The Brothers Brick publishes so many stories that we’re giving you the best of LEGO news and reviews. This is our Weekly Brick Report for the second week of January.
TBB NEWS & REVIEWS: This week we took a deep dive into the minds of some amazing builders (Batman and Bionicle!) and even shared some instructions for a cute bug.
OTHER NEWS: There was a massive amount of LEGO news from other places around the web this week. Here are a few items we noticed and thought you might enjoy.
- Full-size tractor built from 800,000 bricks, CLAAS – France’s first museum of agriculture, the Musée du Compa, has a full-scale CLAAS tractor, and it looks like LEGO set 42054 CLAAS XERION 5000 TRAC VC (20% off at the moment), right down to those beautiful red hubcaps!
- LEGO Boost earns WIRED’s Top 10 Best of CES, WIRED – LEGO’s newly unveiled Boost robotics system racked up the awards at CES in Las Vegas last week. (Also read TBB’s hands-on with LEGO Boost).
- NINJAGO World grand opens at LEGOLAND Florida, Inside the Magic – Do you wanna be a ninja? Well, now is your chance, at LEGOLAND Florida’s new themed world.
- LEGO CITY Undercover game unveiled, LEGO YouTube – Join the chase! This existing game just got the blockbuster treatment, up-scaled for major videogame platforms.
- Why does stepping on a Lego brick hurt so darn much?, CNET – Stepping on a LEGO brick feels like being shot by a knife soaked in bullet-ant venom. But why? Science explains!
- The LEGO imitation HALO Mega Bloks game that never came to be, Destructoid – Take a look at this test footage from the abandoned Mega Bloks HALO videogame.
- LEGO- inspired wedding cake built from tasty bricks, Huffington Post – If Lego is your true love and you’re also getting married this year, we’ve found the perfect cake for you.
That’s your Brick Report. See you next week!
Here at The Brothers Brick, we tend to specialize in certain kinds of news, LEGO creations, and reviews, but thanks to our partnerships with other LEGO websites, we’re able to bring you more kinds of content. Please enjoy this excellent interview that originally appeared on New Elementary.
To conclude our farewell to LEGO® BIONICLE® “Generation 2”, we have an interview with three members of the team. This was actually recorded prior to the announcement that the theme would be ending, but of course these guys continue to make Constraction figures with The LEGO Group, so whilst BIONICLE is dead (or perhaps merely dormant), the elements live on!
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Paul Hetherington and take a tour inside his head to see how he invents such fantastic creations. Our readers will recognize him as the builder of our Creation of the Year 2016, Gotham Theater Showdown, but his creations span a much greater range in subject and technique than many people may realize. Let’s get to know Paul, shall we?
TBB: Can you give us a little background on how you got into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Paul: I’ve been into the LEGO hobby since before you could reasonably use the word “classic” to describe old space and castle sets. I bought my first set as an adult in 1991, which was the Space M-Tron Pulsar Charger. Little did I know back then that I had just taken the first step on an epic journey — one that would introduce me to so many amazing people, and have my LEGO creations be recognized around the world. Because back in 1991, as far as I knew, I was the only crazy adult who bought LEGO sets.
There are so many things that inspire me to build. My first creations were just built for my own enjoyment, as there was no way to share them. Then when the internet came along, all of a sudden a local LEGO club formed which I joined. From that point I had a reason to build. The first years of creating were mainly spent recreating local buildings, trains and hot rods for train shows and museums. I found I really enjoyed doing research to ensure that my creations were historically accurate and to scale. I soon became inspired to add some fantasy elements into my creations. I discovered Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and the works of Antoni Gaudi. Theme parks, Mardi Gras floats, and parades were also a great source of inspiration.
More recently, I had the pleasure to work with the artist Douglas Coupland on an installation and came to the realization that Lego has a place in the Art world. I find the Surrealists, especially Dali, and Pop Art, and Comic book art to be particularly inspiring. In recent years my creations have had more of an artistic twist and I see myself going more in that direction. Architecture will always be at the heart of what I do and is usually the catalyst for my creations.
The Brothers Brick publishes so many stories that we’re giving you the best of LEGO news and reviews. This is our Weekly Brick Report for the first week of 2017 (and the new year is off to a great start).
TBB NEWS: Holy moly, Batman, there was an avalanche of news this week. From the unveiling of Boost at CES to sending a plane to the South Pole, we have all you need to know right here, including the winners of TBB’s Builder and Creation of the year!
REVIEWS & INSTRUCTIONS: TBB had its hands full creating mascot instructions and reviewing a new set from Star Wars: Rogue One.
Earlier this week we brought you the news about the newly unveiled LEGO Boost robotics system, an entry-level System-based building and coding toolkit designed to make it easier for kids to get into programming and robotics. We also think LEGO Boost has the potential to bring the more complex creations of adult LEGO builders to life, so we’ve been curious to learn more. I’m in Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), so I was able to swing by the LEGO booth to talk tech with LEGO Boost engineers and designers.
That’s me on the left, with Lasse Lauesen, the lead computer engineer on the Boost project. LEGO Boost is being designed and developed by the same team behind LEGO Mindstorms, with collaboration from Playthemes designers like lead designer Simon Kent and well-known fan builder turned LEGO designer Carl Merriam.
