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2009 Roundup

January 1st, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Roundup of another year of my building activity. Includes all constructions published during this time, as well as some general popularity statistics and some announcements.

2009 was a bit slow year. It resulted in 18 constructions, which pales to compare with the 34 built in 2008. There are two reasons for this: firstly, the level of the complexity of my constructions increases gradually, more and more attention is given to their aesthetics, their authenticity, as well as to the way they are published. Secondly, I have spent long time in late 2009 working on an enormous model of a bucket wheel excavator, which was over 2 meters long and 7 kilograms heavy when it failed ultimately. The time spent on this model was sufficient to complete 2 or 3 smaller constructions – but it was an instructive experience, so I don’t consider it entirely wasted.

2009 has also ended with an unfortunate accident with a model of the Volvo EC290C pneumatic excavator – it was going to be published on December 31st, but a breach in the pneumatic system occurred during the very final tests and now the publication has to be postponed until the model is partially taken apart, fixed, re-tested and put back together. You can follow the excavator’s building process at Facebook.

Sariel's 2009

The 18 constructions are:

2009 is also my website’s  first year of existence. It turned out to be successful and popular way above what I could have expected, resulting in almost half a million visits, in numerous references from other websites, and undoubtedly in a growing number of people who watch my work on a regular basis. In fact, the growth of popularity was so unexpected that it forced me to move the website to another hosting provider in December 2009, thanks to which the website’s performance has improved significantly. I would like to thank all of you readers, and to present you with some numbers that may become an interesting point of reference at the end of 2010.

2009 in numbers:

  • 18 constructions
  • 99 posts
  • over 1,250 comments
  • 20,000 absolute unique visitors in the last quarter of 2009 according to Google Analytics

My work work is also popular at YouTube. Let’s sum it up:

  • 110 videos
  • almost 1,960,000 video views
  • over 40,000 channel views
  • 1,015 subscribers

2009 has resulted in something I didn’t think of when launching this website, that is in two tutorials on building. Both have turned out to be very helpful and popular, and the first one is going to be included in some future issue of the Hispabrick magazine. If I’ll have enough of spare time and topics to write on in 2010, more tutorials may follow.

Probably the nicest thing that happened to me in 2009 was the invitation to write for the official LEGO Technic designers’ blog. While I am no LEGO designer by any means, it was extremely rewarding to find myself as one of just three guest bloggers worldwide. So far it has no significant influence on my activity, but the very idea of inviting people from outside the company is something very nice, innovative and promising of the LEGO crew. Who knows what they may come up with next? 🙂

Finally, the Facebook page launched in half of December has managed to gather over 220 fans who are following my building process, presented on photos every few days. While this way of showing my work is new to me, it seems to meet everyone’s expectations so far.

I would like you to know that 2010 is going to be even more interesting. Not only my constructions are going to continue their tendency to become more complex and good-looking, but there are also models of some legendary vehicles coming, including a Truck Trial-capable Hummer H1 and the supercars line. Moreover, as I have mentioned some time ago, I have a few special projects which are highly experimental and therefore kept secret to keep you from disappointment in case of a failure. Two of these projects are very likely to come true in 2010: these are the A-10 Thunderbolt fighter (not a flying one) and the Batman’s Tumbler Batmobile. While both are very demanding of me and will not be completed in the nearest months, I hope you’re happy to know they are coming.

2010 will also certainly bring plenty of new, hopefully useful ideas. Two of these are coming very soon, one of them being a brand new compressor design, created specifically to provide high power in a limited space. I’m also going to experiment with the ideas of other builders, e.g. by integrating the automated CVT gearbox developed by ZBLJ into a subtractor in a model of the T28 Super Heavy Tank.

What is the 2010 going to be like? I can certainly say that all my videos will be kept in the YouTube’s HQ standard (including the ones from the Truck Trial races), and that I will seek to make them more enjoyable, e.g. by avoiding long, boring parts and showing models’ working internal mechanics whenever possible. The Facebook page is most likely going to be regularly used to show the building process of my future constructions, but there are no promises as this activity puts extra effort & extra pressure on me. If the Brickshelf continues to fail in 2010, I’m prepared to host all the pictures of my constructions entirely on my own – in worst case it will take just a couple of days to make this website and my work completely Brickshelf-independent. Finally, while I was actually out of Truck Trial racing in 2009, I’m going to get back to it effectively in 2010 starting with the aforementioned Hummer H1 model.

