About Andrew

Andrew Becraft has been building with LEGO for over 30 years, and blogging about LEGO since 2005. He's an active member of the online LEGO community, as well as his local LEGO users group, SEALUG. Andrew is also a regular attendee of BrickCon, where he organizes a collaborative display for readers of The Brothes Brick nearly every year. You can check out Andrew's own LEGO creations on Flickr. Read Andrew's non-LEGO writing on his personal blog, Andrew-Becraft.com. Andrew lives in Seattle with his wife and two dogs, and when he's not writing for The Brothers Brick, he works as, well, a writer.

Posts by Andrew

Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

Tomorrow is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. I hope we see many moon-themed LEGO models over the next couple of days, but we’ll start with this fantastic microscale version of the lander by Ted Andes.

Moon Landing

Ted has been building one vignette a week this year, and this is his 31st. Check out his photostream for the rest.

To the stars aboard ships of the Cervine Royal Fleet

I have a special place in my heart for a fun fleet of microscale LEGO spaceships — it’s a challenge maintaining a consistent visual style that ties the fleet together, and it can stretch your LEGO collection in your chosen colors. Chris Boen (Mos Doomsday) succeeds rather well with his fleet of six substantial ships clearly inspired by the stripy Homeworld aesthetic.

Cervine Royal Fleet

Granted, the sleek, striped skin around a dark gray “technical” core is nothing new among LEGO space shipwrights, but the central battleship has some interesting shaping and I like the brutish-looking destroyer near the back. Regardless, it’s an impressive fleet with a clear common theme.

Should an emergency arise, the Varys medical/rescue vessel is ready to provide aid.

Varys Medical and Rescue Vessel

I knew I had to blog these when both appeared in my “to blog” folder…

Pay your tithes at the Bank of the Prophet

About a year ago, we featured a beautifully rendered LEGO Songbird from Bioshock Infinite by the talented Imagine Rigney. At BrickWorld last month, he exhibited a complete scene that recreates the entrance to the Financial District in the game.

Bank of the Prophet Full View

Imagine has included a rail system and various enemies for a full-scale battle, including Booker using Shock Jockey on a Handyman and some Founders.

Shock Jockey!

Columbia looks hauntingly gorgeous at night.

Bank of the Prophet Night Full View

Check out Imagine’s full photoset on Flickr to see more detailed photos of this massive build.

Fishing the turbulent waters of the East Sea

It does seem like we’re obsessed with spacecraft today, so here’s a very different kind of vessel. Hoang Dang built this Vietnamese fishing boat to raise awareness of the complex political situation happening today in what westerners typically call the “East China Sea” (even the name of the geographic area is fraught with tension, thus my quotation marks). For a change, I’ll stay out of the politics, but Hoang’s LEGO model certainly deserves plenty of attention.

Hoang has built his model at the scale of the classic Technic figure, which gives him a bit more room to play with shapes and details than if he’d built it at the typical minifig scale. He captures the curves of the hull wonderfully, and details like the sea star on the Vietnamese flag, nets, fish in barrels, and lights all add realism. But my favorite aspect of this model is the color — it’s not often you see a bright blue boat built from LEGO!

Population density increases on Epherna 1

Tim Clark just posted this fantastically complex microscale space scene, complete with a pair of ships flying overhead and two more smaller ones on a landing pad.

Settlement on Epherna 1

This build is a great example of how repetition can really increase the realism of a LEGO model — the pairs of ships, the beacons, and all the small technical details. Real life is full of repetition, and doing the same even in a sci-fi setting adds a level of realism that would be lacking if every detail was unique.

Here’s another great shot, showcasing the landing pad and the biodome behind it.

Settlement on Epherna 4

¡No pasaran! Commemorating the Spanish Civil War in LEGO

Despite my stated fascination with Stalingrad, it does occasionally feel unfortunate that I find myself building what amounts to Stalin’s war machine. I took a break over the weekend to build some military models with slightly less moral ambiguity, inspired by the Republican forces who fought a losing battle against Fascism in the Spanish Civil War.

¡No pasaran!

