The fan zone was managed by Svend Erik of Byggepladen, the Danish LUG, who I had the pleasure to meet and who was a great guy. It was housed in a massive annexe to the main hall that was about half the size of the main hall at the STEAM museum at Swindon where GWLS is held. Large though it was, looking at the map in the programme, it accounts for less than 10% of the total floor area of the show.
Most of the exhibitors were Danish or Swedish but I also met Norwegians, Germans, Irish and even Warren from Edinburgh who was there with his microscale Olympic park.
There were two main displays and around a dozen smaller ones round the edges. The centrepiece was a very large train layout built by around 30 people. I'm told that one person built most of the infrastructure, the hills, roads etc. and the other contributors added their models to it. Clearly a lot of planning was needed beforehand. It was arranged in a T shape and was probably something like 50 square metres in area.
The other main display was the Great Ball Contraption which if you haven't heard of it before, is a series of machines linked together to move LEGO footballs from one place to another. I am told that this was a world-record beating length, consisting of some 139 modules. I was very impressed with the ingenuity that went into the design of the modules, all of which had solved the problem of moving balls differently. It really was a sight to behold.
Photos don't really do it justice so I encourage you to watch KimT's video of it in motion:
The displays round the edges ranged from giant trucks, spaceships, train layouts, boats and a complete collection of Star Wars minifigs displayed in a novel and interesting way. The photos below are courtesy of wiredforsound, and you'll find more on flickr.
That small selection of photos hasn't really done the fan zone justice: there was a lot to see and admire.
To wrap up my reports, the thing I haven't mentioned yet is, something close to all our hearts, shopping!
There was a huge official 'LEGO butik' just inside the entrance that has shelves stacked high with current sets. There was nothing old, unusual, unreleased, or unavailable elsewhere and, with everything at full retail Danish prices, nothing worth buying which really was the only disappointing thing about the whole show.
There was one bargain to be had though: outside the main hall a charity stall was selling old instruction booklets and the Shave The Sheep game, for a donation of 10Kr (about £1.10, $1.50). I bought as many as I thought I could stuff in my suitcase (5). It's not the most wonderful selection of parts, but you can't complain for that price, and it's a fun game.
Finally, I'd like to thank the Byggepladen members and exhibitors for making me feel welcome, and Svend Erik for allowing me to attend the evening event.
Roll on next year's -- hopefully I'll see more of you there!
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