LUG Feature in Blocks Magazine

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Matt Redfield Matt Redfield 1 week, 5 days ago.

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  • #24439
    Profile photo of Matt Redfield
    Matt Redfield
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    Hey team,

    Chris and Graham from Blocks Magazine were in my cabin at Skaerbaek Fan Weekend. Chris has asked if we’d like to be featured in Issue 40, which will be published in January. We have until the end of the month to submit a LUG profile to them. If anyone wants to help me out with ideas, below are the questions they’d like answered. The first several are pretty straightforward and obvious, but the rest are somewhat subjective / answers may vary based on who responds… I can respond to all myself, but thought it’d be cool to see what others think!

    LUG profile questions

    What’s the LUG called?

    Where is it based?

    How many members are in the LUG?

    Who is the ambassador?

    How and when was it formed?

    How often do you meet?

    What do your meetings involve?

    Are you involved with any local shows?

    What’s your favourite thing about being part of the LUG?

    Has the LUG reached any milestones or done anything you’re particularly proud of? For instance, group trips, large collaborative builds, shows organised directly by the LUG etc.

    What are the benefits of joining a LUG like yours? Are there any costs involved for members?

    Are you a member of any other LUGs? If so, which ones and why?

    What plans do you have for future events?

    What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?

    What’s your personal favourite LEGO theme/set? (Would the LUG generally agree?)

    #24445
    Profile photo of Matt Redfield
    Matt Redfield
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    Right, so, not a single person finds this opportunity intriguing, eh? Duly noted.

    #24450
    Profile photo of Will McDine
    Will McDine
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    I am Just now seeing this. Is it too late for us to submit? This would be great exposure for us. How can I help make this happen?

    #24465
    Profile photo of Pete
    Pete
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    You can tell them about our displays at the PA trolley museum.

    #24466
    Profile photo of Tom Frost
    Tom Frost
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    What’s your personal favourite LEGO theme/set? (Would the LUG generally agree?)

    Space! Trains! Spacetrains!! Curved tunnels! 6ft Tree mountains!! Fragile Ravines with exploding bridges!!!

    Where is it based?

    A secret bunker in the South Hills (hint: look for the brick lamp)

    Seriously tho, I think this is great. Are there specific questions you want help with? Maybe post what you have so far and we can add to it/ridicule it/look for grammatical errors.

    #24467
    Profile photo of Tim
    Tim
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    Here are some thoughts by me.

    How and when was it formed? Five years ago in the kitchen of our glorious leader.

    How often do you meet? Quarterly

    What do your meetings involve? Food, fun, fellowship, Lego, and Food.

    Are you involved with any local shows? Many.

    What’s your favourite thing about being part of the LUG? Seeing creations by people building ideas that I would never come up with myself. Being able to collaborate with others to make creations greater than I could achieve myself.

    Has the LUG reached any milestones or done anything you’re particularly proud of? For instance, group trips, large collaborative builds, shows organised directly by the LUG etc. Five year anniversary. Our collaborative builds (Dig Into Reading, SW Randall) have been well received.

    What are the benefits of joining a LUG like yours? Are there any costs involved for members? Being around other creative people and being inspired by it. Plus free brick!

    #24479
    Profile photo of Sir Dan Walker of the Block
    Sir Dan Walker of the Block
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    Reading this thread was like @philmatt24

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    #24481
    Profile photo of Sir Dan Walker of the Block
    Sir Dan Walker of the Block
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    What’s the LUG called?
    Steel City UltraLUG

    Where is it based?
    Pittsburgh aka The Steel City

    How many members are in the LUG?
    30ish active

    Who is the ambassador?
    Josh? Matt? Both? Neither?

    How and when was it formed?
    2012 as we prepared for the end of the world. Seems the Mayans were off on that doomsday thing, but we got a LUG, so that’s cool.

    How often do you meet?
    As a body, 4 times a year. As hands, head feet, et cetera, about every month.

    What do your meetings involve?
    Chanting the LUG oath, general business discussions, brutal gladitorial-esque build challenges, and brick distribution.

    Are you involved with any local shows?
    Many! Train shows, children’s festivals, Maker’s Faire, trolley shows, and many more!

    What’s your favourite thing about being part of the LUG?
    Hanging out with other LUGnuts!

