About Elspeth De Montes

Elspeth De Montes is Scottish but lives in North Yorkshire with her partner and twins. She is a LEGO Builder not a collector of sets, which in theory should make the hobby less expensive (ahem!) but monochrome collections can be pricey.   You can see more of Elspeth's work on her blog or website and Flickr.   Elspeth is also a bike lover; mountain bike, fixie, road bike, tri-bike (n+1=number of bikes I need).

Posts by Elspeth De Montes

Jeepers! Zoinks! Ruh-roh ...run Scooby-Doo!

Remember those good old days when Scooby-Doo and the gang used to get chased by villianous museum curators dressed as ghosts? Well Tim Lydy sent the thrill of the chase up a notch at Brickworld Chicago last week with a kinetic creation depicting Scooby-Doo and the gang and running from three more recent characters from horror films.

First up to chase is Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movie series, then we have Pennywise from Stephen King’s novel It and finally Freddy Kruger from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. The scary chasers are very well built and instantly recognisable. Each character has its own running style, especially Scooby-Doo himself who appears to be frantically “wind-milling”. You can view the video here.

LEGO designer Carl Merriam talks about becoming a designer, Boost, and Saturn V [Interview]

While in Billund earlier this month, we had an opportunity to chat with LEGO designer Carl Merriam. Carl is still an active AFOL within the LEGO community, although he is now a professional LEGO set designer. Most recently, Carl Merriam co-designed 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V and has been working on LEGO Boost that has just been released for pre-order.

Carl Merriam

We sat down with Carl at LEGO headquarters to chat about how he became a LEGO designer, along with some of the LEGO projects he’s worked on since joining the company.

Read the full review with LEGO set designer Carl Merriam

Phwoarrr... Watt a steamy engine this is

Back in the 1770s a revolution was about to take place — not the sort of revolution that relies on weapons — but a steam-powered revolution that drove the masses from the fields to the factories. James Watt was a famous Scottish mechanical engineer and chemist who is most famous for his work designing and perfecting the steam engine, which helped to drive the Industrial Revolution. Nick Barrett has built the Watt Beam engine, complete with the large beam across the top, pistons, flywheel and crank, all made of LEGO bricks. There’s a lot to admire in this model — especially those pistons and the flywheel — but the detail of adding brick-built lettering? Watt a nice touch.

Beam Engine

We don’t need a bigger boat

Although a bigger boat is sometimes a necessity, shrinking your favourite LEGO ships into more manageable proportions can be useful. Brick LeKao might have run out of display space, or perhaps he’s just a fan of more petite sets judging by his collection of cute Pirates of the Caribbean microscale ships. Silent Mary, the Black Pearl, and Queen Ann’s Revenge are all built in microscale, but despite their small size, they are completely recognisable as the famous vessels.

MINI Queen Anne's Revenge

Click to see more adorably miniaturized pirate ships

LEGO Star Wars designers answer questions on stickers, set redesigns and more [Interview]

The Brothers Brick were fortunate enough to spend some time talking with LEGO Designer Jens Kronvold Frederiksen who is the Design director for Star Wars theme, and Jurgen who is a LEGO graphic designer within the Star Wars theme. Jens has designed sets for the Star Wars theme for 18 out of the 19 years he has been working for LEGO—an unusual situation, he admits, but one he is very happy with. Right at the beginning back in 1998, when Jens heard that LEGO and Star Wars were going to be collaborating, he felt it was a perfect combination of a fantasy universe with sets and vehicles that would work well with LEGO along with a strong storyline about good versus evil.

Star Wars designers

Jens Kronvold Frederiksen is famous for designing the UCS Millenium Falcon, a product he created back in 2006. Designing the biggest LEGO set at that time under the Star Wars theme was very exciting for him. It is no wonder it remains on his short list of favourite sets, along with the Death Star, which is a set he considers a ‘family build’ (when an adult can help a younger fan to build a complex final creation). He has a hand in lots of sets now as Design Director, but explains that although he oversees the designs, he can’t help but continue to build and get involved with the model designers.

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Three huge LEGO dinosaurs move into LEGO House [NEWS]

The Brothers Brick have been on location in Billund, Denmark to take a peek at the still-under-construction LEGO House.The Masterpiece Gallery in LEGO House is the dedicated gallery space where impressive fan-made and fan-inspired LEGO models will be on display once the house opens later this year on 28th September. This week senior designer in LEGO House, Stuart Harris, was able to reveal that the three giant models on the three podiums in the gallery will be a DUPLO dinosaur, a TECHNIC dinosaur and a SYSTEM dinosaur.

