Monthly Archives: July 2012

Victorian III and Victorian IIIB

Here are two similar creations built by Softa Rae. Original one is a few years old, while IIIB is just completed. It was build as a commission for some very lucky girl – it will be used as her doll house! Doll and the dogs are the only 3 non-LEGO elements in this build – all other 17.000 are pure LEGO. III and IIIB have some differences, the main one being the color – while III uses sand blue, IIIB is medium blue. Here you can see older one next to her other model, Victorian V.

Both models feature a full playable interior – house opens up for you to play. If you still haven’t seen her work, be sure to check out all of her houses, new and old on MOCpages, or her website.

Dawn Rock Castle

When something this marvelous and huge pops up on the internet, there isn’t much to say. Just lay back in your chair and enjoy the pictures. What I like the most about this castle built by LegoLord isn’t just the size, but the fortified and massive feel it gives. It looks like it serves its purpose well – defense. I would feel safe inside this one.

Dawn Rock Castle

The Hob

Alex Jones (Orion Pax) is ready to cruise with Snoop and the boyz in his new lowrider, “The Hob”. He will be bouncin’ down the road, with fully functional hydraulics, working lights, RC, plenty of chrome, and even an MP3 player complete with speaker.

When I was in high school I thought it would be fantastic to have a lowrider…I hadn’t thought about it for years, but this makes me want a real one again! Would a 2004 VW Golf look odd as a lowrider???

The Hob

Here is a video of it in action:
The Hob Rc Lowrider

For all the pics, visit Alex’s website.

Pete Reid’s hardsuit on CUUSOO is too much awesome

After my rant yesterday about LEGO CUUSOO, I was gently reminded that there are indeed some really original projects that deserve broad support from LEGO fans everywhere. We love Peter Reid‘s greebtacular hardsuits so much we’ve followed their evolution over the years.

Pete recently his latest iteration on CUUSOO a little while ago, and it’s hit 5,000 supporters — giving it a chance that we can get it to 10,000.

LEGO hardsuit by Pete Reid on CUUSOO

Look for us to continue supporting great, original projects like this here on TBB. I’ve supported it, and hope many of you out there join me.

Tiny rocket blasts off into space

Somehow, iridescent nohow manages to build a massive-looking rocket from (as far as I can tell) only nine or ten pieces. With gold such a key color in many spacecraft, particularly ingenious is the inverted rocket stage and fiery blast, connected by — you guessed it — the One Ring to Rule Them All:

Rocket Launch

The rest of this talented builder’s photostream is also well worth a lengthy perusal. Check out this Seussian landscape from The Lorax:

The Lorax

The Circle is Now Complete!

This is the STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI Chess set. It is the 3rd and final installment in a series of three LEGO Star Wars chess sets that Brandon Griffith built in celebration of the Original Star Wars Trilogy. Check out the other two sets; A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

Will you play the Light Side?

or the Dark Side?

Happy 7th birthday to The Brothers Brick! – the 2011/2012 LEGO year in review

Today is the seventh birthday of The Brothers Brick! Well, it was actually yesterday, but I was out having dinner with my wife — as I said last year, real life always comes before LEGO. ;-)

It’s been another year of growth and change in the LEGO fan community, and as I think back over the past twelve months, a couple themes emerge in my mind.

More ways to get your TBB fix

In the past year, we’ve enabled you, our readers, to access TBB posts far beyond just the website and its RSS feed. “Like” TBB on Facebook and follow @BrothersBrick on Twitter to get the latest TBB posts without leaving your other favorite websites.

As always, the Bricking Newsicon app created by Ace Kim from FBTB gives you a native iPhone experience for posts from TBB, FBTB, and other LEGO fan sites.

The Brothers Brick on FacebookI’m also working on making itself more mobile-friendly, but can’t quite get the plugin and mobile themes to cooperate to my liking. We’ll get it right before rolling it out.

Hey, TBB! Flog this on your blog!

The LEGO Group and the LEGO fan community have wholeheartedly embraced crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding.

Last October, TLG opened LEGO CUUSOO to Beta users outside Japan. In January, LEGO launched ReBrick, for sharing and highlighting LEGO models from around the web (a project I had the opportunity to work with LEGO on in its early stages and that I’ve wanted to see grow organically, without too much interference from us).

LEGO fans have also embraced KickStarter, Etsy, and other social-commercial hybrids to fund and sell LEGO-related projects outside “official” LEGO channels.

The last six months have seen a major increase in requests to highlight — and thereby throw the blog’s referral traffic behind — CUUSOO and Kickstarter projects, alongside Rebrick contests and Etsy stores.

I’m especially troubled by the patterns I see across CUUSOO projects. For example, we were spammed over several weeks by dozens of copy/paste messages from what I’m assuming are a bunch of children (based on a general lack of adherence to the norms of adult communication) supporting a project that would get them a hundred minifigs from a movie franchise for which LEGO already has a license, and for which LEGO has explained repeatedly that they are contractually barred from releasing minifig-only items. And yet the project had over 8,000 supporters at the time.

