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  • Kim Ellekjær Thomsen
    On June 6th to 9th I had the pleasure (again) to visit the 4th installment of the Paredes de Coura Fan Weekend in Portugal. This was actually the 10th time the event was run, but the first 6 years it was named Arte em Pecas and wasn't aimed to be the international event it is today. I am personally very pleased with the event and it is always on my wishlist for events that I ask to visit in a year. Partly because there are so many events, that I can't go to all of them. But also because it has participants from a lot of countries and a lot of communities represented - I believe this year had around 20 different countries there and we had 13 Recognized Communities represented in the Ambassador Meeting.

    But honestly what I love the most about the event is the setting and the low-down casual friendly way in which everyone goes about the whole thing. I am not saying this is better here than at other events - not at all. I've been to many events in the past 20 years of AFOL life, but there is something about this event which is very special - at least to me and I believe that applies to quite a few of the AFOLs, TFOLs, partners and friends going as well. If you don't believe me, then I suggest you try it out for once and then let me know if you still disagree.


    Miguel, the members of Comunidade0937 and the entire city does a stellar job at setting up the event. Paredes de Coura is a beautiful city in the mountains (they could be hills, but to a Dane - these are MOUNTAINS!), the towns people are super friendly and the food is good. What's not to like?

    As an additional treat, the swag bags of past years were on display. Some great stuff in those swag bags. One of my favorites is that the event set from each year is connected. First we get the Ricky the Rooster, then he gets a car, then his girlfiend Henriquetta and this year the offspring - Gregg.

    The event also has several shops which sells all kind of things LEGO related. Home made jewelry with LEGO bricks, new LEGO sets, loose LEGO bricks, old LEGO sets and the odd LEGO curiosities. So there's plenty of ways to spend you hard earned money.

    The Fairy Bricks Tombola is by now an integrated part of the event and it would be odd and wrong not to have Kev and Andy there with their "way" of engaging with the AFOL Community and event visitors (all in a good and joyful way). Plus the minifigures they have in their tombola are quite interesting and even sometimes cheaper than buying them on the second hand market.

    This year also saw the BrickLink team visiting the event, displaying the AFOL Designer Program models, doing presentations on the AFOL Designer Program and BrickLink Studio. Great team which really took the time to talk to the AFOL Community and they got a lot of great feedback both on Studio and the AFOL Designer Program.
    As usual the MOCs were pretty awesome (aren't they always when done by the AFOL Community?). And I did my best to take photos. Below are the photos I took, that came out "alright". My deepest apologies if I missed your MOC - it's not excluded, I just didn't get to take photos of everything and sometimes I put my fingers in front of the camera. I am sorry - it's nothing personal, it's just me being clumsy or out of time.

    On Saturday night we had the AFOL Dinner with the Town Council members participating as well as representative from LEGO Iberia. There's nothing like a flock (or murder) of AFOLs enjoying great food and awesome company. Thank You for being the most amazing, caring and friendly community I've ever been part of and engaging with.

    Jan Beyer
    Dear all,
    I kindly like to remind you to book a ticket soon if you like to join the Grand Old Designers Fan Evening in LEGO House on October 11th 2019.
    The Designers will be Niels Milan Pedersen, Olav Krøigaard and Steen Sig Andersen and together they have almost 120 years of LEGO Design experience. Bring your old LEGO sets if you like to have a signature on them.
    The lovely Are Heiseldal from Norway will be again the interviewer for the evening. 
    We are looking forward to welcome you.
    Astrid and Jan

