Tag Archives: Review

Not sure which LEGO sets to pick up for yourself? Need ideas for that LEGO fan who already has more LEGO than he or she can possibly build with in a lifetime? Nervous about the quality of the custom accessories that tempted you at your last LEGO convention? Read our reviews of LEGO sets, books, accessories, and more right here on The Brothers Brick.

LEGO Ideas 21304 Doctor Who set is bigger on the inside [Review]

Given that another company had the license for Doctor Who building sets at the time, I was both shocked and overjoyed when the LEGO Ideas team announced that 21304 Doctor Who would be released in January 2016.

LEGO sent The Brothers Brick an early copy, and I’m pleased to bring you this full photo review.

LEGO Doctor Who set (1)

Unlike many of you out there who grew up watching Doctor Who on the BBC or PBS, I never had the opportunity in Japan. It was with fresh eyes that I first started watching Doctor Who in 2005, with Christopher Eccleston’s 9th Doctor. Since then, I’ve caught many classic storylines, particularly during the 50th Anniversary celebrations two years ago. I’ve become enough of a Whovian that I even picked up some of those non-LEGO Doctor Who figures when I visited New Zealand, and snapped them up when they started showing up as stocking stuffers here in the States. Now with an official LEGO set, the subject matter alone is exciting, but how’s the actual set?

Read the full review after the jump!

Bricksy: Unauthorized Underground Brick Street Art [Review]

File this under “ideas I wish I’d thought of first”. From Jeff Friesen, award-winning photographer and author of United States of LEGO: A Brick Tour of America, comes a delightful new book of LEGO dioramas paying homage to the work of enigmatic graffiti artist Banksy.

Inside its 9″ x 9″ hard cover, the very inexpensive Bricksy: Unauthorized Underground Brick Street Art features 84 carefully constructed and beautifully photographed scenes, each based on a different Banksy work. For reference purposes, thumbnails of the originals appear on every page, and are also compiled into a visual index at the back that even cites the original image sources.

Rather than merely trying to mimic Banksy’s works in LEGO, Jeff embellishes them and expands upon them to service his own unique sense of humor. It’s as though we are pulling the camera back from the original, and seeing it in the context of a whole new backstory. This definitely makes the book more appealing, although true Banksy aficionados may balk at such brazen reinterpretations.


As this gallery of images shows, many Banksy standards make an appearance – my personal favorite being the meat wagon “mobile installation” featured in the documentary Banksy Does New York. As you might expect, the scenes are all built to minifig scale, making extensive use of the rich array of collectible minifig components now at LEGO fans’ disposal (this book could not have existed 5 years ago). All the buildings and other background details are completely brick-built, with some skillful use of forced perspective. I also enjoyed the repeated appearance of a large brick-built rat!

Bricksy: Unauthorized Underground Brick Street Art is available on Amazon in both physical and digital formats. And it’s currently less than $10, so I recommend you grab a copy of this awesome picture book right now, to fill that spot on your coffee table next to the Beautiful LEGO trilogy.

The Art of LEGO Scale Modeling [Review]

In the last two years, my fellow Dutchmen Dennis Bosman (Legotrucks) and Dennis Glaasker (Bricksonwheels) have been working on a book titled The art of Lego Scale Modeling. It is one of a number of new titles released this fall by Nostarch Press and currently costs $21.74 on amazon (down from its normal list price of 29.95).

"The Art of LEGO Scale Modeling"

Both of these guys have been building scale models (primarily of trucks) for years and are long-term members of the LEGO community. For their book they have enlisted the cooperation of no fewer than 22 other builders, from all over the world, to present high-quality photographs of some of the best Lego scale models of vehicles you’ll ever see. I got my copy just before the weekend, because I was lucky enough to be able to contribute some of my own models for this title. I obviously cannot be completely objective here. Then again, no reviewer ever is.

The excellent photographs of the models themselves are accompanied by short bits of text, giving some information about the real-world vehicle, and the builds. These are interesting, but the photographs are the stars. If you are a regular reader of our blog, you will already have seen a fair few of the models, such as the Ferrari 458 Italia, by Nathaneal L.. The top-notch photography shows them in a new light.

Ferrari 458 Italia in Art of LEGO Scale Modeling

Although there probably are other scale models out there of similar quality, the Dennises have made a really nice selection of trucks, including a few by the authors themselves, cars, motorcycles, race cars, cranes, aircraft, military models and ships. A few models were built specifically for the book, such as the wonderful Scania by Ingmar Spijkhoven (2LegoOrNot2Lego).

