10 years of The Brothers Brick – a brief history [News]

Ten years ago today, I came home from work, opened my computer, and set up a personal blog I called “Dunechaser’s Blocklog.” That blog would eventually become The Brothers Brick.

A lot has changed in the past ten years — with my own involvement in the LEGO hobby, with this blog, and with the LEGO fan community more broadly. But today I’m going to share my experience here on The Brothers Brick.

I started the blog mainly as a journal of my own LEGO models, and my first true post was a write-up of minifig anatomy that included one of the minifigs I’d built recently — the character Cloud from Final Fantasy VII in the form he takes in Kingdom Hearts. I still quite like the fig today.


Nobody at the time was paying much attention to minifigs, to the point that many of the minifigs I saw in other peoples’ creations were pretty boring. So, even though I enjoyed building larger models as much as the next builder, I decided to focus what I posted on my blog on minifigs. Within a couple of months, I began featuring the minifig-oriented work of other builders. One of my first posts exclusively focused on the work of another builder was — not surprisingly — about the talented builder Michael Jasper.

Summertime by Michael Jasper on Brickshelf

Soon, I was featuring the work of Japanese builders like Moko. I was born and raised in Japan, and I could read the blogs, forums, and other community interactions of a thriving Japanese LEGO builder community, so I started a separate blog called “Pan-Pacific Bricks” to highlight the work of Japanese builders and provide a bit more context for the work showing up on sites like Brickshelf.

Then I started getting comments. I had a couple of readers! In February 2006, Boing Boing picked up my “Blocklog” post about my Aztec gods, and traffic shot through the roof! A few of those thousands of people stuck around, and my readership grew.

Meanwhile, I was very active on LEGO fan forums like Classic-Castle Forums (C-C) and From Bricks to Bothans (FBTB), where I’d become friends with people whose online names were crazy things like “Plums Deify,” “porschecm2,” and “floodllama.”

As I expanded from my own minifigs to other people’s minifigs, LEGO models by Japanese builders, and then ultimately anything I liked, I realized I needed help. I contacted “floodllama” and asked him if he’d like to join “Dunechaser’s Blocklog.” Fortunately, he did, and in May 2006, I welcomed Josh Wedin to the blog. With another contributor on the team, even the name of the blog didn’t make any sense, so Josh and I decided to hold a contest for people to suggest a new name.

We ran the contest for a couple of weeks (our first of many) and we chose “The Brothers Brick” from more than a hundred suggestions. The winning suggestion came from C-C member “Peppermint Pig.” Josh and I chose the name because we liked the storytelling allusion to the Brothers Grimm and the fact that it accurately represented a couple of guys with a LEGO blog.

Since I invited Josh in May 2006 and we changed our name a few weeks later, our roster has included 20 people — among them a doctor, a lawyer, two university physicists, two Canadians, an Australian, a Swede, a Dutchman, and Keith Goldman.

At BrickCon 2014 last year, eight of us got together for a photo (courtesy Justin Pratt).


Left to right: Andrew (me), Josh (the original TBB minion), Caylin, Chris, Iain (always a blur of activity), Carter, Nannan, and Simon

By late 2006, we were outgrowing Google’s free Blogpsot service, and we decided to move The Brothers Brick (and Pan-Pacific Bricks) to our own website. Brothers-Brick.com launched in December. We’ve made some improvements and changes to the site since then, but all the pieces were in place for the “TBB” that you all know today.

Along the way, the lives of our contributors have evolved — children born, degrees finished, new jobs, new careers, new responsibilities… Contributors have joined and left as real life responsibilities, interest in blogging about LEGO, and even interest in LEGO itself have waxed and waned. My life has been no different. Ten years years ago, I was a writer working for a small software company. Today, I’m the director of the planning and design group for a rapidly growing software company, and I even founded the company’s Seattle office, which now employs nearly 30 people. Obviously, that leaves much less time for LEGO and for TBB than working as a writer did 10 years ago. (Other contributors have had similar real-life journeys, and I have to admit that TBB hasn’t been getting the attention our readership deserves for the last year or two — something I’m hoping to change with some fairly significant changes soon.)

My own interest in LEGO has also changed. Gone are the days of pulling out small trays of minifig parts and whipping together a batch of figs to quickly photograph the next weekend for posting to Brickshelf and sharing on C-C or FBTB. I started attending BrickCon with Josh in 2006, and BrickCon 2015 will be my 14th LEGO event or convention. Each year, I try to up my game and build something bigger, better, and hopefully both. A couple of times, I’ve been rather surprised to receive an award — as my large Stalingrad diorama did at BrickCon last year, full of custom vehicles and minifigs.

