Farewell to a Legend: Mourning the passing of Nate “nnenn” Nielson

Over the last couple of months, Keith has brought us joy every Sunday with his interviews. Today, the burden of responsibility falls on Keith’s shoulders to bring us tragic news…

nnennIt is my unpleasant duty to report the passing of our friend and fellow builder Nate “nnenn” Nielson. Nate’s death was the result of an automobile accident earlier this month. A resident of Tekoa, Washington, Nate was a father, an artist, and a professor specializing in graphic design. Nate is survived by his beloved wife and two sons ages 3 and 8.
It is important to Nate’s family that he is remembered by our community, one that he took great joy in participating in. Above all they want Nate to be remembered as a devoted husband and father, and for us to know that his interest in the brick was inseparable from his love for his boys. Nate was notorious for his brevity, and when I was searching through his models, interviews, and comments for inspiration, this quote jumped off the screen:

“Ha! Spring break a week ago. Rainy day today. No friends. Two boys.”

Nate’s other great passion was teaching the principles of design and graphic art, something that should seem obvious to our community. It was Nate’s goal to encourage others and to push people to their creative potential. In our small corner of the universe, I think it is safe to say: mission accomplished, Nate.

LEGO Neo-Classic Space nnenn starfighterI didn’t know Nate very well, certainly not as well as I would have liked. We did however share a love of the brick, 70’s sci-fi and being a father. I always imagined I’d run into nnenn at a convention…that he’d slip out of the crowd on public-day looking like a dead ringer for Christopher Walken. In this fantasy he would walk up to my model on display and say something like:

“Guess what Goldman?! I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription… is more cowbell”.

I’ve always been a fan of Nate’s models, even when I initially disliked him in a superficial way for his heretical tendencies with my sacred bricks. In time I grew to respect him for his uncompromising stance and commitment to form over purist devotion. It was my distinct pleasure to interview nnenn last month, and in the process we exchanged some fun emails; I only wish I’d asked better questions.

You know a builder is big-time when he not only gets an entire scale named after him, but an element as well. Nnenn’s consistent level of quality and production since his debut in late 2006 is nothing short of extraordinary. I can say without exaggeration that Nate influenced a generation of builders, and even an old man or two like me. Nate had 1347 contacts on Flickr, 1347 students for a guy who loved to teach. I think time will prove that he taught us well.

For those of you missed it, James Wadsworth of LAML Radio conducted an audio interview with Nate last summer. Tom over at Masoko Tanga also has a wonderful interview with Nate on his site.

Missing Man Vic Viper Formation – BrickWorld & BrickCon

LEGO Vic Viper by nnennI’m organizing a fly-in style community build for the Brickworld 2010 fan convention in Chicago, and potentially at BrickCon 2010 in Seattle. Anyone who is interested in celebrating the life and models of nnenn is invited to bring or mail a small space-fighter in his iconic Vic Viper style to the convention. The vipers will be arranged in the traditional “missing man formation” common to air forces around the world.

Nate drew inspiration from his father who served the US as an F-16 fighter pilot, making the fly-in seem even more appropriate. So if you’d like to participate in the formation, contact me at Legomankeith AT aol DOT com for further details.


It only seems fitting to close this tribute to a legend with a word or two from some familiar voices in the community. The Brothers Brick and I invite all of you to add your thoughts to this memorial guestbook. There is no rhyme or reason to these first 20 fans; they are simply friends that I reached out to, to help make sense of Nate’s untimely passing. The one exception is Peter L. Morris, who contacted me after speaking directly with Nate’s widow and graciously invited me to participate in this tribute. Pete was closer to Nate than most of us, and his insights into Nate as a friend have been invaluable as we prepared this tribute.

Rest in peace nnenn, you’ll be missed.

Read the guestbook and leave your own comments after the jump:

Peter L. Morris

My first real encounter with nnenn was on his Brickshelf account. I was checking it almost every night, and a small fighter appeared with this caption:

“QrT-74. Upallik standard law enforcement. Ironically, very popular among pirates. Nod to the starfighters of peterlmorris, one of the better colorist on brickshelf.”

I laughed because I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to color, as I have a form of color blindness, so I took it as a great compliment, especially from a guy like him who burst onto the scene seemingly with no incubation period and a massive collection of impressive MOCs.

The bricks to him were a means to an end. Like an itch that is impossible to satisfy, he saw things that needed to be shared, and made them come alive. We are all impoverished with his loss, but not just for the lack of MOCs. He desired, perhaps naively, a community that shared more than it quibbled, and listened more than it spoke. I miss him and will continue to miss him.

Good bye, Nate. You can’t be forgotten.

Rodney Bistline

I am certainly a ‘nnenn fanboy’ when it comes to Nate’s Lego creations and I know I’m not alone in viewing him as an all-time favorite builder. But I was also impressed by the way he generally presented himself in our online community. Despite his respectable secrecy in some regards, he seemed like someone who wore his heart on his sleeve and wore it well. He continually gave back by sharing his expertise, being active in the ongoing social life of the community, and by presenting us all with a seemingly endless supply of amazing creations. For me, many a tedious or tense day was momentarily brightened by setting eyes on a new nnenn masterpiece. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I hope they know how much he inspired so many of us. Of all the “people I’ve never met” in the Legoverse, he’s one of the few I could consider a friend and really hoped to meet one day. Very saddened to hear of his passing.

Ley Ward

A farewell to a man I barely knew. In our online community of LEGO enthusiasts, there are several whom I have met in person and several whom I would like to meet. Nnenn was of the latter category. I was quite excited by the possibility of his attendance at BrickCon this past year as I had hoped to meet him and perhaps shoot the breeze about music or whatever. Sadly that never happened.

Despite the paradox (having never known his name, let alone seen his face), he put a very human face on the non-purist side of our hobby. Rather than a youngster with sharpie in hand or clay at the ready … he was a truly talented artist (who made it clear he was not happy with that label and had a solid professional interest in that very subject) who caused many of us to question our own purism and aspirations to art.

Perhaps the best way I could honour his passing is by cutting an element and including a non-LEGO piece in a creation, not to change my own approach, but to never forget his challenge to all of us.

He was truly talented and prolific, often mind-bendingly so. He will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Andrew Lee

The passing of the prolific and talented nnenn is a profound loss for both myself and the Lego community. Nate single handedly pushed and challenged the limits of our hobby and what can be done with the brick. A man shrouded in mystery, Nate was both a gentleman and a scholar. He will be missed but his work will live on.

Nannan Zhang

Nnenn was an inspiration for the community. We knew him not only as a brilliant builder but also as an innovator who is unafraid to push the limits of creativity and even the medium itself. The countless space creations displaying his unique style could easily populate an entire idea book. I once asked him when he would stop building spaceships, and he told me he would keep going until he has exhausted every possible configuration. I didn’t think it was possible, but neither did he.

Mark Neumann

I’m reflecting on the builder known to me as nnenn. Realizing that I really never knew him, yet feeling like I just lost a friend. I have a sense of sorrow, knowing that our community has been robbed of one of the best builders our hobby has had the fortune of knowing. We’re a curious group, us fans of Lego. There really are not that many of us, and the loss of one affects us all. Nate was part of the collective creativity that makes our universe, and when one of those stars in the collective suddenly goes dark, the entire landscape is darker because of it. But then we find ourselves looking, searching really, and while we may never find that same star we find other light. Lots of light, more than perhaps we’ve never seen before. I find myself thankful that I have this group to surround myself with and feel its brightness. We are the sum of all we travel with, directly or indirectly; influenced in great and insignificant ways. It is in this spirit that I celebrate my brother. Namaste’ nnenn.

Jon Palmer

I never hung out with nnenn. I never shared a beer with him in a bar packed with other LEGO nerds or traded driving shifts with him on a cross-country road trip to a LEGO convention. I never traded emails or IMs with him. I didn’t know his name…But his coming and going has effected me nonetheless. A quick punch in the face; something to shake me up and give me pause.

The man himself never wasted his time on too many words or unnecessary discourse. His economy of language was legendary. And like all great LEGO builders his creations spoke for him. Good on nnenn.

The other night I talked to someone who talked to someone who had just talked to nnenn’s wife. The builder had died in a car wreck. A man I had never met in any conventional way is now gone and I’ve been staring off into space randomly in the middle of the day ever since.

nnenn’s entrance onto the LEGO building scene in 2006 coincided with my gradual exit. The very first time I heard about him, it was from a space builder telling me that there was this new guy who uses “clone” LEGO parts along with his real LEGO pieces. He was using whatever bit of plastic or sticker or modified part he wanted. His obvious skill, matched with the perceived subversion of our building values caused quite a stir initially. Although I’m a part purist myself I never gave much thought to this controversy…and I like some good subversion. Let’s hear it for chaos and new blood. Regardless, nnenn soon shrugged off his reputation as some sort of a rabble-rouser and quickly became a LEGO building god. His output was staggering.

nnenn’s understanding of color theory was perfect. Adventurous. His appreciation of clean lines and a well thought out design was apparent. nnenn built a great LEGO spaceship. He built hundreds of them.

nnenn humbly disregarded his creations as art. They were simply craft or toy. Something that was just for fun. Something that just wooshed through space and went pew-pew and blew up aliens.

But indulge me for a moment and consider nnenn’s creations as more than just LEGO models. More than just pop-culture creations. Consider these colorful objects as communication. And let’s say the single greatest thing you or I can do while we are here is communicate to one another. Assume the method of this communication is entirely irrelevant. That this message is delivered in the form of a song or a book or a painting or even a small LEGO creation is unimportant. What is important is that you speak to the world. Make your vision clear. The thing you alone see or hear in your head. Show it to us. To your friends, to strangers and to your sons.

It can therefore be concluded that stoic, quiet and anonymous nnenn in fact shouted at the LEGO community and the world for 4 amazing years. Shouted the images and colors and ideas in his head at all of us.

Thank you, nnenn. Thank you for never ever shutting up. You are greatly missed.

Nathan Proudlove

The first time we really got a glimpse into nnenn’s life was the August 2008 interview on LAML radio. I was immediately endeared to him upon discovering that he, like myself, was a stay at home dad. He related stories of building with his young sons that resonated with me and my own experience building for and with my son. Most in the Lego community will remember nnenn as the mysterious, rebellious, anonymous, larger than life entity whose presence could not be ignored and will not be forgotten now that he’s gone, but the void created by his absence from our midst is nothing compared to that he left at home with his wife and kids. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this tragic time.

Tyler Clites

I like to think of nnenn as the infamous “sasquatch” or “bigfoot” of the online Lego community. Nobody new what he looked like, his image was a blur as a result of his secretive nature and his “footprint” on the Lego community was enormous. When I first became aware of the enigma that was nnenn, I despised him. I saw him as a cheater without the creativity or ability to use Lego parts in the way they were designed. It didn’t take long for me to realize how wrong I was. In his use of non-Lego parts, he was more creative than any purist builder. He opened his mind to the possibilities of brick-built art, while the rest of us remain in our box of Lego without even looking at the possibilities beyond. I know that I speak of nnenn exclusively in terms of his achievements and art, but I’m confident that he placed a little of himself into each of his MOCs. Loosing an artist such as nnenn is like losing an artist like van Gogh or Michelangelo. Their death is a great loss, but they will live on through their art. My prayers go out to nnenn’s family and anyone who had the privileged of personally knowing such a great artist.

Pete Reid

Nnenn and I collaborated a while back. He was a pleasure to work with online, and a good friend. I always planned to meet him some day, and we were going to drink beer and he’d tell me stuff about spaceships and art and it would have been amazing.

His legacy will never die.

Soren Roberts

I didn’t know Nnenn very well — we had one or two email conversations, we dropped comments on one another’s latest models. It feels a little strange to be eulogizing someone I never met and didn’t really know.

I don’t believe in an afterlife. I’m sure my saying that offends a lot of people. But I’m not going to say something about going to a better place or things happening for a reason. People die for good reasons, and bad reasons, and no real reason at all. I’m sad that his death was one of the last kind.

I’ll remember Nnenn as a guy who always had something interesting to say. He had a sense of perspective, which is pretty rare in this hobby. He irritated the hell out of the people who needed it. He built good models. He gave great feedback. I’m glad I knew him, however little.

Tim Gould

The internet makes for strange varieties of acquaintance. I find myself today writing a eulogy for someone whose name I only found out one hour ago. At first I thought I didn’t really know nnenn and didn’t know what to write but that’s not really true. I feel I’ve chatted, debated, discussed and interacted with him enough to write something.

Three things stand out for me about my acquaintance with nnenn: he was willing to stand by his convictions, he was happy to argue and debate and he adored his family, especially his young boys. I’ll focus on these.

I really admired his willingness to build his models using techniques and ideas that the community in general considered ‘wrong’. I felt it showed a strong sense of character and I respected him for that. It’s a trait I wish was more common.

Likewise I enjoyed arguing, debating and generally playing out ideas in an adversarial manner with nnenn. He was an engaging person whose thoughts were always well constructed. I thoroughly enjoyed these
interactions and will very much miss them.

Finally it was obvious to anyone just how much nnenn loved the company of his children. Any discussion of his models would invariably end up with him writing comments about ‘his boys’. The older the boys got the more his models seemed to reflect what they liked rather than stuff explicitly for himself. To have such a loving father ripped away is something I wish on noone.

Honestly the news that nnenn had died came as a great shock to me and has left me greatly saddened. I did not know his name but I will very much miss him. I wish his widow and especially his boys all the condolences I can. I hope that nnenn’s online presence persists long enough for his boys to get to know nnenn retrospectively in the way I was priveleged to know him up until now.

PS. I was reminded of this sadly prescient comment when I first heard the news. I know that for me nnenn will be remembered far, far more positively than that.

Shadow Viking (Peter)

I guess the first thing to come to mind is about LEGO… well, it’s all about LEGO; that’s how I knew him. So more accurate would be what he did without LEGO. I think that’s the best testament I can give. From my limited interaction he seemed kind and polite, and I always appreciated his comments. I guess this is a little sappy so I’ll end here. And as cliché as it is, rest in peace.

Leigh Holcombe

As a fellow INTP and part-time agoraphobe, I can understand his reluctance to suffer the slings and arrows of fame and criticism. But he kept building and innovating and sharing in spite of it all. His creativity and persistence will be sorely missed.

Brian Kescenovitz

“Yep…another winner from nnenn. Amazing form? Check. Brilliant color usage? Check. Razor sharp design that is somehow immaculately clean and supremely detailed at the same time? Of course…it’s just nnenn, and he always does that. It’s just nnenn…God help me, if this isn’t occasionally the thought that crossed my mind when one of his works of art appeared in my contact photostream on flickr. And I know I’m not the only one. What a colossal injustice, born of the fact that nnenn was simply so good, so often, for so long. And like so many things, only now when we are deprived of them, do we (or at least I) come to fully appreciate them. Completely irreplaceable in the LEGO community, nnenn’s body of work will continue to amaze, influence, and inspire builders for years to come.

