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Our interview with custom nanoblock™ builder, Chris!

Last week, we spoke to one of our favourite nanoblock™ inspirations, Chris, and asked him some questions. Read on for the interview!

How did you get into nanoblock™?

I have always loved building things and Lego was one of my favourite childhood toys. When I came across nanoblock™, I immediately loved it. The much smaller blocks allowed me to build much more detailed models right on my desktop. 

How do you think in 3D when it comes to making your models?

I work in much the same way an artist or sculptor would work. I would first look for photos showing the model I want to build from a few different angles, just so I can get a feel for the dimensions in 3D. I then proceed to build the rough shapes of the model using the bigger blocks, and refine it using the smaller blocks until I get the final design. 

Do you have any larger custom nanoblock™ models that you'd eventually like to build?

There are many things that I would love to build on a larger scale, like characters from my favourite animted or SciFi movies. Building an entire city would be really cool too. Unfortunately, I don't really have enough blocks to build really big models. Even though I probably have close to 20,000 blocks, they are split among many colours and block types. My largest build to date is a nanoblock™ Star Wars Stormtrooper figure that took over 2000 blocks to build and it used up pretty much every single white block I have.

Is there a challenge with building nanoblock™ models for you? Or is it away for you to de-stress?

Oh, there is definitely a challenge. It comes down to trying to make it look as close to the real thing as possible, within the limitations of working in blocks. I guess it does help to de-stress, in that your mind is fully focused on the build. 

What's your favourite nanoblock™ piece?

I don't think I actually have any favourite piece. Every piece is useful in its own way. 

Do you like the new nanoblock™ pieces that have come out (the spherical ones from the Moon Jellyfish and the angular ones from the Fiddler Crab)?

I haven't gotten my hands on them yet, but I can imagine the angular ones would be quite useful in many of my builds, if only I can get them in large numbers ... Hahaaa ...

 

Chris also passed on one of his favourite creation builds, the Grey Kangaroo, and the story behind it. Head here for the build instructions!

The Story:

When I first started nanoblocking, I was mainly building cartoon/scifi characters. One day, someone asked me if I could do animals too, so I started looking around for an interesting animal to build. After much thought, I decided to make a Kangaroo, because it is unique in the animal kingdom, and I have always liked Kangaroos. 

Huge thanks to Chris for sharing with us. Head on over to his Facebook page for plenty more custom builds and inspiration!

 

TJ Lefebvre
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nanoblock™ and ACMI

We have great news! These Victorian School Holidays, we will be joining forces with ACMI to make your nanoblock™ stop-motion animation dreams come true! The event, Kids in the Studio: Bricks in Motion will run from the 30th of September to the 4th of October!

ACMI will be hosting one workshop a day where ten lucky participants will create their own stop-motion animation film using nanoblock™ models and ACMI's studios and equipment. ACMI's expert animator will teach you the technology and walk you through the steps for creating your own animated film. 

These workshop events are recommended for kids aged 9 to 12 years. Tickets include all materials.

Keep your eye on this page as tickets are sure to go on sale soon! If you have any questions, shoot them through to screenevents@acmi.net.au.

TJ Lefebvre
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New Models Confirmed!

This just in! We have new nanoblock™ models available in Australia. After a long wait, new never-seen-before nanoblock™ models and ranges are here. We have a nanoblock™ Insect series, new additions to the nanoblock™ Critter series, an Underwater Creature series as well as the all-new Challenger Series... What does this mean? It means we have a lot to show you!

Our new nanoblock™ Insect Series contains eight fantastic intricate models of all your favourite bugs! Beware - models may seem larger than the real thing!

Get under the sea with our nanoblock™ Underwater Creature series - create your own saltwater eco-system and swim with the best of them! Down where it's wetter, that's where it's better - Under the Sea!

And finally, we are so proud to unveil our  nanoblock™ Challenger series, we've listened to you and sought out a new level of difficult for your fingers. You wanted challenging? You got it!

 

We hope you like the new models and stay tuned for more on the way! Show us your own models over on Facebook or tweet us at @nanoblockAus.

TJ Lefebvre
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nanoblock™ Block Party Wrap-Up!

Hosted at Books Kinokuniya in the heart of Sydney's CBD and in collaboration with LMNOP, our nanoblock™ Block Party was a huge success!

Starting off with individual building, we quickly learned who were the fast builders in the group, but that didn't matter - everyone was having fun! We handed out heaps of spot prizes of nanoblock™ models as well as some great books from Kinokuniya. Spot prizes were awarded mainly for helping others, and finishing your build in the set amount of time. It was great to see so many kids getting involved in making with their parents.

We then went on to play "Pass-the-Block", our version of "Pass-the-Parcel", quite a bit more fun and a lot more blocky! We saw tables dividing their haul so that everyone received a prize as well as small groups of 'traders' swapping their nanoblock™ prizes to get the perfect personalised mix of little models. So much caring!