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Advance look inside LEGO House reveals dinosaurs and mountains

The Brothers Brick recently got to visit LEGO House as it enters the final stages of construction prior to the grand opening on 28 Sept 2017. We got a behind-the-scenes peek at some of the impressive models, displays, and creative experiences that will form LEGO’s ultimate play date. LEGO House is located in the centre of Billund, only 3km away from Billund International Airport.

LEGO House 1

Fans who visit the new attraction will be able to build their own version — without the need for diggers or a fork-lift. As we took a look around, Jesper Vilstrup, General Manager of LEGO House, told us a new, “bigger and better” exclusive LEGO House set will be released in September when the doors open to the public. This will replace the current 250-piece set 4000010 LEGO House which can still be purchased from a handful of local Billund shops.

As we entered LEGO House, the impressive 15m tall Tree of Creativity dominated the central staircase. Packed full of LEGO details, the Tree is a unique model, built by hand from 6,316,611 standard bricks. It apparently took 24,350 hours to assemble… phew!

LEGO House 2

Click to read more of TBB’s visit to this new LEGO attraction

Meeting the LEGO designers in Billund

The Brothers Brick were at the LEGO Idea House in Billund, Denmark yesterday speaking with LEGO designers from the Star Wars, Ideas, Boost, Creator Expert and Architecture teams, along with the TT Games team behind LEGO Worlds.

Star Wars Creative Director Jens has spent 18 out of the 19 years he has worked for LEGO dedicated to the Star Wars theme. You will be able to hear about Jens’ “dark side” moments of saying “no” to certain set ideas, plus his opinions on stickers, UCS sets, and much more.

Carl Merriam, one of the co-designers of the new LEGO Ideas Saturn V set, gives an entertaining view of the new LEGO Boost theme. We had a chance to play with Vernie the expressive robot and Frankie the harmonica playing cat. Frankie loves cuddles and will purr or squawk depending on your cat carrying technique.

 

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Interview with the LEGO Ideas 21310 Old Fishing Store design team in Billund [Interview]

The LEGO Ideas team in Billund, Denmark revealed the first images and box art for the next Ideas set 21310 Old Fishing Store earlier today, and The Brothers Brick was on location at LEGO headquarters to meet the team behind this set. The set was revealed in a small restaurant in Billund as part of the LEGO Fan Media Days that TBB is currently attending. LEGO graphic designer Mark Tranter, fan designer Robert Bontenbal, and LEGO designer Adam Grabowski were on hand to talk through some details.

TBB_Fisherman_Billund-4

Click here to read the interview!

The Supreme Life President of Hell will see you now

A meeting with the Supreme Life President of Hell sounds worse than a visit to the dentist for root canal treatment. Thanks to zgrredek, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld character of Astfgl has been brought to life in LEGO,  complete with a pile of paperwork to shuffle through. Discworld fans will know that Astfgl revolutionized Hell by moving away from physical torture and instead turned Hell into a mind-numbing bureaucracy.

Astfgl 3

The figure of Astfgl is perfect  with those clasped hands and evil grin. You can tell he’s just waiting to hand you a pile of impossibly long forms for completion. Without a doubt, the star of this build is the cracked, ‘fires of Hell’ floor with glowing embers. I feel an evil cackling laugh coming on…

Fancy going Dutch at this pizza house?

The canal houses of Amsterdam are part of the United Nations World Heritage and are famous for their tall, slim stature and ornate façades and stylised gables. While Barrie Crossan has not given his building much of a gable, he has taken inspiration from those famous Dutch canal houses when designing his five-storey LEGO pizza house. If you look closely you will see some lovely decorative details on the façade and the back stairs on the bottom left, leading directly to the restaurant’s busy kitchen.

Amsterdam Pizza House - Custom Lego Modular Building

While the outside is attractive, it’s worth taking a look inside where Barry has made an effort to create a hugely detailed interior. The apartment on the upper floors has an impressive sitting room with a dining area behind the couch. The furniture is certainly not the average LEGO table and chairs: it looks like it has been supplied by an exclusive designer, with a price tag to match.

Amsterdam Pizza House - Floor 4 (2)

Take a closer look inside

A natural selection of LEGO parts

We are all born winners. Right from the start, we can say that we have won our first race. Kosmas Santosa has captured that first race in nature in LEGO using the Panel 4 x 4 x 13 Curved Tapered with Clip at Each End to shape the little swimmers’ heads. The grayscale palette and some nice lighting really help these fun little guys look their best on their big day.

The First Competition in Our Life