Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December Update

Thanks to some time off for the holidays, it's been a busy month of building. The most noticeable progress is probably the completion of the field/grass, which allowed me to bring back the ivy from earlier test models, and allowed me to add the players to the field. Chicago is of course in a heated series with St. Louis! I will be adding uniforms to the players, but for now they're staged the way they shipped from Lego - as close to the actual uniforms as I could get (which is not very close at all).

Sheffield Ave. has been expanded - I have one building left to add and one that needs the roof built out further but that will finish it. The infrastructure for the grandstand has also been built up considerably. That's actually the most tedious but is the least dramatic addition. I've also added several hundred more seats to the point that the first deck is almost complete. Keep in mind I have to paint each one green since they don't come that way...

With this month's progress this monstrosity is actually starting to look like Wrigley! It's been fun to take some pics (as shown) from the vantage point of a seat at the park. I think I have it pretty close in most sections so I'm pleased with it to-date.

I estimate that I'm about 70% done at this point (and somewhere up near 70,000 total pieces). Next up is the completion of the first deck, the press box, the second deck, and knocking out the last building and rooftop on Sheffield. I also have a lot more detail to add in some places but that'll likely be last - the baskets in the outfield, detailing the dugouts further, and we're starting to experiment with the lettering on the scoreboard. Yes, I said "we" as my wife is now helping with that section. I don't know if she's caught the spirit of this or if she's just trying to speed it's completion! It's likely a combination of the two.

I'll be busy taking my real estate license exams over the next few weeks, so I likely won't have another update until the end of January or early February. Enjoy!

PS - Some of you have asked about how I could ever move this thing. Fortunately, Lego Wrigley is modular! I included a pic of what it looks like when I pull a section out. This is part of what makes this build so tedious and time-consuming, but I've made it to travel from the start since I don't really know yet what I'll do with it when it's done.

Monday, November 30, 2009

November Update

It's been a little while since I posted an update. I took 6 weeks off to complete real estate school (my next hobby) and I also got stalled needing some specific pieces in order to continue. But alas, progress has continued!

The most noticeable addition is Sheffield Avenue, as I'm about 75% done with the buildings and rooftops along that street. I started adding some of the finer details as well - you may notice the billboard, the growing count of days "after championship" or "AC", and the famous Eamus Catuli! banner which is Latin for "move forward young, small bears" (or Go Cubs!).

I'm also making progress on the grandstand, which is the most tedious part of this effort and the one that requires the most pieces. I need mass quantities of dark gray 2x4 bricks and those are hard to come by in bulk. I have added the tunnels that lead up to the grandstand, which are shown here, and on the outside of the 3rd base side I've started to build the outer wall of the stadium.

All in all, this is still a fun project despite how time consuming it has been not only to build (using only photos of the Friendly Confines) but to continue to hunt for the right pieces. Hopefully I'll be done by Spring Training as I have a connection with the Mesa Hohokams and may be able to get it displayed at the stadium at some point.

I'm somewhere north of 50,000 total pieces at this point, and probably just over $3K in total investment. Based on the research I've been doing I should be able to fetch at least three times that when I'm done if I decide to sell it - so that's promising...

Monday, August 24, 2009

August Update

Its been about a month of building, resizing, rebuilding and of course the continual search for parts. But all-in-all, a pretty successful month of progress!

New this month are:

1) More buildings along Waveland Ave. In fact, only the fire station in the far left corner remains to be built to complete that row of buildings. If you look closely you'll see several spectators behind the windows of those buildings, and they're starting to populate the bleachers as well. I also still need to add "Budweiser" to the building with the red roof.
2) Outfield bleachers structure. All of the structure for the outfield is now complete, with only finishing touches remaining. The green that you see in the photos are the actual benches of the bleachers - they're being added as fast as I can find the right size plate pieces.
3) The field is near completion. I went with the two-tone green for the "fresh mowed" look of an MLB park! It was challenging to create the shape of the diamond and the field out of only square and rectangular bricks - but I'm pleased with the results so far.
4) The dugouts are in. Though I haven't added anything in them or in front of them yet, I'm glad to have them built into the grandstand structure. Stuff like that is actually a harder than it may appear!
5) Second deck is underway. After some testing I think I've found a process for adding the second deck - the suite level, and then on top of that will go the upper deck, and eventually the roof and light towers. The eventual height of the grandstand structure will be about twice the current height of the tallest grandstand element shown in the photos.

