Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hope Launches First Ever Robotics Olympiad
by Daniel Ton and Andrew Chan (HS 3-Loyalty)

Members of PHLUG Strike a pose as they get their Certificates of Appreciation

To encourage students to be innovative and use their problem-solving skills, the Hope Christian High School (HCHS) Robotics Team conducted the 1st Hope Christian High School Robotics Olympiad (HCHSRO) on February 18, 2014 at the preschool gymnasium.  FIRST Robotics Learning Center, Philippine Lego Users Group (PHLUG), Centro Escolar University (CEU), Adamson University and Malabon Science High School were all invited to take part in this event.
When asked about the preparations made for this event, David Samuel Ang, head organizer of the event said, “We started early November, invited students to join and we’ve been training them every Wednesday and Thursday until last week. We plan to have this every year.  It’s not impossible.”
Mrs. Jennifer Cruz and Mr. Cristofer Javier, their robotics coordinators, prepared this one-day event, hosted by David Samuel Ang and Isabelle Pimentel. The ribbon cutting ceremony was led by Dr. Cecilio Pedro, honorary chairman of the Board of Trustees, together with Principal Angeline Tan, Vice-Principal Grace Tan, HCHS Alumni Association President James Tan, and Vice President Helen Ng.  Johann Carta of the Robotics Team said the prayer, followed by opening remarks by Mr. Jemmry Velasquez, our Elementary English supervisor.  “This event culminates the month-long celebration of science and mathematics; this is science in action and mathematics in work,” said Mr. Velasquez.
Dr. Pedro gave his words of encouragement to the excited crowd. “This world is moving so fast. More and more people are investing in robots,” he told the audience. This was followed by an inspirational message from the principal, who encouraged the audience by quoting Dr. Seuss, “Think left, think right. Think low, think high. All the things you can think if only you try.”  She further added that “when they [the robotics team] create robots, they aren’t just doing it for themselves.   Here in Hope Christian High School, we don’t only have creativity, we have character.”  
The contest proper commenced shortly thereafter.  Six teams from Grade 8 to High 4, each having three members and a coach, assembled at the pre-school gym to prepare their equipment. The objective of the competition is to design a robot, program it and make it run through an obstacle course within the maximum time of 5 minutes. Each team will be graded according to how well the team’s robot cleared the obstacles.  Mr. Randolph Protacio, managing director of PHLUG, was the judge for this competition.
Amos Tan of the High 4 team felt privileged to take part in this Olympiad.  He remarked, “It is the place where I can stretch my creativity and analytical skills to the limit, while preparing myself for engineering college, and bringing honor to God and my batch in the entire process.”   Adrian Chester Uy of the Gr. 9-B team felt joining the event was worthwhile.  He said, “It was here were I learned basic programming and building robots.”
While the contestants were busy designing and programming their robots, the students who visited the event looked around to see the models, exhibits, games and promos that the guests have prepared. There was a viewing of big and amazing Lego displays made by PHLUG, and some of which were also contributed by David Ang as well.   Other participating organizations featured impressive interactive exhibits.
A highlight of the event was the fundraising activity called “Let’s Go Build Our Logo.” The aim of this activity is to collect as many Lego bricks as possible to create the largest HCHS logo made entirely out of Lego bricks. Several students contributed to this fundraising activity, hoping to support the construction of this humongous marvel for everyone to see.

The Olympiad closed with the High 4 team winning 1st place. The High 4 team is comprised of Bryant Young, Jasper Pe and Amos Tan. They are to be awarded on March 10, 2014.

Friday, January 31, 2014

PhLUG Reviews: LEGO 70807 MetalBeard's Duel

Thank you CEE team for sending the complete first wave of The LEGO Movie sets to PhLUG. Being able to open something directly from LEGO is so exciting!

MetalBeard's duel is truly an eye-catching set. Let's see if this set can live up to its expectations. This set costs $34.99 USD (approx. Php 1600), and around Php 3200 locally. Here's what LEGO Shop at Home has to say about the set:

Take on the mighty Micro Manager in MetalBeard’s Duel!
Arrr, me hearties! MetalBeard lost his body parts in a previous battle with Lord Business, but has rebuilt himself from old ship scraps to become more powerful than ever. Now, the giant Micro Manager is challenging him. Grab the pirate sword from the holster on his back and fire the cannons on his left arm. Protect his prized parrot and the treasure chest containing his body parts, and act fast before the Micro Manager fires missiles and grabs the construction foreman with its claws. Includes 3 minifigures: Skeletron, Robo SWAT and Frank the Foreman.

  • Includes 3 minifigures: Skeletron, Robo SWAT and Frank the Foreman
  • MetalBeard features arm cannons with ammunition, a pirate sword and holster, a shark arm, turning waist and hips, and poseable arms and legs
  • Also features the Micro Manager with opening hatch, poseable legs, big feet and claws
  • Pirate accessories include flags, a rudder, guns, smoke from the chimney, an anchor, binoculars, monoculars and a parrot on a flagpole
  • Unlock MetalBeard’s treasure chest to reveal his bones
  • Capture the civilians with the Micro Manager’s claws
  • Flip out the Micro Manager’s flick missiles and prepare to fire
  • Grab MetalBeard’s huge sword and prepare for battle
  • Protect MetalBeard’s treasure chest of body parts!
  • Watch The LEGO® Movie to see all your favorite characters in action
  • MetalBeard measures over 7” (18cm) high, 2” (7cm) long and 8” (22cm) wide
  • The Micro Manager measures over 6” (16cm) high, 3” (10cm) long and 3” (9cm) wide

The box is really really glossy, which is really nice. The box is also square, not something you get from LEGO often. 
The back also shows some cool features like MetalBeard's chest of remains includes a sausage, dual cannons that shoot, the shark being able to eat Skeletron, and the Micro Manager's that's openable.
Opening the box gives us 3 numbered plastic bags which makes everything easier to build and an instruction manual. This set has NO stickers!