My most heartfelt condolences to nnenn’s widow and two sons. I can’t begin to imagine your loss, but perhaps a fleeting moment of peace might be provided by realizing how much nnenn meant to this community, and how badly he will be missed. Even if some of us are only just now realizing that fact…

Carter Baldwin

Nnenn kept his personal profile online low, generally preferring to let his creations speak for him. Those creations changed the way that the community builds and challenged the way the community thinks about mixing types of brick. He was prolifically inventive, and his almost weekly builds across the past three years have always been a source of inspiration and envy for me. A few weeks ago, out of the blue, he emailed me an edited picture of one of my ships with his classic background and engine flare, after I had posted the difficulties I’d been having with photoshop. That was just how he was — always helpful and always surprising.

Lenny Hoffman

Nate, or nnenn as he was known to us, was always a controversial genius. He built like no one else before, combining color and form in wild and creative ways. He built more quickly, with a high rate of success. Often, he’d post a mind boggling new creation every day for a month in a row, an unprecedent (except when he’d do it again and again) achievement.

He was controversial in his ideas about how to build and in how to commune together. Many people attacked him, mostly unfairly. But all of that controversy will fade away with time. What will remain is how his passion, his creativity, and his willingness to challenge us and himself. We will all remember Nate, in our discussions and in our building, because he did so much so well.

I didn’t always see eye to eye with, and we had our disagreement. But Nate showed me that our community, the we, are our best when we build. When we create. And there is no one who could build as freely as he could.

I’ll miss you, Nate.

James Wadsworth

I’ve never been the greatest interviewer, but when I spoke with nnenn he was more than willing to answer all my questions with honesty and sincerity. It wasn’t long into the interview that nnenn brought up his two boys and his obvious affection towards them. It seemed to come across that nnenn’s building wasn’t a regular hobby to escape from life, but instead to enjoy it to the utmost with his family. That is what I’ll always respect him for.

Dave Shaddix

I must immediately confess that I didn’t have the privilege of getting to know Nate very well.  Nate was an intelligent and well spoken man, but he kept his personal life personal (a trait that is all too uncommon today), so what I best know of Nate or ‘Nnenn’ is his work with LEGO modeling. 
I regarded Nate as a pillar in the community; he constantly challenged us to push our abilities and limits, to try new things and to approach each challenge with a new and often interesting perspective.  His style was instantly recognizable and demanded closer inspection due to his innovative usage and technique.  When he left criticism, his voice was steady, reasonable and constructive; the community will feel his silence.

Tragically, that silence will be heard the loudest by those who love him the most, his wife, his children, family and friends.  I mentioned that I didn’t know Nate very well, but as a man in my mid-30’s with two young children of my own, this hits exceptionally close to home.  My children re-introduced me to LEGO a few short years ago and it quickly became a bond between us.  We share much of our time together building and discussing our common hobby but upon reflection, I realize that I should share much more of my time with them.  Today, my heart and prayers go out for Nate and his family.  Godspeed.

Shannon Sproule

Nnenn’s passing is a massive loss to the international Lego community, he was an inspiration to both old and young with his skillful technique, superb presentation, help on colour theory and downright passion for building. Also his customisation of Lego bricks and creative use of stickers was, to me, a reminder to be loyal only to my imagination. I still can’t believe he’s gone; he helped me immensely improving my mocs, I will miss him greatly. Thoughts go to his family.

308 comments on “Farewell to a Legend: Mourning the passing of Nate “nnenn” Nielson

  1. Starwars4J

    I never knew Nnenn, I never exchanged comments with him, and I wasn’t even involved in the controversy over LEGO purity, so I won’t make any pretenses here. What I did know what that I respected him, I respected his work and his attention to detail and completeness. I respected his resolve and fortitude, as well as the temerity he showed in standing up for his philosophical beliefs. While his work still hasn’t become “mainstream” (and I doubt he’d want it referred to that way anyhow), what he did had a great impact upon the community, and went a long way into getting his methods to be more tolerated, if not respected. I’m sure this was as big a shock to many as it was to myself, and all I can do now is pray, and offer my condolences to his wife and children, and maybe go cut up a few bricks in his name.

  2. Nitram

    The man has affected hundreds upon hundreds of people that don’t even know him; myself included. To me, that is an achievement that can attest to both the character of a outstanding individual and the talent of an astounding builder. Rest well, Nnenn. May your inspiration always wreak havoc upon our imaginations.

  3. Thunder-blade

    I didn’t know Nnenn at all. But his creations were a great inspiration, always pushing the limits. The Lego community won’t be the same without him. You will be missed.

  4. Fred

    Nnenn is one of three Brickshelf builders I bothered to bookmark. He was constantly producing new material that was both distinctly different and distinctly Nnenn. VV contests should live on in his honor

  5. Andrew Colunga

    Nnenn was ALWAYS an inspiration, sometimes… even more than I realize. The world got a little less colorful, little less exciting, but his teachings are ALWAYS important and beautiful and I look at them every day. Nnenn means form, color, beauty and design. I miss him. Everyone does.

  6. Marco Tagliaferri

    I didn’t know Nnenn. Never ever met him. I even didn’t know his real life name until today. What would I give still not to know it for the reason. I always looked forward to Nate’s next creation. My 10yo son, like me, is a great fan of his work. I for myself will remember Nnenn for his extraordinary work.
    I feel sad. I already miss him. Rest in peace Nate. You always will remain part of the community.

  7. Andrew

    Nate was always a pleasure to communicate with online, and broke down some of my own prejudices about the value of “purism” — what I now call a “form of religious fundamentalism.”

    As I look over his photostream, I’m most impressed by the diversity of what he built, from microscale to military, alongside all those lovely little fighters.

    I keep thinking that this is some sort of inappropriately belated April Fool’s Day joke. I think I’m in the Denial stage of grief — I just can’t believe nnenn, no Nate, is gone.

  8. Megan Rothrock

    I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Nnenn. He had an amazing talent for expressing his visions in LEGO Bricks, and taking us on voyages through the endless heavens. I have enjoyed is creations for many, many years, and his loss to our world is truly a tragedy. We had always planned to meet at an event, and discuss building, spacey things. I will always remember his kind words of praise (not that I was deserving of them) and his complements and approval of my color schemes.

    I wish condolences to his family, and all of his friends, in this hard time.

    His legend lives on in all of the beautiful work he has left for us to ponder.

  9. Kaitimar (Gorazd Vahen)

    Sad day. Such shocking news.

    Rest in peace, Nnen.

    My heart goes to the family.

  10. Kahan Dare

    I never knew Nnenn, nor did I exchange many comments with him, however I respected him as a builder and a person. His comments around the net were always well thought out as well as humorous at times. His work was extraordinary, delivering a new level of building I think we all aspired to reach. We’ll miss him and our hearts are with his family.

  11. Tayasuune

    It’s odd how you can get a pang of loss, for someone you’ve never met, and never had a conversation with beyond an online comment box. I remember BrickCon 09, and how I had three people I really wanted to meet. You were one of them, nnenn.

    My condolances to those he’s left behind, in particular his wife and sons.

  12. Anthony Sava

    I didn’t know Nnenn, much like most of us, and he and I even got into a spat or two. And while his theme of choice was not mine, I did always make a point to browse whatever new creation of his that would pop up in my contact list on Flickr. To think I’ll never see another contribution from him leaves me feeling a bit of emptyness. My sincerest condolences to his family and those who knew him better than I. The community is the better for his presence, and the worse for his loss.

  13. Preda

    This is truely a saddening day for the community, and although I did not know nnenn, the things he created were more than just inspiring. His tragic death is a great loss. My condolences to his family. Farewell.

  14. legomason

    Well this was rather ominous (from the interview last month):

    KG: Do you see yourself building into your senior years?

    nnenn: Not sure; I wonder about this from time to time. As youngsters we tend to move in and out of interests (hence fads and dark ages) but if we choose something as an adult, it’s more likely to be permanent… so I’d tend to say yes. But as a flighty artist I’m prone to switching boats midstream so sometimes I think no. The most likely scenario is I’ll have to sell my collection for financial reasons and won’t have much choice in the matter.

    RIP nnenn.

  15. Kirby Warden

    Most of what I have built these past two years was because of nnenn. We carried on a lot of discussions in Flickrmail.

    I never met him. Never knew his name. But I’ve been crying like I’ve lost an older brother.

    This blows.

  16. Master Shifu Leo J

    My heart just sank upon reading this announcement. Nnenn embodied the genius of brick building. I always go back to his brickshelf account and check out his wonderful, unorthodox creations. They never bore. It seems they are as fresh as the first time I saw them. His passing is a tragic loss.

    I only knew the man through his MOCs. Perhaps that’s enough to appreciate what he has brought to the table. Nnenn is truly an inspiration.

    My condolences to his wife and children.

    R.I.P. boss.

  17. C-D-L-C

    Wow, I never met the man, I only adored his construction style, adn the way he did what he wanted.
    If there were a list of people to meet in the afterlife, Nnenn is at the very top of mine.
    An awesome man, who’ll have an awesome legacy.
    I had a few conversations with Nnenn, a few arguments too, but that never stopped me liking him.
    Nnenn was like the older internet brother I never had, his models, and his constant “Clever”, “neat” and “:-)” will be sorely missed by me, and many others.
    May he rest in peace.

  18. Linus Bohman

    I didn’t know you Nate, but man I respected you. As I sit here, having read about your demise on my way to work, I can’t focus. You stood for so much good and really shook things up. And things needed shaking.

    I admired your productivity and your reasoning. You made a lasting impact on the community – and while some people moaned, I know we’re better of because of it.

    My only regret? That we didn’t know you better. I’ll miss you.

  19. Captainsmog

    Each of your creation enlighted us
    with Incredible talent, creativity, originality,
    real sense of design and colours!

    You were a true artist and will continue
    to be one of the biggest influences for the
    LEGO fans around the planet.

    We’ll miss you.

  20. gambort

    Hi all,

    I’ve noticed that quite a few comments are getting caught in the ‘Pending’ comment filter. We’ll keep checking regularly to make sure they come through.


  21. LordT (Harry)

    No other builder put out such fantastic projects with such pristine presentation so consistently as nnenn. Struggling with a dark age, his work has kept me coming back and has driven me to strive for higher building and photographic standards showing to me at least that he was a teacher online as well as off to a generation of builders. It is difficult,no, impossible to imagine the community without him.

    I will miss his transparency and creative influence, which will no doubt tragically be noticed more in his absence, and wish all the best to his family at this most unbearable time.

  22. Ralph Savelsberg (Mad physicist)

    Very sad news. What I admired most about him was that he always did things his way, from building his amazing LEGO models to the way he wrote comments. My feelings go out to his family. I wish them strength in dealing with this tragedy.

  23. alldarker

    My condolences to all Nate left behind, especially his wife and sons… Those who will have to bear the burden of his passing the most.

    Like many others I only knew him as Nnenn, and I only knew him from seeing his Lego creations, but I too shed tears when I read the news. Nnenn was certainly one of the members in the Lego community whose building style, models and sheer amount of wonderful creations intimidate me time and again, and sometimes make me fearful to build myself, feeling I could never reach his heights of artistry and fantasy. Therefor I’m certainly glad Keith’s interview provided some insight into Nate as a person.

    Although he is gone, the creations in which he has had his hand, most of all his two sons, but also his Lego creations and his ‘real’ art have left a beautiful legacy which will all hopefully live on for the longest time and pass on his memory.
    Nate, you will be missed…

  24. Karl Loeffler

    Nnenn was the first person to comment on my very first Lego pic posted on flickr, and the first person to make me a contact. He really made me and my two young sons feel welcomed into the online Lego community. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

  25. Starstreak007

    He’s one of the people that got me to post my love of Lego on flickr. His lego art will be missed. God bless him and his family.

  26. SJ Commander

    I’ve been in a state of shock, ever since reading this post on TBB an hour ago. Surely, this couldn’t be true? Nnenn, the great lego VV god, the only one who kept making new, daring, and awesome designs at a rate others deemed impossible, the only one who would use any part he deemed appropriate, regardless of brand, couldn’t have passed away, right? Sadly, it turned out to be true. I have, ever since I first saw him on Flickr, wondered who he is, and what his name is. A damn shame to find out this way.

    Nnenn was the first one I ever shot a FM, asking for his (even at that time I knew) expert opinion on my first ever uploaded (LDD) fighter. He came over and posted some excellent critique, which helped me build better models in the future. I have a feeling he did this to a lot of us, constantly providing a lot of useful, thought-out comments that pointed out the points in our designs that helped us improve them. And while some may not have agreed with his usage of Megabloks and cut stickers (before the latter became a widespread technique), he was a pioneer in many ways. Not the least of which were his mix of sharp angles and smooth, almost organic shapes, and his daring usage of colour.

    Nate, may you forever rest in peace. My heart goes out to your wife and children. I hope they have lego wherever you are now.

  27. Apocalust

    My thoughts go to Nnenn’s family, and I hope his love for the craft is carried on in his genes.

  28. Adrian Florea

    I know that we have all been caught unprepared by this tragedy,

    nnenn, despite sharing so little of his personal life, has managed to communicate so much about himself just through his creations over the years. So many times have I felt inspired and even challenged by his comments and by his contributions to the community. I deeply regret not having the chance to meet him one day.

    I am realizing that, even for five minutes, I can not get this awful news out of my head.

  29. Ståle Tevik / BionicBadBoi

    I never knew nnenn.
    I admired his skill and dedication to the medium of plastic bricks, his multitude of fantastic creations and presentation skills. The community has lost one of its guiding stars. The man’s nick even became an adjective. Something looks nnenn, rather than looks like nnenn’s work. And nnenn-scale, as mentioned above. He’s taught me a lot on building, even though I never saw his face or was even instructed through words.

    My condolances to his family. As a father to one, soon two, this makes me rather sad for your loss.

  30. Rocko

    Holy shit. Well at least he left with what I consider to be a record of fantastic artistic accomplishment. He’ll be remembered by us Legophiles as a legend and inspiration. In a way it might be viewed like the untimely deaths of artists like Jimi Hendrix. It’s better to burn out than to fade away!

  31. Duckingham

    Nnenn is the one person whose photostream is in my Google Reader. I’ve always been amazed at his ability to reinvent starfighters on a regular basis.

    In 2009 I did a short stint helping Dan on Fascinating LEGO Model of the day — Nnenn was one of the guys I blogged when he took some time one day to let us in on a secret of building when he showed his cockpit box design.

    I have never known him personally, beyond his work online, and this is a strange thing in our modern web communities — that we can grow to love and respect others though never meeting them face to face.

