Competition: Create an alternative Advent Calendar

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As has become customary, Huw, CapnRex101 and myself will once again be providing mini reviews of the gifts included in the three LEGO Advent Calendars this year.

I am sure you will agree, though, that the official Advent Calendars have become a bit 'samey' over the last few years, so we came up with an idea for a competition: Create an alternative LEGO Advent Calendar!

What would be in your ideal LEGO Advent Calendar? Would you use the same themes as LEGO does and create different models for them, use a different LEGO theme, or perhaps not even an official LEGO theme at all? Build your ideas and you will be in with a chance of winning one of three new 2016 sets.

The Rules

We don’t expect you to create 24 related mini-models in only a few weeks, so we have decided that you only need to provide six models, which relate to one another in some way.

Here's what you need to build:

  • Create six mini-models using a maximum of 20 parts each, which all need to fit into a standard LEGO Advent Calendar window, so no 8x8 plates, giant canopies, etc.
  • A maximum of two of them can contain a minifigure/mini-doll. The figures can be accompanied by up to five parts as accessories.
  • Each day’s gift should be a mini-model in its own right, so if it is, for example, a standalone section of wall that is later combined with something else, that is okay but we don’t want to see just six lots of 20 random bricks that form a larger model at the end.

Here's how to enter:

  • Upload a maximum of three photos of your entry to the Brickset Flickr group. Please make sure that at least one of them clearly shows the six models separately.

The small print:

  • Actual built models only please; no LDD submissions.
  • Your entries must be “family-friendly”, so avoid any alcohol-, sex- or drugs-based subject matter and no realistic weapons. (that’s not very Christmassy anyway!)
  • No custom or non-LEGO components.
  • Please upload your entries by 23:59 GMT on December 24th.
  • A panel of judges will evaluate the submissions, looking for creative flair and originality, among other things.
  • Although we won't be judging your photographic skills, please try to light your models evenly and photograph them against a clean background.
  • Winners will be announced between Christmas and the New Year.
  • The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

To give you some idea of what we are after, take a look at CapnRex101's The Force Awakens models below.

Alternative Advent Calendar Competition

If you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them in the comments.

Happy building!

 

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86 comments on this article

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By in United States,

I take it we have to join the group on Flick to enter our pictures, and what are the prizes or is this for fun?

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By in United States,

I was just telling my wife we should make up our own LEGO advent calendar! Excited to give this a go!

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By in Germany,

Great idea! I bought a few small friends sets on sale over the year and later thought of preparing a lego advent calendar for my wife based on the vacation trips we made, but alas she became aware of some sets in my possession and I currently do not have the time to create the models I envisioned. Also, they would not be very christmas-y and some models would have spanned several days.

As an alternative, I thought about an old Castle or Pirates calender, but on eBay I could "buy now" for 3-4 times the original price, which I find ridiculous, so I am looking forward to other suggestions, preferably before Dec 1!

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By in United States,

Sounds fun! By the way I like CapnRex's troop transporter.

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By in United States,

No need to show off you have the Finn minifigure...

(I kid :P)

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By in United Kingdom,

^That's exactly the sort of thing we have in mind; you should pick some of them and enter!

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By in United States,

^^ I might actually do a Ninjago calendar, nice!

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By in Australia,

Darn. Why no LDD? That's a shame; not all of us have tonnes of bricks to work with.

Guess I won't be entering. Not going to go on a hate crusade or anything, but still disappointed.

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By in United States,

^ I think it's good because it challenges us to use what's available to us :)

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By in United Kingdom,

You don't need tonnes, just 80!

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By in United States,

Oh man, someone do a Legend of Zelda one, please! Since it seems that's the only way we'll ever see it in lego :(

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By in United States,

^Give this man a cookie, that's genius.

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By in United States,

@Lyichir: Absolutely love the windup samurai mech and the shuriken star on the tree! :)

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By in United States,

Are we allowed to make multiple calendars of six?

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By in United States,

Might create a Mixels calendar just for fun, without entering this competition.

I wonder if I'll be allowed to help judge, though...

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By in United States,

What are the rules regarding minifigure inclusion? I know we obviously wouldn't want "effortless" entries of just six minifigures. Are there any "hard and fast rules", or is it simply, "If that's all you want to put into this, we won't consider your entry"?

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By in United States,

Are we allowed to submit multiple calendars?

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By in United States,

@goldenguy880:

"A maximum of two of them can contain a minifig/mini-doll. They can be accompanied by up to five parts as accessories."

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By in United States,

Can we have custom decals? For example, I'd need to print something on a 2x2 dish.

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By in United States,

Sounds like a great idea! Not sure I have quite the creativity for it - would love to be a judge, though :-)

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By in United States,

@hjarzab: Thank you -- I must have just glossed over that. :P

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By in United States,

Yes, a brilliant idea for a contest. Expect an entry from me! :)

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By in United States,

Ohhhhh geeze. Bricklink, here I come.