This set comes with an impressive number of new and hard to find pieces. 
(Piece names are hyperlinked to their BrickLink Reference Catalog) 
Slope 18 2 x 1 x 2/3 with 4 Slots in Dark Orange only appears in this set.
Chain, 5 Links Flat Silver only appears in one other set that's not being sold in stores anymore.  
Hero Factory Weapon - Blade with Curved Tip in Flat Silver only appears in 3 other sets. 
Minifig, Utensil Toy Winder Key in Flat Silver makes its first appearance in a "box" set after only appearing in the CMS series. 
Tile 1 x 1 with Keyhole Pattern only appears in this set (you get an extra too)! 
Boat Ship's Wheel with Slotted Pin  in Reddish Brown has only been released in 6 other sets, mostly being huge pirate ships. 
Plate, Round 4 x 4 with Hole in Pearl Gold is only available in 4 other sets. 
Slope 65 2 x 2 x 2 with Bottom Tube in Dark Orange is only available in 1 other set.
Plate, Modified 2 x 2 with Groove and 1 Stud in Center (Jumper) in Dark Red is only available in 4 other sets, all of which are not for sale anymore.
Slope 45 2 x 1 Double / Inverted - with Inside Stud Holder in Dark Brown makes its debut in this set.
Brick, Modified 2 x 3 x 2/3 Two Studs, Wing End in Dark Brown also makes its debut here.
Bar 12L with Open Stud, Towball, and Slit (Boat Mast) in Black is only available in 5 other sets.
Boat Anchor - Two Top Holes in Black is only available in 5 other sets.
Shark Body with Gills in LBG is a new mold for it, which makes it easier to stick onto plates below. It's only available in one other set.

All the minifigures included here are exclusive to this set. Frank the Foreman is a pretty neat figure to add to your construction workers, he sports new leg printing and torso printing with chest hair! The Robo SWAT included is only available here and in a polybag yet to be released. The first wave of TLM sets has a total of 7 Robo SWATs, so you can build a little army of them. The last minifigure we have in the set is Skeletron, this is the first time we get a skeleton in Light Bluish Grey which will definitely be useful for MOCers.

Helmets removed.
Back Printing
The set comes with one of the two biggest Micro Managers as the first build. It looks like an ATST+Borg Cube+Flick-fire missiles. 
The Micro Manager told me that he always wanted to be an ice skater, but Lord Business has "better" plans for him. 
The flick-fire missiles are able to fold down from the sides of the Micro Manager, which gives it added functionality especially for kids.

The head of the Micro Manager opens through the use of hinges, so you can fit in a Robo SWAT fig. "think I got it - but just in case: tell me the whole thing again." It doesn't make sense, why put a robot driver in a robot that can already operate on its own?

Side View
Back View

His hands are actually able to hold a minifig, pretty tight too. 
Mechs are cool, aren't they? This Mech is amazing and so full of fun little features and details. This also reminds me of the Steampunk genre, which the designer/s captured good enough. They even got him to have a peg leg. He's not as poseable compared to other recent mechs due to his peg leg, but he can still get a good pose.
His beard is awesome, it's a modified 2x2 plate. Although not an ideal part to use in something else, I'm positive someone will make something epic using this piece.
Apparently, the contents of his chest are his remains. His remains are a sausage and a bone. Wait... What did I just read? A Sausage? 
He's got a shark on his arm!
On the other hand (no pun intended), he has double barrel cannons ready to shoot Skeletron down. Extra ammunition are on the Pirate Wheel.
His back has a clip where you can attach his super cool sword. You can also see here where the anchor is put into, it swings freely as well.
Here's the sword scabbard in action
Here you get to see MetalBeard's prized parrot hanging on a pole. Do you see the black robot hand under the gold flag? That actually isn't on the instruction manuals but from something I read online, the gold flag and the pole doesn't have enough friction for it to stay, so adding that will remedy the problem.
Although the sword can stay on the hand quite well, it doesn't really have an attachment point to it. So if you swing the arm back and forth, the sword is sure to fall. So if you add another of those black robot hands to the gold telescope piece, it holds the sword in place.
I'll give this set a 5 out of 5. There might be a few problems with this set, but most of them are really not that noticeable and have easy fixes using the extra parts from the set. The minifigures are really detailed and are exclusive too. MetalBeard on his own is EPIC. Having a Micro Manager for him to duel with just makes the set even better. 

So if you really like the set, or even just MetalBeard, go buy the set! If you don't like the set at all, it's still a good buy because it has many rare and hard to find pieces. Did I mention it doesn't have stickers? So this set is for everyone! Thanks for reading! -David :D

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