Every day the team here at The Brothers Brick brings you the best LEGO models from the global community of LEGO builders. We love how each of their creations make us smile and prompt us to reach for our own bricks. However, there are a handful of builders whose work offers genuine inspiration — displaying mastery of technique and creativity across different building styles.
The Brothers Brick is delighted to name Andrea Lattanzio as our LEGO Builder of the Year 2019.
Andrea helped us stay awake during January with a jolt of caffeine from Andy’s Coffee Stand. This model was a great example of what is perhaps Andrea’s signature — roadside buildings with an automotive flavour. The attention to detail on display is formidable, from the coffee cup sign and air-conditioning unit on the roof, to the bustling minifigure action and signage. Not content with showing off the model, Andrea also showed his generosity, taking the time to put together instructions for the pick-up truck.
This ’50s roadside nostalgia was a look Andrea was to revisit later in the year with a franchise extension from the “Andy’s” brand — a move from coffee into hamburgers. This diner might be similar in layout to the coffee stand, but the details were all-new, with the architecture and signage delivering that iconic Happy Days look.
Whilst the roadside diner look might be Andrea’s signature style, it’s by no means the only genre he can build in. He went retro again, but in a different way, with this Moon Rover in Classic Space livery. The rover features some fun parts-usage — crutches as headlight protectors, no less — and some lovely shaping.
A trip to the moon wasn’t the only flight into the fantastic which Andrea took this year. He also visited Hawkins, Indiana with this LEGO tribute to Stranger Things. Sheriff Hopper’s cabin has never looked so delightfully dilapidated, with a great mix of wooden textures. And, as you might expect from a car geek, Hopper’s ’80s Chevrolet Blaze is captured perfectly.
There was more dilapidation on show in this next scene — a vintage Mustang found in a tatty barn. The building looks suitably shabby, but as with many of Andrea’s creations, it’s the little details which catch the eye and bring the scene to life — the ladder at the rear, the bundle of logs and the handsaw, and the broken-down petrol pump.
A Ford Mustang made an appearance in another of Andrea’s scenes — a fabulous garage. Again, it’s the details which steal the show — the helmets hanging on hooks, the trophies above the tool rack, and all the wonderful clutter of a well-equipped workshop.
In a bold change of style, Andrea brought us something special in September — a classic Mexican whitewashed adobe house featuring a rancher’s daughter being serenaded by the local Mariachi band. This was an excellent model, full of smart touches like the use of sideways-mounted masonry bricks for the patio, printed log ends on the protruding beams, and the floral-covered arbors on the roof. The landscaping here signaled something of a shift in Andrea’s focus in the latter part of the year, where foliage was to play a bigger role in his creations.
But before that shift in tone, there was one more burst of automotive action — a brilliant hot rod, built to a larger scale than Andrea’s usual minifigure-scaled vehicles. The shaping was perfect, the sloped stance aggressive and striking, and the naked engine was stuffed with custom chrome detailing….
And then, to finish the year, Andrea brought us something quite different and quite lovely — two fabulous scenes depicting rural cabins with not an automobile to be seen. The first was inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s 1854 book Walden: Life In The Woods, about the author’s attempt at self-sufficiency spending two years living alone in a cabin he built for himself. Andrea’s scene captures the feeling of a hand-built cabin, and some measure of the peace and solitude the author might have experienced…
The second of these scenes saw Santa Claus leaving for work. The big man’s home is another cabin in the woods, but one that’s finished out to a higher standard than Thoreau’s — clearly Mrs. Claus insisted on a less hand-built aesthetic. The colour choices are bold, creating a striking image, but as ever with Andrea’s models, it’s those details which deliver the magic. Don’t miss the wonderful collection of parts creating a smoking chimney pot, the hockey sticks and whips used as sleigh runners, those angled posts on the porch, the variety of white parts used to build wintery foliage, and the fun touch of a Polar Bear lurking behind the house…
Andrea has produced a fantastic array of LEGO models this year, showcasing his creativity and technique across a variety of styles. Already famous as a “car guy,” we enjoyed seeing Andrea’s repertoire expand over the year. That’s why Andrea Lattanzio is The Brothers Brick LEGO Builder of the Year 2019.