Tested made a visit to BrickCon this year and interviewed David Frank about his award-winning Manor House, which we featured here a couple of weeks ago. Check it out for some great background on a wonderful build!
Brick to the Past is a British collective (and veritable Who’s Who of top-notch castle builders) that focuses on large historical LEGO displays. The team finally unveiled its 2015 opus at the STEAM expo this month, and it’s a real humdinger! Entitled The Wall, it’s an expansive and gorgeously detailed slice of Romano-Celtic life along both sides of Hadrian’s wall.
The Roman side features a full minifig scale fort, villa, temple, bath house, milecastle and town. Whilst the Celtic side features an Iron Age village, farmhouse and standing stones. All laid out amidst some great contoured landscaping and a long snaking section of the famous wall.
If I recall correctly, we reported on a community poll that LEGO conducted a few years ago, to gather suggestions for possible future LEGO themes. And if also I recall correctly, a large number of you cried out for a Roman theme. So while we wait and hope for LEGO to finally see the light, I thoroughly recommend you get your fix by checking out all the detailed photos of this awesome display.
That’s right, the grand pappy of LEGO conventions opens its doors soon in Seattle, Washington. For builders, it’s time to finish up those creations and make final preparations – the most important of which is to REGISTER! Regular builder registration ends September 18th (this Friday) after which the fee jumps from $75 to $100. As well as saving you money, registering before this deadline also secures your engraved badge bricks and goodie bag, so don’t delay. Visitors to the public exhibition (October 3rd and 4rd) can buy tickets either at the door or online, but we strongly recommend online to reduce your wait time on the day.
The theme of BrickCon this year is MOCking History, so expect some interesting mashups of the past, present and future. All the usual building categories (Space, Town, Castle, and so on) will be represented, as well as several new ones… Alongside a new Wild West display will be the Battle of Bricksburg, a civil war collaborative diorama sponsored by The Brothers Brick. BrickCon is also pleased to introduce Screen Scenes, an area dedicated to mini-fig based builds inspired by film, TV, and videogames.
As well as registering themselves, builders should also remember to register their creations. Table space is not infinite, and theme coordinators need to know what people are bringing ahead of time, so that layouts can be properly planned. Bringing an oversized, unregistered MOC during setup is considered very bad form, and may result in your build not being accommodated.
Now is a great time for builders to explore the BrickCon website to find out about all the games, sessions and other activities being offered. There’s always a lot going on, so it helps to plan ahead so you don’t miss out. This year’s parts draft sets are 41085 Vet Clinic and 41075 The Elves Treetop Hideaway. There are also 26 different vendors peddling all kinds of LEGO wares. And if you like scoring stuff, consider supporting the BrickCon Video Kickstarter by our pals over at YouTube channel Beyond the Brick, to guarantee a souvenir video of the whole event and some cool one-of-a-kind rewards.
The Brothers Brick is a proud sponsor of this event. If you have any general questions, we’ll certainly do our best to answer them in the comments. Or you can contact the Con organizers directly. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you all – and your creations – in a couple of weeks. Make sure to come find us and say hi! But please do NOT pet, feed, or make eye contact with the lemur…
…it’s his mating season.
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.
After much anticipation and waiting by LEGO fans, Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson’s film A LEGO Brickumentary finally hits select movie theaters in the US today. And for those of us not fortunate enough to live near one of those theaters, it’s also available on iTunes and on demand now!
We had the opportunity to see the documentary last year at the Seattle Film Festival, and you can read our own review. On the whole we loved it – apparently more than some movie critics who have recently described it as a 90-minute ad for the LEGO company. In its defense, the film was not paid for by LEGO, and spends more time outside the hallowed halls of Billund than it does inside them. We think any true LEGO fan will enjoy the breadth of topics it covers, the playful and heartwarming presentation, and excellent brick animation by our friends over at BrickNerd Studios.
