About Andrew

Andrew Becraft is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Brothers Brick. He's been building with LEGO for nearly 40 years, and blogging about LEGO here on TBB 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 dogs, and by day leads software design and planning teams.

Posts by Andrew

Passing on to LEGO Nirvana

There’s a saying in Japan that you’re born Shinto, get married as a Christian, and die a Buddhist. In other words, you practice Shinto rites from birth, have a Western-style wedding, and leave this world through Buddhist funeral ceremonies. Thus, one of the many unique aspects of Japanese culture I experienced growing up there was seeing station wagons with tiny, shiny golden Buddhist temples sprouting from their backs. These little mobile temples are actually Japanese hearses, and Moko has once again used his collection of chrome-gold bricks by building a LEGO version of this iconic Japanese vehicle. In case you’re too dazzled to notice, I’ll also point you to the clever front grill on this 4-wide LEGO car.

Japanese Hearse

Check out Moko’s blog for more photos, including breakdowns and building techniques.

And for all our bilingual readers out there, here’s a totally ridiculous vehicle. Unfortunately, that’s the best I can do, since the very silly pun in Japanese (「オハカー」) simply does not translate. The car has a pullback motor, though I suspect a crash could result in grave consequences.

That pun is so funny I need to go lie down now and meditate on my life. Memento mori.

Building hot rods at the local parts shop

This street scene in what looks like sunny California by sanellukovic certainly doesn’t lack for local color. My eye was immediately drawn to the excellent brick-built lettering that spells “PARTS” on the garage, as well as the realistic palm trees with leaves in varying colors, but it’s the little scenes peppered throughout the larger diorama that kept me looking. The engine on a dolly inside the shop is great, but my favorite mini-scene is the old lady picking up after her chihuahua who’s just done some business on the grass.

Parts Shop

The builder has also shared this excellent 1929 Ford Model A Sedan “rat rod,” with a highly detailed engine and a body in a rusty-looking “dark nougat.”

1929 Ford Model A Sedan Rat Rod

If it bleeds, we can kill it

I watched Predator with the lights off late one night by myself when I was 14, terrified just as much that my parents would find me watching a hyper-violent R-rated movie as I was of the invisible alien antagonist. Cid Hsiao has built a Predator figure that uses the organic armor of Bionicle and Hero Factory to great effect. Placed on a stand built from regular LEGO bricks, I need this imposing fellow standing guard on my desk.

lego_predator4

The Brothers Brick is now a tween! Happy 11th birthday to us! [News]

TBB Birthday11-year-olds are notoriously problematic — or at least I think so, having worked with unruly preteens as a lifeguard and summer swim instructor back in the day. Now that The Brothers Brick is a tween, you never know what trouble we’ll get up to. One of the things that frequently lies ahead of the tween LEGO builder is that he or she will enter what adult builders in hindsight call the “dark ages,” that time in your life when LEGO matters a whole lot less than, well, all the other things that teenagers typically do.

The thing is, The Brothers Brick has already been through a bit of a LEGO dark ages, as real life caught up with many of our long-time contributors back in 2013 and 2014. Hey, it happens — we’re all volunteers and our families and day jobs always take priority over LEGO. The good news is that we’ve made a number of significant changes to how we run things around here, and we think you’ll agree.

After we wrapped up the Battle of Bricksburg at BrickCon in October, we recruited a cadre of 10 new contributors, from all over the world. Over the years, TBB contributors have hailed from the US, Canada, UK, the Netherlands, Australia, Croatia, South Africa, Turkey, Russia, and Mexico. We feel that it’s important to reflect the diversity of the global LEGO fan community — while we write and publish in English, there are TBB readers everywhere. A few weeks ago we even interviewed a group of LEGO builders and TBB readers in Antarctica! About only bits in the following coverage map that aren’t blue are North Korea, Eritrea, and Western Sahara. Globally, that’s more than two million people who visited Brothers-Brick.com over the past 12 months.

TBB readership 2015-2016

Click through for more about you and everybody else who reads TBB

Jongno Tower in Seoul, South Korea

Jongno Tower is a unique office building in Seoul designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and completed in 1999. bigcrown85 has faithfully recreated the structure in LEGO, with extensive use of transparent blue bricks. Similarly, the outer structural elements of the building use numerous LEGO struts, demonstrating that repetition is often a key element of achieving a real-world look in a LEGO creation.

Jongno Tower

Even the trees at ground level use some interesting techniques.

Jongno Tower

The Vaygr fleet appears out of hyperspace

Tim Schwalfenberg worked on a massive Homeworld-inspired fleet of LEGO spaceships leading up to Brickworld Chicago last month, and we posted a couple of the great ships that make up the fleet, including the corvette and missile frigate. The full fleet is incredibly impressive, with the addition of a battleship and carrier.

Vaygr Fleet

The carrier is worth a closer look in particular, with a red and white color scheme that ties it together with the rest of the fleet, along with a shock of yellow. Tim has incorporated some custom 3D-printed elements into the greebles. Can you spot them?

Vaygr Carrier

Tim hasn’t posted photos of his battleship yet, but we’ll bring that to you as well once he gets the photos online.

