Auburn University logo -- AU

Having spent most of my life in a southern university town, it's little surprise that many people, when discovering I build LEGO things, immediately ask, "Can you build the Auburn University 'AU'?" (or often they would ask about a tiger, one of Auburn mascots).

Now, I went to Auburn University. I have a couple of degrees from Auburn University, and I found the whole university experience not unpleasant. I am not, however, one of which it could be said he is overwhelmed with 'school spirit', 'school pride', or whatever.

Building a mascot or logo for my alma mater was never high on my 'to do' list.

My perfect evasion to questions about such models was always the very safe answer: "LEGO doesn't make orange bricks." Auburn University's colors being blue and orange, it was pretty much impossible to consider building anything.

Now, to be sure, LEGO does make some orange bricks, it's just that they have never been available in a great quantity or variety.

Coincidently, the one set that did have a lot of orange bricks was a halloween pumpkin pack that had not only a number of 2-by-N bricks, but also number slopes (and inverted slopes). Slopes which could possibly be perfect for building an 'AU' -- I couldn't help but start thinking this after I had purchased about 20 such LEGO pumpkins a couple of years ago... what else could I possibly use all of those orange slopes for?

So, now and then, driving about town, I would see a bumper sticker or such with the AU logo on it, and I'd think again about the feasibility of it in LEGO bricks. I was still a bit reluctant to build one, however, and my final excuse was that I was just too lazy to actually get a good copy of the logo right in front of me at my studio.

Well... some fellow AU alum spoiled that whole excuse recently when he sent an email asking about the possibility of building the logo. He sent a digital copy of the logo as an attached file. There it was, ready to be printed out.

Fine. I'll build the freaking logo... or rather, I'll finally get around to seeing if the slopes and such all match up, and see whether or not the logo can be built.

My initial plan was to use basic (45 degree) slopes for the main part of the 'A'. Upon examining the logo, though, I immediately realized the slopes were too shallow. They wouldn't work. Hmm... this would be a problem. I had plenty of 45 degree orange slopes, but anything steeper truly was out of the question -- I had none (and I don't even think steeper orange slopes exist).

A couple of minutes later, however, I discovered that if one takes a shallower 33 degree slope (of which I had many) and rotated it 90 degrees, then it matches the angle of the 'A' almost perfectly.

Fine... I'll build the mosaic sideways. So instead of a 'Stud-Up' mosaic, this one is techincally 'Studs-Right'.

With the slopes reconciled, the rest was a snap.

Over the course of the next couple of days I designed and built the mosaic. It took 57 shallow orange slopes (as well as 57 inverse shallows)... I had about 62 in my supply... barely enough. I also had enough other orange bricks to complete the piece which is just over 2 feet square.

Oddly enough, it's not the orange bricks that are really the trouble. Turns out that standard 'LEGO blue' is not the same as 'Auburn blue', the latter is much more a Navy Blue in color.

If only LEGO would start mass producing bricks in their new dark blue color which has been cropping up lately...

The logo is done. People can stop asking me about it.

Rah-Rah. Go team.

I should note that the logo is a trademarked symbol of Auburn University and should not be used without permission, yadda, yadda, yadda. The above model is just for my personal satisfaction, so I don't think they'll mind.

A few more pics of my mosaic are viewable:

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