Category Archives: LEGO

You’d probably expect a lot of the posts on a LEGO blog like The Brothers Brick to be about LEGO, and you’d be right. If you’re browsing this page, you might want to consider narrowing what you’re looking for by checking out categories like “Space” and “Castle.” We’re sure there’s something here that’ll fascinate and amaze you.

Homeworld-inspired Vaygr battlecruiser by Dorian Glacet

Even though I’ve mainly been building military models over the last couple of years, I appreciate a good spaceship. And I’ve always been disappointed that I haven’t been able to play the iconic and influential Homeworld games. French builder Dorian Glacet has been playing Homeworld 2 lately, and built this great ship (actually a true SHIP at 105 studs long) with classic colors and stripes.

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Dorian’s SHIP may look a lot like many of the other Homeworld-inspired spaceships we’ve featured over the years, but when I looked at his photostream, I was struck by the rather innovative approach to the ship’s core, which is entirely “studs-out”:

Cayman class battlecruiser WIP 02

Dorian then attached greebles and the ship’s skin to this core:

Cayman class battlecruiser 06

Check out Dorian’s photostream on Flickr for more, including preliminary digital designs and work-in-progress shots.

10 years of The Brothers Brick – a brief history [News]

Ten years ago today, I came home from work, opened my computer, and set up a personal blog I called “Dunechaser’s Blocklog.” That blog would eventually become The Brothers Brick.

A lot has changed in the past ten years — with my own involvement in the LEGO hobby, with this blog, and with the LEGO fan community more broadly. But today I’m going to share my experience here on The Brothers Brick.

I started the blog mainly as a journal of my own LEGO models, and my first true post was a write-up of minifig anatomy that included one of the minifigs I’d built recently — the character Cloud from Final Fantasy VII in the form he takes in Kingdom Hearts. I still quite like the fig today.

Cloud

Nobody at the time was paying much attention to minifigs, to the point that many of the minifigs I saw in other peoples’ creations were pretty boring. So, even though I enjoyed building larger models as much as the next builder, I decided to focus what I posted on my blog on minifigs. Within a couple of months, I began featuring the minifig-oriented work of other builders. One of my first posts exclusively focused on the work of another builder was — not surprisingly — about the talented builder Michael Jasper.

Summertime by Michael Jasper on Brickshelf

Soon, I was featuring the work of Japanese builders like Moko. I was born and raised in Japan, and I could read the blogs, forums, and other community interactions of a thriving Japanese LEGO builder community, so I started a separate blog called “Pan-Pacific Bricks” to highlight the work of Japanese builders and provide a bit more context for the work showing up on sites like Brickshelf.

Then I started getting comments. I had a couple of readers! In February 2006, Boing Boing picked up my “Blocklog” post about my Aztec gods, and traffic shot through the roof! A few of those thousands of people stuck around, and my readership grew.

Meanwhile, I was very active on LEGO fan forums like Classic-Castle Forums (C-C) and From Bricks to Bothans (FBTB), where I’d become friends with people whose online names were crazy things like “Plums Deify,” “porschecm2,” and “floodllama.”

As I expanded from my own minifigs to other people’s minifigs, LEGO models by Japanese builders, and then ultimately anything I liked, I realized I needed help. I contacted “floodllama” and asked him if he’d like to join “Dunechaser’s Blocklog.” Fortunately, he did, and in May 2006, I welcomed Josh Wedin to the blog. With another contributor on the team, even the name of the blog didn’t make any sense, so Josh and I decided to hold a contest for people to suggest a new name.

We ran the contest for a couple of weeks (our first of many) and we chose “The Brothers Brick” from more than a hundred suggestions. The winning suggestion came from C-C member “Peppermint Pig.” Josh and I chose the name because we liked the storytelling allusion to the Brothers Grimm and the fact that it accurately represented a couple of guys with a LEGO blog.

Since I invited Josh in May 2006 and we changed our name a few weeks later, our roster has included 20 people — among them a doctor, a lawyer, two university physicists, two Canadians, an Australian, a Swede, a Dutchman, and Keith Goldman.

At BrickCon 2014 last year, eight of us got together for a photo (courtesy Justin Pratt).