After the exciting musically-inspired "Pass-the-Block", we had a change of pace and contemplated just how many nanoblock™ pieces were in three little jars that we had placed around the Kinokuniya Kids' Area. We had an excellent range of answers and even a tie!

Finally, we went on to collaborative building and saw groups of kids and parents making incredible little treasures including a snow-swept landscape, a garden, even a boat and lighthouse! By the end of the event, we were all tired and happy, but that wasn't it... The first 15 kids to register received some sweet nanoblock™, Kinokuniya and LMNOP swag with The King of Space, a bookmark-making kit and 3 nanoblock™ models all in a Kinokuniya tote bag - but we still made sure that everyone went home with something!

All in all, this event was so much fun and we just cannot wait to do it again - thanks to all who came along and made it such a memorable day! Special thanks to Jenny from LMNOP who took all of these beautiful photos and helped run the event as well as the lovely Kinokuniya staff who also helped out.

Head here for LMNOP's recap of the event!

TJ Lefebvre
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July School Holidays fun-filled nanoblock™ 'Block Party' at Kinokuniya

On Thursday the 11th of July, Kinokuniya is hosting a free nanoblock™ making party for kids aged 8-12. Packed with exciting spot prizes, games and complimentary gift bag of goodies, this party is going to be one to remember! 

Kicking off at 1pm, there will be a series of nanoblock™ activities including ‘pass-the-block’, group creations as well as individual building. nanoblock™ is proud to be working with Books Kinokuniya and LMNOP Magazine to make this a fun-filled day. The complimentary gift bags go to the first 15 people to register and comes with a nanoblock™ Sight to See, Critter and Musical Instrument, a book from Books Kinokuniya and a bookmark making kit from LMNOP Magazine. What’s not to love?

As the school holidays come to a close, make your child’s day by bringing them into a great environment for a packed 2.5 hours sure to excite their imagination, hone their motor skills and meet other making enthusiasts.
To join in the fun, just register here. There are only 30 places available, don’t miss out!

1pm in the ‘Kids Section’ at Books Kinokuniya
Level 2 'The Galeries'
500 George St, Sydney (Opposite QVB)


11th of July, 2013
Call to register: 02 9262 7996

TJ Lefebvre
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The Great Shake Giveaway

Have you ever wanted a website that covers recipes, creative application, all things you need to know about parenting and kids, nerd-ness or even up-to-date stories about world news and controversial issues? Well, Holy Crap! Website, thy name is The Shake. Run by Australia's most influential parenting bloggers, The Shake is an internet 'go to'. And lucky enough for us, they heart nanoblock so much they're giving away some sweet swag in their "Great Shake Giveaway"!

What do you need to do? Head on over to the giveaway and give them some reasons to send the prizes your way... in 25 words or less. Well then, what are you waiting for?

TJ Lefebvre
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Interview with a nanoblock™ Artist!

Happy Friday all! We'd like to introduce you to a talented custom nanoblock™ model maker, known on the Internet as StealthEagle. We are consistently impressed with the level of imagination and ingenuity that she shows, so we thought it only fair to pass on this nanoblock™ artist! You can see all of StealthEagle's designs over on her Facebook page, Straight Out of the Line. We asked her a few questions about her designs, check them out!

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What was your first experience with nanoblock? How did you come across it?

Before I finished my shopping in a department store, I have been always making an effort to look at the toys section to see what toys are trending. But on that day, I stumbled upon this interesting shelf with a displaying box full of models.

The nanoblock™ section was small, and it wasn’t placed in the aisle where the building blocks toys were. Each model were sealed in pretty looking black sealable bags, except for “Sight to see” series, that was really intriguing since many building block companies have been packing their kits into cardboard boxes.

What converted me to nanoblock™ was simply the birds; I got a very soft spot for feathered creatures, and I have been studying Ornithology as a hobby to satisfy my curiosity. Whatever happened later was history.

When did you start your custom making? How? Do you remember the models you had?

I don’t exactly remember when, probably sometime in August 2012, the very first model I built was a plane made with bright red blocks. 

I did was what most people would do; stacked blocks together till the model looked recognisable, but only with 1 type of block.

What's your favourite design custom design? Most complex?

That pair of hands, the story of how I managed to do it and managed to win something still baffles me till this day. 

How did you come up with the idea of the hand (that won the nanoblock™ award)? 

It was completely random.  I was trying to get some works out for the Nanoblock Award just to try my luck despite knowing there were builders who were much better than me. Suddenly, the idea of creating a hand (later became a pair of hands) slipped into my mind when I was looking at past entries by previous participants.

What inspires you? I notice that there's a lovely amount of pop culture rhetoric in your creations.

Anything that I have read, watched, played, listened or imagined; there is no specific source of inspiration of where most of my works are from, that is why my creations never stick to a certain genre or style. I can do a Minecraft cow one day, and then tomorrow it may be something about Doctor Who (no relation with moo-ing the Doctor Who theme).