Model Scania 143M Torpedo by Ingmar Spijkhoven

If you are expecting a detailed explanation of how to build models like these, this book will disappoint you. There’s a brief section on how to build them, with a few useful pointers, but a look at the biographies of the builders included in the back of the book will tell you that most of them have been at this for years, if not decades. You can’t learn to build models like these by reading a book; it takes experience. If you’re looking for instructions, you’re not going to find them either. The instructions for some of the individual models alone would be enough to fill most of the book’s 204 pages. You will find plenty of inspiration, though.

As usual with LEGO books from this publisher, the cover and binding seem pretty sturdy. The pictures are nicely printed in a matt-gloss finish and are printed on decent quality paper. This is what you would expect from what’s essentially a coffee table picture book. What I didn’t expect is the size of the book. I would have liked to see it a bit larger (it is about 20 by 25 cm/ 8 x 10 inches). This size was probably chosen to keep the book affordable. The pages are still large enough to give you a good view of the models and to appreciate most of the details, but some would definitely look even better on a larger canvas. This is a minor niggle. If scale models of vehicles built out of LEGO are your thing (and if not, why not?!), this is a title you definitely do not want to miss.

LEGO Creator Blue Power Jet 31039 [Review]

For a few weeks now I’ve had Lego set 31039, Blue Power Jet, sitting on a shelf in my LEGO room. It’s currently $69.55 from amazon. I picked mine up from the LEGO Store in Tyson’s Corner back in August after Brickfair, because, as an aircraft builder, I figured I would enjoy building this and be well-suited to write a set review. However, subsequently, I didn’t get around to it. Fortunately, my father helped me out here. He stayed at my place for a while a few weeks ago and, some of the time together was spent with me building my Men In Black Ford and with him building the jet. The review, however, still went nowhere.

Lego set 31039, Blue Power Jet

For the record, the set contains 608 parts and the instructions to build the jet or, alternatively, a powerboat or a helicopter. My father, who never had LEGO as a child, enjoyed the build, although the dark blue, dark grey and black were a bit hard to identify in the instructions. The model looks great and construction of the wings clearly shows the masterful hand of Mike Psiaki, who, before becoming a set designer, was already well-known for his ingenious aircraft models. The jet has lots of play features, such as an opening cockpit, a folding undercarriage and moveable control surfaces, yada yada yada. I’m ill-suited to writing this review (and not just because I didn’t graduate from The Eurobricks Reviewers Academy; for a more detailed review with lots of photographs of the model under construction, I suggest brickset). As nice as the finished jet is, I don’t enjoy following instructions for anything and the main reason why I like this set and pretty much the whole point of any LEGO set is that I can use the parts to build my own models. This one is a wonderful parts pack. Just look at all that lovely dark blue. Preciousss!

As LEGO fans we’ve all probably heard or read it many times: according to lots of people who used to build with LEGO as children, back in the sixties and seventies LEGO only made simple bricks in boxes with no instructions, but nowadays, if you look at the LEGO shelves in your local toy store, all you’ll see are licensed products and sets full of parts that can only be used for the model in the instructions. This allegedly kills children’s creativity. Have these people looked at the Creator range at all? One would think that the fact that there are instructions for three different models is enough of a hint that the parts aren’t single use. This doesn’t only apply to an arguably fairly expensive set such as the Blue Power Jet, but also to the smaller sets in the range. Furthermore, just because there are instructions, doesn’t mean your children have to follow them. Radical, isn’t it? What kills creativity is having them build the model from the instructions and then not allowing them to take it apart and mix up the elements with all the other parts, because a few might get lost or because, eventually, your children may want to rebuild the original. Have them improvise! I betcha Mike used to build his own stuff when he was a child.

Medieval LEGO [Review]

Medieval Lego is a book written by Greyson Beights that combines major events in medieval history with illustrations in Lego. Specifically, the book features condensed summaries written by experts in the subject about events that took place in England and Scotland from the 11th century to 15th century. Each chapter is accompanied by photos with content made entirely out of Lego by fan builders. This interesting combination will no doubt appeal to Lego fans and history buffs, but you don’t have to be either to find the book approachable in its simplicity. Below is a video of my review:

Beautiful LEGO: Wild! [Review]

Beautiful LEGO: Wild! is the third title in a series of best-selling coffee table books by Mike Doyle. Like its predecessors Beautiful LEGO and Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, this edition features a carefully curated collection of LEGO creations by some of the community’s top builders.

