This week we were able to talk with Anu Pehrson about her beautiful architectural builds, as well as many other aspects of the hobby. Anu lives in Seattle with her husband David and volunteers a lot of time to help make many different behind-the-scenes aspects of BrickCon run smoothly. She is a very easy person to talk to. If you ever get the chance, spend some time with her. You will be well-rewarded. Until then, however, this interview will have to do! Let’s dive in and explore the mind of a builder.
TBB: Can you give our readers some background on yourself? What is it about LEGO that draws you to it?
Anu: I’m from India. Growing up, there wasn’t much Lego to play with. Someone had gifted my brother a Lego systems set that I commandeered. Every time I sat down with the set, I tried to build something different. That’s how the story of building my own creations started. Then came my dark ages and in 2001 I moved to Seattle where I found Lego in abundance and rekindled my love for building. I built by myself for a few years and then accidently found the local LUG, BrickCon and the online Lego community. I see Lego as more of a medium of Art, rather than a child’s toy. Something that can be used to express one’s feelings, maybe like paint for a painter… As I build more, I use its limitations of being a finite piece of plastic to push its own limits and try to give models an organic and natural feel. Some of the newer parts definitely help in this process.
Today we are fortunate enough to get the chance to explore the mind of Master Mech builder, Mark Neumann! Mark lives with his family in western Washington State and has been a prominent member of the Adult LEGO Fan community for many years. While being know primarily for his awesome Mechs, Mark has also planned and organized many collaborative builds as well as the first BrickCon. In addition to his other efforts, He also recently finished a massive Classic Space SHIP known by her call sign “LL-2016”. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
TBB: Hi Mark, glad to talk to you today! To kick things off, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Mark: Well, ok. Hiya. I have been an adult fan of LEGO since around the year 1999. That would have been when I was walking through a Fred Meyer with my (at the time) girlfriend and spotted something cool in the toy section. Star Wars LEGO. I could get a X-Wing, with Luke Skywalker! Yeah, I racked up some debt on the credit card that day.
This week we were able to track down Fedde Barendrecht to his Australian hideaway in Brisbane. Fedde, who goes by the handle Karf Oohlu, works from home, uploads another crazy LEGO creation almost daily and dreams of world domination. Somehow lots of monkeys and frogs are involved. Let’s dive into his mind but keep your wits about you. Once he has us in his tentacled embrace he may not let go again.
The Brothers Brick: Hey Fedde! What can you tell us about yourself? How did you get into LEGO and what keeps you there?
Fedde: Hi, I’m an old fart, my name is Fedde Barendrecht, Dutch born, Australian raised, and now living in Brisbane Australia. I blame a certain AFOL, Aaron Andrews (aka Darkspawn)—it’s all his fault. The first time I’d visited his place, I saw all the castle MOCs he was working on. (These days, family life—kids—is burning up most of his spare time, and cost him his Lego room.) It got me interested, so I first got into Bionicle, thinking they seemed restrictive and so would feed the interest but not get out of hand. A few System sets eventually got bought, some more—things got out of hand.
This week we were able to sit down with Vincent Gachod from Toulouse, in the south of France. While balancing his job as the head of video production at a french university and raising two kids, he finds time to create some incredible LEGO builds. Let’s pick his brain and see what we can learn from this master of the brick.
TBB: How did you get into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Vince: I started with LEGO in the mid 70’s with bricks from my brother’s collection. My first set was the 374 Fire Station of 1978. After my “dark age” in the 90’s, I came back to LEGO with my son and his first sets. I’m inspired by lot of influences (movies, animation, videos games, books, magazines, cars, architecture…) but I’m more inspired by the details : a car’s wheel, a plane’s engine or a vintage vacuum cleaner! I often start a MOC from a single detail like a car’s grille or an exhaust pipe. I spend a long time working on details.
Here at The Brothers Brick, we tend to specialize in certain kinds of news, LEGO creations, and reviews, but thanks to our partnerships with other LEGO websites, we’re able to bring you more kinds of content. Please enjoy this excellent analysis of a unique new part available now in NEXO Knights sets, which originally appeared on New Elementary.
The LEGO® NEXO KNIGHTS™ theme introduced many exciting and useful new elements into the LEGO System in 2016 and this trend continues into 2017. Today we look at a highly unusual piece which is set to take your building into totally new dimensions, literally!
See the rest of this in-depth analysis
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Pacurar Andrei, also known as Vitreolum (Letranger Absurde). Pacurar lives in Romania and builds in a wide range of styles and genres. His work is highly regarded and his build, Room with a View, made our short-list of the year’s best creations. Please walk with us as we explore the mind of a builder!
TBB: How did you get into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Pacurar Andrei: I got into the hobby when I decided to sell my childhood collection. They were all mixed together in two large bags, so I had to sort and build everything… by the time I was done with this I ended up buying sets instead of selling. Everything inspires me, from someone else’s build to things that surround me. Sometimes just looking at a certain part will be enough. Or just an idea that suddenly pops in my head. Although my biggest source of inspiration has always been movies, games and literature. The challenge is whether I can translate it into bricks.
Here at The Brothers Brick, we tend to specialize in certain kinds of news, LEGO creations, and reviews, but thanks to our partnerships with other LEGO websites, we’re able to bring you more kinds of content. Please enjoy this excellent interview that originally appeared on New Elementary.
To conclude our farewell to LEGO® BIONICLE® “Generation 2”, we have an interview with three members of the team. This was actually recorded prior to the announcement that the theme would be ending, but of course these guys continue to make Constraction figures with The LEGO Group, so whilst BIONICLE is dead (or perhaps merely dormant), the elements live on!