And if you look pay attention, you may even spot a few of us in the film ;-)
Despite more comebacks and fewer female characters than the Star Wars franchise, the Smurfs are still wildly popular today, almost 60 years after their first appearance as a Belgian comic strip. With two new Smurf movies behind us and another one in the works, it was only a matter of time before fans got tired waiting for LEGO to get in on the action, and took matters into their own hands. Which is exactly what Lee Jones and a team of builders did at BrickWorld Chicago did last month!
This huge diorama depicts the Smurf village, complete with forest landscaping, mushroom houses, and a forced-perspective version of Gargamel’s castle. All beautifully rounded off with the giant intruding faces of Gargamel and Azrael (courtesy of Tyler Halliwell and Kevin Lauer).
But the most remarkable part of this display have to be the Smurf minifigs. No, you’re not seeing things… Those aren’t shoddy clone brand figures. And no, LEGO didn’t secretly launch a line of collectible Smurf figs when no-one was looking. These are 100% custom manufactured! Lee’s team worked with BrickForge and Brick Fortress to design and produce custom components (heads, tails, even rotatable arms) all to “LEGO quality”. The results speak for themselves. Our pals at Beyond the Brick talked to Lee at BrickWorld and got the low-down…
Gaming fans, get ready to reattach your socks once you’ve marveled at this 14 foot long microscale LEGO StarCraft diorama, unveiled at Brickworld Chicago last week:
Whether you identify as Protoss, Terran or Zerg, there is so much detail to enjoy in this monstrous display, built over the course of 3 years by 9 builders in 4 different countries. How many bricks were used? We don’t know – the team lost count! I’m guessing “quite a lot”.
Huge props to the amazing team of Cecilie Fritzvold, Tim Schwalfenburg, Matt De Lanoy, Chris Perron, John Moffat, Bart De Dobbelaer, Sean and Steph Mayo and our very own Simon Liu. And rumor has it parts of this epic layout may be appearing at other LEGO fan conventions in the not-too-distant future.
It’s election day! This Thursday, British voters will be exercising their democratic rights by rushing to the pub, then staggering to the polling stations, then (if memory serves) heading straight back to the pub.
So far this version of 10 Downing Street by Ben and Rachel Apps is the only remotely relevant MOC that I’ve been able to dredge up for the occasion. Personally I blame the British government …for not producing any political figures memorable enough to be worth modeling in LEGO!
Anyway, hope you all have a great election – if nothing else it’ll be good practice for when this happens all over again at Christmas.
Despite being snubbed for a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category, the creators of The LEGO Movie seized the day with an on-stage performance of the movie’s theme Everything Is Awesome – a performance that can only be described as totally bananas.
Highlights of the segment included a troupe of breakdancing Emmets, cameos by Will Arnett (as Batman) and Mark Mothersbaugh (from Devo), “visually illustrated” rapping, and the handing out of brick-built LEGO Oscar trophies to random celebrity guests.
The trophies (which are now the talk of the town) were the work of LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya, who also created Mothersbaugh’s signature Devo hat. Everything about this performance was awesome! If you missed it, watch it now:
If you find yourself in Sydney (Australia) at all during 2015, then head over to the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney and check out this amazing recreation of the Roman town of Pompeii, created by Lego Certified Professional Ryan McNaught.
It definitely looks like the LEGO Friends style minifig is here to stay. In addition to the Disney Princess sets, LEGO is now releasing yet another line based on this fig: LEGO Elves. LEGO is pushing Elves with a large model built for Toy Fair…
With a plethora of great colors and all-new hair sculpts, these sets look to have wide-ranging appeal. While the release date for these sets is March, according to our sources they’re already showing up in stores.
As alluded to earlier, LEGO unveiled the 2015 line of Scooby-Doo sets at Toy Fair today. They’re slated to be released in August. While most folks have already seen a few things from the line, this was a chance to see the box art and get close-ups of the Mystery Inc gang, as well as their sweet 70’s hair:
The $89.99 Mystery Mansion has six minifigs and Scooby-Doo but is missing Fred …though perhaps we’re not actually missing him, amirite?