Compared to its hefty hard-backed cousin DARK, this slimmer book is more reminiscent of the original Beautiful LEGO. Like DARK, its builder profiles are kept to a minimum and the focus is squarely on the photographs. Otherwise the format is the same, with images organized into categories and carefully labelled with info such as title, builder, year and part count.

To differentiate each new volume from the last, Mike has chosen to assign them over-arching themes. And while DARK was ambiguous enough to allow for a pretty diverse range of builds, WILD is necessarily more constrained to subject matter in some way related to plants, animals or nature. And since it doesn’t feature any of the nature-themed builds already used in the first two books, sections like the ones on bugs and dragons end up relying on some slightly less polished builds than readers of the earlier books might be used to seeing.

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LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens 75099 Rey’s Speeder [Review]

One of everyone’s favorite vehicles from the trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the speeder that shoots across the sands of Tatooine in front of the crashed Star Destroyer. Fortunately then for all of us, 75099 Rey’s Speeder is one of the first wave of LEGO sets from The Force Awakens released today in advance of the movie’s opening in December. I picked up a copy at my local LEGO Store, and here’s a brief review — it is, after all, the smallest of the new Star Wars sets at $19.99 and 193 pieces.

75099 Rey’s Speeder (1)

Read the full review after the jump!

Review: Brick Wheels by Warren Elsmore

Brick Wheels: Amazing Air, Land & Sea Machines to Build from Legois the fourth book by British builder Warren Elsmore, who, together with his wife Kitty, is also the driving force behind the Afolcon/ Brick LEGO events due to take place later this year in Birmingham and London.

Brick Wheels Review

This is a substantial book, with 258 pages. It is crisply printed on sturdy semi-glossy paper and it has a flexible cover. It looks and feels like a quality product, which, given the low price point of just £12.99 in the UK, is pleasantly surprising. The US edition, called Brick Vehicles, costs only $13.

The book consists of five chapters. The introductory chapter covers such topics as names for parts, where to buy LEGO, on-line resources and sorting. This is probably mainly useful for builders who are just discovering that there are more people like them out there or as a guide for parents whose children are getting into building. The other four chapters deal with, respectively, road vehicles, trains, ships and flying vehicles. This is where things get more interesting, with pictures of inspirational models built by Warren himself and by friends of his, including about a dozen by yours truly, interspersed with pages of instructions for mostly smaller models that readers can build themselves.

Brick Wheels Review
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Exclusive review of LEGO Ideas Wall•E set designed by Angus MacLane

Last July, the LEGO Wall•E designed by Pixar director/animator Angus MacLane achieved 10,000 votes on LEGO Ideas, and its approval as an upcoming official set was announced in February. LEGO officially unveiled the set just yesterday, but thanks to the good people of Billund, we already have a copy of the set for a hands on review!

Spoiler alert: Wall•E is a a fantastic model with some great building techniques, lots of parts in an unusual color, and quite a good value for the money. I expect strong popularity from the subject matter alone, so I strongly recommend you pick up your LEGO Wall•E while supplies last.

Read the full review after the jump!

LEGO Ideas The Big Bang Theory 21302 [Review]

In November last year, LEGO announced two new ideas sets. By now the birds setby Tom Polsoun has already been in shops for months, but although we’ve previously seen pictures of The Big Bang Theory set, it is taking a bit longer to hit the shelves. It has finally been officially launched at the San Diego Comic Con earlier today.

The Big Bang Theory - Lounge

Several of us at The Brothers Brick are fans of the show, but being a physicist, I was the lucky guy granted the opportunity to review this. Having worked in both a physics and an engineering department of two universities, the characters from The Big Bang Theory are very recognisable. There may even be a bit of Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard in me. This is not my life story or a review of the TV show, however, so I will cut straight to the chase: the price is pretty steep for only 479 parts, so if minifigures aren’t your thing or you don’t like the show, this set is not for you.

The minifigures are the highlight of the set and probably the main reason why anybody would want this. All seven characters are instantly recognisable and come with new printed parts for the faces and clothing. The prints are highly detailed and look crisp, with Amy’s knitted vest and the tiny flowers on Bernadette’s skirt standing out in particular. The backs of the torsos are also printed. The upper and lower parts of the legs on Amy and Bernadette are molded in different colours, to represent skirts, with the obvious advantage that the figures look decent when seen from the back (in more ways than one).

The Big Bang Theory - Figs

As a bonus all the figures have reversible heads, with happy faces on one side and an alternate expression on the other. Bernadette’s is a particularly menacing angry look and Penny’s will also be instantly recognisable to any fan.
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