The LEGO community lost a great man this past week. Daniel August Krentz (1937-2016) was a retired set designer for LEGO, and his contributions and impact to our community are vast and deep.
Daniel began building with LEGO in college, in the 1960s. Soon, his creations gained the attention of the right people and he found himself recruited as a designer, moving from Chicago, IL to Billund, Denmark. Daniel was the first Adult Fan of LEGO to be hired as a designer for LEGO. He began designing in the 1970s, continuing until 1999.
Even if you’ve never heard his name, you know his work. You’ve played with the sets Daniel designed, as his work likely helped form your LEGO childhood. While the list of sets he designed is extensive, below are a few of the more nostalgic sets he designed:
- 375 Classic Yellow Castle
- 6067 Guarded Inn
- 6074 Black Falcons Fortress
- 6078 Royal Drawbridge
- 6081 Kings Mountain Fortress
- 6267 Lagoon Lock Up
- 6276 Eldorado Fortress
Last year, Bricks Culture interviewed Daniel. The author, Are J. Heiseldal, has kindly posted the interview online for others to read. I encourage you to take the time to read the article and reflect on Daniel Krentz’s impact on our community.
Thank you, Daniel, for all of the wonderful memories.
LEGO recently invited The Brothers Brick to their headquarters in Billund, Denmark, along with various other fan-run online groups, websites, and print media about LEGO. I was the lucky guy who got to on behalf of the Brothers Brick.
In our lives we all play a variety of roles, often without thinking. A list of mine would include (mad) physicist, prematurely grey and pasty white Dutchman, university lecturer and, of course, one of The Brothers Brick and Adult Fan Of LEGO. In the last few days, at least two new roles were added: reporter and interviewer. This is one of those occasions were being European, or more precisely, in Europe was an advantage. I’d been to Denmark once before, on a beer-fuelled student trip to Copenhagen 20 years ago, but this was going to be very different and, dare I say it, even more fun.
I arrived in Billund early in the evening on Wednesday and quickly realized that everything in this town revolves around LEGO. I passed the entrance to LEGOLAND on the way to my hotel, which was next to the LEGOLAND Village and, according to a sign on the door, was guarded by LEGO Security. No, really! After some dinner (no LEGO in that, fortunately) I took a stroll to see where I was expected the next morning, past the LEGOLAnD hotel to reach the LEGO Systems’ headquarters. Billund is very quiet, green, leafy, tidy and pleasant and it’s considered completely normal to walk around with a LEGO logo on your outfit.
Read the full report after the break
A pillar of the classic LEGO Space community, Mark Neumann has emerged from myth and legend to bring us Universal Explorer LL2016. This 11-foot-6-inch behemoth of a ship is complete with giant guns, a science module, a motorized ring, interior lights, a huge cargo bay big enough to fit most official LEGO sets, and over a dozen smaller vehicles stored on board. We’ve sat down with Mark to learn a bit more about this incredible creation and Mark’s journey to build it.
Click to read our interview with Mark!
LEGO’s newest Ideas set, 21305 Maze, is available starting today. Jason Allemann, the Maze’s creator, has long been known known for helping out fellow fans by providing instructions to many of his models, and this time around, Jason has put together a special Maze website which hosts instructions several alternate maze layouts, and inspiration for even more. Jason has even created a motorized miniature golf-inspired maze (video below).
We got our hands on the Maze last month and had fun reviewing it, but we wanted to know what its creator had to say. Jason was kind enough to speak with us about the Maze, his design process, and how to create a successful LEGO Ideas project.
Click to read the full interview with Jason
We here at The Brothers Brick pride ourselves on not only running a world-class LEGO blog highlighting the best models and news from the LEGO fan community, but also being pretty accomplished builders ourselves. At a recent team strategy event, we asked our staff of expert builders to bring their best models, so that we could highlight our unique talents.
Click to see our Contributor Showcase
Set 64044 Ardun Observatory is part of the new wave called Mythic Machines in the Dragon Lands theme, and features a semi-circle three-tiered castle with astronomical equipment in the tower. Arrayed around it are the forces of evil, orc-like creatures with a battering ram, small catapult, and a fearsome red dragon. Play features include hidden passageways, spring-loaded catapults, a working drawbridge and portcullis, and breakaway walls.
Not familiar with LEGO set 64044? That’s because you can’t buy this set from the LEGO company, or anywhere else — it comes from the mind of Aaron Newman.
64044 Ardun Observatory by Aaron Newman
Aaron Newman doesn’t simply look at his LEGO collection and wonder what he can create; instead he looks at his bricks and asks, “What if LEGO sold different sets?” A 21-year-old UCLA theater student, Aaron’s got a knack for designing LEGO creations to fill his own alternate universe where LEGO produces the sets he’d like to see. And he’s got a fantastic sense of style. Aaron’s models center around a castle theme called Dragon Lands, which is a hybrid of LEGO’s official Vikings and Fantasy-Era Castle lines. He creates sub-themes to mimic LEGO’s habit of releasing sets in waves, and includes a set designed for each price point. His latest sub-theme, titled Dragon Lands: Mythic Machines, features crude orc siege machinery pitted against dwarven and elven strongholds. And, of course, there are lots of dragons, because no Castle theme is complete without them.
I recently had the opportunity speak with Aaron about his unique style and learn a bit about how he designs fan creations that look like sets.