What struck me first about all the LEGO Boost models on the tables at CES was the color scheme. The primary color scheme of dark azure (the same color as the gorgeous 10252 Volkswagen Beetle) contrasts beautifully with the orange and white, with plenty of bricks also in black and greys. Designer Simon Kent told me that the team chose these colors very consciously as a gender-neutral palette. And I agree — it’s a fairly strong departure from the aggressive black, red, and white of Mindstorms EV3, without swinging the pendulum all the way toward “baby” colors.
Read our full hands-on coverage from CES
It is not an everyday occurrence for me to get an email from the South Pole. Several months ago, however, I was contacted by Ethan Rudnitsky, who was spending the winter at the US Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, and who asked me for instructions to build a model of an LC-130 Hercules. This is the aircraft used to fly people to and from the station and Ethan wanted to put the model on display in the station. TBB used the opportunity to find out more about LEGO fans at the South Pole in an interview and agreed to supply the instructions, stickers, and the parts to build the Hercules.
Ethan and I had yet to work out how to get the model there. Enter Martin Rongen, a physicist and LEGO fan, like myself, who contacted me from Germany having seen my LC-130 prototype. He was due to travel to the Pole around Christmas (summer in Antarctica) and wondered whether I was willing to share instructions so that he could take the LEGO model with him. How about that? Problem solved! We could ship the whole lot to Germany.
Click here to read the full interview
The Brothers Brick comes across so much LEGO-related news each week that we’ve decided to package up all the interesting stories we’ve written and the content that’s grabbed our attention into a Weekly Brick Report for your reading enjoyment. Some weeks there will be lots of links to share; other weeks there will be hardly any stories out there–that’s the fickle nature of the news. But these are some headlines worth sharing.
So without further adieu, here’s this week’s Brick Report:
REVIEWS: TBB’s hands got tired this week between building this massive modular and feeling out a full case of minifig bags.
TBB NEWS: We have the news you want (LEGO Gingerbread houses at the White House! Win a Death Star!) and the news you don’t (UK LEGO prices are going up, up, up!).
Each year during the holiday season, the White House transforms into a veritable forest of glittering Christmas trees with festive decorations as far as the eye can see. But this year, the highlight of the White House holiday décor began in Enfield, Connecticut, with seven LEGO Master Builders.
They were fast at work like Santa’s elves, designing and building 56 unique gingerbread-style houses representing each U.S. state and territory. The team also created two massive gingerbread men and a first-of-its-kind 18-foot long interlocking brick-built paper chain. 500 hours and more than 200,000 pieces later, the LEGO-built decorations are on display in the White House State Dining Room.
The LEGO gingerbread houses were built “studs out” in order to reduce the weight on each tree while still maintaining detailed exteriors customized to each U.S. territory and state. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
In this exclusive interview with The Brothers Brick, Amanda Santoro, Senior Manager of Brand Relations for LEGO Systems, tells us more about building a display for the White House which has been seen by nearly 70,000 people this holiday season.
The Brothers Brick: From the Winter Village product line to advent calendars, Lego has become a holiday tradition in many homes. How did the opportunity arise to create such an impressive display for “The People’s House”?
Amanda Santoro: We were contacted by the amazing events group that works directly with the White House to develop the holiday décor theme. There were some exciting discussions about potential opportunities and ultimately, we were asked to provide the decorations for the State Dining Room.
56 LEGO-built gingerbread houses representing each U.S. territory and state adorn the trees in the White House State Dining Room, along with two massive “ginger-friends” and an interlocking brick-built paper chain. (ALEX WONG/Getty Images)
In June, French artist Mat Green amazed us with a pair of life-size LEGO minifigures made of steel. Those figures, named Hugo and Pablo, were a classic minifigure and a punk rock LEGO skeleton. Mat has now finished his next project — more classics you’ll surely recognize, the pirate Sparrow and his parrot Jacquot. We spoke with Mat about his work translating these iconic LEGO figures to life-size metal sculptures.
Canadian brick artist Chris McVeigh is one of our favorite builders, and No Starch Press is one of our favorite LEGO-friendly book publishers, so their new book The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book: 15 Designs to Spread Holiday Cheer is a match made in holiday heaven.
No Starch released the book back in September, but between a lengthy overseas trip for work followed by BrickCon, I simply dropped the ball — my sincerest apologies to Chris and our friends at No Starch for the delay. But the good news is that it’s now officially the Christmas season, so I guess this is even more timely? Enough excuses. On to the interview!
The Brothers Brick: We first featured you here on The Brothers Brick way back in 2008, when you were taking pictures of chipmunks with action figures. When did you start focusing more exclusively on LEGO?
Chris McVeigh: It happened rather quickly! Pairing Star Wars action figures and chipmunks was a fun challenge, and it motivated me to do more photography of action figures and other toys. Unfortunately, Hasbro wasn’t producing any play sets (aside from large ships), so it fell to me to create my own sets and backdrops for action figure photos. This was a rather time-consuming task that ultimately prevented me from getting on with toy photography.
Click through for our full interview with Chris McVeigh
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.
Brick To The Past is a collective of UK builders who specialise in large-scale collaborative historical displays at LEGO shows. Their latest model is this thoroughly-impressive layout of the Battle Of Hastings, a key moment in British history…
I was lucky enough to see this display “in the brick” at Bricktastic in Manchester recently. The layout is a monster, with stark yet impressive terrain, and a wonderful collection of minifigs arrayed in battle formation ready to fight.
Brothers Brick got in touch with James Pegrum, one of Brick To The Past’s leading lights, to discuss this display and get more details on the challenges of collaborative building.
Click to read the interview and see more of Brick To The Past’s creations