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

Delivering news and sundries aboard the Flying Erwin

According to Jonas, the Flying Erwin is “a kiosk traveling from town to town to supply the citizens of 1880 with all odds and ends.” Built together with Brick Vader, this lovely balloon has a long tonne of amazing details, from the cow’s skull on the awning and the weathervane atop the balloon to the steaming boiler and adorable crane.

The Flying Erwin

Like the green and gold marvel we highlighted last week, Jonas and Brick Vader’s colorful build proves once again that steampunk need not be all brown and gray.

3D-printing Martian habitats with a NASA drone

Like many sci-fi, science, and space geeks, the exploration and colonization of Mars has always held a special fascination for me. Shannon Sproule has created a LEGO version of a novel idea — sending a drone to 3D print habitats on Mars. With a realistic color scheme and extensive use of round bricks, including a pair of round 7×7 domes, Shannon has created a plausible construction robot. Here’s hoping NASA is paying attention to innovative ideas like this!

NASA 3D printing robot

Deadly in gray & red

Cole Blaq has just finished a batch of really awesome matching near-future military vehicles, led by this vicious VTOL aircraft. I love how the red striping even continues around the central turbofan. Spots of yellow from printed tiles and the tips of white missiles add interesting detail to the basic gray and dark red color scheme.

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The VTOL has a matching APC and walker mech. The APC is reminiscent of the vehicle from Aliens, which is not at all a bad thing.

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Be sure to check out the photoset on Flickr for more pictures of all the models.

This Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR oozes 80’s chic

For anybody who grew up in the 80’s or 90’s, I suspect that the Ferrari Testarossa is immediately recognizable. Firas Abu-Jaber has built one in LEGO with headlights that can be raised and lowered, opening doors, and an opening rear engine compartment with a beautiful chrome flat-12 engine. The iconic side strakes that made the Testarossa so distinctive are particularly well-built.

Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR

See more photos on Flickr, and check out Firas’s video as well.

Click through to see a video of the car’s working features

Newag 15D/16D cargo locomotive rides the Eastern European rails

According to Polish builder Mateusz Waldowski, the Newag 15D/16D is a broad-guauge diesel locomotive that’s a heavily modernized Polish version of the Soviet-era TEM2. With excellent color blocking and a couple of custom stickers, Mateusz has built a stunning LEGO version in PKP Cargo livery. I especially like Mateusz’s use of corner panels for the steps, and the angled cab windows.

Newag 15D/16D cargo locomotive

See more photos of Mateusz’s locomotive in his album on Flickr.

Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base in LEGO (Warning: Choking hazard!)

One of the best Saturday Night Live sketches of the season so far was in last week’s episode guest-starring Adam Driver, who reprised his role as the very emo Kylo Ren as he went undercover to mingle among his employees on Starkiller Base. Chris McVeigh has recreated the hilarious opening scene when “Matt” asks First Order staff in the cafeteria whether they like their jobs.

You guys like working here?

Click through to watch the video if you haven’t seen it

LEGO sales & deals for mid-January 2016 [News]

Many of the LEGO sets that never actually showed up on January 1st are finally starting to show up online and in stores, including Collectible Minifigures Series 15, NEXO Knights, and others. At the same time, Amazon and the LEGO Shop have discounted many earlier sets.

First off, nearly all LEGO Dimensions Fun Packs remain 50% off at $7.49 from Amazon.com, including the brand new ones released this week.

The LEGO Chima set 70146 Flying Phoenix Fire Temple is $36 or 30% off at $83.98 from both the LEGO Shop and Amazon.com.

70146 Flying Phoenix Fire Temple

Click through for more January LEGO sales & deals

The functional plausibility of Kwi-Chang’s heavy robots

While we certainly feature plenty of LEGO mecha here on The Brothers Brick, I’ll admit that many of them fall into the old Gundam pattern of humanoid robots that look like a giant person wearing armor. Not so with this latest from Japanese mecha master Ryuhei Kawai (Kwi-Chang), who recently posted a new mecha called LHB-025 鬼頭刀 (apparently the name used in Taiwan for the mahi-mahi or dolphinfish). This mecha looks more like something that would be in a Neill Blomkamp film, with a vaguely arthropodal aspect — wings, flaps, and cylinders sticking out of the frame every which way. The predominant white color scheme with spots of red make the whole thing look plausibly functional in an industrial setting.

LHB-025 鬼頭刀 by Kwi-Chang on Flickr

You can now follow TBB on Google+ and Pinterest [News]

With a couple hundred thousand regular readers here on TBB each month, we do our best to get great LEGO content to you wherever you are, whether it’s links to posts on Facebook and Twitter, photos on Flickr, or the occasional video on YouTube. To help you get your LEGO fix in even more places, we’ve just enabled posts on Google+, and we’re curating a couple of boards on Pinterest.

TBB on Pinterest

Are there other places you’d like to see posts from TBB? Let us know in the comments.

I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself

GoPlaysWithLego has been building mini-scale vehicles featured in the Battle of Hoth. While the AT-AT is impressive, what’s more impressive is the detail the builder was able to achieve with the tiny snowspeeder. Be sure to check out all the builder’s photos for more views of the AT-AT.

AT-AT_5

But I’ll be honest, I’m actually just blogging this to feature GoPlaysWithLego’s other photo, titled simply “Fetchez la vache!” I’ll let the photo speak for itself.

AT-AT_Fetchez

Show me again the power of the darkness...

Sometimes it’s just fun to play with minifigs. Despite all the LEGO Star Wars sets I’ve built to review over the last month since the movie’s release, there are still some key characters from The Force Awakens missing from my collection. One of the most intriguing new factions is the Knights of Ren, of whom we only really get to know Kylo Ren, their commander. There was, however, a brief flashback that showed a squad of Knights lit up by lightning on a rain-drenched battlefield, so I thought I’d take a crack at building minifig versions of the Knights of Ren.

The Knights of Ren

While the minifigs themselves are just your usual “figbarf,” I’m pretty pleased with the presentation. I’m not skilled with Photoshop or GIMP, so I primarily just use the Photos app on my Mac. First, I took my photo of the minifigs on a black cardboard background. With a screenshot from the movie trailer as a reference, I began post-processing by darkening the photo significantly, and reduced the warmness to get the bluer tones for the background as seen in the movie (which fortunately still kept the minifigs black). Next, I found a free online tool that lets you add effects like rain and a vignette to photos, so I processed a copy of my photo with that tool (first the rain, then the darker, blurred vignette border).

All in all, it was fun to build the minifigs, taking me back to my early days online, but I particularly enjoyed finding easy ways to post-process the photo to mimic the movie still.

Registration open for Japan Brickfest 2016, June 4-5 in Kobe [News]

Japan Brickfest logoKLUG, the LEGO Users Group (LUG) based in Osaka, Japan, is putting on the largest LEGO event in Japan this June called Japan Brickfest.

The event will be held June 4-5, 2016 at the Canadian Academy international school on Rokko Island in Kobe. (I went to second grade in Kobe, and it’s a lovely city.) Registration for builders is now open, but closes at the end of February.

Godzilla & Osaka castle

KLUG itself includes a number of names that should be familiar to both LEGO builders on sites like Flickr and MOCPages as well as readers of TBB. KLUG seems to be a bilingual LUG with both Japanese and English-speaking members, so if you’re a gaijin AFOL in the Kansai area who misses your LUG back home, KLUG and Japan Brickfest sound like a great way to get involved with LEGO in Japan.

Attendee pricing is based on requested table space. For more details, see the builder page (in both Japanese and English) on the event website.