Click to read the full interview
TBB’s very own Simon Liu was celebrating yesterday… No, not a queue of ladies at his door on Valentine’s Day, but the 5-year anniversary of his first “big boy build” and explosion into the LEGO community. To celebrate all that is LEGO (fun, friendship, contests, community spirit, etc), Simon is running a celebratory Mockaversary competition, best described in Simon’s own words:
Give me an idea that you want.
I’ll choose stuff only from this page.
If I build it.
The third Mockaversary gift is a microscale build called Micro Katoren that fulfilled two requests, build a castle and build in the Kaliphlin style as part of the larger Guilds of Historica (GoH) community. GoH was one of the first Build-RPGs hosted on Eurobricks and Simon was heavily involved in the initial concept. This is an anniversary moment in itself as the community is still thriving. Micro Katoren is a microscale replica of The City of Katoren, a collaboration between jsnyder002 and soccersnyderi.
What a lovely guy Simon is. I’m just a bit concerned about how he is going to ship my life-sized LEGO Canadian Mountie all the way from Canada to the UK… Maybe I should have asked for a LEGO beaver instead.
The Arvo Brothers (Ramon & Amador Alfaro Marcilla) have recently released their second book called Alien Project. It costs €26 + shipping and can be purchased via the Arvo Brothers website. The main bulk of the book contains detailed instructions for building their fantastic Alien figure and its base. There are also chapters explaining the inspiration behind the project and a rare insight into the development of a model of this calibre. Below is my review of the book.
Click here to read the full review
When I first saw the amazingly detailed 7,500-piece Millennium Falcon the day after Christmas, I knew right away that it deserved worldwide attention. The model was built by someone who went by the screen name “Marshal Banana“, whom I recognized as the builder who’d created the wonderful 10,000-piece Jawa Sandcrawler back in 2011. Less than two days after I’d posted the Falcon, my prediction came true and the Falcon was everywhere, from “geek” sites like Kotaku and GeekWire to major news outlets like Time Magazine and USA Today. But we still knew almost nothing about this talented builder.
Now that he’s back from a well-deserved holiday, I’m pleased to bring our readers this in-depth interview with Hannes Tscharner, builder of both the Falcon and Sandcrawler.
Hannes shares a bit about himself, along with tips on photographing LEGO models and editing the photos for presentation. We also learn how he organizes his collection, what he uses to add lighting to his models, and more.
Click through for our interview with the builder of the 7,500-piece Millennium Falcon!
The Castle theme has a long history within the LEGO community, and builders all over the world have produced magnificent creations in every size, shape, and color. Luke Hutchinson (Derfel Cadarn) is one of the originators of the now-common “ramshackle” style, characterized by the odd angles and an organic approach to the scene. His beautiful creations inspired me to start building with LEGO and posting my creations online many years ago.
So, naturally I was very excited to see a glimpse of his latest creation in a teaser pic a few months back. He continues to improve his own building style, pushing his creations further and further, influencing many other builders in this theme.
We had a chance to talk to Luke more about his creation and his approach.
Read more after the break!
Seattle builder Dave Sterling has built a LEGO version of London’s Charing Cross Railway Station as it appeared in the late-Victorian period. Dave’s creation formed part of an international collaboration entitled Around the World in 80 days which was displayed at Brickworld Chigaco. Dave has really captured the intricate details and elaborate exterior features representative of Victorian architecture.
A replica of the 70ft high Eleanor Cross was built in the forecourt of the station in 1865, and this is very nicely depicted in Dave’s build by the ornate tall ‘cross’ complete with tan microfigs, masonry bricks and arches.
Click here to learn more about this creation and hear from the builder
Did you know that a new Star Wars movie came out in 2015, with accompanying LEGO sets? If you’ve been living in your basement working on your LEGO masterpiece and weren’t aware, one glance at TBB’s top LEGO news stories would provide a clear picture of just how much excitement has preceded what turned out to be a rather excellent movie. Like our round-up of most popular LEGO models of 2015, LEGO Star Wars stories have dominated news coverage this year — especially since the sets were first revealed in September.
The actual Top 10 list is heavily dominated by set announcements, so hit the jump to check it out.
But some interesting and important news doesn’t necessarily show up in this top 10 list. Back in July, TBB celebrated its tenth anniversary, and I reflected on what it’s been like running a LEGO blog for 10 years. I promised we would be making some changes to improve the experience for our readers, and we’ve done exactly that. After BrickCon in October, we added eight new contributors, who’ve all helped us improve our coverage of both LEGO models and LEGO news. We’ve significantly broadened our geographic diversity, with two new contributors from the UK (both Scottish, coincidentally) and one each from Russia and South Africa — adding to our existing team from the US, Canada, and the Netherlands. Our new contributors have helped to free up our editorial staff to focus more on time-consuming content like LEGO set reviews.
In other news, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s LEGO project generated some interesting discussion in the comments, and several of our contributors participated in the annual Creations for Charity event.
Meanwhile, TBB staff were also a strong presence at LEGO conventions such as Brickworld in Chicago and BrickCon in Seattle, where readers and contributors built a rather epic American Civil War display in LEGO, featuring help from a corps of volunteer dinosaur cavalry.
And in the UK at BRICK, Elspeth took on LEGO Wonder Woman.
Click through to see all of the top LEGO news stories of 2015!