Hangin’ With Mr. Koopa by Baron von Brunk

Way back in late 2011, I built several minifigure-scale Koopa Troopas to use amongst the scenery of my then work-in-progress Super Mario 3 Fireflower Airship. I decided against using them, and instead opted to have the airship display streamlined and less cluttered. These are a few of the winged minions; I think I built about 20 originally, half with wings half without. Underneath these Koopas is the tiled mosaic Nintendo World Store Platform from spring 2013.

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Mosaic LEGO Super Mario Bros. Lamp by Julius von Brunk

Technical details: E12 Candelabra CFL bulb, 580 lumen, 9 Watts, 5,000K CRI.

Based on my previous mosaic Super Mario Bros. LEGO lamp from 2012, which used a stained glass effect, this new model uses a clever rigging of Technic bricks and transparent dots to mimic a Lite Brite set!

To build your own, check out my tutorial on Instructables to build your own — and make sure to vote for this in the Make it Glow contest!

-Baron von Brunk

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Here’s an original creation that I built exclusively for Nintendo World Store in April. This was intended to be a platform to go underneath my full-scale replica of a Nintendo Wii U and controller made from LEGO bricks, but alas, I decided to keep both units — the platform and the Wii U/controller — separate in the glass case — as this tiled mosaic was too pretty to be covered up predominantly by the Wii U model! When kept on display at Nintendo World, I originally had a few imperfections in the pixel design, notably the Piranha Plant — which I’ve repaired specially for this photo shoot. As of now, only two imperfections remain: the right-hand coin has a black pixel in the wrong spot, and the warp pipe is too short by one line of pixels. To create this project, I used MS Paint to design a custom 96 x 96 composite image of various Super Mario Bros. items/characters, then enlarged the image as a reference for laying out the LEGO tiles and plates. In my composite image, I deviated a bit from the genuine NES sprites by adding more colors to create the effect of shading and vibrant hues. Underneath the tiles are two 48 x 48 LEGO baseplates, with a layer of bricks and plates on top of them, to maintain a rigid surface for the mosaic design.
Right here’s the original reference image I created, so you can compare the before and after progress. As you can see, I clearly didn’t have enough 1x1 plates/tiles of blue and sky blue, hence I made the final sky background with lines, rather than dots; also, I had to make some substitutions with colors, as with the shades of tan and grey with the Koopa and Goombas.

-Baron von Brunk

Here’s an original creation that I built exclusively for Nintendo World Store in April. This was intended to be a platform to go underneath my full-scale replica of a Nintendo Wii U and controller made from LEGO bricks, but alas, I decided to keep both units — the platform and the Wii U/controller — separate in the glass case — as this tiled mosaic was too pretty to be covered up predominantly by the Wii U model! When kept on display at Nintendo World, I originally had a few imperfections in the pixel design, notably the Piranha Plant — which I’ve repaired specially for this photo shoot. As of now, only two imperfections remain: the right-hand coin has a black pixel in the wrong spot, and the warp pipe is too short by one line of pixels.

To create this project, I used MS Paint to design a custom 96 x 96 composite image of various Super Mario Bros. items/characters, then enlarged the image as a reference for laying out the LEGO tiles and plates. In my composite image, I deviated a bit from the genuine NES sprites by adding more colors to create the effect of shading and vibrant hues. Underneath the tiles are two 48 x 48 LEGO baseplates, with a layer of bricks and plates on top of them, to maintain a rigid surface for the mosaic design.

Right here’s the original reference image I created, so you can compare the before and after progress. As you can see, I clearly didn’t have enough 1x1 plates/tiles of blue and sky blue, hence I made the final sky background with lines, rather than dots; also, I had to make some substitutions with colors, as with the shades of tan and grey with the Koopa and Goombas.

-Baron von Brunk

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LEGO City: Undercover Release Party at Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center!

