have organizers with well over five hundred small drawers of little parts, so I can always find what I need. I'm pretty ridiculous when it comes to Lego. I can build some pretty cool stuff.

    But after going to Legoland in Windsor, I realized the master builders are so out of my league it ain't even a contest. I'm not worthy to carry these guys' baseplates. The stuff these people do is mind-boggling. Stunning. Amazing.

    Every self-respecting geek may know about it, but almost all of us are gonna have to settle for ooohing and aaaahing at whoever does get the job and the spectacular stuff this person can build.
    • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <> on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:16AM (#7928028) Journal
      ... I knew better than to even consider applying.
      You "knew better"???

      If you really knew better, you'd have applied anyways... and let the chips fall where they may.

      The worst they can do is say no, or not call on you at all.

      Why turn down or reject yourself for a position that you aren't even making the hiring decision for? I know that when you apply for a job you really want, it's difficult to avoid getting your hopes up, and when it doesn't pan out there's a sense of disappointment, but in the end you are really no worse off... in fact, you would still be better off than before because you exhibited the self confidence in the first place to dare to even apply, which is a highly transferrable skill and will make it that much more likely that you'd be able to land your dream job in the future.

      Don't sell yourself short.

      • "Don't sell yourself short."

        Plus, they might be out of your league for now, but what about when you're spending 50 hours a week building the damn things?

      • One thing is, a lot of the jobs at Legolands seem to involve using Legos as 3D pixels, essentially, with a lot less chances for clever "small" work.

        I have been more impressed with the creativity shown in whoever designs the sets...the new designer stuff w/ all the joints, some of the Mechs from the Mars series, and the tiny-scale Star Wars stuff are all very cool. (Admittedly the tiny-scale Star Wars stuff I'd seen on the web before, but its definately a nice contrast to the usual minifig scale works)
    • I was 17 years old and applied for a job as a network administrator. I didnt get the net admin job, instead I worked my way up from desktop publishing (powerpoint ugh), to web developer, and now as I am on the verge of turning 21 I am finally net admin (kinda obvious, why else would I be posting to slashdot at 10:30 am?). Dont short change yourself dude, give it a go and see what comes of it.
    • Anyone with 50 gallons of Legos should apply anyhow. Especially if you have any talent in 3D scuplting (since the big stuff esentially uses regular bricks as voxels).

      The stuff these people do is mind-boggling.

      The stuff these people do is possible because they get paid to do this for a living. Full-time.

  • by stuffedmonkey ( 733020 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:06AM (#7927939)
    Post about it, including detailed notes about the process and interviewers, on the internet. Then, just to make sure it gets maximum attention, send the link to a large news page. Seriously - this is not going to help the guy get the job.
    • Look at the grammar! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by anomaly ( 15035 ) <tom DOT cooper3 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:38AM (#7928260)
      I know that there's a whole cultural experience around blogging that includes acronyms, but the inapproriate punctuation and grammar shows that this candidate lacks communications skills.

      Will this disqualify him from this particular job? Perhaps, perhaps not. What it means is that it is unlikely that this candidate has what it takes to grow beyond that role.

      Communications skills and people skills are what determine the influence that you can have within an organization.

      Have you been the victim of unfair promotion within the workplace? Have you seen people with lesser skills move ahead?

      It's probable that the reason behind this "crazy" promotion is that your written and verbal communications combined with your ability to get along with and/or lead people are somewhat less than those of the person promoted past you.

      The "Big Lie" that we geeks tell ourselves is that intelligence and technical prowess alone are the determining factors in career growth. They are not the most important factors. I'll share a recent insightful quote:
      "The one who knows 'how' will always have a job. The one why knows 'why' will always be his boss." (Maxwell, Thinking for a Change)

      Practice in blogging skills like his is unlikely to help develop skills needed for career growth.


      BTW - God loves you and longs for relationship with you. If you want to know more, please email me.
    • In his defense, he posted it to his blog, which is hardly considered a "large news page".

