I managed to make my second DFWLUG meeting over the weekend.
Having been the only one to bring a model to my first meetup at the Rogue Brick Builder’s Lounge in Fort Worth, I chose not to bring anything to this meeting at the LEGO brand store in Frisco, TX. I didn’t have that much built:- the Sphinx transport, the Patrick Moore rocket and the Lunar Excursor together might have made a suitably impressive display, but I’d already figured the big dragonship was just too delicate to transport well and broken it up for parts. Stuff doesn’t stay built long in these parts.
In retrospect I wish I had brought it. It wouldn’t have been a contest-able build (more on that later) but it would have been impressive.
Most of the people who were there were also at January’s meeting at Rogue Brick, but apparently this brand store is the usual meetup hangout, and there were several more attendees as well. And according to sources (one of the regulars who actually runs the store) this was a small crowd. Maybe this DFWLUG crowd is more of a community than I had realised.
Judging from the models brought, the group certainly has a higher level of building skill than I had realised. I should have expected that any group of adults committed enough to LEGO building to show up in person to a group aren’t going to be slouches in the talent department, but the timed build contest at Rogue Brick in January had lulled me into a sense of puffed-up superiority that was utterly, utterly false. There’s all the difference in the world between hunting through a 60ft jumble of all kinds of bricks to build something in a defined timeline and building something over an extended period out of your own collection that you know exactly what’s there.
The contest was a “MOC the Set” contest: take a $20-$30 (US) set and build around it or with it or something. But of course, I wasn’t at last month’s meeting so I knew nothing about it.
For future reference it seemed like a fairly decent gauge of the collective talent of the group. And I have to say it’s high. Far higher than I’d got the impression from the timed build contest at Rogue Brick, that I won handily. I guess that sort of contest is one that favours my building style because I build relatively quickly in a fairly unplanned, fluid manner and I’m fairly used to (and good at) the element-hunting process due to the semi-sorted jumble that is the household brick inventory. And I picked a smaller set to build around, giving myself time to build something more impressive. Naturally I won.
Give the others their due here, though. I’m pleased to announce that they’re better than I am. All of them, I think. This is the group I wanted; one I can learn from and be inspired by.
In multiple ways I’m realising that the January meeting was unusual. In a new location at more of a distance from the cluster of builders in the North Dallas/Plano/Frisco area (but closer to me :P), building while we’re there rather than bringing something, informal-to-the-point-of-anarchy in the then-absence of the figure who appears to be a de facto leader.
Now that I have a job which doesn’t require me to work on Saturdays every week (yay!), I hope to be able to make the meetings on a more regular basis. Apparently this “MOC the Set” contest happens every June meeting; next month’s contest is a free-for-all build whatever you like. Next month’s meeting isn’t until July 14th because of BrickFiesta on Independence Day weekend (that I can’t go to because family coming in), but when I got home I was inspired enough to build something that I’d like to take to it already. A month and a half is an incredibly long time to keep all those bricks out of circulation, though. We’ll have to see how my discipline holds up.
Much of the meeting was taken up with logistical details for upcoming events as communicated to the already-in-the-loop; I felt completely out of it, but that was probably inevitable. I wish there had been some sort of more formal introductions for anyone new, but a lot of people find that sort of thing embarrassing and awkward. Unfortunately I’m sufficiently introverted that the process of just informally finding out the names and spheres of building interest of an entire 20+ member group is way more intimidating.
On the other hand, maybe I managed to exude sufficient cool and confidence as not to look like a noob in need of introductions.
Well, I’ll be back next month, anyway. Maybe I can make more progress in actually getting to know some of my fellow members a bit. It was definitely worth going back to, even if only for the inspiration for what I built when I got home.