    I am also a husband and father of an 8- and a 3-year old and find it particularly difficult to think what his wife and boys must be going through now. My prayers are for them in this time of sorrow. They have lost a best friend; one who played well.

  32. Jason

    Oh man I just don’t know what to say. I wish I’d known him better… I wish I’d taken the time to comment on all his photos that deserved it; which pretty much means every single photo of every single MOC he’s ever built. I’ll miss more than anything, looking forward to seeing what he’s made each time I log on.

    I can’t help but having a selfish thought, and that’s that I hope someone keeps his photostream going so I’ll still be able to browse it’s archives every month or so. It sounds maybe a little weird, but I always felt better knowing there was somewhere I could go and enjoy looking at starships, and many many other cool creations, whenever I needed a little pick me up.

    The LEGO hobby will not be the same without him.

    My hopes and prayers go out to his family and friends. His work was loved by many, and he will be missed.

  33. Rod Gillies

    Here’s to a man whose one-word comments on my MOCs meant more to me than 100 paragraphs of praise.

    He will be missed by us all as a builder, but our thoughts are with his family who will be missing him in much more personal ways.

  34. Brenden Wilson

    My first encounter of Nnenn was on Classic-Space, when he first arrived. Those were some good days, as rough as they were. There was a lot of love, and a good amount of hate but that never stopped him. I’m very glad he kept on building even after his stay at classic-space came to an end. I’ve sort of fallen into a dark age (reality is a busy age) and don’t have too many LEGO creations popping up in my “friends & family” stream, but I kept Nnenn’s; they were one of a handful of creations that surpassed their medium and were truly pieces of good design.

    If this community has movers and shakers, he was one of them. Many people weren’t ready for it, but he’s enlightened a great number of builders and I’m sure his library of models will continue to for many years to come. I’m happy to have known him, and happy he was a part of this community. I wish him happy travels in the next life.

  35. John

    You’ll be missed, Nnenn.

    I interviewed Nnenn back in Novvember. Whilst we didn’t chat much, he seemed like a really nice guy and was happy to answer my FMs.

    And to think that, just recently, I was considering building a fighter around his cockpit box design. I will build that fighter in his memory.

    Nnenn’s legacy will never die. Someone else I knew died a few months ago, so this tragedy only adds to my sadness. RIP, Nnenn.

  36. Evildead

    Thank you Nnenn for your fantastic Space Legacy!
    You were the man at space mocs, no doubt about that!

    My condolences go to his family in this hard hour!

    May you rest in Space my friend!

  37. Jojo

    I’ll be missing the nnenn-part when browsing Flickr. If it wasn’t for his outstanding MOCs it would be for this Buddy-Icon, that earned him the Nobel Prize in Lego Building.

  38. xiei2

    I never post on Brother Bricks, due to my rare Moc….
    So, in this situation, I HAVE to do an exception:
    the most surprising builder, the smoothest builder, really a designer, really a teacher.
    Thank you nnenn.

    You ruled, you rule.

  39. Nathan 'Arterin' Simkiss

    Like so many of us, I never knew nnenn, and feel hardly qualified to say anything about such a hugely talented and inspirational man. But nevertheless I shall.
    Since coming onto the online Lego community there has been a core group of builders that I have looked up to as the ‘masters’ of the art – needless to say, nnenn was one of them. The few creations of mine he commented on I consider among my best – in great part because they attracted his attention. He constantly amazed me with his (literally) out-of-this-world style and building prowess, using new techniques constantly, and consistently challenging the limits of our imaginations. He built so well and so prolifically that I was half convinced that ‘nnenn’ wasn’t one man but many – and to learn that he was just Nate Nielsen both increases my respect for him, and in a way, saddens me, because it makes the tragedy of his passing so much greater. Me heart and my prayers go out to those whom he left behind, and I hope that he will be remembered for the skilled artist (despite his apparent disapproval of the word) that he was.

  40. rex

    god was short of an angel so he tooked nate from this earth
    god said” i want a lad who has been kind and good since birth”
    so when you look at a starry sky
    and think of nate and cry,
    weep not, but see that shooting star its our angel going by,
    night night, son.
    love from —,
    i wish we had you longer

  41. JoeMI6

    I only ever knew him through his amazing lego creations, but I know that his memory will live on through not only all he made, but the impressions he made, however slight, on all our lives. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

    RIP Nnenn.

  42. Rob

    Like many, I never met nnenn, I never spoke with him, or exchanged comments with him. But I cried when I heard when he was gone, because I did know him. I knew him through his prolific creativity, his generosity as a teacher and critic, his purity of vision. And I knew him as a great artist who stayed true to himself.

    We will all miss him, but none so much as those close to him. My deepest sympathies to Nate’s family and friends.

    play well, nnenn

  43. LegoLord.

    I am deeply saddened to hear this. Nnenn was tied with my four favortie builders, I am very sad to see him go. I’m sure everybody will miss his one word comments. God bless his family.

  44. Dylan

    I’m just a kid but he was my favorite builder, shame that his amazing work will not be continued. 99% of my Legos are based on his work. I only ever knew him through this site, but it is still a pummeling loss.Condolences to his family…

  45. poncнopэngцιn

    I didn’t know him personally, but I know I’ll miss him and his art.

    rust in vrede, Nate.

  46. Fredo Houben / Fredoichi

    Truly so sad…
    His work was the reason I wanted to build with Lego again. He placed the first comment on my first MOC and added me as my first contact.

    “Fun” he said in the comment. Short and clear, like always, but it meant a lot to me. So many times after that he got me motivated, challenged and inspired with all his builds and ideas and still does. We’ve had some contact over mail, but we mostly spoke to each other through our builds. With that he left me speechless almost everytime…

    I’m really going to miss his “Fun” and inspiration. My heart goes out to his wife and boys.

  47. Chris Giddens

    Nnenn was a great dad.
    After spatting a bit publicly, we came to a friendly forgiveness and understanding privately. We spoke of enjoying the hobby with our kid(s). The fact that he spent so much of his hobby encouraging his boys helped me realize I needed to spend more time with my son in the hobby.
    To his widow and his precious boys, I send up prayers and encourage you to hold on to the good memories you have of Nate. A great dad.

  48. Michael 'LegGodt' Dudley

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Nate ‘nnenn’ Nielsen’s family. You touched so many people and will not be forgotten.

  49. AwesomeStar

    I never knew nnenn, and like others who have posted here, never traded comments with him, never spoke to him in person or even knew his name up until now. But I was a fan of his MOCs, most certainly. And of his attitude towards the brick and the hundreds of thousands of beautiful things you can make with it, and with other things as well.

    I think the thing I admired most about nnenn was that he was afraid. Us Lego fans, we are a very tightly knit community, and sometimes our philospohies and values get in the way of who we are. nnenn changed all that. He wasn’t afraid to show his strange, wonderful MOCs, wasn’t afraid to use non-Lego elements. In fact, he did it proudly, and he was right too.

    I never knew him, but I’ll never forget him, either. I hope your family will lead a prosperous life, and I hope you are happy, wherever you are. Rest in peace, nnenn.

  50. Beck "Burakki62" Smith

    Although I didn’t know Nate I, like many many others, adored his work. This terrible news has stopped me in my tracks. I have long been in awe of his builds, their shape and his use of colour. He inspired so many, including myself and reminded me why I love Lego. There will be a huge hole in the community now he has gone. My prayers go out for his wife and children. Nate, you will be missed.

  51. Pierre E Fieschi

    I am deeply touched by this terrible news. As some of you already said, nnenn was a great inspiration to the entire community and will be terribly missed. To me he was an enigmatic character full of wisdom and skills that seemed unmatchable. I didn’t know him really, but he always was and will remain my greatest source of inspiration.

    RIP nnenn.

  52. WetWired

    A complete shock, I didn’t know nate, but he was one of those names I recognized and respected for his work, someone I think we all admired for his creations and aspired towards with our own work. As a recent father myself my thoughts are with his family, I hope our words can help you in some way.

  53. Dan

    I remember when Nnenn first arrived in the forums on classic-space.com. He sparked quite a bit controversy with his quick foray into modifying parts, and using non-LEGO bits in his creations. In the end, a big fight broke out, and he ended up leaving the website. This was how I ended up inheriting the adminstratorship of that forum, and it was a sad thing for me. While I’ve always been a purist for my own creations, I enjoyed the debates he sparked, which were always well reasoned and civil. I will remember him for his fantastic mastery of color and penchante for unorthodox shapes. I will also remember him for forcing the purists and stalwarts to innovate in order to keep up.

  54. Bill (Kidthor)

    I didn’t like every Moc that nnenn posted, but I respected every one. I admired the obvious mastery of his craft, the uncompromising presentation of his vision, convention be damned, and most of all, his honesty to himself as well as others. He was a rare talent and a rare personality. The Lego community is sorely lessened by his passing. My condolences to his family. Please know that he will never be forgotten in the Lego community.

  55. Tony Mines

    I never knew Nate, but through his art, Nnenn was a hero and an inspiration. He will be missed.

  56. Grand Admiral

    While nnenn’s entry into our little world was controversial and made us re-think our standards, none can deny his artistic vision and continual purity of form in his creations.

    His continual high levels of quality in his builds are something we can all aspire to.

    His absence will be felt by us all.

  57. Grandpappy (Nathan)

    I didn’t know nnenn as Nate, or anything other than a great builder who was already prolific when I came out of my dark ages. And I have never had any communication with nnenn except through some brief comments on our respective models.

    However brief any communication was, the day always felt a little brighter when I saw his brief comments on anything I built. Like many here, I respected nnenn’s ability to apply his views on art, color, and shape into a form that would look great swooshing through my living room. So when he “spoke”, I listened and gave his comments more credence than many others who would open their mouths.

    I may not have known him on any personal level, but it feels as if there’s now a portion of my world that is missing.

    Thanks, Nate, for the time we had with you; and the time you shared with us.

  58. Jim Darlack

    It is a sad day. I’ve always enjoyed coming across nnenn’s creations in my feed reader. He has been one of the main builders I’ve followed since exiting my own dark ages. His creations will be missed. I pray all the best for his family as they mourn his loss.

  59. Puddleglum

    I think it’s fair to say that Nate has left behind what for most of us would be a lifetime of MOCs. I’m sure his builds will continue to inspire others for a long time to come.

    My heart breaks for his wife and children.

  60. Mark Kelso

    While I didn’t know Nate personally, his influence on me as a builder was profound. From the first creation of his that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon, I immediately recognized the work of an artist. His unique style and unflinching stance on building it “his way” often gave me the motivation to follow in those footsteps with my own work, and I’m exceptionally grateful for that influence. And of course, being an artist myself, there was an immediate sense of comradery that I like to think Nate felt as well.

    As for his work, the best way I can put it is this…he’s the only builder I’ve encountered to which I’ve actually given them their own scale. I suppose it was kind of pointless, given the fact that he almost always scored a nine or higher on the “Nenn-o-meter,” but it’s a testament to his prolific nature and the outstanding quality of his work nonetheless.

    You’ll be missed terribly, Nate. May you rest in peace, and may your family find comfort in each other at this extraordinarily difficult time.

  61. Prophet Zarquon

    My heart goes out to Nate’s family and friends. Even though I have never met him, the loss of such a great builder is shocking, and I cannot begin to comprehend what they must be going through.

  62. onetruescotty

    “Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”-Sun Tzu, on nnenn.

    Although I hated his politics (block em all, let god sort them out), even I have to admit that a good number of his MOC’s were great. Hell I’ll even build a set of VV’s for the missing man.

    So long nnenn, and I salute you for being the best, most mysterious opponent I have ever faced. :|

  63. Mark Stafford (Nabii)

    My first thoughts are for Nate Neilsen’s family, I think most of us knew he built with, because of, and for his kids, and I cannot begin to understand how devastating this must be for them and his wife.
    I never knew nnenn’s real name or even met him, though I hoped one day I would. He arrived on the LEGO scene in 2006 and almost immediately questioned our purism. His amazing use of modified and clone elements, sticky tape and paint made us all look at our building and consider that we might be restricting our creativity by being too purist towards our MOCs.
    When I was interviewed for the job of LEGO Designer in September ’06 and was asked if I had a problem with cutting, gluing, and painting or otherwise ‘mutilating’ bricks, I had nnenn’s MOCs in my head as I confidently denied having any issue with such a thing. Nnenn had made me face this very point earlier in the year and, of course, I loved the creations that he had already produced in his short time in the hobby. My flexibility on this matter is one of the reasons I got the job, it bothers me that now he’ll never know how he helped.
    His influence on the LEGO scene will be lasting, his use of colour and shape and sheer creativity has changed the way many builders approach a new MOC and his ‘Novvember’ event even changed a LEGO set: the Space Police 3: Raid VPR is inspired by (and first built in) Novvember ‘08. His influence will therefore live on for as long as the history of LEGO sets is remembered.
    I’ve been trying to write this all day. Today, I’m working on new sets for next year and one of my hidden pleasures is looking at new parts or changing the colour of parts and imagining what some of the builders out there are going to do with them when they come out, and one of my favourites to see, because I could never predict how he would use them, was nnenn. I’ll miss him. I think we all will. Our galaxy of builders just lost a very bright star.

  64. Dave Sterling

    I didn’t know Nate personally, but I made a point of always checking his Flickr Photostream whenever I saw something new pop up. He did so much for the community in terms of developing building techniques and finding new and innovative uses for parts that many of us dismiss as useless. His vision was an inspiration to me and many others in the community and he will be missed by those who had the chance to experience the wonder of his creations.

    My heart goes out to those who are left behind to cope with this immense tragedy. While we will never understand why Nate was taken from us so soon, we will continue to honor his life and memory for many years to come. Godspeed good son.

  65. Tac

    Most of us struggle to get blogged by TBB once, but even now he’s passed away he’s been blogged three times. That just shows the impact he’s left of the community. RIP nnenn, you’ll forever be remembered.

  66. Vaclav Vrzan (Vasyk)

    Hi everyone,

    I’m new here, I knew Mr. Nielsen, but I’m very sorry. Condolences to the family, it’s a great loss for the LEGO community. His designs are absolutely stunning and one day I wanted to be able to build as Mr. Nielsen.

    Vaclav Vrzan (Vasyk – Czech Republic)

  67. Thanel

    What a great loss. All these strangers, including me, tearing up just minutes after finding out who Nate was. I can’t even imagine the loss for his family. What an incredible collection of great creations by him. An all-round great guy.

  68. Lee Magpili

    fare thee well to a man who’s left a lasting legacy through his expression. I hope that his family realizes the impact this man has left in the AFOL community and in all of our hearts and creations. I never knew him personally either, but he was one of the firsts people to add me as contact on flickr. We’ve lost a great man, and only hope to honor his work in our futures.