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By in Canada,

No drug or alcohol entries? Damn! That even excludes "Pirates" - unless pirates really drink sodapop in the galley. Lol. I was going to submit a 420 Christmas entry, but I guess ill have to come up with something else... hmmm... perhaps an alternate star wars, or star trek or lego space - what no weapons of mass destruction either? Cmon man your killing me :p

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By in United States,

I've been planning on making a LEGO advent calendar. Unfortunately, it would be a digital render from LDD... It's a shame! I would've really liked to enter this but I just don't have the physical parts I need!

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By in United States,

can we do more then own intry.

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By in United Kingdom,

Sounds fun, annoyingly I had a Harry Potter Advent calendar planned out in LDD that I haven't had time to source parts for...nevermind, maybe next year. Already got a couple of ideas of what I could do for the contest.
Is there a restriction on the amount of entries?

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By in United Kingdom,

@CM4Sci, yes stickers are OK.

Multiple entries are OK, too, but you might be better of perfecting one entry rather than entering loads of different ideas.

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By in Italy,

I was just thinking about how repetitive the advent calendars are. Fantastic idea for a contest! count me in!

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By in United Kingdom,

Will you be reviewing the advent calendar models on each day of the calendar? (e.g: The day one model on the 1st of December)

@CapnRex101: I love that mini troop transporter!

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By in United Kingdom,

@Huw, that's great thanks, I've got two good ideas so will spend my time perfecting the two ideas! :-)

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By in United Kingdom,

Glad to see the enthusiasm for the idea! Loving all the suggestions coming in so far, and looking forward to seeing the finished models!

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By in Belgium,

Great idea! Was wondering if a Christmas competition was coming up - now off to put my thinking cap on :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Do you get to choose what 2016 set you receive?

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By in United States,

I'm a bit light on ball joints, but I'd really like to see someone do a Mixels calendar, with 20-pc mini Mixels somewhere between normal Mixels and Nixels in size. They could all be Christmas themed, eg Christmas tree, candy cane, Santa, reindeer, snowman, present, etc.

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By in United States,

^^ I'm actually going to be making a Mixels one this weekend as another example for people looking to enter the contest. Look for it here soon!

However, it'll be different in style compared to your idea. I'm going more for objects, accessories, and micro versions of characters, rather than ball-joint usage. Ya never know, though!

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By in United Kingdom,

I might join TheBrickPal in having a go at a Mixels calendar, just for fun. I have just parted out a selection of Mixels so have plenty of ball joints and eyes available.

This time I will spend longer than a few minutes rushing to put something together as was the case for the TFA models above. I must say I was quite pleased with the First Order Transporter though.

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By in United Kingdom,

Loving this competition concept and have built two models so far. Got out of bed at gone midnight last night to build after inspiration struck. I don't think my breastfeeding wife appreciated the sound of Lego being rummaged through this morning judging by this line: "Could we have more getting Charlotte ready for school and less playing with Lego in the mornings, please?"

The 20 piece limit is both constricting and liberating. I had something I was really pleased with that by some miracle I'd managed to distill down to 20 pieces. I then improved it, but that took it up to 22 pieces. Very frustrating/challenging trying to work out where to compromise to get it back down to 20. I hope Brickset really does stick to the 20 piece maximum though at that's half the fun.

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By in United States,

Are we allowed to submit calendars of 24 if we want to? I know you probably would not recommend it, but for me the hardest part is to decide which six I want!
:)
And if so, can we use up to 8 minifigures, since that is the same
minifig-to-minibuild ratio as two minifigs out of six?
I will only do that if I submit 24 builds, which I will only do if you say I can.

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By in United States,

I like your Power Miner calendar idea ChazTheMinifig, I've always liked that theme.

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By in Germany,

Now I want an E7 Advent Calendar..!

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By in United Kingdom,

@StorzZ

Glad you liked it c:

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By in Netherlands,

So we need 24 gifts?
6 mini models
2 figures

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By in United Kingdom,

No, just 6, of which 2 can be minifigs if you like.

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By in United Kingdom,

@nostalgia9 - no you need to make a decision and choose only 6 models or we will be unable to compare your entry to others. Obviously if you made 24 models that is 4 entries worth but remember that although multiple entries are permitted, sometimes it is a good thing to be more focused. More isn't always better. And remember that we want to see a strong connection between the group of 6 models.

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By in United Kingdom,

Built my submission this evening will photograph it tomorrow and upload then. Had to redesign one model as went over 20 pieces, but then preferred the new version anyway.

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By in Germany,

Is it necessary to use 'legal' only building techniques, like no minifig hands for decoration or disassembled antennas/levers?

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By in United States,

Finished my Mixels example! You guys will all love my micro-Flain, he's adorable.

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By in United States,

can 25 be the limit the x-wing has more then 20.

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By in United States,

Giving time permits, could we do a full 24 day calendar or would that be excluded from the competition?

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By in United States,

sorry my last comment was not don well.
i meant the x-wing from the 2011 star wars Advent Calendar had 23 parts and one of my modals has 22 thanks.

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By in United Kingdom,

My vote (not that this is a committee anyway) is that the 20 piece count is adhered to. A line has to be drawn somewhere. I now have four models at 20 pieces each, one at 19 and one at a lightweight 18. Just waiting on a two-piece Bricklink order and I'll post to Flickr. My first MOCs in over a year!