In early 2013, after the publicity of my giant LEGO NES controller, Nintendo of America commissioned me to create a custom display to promote their spring 2013 release of “LEGO City: Undercover”. I gradually worked on most of these creations throughout January-March 2013, and unveiled them at the flagship store on Saturday April 6th. I was also invited to stay the whole day and greet customers, as I proudly displayed several of my other popular Nintendo-themed LEGO models! What you see here are the various LEGO creations all made by me, which are currently on display at the Rockefeller Center — and shall remain in the glass case until the end of the month — whereupon some will get permanently displayed! (taken on April 6th, 2013)

I felt rather honored to keep my famous Game Boy Transformer in a glass case alongside the Operation Desert Storm battle damaged Game Boy — made me feel like a real American! Unfortunately, I could only fit a few of the Fireflower Airship's mini ships, and not the bow and stern. The Lake Hylia scientist was omitted due to his size (and lack of space), and the Super Mario coin block lamp wasn’t plugged in. Regardless, I hung out by my display all afternoon and met a ton of new fans — many of which were young LEGO builders to whom I gave encouragement! Don’t waste your time following instructions… Instead, create your own original stuff that rocks — such as transforming Nintendo accessories!

-Baron von Brunk

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Here’s the only teaser photo you’ll get for now! The entire controller is now totally complete, and only awaiting the internal wiring and soldering. Get psyched, Brunkamaniacs!
-Baron von Brunk

Here’s the only teaser photo you’ll get for now! The entire controller is now totally complete, and only awaiting the internal wiring and soldering. Get psyched, Brunkamaniacs!

-Baron von Brunk

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Now that the bulk of the grey pieces have arrived, I’ve gone further with making the giant NES controller. The foundation is constructed of several baseplates attached together, which goes to almost 5 feet in width across the folding table. The total height of the chassis should be about 7 inches tall, and about now it’s 2-3 inches. The controller is made almost perfectly to scale of a real NES controller, give or take a few centimeters or so due to LEGO brick sizes. The placement of the buttons in relativity to one another is on the same size/aspect ratio of a real controller!

I also recently picked up the wiring equipment from Radio Shack, and I’m awaiting a USB NES controller to arrive in the mail. Naturally I’ll take out the innards of the controller, then wire some momentary pushbuttons underneath the large A, B, Start, Select, & D-Pad components. Using Technic shock absorbers, the large buttons retract smoothly, and will make contact to the pushbuttons when touched. I haven’t soldered since 11th grade metal shop, so let’s hope I don’t fuck this up.

Photo 1) Panoramic view of the total size layout, with the buttons in their proper spots. Now comes the challenge: building the colossal chassis!

Photo 2) For the chassis of the giant NES controller — over 6,400 LEGO pieces — all bricks, all light-grey! These 800-1,600 piece bulk boxes were purchased at various LEGO Stores in New Jersey. Fun fact: you don’t have to limit yourself to pick-a-brick cups — if you ask nicely, certain stores will allow you to purchase one of their stock boxes for $70, and you get hundreds to thousands of a single type/color LEGO piece!

3) The early foundation, much resembling the ancient ruins of Greece. The icetray layout is intended to become the beam/truss structure to make the controller sort of hollow, but not being rickety.

-Baron von Brunk

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More work in progress photos of my giant NES controller project, made entirely out of LEGO! So far, I’ve created the large buttons and built the mechanism to allow them retract and act as real controller buttons. Using Technic brick shock absorbers, I’m able to have the specially-design units slide in and out of the module casings, similar to a real video game controller — on a much larger scale!

The buttons are basically done; Now comes the challenge: building the colossal chassis!

-Baron von Brunk

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"The Wreck of The Fireflower."

Rather than cluttering my spare room — and to convert it into a workstation, I’ve dismantled the legendary Fireflower airship and stored its partially intact wreckage in a giant 47-gallon plastic storage tote. I can’t predict when I’ll move into a new house/apartment where my ship can be rebuilt and put on permanent display (where I’ll also increase the size, now that I won’t be limited to tabletop space). Also perhaps a toy store or gallery here in New York will gladly take this ship off my hands, and I’ll certainly rebuild and donate it to their space! (hint hint, FAO Schwarz, if you’re reading this…)

In the fourth photo, you’ll see a large side panel that was accidentally torn off the side of the stern following the initial photo shoot in February. If you recall, once Roz and I wrapped up the session, the kick bar that was propping up the trapdoor hinge of the roof fell off, and a chain reaction of the hinges ripped off the entire starboard side of the ship’s cabin!