  69. chandlerparker

    “Though I didn’t know him very well, I always enjoyed browsing *the ever inspiring nnenn’s creations. RIP.”

    *Stupid typo.

  70. Dave Lartigue

    This is heartbreaking news. nnenn’s influence in the online Lego community can’t be overstated. His stuff was just plain incredible, and he was always so eager to have others join in the fun. Novvember won’t be the same without him.

  71. Collin

    Much has been said already that I couldn’t possibly say any better. I didn’t know Nate very well, but I always respected him as an artist of the brick, and even more so as a role model that I wish more dads would follow. My condolences to his family and loved ones, and I lift up my prayers to the Lord for their peace and comfort.

  72. ACPin

    Like most of us, never knew the man personally. His works in the community will be forever his lasting legacy. Farewell my brother and my condolences to his family and relatives.


  73. polywen

    Nearly 3 years ago, I joined the online AFOL community and posted my first moc on Flickr. Nnenn was the first AFOL to ever post a comment on something I made. http://www.flickr.com/photos/artpoly/1305895093/in/photostream/ It was ( as I was to discover later) in his enigmatic one word style. But his “Nice.” meant the world to me. By then I was well aware of his awesomeness, and for him to take the time to post anything on some humble moc of mine, instantly made me feel part of this community. Nnenn has inspired me. He has opened my mind. He has elevated the discourse and pushed the creativity of AFOLs like no other. I have been lucky to trade an occasional FM though we have never met. He was definitely someone I had hoped to meet one day, to thank. Thank you nnenn. Thank you.

  74. Black Six

    Your creations and the inspiration you provided to so many builders will not be forgotten nnenn. You will be missed.

    My thoughts go out to your widow and sons.

  75. Octopunk

    This is terrible news. I feel just awful for his wife and sons, and for Nate, too, for everything he’ll miss. I’ve just been looking at the early uploads on his Flickr site and there’s so much I never saw… still I’m crushed there won’t be any more.

    In addition to his legendary designs, I was always fond of Nnenn for his willingness to take a blade to his bricks, since I’m a cutter myself. Many were the times I squinted at some part of a build and thought “what’s that piece?” only to realize with a smile that it was a familiar part, only truncated. Sometimes it was a clone, and while I don’t go there, it was always clear that his dedication to form and his versatility were unmatched.

    So long, Nnenn. I hope where you are the bricks flow like water.

  76. Max Braun (bisonfuehrer)

    OMG! nnenn was my favorite builder, I was giddy anytime he commented on any of my MOC’s. When speaking to my wife about nnenn I always referred to him as my master(jedi). I was/ am impressed with his mad building skills. I always wanted to be like him. Nnenn you were a constant source of insperation and you will always inspire my future builds. Thank you for making our AFOL community a better and ,more understanding, and accepting place. You showed us all how to make room for clone bricks, stickers, paint, and other useful elements. Your speed and quality will forever be missed. My family and I will NEVER forget you. Good luck on the other side.

  77. Shmails

    How awful! My heart goes out to his family, friends, and online community he has touched so deeply.

  78. Callum

    While a loss in the community is always hard hitting, it’s even more so when it’s such a respected and prominent member of the community, as such was Nnenn, or Nate I should say. Respects to his family, and may you rest in peace, Nnenn.

    I should now build a commemorative moc utilising Nnenn’s iconic signature piece, no matter how useless it is.

  79. JimmytheJ

    Oh man… we’re gonna miss you Nnenn. You were truly inspiring, with your ships so sleek, you wouldn’t know they were made of small plastic blocks… I can only hope that heaven is a place where you can continue you hobbies.

    My condolences go out to your family, may you rest in peace.

  80. :Bob:

    “Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    Of sun-split clouds…and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of…wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air.
    Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
    I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
    And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space…
    …put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

    – High Flight
    by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

    My condolences to his family and friends.

  81. -Bennett-

    I am truely sadden by this news. I never new “nnenn”, but his works are amazing and inspirational he was a joy to see on a mounthly bases being posted on “Flickr” aswelll on sites like Brickshelf and here on The Brothers Brick. His work will defently inspire more AFOL to build and post their swooshtastic designs.

  82. Joris Blok

    I never knew Nnenn’s real name, but Nnenn was a great inspiration for all of us. When I checked out his pages, I allways got some kind of a boost to make some great MOCs. I’ve allways thought that Nnenn was some kind of a group, because he made his MOCs with an incredible speed. He made the most unique stuff, which even the best couldn’t think about. The way he used knock-off bricks was also really inspiring to me, because he showed the LEGO community that you can build great MOCs with a bunch of clone-brand bricks.

    My condolences to his family. Rest in peace, Nate, my favorite builder!

  83. Brent "thwaak" Wolke

    Like others I’m sure, nnenn was directly responsible for me coming out of my dark age. I discovered brickshelf, found his account and was totally amazed at what could be done. I conversed with him early on and he encouraged me to ‘go public’ and was one of my earliest supporters. I owe him a lot, and I will miss him.

    My prayers go out to his family. Is there something we can do for them? A fund for his children perhaps?

  84. Bart Willen

    We all know LEGO’s old name Leg Godt, meaning play well. That’s one of many things Nnenn will always be remembered by, he played well.

    Rest in peace

  85. Zander Cameron (Zeessi)

    I cannot believe this.

    I popped on Facebook when I woke up and saw Torin (Krypton Heidt) had posted a link to this. I couldn’t believe it, and walked away from the computer to go about my work. During my task, I kept thinking about it, and finally came back to it, and read the eulogy, and 95 comments.

    Nnenn an I butted heads on more than one occasion over on Lego 16, and I have to say, I truly enjoyed the opportunity to see a glimpse of him in our debates. While we had a general disdain for each other, I never stopped respecting him. Not only was he one of the greatest builders of our time, he was a smart, passionate man who was never to say anything to your face -and I’m sure those traits carried over into “Real Life.”

    His creations are the absolute epitome of art. I never saw a thing from him that I wasn’t in complete and utter awe of, his use of every piece that was, and every piece that wasn’t never ceased to amaze me.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to his widow and children -whom he often mentioned. I’m praying for you.

    Or community has lost a great man, and a wife and two sons have lost a great father.

  86. the enigma that is badger

    An exceptionally talented builder, and a terrible loss to the community. Nnenn took building to new and innovative places and showed no fear in challenging preconceptions of what was and wasn’t allowed in construction. He helped broaden the field for all willing to explore it, and the beauty and creativity of his work will be remembered and cherished.

  87. David Lloyd

    I was pretty shocked when I read about his passing this morning, I still am. He was amongst the first to inspire me to get back into the hobby and I’d regularly anticipate updates on his flickr stream. He was a man of few words, but his creations spoke loudly.

    My condolences to Nate’s family and friends, you will be missed.

  88. CyberLizard

    I’m completely floored. I loved Nnenn’s work. I never directly communicated with him other than in comments on flickr, but the highlight of my LEGO building was being part of the NoVVember 2009 project. He will be sorely missed.

  89. Hawk

    I can hardly believe that this actually happened, it comes across as such a shock. Nnenn was a wonderful person, despite his short comments, he was always a font of encouragement, and all the work he did organizing groups like Starfighters and Brick VA was nothing short of fantastic. The Starfighters group challenges often got me and many others out of builder’s block, and most of the best criticism I’ve received came from his Brick VA group.

    Perhaps more important then everything he’s done for the community, though, were his models. Nate has probably inspired more builders then any other Spacer, and each of his builds seemed unique and exciting, despite the sheer quantity of models in his stream.

    Farewell Nate, you will be missed.

  90. Glen

    While reading Nnenn’s flickr summary in his memory, the following words jumped out at me.

    “my boys are young and doing that reading thing, so let’s avoid using some of the more choice descriptors around here. Thanks.”

    It’s so fitting for who the man was.

    Nnenn- builder, innovator, legend… family man

    Rest in Peace

  91. Marc Nelson Jr.

    Although his time here was cut short, I still say that nnenn was a lucky man. How many of us will leave that kind of legacy – loving and raising two sons, and leaving an incredible body of work that inspired so many?

    Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  92. Brittney (Brick Britt)

    What sad, shocking news. Nnenn’s creations were so unique, fantastic, unmatched, and his skills were unparalleled. The way he could take a non-Lego part, a part the rest of us despised, modify it to his liking, and incorporate it into a creation, was just simply incredible. He definitely left a significant mark on the online Lego community, and it just won’t feel the same without him. May we always think of him whenever we happen to stumble across our rubber band holders. I will be keeping his family and loved ones in my prayers.

  93. TK1420

    This is some of the saddest news I’ve heard in some time. nnenn was a truly gifted builder; every model of his I’ve seen is an inspiration to keep trying news things with the brick.

    My deepest condolences to his wife and children.

  94. Ignited_Impulse

    I’ve only been reading brothers-brick for a little over a month and had already become fascinated with his Vic Vipers. It’s a shame his time had come so soon.

  95. Vaughan James

    I enjoyed seeing your models appear regularly in my photostream, and loved how your techniques delighted, amazed and infuriated, always pushing others to break out of the mould.

    RIP nnenn, I was hoping to get to know you better, and thank you for putting all those bricks together.

  96. Erik Blohm-Gagné

    I have to admit, I was less than impressed when I first realized that nnenn was using modified and clone brand parts in his creations. I came around fairly quickly when I realized how much his not following purist conventions when building aided in his ability to put his imagination into LEGO form, unrestricted by the limits of existing pieces.

    By the time he started posting his creations on Flickr, I had gotten past my prejudices and found myself rarely (if ever) with anything to offer other than awe-struck praise. So, the one time he commented on one of my MOCs, I was ecstatic. It was a simple thing he said, very much in keeping with his succinct style of commentary:


    That’s all. Three symbols. Not a word, nor even letters. Just colon-hyphen-close bracket, but I was elated! For a builder I was so continuously impressed by to see something I had done, and for that same person to like it made me extremely happy. I’m sure others have had similar experiences.

    It’s sad to realize that nnenn can no longer do the same for others any more, but I feel we should remember and celebrate the creative spirit and joy he brought us in his life, not solely dwell on the tragedy of his death. That probably seems like little in the way of comfort, especially now, but I hope it offers some condolence to those who need it.

    Rest in peace, Nate.

  97. Curtis

    I can’t say that I loved them all, but I did appreciate something from each of his MOCs. I mean, I saw the creative process and the imagination he infused into each MOC he presented. I’ll admit I’ve caught myself envying the attention his creations garnered; I’ll also admit that each time I logged onto Flickr I hoped I’d see something new from him.

    Without a doubt, Nnenn was one of the builders I first noticed when I stumbled upon this online community just a few short years ago. A bit of his creativity kicked me in the butt and got me back in the game, back to building. I’m happy I got to know his work, I wish I could have known him personally, I’m deeply sorry for his family and will miss seeing his creations on Flickr.

  98. Luis De Almeida

    Nate was a brilliant builder, he changed the lego world forever and inspired hundreds of builders like me.

    He will be missed, Nate R.I.P.

  99. Toradoch

    A truly tragic loss for his family. Unimaginable to even consider what his wife and sons are going though. I can only hope his wife can take comfort in what he leaves behind and his sons can come to know their father through his unforgettable creations both on and off the canvas.

  100. TR Brownridge

    nnenn you inspired me everytime I saw one of your MOC’s. I had huge admiration and respect for you as a builder and as a person who stood fast to his principles. Your contribution to the medium will never be forgotten. My sincerest thoughts go out to your family and friends at this time. May we all continue to be inspired by your creativity. Build on nnenn!!

  101. Shannon Young

    I was not on a first name basis with him in life, so it seems somehow presumptuous to assume that intimacy in death. He’ll always be nnenn to me.

    I often wished he’d build something non-space just once — a car, a house, a castle, anything — because I like variety and knew he was the type of builder who would create brilliance no matter what theme he worked in. But he didn’t build to please me or anyone else in the community. He was in this hobby on his own terms, unapologetic, uncompromising. Love it or hate it, and sometimes both at the same time, you couldn’t help but respect it. We don’t often see people with the fortitude to stay so true to themselves in this hobby, or indeed, in their lives.

    We lost one of the all time greats. My internet will be a dimmer place without new nnenn ships virtually swooshing onto my screen. I wish I’d met him, so I could claim the honor of knowing him as Nate.

    Goodbye nnenn.

  102. LegoDad42

    Rest in Peace Nnenn. I never knew you, but your work inspired me. God Bless and keep safe your family.

  103. Jargon

    I wish I could better celebrate the man behind the creations, but I didn’t know him well enough for that. Instead, I will merely once again post my admiration for his talent and respect for his skill. I pray peace for his family.

  104. Bricktrix

    Deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news.
    My sincere condolences go out to his family.
    R.I.P Nate – Nnenn, a true artist and legend.
    You will never be forgotten.

  105. Matn

    I feel so weird today. I got up and on TBB I read what happened… And I’ve been feeling sad all day. He will be missed for sure, nnenn was a great builder. And as I’ve been reading everything about him since then, I now know he was also a great and beloved husband and father. Although I almost never commented on his creations, I always looked at them and observed them. And I was always impressed. Now I regret that I haven’t commented much on his creations… He has inspired me to build, as he has inspired so many of us.

    I will never look the same at this rubber band piece like I used to. I’m glad I’ve always kept them.

    I just keep feeling sad, although I knew nothing about him. My condolences to his family and friends.

  106. Word Freak

    I never met him, never interacted with him, but I’ll be damned if his work wasn’t some of the most inspiring things I’ve seen built out of LEGO. Even though I never knew him, I’m gonna miss him, my condolences to his family and closer friends.

  107. Aleksander Stein

    I never got to know nenn very well, but I always enjoyed seeing his MOCs when checking the recent uploads from my contacts, not to mention enjoying his very unique style and approach to such a wide variety of building themes and his characteristic way of commenting on others’ creations. I was deeply moved after reading the sad news, and I offer my condolances to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

  108. Jeff Clark

    I didn’t know him personally, but he seemed to be a man of wit and wisdom with a complete mastery of the bricks around him.
    RIP Mr. Nielson.

  109. mentalspagat

    I didn’t know him personally, but I always loved his models and his sheer creativity and was quite surprised, when one day he wanted to add me (ME!!!) as a contact on flickr – being the first one asking me and making me very proud!
    Rest in peace, Nate!

  110. Magnus

    I guess sometimes it takes a bit of a outlaw to make us question the validity of the laws that we live (or build) by. And while most of us have remained primarily purist in our building styles, I think nnenn may have helped us look out the door of the LEGO house for once and admire the view, even if we never really went outside.

    In a community full of creative minds, nnenn was one of the builders who seemed to think outside of the box by default rather than by forcing himself. His MOCs were so good they often didn’t even look like LEGO at all – not necessarily because they weren’t 100% TLG brick, but because he just seemed to think about using shapes and colors a little differently. I don’t know if that makes them better or just different. But to be sure, his inspiration and influence were felt well beyond the confines of the Space community.