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Left to right: Andrew (me), Josh (the original TBB minion), Caylin, Chris, Iain (always a blur of activity), Carter, Nannan, and Simon

By late 2006, we were outgrowing Google’s free Blogpsot service, and we decided to move The Brothers Brick (and Pan-Pacific Bricks) to our own website. Brothers-Brick.com launched in December. We’ve made some improvements and changes to the site since then, but all the pieces were in place for the “TBB” that you all know today.

Along the way, the lives of our contributors have evolved — children born, degrees finished, new jobs, new careers, new responsibilities… Contributors have joined and left as real life responsibilities, interest in blogging about LEGO, and even interest in LEGO itself have waxed and waned. My life has been no different. Ten years years ago, I was a writer working for a small software company. Today, I’m the director of the planning and design group for a rapidly growing software company, and I even founded the company’s Seattle office, which now employs nearly 30 people. Obviously, that leaves much less time for LEGO and for TBB than working as a writer did 10 years ago. (Other contributors have had similar real-life journeys, and I have to admit that TBB hasn’t been getting the attention our readership deserves for the last year or two — something I’m hoping to change with some fairly significant changes soon.)

My own interest in LEGO has also changed. Gone are the days of pulling out small trays of minifig parts and whipping together a batch of figs to quickly photograph the next weekend for posting to Brickshelf and sharing on C-C or FBTB. I started attending BrickCon with Josh in 2006, and BrickCon 2015 will be my 14th LEGO event or convention. Each year, I try to up my game and build something bigger, better, and hopefully both. A couple of times, I’ve been rather surprised to receive an award — as my large Stalingrad diorama did at BrickCon last year, full of custom vehicles and minifigs.

Stalingrad: Operation Uranus

I’m sad to admit that I haven’t built anything of my own since BrickCon last year, though I’m looking forward to carving out some time for our Battle of Bricksburg American Civil War collaboration (more details soon).

Me!Ten years is a long time for a little LEGO blog — many have come and gone while we’ve plugged away featuring all the wonderful models built by LEGO builders all over the world. I’m not sure what the next decade will bring, but I’m looking forward to making that journey with all of you out there, both the hundreds of thousands of you who read our blog each month to see the work of the talented builders we feature, as well as all of my fellow builders themselves. Thank you.

So, what has your LEGO experience been over the past ten years? What are some of your favorite TBB memories? Share away in the comments!

Defense of La Haye Sainte Farm at the Battle of Waterloo

Gary^The^Procrastinator captured a defining moment in the Battle of Waterloo in this scene depicting the defense of La Haye Sainte Farm where 400 British and German troops held against overwhelming waves of French forces. Check out more photos on Flickr and see this diorama in person as part of the Battle of Waterloo collaboration that will be on display at Brickfair Virginia in August.

Battle of Waterloo's Defense of La Haye Sainte Farm

“It’s ok, I’ve got a Jaaaag...”

Some say he wears gloves on his feet instead of socks. And that he once teepee’d Cher’s house. All we know is that he’s called Tim Inman, and that he is a bit of a petrol head. With his latest build, Tim has totally nailed the distinctive lines of the ultra-rare, ultra-classic 1957 Jaguar XK-SS. Why the Mini Cooper was a LEGO set and this Jaaaag wasn’t, we’ll never know. LEGO cars don’t get much more “swooshable” than this (or is it “vroomable”?).

Announcing the BRICKNADO² contest winners!

By now, viewers on the “Feast Coast” are already chomping through the premiere of SyFy’s new action mystery sci-fi horror romantic comedy thriller cameo-tastic travesty SHARKNADO 3. And while those of you further West warm up your chainsaws, it’s time for us to spill the beans guts and reveal the winners of the Brothers Brick BRICKNADO² building contest.

1st PLACE
“Under New Management” by mediumsnowman

2nd PLACE
“Easy Rider” by simplybrickingit

3rd PLACE
“Incoming!” by Mr. Brickman


We also have two honorable mentions: The Mick Fanning Premature Memorial award for biggest nod to a completely different shark movie goes to Томас Чижаускас for “Lincoln Hero”, and Sean Martin for “Hoff man, Hoff shark!”. Shame on you. Well done!

  

So congratulations and spoils to the winners. And buckets of chum for the losers. You were all great sports Andrew Avila, The Capitan, Chelsea Collings, jwarner1718, DaDudeDownDaStreet, Liwnik, DarthDee, Krzysztof Pusz, W. Navarre, Laurie Swicegood, Daniel Fortine, and Obby and Steve Guiness. Thanks to everybody for playing! And finally thanks to Arthur Gugick for the use of his inspirational White House model in our contest poster.