    Has the LUG reached any milestones or done anything you’re particularly proud of? For instance, group trips, large collaborative builds, shows organised directly by the LUG etc.
    A local toy store allows us to fill a display case for 3 months. We’ve built evolving displays that have totally changed 5 times in those 3 months now going on two years. It’s been an awesome creativity storm.

    What are the benefits of joining a LUG like yours? Are there any costs involved for members?
    Hanging out, brick is available, fun group activities, and the occasional pizza!

    Are you a member of any other LUGs? If so, which ones and why?
    Not currently

    What plans do you have for future events?
    More monorail!

    What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?
    Philly Brick Fest!

    What’s your personal favourite LEGO theme/set? (Would the LUG generally agree?)
    I personally love Legoland Space, but Pirate and Castle are close seconds. My favorite set is tough, but probably is Fort Legorado.

    #24482
    Profile photo of Matt Redfield
    Matt Redfield
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    Reading this thread was like

    I mean, people found time for eleventy billion posts about SWRandall… this is time sensitive, and BLOCKS is British (they don’t celebrate the same things we do), so yeah, I figured a signal boosting second post after 30 hours (and still before the holiday weekend officially started) was merited.

    Seriously tho, I think this is great. Are there specific questions you want help with? Maybe post what you have so far and we can add to it/ridicule it/look for grammatical errors.

    OK, here goes (including previous responses; my answers in italics.) I’d like to send a final set of answers to Chris by tomorrow (Tuesday 28th) evening, so if you have comments, please weigh in by then!

    What’s the LUG called?
    Steel City UltraLUG
    Steel City LUG

    Where is it based?
    Pittsburgh aka The Steel City
    A secret bunker in the South Hills (hint: look for the brick lamp)
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA – affectionately known as The Steel City

    How many members are in the LUG?
    30ish active
    We have about 175 registered members on our website. Of those, about 40 are currently active.

    Who is the ambassador?
    Josh? Matt? Both? Neither?
    Matt Redfield
    [Come now, Josh is a Workgroup Leader… everyone knows this!]

    How and when was it formed?
    2012 as we prepared for the end of the world. Seems the Mayans were off on that doomsday thing, but we got a LUG, so that’s cool.
    Five years ago in the kitchen of our glorious leader.
    In 2012, Josh Hall was building MOCs on his own, but he didn’t know about LUGs. He made some contacts from PennLUG (now our cross-state rivals), learned a lot about forming and running a LUG, and decided to see if there were other AFOLs in the Pittsburgh area, since PennLUG’s meetings are typically in or near Philadelphia, which is a 5-6 hour drive. He found several folks and reached out to see if they had interest in helping him create a LUG. In August, 2012, five intrepid builders met in Josh’s kitchen, reached an accord, and the rest is history!

    How often do you meet?
    As a body, 4 times a year. As hands, head feet, et cetera, about every month.
    Quarterly
    We hold quarterly LUG business meetings, and always infuse them with some fun! We also encourage smaller gatherings any time members want – including building sessions for upcoming displays and events (or just for fun), parts drafts, etc. A lot of time is spent together staffing our displays and events, as well!

    What do your meetings involve?
    Chanting the LUG oath, general business discussions, brutal gladitorial-esque build challenges, and brick distribution.
    Food, fun, fellowship, Lego, and Food.
    At our main meetings, we review the State of the LUG, discuss recent events/displays for successes and lessons learned, talk through upcoming events and ideas, and field questions as needed. Then, we have some fun with build challenges, distribution of bricks from LUG supplies, food, and general mayhem!

    Are you involved with any local shows?
    Many! Train shows, children’s festivals, Maker’s Faire, trolley shows, and many more!
    Many.
    We have several mainstay events in our annual rotation, as well as a few one-off events each year. Some annual highlights include:

    – An interactive presence at the International Children’s Festival in downtown Pittsburgh (the kids can build their own cars and race them down a wooden track)
    – The PA Trolley Museum
    – The Ligonier Valley Railroad Museum’s Model Railroad Home Tour (a Saturday when about 30 folks open their homes to allow visitors to see their train displays, and they also have a fire hall with portable displays – including ours!)
    – Greenberg’s Train & Toy Show (a traveling event that comes through town three times a year.)

    We love doing a big Christmas/Winter display for Greenberg and the Trolley Museum each November & December! We also have good relationships with several local libraries and do installation displays (usually tied in with each year’s summer reading theme), as well as build challenge days for kids.