    He will be sorely missed, and his unique work will continue to both inspire and baffle us for many years to come. What else can I say?

    Well Played.

  111. Titolian

    Nnenn was, in my opinion, the best builder on Flickr. If and MOC had nnenn’s name under it, it would be awesome. No exceptions. He also had a never ending supply of brilliant ideas and shapes that made each and every MOC by him totally unique. The loss of nnenn will leave a gaping hole in the Lego community, one that will never be forgotten.

    Goodbye nnenn.

    We will miss you.

  112. Jordan "SirNadroj "Schwartz

    To me, Nnenn was one of the most inspirational sci-fi builders in the community. To create so much – all original, unique and awe-inspiring – is beyond me. His contributions to the community are countless; I have personally spent hours just browsing through his galleries “oohing” and “ahhing” at his work and I will most certainly go spend some more time now looking over his innovations (although I think it’s impossible to fully appreciate all of his details and subtle intricacies – there are simply too many.) This shock has blind-sided all of us and it has taken me some time to collect my thoughts just to write this.

    Like many, I have never had the opportunity to meet him, which is a shame. From his postings online, I can tell he was a fun and all-around great guy. If I could learn to be half as prolific as he, I’d be the happiest [and luckiest] builder here. But we all know nobody could ever match the unique qualities of his work [among them being the outturn of the MOCs themselves.] Nnennian space-crafts are hard to beat!

    To Nate’s family – my deepest and most sincere condolescences. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  113. NewRight

    Nnenn you were an inspiration to my own first starfighter and your inspiration never faded. I will miss seeing all the new things you can bring, but I still love what you have. All of the challenges you created in the starfighter group were fantastic and I’ve never seen a better starfighter builder. You are one of the best builders the LEGO community will ever seen.


  114. tonyb

    nnenn was the sole reason for me rediscovering my love of lego. it was the orange ”
    344 Apellus ‘MechEater'” on gizmodo that set things in motion for me. from his amazing creations to the fresh name “nnenn,” he truly inspired me and helped me see legos in an entirely new way. the lego community and corporation owes a great debt to nnenn, financially and creatively.

    i hope his family can find some solace in knowing that he reached at least one person in a profound way.

  115. bluemoose

    Very sad news. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

    His innovation, inspiration & spirit will be sadly missed by all in our community.

  116. legodrome

    J’aurai bien aimé le rencontrer en vrai. Un constructeur énervant tellement il avait du talent. Une capacité à produire hors du commun, une pure ligne directrice de construction. Avec en plus un esprit de communauté, des idées, du rythme et des propositions structurantes, malgré les critiques.
    Enfin et surtout, Nnenn a assumé une vraie pratique artistique. Chapeau !

    Je me suis longtemps demandé quel était son nom. Quelle tristesse que ce soit son départ qui le fasse connaitre aujourd’hui.
    Goodbye Nate

  117. Bruno Vaiano

    I still can´t belive that this happened. 1 year ago, when I joined Flickr, Nnenn was one of the first, if he wasn´t the first, person that marked me as a contact. I, since then, take a look at his photostream every single day. He was so prolific. Almost everyday I had a surprise, always a new Starfighter. He is, because he will never stop being, the greatest space builder on Flickr. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. They must be suffering.

    I posted the bad news on LUGBrazil and they wrote some messages:


    Terei imensa saudade das criações coloridas e estilo único de nnenn.
    Uma imensa perda para todos… que triste.

    (I´ll really miss Nnenn´s colorful creations and unique stile. A big loss for everyone…Quite sad)


    Muito triste a notícia.
    Será sempre lembrado com carinho e magnitude pelas brilhantes construções…
    Meus sentimentos a toda família.

    (Really sad news
    He always be remembered with great affection and magnetude for his brilliant creations.
    My condolences to his family.)


    Realmente a comunidade AFOL perdeu um grande construtor. Meus pêsames para os parentes e familiares.

    (The AFOL community lost a really genious builder. My condolences for his family.)


    O espaço perdeu uma grande Starbrick….

    (The space lost a big “Starbrick”)


    Rest in Peace, you were awesome, Nate.


  118. HAZEL- Lazy2010

    Almost a years half i know “Nnenn” on Flickr, you know you were an inspired me to build ,you nice guy , your own design & style always in my mind ,I never met him in US , I didn’t know his personally much too ,but i know who Nnenn was .
    brilliant builder, he changed the lego world forever and inspired hundreds of builders like me.You are one of the best builders the LEGO community will ever seen,oh , man i still remember i have exchanged comments with u last month , i can’t belive that …..

    He will be missed, Nate R.I.P.
    Nate”nnenn”. May you rest in peace .
    Goodbye~ Nnenn , we all miss you

  119. Josselin Guedes

    I’ve always enjoyed seeing Nate’s creations, and the comments he left on my mocs were always encouraging. He will be sorely missed. My condolences to his wife and sons.

  120. Michael A. Joosten

    Back a few months ago, there was a bit of unfortunate griping, when it was complained that TBB was turning into a blog that as 50% Nnenn. It’s tragic when a community only realises the value of one of its members when it loses that individual. It struck me as terrible indeed to note that, although there are dozens–hundreds, even–of unblogged Nnenn creations, there will never be a “new” Nnenn-creation to grace the pages of TBB… or Flickr… or Brickshelf… or many other parts of the online community.

    Having given so much to the community, it seems only fitting that we have one last round of Nnenn-domination of TBB. A meagre send-off, for a father and husband, but the equivalent of a 21-gun salute in our own way. He was much esteemed.

  121. Ripsaw

    As many have said repeatedly, Nnenn was a inspirational builder and one of the best in this enormous online community. Yes, there was some controversy surrounding his creations, but let this controversy be put to rest and let us remember why Nnenn held such a prominent position in our community. Nnenn will be missed without a doubt, and it’ll hit me the hardest when his frequently made creations stop showing up in my recent uploads.

    RIP Nnenn

  122. Atin

    There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said so i think i will talk about what he has done for me. Although i am new to the Lego community i have enjoyed looking through nnenn’s creations and he has inspired me to be creative try to make a name for myself. You will defiantly be missed!

  123. LC

    I’ve met nenn back in the days of Brickshelf; we never had the chance of exchanging emails; however, the way he worked with LEGO was impressive to the point that I enjoyed them.

    It’s really sad that he passed away; he was considered as one of the greatest minds and one of the pioneers of LEGO Sci-Fi. His art and techniques preceed him with his fame and glory around the LEGO Community. He shall be remembered by who he was and what he made, forever.

    Goodbye nenn; you’ll never be forgotten.

  124. Lewa Rocks

    I didn’t really know nnenn but I loved his creations. I don’t know what to say but it really saddens me that he has gone. I feel for his family and wish them the best.

  125. BJR

    I have always enjoyed his work. My best wishes, hopes and prayers go to his family in such a difficult time.

  126. Chris 'wunztwice' Wunz

    Tragic news…
    My sincerest condolences to Nnenn’s surviving wife and sons. I know the prayers and thoughts of the community are with you in this trying time.

    New creations will be much missed, but I cannot even imagine missing a husband or a daddy.

    Hats off to you!

    My best,
    Chris Wunz

  127. Chris Phipson

    All too often we are reminded of just how fragile the gift of life is. Of course his influence will be missed in the Lego community, but here I would like to take a moment to send my thoughts and prayers to his Widow and sons. You may not know us all personally, but rest assured that you are in all of our prayers.

    Deepest sympathies,
    Chris Phipson.

  128. FoxPrimus (Todd N.)

    Well this news is truly heart breaking to hear! Yet another amazing person, builder, and friend to all of us in the Lego community pass on to a new place away from this world and on to the next.

    Even though I knew very little about him, threw his beautiful building style I could feel that he had a strong love for Lego and looked at the world with wide eyes always trying to build something new and different. He always inspired me to keep trying to build in new ways and I will greatly miss seeing his posts.

    I would like to send my best wishes to his family. As Nate will always have a place in their hearts, I will always keep my memory of him close to mine.

  129. koffiemoc

    This news is saddening and confusing me more than I could’ve imagined. I’ll miss his thoughts about colour, shape, symmetry, balance and dynamics he shared so frequently and generously. 11 months ago I was new on Flickr/Lego and he was one of the first persons who made me a contact. I felt surprised and honoured, and I’ll remember him primarily for his generous sharing of ideas and vision.

  130. hewkii9

    I never knew nnenn, but I always admired his work, and just how many different shapes he could make look like a real spaceship. Rest in peace.

  131. James Shields

    This comes as a terrible shock. Nnenn was a truly inspirational builder, and his creations were always a joy of both building and presentation. I didn’t have a lot of contact with him, but we communicated quite a bit when I was organising the Neo Classic Space 30 years of Classic Space celebration, and his contributions were quite amazing and way more than I was expecting.

    I’ve written a short tribute there: http://www.neoclassicspace.com/blogs/20100414/farewell-fallen-comrade

  132. W0LF

    I never knew Nate Nielson or his family. I saw him once, had I known it was him I would have at least said hello. I’ve known Nenn for a few years, even before joining this forum. His work provoked me and challenged me to be a better builder. Having never known Nate Nielson I will still truely miss the things he brought into my life. His passing has become my calling not just to create but to connect with other builders. I have never built a Vic Viper before, I never understood the appeal, but I’ll be flying one at Brickcon for Nate and for everyone else who feels his loss.

  133. -Vulcan-

    He was a huge influence to the community with his talent and willingness to push the boundaries. He will he sorely missed.

  134. Drizdar

    Nnenn was constantly an inspiration to me. While I never knew him as a person, I always admired the beauty that he so frequently exhibited in his builds, and how he always tried to push the community to new levels of creativity. He will be missed =(

  135. luke

    wow… I;m not really sure. I’ve appreciated his talent and he was an inspiration to me. Bye nnen.

  136. Robo-Knight

    I never met Nnenn either, but for the few times that I got to communicate with him through Flickr Mail, it showed me a person that is kind, respectful and a man who’s building skill was the definition of, Top Notch.

    I can sympathize with Nielsen Family on a personal level and I am truly sorry for there lose.

    Rest In Peace Nnenn, you will always be remembered as one of the greats with a powerful and unlimited creative out put. Your Memory and your Work will live on.

    My condolences,

    -Dan Farley

  137. Matthew

    I am going to miss seeing something new and unexpected in nnenn’s photostream, but I think his family is missing him more. Now whenever I see a nnenn piece I’ll think of him. My best wishes to his family and rest in peace nnenn.

  138. Joseph "Darkkazmo" Kazmo

    Sadly, when I logged in this early morning before going to work, I was greeted with this huge tragic loss! I was shocked and somehow devastated to know one of the most influential builders we’ve witnessed online has passed away!… I was literary tearing up at work whenever this sad news keeps passing my mind. I only had the chance to trade a couple of short emails with Nnenn over the years, and all I can say, what a true gentleman he was.

    My condolences to his wife and kids, and to all his fans. No doubt, Nnenn will be dearly missed, however, his legacy will live on.

    Rest in peace, Nate.

  139. Imagination

    My condolences to Nnenn’s family and friends. The AFOL group has lost a builder of great skill. Nnenn was one of my favorite sources of inspiration. His models were always excellently designed and flawlessly built. I will miss seeing his creations on Flicker. RIP.

    -Terry Pryba

  140. Andertoons

    Wow. I mean… wow.

    The few times Nnenn posted a comment on a pic of mine meant an awful lot to me.

    To his wife and children, my deepest deepest sympathies.

    -Mark Anderson

  141. J4ke

    I’ve left this too long, since I heard the news several hours ago, but I couldn’t think of what I wanted to say.

    Nnenn was one of those rare builders who was both prolific and talented. I enjoyed his online presence, not only his building, but his comments. A few words, or just a smily face. That was Nnenn. He chose not to involve himself in the common squabbling of FOLs, but he let his models do the talking.

    He will be missed, by all of us, and most of all by his family. My condolences to his family and friends.

  142. dan

    I saw Nate’s work on flickr within the last year. I was taken aback by how well done they were. I messaged him in regard to sorting and he responded with a quick “Don’t sort by color” – which I was doing at the time ;).

    I’ve recently fully embraced my AFOL’ness and to hear of Nate’s passing really saddens me, even though I don’t know him. In this community, it doesn’t seem to matter if you know someone, everyone has a part.

    I’m still in shock and before I ramble, I will say that my thoughts are with his family – my heart goes out to you. To those who knew Nate on a more personal level, my thoughts are with you as well.

    Nate, you will be missed deeply, rest in peace.


  143. Hector Bover

    Though I am saddened by the loss of a great member of the community, I would like to take a moment to give my prayers to his family.

    Hector Bover

  144. Aaron Dayman

    Although I’m a relative newcomer to the online community and was never aware that his techniques were controversial he was one of my first contacts on flickr and one of the main reasons I’d check it every day. To me his prolific output was an unending source of inspiration and pushed me to try things I wouldn’t have thought possible. I could ramble on for hours about how tragic this is but I don’t think that’s how nnenn would’ve done it so I’ll leave it with this.


  145. Nick "Borgador" Scaovne

    Rest in peace Nnenn, you will be missed by all of us. Condolences to his family.

  146. Nicholas Carter (NZKiwi)

    Nnenn. The builder that hardly anyone knew but inspired thousands with his beautiful LEGO works of art. Like many others, I never knew the man but was forever amazed by his countless builds and attention to detail. His work will live on forever even as the man, no legend, does not; in the hearts and minds of the people he inspired.

    You will be sorely missed Nnenn.

  147. "Big Daddy" Nelson

    Nate, I hardly knew thee, but I have always been flattered and honored by your comments on my own work.

    Your MOCs will forever be synonymous with the word ‘Swoosh’ in my book. We all have so much more to learn from you, your style, and your vision.

    My condolences to the family. Rest in peace, Nnenn.

  148. Jayson

    Rest in Peace nnenn. I didn’t know you well, only bas óne of those ship-builders’ I never really was interested in, though did still look at your creations.

    Rest in peace. Whether you believe in a god or not, I’m sure there’s someone for you. Even if only in memory.

  149. Ribbits

    I never really knew Nnenn, but I always admired his work. He had an unmistakable style, that one couldn’t even tell was made of LEGO at first glance. He was a true artist, and I doubt we’ll see another like him. Rest in peace, and my sincerest condolences to your family.

  150. Jed Morgan (Potatofish)

    The LEGO community has lost a talanted and valuable member. Although many never knew him, he will be sorely missed.
    My prayers go out to his family and friends, who are no doubt going through a time of grief and sadness.

    Goodbye, nnenn. May you rest in peace.

