Birds aren’t real.
Santa has visited early this year, and has brought a Lego Advent calendar. There are 24 little numbered doors, each containing a dime bag of Legos. There’s a new toy or doodad to build every day, which, in turn, builds anticipation for Christmas.
I will build these and attempt to discern what they are.
December 9: ICW Marker 39
I was starting to get nervous that every day was going to be another “dessert on a table” type of situation, but we have finally rounded the corner and returned to identifiable objects. Today’s build is Intracoastal Waterway Marker 39, complete with osprey and nest-building materials. ICW 39 is in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, at approximately 39°53’54″N 74°07’13″W.
ICW Marker 39 is also known colloquially as the Fortuitous Memorial Marker and The Monument of Icarus in reference to the time that I raced too close to the sun.
Compared to a Pastry Altar or a Hearty Breakfast with an Obelisk, I think this is substantially more fun, but not as fun as Blue Thunder (the titular helicopter from the movie Blue Thunder) or the Micro Express. It does come with an osprey friend though, so there’s that.
Ease of Build ★★☆☆☆
Some of these builds use construction techniques that 8 year old me would have scoffed at. I lack the proper jargon to write about it adequately, but suffice it to say that this one has a lot of pieces that connect on their centers rather than with the standard nubbins for which Legos are traditionally known. It leads to a fragile model that depends on the manual centering of things to look right, among other engineering problems. I assume that in this case, it was done to get the proportions right without increasing the overall size or parts count, but I attempted these methods when building custom Lego spaceships a long time ago, and rejected them with justification.
There have been some liberties taken, but to a trained eye, this is unquestionably ICW Marker 39. It has both red and green components, which are a stylistic nod to the fact that the actual marker is navigationally ambiguous, it has a platform for osprey and a starter stick for them to build a nest, and it has a hole in it, indicative of the real marker’s damage and decay.
Extra Parts ★★★★☆
For only having one stick as an extra part, this rating may seem excessive, but it was not bestowed without consideration. It’s an unusual part (as far as I know), and beyond merely serving as extra nesting material for the osprey, the shape of this stick makes it useful for a variety of other purposes: a magic wand for a Radagast The Brown-type wizard, a single crutch for a filthy Dickensian character to creep around on, a divining rod for a farcical aquatic ceremony, a place to rest a fishing pole when bottom fishing for catfish, etc.
It was certainly surprising to build this and discover that Lego had made a model of ICW Marker 39. I am honored, and, frankly, touched. Of course, this is not the first time I’ve been touched by Marker 39—or perhaps I touched it. Either way, I appreciate the sentiment, and will ram into it repeatedly as a reminder of my hubris.