    Some of the one-off highlights have included:

    – A September 2013 gallery installation in downtown Pittsburgh, which shattered the gallery’s attendance records by bringing in over 2700 guests in one Friday evening! Admittedly, the numbers were helped by a gallery crawl through the Cultural District and a Giant Rubber Duck in the nearby Allegheny River, but we still got people’s attention enough to get them in the door!
    – An evolving display at S.W. Randall’s, an old school toy store in downtown Pittsburgh. We started with space explorers landing on a newly discovered planet, and changed the display every few weeks as the minifigs worked to explore and colonize the planet.

    What’s your favourite thing about being part of the LUG?
    Hanging out with other LUGnuts!
    Seeing creations by people building ideas that I would never come up with myself. Being able to collaborate with others to make creations greater than I could achieve myself.
    Being part of any community is wonderful. When it’s a community of passionate individuals, amazing things can happen. Being a part of this LUG has challenged me creatively, has built many friendships, and has given me opportunities to travel – this September’s trip to Billund to see the LEGO House and also visit Skaerbaek Fan Weekend was a definite highlight!

    Has the LUG reached any milestones or done anything you’re particularly proud of? For instance, group trips, large collaborative builds, shows organised directly by the LUG etc.
    A local toy store allows us to fill a display case for 3 months. We’ve built evolving displays that have totally changed 5 times in those 3 months now going on two years. It’s been an awesome creativity storm.
    Five year anniversary. Our collaborative builds (Dig Into Reading, SW Randall) have been well received.
    I’m always proud of our collaborative efforts. From our first display at a local library – building a section of The Great Wall of China – to the evolving space display, we’ve done some amazing things when members put their heads together. We also have fantastically talented individual builders who garner blog posts like they were squirrels gathering nuts for winter. And reaching our 5th anniversary as a club is of course a milestone, as well!

    What are the benefits of joining a LUG like yours? Are there any costs involved for members?
    Hanging out, brick is available, fun group activities, and the occasional pizza!
    Being around other creative people and being inspired by it. Plus free brick!
    We have thus far avoided having annual dues or membership fees. As long as the LUG is solvent (through certain events where our participation receives compensation), we prefer to keep membership open. Participation is therefore at will, and encouraged through the opportunities to work and display together, to tap into the LUG’s brick supplies to catalyze one’s MOC building, and to participate in fun events – whether that’s just a LUG gathering, a convention, or one of the more unique displays or events mentioned above! The mutual inspiration and the opportunities to learn new techniques from each other are also benefits.

    Are you a member of any other LUGs? If so, which ones and why?
    Not currently
    I’m not personally, but a few members are involved in online LUGs. (right, @hacim? Want to weigh in so I can mention anything?)

    What plans do you have for future events?
    More monorail!
    Most of our aforementioned main events will be repeated in 2018 – with new builds, of course! We’ll have to find out what the 2018 Summer Reading theme is soon; that’s typically something that builds steam during the winter months as we recover from the busy holiday display season and start getting excited about new creations. I also hope to encourage members to think about attending Skaerbaek Fan Weekend in 2018 or 2019 – it takes some planning and saving up of money to get there from the USA, but with the ability to also visit Billund for LEGOLAND, Ole Kirk’s house, and the new LEGO House, it’s even more lucrative now!

    What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?
    Philly Brick Fest!
    Tough call; Philly BrickFest is always a lot of fun and brings AFOLs from up and down the East Coast, as does BrickFair Virginia… but the opportunity to meet so many international AFOLs and enjoy their creations – as well as the ability to network with the high concentration of TLG employees – at Skaerbaek Fan Weekend this past September is hard to ignore, so I may have to go with that.

    What’s your personal favourite LEGO theme/set? (Would the LUG generally agree?)
    Space! Trains! Spacetrains!! Curved tunnels! 6ft Tree mountains!! Fragile Ravines with exploding bridges!!!
    I personally love Legoland Space, but Pirate and Castle are close seconds. My favorite set is tough, but probably is Fort Legoredo.
    I always loved Space and Pirates growing up, but I think Space wins out in the end… it may be somewhat irrational to love Unitron as much as I do, but 1789 – Star Hawk II and 6991 – Monorail Transport Base (the set I longed to acquire for years, and finally got when my grandpa found it at a garage sale) are my sentimental favorites. Oh, and 1785 – Crater Critters was super fun as a kid, too!

