Beckett BUILD Magazine to hit newstands soon [Review]

We recently received a copy of Beckett Media‘s latest foray into the world of fan magazines.

LEGO Beckett BUILD Magazine AFOL

For a cover price of $9.99 USD or $14.99 CDN, you get 96 pages, made up of 23 Features and 4 Departments.

The features cover a wide range of topics, including trips to Legoland, interviews with Nathan Sawaya and Mariann Asanuma, BrickCon 2010, and Brickfilms on Youtube. There are also 5 features that deal with Mega Bloks, K’NEX, and other brands of building toys.

There were three features that caught my eye.

The first is a spread of popular Star Wars sets, with prices, pics, stats, and ratings. There were a number of errors, such as pictures of figs by the wrong sets and placeholders for numbers that hadn’t been filled in. While this is something that is to be expected from an advance copy, when I mentioned one of the errors to the editor, he said that a correction would be put on the magazine’s Facebook page. From that comment, I have to assume that this is not an advance copy, but the finished product.

The second feature I examined is called “Cool Stuff” and features creations by 13 different builders. Most of them were quite good. I asked the editor about the selection process and he said “We contacted many LEGO fans from around the world to feature them in this issue. They were all excited to be included in our premiere issue of Beckett Build Magazine!”. I contacted 9 of the builders and most of them said that they had submitted their work after a request was posted in the LEGO group on Flickr. With one exception, none of them had been notified that their creations had been selected. Hopefully the magazine is still in the process of notifying them and sending them free copies. There were two builders, with half-page spreads, who had never heard of the magazine and didn’t submit their work at all. Hopefully, that issue gets worked out.

The third featured was the article about BrickCon 2010. The captions list the name of the creation, the name of the builder and the name of the photographer. I talked to several of the photographers and they said that they were contacted through BrickCon and gave their permission for the use of their pictures. Most of the pictures featured the “Big In Japan” layout. The remaining pictures included one each of the Town layout, Castle, Mecha, World War II and Art. There was a significant error indicating that “Big In Japan” was the theme of the entire convention. In reality, BrickCon’s theme was “Tales of the Brick”. This was the error that the editor said would be corrected via Facebook.

Overall, the magazine has the look of a magazine that we would expect from a major publishing house like Beckett. It relies heavily on pictures and has a minimum of new information for the hardcore fan. It could be a good introduction to the new fan who is unaware of the greater online community. The price seems high for a casual browser of the newstands. The typos, errors, and lack of contact with featured builders disturbs me. That is not something I would expect from a professional publisher. Hopefully they put more effort into making improvements in future issues. If not, I foresee both a diminished credibility among readers and feelings of alienation among builders.

18 comments on “Beckett BUILD Magazine to hit newstands soon [Review]

  1. Starwars4J

    Well that sounds…incredibly sketchy. I guess I should reserve my judgment until after a few issues have been released and they’re in a routine though.

  2. NTXCoog

    As someone who collected cards and read a ton of card blogs, I can tell you that there is a large and growing segment of the card collecting community that not only becoming disillusioned with Beckett, but becoming downright hostile with them.

    It started with pricing of the cards. The prices seem overly inflated and rarely appear to reflect market value, especially the values on marketplaces like eBay. But that was just the beginning.

    There are apparent conflicts of interest between their grading service and Beckett selling cards directly, especially graded cards, and with them pricing the marketplace. Also superior grading especially for high volume customers or high profile cards appears to be the case.

    Then there were some box openings. Product reviews of boxes provided directly by the manufacturers appeared to be loaded with many of the biggest hits. While Beckett might not have been directly involved, they definitely were not surprised and did not comment about their “luck”.

    There have been rumors of quid pro quo where products from companies that advertise heavily with Beckett get reviewed more often and get better reviews.

    Also Beckett appears to be completely unconcerned about the negative side of the hobby. Fake cards and fake autographs are rampant throughout the hobby, and yet Beckett has not addressed issues like this. They appear to choose to pimp the companies and the positives of the industry instead of addressing topics that benefit the collector like how to spot a fake.”

    So I can’t say I’m surprised at some of the problems found with the magazine despite them being a “major publishing house.” And while the concept is great, I can’t see me purchasing this or any other Beckett magazine.

  3. icepick

    I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but I’m going to go ahead and say it: That cover looks like something I made up in my garage. Actually much much worse. : /

    So I’m going to throw in my vote of no confidence on that alone.

  4. gigahound


    I can hardly wait to see Bricklink prices steadily increase with the availability of this magazine’s “price guide”.

    But, that’s the price you pay when your hobby becomes part of the collector’s market.

  5. porschecm2

    If they’re trying to be a serious collector’s magazine with the inside “know,” they could start by not putting the word “LEGOS” right on the cover.

  6. I Scream Clone

    I was contacted to have my work showcased in this magazine, then also asked to submit 10 tips for builders. After contacting Doug Kale about the first issue, he was unsure if my work would be featured or not and then asked for a link to my Flickr page again. Guess it will be interesting to see what the first issue looks like, though I doubt a free copy will get to sunny Australia any time soon. Looks like I will have to get some US people to scour the first issue for me ;)

  7. Josh Post author

    @NTXCoog – That is good to know. I’ve been out of the card hobby for many years now. When I left, Beckett was still a respected name. The issues you raise are quite interesting.

    @I Scream Clone – I don’t think any of your work was in the magazine. I would have noticed. There are definitely no building tips.

  8. aussielegocollector

    This is so sad. I have been hoping for a high quality glossy magazine about my hobby for ages. Looks as though I’ll be waiting for a bit longer.

  9. Matt Maulfair

    Yea, Josh contacted me telling me that there is a full page print of my work. I still havn’t gotten an e-mail back from Doug Kale (editor) about a free copy. Were will they be sold? Borders or Barns and Nobles?

  10. graymattr

    I was interested but it sounds low quality. $10 is way too high if it’s also going to have crap about Mega Bloks, K’NEX and Magnetix strewn around the pages.

  11. Catsy

    I can’t imagine paying for this. To be honest, it looks like nothing more than an attempt to cash in on something that is becoming pervasive in popular culture without anything other than the most superficial understanding of the product or the community behind it.

    Perhaps I’ll flip through it if someone around me happens to have it. Other than that, there are far too many red flags going up to want to pay for a hardcopy of what I already get on Flickr mixed in with a bunch of off-brand stuff I have no interest in seeing.

  12. Jargon

    Ugh, that cover is so busy. I can’t judge the content inside, but from the cover it just looks … amateurish. Will Beckett allow you to post any page spreads?

  13. Felix

    I’m totally biased because Joe Meno is my friend and I’m a regular contributor, but give me a BrickJournal over this. A fan made fan magazine is going to hit at the heart of what LEGO-heads want. As others have said, the cover of this magazine is busy and the review does not seem to indicate dedication.

  14. Felix

    BTW- thanks Josh, for reviewing this. I had seen some info on facebook and didn’t know if it was worth seeking out.

  15. eilonwy77

    I was also contacted about having pictures put into this magazine. On the Facebook page I saw it posted that these would be sold at Wal-Mart. I haven’t hit up my local Wal-Mart yet to go look through and see whether anything made it into it or not.

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