      Perhaps the person who posted the article here to Slashdot is the real genius, pointing the world to the innocent, excited applicant's blog so the LEGO people can dash his dreams away, hence freeing up the job for "ikewillis".

      You're a shrewd one, ikewillis.

  • Job rating (Score:4, Funny)

    by Orion442 ( 739483 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:10AM (#7927976)
    This has got to be in the top 5 Coolest Slacker Jobs...right up there with "Beer Taster" at Budweiser.
  • Funny anecdote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:12AM (#7927987) Homepage
    When I was in college taking my technical writing course (required, which I think is a good thing) the teacher gave us a in class project. She handed out a small baggie of lego, maybe 10 pieces each, and told us to make whatever we wanted in groups of 4. We then had to document what we made and how to reassemble it. Then take it apart, hand the baggie and instructions to another group, and see how they do.

    Nobody got anywhere close.

    The funny thing was that she had previously taught an English 1001 course. One of the first writing assignments she gave was to ask "What was your favorite childhood toy?"

    She'll never give that assignment again. Not at an engineering college. She got to read 30 essays extolling the virtues of Lego, how they inspired creativity and building, and how all the newer sets suck because they have overly specific pieces.

    I wasn't in that class, but I suspect my essay would've been similar. Lego just rocks. My first child is due in a month and we already have some of the newborn Lego stuff. My sister gave me a bag full of Duplo blocks (many of which came from me) since her kids have outgrown them, and I'll give them to my kid when she's capable of using them.

    Honestly... I'd much rather see a kid playing with blocks or lego than with most of the electronic toys nowadays. For one thing, they're far quieter... and they don't need batteries (although you can some sets with them nowadays -- which I only dreamed of when I was a kid).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      not noisy?

      depends on the kid's imagination... I gave a duplo kit to a friend's kid for his birthday, and one week later I ask my friend what kind of stuff his kid is building.

      he said he had to put the duplos away, because his kid kept throwing them around randomly, and scratching the paint off the drywall in his home.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        reminds me of how my and my lil bro used to play "Spaceship Crash Landing" with legos when we were kids.

        The Game: Build the most bad-ass spaceship, and then throw it downstairs to see who gets the most spectacular crash-landing.
        • One of my friends and I did exactly the opposite. We would build super-indestructable cars (they had to roll, and had to have a mini-fig inside them). Then we'd crash them together drop them on pavement, throw them down stairs.. and whichever one could still roll, and still had the mini-fig in it the longest, won.

          I didn't know legos could get so dented until we did that. (:
    • Yes, but will your love for Lego persist when you howl in pain after step on an overlooked block left on the floor by your Lego prodigy? My dad threatened, multiple times, to throw all my toys away if I didn't clean up, and he actually succeeded once. Being a kid sux.
    • Re:Funny anecdote (Score:3, Interesting)

      by proxima ( 165692 )
      Then take it apart, hand the baggie and instructions to another group, and see how they do.

      High School Science Olympiad competitions have something similar, except they give you a prebuilt model (which often includes but is not limited to LEGOs), and you have to describe it in detail. You're given 15 minutes to do this. Then you pass it off to your partner who gets 15 minutes to reconstruct it. Since the rules are known beforehand good teams will practice a few times, and the winner (as our team was o
    • by Unknown Kadath ( 685094 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @12:03PM (#7928630)
      I'd much rather see a kid playing with blocks or lego than with most of the electronic toys nowadays. For one thing, they're far quieter...

      My mother encouraged us to play with Legos because she thought it was better and more "family-oriented" than television. This lasted until the next Christmas, when my brother and I received 4 or 5 big Lego sets apiece, and within and hour were banished to our rooms when playing with them. There aren't a lot of household sounds louder than a bin of Legos being dumped out onto the floor and rifled through (except maybe the sound of Dad stepping on a stray 2x2).