    Our LUG has incredibly diverse interests, but I do think an affinity for Space is shared by a large contingent. Our biggest events tend to be train-themed, but LEGO allows us to blend all our interests into the displays, so you’ll typically see Town/Train, Harry Potter, some Castle if we can swing it, and a big Space/Monorail section. Ice Planet is a good way to transition into Space from the other sections of our winter and holiday displays. Also, one of our builders recently finished an amazing Space Train, which looked awesome under a blacklight canopy at our Greenberg display in November!

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by Profile photo of Matt Redfield Matt Redfield.
    #24484
    Profile photo of Matt Redfield
    Matt Redfield
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    That was long. Highlighting this part:

    I’d like to send a final set of answers to Chris by tomorrow (Tuesday 28th) evening, so if you have comments, please weigh in by then!

    kgr8thxbai!

    #24505
    Profile photo of Micah Beideman
    Micah Beideman
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    I’m not part of any other like official, recognized, getting LB LUGs.
    I’m just part of a couple online groups that hangout and will sometimes display together at conventions (ChatLUG and GamerLUG)

    Aaron Gomez is part of InnovaLUG though, which is also an online group, but actually is a recognized LUG.

    #24506
    Profile photo of Matt Redfield
    Matt Redfield
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    Right. I thought maybe @finntegotash was, but wasn’t sure. Thanks for the additional info!

    #24516
    Profile photo of Benjamin C Good
    Benjamin C Good
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    If you can work it in, I’d recommend mentioning International Children’s Festival and Cranberry Library summer reading programs among the things that we do. Both are more along the lines of ‘doing stuff for the community’ and less the conventional adult Lego event where we just try to impress the public with how good we are at playing with toys.

    #24530
    Profile photo of Matt Redfield
    Matt Redfield
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    If you can work it in, I’d recommend mentioning International Children’s Festival and Cranberry Library summer reading programs among the things that we do.

    You mean like this?

    We have several mainstay events in our annual rotation, as well as a few one-off events each year. Some annual highlights include:

    – An interactive presence at the International Children’s Festival in downtown Pittsburgh (the kids can build their own cars and race them down a wooden track)

    I’m always proud of our collaborative efforts. From our first display at a local library – building a section of The Great Wall of China –

    We’ll have to find out what the 2018 Summer Reading theme is soon; that’s typically something that builds steam during the winter months as we recover from the busy holiday display season and start getting excited about new creations.

    I’ll confess, I thought I’d more explicitly mentioned the annual Summer Reading displays in the “mainstay events” section… but I did mention it… 😀

    Both are more along the lines of ‘doing stuff for the community’ and less the conventional adult Lego event where we just try to impress the public with how good we are at playing with toys.

    Fully agree with this – thanks for mentioning it so I can be sure to clearly highlight that aspect of our LUG’s activities!

    #24537
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    Tim
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    In August, 2012, five intrepid builders met in Josh’s kitchen, reached an accord, and the rest is history!

    Josh, you, me, and Dan E. were four of the five Do you remember who the fifth person was? I vaguely remember a tall guy and thought his name was “Mike”.

    #24539
    Profile photo of Matt Redfield
    Matt Redfield
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    Well… the only Mikes to register in our first year were Mike MacLeod (who definitely wasn’t at that meeting, as he lives on the other side of the state) and a “Michael Long” (who registered in Jan ’13 and whose last login was Feb ’13…)

    Of the members who registered in 2012, none seems to be correct. Paul Boratko / Jason Burik / Alan Olshansky / Mac / Jacob Savage / Greg / Doug / Bacon / Evan / Dan Brown / Jordan Otto / Andrew Huntley / RJ Thompson / Julia / Rich are all people I know (or at least know of), and I’m 99% sure it was none of them…

    Claudette Kulkarni / Jonathan Bovard / Jim (last name withheld) are names from 2012 that I don’t know… so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t them.

    @joshhall might remember….

    #24598
    Profile photo of Sir Dan Walker of the Block
    Sir Dan Walker of the Block
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    Given submissions have closed, what are the final submissions?

    #24640
    Profile photo of Matt Redfield
    Matt Redfield
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    I sent some answers that tried to blend what yinz said with what I said. We’ll see how much of it makes the final cut…

    Oh hey, anyone have good group pictures of LUG members and/or meetings handy?

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