Stalingrad: Operation Uranus

I’m sad to admit that I haven’t built anything of my own since BrickCon last year, though I’m looking forward to carving out some time for our Battle of Bricksburg American Civil War collaboration (more details soon).

Me!Ten years is a long time for a little LEGO blog — many have come and gone while we’ve plugged away featuring all the wonderful models built by LEGO builders all over the world. I’m not sure what the next decade will bring, but I’m looking forward to making that journey with all of you out there, both the hundreds of thousands of you who read our blog each month to see the work of the talented builders we feature, as well as all of my fellow builders themselves. Thank you.

So, what has your LEGO experience been over the past ten years? What are some of your favorite TBB memories? Share away in the comments!

21 comments on “10 years of The Brothers Brick – a brief history [News]

  1. Marc Nelson Jr.

    Ten years ago was also when my daughter was born, an event that was sort of the last straw for LEGO being my main hobby. We moved shortly after, and I never did get all my bricks unpacked. Now, my kids have their own LEGO collection, and I play with their bricks. :)

    But through it all, I’ve kept reading TBB! Thanks for everything, Andrew – and here’s hoping for another ten years!

  2. tveskov

    Congrats on the ten years. TBB = always the best, the one-stop for top-quality LEGO building! Keep up the good work and keep surprising us

  3. blockrock

    My favorite memory is ‘The Server Downtime Contest’ April fools joke

    A contest that allows digital builds?
    With judging to start on April 1st?
    People should have known this was a joke, yet they still invested time, effort and money into it!
    Kinda mean but still funnier that ‘Clone on a Plate’

  4. Cesbrick

    Unfortunately I only came out of my Dark ages a year ago, but TBB is one of the first sites that I check every morning. It was also the first site that blogged one of my creations (what a huge honor:)) and it was Andrew who did it. I will never forget his words also… It as it was a shift in my LEGO life. Congratulations and a big thanks to Andrew and the TBB team.

  5. Hammerstein NWC

    As someone only three years back into my journey TBB ihas been a daily part of my life ever since.

    It’s lovely to hear the story behind such an integral part of my Lego life.

    I enjoy seeing the best of the web every single day and can count the blogs I’ve received on your pages as Lego career highlights for me so far.

    All I can say is thank you and I hope this journey never ends!

  6. Fred

    Jeepers time goes by fast. 10 years ago there were so many odd little lego blogs. I remember watching them stagnate but this puppy just kept chugging along (As the authors from the others moved here!) It’s been great. A little slow at times but you’re still the gold standard -especially when you consider that Gizmodo seems to lift 90% of their Lego stories right off your site. I’m strange.. I don’t build much. I collect and sort and admire. Few realize how talented the builders are until you try it yourself. I’m happy to have a regular place to check in on what’s going on out there.
    I miss Friday Night Fights!!
    Nearly ever year I post this and flub the acronym… HBD TBB!

  7. Minifignick

    Happy Birthday :) and thank you :) I remember TBB was one of the first websites I visited after coming out of my dark age (and a very long one it was !) I’d never heard of a AFOL and didn’t even know that “grown-ups” did this sort of thing What a saw was a beautiful site/sight I was totally amazed by the builds and great photography I saw. Slowly I started to create and learn how to get a good photo of it Slowly I got better What spurred me on was the thought that one day maybe I’d get to a standard were I’d get noticed a appear on TBB Imagine the day I did It was like Christmas & my Birthday rolled into one I remember waking my son up to tell him as he had helped with the build Not one to brag but I have appeared a few times since and its still a great buzz and feel it puts your work out to an even bigger audience and if gets more people involved in “The Brick” like it did me it’s no bad thing Thanks again TBB for getting me back into the world of Lego Sadly I doubt my wife would agree !!

  8. bruce n h

    Happy birthday, Dunechaser’s Blocklog! I remember the day when this was just a little upstart of a blog knee-high to a Modulex brick. :) My own blogging has waned and waxed and waned some more, but you guys have been a wonderful constant for a decade now. Congratulations on turning this blog into one of the real pillars of the global LEGO community.


  9. Andrew Post author

    Thanks for the kind words everyone (other than blockrock)!

    @blockrock: Did you even read this post? I’ve dedicated 10 years of my life to bringing people like you news and LEGO creations, and the occasional contest. In this particular, singular case, real life has overtaken my ability to wrap up the contest. Believe it or not, I was thinking last night as I wrote this, “I know there are builders out there who’d like me to wrap that up, and don’t understand that I’ve been working 70-80 hours a week at my day job, and that I’ve gotten sick multiple times since the contest kicked off. But they deserve a conclusion to the contest.” Comments like yours make me think otherwise.

  10. Aetheron

    Thank you TBB! Happy Birthday!