With the tabletop space now saved, I’ll have plenty of room to work on my next LEGO/Nintendo related project — which shall be one of my biggest and most ambitious projects to date. Stay tuned…

-Baron von Brunk

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Tell the world the universe belongs to us today!
May 2012 Nintendo Power, pages 94 & 95 — my ground-breaking interview and photo spread! Buy five copies for your mothers, as instructed by Dr. Hook in the hit song “Cover of Rolling Stone!” By the way, I picked up three copies of this issue at Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, and yes, I showed it off to a bunch of the employees!
-Baron von Brunk

(photo by Tim Sypasong)

Tell the world the universe belongs to us today!

May 2012 Nintendo Power, pages 94 & 95 — my ground-breaking interview and photo spread! Buy five copies for your mothers, as instructed by Dr. Hook in the hit song “Cover of Rolling Stone!” By the way, I picked up three copies of this issue at Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, and yes, I showed it off to a bunch of the employees!

-Baron von Brunk

(photo by Tim Sypasong)

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The illuminated Super Mario Bros. question block nightlight! Lit up like a Tiffany Lamp and using the same stained-glass techniques of my airship's stern, this little box was inspired by the sexy geeky burlesque girl Luna Chase, who does a Super Mario striptease using a similar illuminated question block! The tile pattern is based off a sprite from the original Super Mario Bros., and mixes red, yellow and orange transparent pieces. I also reused the clear stanchion technique from my airship to create the illusion of hovering yet again!

This project was intended to be built simultaneously with my airship, and was supposed to sit on the ship’s same table to make a giant Mario-themed diorama. I put it on the backburner and just now picked it back up, and made the final touches and electrical work. The actual lamp is a small corded candelabra base, and the bulb is a small 7 Watt incandescent bulb; I also experimented with using a 20 Watt Halogen 300 lumen bulb, which was much brighter, but produced a lot of heat — and I feared it would melt the LEGO bricks!

The person who sold me the tiles (for the lid) was Dave Lovelace, creator of the popular “Retarded Animal Babies” cartoon series; and he’s the owner of a large LEGO parts store on Bricklink.com! He deliberately gave me free extra pieces in the hopes that I’ll create the question block efficiently!

-Baron von Brunk

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Sneak preview of what’s to come of my new LEGO airship photo session!

Stay tuned…

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A Typical Day in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Get a load of that Bullet Bill in mid-cannon blast!

A Typical Day in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Get a load of that Bullet Bill in mid-cannon blast!

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The final touches of my LEGO airship are coming along swell!

The Fireflower stained-glass window, with the lights off!

Coming soon: a full photo session of the final completed airship, and two more LEGO-Nintendo geek projects — a light-up lamp of a Mario question block, made of clear pieces (like the stained glass window), and a Transformer, that goes from robot to NES Zapper pistol and back; all LEGO, all made by me! Stay tuned, kiddies!

-Baron von Brunk

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Come my minions, rise for your master!

Here are the first eight red-shelled Koopa Troopas to man my ships! I’m awaiting for more parts to arrive in the mail, then I’ll make eight more troops — green shells! I’ll probably designate 3 or 4 soldiers to be be winged Koopa Paratroopas to float around and escort the ships.

The red-shelled koopas have curved slopes, as the green-shelled ones will have regular 45-degree angle slopes; green curved 2x2 slopes aren’t available (in production from LEGO), so I’ll have to make do with what’s possible.

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Greetings From Atop the Ship’s Warp Pipe!

Here’s my imitation of that iconic photo of the construction workers sitting on the girder structure of the Empire State Building…

My dirty secret: I hired independent contractors to do the plumbing in my ship, and look who I ended up using! Hopefully those two brothers don’t sabotage my men’s room urinal.

Below: The completed fireflower stained glass window!

Below are some more work in progress photos of my ship, namely the transparent stanchions to create the illusion of hovering in midair!

As of now, I’m awaiting a few more bulk parcels of LEGO bricks in the mail, hundreds of parts total — in order to make the final touches. More transparent stanchions will be used to raised the sections higher off the ground, and more divisions with cannons & propellers will be suspended from above the middle portion of the entire vessel.

I’m trying to aim for the end of January to finish the whole project. Step 1) Finish the damn ship! Step 2) Hire my friend Roz to photograph the ship from different angles, in order to make promotional images and prints for sale. Step 3) With the fancy new photos taken, I’ll plug this site and its content all across the internet! Step 4) Arranging to have my ship displayed in a public art gallery in the SoHo Gallery for Digital Arts! Step 5) Conquering the Mushroom Kingdom!

Current piece total: Over 7,000 LEGO bricks!

- Baron von Brunk

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