  151. Justin S.

    I have never had the pleasure of talking with Nate Nielson, except for commenting on his stuff and his comment on one of my mocs on Brick Va. Though I still feel as though I have lost my best friend. He has inspired my style and my love for starfighters. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

  152. Gus Indo

    Nnenn was a great builder. No one can deny it, he was one of the best! I did not get to know him very well, but I did get to know his creations. I really enjoy his style and creativity in Lego. And I’m sure that you all will agree; his fighters would definitely win the “Most Swooshable” award if there ever was one.

    We won’t ever forget you Nnenn, Rest in peace.

    I know that his creations will become very, very popular in the coming days, but I’m sad that he won’t be here (on Earth at least) to see it.

  153. Zrath-Smiley

    A truly bright light of the Lego community has been extinguished.
    Like many others, I never met the man, but I was quite impressed by his imagination and cleverness. Some of his creations had the colorful and exhuberant vibe of ’70s sci-fi illustrations, which I really enjoyed.
    The shapes and the colors! They’re seared into my mind.
    I can only hope to be a quarter as talented as him.

    My deepest condolences to his family.

  154. meeotch

    As someone who doesn’t really participate in much of the online community, there are very few people of whose existence I am even aware. nnenn, however, was not counted among that group. He had a way of challenging convention and demonstrating a knowledge of self that could not be ignored. His creations inspired me to build more than just stock sets. And the joy he got from sharing his hobby with his family strikes a particularly resonant chord with me. You will be missed, nnenn, perhaps more than you could have imagined. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife and children.

  155. Muffinman42

    It is strange, how one can feel sorrow about the passing of somebody who you have never met other than though comment boxs and though looking at their stunning creations.

    I hope that the records of the hundreds of creations from spacefighters to microtanks will live on for the next generation and all following generations.

  156. Bunbrick

    Fare-thee-well; I should be needing that term to comment on his next creation, not instead this shocking news. Strength to those he leaves behind.

    Without a doubt one of the most gifted and talented AFOLs i’ve had the pleasure of enjoying creations from over the past too few years.

  157. L.G. Orlando

    Rest in Peace my fellow artist. Your passion and creations will forever inspire us all. You are in effect, immortal. I mourn your passing and rejoice in your creativity. Thank you for the inspiration…

  158. Toby Heinemann [tobyhein]

    Like so many others here, I have never met nnen in person. The news that he is no longer with us is shocking and painful, and it is my sincere regret not to be able to offer anything more than a few kind words.

    Again like so many others, to me his work was incredible and inspiring beyond belief. I once spent 6 hours browsing it, taking in the meticulously crafted detail in every build. A parallel to this man, in this field, there is none. Every word, however simple, bestowed upon my work as praise was taken as a godsend; every work he produced made me reconsider what was possible in this medium.

    If his goal was truly to go beyond convention, and convince others to do the same, then he most certainly succeeded. Few others in this community can claim such influence and prestige, but never did nnen behave in the manner such a position may encourage. Even from my little interaction with him, I can say as much.

    To those who knew him well: I can only imagine your pain. Know that you have my sympathies, and that he and his legacy will be well remembered.
    –Toby H.

  159. Mike Psiaki

    I will miss nnenn, and I barely even knew the man that was Nate Nielson. Thus, I send my condolences to his family, who, I’m sure, knew and miss him far more than I can imagine.

    Thanks for everything you brought to this community nnenn, and for some really cool builds, too.

  160. Dan Blank

    So sorry to hear this news. My deepest condolences to his wife, family and friends. Glad he was able to share a bit of his world with us.

  161. hunabkru

    Nnenn took Legos to heights very few have gone. As an artist first and foremost he was not afraid to speak his mind and reflect on the communities and societies we live and breathe in. His lively descriptions that accompanied his MOC’s were the reason I began building again. The Star fighters, alien battles and cargo carriers were all an integral part of my fascination with space in the 80’s as a child. Nnenns builds always seemed ready to take the next qualifying leap; There was an obvious risk in everyone. A goofy shaped wing, Assymetrical starships, cut legos, mega bloks,etc….
    It is a hallmark of a great artist to rouse the current establishment and bring forth a better vision of the future.
    The Lego community may never see a more prolific builder.
    My heart goes out to his family and friends, i wish you the best.

  162. Paul Kanter

    Being in somewhat of a dark age, I don’t think Nnenn ever knew I existed. I, however, certainly knew about his existance. I can’t imagine anyone not being inspired by his creations. Seeing the effect his passing has on the community, I can only imagine the loss the people who really knew him, his friends and family, must feel.

    Goodbye, Nnenn.

    Here’s a picture of him I found.

  163. R(k)

    nnenn was an inspiration, someone whose work I admired greatly. His work always inspired me and it seemed like each build had a new use for a piece I’d never seen before. His ships had such a simple appearance that disguised the complexity of the build, total geek candy. I didn’t know him personally and I have exactly one comment from him on my own pieces, but it happens to be on my favorite robot. I treasure it even more now.

    The Lego community has lost a master of the art.

    My deepest sympathy and condolences to his family, friends, and those lucky enough to have known him.

  164. Ian Muir

    Nate was one of the reasons I got back into LEGO after years of gathering dust. While I never met him in person, based on our few discussions online, I viewed him as a kindred spirit.

    My heartfelt thoughts go out to nnenn’s family.

  165. Vieral

    My deepest condolences to his family, and a great loss for the Lego community. He’ll be missed and remembered.

  166. Lich Barrister

    This thread of wishes and remembrances is quite a testament to the the power of the community fostered by the little bricks that we love, and an even greater tribute to someone who had inspired so many of us. I think that nnenn’s work was among the first five that I followed on Flickr before I joined, and it both awed and humbled me. Like so many others, I didn’t know him – I think he commented on a build or two of mine, but I’d have to check again – but his efforts to expand the art of Lego and to share his passion with his family has been inspiring for me as I grow into fatherhood. Now I wish that I’d (somehow) had the chance to chat with him, and I’ll remind myself that I’d really love to make the effort to get to a con and meet more of you.

    Like so many others here, my thoughts will be with his wife and children.

  167. Nannan

    Thanks for finding the picture Paul, it’s good to finally put a face to the name, although I still imagine nnenn as an ethereal figure. He did what the ordinary couldn’t do.

  168. Colourbrand

    Wow – so many in praise and so deep the loss. I wish his family all the help and support to get through this. Such a business is horrible and despite time, it never heals, but with good friends and support, the loss is more copeable. My thoughts are with you all at this time.

    To Nnenn – look at the legacy you have left behind – you stood as an individual, defied the critics, and inspired the masses.

    More people should be like this.

    You maybe gone, but your skills, art and name will carry on here.

    Wherever you are – be proud at what you have achieved.

  169. Daniel Z "DNL"

    I was always inspired by Nnenn’s countless starfighters and other MOCs in which he always used clever techniques and color combinations to make something unique. I never talked to him and didn’t really know him from, but i will miss his great MOCs and his helpful comments.
    My condolence to his family and friends.

  170. SJ Commander

    In reply to the edit to my last comment:

    Yes, you’re right. Fredoichi pointed that out to me on Flickr. Reason for this mistake is that I still refuse to get a facebook account and because of that I can’t read account data. Just found a pic and straight away assumed that’s him. Sorry!

  171. Victor Zuylen

    That’s terrible news… My sincerest condolences to his wife and children. All the LEGO bricks in the world can’t compare to having a father.

  172. Daniel Jassim

    As the terrible news sinks in, my heart only feels heavier. Such a tragic loss. My sympathies go to Nate’s family and everyone touched by his work. I can’t say that I knew Nate. I only shared a few words with “nnenn” across cyberspace but our few words together were always positive and rich in ideas. I wish I could’ve met him. He was my kind of Lego builder. Innovative, unconventional, passionate and bold. He knew cool. He was cool. Maybe even a bit brash but I liked it. He could be arrogant if he wanted–he was the master and every model was a lesson. He pushed the limits, broke the rules and went beyond, like a true artist does. We’re all just catching up. Not only was he an exceptional space builder but perhaps the most prolific space builder of all time. It boggles the mind to look at all he created in such a relatively short amount of time. So I am humble and very grateful for his inspiring work and I know his legacy will live on in the many, many people he’s touched.



  173. Lego Monster

    Just shocking. It is a testament to the influence of Nnenn that it is possible to feel real anguish and loss regarding a person one has never even met or spoken to. The community will not be the same without him.

  174. Solfami75

    My sincerest condolences to Nnenn’s childrens, wife, family and friends.

    His creations will be long inspiring all Lego Community.

    Rest in Peace.


  175. Becheman

    Nnenn’s work was always inspirational and always seemed to be posing a challenge to the reader, urging us to contemplate new variations and combinations, as well as to perhaps drop our predjudices against other systems. It was always a pleasure to see what his most recent release was, and I will sorely miss it.

  176. Tyler "gorgonheap" Petersen

    I never knew the man behind the screen name. But my greatest influences in the world of LEGO has come as a tight feeling in the gut and brought me to the verge of tears. Rest in peace nnenn. May God watch over your wife and kids. My prayers are with them.

  177. TargetBoy

    This makes me sad. Not much I can say that others haven’t. Seeing his work was always a bright spot in my day. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family.


  178. James Sutton

    I’m sitting here in tears and am simply too shocked and saddened to be able to take this in – One of the brightest stars in our sky just went out.

    Like many here I never met or even spoke to Nate, and knew of him only through his wonderful, wonderful models. Simply put: he was one of the most creative and inspirational builders I’ve ever seen.

    My deepest and most profound sympathies to his family and friends.


  179. Aron

    Nate, or Nnenn as we know him, was a great builder.
    it is a great loss for the AFOL community…

    May God have his soul and wake over his children and wife.
    Requiescat in Pace


  180. Uspez Morbo

    Nnenn, what a guy! His work never stopped amazing and inspiring. The comments here convey only a very small percentage of those around the world who will miss Nate daily. He touched so many people with one of his hobbies, I can only imagine what it was like to actually know him in person and how Nate’s family and friends must feel right now. My prayers go out to all of you.

  181. Josh

    Wow, I don’t even know how to begin. I read this news yesterday morning at work and I was floored. It was an incredibly busy day, but I just sat, stunned. I kept thinking it couldn’t be true, that I was missing the punchline or something. While I didn’t know Nnenn personally, like many others he had a profound effect on me. I will miss him and his MOCs immensely.

    My most heartfelt sympathy and condolences go out to his family. It appeared that he always put his family first and that warmed my heart. As a father myself, I always had this image of Nnenn sitting there with his boys and madly building his amazing spaceships.

    He will be missed more than he would have ever realized and, perhaps, more than we will ever really know.

    Peace be the journey, Nnenn.

  182. Andy

    I won’t purport to have known nnenn or to have really followed his works beyond a cursory level. Sadly, the greatest exposure I had to this individual is through learning of his tragic and untimely death. I wish the most sincerest of condolences to his family. You don’t have to know a person to empathize with the pain and loss his passing has caused.

    So while I can’t claim any past with nnenn, I am nonetheless very saddened by his death. It is the loss of a true artist. As a very intelligent man once said: “The function of the artist is to provide what life does not.” Nnenn was a true artist. His medium varied, but of course this community is familiar with what he could do with colored, plastic bricks. Create art.

    What I admire most about nnenn was his uncompromising vision for his work. At the risk of appearing rude or not taking criticism too kindly, he did what all of us should be doing: making OUR creations. Constructive feedback has its place, if perhaps your goal is to simply recreate reality. But if your goal is to create something entirely new, and to have fun in the process, then who gives a damn what others want or how they would change it. The critic doesn’t count. It’s the person putting themselves out there for judgment in the name of art and creativity that matters. He understood this and for that I admire him immensely.

    Thank you, nnenn, for sharing your art with us.

  183. NXTMonger

    Like so many others, I never got a chance to meet nnenn in real life, or even to learn his real name. It is only after his death that I learn his name. I now know we even lived relatively close together on the map; I’ve even been within range of his town several times.

    I only knew Nate by his online LEGO personality, but if that is any representation of him, he must be a very kind and generous person in the real world as well. Whenever he saw fit to comment on one of my creations he was always kind or constructive, yet brief. A suggestion from nnenn was worth more than any other review.

    Nate was my favorite builder in the Flickr community. His brilliant creations coupled with stunning presentation always made it worthwhile to look and comment on his photos, and if there was a way to have Flickr auto-fave all of nnenn’s uploads I would have used it.

    I’ll miss you, Nate.

  184. psychotic88 -Aaron

    I was very sad yesterday when I learned of Nnenn’s (Nate) passing. I just emerged from a Lego dark age 2 years ago and Nnenn’s photostream was one of the first I subscribed to on Flickr. He was an amazing builder. I loved his unconventional piece cutting and megablok usage. One of my favorite things about Nnenn’s postings were his imaginary descriptions. They ignited my imagintion and whenever I post a description I always think to myself what type of description would Nnenn write. His line last march of classic space vs. the Ugokin menace was my favorite of all his artwork. It inspired me and sparked my imagination. During the starfighter contest last march Nnenn commented on my ship and I was as excited as a little kid to recieve praise form such a prolific builder. Nnenn you have inspired an untold number of AFOL’s and children with your artistic and beautiful lego designs. You will be missed.

    I pray that you rest in peace and my prayers go out to your family in their great time of loss.

  185. Voran

    I am a castler by trade, and Nnenn was one of those builders who inspired me to break out of my chosen theme and at the same time discouraged me because of the high standard of excellence he exhibited. He shall be sorely missed and my heart goes out to his family. May God be with you through this tragedy.

  186. Rybosomes

    I only knew him by his creations that he shared with us. There was a lot of genius in his work and an inspiration to many.

  187. Valgarise

    The Nnenn miss is a shock all the community.

    Nnenn, thanks for your contribution, inspiration and talent gift for all of us. You will be on our hearts.

    My deepest condolence for his family.

  188. RetroRocket

    Nnenn’s creations more than any other caused me to re think and develop my own technique. To push the boundary’s of what I do, to stretch myself and aim higher. Each model he posted was a challenge – ‘you can do better’ it would say, and I have listened. I will try.

    I didn’t know Nnenn, I didnt post messages in his photo-stream and am not an active member of the community, but news of his death has caused me great sadness and I will miss his work

    My sympathies to all those that knew him and loved him

  189. Perry (aka Smudgely)

    Damn this is so sad – I hope it doesn’t sound trite to eulogise a guy for being fantastic at building with a kids toy but he was a fantastically clever bloke. I often wondered what his art was like in his day job. He also smoked me out on Classic Space forum a couple of years back after I posted something on Brickshelf and provoked me to unlurk – so I owe the man a debt of gratitude for helping me come to terms with being an AFOL and giving me some encouragement.