    Sara Skahill
    More than 1500 Fans Construct Massive LEGO® Tower Filled with Colorful Apartments, Shops and Businesses
    Billund, Denmark - June 23, 2019 -  LEGO® Games, part of The LEGO Group, shattered all expectations today, breaking the Guinness World Records title for the largest LEGO® Brick Diorama at the LEGO® House in Billund, Denmark. The massive structure, weighing in at 400 kilograms (881.8 pounds) and spanning 21,04 square meters (226 square feet), brings to life themed floors, apartments and shops from the upcoming game LEGO® Tower. Over the course of three days, more than 1500 number of fans joined together to recreate 554 rooms and their Minifigure residents as they appear in the game.
    "It’s thrilling to see hundreds of creative and passionate builders come together to construct the world’s largest LEGO® Brick Diorama, and truly an honor to be recognized by Guinness World Records for this monumental achievement,” said Edgaras Racinskas, LEGO Tower Marketing Lead. “Our fans have given rise to a massive structure that is testament to the imaginative power of LEGO bricks combined with the fun digital play to be found in LEGO® Tower.”
    “Together with LEGO Games we have been working hard to develop LEGO® Tower, created to inspire and charm our fans worldwide. Seeing the LEGO community come together to build LEGO® Tower in the real world has truly been a captivating and rewarding experience over the last three days,” said Ian Marsh, co-founder of NimbleBit.
    LEGO® Tower, launched on iOS and Android devices on July 1, tasks players to build and manage their own tiny skyscrapers, overseeing a wide variety of spaces for their Minifigure residents to live, work and play. The tower-building game was created in partnership with acclaimed mobile games studio NimbleBit, giving players a new way to build out their LEGO® dream rooms in the real world.
    To pre-register for LEGO® Tower, please visit the App Store or Google Play.

    # # #
    About LEGO Group
    About the LEGO Group
    The LEGO Group is a privately held, family-owned company with headquarters in Billund, Denmark, and main offices in Enfield, USA, London, UK, Shanghai, China, and Singapore. Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, and based on the iconic LEGO® brick, it is one of the world's leading manufacturers of play materials.
    Guided by the company spirit: "Only the best is good enough”, the company is committed to the development of children and aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through creative play and learning. LEGO products are sold worldwide and can be virtually explored at www.LEGO.com.
    For more news from the LEGO Group, information about our financial performance and responsibility engagement, please visit http://www.LEGO.com/aboutus.
    LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Minifigure, DUPLO, BIONICLE, LEGENDS OF CHIMA, DIMENSIONS, the FRIENDS logo, the MINIFIGURES logo, MINDSTORMS, MIXELS, NINJAGO and NEXO KNIGHTS are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2018 The LEGO Group.

    Sara Skahill

    Strange Models

    By Sara Skahill, in LAN Blog,

    It was a fairly simple project, really – at least for the Enfield Model Shop.
    “We decided, let’s blow up some of the elements, so they’re just elements from the set,” said Jeff Rushby, the Senior Model Builder who designed the models for the Stranger Things events at the NYC Flatiron and London Leicester Square LEGO Brand Retail Stores.  
    A walkie talkie and the Barb poster from 75810 Stranger Things The Upside Down were blown up 24 times their normal size (as LEGO elements) and built in bricks. The famous waffles were blown up 25 times.  Since the events were happening at the same time, the team had to build two of everything: two waffles, two walkie-talkies, and two Barb missing posters. This took a team of three builders working with Jeff as the designer.
    It all started pretty quickly – the project details were decided in early May, and the team finished everything in time for the events May 15th.
    The NYC store event also included a mural of the famous Stranger Things wall.

    Renderings of the models
    “The Barb poster was probably the coolest one, and the most challenging,” Jeff says. “In the set, it’s a decal, so a lot of it had to be hand-done, you had to turn some bricks sideways to get the letters right.”

    It was also two-sided, with the poster appearing upside down and a little roughed up on the back side.
    “The mosaic took about 150 hours to design and build– that one is pretty cool because we strung lights over it,” Jeff explains. Due to its size, some wood was used on the back of it – although only bricks were used in the other models for the event.