I wish nothing but success to many of the projects I see — many of them created by good friends or supported by other contributors here on the blog. But there’s an interesting contrast between the science-oriented models that generated the first two successful CUUSOO projects in Japan (the Shinkai submarine and Hayabusa satellite) and two of the first global/American CUUSOO projects to hit 10,000 supporters, which were inspired by popular video games.

Far too many projects propose sets or themes based on IP (intellectual property) that LEGO would never license in a million years — R-rated movies and M-rated video games, or licenses that LEGO’s competitors already have. All this noise certainly gives LEGO a whole lot of data about what the customer base really wants, but it all seems to go against the spirit of CUUSOO. In Japanese, cuusoo means “wish,” with nuances of “daydream” and “imagination.” I’m not seeing a lot of genuine creativity in most of the projects that TBB is asked to help promote.

The LEGO Group has spent quite a few blog posts recently improving and clarifying the approval process, age limits for participants, review timeline, and basic project guidelines for CUUSOO. All of this much-needed recent activity seems directed at fixing an underlying misperception about what LEGO CUUSOO can and should be.

While it’s not clear to me why so many people obviously don’t get LEGO CUUSOO, it’s nevertheless heartening to see rays of brilliance and true creativity like the LEGO Strandbeest and Modular Western Town (which did hit 10,000 supporters) among the dross and dreck.

LEGO is clearly working hard to fix the problem they’ve created by launching a site like this without the kind of unambiguous guidelines that have so obviously been needed. In the meantime, the rest of us can filter through CUUSOO ourselves and choose to support the truly worthy projects.

All about you, by the numbers

Each year, we highlight some interesting stats that say more about all of you out there, our readership community, than about The Brothers Brick itself. You’re a large, ever-growing community of LEGO fans from all over the world, with interests as varied as the posts here on the front page today.

  • 2,306 fans on our Facebook page
  • 659 followers on Twitter
  • 12,809 subscribers to the RSS feed
  • 6,309,877 visits
  • 10,834,539 page views
  • 1,978,936 unique visitors
  • 867 new posts

While Central Africa and North Korea continue to resist the LEGO temptations that we offer here every day, people in Central Asia have finally joined our readership, with visits from Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.

Annual TBB world-domination map

Once again, the top 30 countries from which people visit The Brothers Brick didn’t change at all, with very little movement among the countries.

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Canada
  4. Germany
  5. France
  6. Australia
  7. Netherlands
  8. Italy
  9. Poland
  10. Spain
  1. Sweden
  2. Belgium
  3. Denmark
  4. Japan
  5. Hungary
  6. New Zealand
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Switzerland
  9. Russia
  10. Brazil
  1. Singapore
  2. Norway
  3. Taiwan
  4. Finland
  5. Mexico
  6. Portugal
  7. Austria
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Ireland
  10. Croatia

In a shift from last year, search engine keywords are less about the major news that happened between July 2011 and July 2012 than about higher-level LEGO themes. Not surprisingly, inbound traffic is balanced among social media, fellow LEGO fan sites, and the “big blogs.”

Top Keywords* Top Categories Referring Sites
  1. LEGO news
  2. LEGO blog
  3. LEGO Lord of the Rings
  4. LEGO Castle
  5. Bionicle
  6. LEGO
  7. LEGO Pirates
  8. LEGO mecha
  9. custom LEGO
  1. Star Wars
  2. Military
  3. Space
  4. Mecha
  5. Building Techniques
  6. Castle
  7. Steampunk
  8. Superheroes
  9. ApocaLEGO
  10. Architecture
  1. Facebook
  2. Flickr
  3. Eurobricks
  4. reddit
  5. StumbleUpon
  6. Gizmodo
  7. Twitter
  8. Brickset
  9. Kotaku
  10. Bricklink

* Excluding variations on “The Brothers Brick”.

LEGO’s announcement that they’d be releasing sets based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (the latter timed for release alongside the first part of Peter Jackson’s movie version) dominated the most popular posts, along with related LEGO LOTR posts featuring fan-built models. As always, pop culture creations tend to go viral and generate a lot of interest from beyond the AFOL community.

  1. LEGO Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit announcement
  2. LEGO Volkswagen T1 Camper announcement
  3. Lifesize LEGO Halo sniper rifle
  4. LEGO Gears of War Lancer rifle with firing action and chainsaw
  5. Dragonball Z Kame House and minifigs
  6. NinjaGo theme song “Weekend Whip” MP3 download
  7. Nannan’s purist LEGO guns
  8. LEGO Lord of the Rings Tower of Orthanc by the OneLug
  9. LEGO Shaun of the Dead a no-go on CUUSOO*
  10. 9 of the best LEGO Lord of the Rings models built by fans

* TBB post tweeted to 2 million people by Shaun of the Dead star Simon Pegg.

Finally, the usual ride in the wayback machine: