About Iain

Iain Heath is an avid builder specializing in the "Bricks of Character" style, which he helped define. He has been using LEGO to parody popular culture since 2007, when he created the now infamous Stephen Hawking model. He is a SeaLUG member and regular theme coordinator at BrickCon. For five years he also ran a blog called The Living Brick, that showcased the best character-based LEGO creations from around the world. You can find his irreverent body of work on Flickr.

Posts by Iain

Homeless in Seattle

As the gateway to the Klondike, Seattle boomed during the gold rush of the late 1800’s. And with the explosive growth of Amazon in recent years, the Emerald City is experiencing a new boom. Everything here is surging: the economy, the population, house prices, and consequently homelessness. King county now ranks #3 in the nation for homelessness, after New York and Los Angeles, 47% of whom lack proper shelter.

I decided to use LEGO to illustrate this problem by imagining Seattle as an Architecture skyline set, featuring the Space Needle, Pike Place Market (complete with brass pig and gum wall), the Columbia Tower, Smith Tower, ship yards, and a plethora of street-side tents.

The good news is that local government has just levied money to finally attack this humanitarian crisis, no thanks to Amazon. The Seattle-based retail giant, now one of the most valuable companies in the world, threatened to halt all of its downtown expansion rather than cough up less cash than they probably spend keeping their cafeterias stocked with kombucha and avocado toast. Meanwhile the company’s founder – now the world’s richest person – allegedly ponders sinking the bulk of his fortune into advancing space travel.

Maybe before we start putting people in tents on Mars, we should first try to reduce the number that are forced to live in them down here…

Aggretsuko: Twenty five, single, Scorpio, blood type A

Say hello to Aggretsuko (アグレッシブ烈子), the latest character from the creators of Hello Kitty. By day, this red panda is a gentle and kind accountant, doing the best she can in a job she loathes. But by night, she blows off steam by shedding the cutesy look for that of a raging death-metal karaoke enthusiast!

Originally aired as a series of shorts on Japanese television, the adventures of Retsuko have finally arrived on Western shores in the form of a Netflix original series. Taking inspiration from this unexpectedly kawaii take on the modern condition, I decided to try and capture Retsuko’s struggle using LEGO bricks:

Click here to see LEGO Retsuko with all her accompanying accessories

Happy Star Wars Day, kids!

Some crazy old space wizard once described the light saber as “an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age” — something that is clearly borne out by the plethora of civilized dismemberments seen in the Star Wars franchise. I was very pleased to see this tradition being continued in the latest installment, so much so that I decided to augment LEGO’s rather limited selection of Last Jedi BrickHeadz with one featuring a very special “play feature”…

Half a century later: Keeping the dream alive

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Though silenced half a century ago, the voice of this legendary American civil rights activist and leader rings thunderous today; his thoughts still quoted in speeches; the reach of his legacy reflected in thousands of public roads, buildings and spaces across the US that now bear his name. (I am actually writing this from King County, Washington.)

My simple tribute: King’s likeness (taken from a memorial plaque in Berlin) recreated with LEGO parts pushed together but not attached. Despite the progress we’ve made, it seems sometimes that the pieces are there but not all connected…

RIP Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018)

World-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76. While his professional accomplishments are well-known (and too numerous to list here), he was also a staple of popular culture, making cameos in numerous television shows and even becoming the subject of a 2014 bio-pic.

Among the many parodies of Professor Hawking was the LEGO version that I built 11 years ago, which continues to be rediscovered by people across the web to this day. Over the past decade I’ve had fun watching him pop up in mass media, and have also featured him in a variety of comical new situations. And exactly 1 year ago this week, this little LEGO model travelled on the same zero gravity flight that his real-world counterpart had taken 10 years earlier …the event that had inspired me to create this build in the first place. Thank you for allowing us to ride your coat-tails, Mr Hawking; rest in peace, and congratulations on beating the odds and having an amazing life that was an inspiration to us all!

Curiously, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was “Oh no, not again”

Douglas Adams’ quirky comedy sci-fi series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy arrived on our planet exactly 40 years ago today, introducing our primitive human brains to such concepts as Vogons, Babel fish, infinite improbability drives, towels and the ravenous bugblatter beast of Traal. Broadcast as a radio series in the UK, the story has been adapted and reworked as a TV show, stage show, novels, comic books, a video game and most recently a big budget movie.

To mark the show’s anniversary, the BBC is launching an all-new radio adaption which begins today! Above is my personal LEGO tribute to this frequently-quoted staple of British popular culture. It depicts various Hitchhiker’s Guide characters floating helplessly in space (including a small Easter egg in honor of one particularly famous Adams fan).