    My personal fave legacy of Nnenn’s was the whole IATTAR thing he kicked off, that and the Vic Viper craze. He really knew how to encourage people to play and realised the potential of social media (ie Flickr) to inspire creative conversation.

    Sincere condolences to the family and I really feel for his kids who have lost what must have been such an attentive and loving father.

    RIP Nate

  190. Publius (Ken)

    It is with great sadness that I discovered the passing of an individual that shared a passion as I (we) do.

    Not just the passion for the brick, but also the passion of sharing and spending the time with his children. As a father myself, I know there is no better time spent then the time devoted to those who mean the most to us, our children, our family. My heartfelt sympathy to Nate’s wife and children in this most difficult time.

    May you always remember your Husband and Father for what he was and what they had accomplished. Take up his torch and continue where he left off. By the sheer number of responses, know now that you are not alone in your grief and we too will remember.

    I too only knew his online persona as Nnenn. One of the things that had gotten me back into the art after a large dark age was seeing his never ending updates on Flickr or Brickshelf. The sheer constant stream of new moc’s was astounding. Quality was always matched with the quantity. I’m going to miss it all.

    Rest in peace and may you have an unlimited supply of the parts you always wanted.

  191. united brick (Jason Jang)

    I am sad although I have only seen his mocs and posts over flicker every space… no EVERY one who reads this blog or goes on CS fourms and many other lego fans will remember him not only as a builder but as a human. I barely knew him but it gives sadness in my heart he is passed away. I hope this tribute goes on.


  192. Tradakk

    I must admit, I never knew this man, but… wow.
    The amount of compassion shown on this single webpage is inspiring. I’ve always wondered about memorials posted on webpages, if the people reading them realize that these memorials remember actual people, not just a profile and a collection of posts and pictures. I’m… touched. Thank you guys for respecting, honoring, and remembering that every one of us online is an actual person, and not just a set of words.

  193. frogo

    I hate to say this, but I hadn’t checked bb in a while, so when I saw nnenn’s creations all over the page, I was pretty pissed off. Then I reached this post… and I really don’t know what to say.

    The sad thing is, what I remember most about him, besides his creations, was the amount of derision at times directed at him.

    Rest in peace.

  194. Brendan Powell Smith

    If ever we needed more of a sign that either God is heartless and cruel, or far more likely, as nnenn himself believed, doesn’t exist, this is surely it. I feel sick with grief and take no comfort in fairy tales about “where Nate is now”.

    I suggest that we, as a community, take whatever steps necessary to ensure that nnenn’s incomparable body of LEGO creations remain accessible online for generations to come.

  195. DaveT

    So many of his creations are so much better than what’s being created and sold by Lego in similar themes. Such a shame his skills weren’t taken advantage of for the benefit of us all, that we may have been able to purchase kits of his creations.

  196. Roran

    The reality hasn’t even set in yet.

    I never talked to him, and I just recently found out his name, but as many will agree, he was role model and an inspiration. I always got excited whenever I saw a thumbnail that said underneath “From nnenn”.

    My thoughts go out to his family in their time of sorrow.

    Rest in peace, Nate nnenn Nielson.

  197. Benjamin

    Like most, I have never seen or communicated with him in any way, yet he is the reason why i build sci-fi legos today

    an inspiration

    may god bless your soul

  198. TooMuchDew

    Nnenn was my 3rd Flickr contact and the first to leave a comment. I’ve since followed his work with much admiration. This quote of Nate’s from the TBB interview is my favorite: “But it’s pretty nice to create something that’s entirely mine… without an endless list of changes based more on personal preference than visual evaluation.” His brilliant use of color and uncompromising artistry with a childrens’ toy will continue to amaze and influence the AFOL community for years to come. The fact that he was a family man who enjoyed sharing his hobby with his boys made me like him even more though we never met. My most heartfelt condolences go to Nate’s widow and two sons.

  199. eszx

    I have enjoyed his work online. It is tough to lose someone in the AFOL community. He will be missed very much. Rest in peace Nate.

    My condolences to his wife and family.

  200. Nolnet

    It’s weird. Just as everyone else I had deepest respect for nnenn, the legend. For his prolific output, his inspiring sense of shape and colour, and also for his influence to the community. And yet, I rarely commented on his pics or exchanged opinions with him in all those various flickr groups. The latter mostly due to my limited abilities to express my thoughts in english.

    The former, however, because I often dismissed his latest creation just as „another nnenn“ and barely even looked at it. I just knew it would be spot on first rate design, but I didn’t expect something really new. Perhaps because I’m just not that much into starfighters, who knows. Yet, the knowledge that there will be no more nnenn creations I could skip over in my flickr stream rendered me sorely shocked.

    I’ve had two and a half immensly busy work days since I learned the sad news, but all too often I would find myself staring blankly at my screen, browsing the comments and condolences here and on flickr, trying but failing to write something appropriate and fighting the urge to tear up. Like many have stated before me, it’s utterly amazing how the loss of someone I never knew, saw, or spoke to can affect ones feelings.

    I had plans to write nnenn a personal message this week. To ask for help in the current lugnuts-challange, because his username starts with an „n“, like mine. I imagined he would produce an outstandingly awesome car, if I was able to push the right buttons, (those Keith couldn’t reach as it seems). It would’ve been my first personal exchange with him. I’m floored that this conversation, not even his rejection, will never happen.

    As much as I mourn in my own, online-community kind of way, my thoughts are with nnenns real family and his real-life friends. May they gain some strength by the fact, that hundreds of people of all ages and from remote foreign places share their grief.


  201. Raphy

    I concur with everyone else – nnenn’s creations will amaze and floor people who practice with LEGO bricks as an art, from ages young and old, not for years to come – forevermore. He was a legend and will be remembered.

    Rest in peace, man.

  202. DutchRebel

    Nnenn, your work was an inspiration. Your creativity and devotion will be missed. But you will be more missed by your sons and wife, so my condolences to them.

    Good to see so many comments on this thread!

    Hang in there

  203. Tiberius

    It is truly amazing that what a huge impact Nate had on this community. I only knew him through his works but his brilliance and ingenuity inspired us all.

    He will be sorely missed.

    May you rest in peace.

  204. Chris Parkinson

    I have spent the time since I found out about Nate’s passing reflecting on a lot of things. I can identify with him as a father as I have sons very close in age to his. My heart goes out to his family in this difficult time.

    I always felt honored when he commented on my work – a legendary builder taking time to look and comment on my work. It inspires me to take the time to tell others positive things about their work.

    I will always appreciate his uncompromising skill and artistic expression.

    Keep building.

  205. Andy

    Has any consideration been given to the idea that we vote on nnenn’s three (or five, or ten) best MOCs and have them available as My Creation sets from LEGO (obviously, with the family’s blessing).

    I wonder if LEGO would be open to the idea that all profits from such sales would go to either a fund or foundation to assist his family in this time of need.

    That way, not only would nnenn’s creations live on and be available for all lovers of LEGO, it would help his family directly via the same hobby that he loved.

  206. Marc Nelson Jr.


    “Has any consideration been given to the idea that we vote on nnenn’s three (or five, or ten) best MOCs and have them available as My Creation sets from LEGO (obviously, with the family’s blessing).

    I wonder if LEGO would be open to the idea that all profits from such sales would go to either a fund or foundation to assist his family in this time of need.

    That way, not only would nnenn’s creations live on and be available for all lovers of LEGO, it would help his family directly via the same hobby that he loved.”

    Outstanding idea, Andy.

  207. Chris Watkins

    In light of nnenn’s propensity for construction heresy, the following lyrics come to mind:

    “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
    The sinners are much more fun…

    You know that only the good die young”

    Even in my absence from building I have kept up with current trends and models. Nnenn’s work always caught my eye.

    Goodbye, nnenn.

  208. Ryan Rubino

    Over the past few years I’ve rarely missed or failed to look at the latest “nnenn” creation in my contacts section on flickr. Through such an incredible library of work he always managed to find a fresh perspective on spacecraft design that kept me coming back for more. He always seemed to find time to leave a brief reply to indicate he was looking at fellow builders creations and liked what he saw. Nate’s boundless creativity and thought provoking conversation will certainly be missed.

  209. Jeff Findley

    I’m completely bummed by this news. “nnenn” brought a unique and artful style to Lego Space. He will be sorely missed.

  210. buriedbybricks

    When I first saw this, I didn’t know what to say and I still don’t.
    The community may have lost an icon, but all I can think about are his sons and mine.
    I hope they always remember the things he taught them and the time they shared…

  211. Weston Millar

    We have just braved the loss of a legend on the online community.. A man I only knew by his creations, and I am crying like I lost my parents.. I am going to put as much time and effort as humanly possible into my viper for he formation.

    R.I.P Nnenn

  212. Sam

    Nnenn’s work, was some of the first I saw, and it was what really pulled me from my dark ages and into building again. He was one of the first builders I started following, and was a good reason to check Flickr daily.

    Every time I felt myself slipping back to those dark ages, his was one of the few Photostreams I could look through all the way back to page one. Each creation inspiring me to build, and giving me ideas.

    When I had posted a star-fighter, inspired by his very creations. When I checked the activity, to see that he had commented, I wanted to build even more. With a simple “Keep it up.”, I felt so much more inspired.

    It’s sad, that I don’t think Nate will ever have known the sheer amount of people that he has inspired. Not just those who followed his Flickr, or left comments on his work, but all that were lucky enough to see one of his creations. He really is a true inspiration.

    My regards to his wife and two sons.

    Rest in peace, Nate.

  213. LouieTommo

    I don’t know what to say…
    I will miss Nnenn who inspired and encouraged others. I will never take for granted again a single moment spent playing LEGO with my son.

  214. Euphreana

    Nnenn, though many of us never were able to meet you in person, thank you for everything you gave. We’ll really miss you.

  215. Donovan Driver

    I never knew nnenn personally, nor have I ever spoken with him but that never stopped me from nearly fav’ing everything he posted on Flickr. The only Lego creation that I posted did get a “:-)” from nnenn and for me, that was such a huge compliment coming from someone who was truly a master of art. It saddens me that my photostream will look a little less imaginative. Peace be with you and yours.

  216. Fred

    Goodbye Nnenn,

    We didn’t knew each other at all but you were a big part of my lego life. Thank you for the inconditional love that you’ve put in the brick. This is what you shared with all of us and now it’s spreading all around.

    My kindest regards goes to the family and close friends.

    Fred from Paris.

  217. Mark (Brickplumber) Borlase

    What more is there to say that everyone else has not already said, but here a little something. I know when I got a comment from Nnenn and other respected builders that it meant it was a worthy build. I will miss the creations he would have built, but he will live on everytime I check out his previous masterpieces. RIP Nate and all my best to his family, he will be missed.

  218. ThePeej

    I’ve heard it said; the good die young… It’s a shame that such clichéd phrases are so often proven accurate…

    To me, Nnenn was glaringly obviously EXCELLENT at three things: Building with Lego, being a Father, and inspiring other designers/creatives by sharing his techniques and philosophy’s openly.

    In these respects he has inspired me to no end. That I may one day witness a glimpse of his prolific creative output is a lofty purist passion of mine. He turned pass time into grand inspiration. Not only in the QUALITY of his designs, and the CONSTANT pleasant surprise I felt when looking at his models, but the presenTATION of it all. He not only had AMAZING skills at building & shooting his models, but he SHARED them with everyone. Invited others to participate. Broke down & revealed his techniques to fuel the success of others. Shared his love for his craft, his work, his family, his legacy.

    I’ve also heard said; that the best teacher, is someone who loves what they are doing, in front of you. Nnenn loved to build, and loved his family.

    For this he will always have my utmost respect and adoration. And through his work I will forever be motivated to do the same.

    I pray that we may maintain his Flickr & Brickshelf accounts at all costs, as inspiration for future builders, and hopefully his Children.

    And that we may all find an increased drive to follow through with building legacies as testament to our creative spirits, both in Lego form and otherwise.

    I may only hope I have the strength to leave behind as many positively inspired pupils as he has.

    Always happy to engage. Happy to share. Happy to be doing what he enjoyed in the company of those he loved.

    My only direct message from him, came in the form of a very politely worded request for me to sensor a rather vulgar reaction I’d had to one of his DELIGHTFUL Vic Viper Builds:

    “Hey, thanks for your last comment but my (young) boys sometimes read them. I don’t feel like explaining your reference… if you know what I mean. Mind cleaning that on up?
    I’d appreciate it,

    Mind Cleaning it Up?! I was honored to be educated and elevated by you at every point of connection, but this one especially. Thank you for being a true gentleman.

    You live forever as a light for us all to walk towards.

    My 1.5 year old Nephew and I built a tower of Lego today in your honor.

    I humbly thank you.

  219. John

    One of the best lost to us way too soon.

    “The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”

  220. The Creator

    Nnenn was such a great builder. Now, he is probably out there somewhere, building Lego like he never had before. Goodbye Nnenn, you will be greatly missed. ;(

  221. Gad Mishori

    I’m mostly an AFOL from afar. I follow the work of the community, and take joy in viewing great creations. To me, nnenn’s work seemed so unique, it was hard to believe it’s Lego. It was always very organic, imaginative, beautiful. And his constant stream of new creations made them an integral part of my weekly visits to the Brothers Brick.
    I was shocked by the terrible news, and surprised that I should feel so saddened by the tragic passing of a man I knew only through his Lego creations. It’s painful to realize no new nnenn’s creations are ever coming again.
    My deepest condolences to his loved ones.

  222. tpcowan

    I never had the privelege of knowing Nnenn personally, but I always looked forward to viewing his creations. He has left an indelible mark on the lego community, and I can only imagine the impact that he had in the lives of the people who knew and loved him. My deepest condolences to his family. I have no doubt that his insatiable desire to share and push the creative envelope will continue to inspire people. Farewell, Nnenn. You will be greatly missed in so many lives.

  223. Eleanor Weisman

    My husband and I are Art Educators and as academics have been following the on-line LEGO community. We were always most impressed with Nnenn’s MOCs, his use of color, and most importantly, his ability to motivate dialogue and critique. Several conversations between Nnenn and builders of all ages have been very inspirational to us as models of how true educators can guide others to reach their potential. His work and his spirit of dialogue will be greatly missed.

  224. John (chibifozz) Frank

    I am new to the site and have only been browsing it for the last year or so, therefore I’m not very familiar with the artists that the Mod’s put up. Although, after seeing how many pics have been posted in the last week as a tribute to Nate, I didn’t realize how many of the pieces that I was very impressed with and ispired by were by him. The Lego community and, from the other posts I’ve read from people who knew him, humanity as a whole has lost out on an awesome individual. My heart and prayers are with the Nielson family during their time of mourning.

    R.I.P Nate Nielson

  225. Brickapolis

    I created a Flickr account towards the end of summer a couple of years back. Within a couple of days I had found nnenn’s work and added him as a contact. I never regretted it.