    Seriously, to Andrew and all of the contributors, this site is awesome and entirely indispensable, so thank you. I look forward to seeing what awesome new builds and bits of news you all dig up to share every week.

  11. EKnight

    Congratulations on 10 years! I have been checking this site for a good chunk of that time (I don’t know exactly how long) and It is still the best Lego Blog out there. I am always pleased and excited when one of my MOCs is shown on here.

    On another note, CSF doesn’t stand for Classic Castle Forum, it would CCF, or just CC as those on the forum say. CSF stood for Classic Space Forum.

  12. Niloc

    Thank you, thank you, and THANKS Andrew, Josh, team of the Brothers Brick! Your dedication is simply amazing and inspiring and no word is powerful enough to thank 10 years (10 YEARS) of dedication to grow an awesome blog that has become an icon of the Inter-LEGO, LEGO-net? (Internet + LEGO, I don’t know…) world.

    I started to follow you somewhere around 2006-2007 when I clicked a link from Eurobricks, I’m not sure exactly how and when… But the Brothers Brick was there, and has grown stronger and stronger ever since. As a reader I have to say the idea to post such different builds from here and there is awesome! It’s like a newspaper of the Brick, helping us follow what’s going on in the MOCing world, discovering new great builders, small and big.

    I really like to see every new and intriguing build that pops up everyday, and the presentations, texts and jokes introducing them are very appreciated, as are the many interviews, personal stories and other articles allowing to diversify the blog. This background article was very nice and interesting! It helps to understand what’s going on behind the screen, all the people and work, something we can easily forget. I didn’t know about the name and a contest for it! Well, you chose a catchy name, even if I had trouble typing it right at first (Brothersbricks, oh no, Brother Bricks, nope… Brotherbrick?… Dang! Ah, it’s Brothers-brick!, Haha!) Sorry, that was one memory I had about the blog.

    So happy anniversary “Brothers brick” and thanks to all who contributed. I look forward to the blog’s future!

    – Niloc

  13. Tate

    Congratulations guys… 10 years is a long time to keep this going! I’m excited to see what the “fairly significant changes” you mentioned will be…

  14. Veeborg

    I remember when I discovered this blog about 6 years ago. It was pretty big then. I think it was always a LEGO blog no.1 not just because it looks professional but because it literally features best creations people around the world do. Being blogged 4 times here, I find it to be a big privilege so thanx TBB for recognising me, one drop in the ocean of great builders. I hope this continues for a long time now!

  15. Tagl

    Congrats on the first 10 years. May there be many more!
    TBB is a never ebbing well of information on LEGO, events and outstanding models.
    It is one rock in the worldwide seas of the LEGO community.

    Thanks for all your efforts

  16. AK_brickster

    Happy Birthday TBB, oh greatest and most magnificent of LEGO blogs!

    I’m very happy to have discovered this site about 5 years ago as I was coming out of my dark ages. I believe I found this site through Josh over on CC, and subsequently discovered SEALUG and many of the great AFOLs who I now consider to be friends.

    As an admin for another Lego site, as well as helping run the “Lands of Roawia”, I know that trying to keep up with something like this is a lot of work, especially when your “free time” each day pretty much consists of eating, commuting and sleeping. Thanks so much to you and all of the other contributors for consistently sacrificing chunks of your valuable time to deliver fresh content to your viewership. Much appreciated!

    TBB continues to be my go-to LEGO blog, and I wish nothing but continued success for the site and its contributors in the years to come.


  17. Cheefachi

    Thank you BB for your dedication to Lego for all these years despite the inevitable ups and downs. I’ve probably been reading this blog for around 4-5 years and I have an eternally open tab on my browser dedicated to BB that I read during my lunch break (get lots of reactions from people walking by!) Your consistency and excellent curation of the Lego world makes me always start here to see what’s up. Don’t worry about your real life taking up more of your time, I don’t feel like the experience of BB has changed and I think I speak for most people when I say that having BB here and active trumps losing anyone or the blog itself due to burnout.

    My own experience with Lego is similarly up and down. I too am in software and that industry can consume you totally, making your free time spent resting instead of building. It happened to me and I had multiple dark ages during those periods. I’ve gotten more into Lego over the last few years, starting a Lego business (not doing so well – its all about spending the time to get the word out and who has the time!), having kids that are semi-interested in Lego and working to get my collection in a playable shape for them (who would have thought that sorting pieces into their own containers would make it so tough to play with!). My biggest hurdle for really building with Lego is actually my lack of space. I’m in NYC and I just don’t have the room to build. I have been dreaming for decades upon decades of a huge basement or attic or something where I can build. Maybe when I’m retired :-)

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