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Paul Hetherington and take a tour inside his head to see how he invents such fantastic creations. Our readers will recognize him as the builder of our Creation of the Year 2016, Gotham Theater Showdown, but his creations span a much greater range in subject and technique than many people may realize. Let’s get to know Paul, shall we?
TBB: Can you give us a little background on how you got into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Paul: I’ve been into the LEGO hobby since before you could reasonably use the word “classic” to describe old space and castle sets. I bought my first set as an adult in 1991, which was the Space M-Tron Pulsar Charger. Little did I know back then that I had just taken the first step on an epic journey — one that would introduce me to so many amazing people, and have my LEGO creations be recognized around the world. Because back in 1991, as far as I knew, I was the only crazy adult who bought LEGO sets.
There are so many things that inspire me to build. My first creations were just built for my own enjoyment, as there was no way to share them. Then when the internet came along, all of a sudden a local LEGO club formed which I joined. From that point I had a reason to build. The first years of creating were mainly spent recreating local buildings, trains and hot rods for train shows and museums. I found I really enjoyed doing research to ensure that my creations were historically accurate and to scale. I soon became inspired to add some fantasy elements into my creations. I discovered Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and the works of Antoni Gaudi. Theme parks, Mardi Gras floats, and parades were also a great source of inspiration.
More recently, I had the pleasure to work with the artist Douglas Coupland on an installation and came to the realization that Lego has a place in the Art world. I find the Surrealists, especially Dali, and Pop Art, and Comic book art to be particularly inspiring. In recent years my creations have had more of an artistic twist and I see myself going more in that direction. Architecture will always be at the heart of what I do and is usually the catalyst for my creations.
It’s the Lemur here. Just got back to the compound after a great weekend in Seattle, at BrickCon. There were lots of tasty creations there and I was able to get my paws on all kinds of cool swag.
Caylin let me check out everything on the condition that I not break anything and that nothing got eaten. I took a few little nibbles here and there but was able to stay out of trouble, for the most part. I did accidentally clear the building during public hours, but that really wasn’t my fault. Who knew the shiny red “fire alarm” panels weren’t for public consumption? Anyway, the Fire Department responded quickly, nobody got hurt and I got to sit in a fire truck.
Paul Hetherington won “Best in Show” with his motorized Steampunk robot called “Unchain My Heart”. It kind of creeped me out but it was very well built. I even sat on its head and no breakage occurred.
This week has been so great! Andrew forgot to yell at me, and even asked me to grab him coffee. And you know what’s amazing? I didn’t mess it up! Josh was so proud. He decided I’d be allowed to “help” with the “Battle of Bricksburg” display for BrickCon! He says I’m not allowed to chew on any bricks though. I’m not sure how much I’m going to like that.
My minion training seems to be going well. Caylin just hits her face with her palm and sighs really loud, and tells me to do it again. She says if I don’t get it soon, then I’ll have to help Ralph clean up his lab. I’d rather not, cause the last time I did that I ended up with an extra tail. It was red! Simon joked about shipping me to BrickNerd.
Okay, time for this week’s questions!
I, uh, owe everyone an apology. You see, I got into some bit of trouble at the TBB compound. I found this room, right, and it was nice and warm and had the BEST multicolored vines. It turns out those were important? Andrew called them “cables.” Chris found me chewing on them for a snack. I had to go into hiding after that, cause Iain apparently missed something called Downton Abbey? I don’t know what that is, but apparently it’s extremely important.
I’ve been helpin’ around now that they’re less mad at me. I’ve been told that I will not be included in Ralph’s upcoming experiments, so that’s nice. I am not allowed to go anywhere near any of the vehicles, boats, planes, bicycles, or anything form of transportation. Simon said I was grounded.
Since it’s been so long since I’ve gotten to snack on some fanmail, I went a little overboard!
Hello, Long-Suffering Friends!
Well, I’ve a had a rough week. Apparently Josh thought I was getting too big for my britches (whatever those are) and decided to replace me with someone more easily manipulated. Without anyone else’s knowledge, he sent me on a “special mission” to one of our remote listening posts and conveniently forgot me there.
It was very cold and all I had to eat were old surplus MREs. I would have starved, except the wrappers were rather tasty.
Once I was out of the way, he brought in my replacement. Apparently Josh had him bred in a secret lab somewhere (No, not Ralph’s…he had nothing to do with it). The little bug-eyed freak tried to take my place in your hearts and minds but thankfully you all realized something was amiss. After reading your comments, Andrew also came to his senses and demanded that Josh bring me back. Apparently the new guy couldn’t keep the yacht as shiny as I did. Thank goodness for that!
Now for the good parts!
I’ve got pieces from fairly new sets (less than a year) that have got cracks in them. Does LEGO want to know about these pieces? Should I send them a picture that includes the pieces’ numbers?
Absolutely! If you come across any quality issues with new LEGO, you should contact them. I can’t guarantee how they will respond but LEGO’s customer service department has a rather good reputation. If you do contact them regarding damaged pieces, you should have the pieces with you when you call. The numbers inside the brick can tell them a lot of information, including exactly which mold the piece came from. If there is a molding issue, this will help them zero in on the problem. If you know which set the piece can in, that can also help, especially if you still have the box. Most manufacturers put codes on their packaging so that they can tell the date, time and batch the product came from.
Also, if you are missing pieces in a new set, you should contact them. They will probably send you the missing bits and it helps them track any issues in their packaging system. Please do not abuse this! There have been rumors that a few dishonest people have taken advantage of the Missing Piece system. Don’t be “that guy”, okay?