We’re big fans of Chris McVeigh (powerpig on Flickr) here at The Brothers Brick, and we’ve been enjoying his brick sketches for a couple of years. But Chris hadn’t tackled a self-portrait until now. Chris’s signature mustache and resplendent beard come through wonderfully with just a few plates and tiles.
A large contingent of the Brothers Brick were in Seattle to celebrate BrickCon 2015 last week. Unfortunately Tommy Williamson, our good friend and BrickNerd‘s Nerd-in-Chief, was unable to make it up from the in-bred backwards Gold Rush ghost town of Lompoc, California to join us.
The rumor was that a light mist had been reported approaching the water-starved Golden State from the North, so everyone was camped outside with their tongues out to try and capture droplets of precious moisture. In the end, it actually turned out to be a mysterious cloud of pleasant smelling smoke wafting down from the Portland area.
In an attempt to cheer Tommy up about this, and to give his hoards of adoring BrickCon fans something to throw their underwear at, we decided to create a substitute we called Flat Tommy. Flat Tommy fitted in perfectly. Most people couldn’t even tell the difference, even when talking to him, and soon enough he was put to work on various tasks:
It’s the Lemur here. Just got back to the compound after a great weekend in Seattle, at BrickCon. There were lots of tasty creations there and I was able to get my paws on all kinds of cool swag.
Caylin let me check out everything on the condition that I not break anything and that nothing got eaten. I took a few little nibbles here and there but was able to stay out of trouble, for the most part. I did accidentally clear the building during public hours, but that really wasn’t my fault. Who knew the shiny red “fire alarm” panels weren’t for public consumption? Anyway, the Fire Department responded quickly, nobody got hurt and I got to sit in a fire truck.
Paul Hetherington won “Best in Show” with his motorized Steampunk robot called “Unchain My Heart”. It kind of creeped me out but it was very well built. I even sat on its head and no breakage occurred.
To round off our exploration of the rich LEGO repertoire of Letranger Absurde, here is a charming representation of Victorian dandy Algernon Moncrieff, from Oscar Wilde’s farcical play The Importance of Being Earnest. With larger character builds, it’s less common for builders to take the trouble to construct an entire scene, but this one comes fully furnished for the period (the Vermeer painting is an especially nice touch), while the casual posing and puff of brick-built smoke breathe life into the whole thing.
From the builder: “I’m quite fond of this one. Leaving aside the fact that it’s an update to my very first character build and based on the very first play I’ve ever read and fell in love with, I feel that I’ve accomplished some things here: making a detailed scene for my large scale figs that doesn’t feel like a cheap prop and managing a pretty natural pose (most of my previous chars just felt too wooden). I’ve also experimented a bit with photography; despite the loss in clarity and quality, I think the natural low light makes the scene feel more natural.”
This week we’ve been exploring the works of versatile Romanian builder Letranger Absurde, whose love for antique objects and certain comedy horror movies appeared to collide in this LEGO version of the Necronomicon. Hail to the King, baby!
From the builder: “This is both a tribute to the comedy wonder that is The Evil Dead, and to Mihai Marius Mihu, the builder from my country whose work made me realize for the first time there’s more to LEGO than collecting sets. Klaatu Verata Necktie!”
Our next featured creation from Iron Builder veteran and history lover Letranger Absurde features lots of yummy dark brown and one particular example of nice part usage (can you spot it?).
From the builder: “This was built as a request; perfect opportunity for me to build an Arthurian themed MOC since I’ve always wanted to do one. The sword’s pretty much the same from the Witcher build I’ve done previously.”
Our second find from the hoard of Letranger Absurde is this cunningly crafted microscale homage to the book that first introduced the world to the concept of the alien invasion story, H. G. Well’s The War of the Worlds.
From the builder: “I’ve always been a fan of H. G. Wells’ fiction (one of the very first builds was a Time Machine / Star Wars crossover; it’s a complete mess, but that’s a different story!). So building this was always on my list. The dumbbell choice of part in Iron Builder was just the inspiration I needed to finally go ahead with it. I chose to take a more personal approach to the scene and not base it directly on any adaptation, but still wanted to keep a rather retro aesthetic for the tripod… unfortunately I’ve only had enough parts to make one.”
Welcome to Week of Wonders, a new irregular feature in which we spotlight previously overlooked creations by a particular builder that we admire. Each day we will highlight a different build, enhanced with exclusive commentary and insights from the builder themselves.
For this first WoW, we’ll be unearthing a hoard of treasures by prolific builder and TBB regular Letranger Absurde. And in the wake of the most recent wave of Star Wars mania, it seemed appropriate to begin with this perfect movie mashup. Somehow it just works. Spooky!
From the builder: “I built this one for a mixed theme contest. Initially I wanted to use Jar Jar for the scarecrow (the only reason this build exists). But then I figured it would be out of place among Original Trilogy characters and replaced him with Han. The fun part is that this build was born from the idea of using Jar Jar as the brainless scarecrow and he didn’t even make the final cut; a fitting fate for such a wonderful character I suppose.”
Beautiful LEGO: Wild! is the third title in a series of best-selling coffee table books by Mike Doyle. Like its predecessors Beautiful LEGO and Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, this edition features a carefully curated collection of LEGO creations by some of the community’s top builders.
