Category Archives: People

LEGO fandom is a worldwide phenomenon, a vast community. Whether you consider yourself an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO), ALE (Adult LEGO Enthusiast), some other crazy acronym, a parent of a young builder, or even just a casual fan who appreciates all the amazing models LEGO builders create, there’s more to LEGO than just the models themselves. Here at The Brothers Brick, we bring you the stories behind the models, with interviews, builder profiles, and more.

Homer’s The Odyssey – Ὀδύσσεια

Those lucky enough to go to Brickworld Chicago this year were treated to VirtuaLUG‘s story time with their incredible 300 square foot retelling of Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey.

Olympus (center) by Bart Larrow 3/55
This amazing collaborative layout tells the story of the Greek hero Odysseus and his 10 year adventure home after the battle of Troy. Feel free to take the video tour of this massive Layout, courtesy of our friends at Beyond the Brick:

VirtuaLUG of course is the mega-group that brought us Lord of the Rings (2011), Alice in Wonderland (2012) and The Wizard of Oz (2013). So it came as no surprise that they took home Brickworld’s top prize (and Master Builder to boot!):

image (1)VirtuaLUG (Not pictured: Bart, Kevin, Kyle, Mark and Leo)

VirtuaLUGs Odyssey (Brickworld Chicago 2014)

Follow the story of Odysseus as told by VirtuaLUG →

Red Brick Game – BW2013

Have you ever been to a convention and you forgot or needed a piece? It happens to all of us, and in June it happened to Mark Larson. He realized that you could probably get any piece you needed at a convention, if you had something worth trading for it. That’s when he remembered the story about the Red Paper Clip Game and thought it would be cruel to make me play it.

Giving me a modest 2×4 red brick, he set me out on an adventure…
Red Brick Game - BW2013

With my little brick in hand, I basically went up to every single person still in the convention hall pleading to trade for something – anything – to keep the game moving. For those that were there late Saturday night you would have been treated to a sales pitch that would rival most telemarketers.

Originally the plan was to see what I could get by end of night and trade it for some food or refreshments, or if it was really neat I’d just keep it. But after finding my sales pitch lacking that emotional connection I decided I needed to a new end game:

Whatever I had at the end of the convention would be donated to the Esther Walner Memorial Charity Auction at BW2014.

Lord Sterling's Blunderbuss
Auction Item #1 Dave Sterling’s Steam Punk Rifle

This changed everything. It went from amusement of my futility by the attendees to a communal effort to see what we could trade up to. People suddenly was far more generous – often trading items orders of magnitude more valuable, people started making suggestions on who I needed to ask and talk to, people offered money and pure donations to the pot (though that would be against the rules) and it became a bit of an event where people would routinely check in to see what I had traded up to.

I’m often surprised by the generosity in the community, and you would think I would have grown to expect such things, but I was not prepared for when people were trading their MOCs, or would trade a brand new UCS set that they had just bought at auction. Sure it was always a hope that I could get something valuable to auction, but this was was crazy!

In the final trading stages I had to choose pieces that would (I hope) sell well, not to mention be something that people could feasibly take home.
And after 14 trades I got not one, but two, fantastic MOCs for this year’s auction.

Dark Side of the Moon
Auction Item #2 Isaac Mazer’s Dark Side of the Moon

So bring your pennies to Brickworld Chicago, you’ll need them if you want to outbid me.

And a special thanks to all the generous people who traded: Mark Larson, Chris Rozek, Lee Jones, Heath Flor, Roy T Cook, Adam Myers, Isaac Mazer, Adam Tucker, Bill Bartley, Sean Jensen, Alex Taylor, Chris Rozek again, Dave Sterling, and Isaac Mazer again! You guys rock.

Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary [Review]

Last night I was able to attend a screening of Beyond the Brick at the Seattle International Film Festival. I have to say that I did not have high hopes or expectations. I have found that, at the best of times, they tend to have a skewed view of the fan community, so I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing how a documentary with LEGO’s official stamp of approval would deal with us adult fans. I am glad to say that my misgivings were unjustified. It was good, even (dare I say it?) better than The LEGO Movie itself. Go ahead, stone me in the comments, but everything WAS awesome.

So what exactly is Beyond the Brick?

In a Q&A session after the screening, one of the directors said that their goal was to create a film that not only told the story of LEGO but showed the vast community that has grown up around it. The idea was to delve into what it is about the LEGO brick that touches us and inspires us, how the system of play drives creativity and who are the people who have been changed and/or affected by LEGO. Did they succeed? I think think they did. I have been a fan of LEGO’s products for 35 years and I learned quite a few things about the global LEGO community that I never knew and was reminded of things that I had forgotten. The filmmakers were able to touch on many different aspects of LEGO and the effects it has had over the years and around the globe. Some of these included changes in the art world, new therapies with special needs children, the adult fan phenomenon, crowd-sourcing before it was a buzzword and sending minifigs into Space.

Was everything really awesome about the film?

No film is ever perfect. I felt there were some key members of the fan community who were overlooked and who could have offered insight into the concepts that the filmmakers were wanting to explore. But, in their defense, they couldn’t talk to everyone and they definitely couldn’t fit every detail into 90 minutes. There were only a few omissions that really bothered me, such as leaving out the collaborators of several projects and making it appear that the projects were built by a single person. One example of those was a minor collaboration I took part in at BrickCon. I was in the film, talking about the build but there were actually two of us there. My partner-in-crime was cut out. There were other, more important examples, involving large convention collaborations, that didn’t give full credit to those involved. But really that is my only serious critique of the film. Overall, it is a very well-crafted film that does an excellent job of showing off the LEGO community to the world. You should go see it or get a hold of the DVD when it comes out.

