LEGO World Copenhagen report, part 1
The fifth LEGO World to be held in Copenhagen has just ended. As you know I was there for two of the four days so I'm going to write a series of reports about the show which I'm hoping will persuade you to visit it yourself next year :-)
First, some basic information about the event. It's held in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, at the Bella Center, which is a couple of miles from the city centre, and a couple of miles from the airport. It's on the city's metro system so is easy to get to. The Bella Sky hotel is next door and there's a Danhostel within walking distance, which provides budget accommodation.
It's unique among LEGO shows in that it's actually organised by the LEGO company, their Danish regional office. (LEGO participates in other events, like LEGO World in the Netherlands, but they are organised by clubs or other companies) This obviously means that they have a large presence, and indeed fill a massive hall with displays and activities.
Byggepladen, the Danish LUG, work with LEGO and coordinate the 'Fan Zone' hall, in which AFOLs from around Europe display their models.
I'll write the report in three sections: this first one will cover one aspect of the LEGO display: the production area. The other two will cover the other LEGO company areas and the fan zone.
Acknowledgement: Some of the photos in this report are courtesy of Chris, wiredforsound, whom I met at the show. Photography in the production area was difficult as it was always very crowded.
The production area
Aside from the fan zone, this was the most interesting aspect of the show and arguably worth all the effort of getting there on its own. If you've not been to the LEGO factory, this is the next best thing. Various machines used in the production and packaging of LEGO were on display and being operated.
A fully operating molding machine was working away throughout the show churning out red 2x4 bricks. Where they came off the conveyer belt into the crate, an operator was handing out handfuls to passers by. They were still warm, and it was quite a thrill to be holding such fresh bricks :-)
A machine was printing the design shown at the top of this article onto the 2x2 tiles on a 4x6 plate. You can see a video of the printing process in action. It's incredible how precise it is as the different colours of the design are printed individually. Once they'd been printed they were loaded (maually) into to the machine on the right that, on the real production line, would get them ready for packaging. A button on the front dispensed one which you could take home.
There was another printing machine, not shown, where you could manually load up a 1x8 tile and press a button to have it printed with a LEGO World 2013 design.
Once you'd collected your 2x4 bricks, your printed tiles and various other things that I'll tell you about in a minute, you could give them to an operator at a packaging machine who'd feed them into it to have them sealed in a bag, the type you find in boxed sets.
2x4s and printed tiles were not all that was on offer, though. Minifigs with a unique printed torso could also be constructed and taken. Three different heads and several different hairpieces/hats were available. This shows the most interesting of the latter:
Here are the minifig construction tables. You could, in theory, take as many as you wanted but it would not have been courteous to others at the table to cram polybags full of parts. I visited the tables several times during my visits and came away with 'enough' :-)
Printed letter tiles
Another activity in the production area was making name badges using white plates and 2x2 printed letter and number tiles. There was always a scrum round the 6 or so tables and, unfortunately, the letters were all mixed up so trying to find the right ones for your name was challenging. Luckily I only have 3 letters in mine, but for some reason Us were hard to find :-)
I persevered, though, and after several visits to several tables I managed to gather three complete alphabets (I didn't bother with the extended characters) and numbers, plus some spares. Towards the end of the second day some letters were in short supply, D, J and O in particular: I guess they are popular in Danish names.
This area was definitely the highlight of the show for me, and not just because of the freebies. It was an interesting insight into the production of LEGO that, short of visiting the actual factory, you won't see elsewhere.
In part two of my report (which I will write if you found this one interesting enough to warrant doing so) I will cover the themed play and display areas in the LEGO company hall.