The house at the end of the world

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been playing a ridiculous amount of Fallout Shelter on my iPhone while riding the bus to and from work. Just as I was thinking it was time to move on to something else, the developers added quests this week that let you guide your vault dwellers as they explore locations beyond the confines of your underground world. This dilapidated house by Joshua Brooks looks exactly like the sort of place I’d send a trio of my strongest dwellers into to find legendary crafting items.

A Remnant of Society

Joshua has included a vehicle for his survivors to get around in, which is more than can be said for my poor dwellers who have to walk everywhere across the wasteland. Here’s hoping that green tank has some gas they can siphon out. The cheese slope roof is lovely, with great cracks in the building’s walls. The house also has a full interior, with reminders of a better world destroyed by a human race gone mad.

Inside the Farmhouse,

Rhosgobel: The home of Radagast the Brown from The Hobbit & LOTR

One of my favorite minor characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books is Radagast, a wizard like Gandalf and Saruman who cares for the plants and animals of Middle-earth. I really kind of hated how Peter Jackson blew up The Hobbit into a bloated monstrosity of a movie trilogy, but I did deeply enjoy the extended screen time that Radagast had. Who can fault a sled towed by a team of enormous rabbits, handled by a man with birds’ nests in his hair? Real-life Middle-earth resident David Hensel recently built this enormous version of Rhosgobel, the house in Mirkwood where Radagast lives, for the Christchurch Brick Show this weekend.

Rhosgobel (Radagasts house)

The largest LEGO creation he has ever built, David says that the build includes twenty to twenty-five thousand LEGO bricks, and measures 77 cm (30 inches) on each side.

Click through to see more of this amazing LEGO model!

Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto built from LEGO, with special appearance by Kumamon

Talented Hong Kong LEGO builder Alanboar Cheung honeymooned with his wife in Kyoto, where the newlyweds visited Kiyomizu-dera, an early Buddhist temple founded in 778 AD, with the current buildings dating to the 17th century. Alanboar has commemorated their trip as a gift for his wife with this beautiful LEGO creation. Chock full of details depicting elements of Japanese culture, the whole creation sits on a brick-built scroll, complete with a calligraphy brush in front.

LEGO Culture of Japan - Kyoto Kiyomizu

The model features the main temple building on its hill, the accompanying pagoda, and the waterfall that gives the temple its name. In addition, Alanboar included LEGO recreations of his favorite memories, from Kumamon (the mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, which is nowhere near Kyoto) waving Japanese flags beneath cherry blossoms and a trio of Children’s Day carp flying above to a beautiful princess on a bridge overlooking a couple basking in a hot spring (sadly without any snow monkeys).

There’s a lot going on here, so be sure to check out more photos on Alanboar’s blog. And if you enjoy this, you’ll also appreciate Alanboar’s LEGO mosaic of Hokusai’s “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa” we featured here a few months ago.

New LEGO 10252 Volkswagen Beetle is totally radical, man! [Review]

Announced just last month and out on August 1st, The Brothers Brick is pleased to bring you a full review of the new 10252 Volkswagen Beetle, thanks to a special delivery from LEGO headquarters in Denmark. This new Beetle in stunning dark azure joins the dark green 10242 Mini Cooper and classic 10220 Volkswagen Camper Van in what I’m hoping is a permanent fixture in LEGO Creator sets. The set includes 1,167 pieces, and will retail for $99.99.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

The build

We’ve come to expect some solid techniques and clever tricks in the “Expert” LEGO Creator series sets, many of which are very obviously designed by the numerous builders who have disappeared from the face of the Internet only to turn up in Billund. And that’s the case here — the set was designed by the very talented Mike Psiaki, whose LEGO creations we’ve featured many, many times here on The Brothers Brick over the years — most notably one of the best LEGO X-wings ever made.

Mike’s Beetle doesn’t disappoint. The 211 steps span an instruction booklet 124 pages thick. I recently also built the new LEGO Ghostbusters (2016) Ecto 1, and it had far more complicated techniques than this larger vehicle does, but the Beetle is still full of half-stud-offset, SNOT, complex headlight and bracket geometry, and other techniques you’ll rarely if ever see in a LEGO City set.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

Click through for the complete review!

The sea serpent leaves a mighty wake

Timothy Jones says that he hasn’t previously built water effects or large organic creatures from LEGO, but his first attempt is rather impressive. A monstrous creature rises from the sea right next to a castle on a rock, lifting a tiny boat in its enormous maw. I don’t have very much confidence that the ballistas aimed at the big blue beast will have much effect…

Sea Serpent's Wake

Vintage fire truck wails to the rescue

I love a good fire engine. While I cringe a bit at seeing a fire truck called “vintage” when it’s from an era I remember well — I clearly recall watching big fire engines go by during the 1979 4th of July parade in Freeport, Maine — this hook and ladder truck by Glaktek is gorgeous to behold. A new take on one of his earlier builds, both builds also fit within the scale, parts selection, and basic building techniques of official LEGO sets, which makes its unique shape all the more beautiful.

Vintage Open Cab Fire Truck