About Andrew

Andrew Becraft is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Brothers Brick. He's been building with LEGO for more than 40 years, and writing about LEGO here on TBB since 2005. He's also the co-author, together with TBB Senior Editor Chris Malloy, of the DK book Ultimate LEGO Star Wars. Andrew is an active member of the online LEGO community, as well as his local LEGO users group, SEALUG. Andrew is also a regular attendee of BrickCon, where he organizes a collaborative display for readers of The Brothes Brick nearly every year. You can check out Andrew's own LEGO creations on Flickr. Read Andrew's non-LEGO writing on his personal blog, Andrew-Becraft.com. Andrew lives in Seattle with his wife and dogs, and by day leads software design and planning teams.

Posts by Andrew

TOP SECRET: LEGO 10262 James Bond Aston Martin DB5 [Review]

Despite a long sequence of cars from Lotus, BMW, Ford, and others, no other car maker featured in the James Bond movies can come close to the iconic status of Aston Martin, starting with the 1963 Aston Martin DB5 first featured in Goldfinger. Long rumored and officially announced at a special event in London earlier today (see our complete coverage here on The Brothers Brick), the latest vehicle in the LEGO Creator Expert series is 10262 James Bond Aston Martin DB5, which includes 1,290 pieces and is available now for LEGO VIPs and will be available worldwide August 1st (USD $149.99, CDN $179.99, 149.99€, £129.99, 1399DK, etc.).

Open this mission briefing to reveal CLASSIFIED information

Journey to Timbuktu with Mansa Musa of the Malian Empire

A UNESCO World Heritage Site full of wonderful architecture like the University of Sankore, the city of Timbuktu in the West African country of Mali has been a center of trade and learning for nearly a thousand years. Hardly an inaccessible or mythical place, the very real, not at all mythical or inaccessible city has thrived on modern tourism for decades. Sadly, the last several years have seen strife overtake the city, with jihadist rebels occupying the city for about 8 months in 2012 and 2013. Nathan takes us back to a happier time in the city, when it was the capital of the Malian Empire. Nathan adds to his collection of world architecture creations by depicting the royal palace in the Sudano-Sahelian architecture style as it might have existed during the reign of Musa the First (r. 1312–1337).

The Lost Palace at Timbuktu

Nathan has accurately captured the iconic architectural style, built from adobe or mud-brick, with supporting wood beams or logs that jut from the walls. He’s also given us a view into a scene described by a medieval Arab historian, showing the ruler on his throne holding an audience with his people. The large, raised throne is wonderfully detailed, and every group of people — soldiers, supplicants, royalty, and even musicians — has a unique look. From the people to the architecture, Nathan’s research into the material shows in his LEGO build.

A forgotten Aztec temple emerges from a Mesoamerican jungle...

The Summer Joust contest is generating some amazing LEGO builds in a variety of categories. Talented multi-theme builder David Zambito‘s entry in the “Mesoamerican Setting” category depicts an Aztec-style temple overgrown with foliage. While the well-built temple is the center of the scene, the landscaping also deserves your attention. The plants are built not just from actual LEGO foliage pieces like bushes, bamboo, and flowers, but also from the plastic sprues that three-leaf plants come in, as well as street sweeper brushes.

If you like this Aztec-style pyramid, you might also like the Maya-style LEGO pyramid we featured previously.

TBB’s Iain Heath featured on Seattle NBC station’s New Day Northwest [News]

The Brothers Brick doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult issues with the LEGO creations we feature, as “Builder-in-Residence” Iain Heath demonstrated recently with his “Homeless in Seattle” model of the Seattle skyline with the ground covered by tents pitched by people forced into homelessness by the housing crisis. Iain’s model struck a chord with the local community, and he was invited to showcase his model and discuss the issue on several TV shows, including the New Day Northwest program from NBC affiliate KING 5.

The segment is now online, and you can watch Iain discuss the LEGO hobby, several of his most iconic creations from over the years, and chat with host Margaret Larson about what TBB is all about.

Watch the TV segment and see behind-the-scenes photos

LEGO Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 75931 Dilophosaurus Outpost Attack [Review]

We conclude our reviews of the current wave of LEGO sets from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom with 75931 Dilophosaurus Outpost Attack, which retails for $39.99 in the US ($49.99 in Canada | £44.99 in the UK).

The set includes 289 LEGO pieces, 3 minifigures, and the titular dinosaur plus a baby raptor. Like 75927 Stygimoloch Breakout, the set depicts a holding pen with an attached observation post, but the two sets are very different. Let’s take a closer look.

Read our complete review of 75931 Dilophosaurus Outpost Attack from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

A life told in bricks, one step at a time

Talented LEGO artist Dave Kaleta has been producing large dioramas at “Miniland” scale for several years, illustrating key moments of his life, from his first date, wedding, and pregnancy announcement with his wife to the first months with a new baby. Dave has updated his series with another first — a flashback to the first steps of the toddler we first met still in his crib two years ago.

