Childlike joy is a great thing to experience and I had some brought to me by the internet this week. Let’s follow a meandering path to get there today.
In December, I canceled my holiday plans here in Japan and traveled home to see how my father’s new pacemaker was doing. Regardless of my confidence that he would be fine, I was receiving a lot of pressure here to go see him ahead of schedule. Ultimately I realized that I would feel really horrible if I had been wrong and was too schedule driven to visit family. While home, I was introduced to the Lego Store where I was (initially) fascinated by the penny-candy-like bins of individual pieces which could be scooped into containers in any combination for a fixed price.
Having added nothing to my Lego collection for well over 20 years, it takes no mental leap to envision that there were many new parts available. Filling a large cup full of intriguing little blocks was so fun, that I made a return visit at the end of the trip… and then again in August on my scheduled trip.
Some pieces shoveled into my cup were selected merely for their oddity. Recently, I finally took a longer look at the pieces and imagined a few ways to use them; however, I found myself wanting to know how they were ‘officially’ used. Enter stage left: The Internet.
Quick searches using part numbers found some sites which list – in fine detail – how the pieces have been used. Many photos and scanned instructions are also available. This is where things took another twist.
In the late 70s, I picked up one of the early Technics sets, but it didn’t have an instruction sheet. Of course, I used the set a lot and made many things; however, the photo on the box didn’t provide enough data to build the planned model exactly. Several times I reverse engineered things similar, but the toy had a lot of internal gears and workings, always leaving me with something fun but less than satisfying. Kind of like trying to build a pocket watch with just one photo from the front.
Grabbing one of the oddest parts from that set, I entered it into the database and found the model… with the instructions in graphic images. Busy as I was, I set aside time and built a tractor with a working cultivator attachment in back. I remember my reverse engineered cultivator would often fall off. Well, the actual model does as well. It was not a mistake of mine, rather a poor design. Perhaps I will modify it a little.
Finally putting the set to its intended use gives me a strange satisfaction.