    It seems that every week he would put out an amazing spaceship that would leave me lost for words. I would always find some inspiration in the way he put parts together, the way he photographed his MOCs, the way he commented on discussion boards in the many groups he was active in, and his amazing endless creativity.

    I never knew his name. I never met him face to face. Yet I feel like I knew him as well as any friend.

    I know I will miss him. I know we all will. I am amazed by how the whole online community has come together to remember a very special members passing; it’s amazing how MANY people can be touched through the power of the internet.

    I hope to see nnenn live on through the renaming of a certain part in his honor, the creation of memorial t-shirts, engraved bricks, and tributes at conventions. It’d be a shame to let such a profound soul be forgotten.

    Nnenn, you will be missed. Rest in peace.

  226. spinner11

    I never knew him but I LOVED what he made. He was like a god of Lego that knew what others would like and dislike. His spacecrafts, cars, and cool scenes will be remembered in our hearts. R.I.L. ( rest in Lego ).

  227. Jarek 'Jerac' Ksiazczyk

    I just… don’t know proper words. I tried writing a proper eulogy since I knew about nnenn’s unfortunate accident, yet anything I wrote was stupid, pathetic or just didn’t truly reflect my feelings.

    I will mourn his passing in silence.

  228. Teleri

    I didn’t know him at all, I never spoke to him, I never even know how to, but i have always admireed him, he was alway one of the best out there, and by far one of my fav builders out there, he had a phenominal skill with lego and I’m sure he was just as good without a brick in hand, and that people loved him, I am proud to admire him, but wish I could have known him more, even just spoken to him.

    I’m know for a fack that he will be remebered long after his time,


  229. Christopher Morrison

    I had never heard of Nate “nnenn” Nielson until I started reading the articles here on The Brothers Brick. I would like to extend my condolences to his family.

    I saw a few of his LEGO models here and I was hooked. I took the time to look at his entire collection on Flickr. Nate was an extremely talented builder, and his models stuck a chord with me. I appreciate the subtle details without going overboard.

    I sincerely hope his designs will remain available to the LEGO community as a tribute and an inspiration.

  230. CrispyF

    I really hope that any comment I leave doesn’t seem in any way offhand or trite. I only knew of nenn through this site, but when a man designs something, no matter how small, it will contain a tiny facet of himself in some way. His designs speak volumes.

    My thoughts to his family.

  231. spinner11

    Dear reader-
    My other commet was not the way I realy feel. I reach out to the kids because I can not evan think about if I lost my Lego obsessed uncle. Any way I can not hink of any proper words to say so be strong and keep him in your heart and Lego. R.I.P.


  232. spinner11

    I began getting teary eyed when I read this. My friend asked “Why do I care he wan not a friend of yours?” I replied with ” I didn’t lose a friend We all lost a great brother.” He still dose not understands that when your a Lego builder other builders are family. We ALL will miss you.
    your lego building family.

  233. Jonathan David Page

    To date, I’ve been a lurker. I don’t build very often, but I greatly enjoy looking at the models that the more active members have built. The best of these was nnenn – he consistently produced models which blew my mind. Hearing of the death of nnenn was like hearing that some famous public figure had died – it just didn’t seem possible.

    The loss to the community is devastating, as many before me have stated and shown, and the loss to his family is still greater. I will be praying for them.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is: R.I.P. Nate Nielson – I never knew you or even had the privilege of interacting with you, but your passing saddens me, and I shall miss the pleasure of seeing new nnenn models.

  234. Andrew Saada

    Nate, your attention to detail and craftsmanship are amazing and esteemed and undoubtedly will continue to influence the community at large. Your sons had one of the coolest dads around and I know they knew it. My prayers for your wife, children and friends at this time.

    Andrew Saada

  235. Joshua Stricker

    As a person, I knew very little about nnenn, but as a builder, every one knew who he was. Whenever I had a bad day, I would look at his MOCs, and smile, because THIS one guy, this fantastic builder, was dong what he loved. He inspires me, and he will truly be missed.

    Rest In Peace, Nate

  236. Chris Pitt

    Nnenn was the whole reason I decided to pull out my lego and return from my dark ages. The first time that I saw his work really opened an entire new world to me of what could be accomplished with lego. It is truly hard to grasp the situation. I know that I will never be even close to the same level of expertise as nnenn, but he will continue to inspire me to challenge myself and to strive to do the best that I can. There is no doubt that a legend will be dearly missed.

    My condolences

  237. PandaRanger99

    I only ever saw his vic viper, but I still cried when I read this. I never talked to him or met him but I will miss him.

  238. Fergus Barker

    I have only just gotten into the online lego community but I can see that Nate was certainly a talented builder and will be missed by the whole community

  239. Matthew Maulfair

    Though never meeting Nnenn in person, or even to this day not knowing how to actually pronounce his screen name, and even though I never had him listed as a contact, I have always been inspired by his work.

    Nnenn wasone of those builders that I never listed as a contact but went to his photostream once or twice a week to see what he had built lately. I have never been a space builder, or even dabbled in that genre, let alone even glance at the “LEGO Space” groups or its varients on flickr. But Nnenn was the one builder that I actually paid attention to.

    And we can only imagine where he is now. He could be building with the angels, or soaring through the unexplored realms of space in a Vic Viper.

    Rest in peace, you will be missed.

  240. Ryan Vice

    This is a message from the community at http://www.theleakylounge.co.cc, We didn’t know you too well, but were truly inspired by your creations. What a sad way to end your life, you still remain a part of us today and continue to live on in our hearts, we all miss you.

    Ryan Vice and theleakylounge teenage fans of lego community

  241. Jeremy Vylon

    Your creations are truly amazing, and so were you. This is a very sad way to end a life that still had years left. You weren’t just an ordinary builder, you were more than that. Your family must be going through such a tough time. Rest in peace,


    Please email a photo of your favourite creation created by Nnenn and a message for him or his family to admin@theleakylounge.co.cc
    all accepted messages will be posted to theleakylounge website.

  242. Blake


    I had seen his creations, looked at them in aw. Unfortunatly, never told him how good they were. Nate, mate-they are all great!

    I have lost aquitences through accidents and know how painful it is for familys.

    Farewell and my heartfelt condolences to his family


  243. Bill Bulloch

    I could never say that I knew the enigmatic NNENN, but his design work was a true inspiration and source of encouragement for me as an artist and designer. Just when I thought i’d see everything that could be achieved with LEGO, a scan of his blog would completely bake my noodle all over again.

    A colourful incandescence has gone from my day, cant begin to imagine the void his passing will have left at home.


  244. Craig Thomson

    I am very saddened by the news, he is a great loss to the lego community. I personally will miss his comments and designs. He will always remain a massive influence in my interest in Lego.
    Nenn: Lego’s most prolific builders.

  245. M'Kyuun

    I knew Nnenn only by the volume and complexity of his creations. An aspiring builder, I looked often to his creations for solutions, and usually just found myself doing more browsing through creation after creation than actual research. His brilliance and talent were exceedingly manifest, and I greatly lament the passing of a man I never knew. However impressive the creations, however, the impression that lingered with me was his devotion to his boys, of which his captions often spoke, and it spoke volumes.
    My sincerest condolences to Nate’s wife and sons for their loss; may you find strength in each other.

  246. Elliot Claveau

    I stopped building some years ago but I wanted to keep a link with this community. I kept only 2 bookmarks : TBB and nnenn’s photostream. I checked everyday and it was always a part of the week I enjoyed alot when he had a new creations. I’ll miss him for sure.

  247. Chad K.

    Just recently, I have just seen a few pieces of his work, and I was surprised at how smart he was with bricks and building, but when I heard his passing, i was shocked. Even though I didn’t know him, I will miss seeing his new creations. You will be missed greatly, Nnenn.

  248. William Q. Attwood

    Nnenn made wonderful builds, and I will be looking at them in awe for years to come. He was an inspiring man. Love and light to his family and friends.

  249. legomaniacman

    I can’t believe I never heard of his great work till now, and just knowing there will be no more is heart breaking enough. I love his star fighters, gives me inspiration to make my own and will be in memory when I build some

  250. Mark Kupietz

    I spoke with Nate a few times, but didn’t really know him. I had a great respect for him as an artist; more than any builder I know.

    I admired him for his individuality in the Lego community which I’m sure carried through in the rest of his life.

    I pray the Lord will comfort his wife and two sons.

  251. Christopher Bellerose

    My heart goes out to his friends but especially his family. I build with my daughter every morning and often in the evenings. She’s still very young and doesn’t know much more about LEGO than it’s a lot of fun. Daddy builds blue and gray spaceships and uses the boring old space men, in a year or so, she’ll be able to understand why. In a few years, she’ll be able to understand why those pieces and shapes are so important to me… Seeing his work really got me back into building. He will continue to be a great inspiration for a long time. I hope to see more on his work and hear his name on The Brothers Brick for years to come. And yes, I’ll admit to my kids how I was confused that Nnenn and Nannan were two different people entirely. (thanks for the correction guys)

  252. Mihcael Rutherford

    His work was very influential, very controversial, and it will continue to serve as a standard against which many Lego builders judge their own efforts.

    I offer my condolences to Nate’s wife and sons for their loss.

  253. JD Luse

    I have a feeling the emptiness in our Lego community will be felt for as long as everyone who was inspired by him continues to build. He was one who was hardly felt as a peer, but more as a master. A master whose works will continue to inspire even after his passing.

    My prayers go out to Nate’s family and to all those who were touched by his life.

  254. Crimso Giger

    There’s already 293 comments on this very sad information, so I won’t be original. The community has lost a legendary builder… I didn’t knew nnenn since a very long time, to be honest – But every time I saw one of his MOCs I was deeply amazed. I love his unorthodox approach of Lego, his art of presentation, his skills and his sense of colors. He had also made something really cool with the NoVVember Vic Vipers challenge. He was a great designer and artist. RIP nnenn, hope you’ll in a Lego paradise now. Condolences to your family…

  255. Glen

    I was building yesterday, and I came across an elastic holder. Only I didn’t call it an elastic holder anymore. To me, it is now a “nnenn brick”. I set it on my shelf, so that everytime I go to build, I will build in his memory.


  256. Chris L

    I didn’t know Nnenn personally. But followed his work for quite a while since I first stumbled across it I think on Brickshelf originally.
    This is certainly a tragedy, for his family, and for us in the Lego community.
    He was an inspiration to a lot of people, and will continue to be so.

  257. Oliver Beasley

    I’ve only been on here as a viewer and not a maker, but it’s truly shocking for any community when a truly spectacular contributor is lost. I have few words for I barely knew him, but I mourn the loss as much as anyone.

  258. Paul B. Hartzog

    I am greatly saddened to hear of this tragedy.

    I did not know Nate well, hardly at all in fact, but am deeply indebted to him for provoking the entire Lego Space community into a deep, meaningful, contentious, furor of activity around pushing the limits of building styles and attitudes.

    We all learned a lot from his work and his presence. He will be sorely missed.


    -Paul B. Hartzog

  259. Imagine Rigney

    Both my mom and I have been clicking through all the amazing builds Nate posted and feel awed all over again by his ability. What a sad, sad thing for his boys to lose such a great dad. Probably one of the coolest dads ever….really.

  260. Steve Roe

    For years I was amazed at Nnenn’s artistic talent and obvious passion for the craft of LEGO building. I hope the afterlife met him with an ample supply of colorful bricks.

    To his wife and children, I trust you can take some solace in the fact that his creative vitality touched so many lives in such a wonderful, edificating and positive way.

    May he live on through his influence in all LEGO builders, and in those to come who will no doubt wonder at his legacy.

  261. The Lego Loᴙikeet (flickr)

    Nnenn will be missed by us all, just like portaldude this is very saddening news. May he rest in piece. ;_;

  262. Ramone

    I’m so sorry to hear this news. I only knew of Nnenn as his online/Lego persona and his brilliant builds. It’s so disheartening to think there won’t be any new ones from him in the future. I wish his family all the best.

  263. David Hamilton

    I’ve never really participated here before, and only been reading the past few months, but as I read through the Brothers Brick archives, Nnenn’s models never failed to jump out at me, so I felt I should put my own two cents’ worth in. I’ve been in my own Dark Ages for probably fifteen years now, but I can cite Nnenn’s endless array of fantastic spacecraft in all shapes and sizes, more than anything else, as my personal inspiration for getting back into building. Every time I would see another of his works highlighted here, I would invariably find myself thinking “This guy is amazing… I wish I could make stuff as awesome as this.” If just the sight of his work can have such an effect on a random stranger browsing a website, I can only imagine the kind of positive influence he was on his family and everyone else in his own life. My sincerest condolences to his family… And for my own part, I will just endeavour to honour his memory by building as cool and as interesting space creations as I can. I considered building a Vic Viper in his honour, but I can think of no better tribute to a builder like him, who stood out for his creativity and originality, than to just take those as lessons from him, and to be as creative and original as possible in my own work.

  264. mark rushworth

    i caught some of nnenns work by accident on flickr which lead me here, now i get lego for birthdays and xmas as he fuelled my desire to get back into it. i could never understand how he achieved the fine finnish on pieces and this is something i strive towards.. rip dude.

  265. Aegrus

    Nnenn was one of the first builders I stumbled upon a year or so ago that motivated me to pursue Lego as an adult hobby. Although, I’m not a confident builder I can say with the utmost confidence that Nnenn is one of the most creative and skilled builders around. His builds are so clean and colorful, so intricate and technical, so fun and inspiring.

    I only had the pleasure of interacting with him once, briefly. However, being pretty consistent lurker of the community I know that Nnenn was definitely a good and kind soul.


    As is evident by these postings he will be greatly missed but never forgotten.

    My sincerest condolences to his family as they have lost more than just a hero they have lost a husband and a father.

  266. Brian Cooper

    I was randomly browsing brickshelf and saw something that alluded to the demise of nnenn. An anxious, increasingly unhappy web investigation led here.

    nnenn was the sort of creative spark that you’d like to think was preserved, somehow…

    Imagine an alien race, in another dimension, fighting a war, at the edge of defeat, resources drained, bereft of ideas… then one engineer slumped over a drafting table, half asleep from exhaustion, sits bolt upright and shouts, “I have an idea for a new fighter! It’s beautiful! It just popped into my head! We can win this!”

  267. Liam Faris

    I never knew nnenn. I think that goes for a lot of people here. Yet I have seen all of his creations with a sense of pride and a sense of wonder. I was proud that the Lego community had nnenn as our vanguard of creativity, and his creations were truly spectacular. I am utterly at a loss for words to express how sad this makes me. I just hope he knows he is truly missed by every single member of the Lego community.

  268. Matt Freese

    nnenn was my inspiration for getting back into Legos. I always anticipated his latest release. Farewell to the greatest builder I have ever seen.

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