    A rendering of the whole project – with children for scale
    Of course with a mosaic that large, the question remains, how do you get it from the model shop in Enfield, CT to NYC?
    Transportation of models created by the model shop varies depending on what they are – sometimes models are shipped in pieces, sometimes crates are constructed as “cradles” so large models can be laid down.
    “This mosaic was most likely shipped stacked one panel on top of the other and reassembled at the event space,” Jeff says. “The props would have been wrapped in bubble wrap or foam and put in boxes, as they were small enough to do that with. It all went out on one large pallet.”
    So what happens to the models now that the event is over? They don’t get to come home quite yet.
    “The plan was to use them here and there for other events – I’m sure they’ll travel again,” Jeff explains.
    “I think it’s super cool we have a Stranger Things set,” Jeff admits.  “I hope this is successful and we do something even bigger.”
    75810 Stranger Things The Upside Down is available for purchase from the LEGO Shop.

    Kim Ellekjær Thomsen
    On May 22nd to 24th we had the pleasure of hosting this year's Recognized LEGO Fan Media Days. 
    We invited the tier 2 Recognized LEGO Fan Media (RLFM) and raffled 3 participation tickets to the rest of the RLFM, the Recognized LEGO User Groups (RLUG) and Recognized LEGO Online Communities (RLOC) in the LEGO Ambassador Network (LAN) forums.
    This resulted in participation from:
    Blocks Magazine
    Hispabrick Magazine
    New Elementary
    Stuck In Plastic
    The Brothers Brick
    The Rambling Brick
    In total we had 23 participants representing the above communities and fan media. It was quite hectic, but I believe we pulled it off fairly ok and, as always, the participants leaned in and helped us work through any "bumps" quickly and smoothly.
    Wednesday was dedicated to talks and presentations from various parties inside the LEGO Group. We had the team from LEGO Foundation behind Braille Bricks there and also the Powered Up Team was there, talking to the new power platform and providing more information. There were other presentations, but the content and information is still under embargo - so you will have to wait for that to come from the participating communities and fan media.

    Thursday was all about interviews with LEGO designers and employees from various LEGO themes/franchises. There were interviews conducted with Creator Expert, Architecture, Ideas, Technic, Overwatch, Star Wars Boost, Hidden Side, Jurassic World, Harry Potter, LEGO Games, Speed Champions and Powered Up! Furthermore Tormod Askildsen (Head of AFOL Engagement) and Signe Lønholdt (Head of Community Growth & the LEGO Ambassador Network) were also available for interviews and talks. I really wanted to show a picture of the interviews with the various themes, but there were also embargoed and confidential items being shown - so again, you'll have to wait for the fan media to publish their articles on embargo time for more insights.

    In the morning prior to the interviews starting, we had the pleasure of getting a presentation from the designer of the new LEGO House Dinosaur set. Nina talked us through the design process and afterwards everyone got to build one of the dinosaurs from the set. 

    On Friday we visited the LEGO Factory "Kornmarken" and I gave a guided tour of how we make the LEGO bricks. Sadly the factory is confidential and therefore no pictures or video was allowed in there. After the tour we met with Kasper from LEGOLAND and he gave us a tour of the new Castle Hotel in Billund and once everyone was fed and happy, we went for a "Behind the Scenes" tour of LEGOLAND. It was truly amazing - to a point where it proved very difficult to "persuade" the New Elementary participants to leave, when we were in the LEGOLAND element warehouse which has elements in colors never used in LEGO sets.
    This was the fourth time we hosted this event for the Recognized LEGO Fan Media. It was a pleasure and I look forward to seeing all the great content coming from this event. Below is a few links for already published articles and videos:
    https://itlug.org/2019/05/intervista-a-jamie-berard-sul-10266-nasa-apollo-11-lunar-lander-e-molto-altro/ (In Italian)
    https://itlug.org/2019/06/intervista-a-mark-stafford-e-marcos-bessa-sul-set-t-rex-rampage/ (In Italian)

    Jan Beyer
    The past weekend my colleagues Signe and Niek from Denmark, MinHwa from Singapore and myself visited Japan Brick Fest 2019 in Kobe, Japan.
    Over 400 happy AFOLs and TFOLs representing 19 different mainly Asian countries put together a blast of a show that inspired each others and over 3000 public visitors.
    We had a great time (even though it is quite a trip for a weekend) and enjoyed presentations and workshops as well as discussions with AFOLs and awesome Japanese hospitality.
    It was a true pleasure to be part of this event and I like to congratulate and thank again Edwin, Miki, Nathan and their fantastic team for pulling the 2019 Japan Brick Fest together and give all a great time. 

