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Preparing your LEGO Users Group for a show

by admin on February 2, 2012

in Useful Resources

(Written by William

After participating with my own LEGO Users Group (LUG) in a couple of shows and participating with other LUGs, I began to wonder; would a new LUG know what types of things they’d need for a show? Since the answer is most likely no for many people, this post will cover some of the basic elements for a LEGO Users Group display and what makes them important.

Large LEGO pirates layout by BeLUG (photo by _Matn)

:arrow: LEGO TABLES

No, this does not mean you need a table built out of LEGO nor do you need to find one produced by LEGO. This refers to tables that have two major properties that are ideal for LEGO displays. These aspects are having a level surface and adjustable legs.

Most LEGO displays will interconnect with multiple elements like baseplates. LEGO is made to easily connect these elements together provided there is a level surface. Many convention centers, museums, and/or other event-places will have tables. The problem is many of these tables were purchased at different times or show signs of sagging from being old. Therefore, to ensure you have the proper level, a LUG would benefit from supplying their own tables.

Large LEGO train and town display by BayLUG (photo by Bill Ward)

Additionally, there is a call for having adjustable legs on your tables. This will allow you to accommodate uneven surfaces. It can also help when you want to actually have tables at different heights. For instance, put one table a LEGO brick’s length lower than the surrounding tables. These precise layouts are only possible with adjustable legs.

:arrow: DECORATIVE SKIRTING FOR YOUR LEGO TABLES

Put simply, many places will not let you display if you do not have skirting around your table. This is where you’ll hide boxes, wires, and all manner of supplies. Even if you don’t use this space for storage purposes, places hate to see table-legs showing.

BayLUG LEGO display with skirting & protective siding (photo by Bill Ward)

:arrow: SIGNAGE FOR YOUR LEGO DISPLAY

It may sound silly, but a proper sign should accompany each and every LEGO display. A good sign will be large and hang above head-level for visibility. Propping it next to a table can work, but it will either get in the way or get overlooked.

Sign by the Sacramento Area Brick Builders LEGO Users Group

:arrow: NON-LEGO DRESSING

There is a place for the more mundane elements in a display. For example, using a blue tarp to simulate water. The rule-of-thumb here is to use elements like a tarp or backdrop to help the LEGO displays stand out and not become overshadowed. This means a plain colored backdrop may be appropriate while a fully detailed painted backdrop may be detrimental to your LUG’s display.

Using a blue tarp for a giant LEGO ship display (photo by ZonkerHarris)

:arrow: STANCHIONS & GUARDS FOR YOUR LEGO DISPLAY

It’s always important to protect your LEGO display in some way. Remember, you are trying to keep its integrity for everyone to see. This is why you may use sneeze-guards mounted to the sides of the tables or stanchions that can rope people off.  There’s no guarantee your group will like what the place may have available. That’s why it is a good idea to provide your own protection that your group will feel comfortable with.

A proper guard-rail is important for LEGO displays (photo by Thomas Mueller)

:arrow: ELECTRONICS FOR YOUR LEGO DISPLAY

If your group uses electricity to run a LEGO train or they want something lit a certain way, make sure that your LEGO group has all the extension-cords, surge-protectors, and lights it needs. The most you can expect from a place is the access to a power source. This source may not even be in a convenient spot. These things may not be LEGO but they are essential.


:arrow: CREATURE COMFORTS FOR LUG MEMBERS

Don’t forget how long group-members will have to man a display. Consider bringing along chairs, cushions, water, and anything else that that may make the event more enjoyable. You might want to draw the line at blankets and pillows though. ;)

Who is guarding who? (photo by Flint Weiss)

:arrow: EXTRAS FOR YOUR LEGO DISPLAY

LEGO Train Show Flyer

Finally, one of the biggest reasons why your LEGO group is doing a display is to get noticed. This helps if people have some way to remember you. It’s a good idea to look into producing flyers, business cards, pamphlets, or any other piece of material that can act as a memory aid.  If you do, try to make sure that your information is not only current, but leads to well-maintained sources.

:arrow: SUMMARY

Shows make an excellent way to grow the size of your LEGO Users Group. It also helps connect people within a LUG with one another. Also, many times LEGO will officially acknowledge competent LUGs that represent LEGO in the best light.  Being prepared is the easiest thing your group can do to make any display a much more memorable experience. :)

Here are some other tips for LEGO Users Groups you might like:

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Maxx February 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Thanks, nice list.

I am not part of a LUG, but do share info with friends, you might say we are an international LUG (or ILUG).
2010 was the first time part of my collection was on show in Germany.
This year 2012 will be the second time and this might be the only time ever that my entire 2×4 collection will be on show.
For as far as I understand now, my friends that have a display there, might want me to show everything…

Do they know how much I have, LOL!!!

Reply

admin February 2, 2012 at 10:17 PM

OMG, Maxx, you let your babies travel all the way to Germany? I would die from worry! :(

Reply

Will February 5, 2012 at 12:30 PM

As far as I understood it, the very first LUGs of any size were born online with LUGnet. Otherwise, they were simple and informal meetings. So I’d say that you’re a part of an international LUG. Maybe we should have a separate section called the Brick BLUGgers. lol.

Your entire collection?! Wouldn’t that take most, if not all, of the display space? That would be something seriously cool to see since your collection represents both a LEGO collection and a historical timeline.

Hope you can take pictures of your display and share them.

Reply

chris February 3, 2012 at 1:19 AM

That Raideen is awesome. The other giant robots are excellent. Raideen is the blue, red, and yellow robot. Part of the Showgun warriors line.

Reply

Will February 5, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Thanks for letting me know what the robots are since I didn’t have much information. This was just one of the coolest convention photos I’ve seen.

Reply

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