Well there it is, our dumbest idea since the last one. And now it is over.

Let us never speak of this again…

Polish Television Truck

According to builder Karwik, this type of Polish Television truck was the first such vehicle to be designed and built in then-Communist Poland, and helped facilitate the first color TV broadcast in Poland in 1971: a program of Communist Party government proceedings.
Karwik has done a stellar job adding details on this model, from the myriad cables and wires that always accompany broadcast trucks to building nifty minifig-scale cameras. My favorites are the tiny stepstools by the truck doors.

Jelcz / Mielec / WZT WR-0043 (1971)

That’s the bottom line – ‘cos Stone Cold said so!

While it may look like some kind of extreme ballet, or very unusual form of back therapy, wrestling fans may recognize this move – expertly recreated in LEGO by simplybrickingit – as the suplex. But can you tell which of the 50+ variants it is? Or what happens next? (…without looking at the script?)

This is the house that Moose built

Something probably not well known to people outside the AFOL community, is the extent LEGO fans regularly go in using their unique obsession to benefit the less fortunate. Whether it’s by selling off their one-of-a-kind creations, auctioning memorabilia at conventions, or staging 24-hour live broadcasts, AFOLs pull all kinds of ingenious stunts on behalf of their favorite charities.

Case in point: Builder Paul Vermeesch created this gorgeous 2′ x 2′ microscale model of a building on the Mooseheart campus for Moose International, to be raffled off at their annual convention.

But rather than simply building the model at home and sending it to them, Paul actually designed it digitally then brought a sack of 5000 bricks to the conference and spent 2 days building it on-site, with the help of some attendant kids. (Hmmm, building with kids – now that’s dedication!)

I want to introduce you to my friend, Optimus Prime

At The Brothers Brick we aim to present some of the best fan-built LEGO models. We’re not necessarily used to our own models exploding all over the internet or on the occasions when they do, it is usually because we ourselves have posted them here first. In the last few days, this normal order of things was turned upside down. I went on a little trip visiting family for a few days, but before leaving I posted a few pictures of my latest model, Optimus Prime, on flickr. These were picked up by a number of other LEGO blogs (the LEGO Car Blog and Bricknerd among others) and subsequently pretty much went viral. I was going to write something here eventually, but hadn’t gotten around to making the video that I wanted to include and, because of this, I got scooped.

Optimus Prime

I have finally completed the video and I will use this post to add more info about the build, that I know people have been wondering about, such as why I built a so-called Bayformer rather than a G1 Optimus Prime or whether this model will make its way to LEGO Ideas, so that other fans may eventually buy one. I’ll start with the biggest question, though: is it actually fully transformable or am I a big cheater, who has built two different models to separately represent the robot and the truck mode?

As you can see, the model can indeed go from truck to robot by sliding and rotating various parts. The only exception is that the fuel tanks are separate parts that are pinned to the truck. This is similar to how the toy that I used as the basis for the transformation sequence works. The sequence is complicated and some stuff usually breaks in the process, but having seen videos of people transforming their toy versions, I get the impression that this is normal.

Optimus Prime

I’m hardly the first person to build a working Transformer in LEGO. We’ve blogged Transformers on many different occasions and, as a child, I myself used to build the original G1 models from the cartoon. The designs from the recent movies by Michael Bay, also known as Bayformers, are rather more complicated than the older models, though, and this is exactly what makes them more interesting to me. I also think that a long-nose Peterbilt looks more attractive than the red and blue cab-over-engine truck used for the G1 Optimus Prime and happen to like building flame patterns. To my surprise, some die-hard Transformers fans hate Bayformers with an almost scary passion and consequently they hate mine. I recommend they go look at Alex Jones’ version from a few years ago or perhaps at some kittens instead.

My Optimus Prime will not be making it onto LEGO Ideas. Even if I could drum up enough support for the project by plastering it all over social media, LEGO wouldn’t touch this with a stick. The Transformers toy line is owned by their competitor Hasbro, who produce rather poor-looking Transformers sets in their own Kre-O range of LEGO compatible construction toys. If you want your own LEGO Optimus Prime, you’ll probably have to build it yourself. This should be easy enough. After all, to quote one commenter on my model, “my nine-year-old can do better”. You have got to love the internet.