I'm certain that I've surpassed the 30,000 brick point - and I'm somewhere very close to $3,000 in total investment (I'm avoiding adding up the receipts!). If you enjoy seeing the photos of this ridiculous but fun project, please leave a note - it makes it easier to keep going during the times that this feels like an impossible task to finish!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July Update

Since the last update I've moved the project from the kitchen table to a platform that I constructed by laying two pieces of 4'x8' drywall on top of two tables.

Once I did that I was able to outline the entire structure and make quicker progress! Also in July I finally got to attend a game at Wrigley, which provided me with all of the answers to any of the remaining questions I had about any of the stadium details.

So these are the most recent pics to-date. There's an estimated 14,000 pieces now used, and I would estimate the final project will have double that, so I might be closing in on the halfway point where the overall structure is concerned. I'm also somewhere around $2,000 in total cost, but hopeful that the final total will be closer to $3,000 as compared to my initial estimate of $4,000...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Waveland Ave Under Construction

With left and center field structurally complete, I've moved on to some of the buildings on Waveland Ave, the street that sits directly behind left field and is famous for it's rooftop bleachers.

So far I've completed two of the buildings that have been converted to bars and have the bleachers on top, and I've also completed the building with the famous Budweiser roof. I was reading the other day that there is no longer a Budweiser advertisement across the top of the red roof at the real Wrigley Field, but it will remain at this one! I'll eventually add "Budweiser" in white to the red rooftop.

The two buildings on the left have converted their third floors, adding giant windows from which you can view the game. If you look closely there are a few fans in there taking in an afternoon game. The bleachers are a little empty, but they'll fill up as I acquire more "minifigs" which is what the Lego people are technically called (see - I'm learning!).

I think I'm roughly around 15,000 total pieces so far. I still have to go back and add details to the left and centerfield bleachers, but I'm waiting to find some particular pieces. In the meantime, I've got four more buildings on Waveland to add (three to the left of the existing structures and one to the right of the Bud rooftop) and several more that I can build on Sheffield Ave, which is behind the right field bleachers.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Part 5: Left Field and Center Field Assembled

While additional details are still forthcoming, the left field and center field bleacher sections are for the most part assembled - along with the ivy growing on the outfield walls. I'm quickly running out of building space so these are built as two separate sections that can be combined at some point later on when more space permits.

It takes much more time to figure out what pieces are needed and to acquire them than it does to actually build the structures!

I'm in the process of gathering the pieces to finish the details for these sections (fences, lights, benches, and a few other small details) as well as to build the houses on Waveland Ave behind the wall with the rooftop seating. That will help to complete this "view" of the stadium before I move on to the rest of the grandstand - which is still in prototype phase as I try to figure out the colors, types, and quantities of pieces needed.

While time consuming, the project gets more fun as it starts to take shape... :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Part 4: Progress - Centerfield Bleachers

After successfully testing & learning how to build the grandstand bleachers with maximum efficiency it was time to put the knowledge to use by building the centerfield bleachers that lead up to the scoreboard. After 2 models (one which broke in transit from one table to another) and probably about 30 hours of building, here's how the centerfield bleachers turned out...

The centerfield bleachers include the batter's eye, which is the green section that serves as the backdrop behind the pitcher from the batter's point-of-view. There is shrubbery included in the batter's eye, as well as a camera well just above it - I included pics of each.

Overall, I would estimate that there are about 5,000 pieces in the centerfield bleacher structure. Its 22 inches in height to the top of the scoreboard, 32 inches to the top of the flagpole, and 35 inches wide. It is still missing several pieces of detail - fences will run along the back and the top of the sides, benches (green flat plates) will be put on the steps to form the actual bleachers, the flagpole still needs some more detail, I need to put small lights on top of the scoreboard, and I have to create the lettering (via labels) for the scoreboard.

The next sections of bleachers will be built off of the left and right of this structure. They'll incorporate hinge pieces so that I can start to make a circular outfield out of square and rectangle bricks. Its still a fun project - and challenging!

I have found some alternate sources of bricks - including an unofficial online marketplace (brinklink.com), a local distributor (brickbros.net), and I also learned that if you catch the right folks at the Lego store you can buy an entire case of the same piece. I think I'm somewhere between $700 and $800 dollars so far, which includes everything for the centerfield section and thousands of other pieces I've yet to put to use.

Also - I owe a huge thank you to Bernie Wu, a friend of ours who works with Amiee and who happened to attend a game at the Friendly Confines last week. He snapped a ton of pictures and some videos that have been extremely helpful. His pics will successfully supplement everything else I've found online and should prevent me from having to fly there myself this summer! Not only does that save money, but I think flying 2000 miles away to research a Lego project would put me in an entirely different class of person - that's a road I'm not certain whether or not I want to walk down yet...