Compared to its hefty hard-backed cousin DARK, this slimmer book is more reminiscent of the original Beautiful LEGO. Like DARK, its builder profiles are kept to a minimum and the focus is squarely on the photographs. Otherwise the format is the same, with images organized into categories and carefully labelled with info such as title, builder, year and part count.
To differentiate each new volume from the last, Mike has chosen to assign them over-arching themes. And while DARK was ambiguous enough to allow for a pretty diverse range of builds, WILD is necessarily more constrained to subject matter in some way related to plants, animals or nature. And since it doesn’t feature any of the nature-themed builds already used in the first two books, sections like the ones on bugs and dragons end up relying on some slightly less polished builds than readers of the earlier books might be used to seeing.
Have you ever wanted to tell the whole world about the awesome LEGO model you just saw? Are you the person your family and friends look to on Facebook or Twitter for the latest LEGO news and the best LEGO creations? If you have a passion for LEGO and want to share it with the world, The Brothers Brick might be the place for you.
As a TBB Contributor, you’ll get to highlight the news you find, your favorite LEGO models from other builders, and even whatever you build yourself. We’ll expect you to write 3-4 new posts each week. That sounds easier than it actually is. Want to know what life is like at The Brothers Brick? Watch this video…
To help make sure that you’re successful as a new Contributor, here’s what we’re looking for:
- Adult LEGO builder (AFOL) aged 18 or older.
- Established track record in the AFOL community, whether on Flickr, a LEGO fan forum, or somewhere else.
- Good communicator and writer, as evidenced in comments and forum/group discussions.
- Previous blogging experience a strong plus.
TBB Contributor positions are unpaid — all joking about secure compounds and million-dollar yachts aside, The Brothers Brick is run by a bunch of passionate volunteers who blog about LEGO in their spare time. All money the site earns through the support of our loyal readers goes toward server and bandwidth costs, purchasing products to review, sponsoring contests and fan events like BrickCon, and helping out the LEGO fan community wherever we can.
Even though it’s a volunteer role, being a TBB Contributor provides a genuine opportunity to participate in one of the top hobby sites in the world. If you don’t have prior blogging experience, you’ll have the opportunity to learn or improve on tangible professional skills such as writing for the web, headline writing, search engine optimization, and social media strategy.
To apply, fill out the form on our TBB recruiting page. Questions? Ask us here in the comments.
P.S. We are not a cult!
Most of my fellow Brothers are already getting geared-up for BrickCon in October, but at that time of year, sadly, I can get away from work only barely long enough to attend Steam in the UK; a trip to the US is not in the cards. However, in the last few weeks I was in the US for a holiday which included attending Brickfair Virginia. I haven’t yet been home long enough to find the time to go over all the pictures that I’ve taken, let alone to find the owners of the models in them on-line, but will hopefully get around to that in the next few weeks. For now I want to share some of my experiences and to give a shout-out to the military builders I have been hanging out with, specifically Aleksander Stein, Evan Melick, Matt Hacker and Corvin Stichert. This year they displayed a collaborative airfield layout full of excellent minifig scale (near-future) military aircraft, helicopters and ground support equipment.
The event consisted of three set-up days, which were for registered attendees only. There were a lot of organised activities, including games and talks about build techniques, as well as two talks by the guys from Beyond The Brick about their youtube podcasts. I was too busy chatting to other builders while all of this went on, but I did catch an excellent talk by Gary Brooks (whose Battle of Waterloo was featured here a few weeks ago) about building landscapes, that taught me a few new tricks. The set-up days were followed by two public days, during which we all got to display our models to an appreciative audience. I know some exhibitors dread these, and they can get very busy, but I enjoyed talking to the audience and demonstrating the folding wings and undercarriage of my Wildcat fighter.
The fun didn’t end at Brickfair. Since all of us share an interest in military history and technology, the next day we hit the road (and thanks to the satnav, DC rush hour traffic on the way back) to visit the USMC Museum in Quantico. This had a little LEGO twist: its shop features an impressive model of the USMC Memorial by Nathan Sawaya, which was the perfect backdrop for a group photograph.
I know that there must be a fair few people among you who have never actually been to any sort of LEGO convention or event. I was like you for a long time. Building with LEGO was something I did on my own. Later I started sharing models online, which added a welcome social component. However, as I found out when I joined Brickish in the UK and started attending events, nothing beats face-to-face meetings with fellow enthusiasts and being able to see their builds in real life. I’d like to thank Magnus Lauglo for inviting me to brickfair several years ago and for offering me a place to crash this year too. Congratulations to our very own Simon for winning four (!) Brickee awards, including best aircraft. Thanks guys, I had a ball.
TBB friend Tommy Williamson, aka the BrickNerd, has just posted a new episode of his YouTube show about all things LEGO. And we’re really excited to see him back after such a long break! In this episode Tommy reveals his new studio, digs into a dino-themed BrickLoot box (with a special surprise), checks out Chroble’s minifig display shelves, and reviews the LEGO Helicarrier.
Regular TBB readers may remember we did our own Helicarrier review a while back, featuring a “flight test” that was (sadly) completely fake. Well Tommy not only called us out for being such cowards, but he even decided to one-up us and do a real flight test! Watch his video to see the result.
Horrified by this slur on our good name and reputation, The Brothers Brick have responded with an official rebuttal of Tommy’s completely valid and very reasonable accusations. Because we’re jerks.