    Kari Vinther
    The Lead User Lab will aim to capture new-to-the-company ideas, evaluate their potential and bring them to life in new ways.
    Planned to start in August, the Lead User Lab pilot project sets out to build a unique innovation model for the LEGO Group, capturing, evaluating and nurturing ideas from the brilliant and creative minds of LEGO fans and Lead Users among adult LEGO users.
    Co-creating these future innovations will set the ground for developing investigate new opportunity areas which might include complementary add-ons to the LEGO building system, digital experiences and even marketplaces, imagined by the Lead Users, and brought to scale by the LEGO Group.
    Kari Vinther Nielsen, Head of Lead User Lab at the LEGO Group said:
    “Innovation is often something you don’t know you need. Lead Users often create this future – they react to trends and come up with ingenious solutions to problems we perhaps didn’t even know we had! We want to capture this brilliance and ingenuity of Lead Users in a systematic way, explore the high potential ideas and co-create to expand the LEGO idea in ways we haven’t yet imagined.”
    The Lead User Lab will focus on breakthrough ideas on a wide spectrum of future application ranging from new experiences, services, channels and audiences, while keeping the Lead User front and center.
    What’s a Lead User?
    Lead Users are at the starting edge of future market and consumer trends – they experience latent needs that often haven’t been crystalized yet and tailor innovative solutions that are well ahead of the market. 
    The LEGO Group currently benefits from AFOLs’ (Adult Fans of LEGO) amazing talents in many ways. Whether as loyal consumers of LEGO products and experiences, as highly creative producers of content, experiences and many other LEGO knowledge areas, or as amazing brand advocates – and some of them can turn out to be the future Lead Users.
    Over a third of AFOLs self-report that they have developed a LEGO related innovation – with Lead User Lab, we will explore a unique opportunity to get closer to the breakthrough ideas pipeline, capture the best and turn them into reality together with Lead Users.
    How will it work?
    The Lead User Lab will take in ideas on two simultaneous fronts. A dedicated innovation portal will be launched, where all potential Lead User candidates can submit their radical innovation ideas and keep track of the intake and evaluation process done by the LEGO Group.
    Simultaneously, the Lead User Lab team will also approach various existing Lead Users who are extremely motivated in finding ingenious solutions to a LEGO related need, and who have developed a prototype, solution, or have an established business, and are eager to co-create on taking their idea to the next level.
    If you already have a breakthrough idea, we encourage you to keep an eye out for the Lead User Lab innovation portal launch. And if you can’t wait, please send us a note to kvn@lego.com Please expect a delay in getting an answer. The LUL team will not be onboard until August
    The lead user Lab is planned as a two-year pilot and the LEGO group will ongoingly evaluate the potential of scaling this initiative.

