Lego London Bus

For almost a year, I have been anxiously anticipating the release of the Lego London Bus, so it’s no surprise that I was at our local Lego store when they opened Monday morning, for the early VIP sale. I couldn’t wait to get started with section one of four!

And then my building came to a screeching halt. Steps 1-12 were missing from my instruction book. It took every ounce of patience I had to wait for Lego to get back to me and eventually e-mail me a PDF of the instructions so I could get started!

They were very responsive, and today I got started. It didn’t take long to complete those first twelve steps, but I don’t think I would have been able to figure it out without the step-by-step instructions!

I love Lego instruction books. There’s always something new. I don’t think I’ve seen this tip before, but it was helpful since there were some very similar bricks in the set!

It didn’t take too long to complete the entire first section, which included the first of many stickers, and great details like the driver’s seat, a few passenger seats, and even a fire extinguisher…safety is important, even when dealing with Lego!

On to section two:

This part of the build was very interesting. All of the lower-level seats were installed, and I also added a used ticket box and umbrella holder. The bonnet even opens, and there’s a brick-built engine inside!

The set comes with two sets of vehicle registration plates, one retro and one modern. While I went with the yellow and white retro plates, here’s a look at the more modern black and white version:

The third section of the build included many of the same pieces as the second section:

And this was probably the most tedious part of the build. I had to make another set of passenger seats, for the upper deck of the bus, and it seemed like I would never be done with all of them!

But I did finish eventually, and was able to move on to the last section of the build:

The final step included the completion of the upper deck and the top of the bus, as well as some other external details. I love the banners on the sides of the bus. There are again both retro and modern options, and this time, I have one set of each on display!

The top is even removable, for those rare, sunny London days!

There are tons of tiny details inside, including both a newspaper and soda can that have been left behind, a piece of “gum” under one of the seats, and even stickers that give the appearance of the seats being slightly worn!

It’s just a beautiful set!

We have quite a few Lego London landmarks now…it’s hard to imagine what they might come up with next, but I hope they keep going with the London line!

Lego Big Ben–Night Five

Tonight we finished Lego Big Ben!

We started with section six:

Have I mentioned how much I love the instruction book? Like the Lego Architecture series,  in addition to directions for building, this book contains information about the landmark being built, and I learned a few things along the way!

We’ll just call section six “The Addition of Fancies.” I especially love the tree out front!

Looking good, and even without the clock, it’s totally recognizable!

We weren’t done, though. On to section seven!

We built the clock face:

And “Big Ben,” the largest of the five bells in the tower:

And then we put them together:

And added the top of the tower:

And Queen Elizabeth Tower, housing Big Ben, as well as part of the Palace of Westminster, was complete!

Now we have big Big Ben, and baby Big Ben…I love how the Lego Architecture set looks against the bigger landmark:

And they may not be to scale, but the double-decker bus I built last year looks great with the new set!

Next up is the upcoming larger scale London bus, which I hope to build later this month. We’ll have all the big Lego London landmarks, then…I can’t help but wonder if there’s anything left that they want to build!

Lego Big Ben–Night Four

On to section five of Lego Big Ben! The instructions for today’s portion of the build seemed really short, especially given how many pieces we had out!

We built this:

And then added side panels to make it look like this:

And then we did that whole thing again, which explains why it looked like a shorter building process than it was! We stacked both of the cubes on the existing tower, which is now getting quite tall:

Only two sections left…this build is going much faster than I expected!

Lego Big Ben–Night Three

Tonight we built the fourth section of Lego Big Ben!

This part of the build was different from sections two and three, which made it much less repetitive. I love how the bell tower is coming together, and I also love how the top of the opposite side looks!

Still three sections left to go, but it’s really taking shape!

Lego Big Ben–Night Two

Today we built two sections of Big Ben, which I thought was kind of ironic on the Fourth of July!

We started with the bags labeled “2.”

I love how microfigs are used to represent the statues on the outside of the building. It’s still weird to see sections of bricks turned at an angle, though!

Even with just the first two sections completed, the building was already starting to feel substantial:

We then moved on to section three:

Much of this part of the build was similar to section two. We have already started to work on the mechanism that will turn the clock, though!

Taller, but not looking too different!

There have been parts of the build that have been pretty repetitive, but it’s been a fun set so far…I’m looking forward to seeing what we’ll build next!

Lego Big Ben–Night One

We’ve had the Lego Creator Expert Big Ben in our possession for about a year now, but it’s a huge set, and we haven’t had time to sit down and build it yet. Until today. The bags are labeled 1-7, so we eased in with just the bags labeled “1” tonight, but I think we may double up some of them in the future.

After so many years of making sure all the Lego bricks in any given set were squared up nicely, it felt very wrong to intentionally set some in at an angle:

And then we had to put bricks on top of those that were straight!

It doesn’t look like too much yet, but there are already some nice details:

I can’t wait to see how the next section comes together!

Brick by Brick

One of the highlights of our trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago was touring the Lego exhibit, Brick by Brick, that is currently on display there. We weren’t supposed to get to see it…when I was originally looking for things we could do in Chicago, I was sad to discover that it was supposed to be gone long before we got there. Its stay was extended, however, and we were even able to get homeschool tickets at a discount rate!

The first thing that caught my eye upon entering was a huge model of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. It’s almost impossible to explain how massive it is!

We recognized many other modern landmarks as we walked through the exhibit:

And found a few ancient structures, as well:

The American Eagle coaster was a nice local touch:

The exhibit got even more local, with a replica of the building we were in!

While the local landmarks were cool, I enjoyed this out-of-this-world model even more!

And we even got a glimpse of home while we were there!

It was interesting to see what Lego bricks were used in the different models:

The exhibit included a Brick by Brick Design Challenge stage…guess who was chosen to go up and build a space ship? For those that didn’t get called on stage, there was also a free build area, where Turkey enjoyed building his own version of Chicago.

Out of everything we saw, I was surprised to find that I liked Cinderella’s Castle the best. I guess the magic of the location combined with Lego bricks really appealed to me!

There was even one piece in the entrance to the museum, which can by admired even without a ticket to the exhibit!

We really enjoyed seeing so many massive Lego builds. There was also a fun scavenger hunt along the way, which the children had fun with, and helped them learn a little bit about the designs and the designer. I’m so glad this was held over and we got a chance to see it!