One Small Step

Titled “One Small Step,” the scene is full of life and detail, including realistic details like the electric heater plugged in to the wall next to the fireplace. But it’s the people and animals who truly bring this scene alive — mom lets go of the baby as dad waits for him across the room, with a cat and dog in the background cheering the little guy on.

LEGO Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 75927 Stygimoloch Breakout [Review]

Last weekend, the latest Jurassic movie opened to a respectable $148 million, albeit to fairly mixed reviews. Our reviews of the latest LEGO set tie-ins have also been rather mixed, but there are still some gems worth taking a closer look at. 75927 Stygimoloch Breakout is one of the smaller playsets, with only one dinosaur and two minifigures, built from 222 pieces. The set retails for $29.99 in the US ($39.99 in Canada | £34.99 in the UK).

At first glance, the set is easy to dismiss as a generic holding pen with a small laboratory and observation area, but the set has a bit more going for it. Let’s take a closer look.

Read our complete review of 75927 Stygimoloch Breakout from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

LEGO Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 75930 Indoraptor Rampage at Lockwood Estate [Review]

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hits theaters this weekend, so we’re wrapping up our series of reviews of the LEGO sets released to support the latest movie in the Jurassic Park franchise. 75930 Indoraptor Rampage at Lockwood Estate is the largest set in the current wave of Jurassic sets, with 1,019 pieces, 6 minifigures, and 2 dinosaurs, at a retail price of $129.99 ($149.99 in Canada | £119.99 in the UK).

If you’re mainly interested in the new dinosaurs, don’t miss our Field Guide to LEGO Dinosaurs: A Jurassic World Compendium (complete with several handy infographics).

Click to read the full review

Surprises are in store within the LEGO City Arctic 60191 Arctic Exploration Team [Review]

The summer wave of LEGO City Arctic sets were released on June 1st, and we’ve already taken a look at the two highlights from the theme — the mammoth in 60195 Arctic Mobile Exploration Base and the saber-tooth in 60196 Arctic Supply Plane. But are there other hidden treasures in this chilly series of LEGO sets? The smallest set is 60191 Arctic Exploration Team at only $9.99 ($12.99 in Canada | £9.99 in the UK). The set includes 70 pieces with three minifigures, plus a husky dog.

Read our hands-on review of 60191 Arctic Exploration Team

Saber-toothed cats join the hunt in LEGO City Arctic 60193 Arctic Air Transport [Review]

We’re continuing our expedition to the frozen tundra of the Arctic with more new LEGO sets from the LEGO City Arctic Expedition theme released on June 1st. In our review of 60195 Arctic Mobile Exploration Base, we took a close look at the new woolly mammoth. 60193 Arctic Air Transport is the smallest set that includes the saber-toothed “tiger” at $39.99 in the US (49.99 CAD in Canada | £24.99 in the UK), with 277 pieces and 2 minifigures.

First, let’s get some taxonomy and nomenclature issues out of the way. While the mammoth is rather evidently a mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius or one of its close relatives), it’s less clear what the “saber-toothed ‘tigers'” in these new Arctic sets actually depict. From more than 40 million years ago until the last Ice Age barely 12,000 years ago, there was a broad range of carnivorous creatures with long canine teeth, none of which were closely related to modern tigers in Asia. As a result, most palaeontologists use the common name “saber-toothed cat” to refer to the true felines that had saber-shaped canine teeth (like the iconic and aptly named Smilodon fatalis from the La Brea Tarpits), and generically “saber-tooth” to refer to the full range of creatures across many orders, genera, and species who had such teeth — even including a few marsupial saber-tooths! Thus, we’ll be avoiding the term “tiger” in favor of saber-toothed “cat” or just saber-tooth. If your eyes haven’t completely glazed over yet due to all this taxonomic minutiae, we’ll return to this point when taking a close look at the saber-tooth in this LEGO set.

Read our hands-on review of the new LEGO City Arctic 60193 Arctic Air Transport

LEGO mammoths arrive with LEGO City 60195 Arctic Mobile Exploration Base [Review]

We’ve been pretty excited about the new Pleistocene megafauna (large, extinct Ice Age animals like mammoths and saber-toothed cats) in the LEGO City Arctic sets released on June 1st, particularly after we had a chance to play with them during the Fall 2018 Preview event in New York City a couple weeks ago. With the sets now on store shelves, we’re digging in to bring you an even closer look at the new vehicles and creatures, starting with 60195 Arctic Mobile Exploration Base, which includes 786 pieces, 6 minifigures, and a frozen mammoth and retails for $119.99 in the US (149.99 CAD in Canada | £84.99 in the UK).

Read our full, hands-on review of the new LEGO City 60195 Arctic Mobile Exploration Base

LEGO promo set 40291 Creative Personalities: Hans Christian Andersen [Review]

This months’ promotional set from the LEGO Shop is 40291 Creative Personalities, featuring the 19th-century Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. The set takes the form of a storybook and includes 307 pieces with two minifigs and is available for free with all purchases over $99 from June 4th through the 20th (or until supplies run out).

LEGO sent us a copy of the set ahead of its release, so let’s take a closer look.

Read our full review of the Hans Christian Andersen storybook set