Check out this clip from the film, via The Wall Street Journal (Many thanks to my coworker, Brett, for sending me the link):

Artistic classics are literally out of this world

It’s been almost two years since we first covered the work of Polish artists Przemek and Marcin Surma, who publish drawings every week inspired by classic LEGO sets. Since then, they’ve created a whole new bunch, based on iconic sets from classic space themes of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Classic space fans should have no trouble recognizing some of their favorites from among this collection (but the original set numbers are included in each drawing, if you need help remembering).

What you see here is just a small sample – check their website for loads more.

Thanks to Nathan Dusciuc for the tip!

Friday Night Fights Live!

Just recently, Guy and I hosted the live kickoff of the latest Iron Builder competition between Siercon and Coral vs Legohaulic and Littlehaulic. Joining us were some other staff members of the blog (Chris, Caylin) and other builders (Bruce Lowell, Nick V, Andrew Lee). The video below contains the entire live-recorded broadcast, which features the following:

  • The unveiling of the mystery part
  • A 10 miniute build-off between the contenders
  • A long Q&A session where we answered questions from the audience on anything from the state of the Lego community to whether I was wearing pants.

Iron Builder 3.0 - Round 12 - Siercon & Coral VS Legohaulic VS Littlehaulic

Enjoy!

Simon says.

Hi everyone! I’m Simon and I’m ecstatic to join The Brothers Brick. When I started this whole LEGO hobby thing it was a dream just to get mentioned on TBB, and it was an unfathomable dream to someday contribute to the Blog that opened my eyes to the possibilities of LEGO.

I hail from the great white north that is Canada (eh), and I really do love poutine (just ask Brickcon people). But my true love is building and playing with LEGO – with the obligatory sound effects of course. My second love would probably be going to conventions – so if you ever see me at one, please introduce yourself!

I grew up reading science fiction books and watching sci-fi shows/movies so my builds are very skewed towards that genre, though I do dabble in other themes as well. Arguably my favorite book was Ender’s Game which was recently turned into a big budget movie.
So now you know all about me, now it’s time for me to get to work and know more about all of you and your builds!

I will leave you with these parting words to live by:
Remember: The Enemy Gate is Down

LEGO Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

Anu Pehrson is an amazing builder. This particular creation of hers, based on Paro Taktsang in Bhutan, was my favorite build at BrickCon this year. The attention to detail and the faithful representation of the original made this creation something special to behold. I found myself drawn to it over and over. Every time I stopped to look, I noticed more interesting details.

Tiger's Nest Monastery, Paro Taktsang

On a side note, Anu also made “a little friend” at BrickCon. I hear that he was impressed as well.

Assassination! by Brendan Powell Smith [Book Review]

Brendan Powell Smith takes a break from biblical action with a new tome released just in time for the holiday season that features great building and a heaping helping of the darker side of American presidential history. The book is entitled Assassination! The Brick Chronicle of Attempts on the Lives of Twelve US Presidents and it is now available through the link or from the usual suspects who still cater to those of us who enjoy a hard copy. Brendan is an old crony of mine who sent me a free personalized copy of the new book knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to keep my big mouth shut about it. The first thing I noticed upon grabbing it from the mailbox was its satisfying heft and a larger format than the Brick Testament editions riding the bookshelf in my Legoratory. The book clocks in at 272 pages, features over 400 photos and retails for about $15 here in the States (depending on how you order it) and you can get a signed copy for about $20.

Assassination! The Brick Chronicle of Attempts on the Lives of Twelve US Presidents

Brendan’s building has come a long way since the first edition of The Brick Testament some ten years ago and I think it’s fair to say he’s on top of his game in this book. Creating 400 scenes without getting burned out or taking short cuts seems like an amazing accomplishment to me so I found that the actual quality of the building exceeded my expectations. What I enjoyed most however, was the writing and the depth of information that Brendan provides on each assassination attempt while maintaining a smooth narrative flow. Being a history buff, I thought I was pretty well versed on the topic going in but in each of the 15 accounts (Lincoln, Kennedy and Ford get 2 chapters each) I definitely walked away with more knowledge on the events than I had going in. My favorite chapter of the book was actually the first one which detailed the 1835 attempt on Andrew Jackson’s life. Brendan has always had a knack for selecting just the right minfig for the right character, but never more so than with Old Hickory.

Assassination! sample page

There are a couple of nit-picky issues with the book both of which are cosmetic in nature and more an issue of printing than authorship. Over the course of 400 photos, there is an occasional difference in brightness between photos that can be a little distracting and there were 2-3 instances where the white printing on the black background was faded to the point of being difficult to read. Neither issue effected my enjoyment of the book, which I rank as my current favorite among the current crop of volumes produced by Lego nerds recently. Coffee table books with pretty photos are nice but I actually feel better informed after reading Assassination! and I’m certainly better armed for any future engagements in American presidential trivia.

Brendan Powell Smith

With a great price-point, solid building and great writing I can’t endorse this informative volume enough, constant reader and I encourage you to purchase the tome at your earliest convenience for yourself or as a gift. Perhaps the best testimonial I can give is that everyone I have shown it to has been unable to put it down without laughing and remarking about one of the factoids. If you have friends who are anything like mine, you’ll soon be refusing to loan it out. Let’s face it, people never return books.