I would like to say that I honestly regret building that slow. However, with a hindsight it appears to be beneficial for my constructions – more and more new unprecedented LEGO pieces is released, more new ideas is exchanged in the builders’ community, and generally more possibilities open up as they wait to be built. I think it is fair to say that some things should not be built too hastily. With this said, I hope you will enjoy my work in 2010.

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  1. Sariel
    January 10th, 2010 at 14:40 | #1

    I haven’t seen this one, thank you. My model is going to be larger, but it’s still nice to see something inspiring.

  2. January 10th, 2010 at 14:35 | #2

    Hi Sariel;

    I just saw a thumbler on YouTube and found its Brickshelf Gallery http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?i=4131662 I thought it could help you to build your own (probably Black) Thumbler.


  3. Sariel
    January 5th, 2010 at 20:27 | #3

    That’s unlikely, the wings will be light and they contribute to the majority of the size.

  4. January 5th, 2010 at 20:14 | #4


    Thanks – 120 studs sounds like a lot… I hope you will not run into the same problems as with the giant excavator.

  5. Sariel
    January 5th, 2010 at 16:05 | #5

    I want rotating engine turbines and main gun, retractable landing gear (pneumatics), moving ailerons (subtractor) and flashing position lights. The main gun will be probably detachable. I have some extra features in my mind but they are very experimental and I can’t tell if they are likely to come true, until I start building. Most of all, it’s going to be large – with wingspan at roughly 120 studs.

  6. January 5th, 2010 at 15:34 | #6

    Hi Sariel,

    what features are you planning to include in the A-10 Thunderbolt? I guess it could have a retractable landing gear, flight controls. How about the Avenger gun? Anything in the engine?


  7. icanhaslego
    January 4th, 2010 at 03:08 | #7

    to be honest, it is easy to miss. (low contrast) i didnt notice it until you mentioned it.

  8. Sariel
    January 3rd, 2010 at 10:19 | #8

    It’s the number of motors. Each * means one motor. There is a notice on the top of the very picture, and yet you managed to overlook it somehow.

  9. Alexi-L
    January 3rd, 2010 at 00:34 | #9

    I apologise if it’s already been stated, but what do the *’s represent in this picture?


    Are they your personal analyses or viewer reception or something differnt entirely?

    Thanks =)
    And really looking forward to the Hummer =D

  10. Sariel
    January 2nd, 2010 at 17:54 | #10

    @David Luders
    I can use aluminium parts, but that’s unlikely to resolve the stability problems. And it adds to the weight, so it would require a major redesign of the whole bearing structure. I don’t like the idea though, using aluminium and LEGO parts together would damage the LEGO ones.

  11. David Luders
    January 2nd, 2010 at 17:08 | #11

    Your 2010 projects look awesome! By the way, have you ever considered replacing the broken Technic Liftarms in your Big Bucket Wheel Excavator with the STRONG, custom ALUMINUM parts featured in the recent article in http://www.technicbricks.blogspot.com/ ? Do your creations HAVE TO use 100% Lego parts, with no exceptions? It would be cool to see the Big Bucket Wheel Excavator finished (if just for a few hours, long enough to photograph and videotape)….

  12. icanhaslego
    January 1st, 2010 at 20:32 | #12

    you’ve done a lot this year- each build has a few little details that i thought wouldn’t be possible in lego. (ie: the trafficators system, the floating gear in the chainsaw, etc.) i look forward to following your building in 2010.

  13. RjbsNXT
    January 1st, 2010 at 14:55 | #13

    My favourite month for your projects has to be February – the outstanding Snowgroomer and the amazing Liebherr R996 :).
    Secondly, the Bucket Wheel Excavator would have been your best, yet I’m sure it and the Volvo excavator will bring you many, even better ideas to your moddels.
    I’m looking forward most to the T28 Super Heavy Tank which I think will be very interesting to see the internals of :D.
    Lastly, I wish you luck in the TT with the Hummer ;).

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