Click here for close-up images of each character

Luke discovers the consequences of “imperial entanglements”

By now we’ve seen almost every scene from the Star Wars franchise meticulously and repeatedly recreated as a LEGO diorama, except for one… When Luke receives the Empire’s calling card, in the form of the still-smoking remains of his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru in Star Wars: A New Hope. So I thought I’d rectify this glaring oversight by the LEGO community!

I’ve found no satisfactory explanation for this surprisingly graphic scene in a seemingly PG movie franchise …which to be fair does feature its share of bodily dismemberment and a pretty significant body count. And while you might argue that this is an important moment of gravitas that propels Luke on his journey against the evil Empire, it’s interesting that he never once later mentions the demise of his only living relatives, who in all likelihood died guarding the whereabouts of their whiney nephew!

On the other hand, this sad event does furnish Luke with the perfect excuse to finally leave his godforsaken home planet in search of the adventure he had always dreamed of. So maybe he wasn’t that cut up about it after all. Then again, who cares – it’s just Star Wars, where nothing really makes that much sense. It’s all just a vehicle for a lotta big space battles and waving of laser swords by a bunch of space wizards!

Click here for more images

Registration for the Paredes de Coura Fan Weekend closes in 4 weeks [News]

Portugal’s premier LEGO fan event Paredes de Coura is now celebrating it’s 3rd year. The show is from June 8th through 10th, with setup on the 7th. Slots for AFOL attendees are filling up fast and registration closes on February 28th, so don’t delay! The registration fee of €100 includes 3 nights of boarding house accommodation and 3 meals per day for all 4 days. For an additional €25 you can also attend a special AFOL dinner on Saturday night.

From reports we’ve heard from fans who have attended this event previously, it’s not to be missed, not only because of all the great benefits included in the registration price, the amazing food and glorious location, but also the amazing club house with it’s own communal LEGO collection! I’m looking forward to my first visit there this summer and to meeting you all there.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first feature from Studio Ponoc, an anime production house formed from the ashes of the legendary Studio Ghibli. Based on the Mary Stewart book The Little Broomstick and directed by the very accomplished Hiromasa Yonebayashi (including his directorial debut with The Secret World of Arrietty), this movie easily matches the charm of any Miyazaki production. I enjoyed it immensely, and even listened to the soundtrack while building this LEGO version of Mary on her broomstick:

The above layout takes inspiration from the pivotal scene where Mary first takes flight on her broomstick. Observant readers will notice the inclusion of Tib the cat, a few Fly-by-Night seeds, and a background made entirely from LEGO bricks.

Tis the season to be hideous

Since LEGO has decided to expand it’s super blocky Brickheadz line to include seasonal characters rather than just screen icons, I figured it made sense for my Rejectz to do the same. So just in time to ruin Christmas, I present… holiday Rejectz!

Build your own LEGO porg from The Last Jedi [Instructions]

If you enjoyed seeing a porg in peril in my recent LEGO vignette Porg: The Other White Meat then why not build your very own LEGO porg, using my new Build-a-Porg building guide? It would make a great Holiday gift for the Star Wars obsessed LEGO fan in your life – there’s still time!

Click here for a preview of the building guide

WIN A UCS MILLENNIUM FALCON! [Exciting News]

Unless you’ve been hiding from the Empire on a remote desert planet for the past few decades, you’ll know that LEGO recently unveiled its massive new 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon set. But in the all the excitement you may have missed the fact that to celebrate this event, The Brothers Brick is currently holding a Millennium Falcon themed building contest!

Well, it’s time to add to that excitement: We are pleased to announce that LEGO has graciously donated a copy of the new UCS Falcon set as an additional prize in our contest. That’s right, you can now win* one of these monsters, rather than dipping into your kids’ college fund (again). All you need to do is wow us with an amazing Falcon-themed LEGO model or scene of your own creation!

Four winners will still each receive a super rare limited edition Escape the Space Slug set. But the 1st place winner will now receive a 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon, and the 2nd place winner will receive the smaller 75105 Star Wars Millennium Falcon.

We are also extending the competition deadline to Sunday, October 15th. That gives you a whole month from today to dream up something really special …so get building! Any style, scale or idea goes so long as it features the Falcon or something Falconesque, in whole or in part. For example, it might be a re-themed version of the Falcon, a movie crossover space battle, or even a mini-fig scene that takes place inside the ship. The more imaginative and original the better.

RULES FOR ENTERING: Contestants must be 18 years of age or older. Once you have built your entry, post a single photo of it to the contest Flickr group. Only one entry is accepted per person. All entries must be new builds, that have not been previously posted online. They must also be physical models — no digital renderings will be accepted. However, use of custom accessories and stickers is permitted. Entries must be submitted by October 15th to be considered for judging.


*Please note that the grand prize UCS set will be shipped directly from LEGO, who have stipulated that they cannot ship to addresses in China or PO boxes.