LEGO conventions happen all over the world, and there’s a LEGO convention happening somewhere just about year-round. Though we can’t cover all of them, we’ll do our best to bring you highlights from BrickCon, Brickworld, Bricks by the Bay, AFOLCON, LEGO Fanwelt, Brick Fiesta, and all the rest.
Two weeks ago I had the good fortune to attend Brickfair Virginia. As always, I had a great time talking to other builders and seeing their excellent models in real life. I also got to show off my own Tomcat model. I know that a fair few builders dread the public days on Saturday and Sunday, but despite having to answer the same questions over and over again, I love chatting to the public. One of the more commonly asked questions is: “How did you build that?”. I can’t give a satisfactory reply in a single sentence, but thanks to Brickfair, I now have two somewhat more complete replies to share with you.
Inspired by a great talk on building landscapes I saw at Brickfair last year, this year I gave my own talk on how to build military aircraft. Without me talking you through them, the slides don’t tell the whole story, of course, but I was also interviewed by the delightful Matthew Kay from Beyond the Brick. In the interview, I got to show off some of the Tomcat’s features and got to talk about the building process.
I hope you’ll agree that both of these are more satisfying than my default answer: “by sticking one part to another and repeating this until the model is finished.”
Bricktastic is an annual fan show held in Manchester in aid of Fairy Bricks — a charity which aims to brighten the lives of sick children by providing hospitals with LEGO sets.
This weekend saw thousands of LEGO enthusiasts descend on the show to see displays from some of the best UK builders, gawp at massive creations, try their hand at Mindstorms robotics, and enjoy some building of their own.
Here’s a short overview of some of the cool things Brothers Brick saw at the event, starting with the awesome Bright Bricks dragon which towered over the exhibition space…
For some fans, comic and sci-fi convention season means making a custom costume for the event: cosplay. The character in Alysa Kirkpatrick‘s vignette is taking her construction very seriously, spending countless hours in front of a vintage sewing machine. She’s going to look so cool when it’s finished.
This past weekend saw one of the world’s great annual LEGO conventions arrive, Brickworld Chicago. With it came dozens of new builds and spectacular collaborations to dazzle the public. One such dazzling display came from the builders of Eurobricks, a popular online LEGO forum, who built a spectacularly intense and hilarious snail race for the ages.
This award-winning collaboration was a truly large and world-spanning operation kept together with tight planning and a singular cohesive snail design made by team leader Mark Larson. His design, which was itself awarded the title of Best Creature at the convention, was used by nine other builders to construct more snails which were individualized with unique colors and themed castles–and then finally placed into an epic race.
It’s just four months to BrickCon 2016 in Seattle, and TBB is gearing up for our hometown LEGO convention. For our annual collaboration this year, we’re going to be putting together a dieselpunk display called World War II 1949. With the aircraft, vehicles, and buildings you contribute, you’ll help answer the question, “What if WW2 had not ended in 1945, and technology had continued evolving rapidly through the end of the decade?”
BrickUniverse is expanding to Columbus this August where you can attend this 3-day weekend convention featuring MOC displays, games, presentations and more. Registration is free for participants who display their creations, and you can register or purchase tickets to the exhibit on the BrickUniverse website.
The convention is over. The last builds have been torn down, carefully packed (or tossed in a bin), and the staff have packed up and cleared the space. What’s next?
I can’t state this enough: a convention is a draining experience regardless of your physical health, activity level, or personal preference for human interaction.
You’ve just spent the last four or five days on your feet, on a cement surface, surrounded by 500-1000 of your new best friends, along with a few hours of thousands of devoted fans ogling your LEGO builds. Your body needs to repair itself. If possible, I recommend taking the day after a convention off from work to rest and work in some self-care.
2. Take care of your physical self
Since you’ve been around hundreds of strangers for the last five days, it’s very common to catch the common cold. By taking time to care for your physical self after a convention, you reduce your risk (in addition to basics during the convention, like hand-washing, hand-sanitizer, and doing your best to get ample sleep and water).
It’s convention Day One. Now what? (Spoiler: meet people!)
1. Get there!
It’s time to get to the convention. By this time, if you’re traveling long distances, you’ve already left home, and you’re in close proximity. Now’s the time to get to the convention hall, meeting space, convention center, etc. and follow directions for unloading what you’ve brought. If you’ve got smaller stuff that can be easily carried, park elsewhere and save the close spots and loading docks for builders who require crates and teams to carry in their builds. Make sure you have the load-in information, since details vary from event to event.
Congratulations! You’re thinking about going to your first LEGO fan convention. So, now what?
That’s a great question. Making the decision to attend is the hard part; the rest is just details. But the details are where things can get awfully bogged down. We here at TBB have collectively attended nearly a hundred conventions across the world, so we have a thing or two to say about attending LEGO Fan conventions. Each event has its own unique flavor, so even seasoned convention-goers attending a new event for the first time feel the same excitement of the unknown. This guide will benefit newcomers and old-hats alike.
We’ve boiled down the convention-going experience into three segments: Pre-Convention, During Convention, and Post Convention. We’ll be publishing guides on these for you over the course of the next two weeks. We’re going into a new year of conventions and want to help everyone be prepared!
Registration is now open for BrickCon 2016: MADNESS. BrickCon takes place in Seattle, Washington, running from Thursday, September 29 through Sunday, October 2, 2016.
This year’s theme is MADNESS!
Early Bird registration runs until August 1, and is $65 per attendee. If you register after August 1, registration is:
Regular Registration (August 2 – September 18): $75
Late Registration (September 19 – September 25): $100
At-The-Door Registration (September 30): $120
A couple reminders for those wishing to go:
Attendees who are 14-17 years old must be accompanied by and supervised by a registered adult
You must be registered to display
The main hotel is The Maxwell Hotel, located one block across from the Exhibition Center. Please continue to check the BrickCon website for updates on when booking is available, in addition to other area hotels.
The Brothers Brick Display
We’ll reveal this year’s theme as we get closer to BrickCon. In the mean time, you have 179 days to build, so get busy!
For the last 5 years, LEGO clubs in the Pacific Northwest have put on a huge display at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, which will be taking place at the Washington State Convention Center in just a couple of weeks, April 7-10.
Most ECCC tickets are sold out at this point, but if you’re among the tens of thousands of people who’ll be there over the course of the 4-day event, be sure to check out Iain’s talk and swing by the lower level across the street from the main WSCC entrance.