  • Tedious? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zog The Undeniable ( 632031 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:20AM (#7928070)
    When I see some of the giant sculptures they have at Legoland, it makes me wonder whether building something half life size might get just a tad repetitive. Or maybe the master builder does the initial plan and supervises while his minions get on with placing 10,000 red bricks?

    Kind of reminds me of Herb Ritts (the late fashion photographer). As well as lighting technicians, reflector holders and makeup artists, he had an assistant simply to raise his heavy Pentax 6x7 to his eye - all he had to do was squint through it and take the shot. Now *that's* when you know you're at the top of your profession.

    • Because with the army of assistants, he apparently knew by squinting into the viewfinder whether it would be a "money shot" or not.

      Knowing that is far more valuable than the technical skills needed to set up the kit for the shot. That's what makes the difference.
  • by Vilim ( 615798 ) <ryan@j a b b e r w o c> on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:21AM (#7928077) Homepage
    Would probably be when I was 7 or 8 my neighour and I made an entire city out of lego, at the time I was also ripping apart anything electronic that I could get my hands on so the city had working street lights (leds I got from an answering machine), a loudspeaker in the middle of the square (some speaker I got from somewhere that we played music to the plebes on) and ...... a monorail! the monorail was the triumph. Of course it was more like a bus (it had wheels) which rode on a track which was supported on posts, it was still a monorail.
  • Full Text (Score:2, Funny)

    by rcatarella ( 239076 )
    So the interview with LEGO was Saturday...

    Ugh, my nerves were all over the place. I ended up re-writing my cover letter prolly 6 or 8 times Saturday morning before finally heading up to Boston with my belly full of butterflies--and Smores Cereal :)

    The setup for the whole event was pretty cool. They had very impressive LEGO models all over and filled the place with people wearing LEGO shirts. It was nearly impossible to tell who was from LEGO and who worked at the college hosting it.

    So I show up and regis
  • Not for $7/Hour (Score:4, Informative)

    by raverbuzzy ( 603708 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:26AM (#7928121)

    I met someguy a few years back on an cms implementation project who told me he used to be a professional lego builder building the various large scale models found in their stores.

    I (thinking it was a dream job) replied: "Wow. What a dream job. Why did you stop?"

    To which he replied "Try living on $7 bucks an hour"

    • Re:Not for $7/Hour (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @12:57PM (#7929313) Homepage
      To which he replied "Try living on $7 bucks an hour"

      Well, it's gone up since then at least -- it's $13-15/hour now. See here [] or here [].

      That said, $13-15/hour isn't going to be a whole lot of money if you're living in So. Cal. -- it's livable, but you're not going to be buying a lot of toys (except lego obviously) or live in a big house (unless you make it out of the aforementioned lego).

      Based on the "Lego Master Builder" FAQ page (here's a Google cache [], since the main is toast) there are decent benefits as well, plus some travel (which probably means a good bit of travel, for which you'd be paid extra).

      Whether or not you can live on that money is obviously dependant on lifestyle and other income, but, hey -- it still is a dream job (if you like Lego).
  • I started bouncing. I was literally bouncing!! I couldn't contain my excitement.

    /me Imagines a lego model of Spirit Rover bouncing around mars. Woohoo, I want what this guys on.
  • by 3Suns ( 250606 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:30AM (#7928166) Homepage
    My first task as Master Builder would be to reinstate the Hard Core lego [] set. Makes a great gift!
  • 5 minutes wasted (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Inda ( 580031 ) <> on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:32AM (#7928187) Journal

    I had to have wasted 5 minutes of my time just thinking.

    I find this statement strange. These 5 minutes of thinking probably scored him double with the interviewers.

    When I was a Patternmaker I would typically spend 8 hours (1 whole day) thinking about the job before I started it. Most jobs would take 400 hours so this was still a small amount of time in my mind.

    Rushing to start a job just leads to mistakes when you are building something big and complex like a Lego model or a set of 50 tonne press tools.