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By in United Kingdom,

Yes, 20 is the limit.

@Vindic8ed, by all means but choose your favourite 6 and photograph them separately. You won't get 'extra points' though.

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By in United States,

I'd say 4x4 is the biggest it can be.

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By in United Kingdom,

I have an advent calendar tray in front of me and just measured it with a plate, it's approximately 7x7x7 studs

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By in United Kingdom,

@BrickBelt, you'd be alright with 4 arched bricks, and just about OK with the 2 windshields if there aren't any other bulky parts in with them.

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By in United States,

Thanks guys! So as long as it all fits in about a 7 x 7 x 7 stud box it should be good. I had to ask because I really had no idea.

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By in United States,

Can we make the models based off of retired themes? Ex: Atlantis

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By in United States,

@TheLazyChicken,

From the sound of things they can be any theme you'd like.

"What would be in your ideal LEGO Advent Calendar? Would you use the same themes as LEGO does and create different models for them, use a different LEGO theme, or perhaps not even an official LEGO theme at all? Build your ideas..."

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By in United States,

@Brick Belt Oh ok thanks!

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By in United States,

This is a fun little contest. Doesn't require a lot of bricks. And it gives me a good reason to show off all the Santa figures I've been building, but haven't gotten around to creating backgrounds for. I've got four entered and two more in the works.

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By in United States,

Thanks to the Brickset team for the competition. What a great idea!

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By in United Kingdom,

Got my first submission in :-)

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By in United States,

What about LDD models rendered with a high quality software (like POV-Ray) to look like actual Lego models? Is this rule made in order to keep quality standards or to not give an advantage over physical bricks? (if the case were the latter, I'd understand) I have been working on a digital advent calendar and I really would like to enter, if at all possible.

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By in United Kingdom,

Finally got round to uploading my entry, not the most festive theme, Exotic Birds and bird handler. Had to use some clear bricks to display the birds, not really part of the calendar but in case they are counted they are within the brick count.

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By in United States,

@ToaRickBrick,

I built mine in dd and then ordered the bricks on bricklink. I think the issue with dd is that you can use bricks that aren't available in real life.

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By in Spain,

Great competition!
Maybe will make an entry with something original.
Which is the approximate size of the calendar's boxes for each day?(I really don't have any idea of how they are)

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By in United States,

Cool im gonna do Superheroes

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By in United States,

We won't get marked down for someone picking the theme before us? I've got all my models designed, it's been a blast, but I need to make a bricklink order and I'd rather give it a little extra time to make sure I have everything just the way I want it before I place an order

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By in United States,

Question: I see people saying that an Advent Calendar 'box' is about 7x7x7 in size. But don't the rules say it has to fit in the "window" of the calendar? That's the opening, right, which is usually a bit SMALLER than the dimension inside? Is there a recommendation for what size actually can fit through said opening?

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By in United Kingdom,

I know I'm late to the discussion, but for the last 4 years I've been making my husband a lego-themed advent calendar. Each year I pick one of Chris McVeigh's lego decorations, print the instructions, divide it into 18-20 parts and add a couple of chocolates on the 'non-lego' days. (I used 12 pairs of baby socks for the 24 containers) I'm the lego fan, and just LOVE planning and preparing it each year. My husband certainly seems pretty content to play along too.

Now I need to think of an alternative calendar... two in one year! Oh the planning!

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By in United States,

@SteveDJ
The window-fitting rule applies to individual pieces, not the finished model. This makes sense since the pieces need to be removed from the box, not the model, which isn't pre-assembled.

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By in Philippines,

@Huw: I take it that with your comment on Lyichir and his/her Ninjago Advent calendar that we can use previous MOCs for the competition? Or would you prefer new creations?

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By in Australia,

It's a pity on no LDD entries, have to see what I can do...

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By in United States,

As far as part count goes, is a moving joy stick 1 piece or 2 and does a tire (rubber and rim) count as 1 piece or 2?

I'm really tempted to max out every days part count but the official sets are always so skimpy on part count, I worry about keeping it authentic.

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By in Mexico,

I can make 24?
It is available for all countries?

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By in United Kingdom,

In the past I've enjoyed various Lego advent calendars but I can't help feeling it would be more rewarding to get a set that builds into a proper model, a step at a time, over the 24 days.

Am I alone?

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By in Canada,

Just got done a Walking Dead themed one, I just need to get some pictures and I'll upload it.

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By in Australia,

question A. what if mini dolls were used as decorations instead of mini figures
question B. thats all

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By in United Kingdom,

Just uploaded my steampunk themed advent calendar to the group

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By in United States,

I'm working on a submission based on the models in my book, The LEGO Architect. I shared a draft on my instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/p/_YALsHDjDp/

What do you think? Any ideas to improve it before submitting?
---tom

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By in Netherlands,

Question: for one model I need two minifigures: it's a small thing that's need to be carried by two 'persons' (like a stretcher). The total amount of pieces (including the minifigures) is exactly 20 pieces (the stretcher thing is 12 pieces: 2 minifigures are 8 pieces total in my opinion (2 heads, 2 hats, two bodies and two sets of legs). Is this allowed?

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