LEGO fan events and conventions happen all over the world, from LEGO Fanwelt in Germany to BrickCon in Seattle. Follow along at home with our coverage of the people, news, and models from events everywhere.
Today the world’s largest LEGO store opens in Leicester Square, within the bustling heart of London. The Brothers Brick were invited to an exclusive pre-opening event to take a tour of the new store, preview the exclusive London skyline set, and talk to Glenn Abell (LEGO’s Vice President of Direct To Consumer) about the future of LEGO’s retailing.
The London flagship store is the largest in the world, covering 914 sqm over two floors, and features a number of signature brick sculptures — all themed to the City of London. The doors open onto an archway with the classic London Underground sign stating “Leicester Square” and a map of the London Underground lights up one wall.
“Are you busy in May?”, was a question I got in an e-mail early this year from my friend Ed Diment, co-director of Bright Bricks. The organisers had asked them to build models for a LEGO event in Dubai and to get in touch with fan builders, with large collections of models they would be willing to display at the event.
The event in question was Stack and it was the first of its kind in the Middle East. I’ve been very fortunate to attend many different LEGO events in Europe and in the US, but I knew this one was going to be special. Continue reading →
When you think of Dubai, you may picture incredibly tall buildings, palm trees, desert and fancy cars. All of those are there, but Dubai also houses LEGO fans and the city’s first public LEGO fan event, called STACK, runs 19-22 October, 2016. Tickets for the event are available now!
There are lots of LEGO activities for children and lots of things to see. Bright Bricks have shipped a number of massive models over from the UK and built a few especially for this event, such as a LEGO souk (a traditional Middle-Eastern market) and a 4m tall LEGO model of the Burj Khalifa. You can see a video of their models here. There is also a special fan zone with models built by adult fans from Dubai, the UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Portugal and the Netherlands. I am one of these lucky people.
If you’re in Dubai and a fan of LEGO (or you have children who are), be sure not to miss this. The event ends on Saturday and takes place in a purpose-built pavilion next to Dubai Skydive near the Dubai Marina. Tickets can be bought via ticketmaster.
Remember that giant record-breaking ferry built in Copenhagen, Denmark not so long ago? Now we finally got just the right bridge for that ferry to pass under! LEGO Certified Professional Duncan Titmarsh and the rest of his team at Bright Bricks have brought to life one of the most ambitious LEGO projects we have ever seen.
With almost 6 million bricks (5,805,846 pieces, to be precise) this bridge became the biggest LEGO sculpture ever built — 500,000 bricks bigger than the previous record, the life-sized LEGO X-wing revealed in New York’s Times Square as part of the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon promotion. This bridge is about 13 meters (more than 40 feet) high, and can easily fit two heavy Land Rovers on its deck.
The culmination of the building process, which took 5 months, was a spectacular opening show. It featured some of the most prominent British celebrities, including Bear Grylls (in the picture above), sailing Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie driving the new SUV under the bridge, and the British equestrian star Zara Phillips. Some of the most impressive shots are in the video below.
The Bright Bricks team has also posted a great little animated “making of” video to their YouTube channel.
This weekend sees The Great Western Brick Show take place in the UK at the STEAM Railway Museum in Swindon. Some of the displays this year will mark the fact that it’s 175 years since Isembard Kingdom Brunel opened his maintenance facility, whose surviving buildings house the museum. Jimmy Clinch has chosen to celebrate the occasion with a brilliant mosaic of the big man himself…
Brunel is something of a hero of mine: the most audacious engineer of the 19th century — a designer of tunnels, bridges, railway lines and enormous steamships. He’s a pinup-boy for any self-respecting steampunk fan and I would love to hang this mosaic on my wall.
I had a crack at building my own tribute to him a few years ago, recreating the famous image taken in front of the SS Great Eastern…
If you get the chance to make it to the show this weekend, show your respect with a doff of the top hat to Jimmy’s mosaic. I’m sure Isembard would appreciate it.
September is traditionally the month when LEGO fans all around the world design huge ships. Many of our readers are taking part in the annual SHIPtember event, building spacecrafts more than 100 studs long. We’ve already covered a couple of the more impressive projects.
DFDS Seaways, Northern Europe’s largest shipping and logistics company, throws its hat into the ring with an enormous futuristic concept of a ferry. The head of the project, world-famous LEGO builder Warren Elsmore, took help of 7000 assistants from DFDS to put together over a million bricks to complete the largest LEGO ship in the world.
Of course, this giant is no spacecraft, but her dimensions can be compared to those that are orbiting our planet out there. At more than 12 meters long (almost 40 feet!) no wonder it demands its own truck to be transported around.
My favorite part of the project is not the ferry herself, but the (relatively) small cars and trucks on her deck. Not only do they help reveal the scale of the ship, but also look adorably cute for such small and relatively undetailed components.
Bonus points for those readers who can guess which official LEGO set this little beauty resembles:
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.
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!
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.