How many nanoblock models do you think you've built?

About 26 models, I know that is little…haha.

Out of all your reviews, which is the most spectacularly design nanoblock?

It is a hard decision as each series designed and released by Kawada is unique, so each fan has his/her favourite, for me I picked the Sengoku Military Commander Series as the most spectacular.

It is rare to see any companies like Kawada to release any models based on Japan’s cultural history as its niche area has always been about popular icons and places. To capture the details of the samurai helmet into nanoblock™ form without butchering the aesthetics requires a lot of trial and error on how you stack the blocks.

 

 

TJ Lefebvre
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Newsletters, magpies and a nanoblock™ giveaway!

This week we sent out our inaugural newsletter, fell in love with a new fan-made nanoblock™ model and started a competition with the ever-cool Everguide.

Featuring Pat Coppel of Make Designed Objects, we talked about his store, design icon and favourite product. We also show-cased the new nanoblock™ models in 2013 ranging from our little lion to the Great Pyramid of Giza available to peruse on our website. We also ran a pretty-great competition that had its three winners in the first fifteen minutes of mailout! Don't want to miss out again? Head to our homepage to sign up.

This week, one of our Facebook fans, Christine, designed a new nanoblock™ bird - the magpie! We love it very much. Have you ever made your own? Share it with us on our wall.
And lastly, but far from least, the ever-cool Everguide is featuring and giving away some most excellent nanoblock™ loot. You need to answer just one question to go in the running to win one of three nanoblock™ prize packs. If you missed out on our newsletter competition, you should definitely try your luck here.
Have a fabulous weekend, all!
TJ Lefebvre
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Interview with Pat Coppel of Make Designed Objects

Make Designed Objects is a gorgeous store that has been in Carlton for 10 years. With an aesthetic eye for well-designed products, Pat Coppel has garnered a lot of respect in the community for design. The store is beautifully adorned with rooms that could shame feng-shui. If you get a spare moment in Melbourne, you should totally go and check it out.
Here's a few things Pat had to share.

When did you open the store? 10 years ago this past Friday. 3rd of May, 2003.
How did you come up with the idea for Make Designed Objects? I had a very long relationship with retail and design, so I decided to put the two together. In retrospect it’s surprising that it took me as long as it did.
What's your aesthetic? Good design. There are a number of variants, a product might be environmentally friendly, humorous... I suppose I look for design intelligence. 
Do you have a design icon? Japanese Architect Todao Ando. When it comes to the language of buildings he can say in one word what most people try to say in ten thousand.
Favourite product? The Fink water jug by Robert Foster. Generally there are only 6 kinds available, however we have collaborated with F!nk Design resulting in 19 different customised variations available only through Make Designed Objects. We talk with Rob and Gretel at Fink about new product possibilities on a regular basis. The four seasons vases are also the result of those discussions.
TJ Lefebvre
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nanoblock™ Creations at Kidstuff

The first week of NSW holidays is through and Kidstuff Brighton has had some fun collaborators come in contribute some cute creations.

Have you had a chance to get in to the participating stores? Why, you might ask, would I do this? Well, there are 3 nanoblock™ prize packs to be won worth $80 each! We think this is a pretty excellent incentive. All you need to do is build a creation from the free parts in store and post it on the Kidstuff "Create and Win" Facebook page or, alternatively, e-mail it to competitions@kidstuff.com.au!

The stores are Kidstuff Mosman (774 Military Rd), Kidstuff Woollahra (126A Queen St) and Kidstuff Brighton (14 Church St). 

Entries close this Sunday, April 28th!


TJ Lefebvre
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Competition Kick-Off at Kidstuff


It has begun! All Kidstuff lovers (and visitors) have a chance to win one of three $80 nanoblock prize-packs! Why, you might ask, are we doing this? Well, in NSW it's school holidays, and everyone needs some pretty sweet things to do over the holidays. But we couldn't deprive Victoria of a chance at the prizes, so even more exciting than going back to school - is the chance to win something, which makes going back to school SO MUCH more AWESOME.
What do you have to do? Easy!
1. Head into one of the participating Kidstuff stores (Woollahra, Mosman and Brighton)
2. Go straight to the building pit located inside
3. Use the loose bricks to build a new and exciting nanoblock creation
4. Take a photo of it
5. Upload that photo to the Kidstuff Facebook competition page or send it to competitions@kidstuff.com.au
The competition has started and ends at midnight on the 28th of April.
See you at Kidstuff!
TJ Lefebvre
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nanoblock™ and Kidstuff join forces for the April School Holidays

This April school holidays, find nanoblock™ freeplay troughs exclusively in Kidstuff stores. Enter the competition through the Kidstuff facebook page for your chance to win one of THREE awesome nanoblock™ prizepacks!

More details coming soon, stay tuned!


TJ Lefebvre
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