  • by addie ( 470476 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:33AM (#7928200)
    We went out to shop for my little cousin's birthday a few months ago, and figured Lego was a great idea. I had been raised on it, and we all know it's the one toy that never gets old because of the endless possibilities.

    But now it seems it's impossible to buy a set that isn't "themed" with dozens of proprietary parts that only really work within their designated set. Any attempt to mix sets now results in even more of a Frankenstein creation than I remember being possible when I was a kid. We eventually gave up, realizing that (as other posters have pointed out) the only way to get a real good "set" of Lego is to buy bulk on e-Bay.

    Moral of the story, whatever you do, DO NOT throw old Lego away. The primary color simple blocks don't come in regular sets anymore, but are probably the most valuable pieces around (and I don't mean in terms of cash value).
    • It's already been widely reported that Lego has fired their chief operating officer, the guy responsible for all the marketing ploys, and are returning to basics. They specifically mention that they are reverting to basic building blocks like they used to. I'm looking forward to a revival of the era in the 80s, which was a pleasant mix of both basic building blocks and themed sets that were still composed of generic enough parts to use them for anything else you wanted to build (i.e., simple spaceships, r
  • by Stavr0 ( 35032 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:38AM (#7928267) Homepage Journal
    Do they have a Master CLIKITS Fashion Designer [] position available? My SO is looking for a career change...

    BTW, 'Clikits' is much too phonetically similar to a word that ends with 'oris'

  • There was an article that ran in the Miami Herald a week ago, about a local contestant for the job. Not sure how far he's gotten since, though. /7630288.htm []
  • by IainHere ( 536270 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @12:08PM (#7928715)
    We've all heard the standard flamewars:

    vi vs Emacs;
    Gnome vs KDE;
    Linux vs BSD;
    Free vs Open;
    Windows vs Anything.

    Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present the granddaddy of them all...

    Lego vs Meccano
  • by H0NGK0NGPH00EY ( 210370 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @12:12PM (#7928756) Homepage
    I recently read another guy's story at his journey to try and win the Master Builder position. You can find it here [].
  • Legos for girls (Score:3, Informative)

    by q2k ( 67077 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @01:11PM (#7929511) Homepage
    One thing they are starting to do is find ways to sells Legos to girls. They have something called Lego Click-its, which are basically build your own jewerly kits made out of specialized tiny Legos. My daughter loves the things. Stuff like that gives me hope for the company.
    • Yeah, well, if you mean 'simple, shallow-fashion oriented' stuff for girls because Building, Engineering and Design are Men's Work(TM) -- then Lego can keep there shitty crap away from my daughter (who dosnt exist yet...).

  • Those were the days (Score:3, Interesting)

    by victor_the_cleaner ( 723411 ) on Friday January 09, 2004 @01:22PM (#7929689)
    Like many of the stories here I used to quickly disregard the instructions for any set and compile all my kits to build bigger and better things.

    Space Shuttles with working bay doors, landing year, robotic arm.

    Guns of all makes, and a working crossbow. I used the lances from the castle kits as the bolts, very cool and would cause some bodily harm if you shot it at your 4 year-old neighbor.

    My biggest creations were always massive submarines. They would have between 4 and 6 torpedo tubes (I would use the shock absorbers from the technic cars to launch the torpedoes) and missile tubes. I would also build primitive propellors and drive them with model rubber bands. The big problem was always flotation. All that air trapped inside the sealed blocks caused a problem. The solution for me turned out to be a coin slot on both ends. I would weight the thing down with various coins just to make it go below the surface (had to have a 'bank' on both ends to keep it level). I build these things up until I was about 14 with the longest one being 5 feet.

    Now I have a 2 year old and I play with his Duplos. Can't wait to get him the regular kits. I still buy the Technic kits of Formula 1 cars (Ferrari, Jordan, McLaren, Williams) even though most of them are the same kit at a different scale and with different colors.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.