    Sara Skahill
    LEGO® Legacy: Heroes Unboxed & LEGO® Tower will both be playable at the LEGO GAMES booth
    Iconic Minifigure™ and LEGO® builds shown in these games will be on-display – with a small collection from the LEGO® Vault.
    Event Key Information
    Brickworld Chicago
    Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel
    Schaumburg, Illinois, United States
    13 - 14 June  AFOLs only (Adult Fans of LEGO)
    15 - 16 June  Open to the Public
    LEGO Games, part of The LEGO Group today announced that they will be at Brickworld Chicago, having on show two new mobile games and a collection of classic LEGO® Minifigure™ and sets – straight from the Vault!
    Edgaras Racinskas, Associate Marketing Manager with LEGO Games said that LEGO Games was honored to be attending the Brickworld Chicago Event.
    “Within LEGO Games we are passionate about making the best products possible, that hold up not only to the LEGO® core values, but the expectations of the fans and families that will play our titles. Brickworld Chicago is a fantastic opportunity not just to let the AFOL community see what we have been doing, but we’re also there to see what they have been doing. I am sure we will take back with us a lot of feedback and inspirations into what directions we can explore.”
    Both titles to be shown, LEGO® Legacy: Heroes Unboxed from Gameloft, & LEGO® Tower from NimbleBit, are in development, and this will be the first time fans will get to try the titles. Fans will be able to pre-register for downloads, and have access to all sorts of swag… …the team is currently packing into boxes!
    Also on display will be LEGO® brick-built displays of both Pip-Town and a LEGO® Tower, as well as the classic LEGO® sets shown in the Gameloft title. These models and their boxes have been sourced from the LEGO® Vault, and will be on display, including their original packaging!
    LEGO Games will be on-stage 14 June to discuss development of the game.
    Several competitions will be run during the event, with special game unlocks, LEGO® books and magazines and other things on offer. The stuff from the LEGO Vault has to go back to Billund though.
    LEGO® Partner for development of LEGO® Tower
    Pre-register for special unlock upon launch!
    Apple App Store https://apple.co/2WgdooW
    Google Play https://bit.ly/2M1Xpqw
    LEGO® Partner for development of LEGO® Legacy: Heroes Unboxed
    Pre-register http://www.legolegacy.com/en/coming-soon

    Sara Skahill
    Event Key Information
    Largest LEGO® Brick Diorama World Record Attempt
    LEGO House – The Home of the Brick
    Ole Kirks Vej 1, Billund
    21 - 23 June  Build your own LEGO® Tower floor with our LEGO® bricks
    23 June  Official measurement
    Build LEGO® Tower floors at LEGO® House to help us break the Guinness World Record for the Largest LEGO® brick diorama
    LEGO Games, part of The LEGO Group today announced that in partnership with LEGO® House and the Guinness World Records will attempt to build the Largest LEGO® brick Diorama, with the help of everyone that can come along to LEGO® House during the event!

    Edgaras Racinskas, Associate Marketing Manager with LEGO Games said that LEGO Games was super-duper excited to turn the large constructions from the upcoming LEGO® Tower game into a humongous physical brick display.
    “The floors are modular, and this feels like the right approach to try build something this big together, with hopefully everything able to slot together to form these huge structures. We were counting individual bricks used, but have moved now to measuring in kilograms. We’re now at 350kg of LEGO® bricks and we’re still ordering stuff…”
    Several thousand floor frames has been pre-assembled in pre-planning for the event, and boxes-upon-boxes of LEGO® bricks will be available in the LEGO® House Square walk-in event. The official measurement will take place late-afternoon on 23 June.
    Visitors to LEGO® House should expect a lot of brick-sorting noise, and a lot of inspirational designs being built by other visitors. There will be a dedicated area to take your own photos of your floors as they are contributed to the construction, and sticker sheets to take home.
    Pre-registering for the LEGO® Tower mobile-game at the event will also let visitors unlock a specially commemorative element in the game to showcase that they were at the event.
    LEGO® Tower developed by NimbleBit LLC can now be pre-ordered with the code below. The official launch of the title is planned for July 1
    Guinnes World Records
    LEGO® Partner for development of LEGO® Tower

    Sara Skahill
    On May 14th, 15th, and 16th, the AFOL Engagement Team  journeyed far and wide to attend our regular Department Meeting. This year, we traveled outside of Denmark to the border town of Flensburg, Germany.

    As a team, we discussed challenges we face, provided feedback for our overall strategy, learned about the hard work Jackie is doing in China and Kevin is doing in APAC, took a lesson about being agile and discussed a number of confidential plans I cannot comment on in this blog post.

    Sanne did a presentation on some of the past LEGO Ideas sets she’s worked on, sharing fun stories such as talking with Margaret Hamilton while working on 21312 Women of NASA and sneaking around the Central Perk set at California’s Universal Studios while finalizing the agreement for The Central Perk Coffee of Friends LEGO Ideas set.

    Kim also shared trends in the AFOL community (thank you everyone who provided insight on that thread).

    It was a whirlwind, but as a global team, it’s invaluable to be able to get everyone together, even for just a few days.Until next time.

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