Tag Archives: Brickworld

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 →

Flashlight, flashlight, FLASHLIGHT!

(…ok, ok, that’s the last time I’ll use that joke in my post titles, I promise!)

So at first glance this may just look like a couple of 70′s era space figs in a particularly greebly version of the classic LL928 Galaxy Explorer set. But take a closer look…

That’s right, those are GIANT mini-figs and one HUGE spaceship! Well actually they are LEGO spaceman LED flashlights and this crazy scene is brought to you by our very own Simon Liu, who was given the flashlights as gifts and figured this was the most logical thing to do with them.

Of course, the blue spaceman has been magically transformed into Benny from The LEGO Movie. And with the addition of Simon’s giant Unikitty, the scene now makes total sense… It’s obviously from the sequel, and this is our hero’s plan to deal with the giant monsters from Planet Duplo!

I was fortunate enough to drool all over marvel this at Brickworld Chicago a few weeks back, where Simon’s creation won the award for BEST SPACESHIP. Congratulations, Brother Si-MOCs! All that bribery and blackmail clearly paid off.

There’ll be no living with him now… :-)

Lighthouse of Barqa

Set in the collaborative fantasy LEGO world of Guilds of Historica, this ancient lighthouse with middle-eastern features was created by Gideon_83. I like the inclusion of fire and smoke in this build, which is further enhanced by the use of lighting bricks. It looked very nice at Brickworld last week during the traditional “Festival of Lights”!

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.

Countdown to Brickworld Chicago 2014

In two weeks, AFOLs from around the world will be converging on the state of Illinois for Brickworld Chicago 2014 – the biggest, baddest, brickiest LEGO convention in the known universe!

The event takes place at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois. The private AFOL convention runs from June 11th – 15th, while the public exhibitions are on Saturday 14th (10am – 4pm) and Sunday 15th (10am – 3pm). Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. Kids 3 and under get in free.

For AFOLs attending the event, there is a wealth of fun and games lined up for you as always. But for those only visiting during public hours, don’t be downhearted, you’ll have access to tons of vendors ready to sell you all kinds of sweet LEGO-related goodies (custom parts, custom sets, the list is endless). Or while you’re in the Schaumburg area, pay a visit to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center.

Our good friends over at Beyond the Brick will be on site to film all the action, including builder interviews and a walkthrough of the entire display. If you’d like to get a copy of their DVD as a keepsake, and perhaps score some other one-of-a-kind goodies as well, go support their Kickstarter project right now! $20 is all it takes to secure your copy.

In fact, as a run-up to this year’s event, Joshua and Matthew recently interviewed Brickworld founder Bryan Bonahoom. Check out the episode below to find out about the amazing story behind how the Brickworld franchise got started, and how Bryan and his team pull off four conventions in four cities every year!


The Brothers Brick will also be in attendance at Brickworld Chicago this year. Brothers Chris, Simon, Carter and Iain (that’s me!) will be there to take your abuse. I will also be live tweeting all of the shenanigans and goings-on, for your amusement. And we’ll be giving away some swag! But to get it, you’ll have to find us first, and then say the secret pass phrase ;-)

VirtuaLUG’s Wizard of Oz diorama will knock off your ruby slippers

VirtuaLUG collaborated on a mammoth Wizard of Oz layout for BrickWorld this year. I posted the wizard’s hot-air balloon earlier but the entire diorama definitely deserves its own post. They worked together on a large number of dioramas depicting crucial scenes throughout the story. Each of the sections is an incredible piece alone. Together they form something truly incredible. Every time I go through the pictures I find more details that I didn’t notice before. I especially love how the early scenes were built in tan, black and greys to depict the black-and-white scenes in the movies and the motorized cyclone with mini farmhouse. The vibrancy and technique in the later dioramas is breath-taking. I didn’t make it to BrickWorld but I wish I had seen this in person. Incredible!

The entrance to the Emerald City:
Wizard of Oz collaborative by VirtuaLug at Brickworld 2013

Uncle Henry and Aunt Em’s Farm:

Wizard of Oz collaborative by VirtuaLug at Brickworld 2013

The Dark Forest:
Wizard of Oz collaborative by VirtuaLug at Brickworld 2013

See the rest of the Wizard of Oz layout after the jump!

Brickworld walkthrough videos

For those who weren’t at Brickworld two weeks ago, there are two walkthrough videos of the convention by Paul Vermeesch and Josh Hanlon. The video by Paul features two narrators, Max Pointner and Ian Spacek, in an edited coverage of the exhibit hall. The other video by Josh features himself and Matthew Kay as the commentators in an in-depth look at many of the creations on display. Sit back, grab a snack, and enjoy the best MOCs that Brickworld has to offer!

Brickworld 2013 Wrap-Up

This past weekend was Brickworld 2013 in Schaumberg, Illinois, and Chris and I attended. I attended for the first time; it was fun being a “newbie” for once, despite this being my 11th LEGO convention. This was my first event outside of the Pacific Northwest! Though really, Chicago, the tornados were a bit much. Really. No need for that.

All weather and terrible airline travel aside, the event was a blast. This was the first year in the new location and by all accounts, it was a fabulous decision to move and improved the convention-going experience greatly. Unlike last year, all the creations this year were housed in the same MASSIVE space.

Over the next few days, pictures of some of the amazing creations will pop online. I want to highlight a few of my favorites:

Smaug by Sharon Vance

The Marquis, by Peter Mowry

Area 51 by Brian Williams

This was really fantastic. We’ve blogged the warehouse previously; now he’s added the shooting location for the Moon Landing, a Stargate, and a number of other fantastic references!

Product announcements

There were two bits of news which we already reported: the reveal of 10234 Sydney Opera House and announcing the Curiosity Rover.

For me, the value of any convention comes from the memories; I attend just as much, if not more, for the people as I do the brick. I saw people I haven’t seen in years, met new friends, and made enough memories and paper planes to last a lifetime. Or at least until BrickCon.