In 1936, Fascist elements within the Spanish military launched a coup d’etat against the democratically elected Second Spanish Republic. Supported by Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, Generalissimo Franco’s “Nationalist” forces quickly gained the upper hand, and Spain soon became a field experiment for the weapons and tactics that would be used shortly afterward in World War II. For example, the German and Italian air forces destroyed the town of Guernica, an atrocity memorialized in the famous painting by Pablo Picasso. Everyday people from across the world flocked to join the Republican cause, including thousands of American and British volunteers, who formed part of the “International Brigades.” George Orwell fought alongside Republican forces (which inspired Homage to Catalonia), and Ernest Hemingway was embedded with Republican troops as a journalist (which inspired For Whom the Bell Tolls).

The base of support for the Second Spanish Republic’s secular, egalitarian platform rested among socialists and trade union members, including many communists (back before communism as an ideology was the exclusive province of authoritarian regimes). As a result, only Stalin’s USSR rushed to the aid of the Republicans, sending arms and armor such as the Soviet BT-5 tank and BA-6 armored car that I’ve built here from LEGO.

Soviet BA-6 Armored Car (1)

My BT-5 is based on my own BT-7, as I mentioned yesterday, but the BA-6 proved a bit of a challenge. The angular hood and rear hull both required some half-stud offset and SNOT (Studs Not on Top) construction, including the two middle axles, built onto the chassis with jumper plates. The turret turns, the gun elevates, and both side doors open.

Its plight ignored by all but Mexico and the Soviet Union, the Second Spanish Republic fell to Franco and his Fascist forces in 1939, on the eve of World War II. Franco remained ostensibly neutral during the war, and then became a key NATO ally during the Cold War. He ruled as an authoritarian dictator until his death in 1975. An estimated half a million people died during the Spanish Civil War, and mass executions continued long after the end of the civil war.

As I wrote in my post yesterday about Stalingrad, using LEGO to recreate historical people, places, and even equipment connects me to history in a tangible and meaningful way. My hope is that I’ve piqued your interest as well.

A tavern fit for a traveling king

César Soares (csar_soares) says that this medieval tavern is his first Castle-themed model, and only his fifth LEGO model that he designed himself. That’s frankly a bit hard to believe given the detail and the polish, so I’m going to make myself feel better by assuming that César means that it’s the fifth he’s posted publicly. Because look at that roof and those walls!

Tavern 1

(Via LegOficina dos Baixinhos.)

And since we haven’t featured César on The Brothers Brick before, here’s some lovely microscale landscaping, with a train heading into a tunnel under a mountain, atop which perches a very precarious castle:

IMG_1353

There is no land beyond the Volga!

The Battle of Stalingrad continue to fascinate me. Stalingrad became a symbolic battle of the wills between two totalitarian dictators that manifested itself in devastating real-world consequences for over a million men and women who died on the front lines. For me, building LEGO models inspired by such a brutal battle isn’t about cool things that go “Boom!” Using LEGO to build vehicles, minifigs, and dioramas of historical events puts me in touch with aspects of history that I wouldn’t normally explore — I’m reading Antony Beevor’s excellent Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943 alongside my building process.

Back on the 71st anniversary of the end of the battle in February, I posted a small diorama titled Victory in Stalingrad, but didn’t post any of the actual vehicles or minifigs, since I was building toward a much larger diorama for BrickCon this October. I finally managed to take some pictures yesterday.

Soviet KV-1s Heavy Tank (1)

Not much has changed since February on my KV-1s Heavy Tank (“KV-1s” is the model of the tank, a faster and lighter variant with a lower turret), but I’ve removed the extra plate between the turret and the hull and added some ammunition crates on the rear deck.

Soviet KV-1s Heavy Tank (2) Soviet KV-1s Heavy Tank (3)

The KV-2 Heavy Artillery Tank was based on the KV-1 chassis, so a LEGO KV-2 to follow my KV-1 was inevitable. The monstrous turret enabled me to build quite a bit more functionality into the KV-2, including a fully elevating gun, as well as hatches on the top and rear that both open.

Soviet KV-2 Heavy Artillery Tank (1)

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