About Bre Burns

Bre is an Oregon native who came to Seattle with her partner, Jessie, in 2015. She briefly worked for the LEGO Group as a Brick Specialist before she left to pursue her dream of being a Zookeeper. Now she works at Woodland Park Zoo, but LEGO continues to be a huge part of her life. She and her partner are active members of SEALUG, FabuLUG and SquatchLUG, and enjoy building creations big and small that span across many themes, under the name Renegade Bricks. Bre is also the Theme Coordinator for Technic/Mindstorms and a member of the Senior Staff for BrickCon.

Posts by Bre Burns

An esteemed member of Discworld’s Unseen University faculty

When it comes to the Discworld universe, I know very little. But when it comes to recognizing clever parts usage on a rad LEGO creation, I’m all over it. Eero Okkonen’s recent tribute to the “Senior Wrangler” instantly reminded me of a similar build we covered a while back. At that time, it was the Archchancellor of the Unseen University, Mustrum Ridcully. What I love most about this chubby fellow is his excellent beard. What better alternative use for a white shin-guard than a beard? I also admire the use of chrome exhaust pipe elements on his jacket/rope.

Builds like this are Eero’s specialty. While you’re here, take a look at all of the magnificent characters we’ve featured!

You, too, can fill your zoo with over 20 adorable animals!

As someone obsessed with animals and animal builds, I’m pleased to share some exciting news! TBB’s 2020 Creation of the Year builder, Koen Zwanenburg, is providing instructions for his collection of cute and cuddly LEGO critters! These cartoon-ish creations are some of my all-time favorite animal builds. Just look at that walrus’ flippers – genius! The size and style lend themselves perfectly to repeating the techniques with all sorts of characters. And now, you can build them and collect them all yourself.

Cuddly Toys: The Animal Collection

While you’re here, be sure to check out some of Koen’s other builds! In addition to many other completely different creations, he’s also used this technique for both Super Mario and Christmas characters.

The clever wandering LEGO windmill

The last time I watched Howl’s Moving Castle was at least 10-12 years ago, and as nerdy as I am, I only did because my best friend dragged me away from ultimate frisbee and into my high school anime club one day. Admittedly, I barely remember it. But what I do know is that it was the first thing I thought about when I saw this LEGO windmill built by Alexey Tikhvinsky. I have lots of pull-back motors in my collection, but I never know what to do with them. This is the most clever use I’ve seen thus far. When the winds shift, and your windmill won’t whirl, why not build one that walks?

Don’t believe me? Watch the video! This thing actually does walk around. Clever gearing allows for both that and the blades to turn at the same time. My personal favorite part is engine piston elements mounted on axle ball joints for more stable feet.

I really like Alexey’s style, and I’m sure you will too. Check out a couple of totally different builds of his: a Faerie creature, and a modified RC Volkswagon Beetle… I told you they were different…

 

Sports meets science in LEGO Education’s new BricQ Motion Essential set 45401 [Review]

LEGO Education has been on a roll lately! It feels like just yesterday (nearly a year ago) we were covering a review of SPIKE Prime, their current flagship product. Now we’re checking out a kit that approaches STEAM learning from a different angle. While robotics are awesome, and programming is becoming a more and more common skill, not everyone can afford those tools. The new BricQ Motion line seeks to break barriers and bridge the gap for those who do not have access to those resources. It also hopes to foster more hands-on exploration of physical science. Today, we’ll take a look at the kit geared for the lower primary-school audience, 45401 BricQ Motion Essential. It will retail for US $99.95 | UK (via Education Distribtor)

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

Click to learn more about LEGO Education’s latest release!

LEGO Education seeks to overcome digital barriers with new BricQ Motion line [News]

In today’s modern society, it seems digital technology makes the world go round. Especially in recent history – when thousands of people are realizing that they can effectively work from home – computer skills are hugely advantageous. But not everyone is born with a computer in their hands. So many children don’t have tech-based resources in their learning environment. And STEAM isn’t all about digital learning. Enter LEGO Education’s new BricQ Motion line. Currently the offerings include 45401 BricQ Motion Essential (6+) and 45400 BricQ Motion Prime (10+). These kits promise to foster creative exploration of physical science through sports-themed guided lessons. They will both retail for US $99.95.

 

Continue for a closer look and to read the full press release

Creature of an enchanted garden

If you find yourself in a magical land, watch where you step. Amongst the alluring, translucent blue flowers hides a curious creature. Exceptional LEGO builder, Patrick Biggs brings this little character to life in a captivating way. An expressive face paired with a dynamic pose and uniquely contrasted foliage demand a second look. You can build a pretty flower or a cute dragon, but telling a story with the two is what makes this build interesting. I’m particularly fond of the parts usage in the head shaping of the dragon, as well as the Bionicle head elements used for the petals.

A Ghost in the Garden

While you’re here, you can check out a few of Patrick’s other builds, as well as more dragons!

The esteemed astronomer and warlock

When I was a kid, my first introduction to Merlin was in the Disney animated movie, The Sword in the Stone. It has remained one of my favorite movies to this day, though I’ve learned that most depictions of Merlin are quite different. Seeing this LEGO build by Jens Ohrndorf, immediately brings me back to that beloved movie and character. The real triumph, though, is that stellar telescope. Using the palm tree trunk element to create the flared end gives it the perfect look.

Any true fan of the movie will know that the one thing missing is Archimedes, the owl. But don’t worry, Tyler Clites has us covered! And if you can’t get enough, we also have many more articles about owls, wizards, and magic.

Hardware, home, and holiday cheer

When you think of a small-town hardware store during Christmas, this has to be what you think of. At least, this is the exact image that comes to my mind. Excellent at architecture and storytelling, the Midwest Builders have struck again with a modular worthy of LEGO store shelves. The line of detailed buildings is in dire need of a hardware store, and this fits the bill perfectly. If we were looking at images of the newest release, it’d be at the top of my Christmas wish list.

Hardware Store at Christmas

Click to see inside!

A beetle with a bit of style

Japanese tiger beetles are one of the coolest bugs on the planet. Not only is this epic predator shrouded in a rainbow, but it also sprints the equivalent of a human ultramarathon every day. It’s one of the fastest-running critters out there. I certainly wouldn’t want to mess with those mandibles either. Takamichi Irie is known for his exceptional LEGO beetles, and this is one of his best. The body shape and mosaic-like exoskeleton really make it stand out and come to life.

Tiger Beetle

Takamichi’s unique style involves the use of loads of minifigure hands. You have to wonder how he gets them. Does he have a hundred poor minifigs without hands, or does he get them in bulk? Maybe our past interview with him will shed a little light on his work.

A Christmas icon goes kinetic [Video]

When you think of Christmas songs, chances are one of the top ten that comes to mind is “Little Drummer Boy”. While not everyone in the world celebrates Christmas, I’m sure many of you can appreciate the most recent LEGO kinetic sculpture built by Jason Allemann of the JK Brickworks duo. Before the thing even gets moving, it’s clear that the ox and sheep are adorable.

Little Drummer Boy

Once the crank starts turning the magic starts. The little trio are mesmerizing to watch. Builds with timing can seem so complicated on the surface, but as Jason often shows, the inner-workings aren’t all that complicated. Still, it’s hard not to be jealous of how easy he makes it look.

As always, the instructions for this build can be found for free on the JK Brickworks website. This also isn’t the first kinetic holiday model! We’ve featured a flying Santa’s sleigh, Santa’s elves working on toys, and even a robotic cookie decorator.

Exploring the galaxy for fresh vegetation

I’m loving everything about this other-worldly scene by captainsmog! From the satisfyingly shaped spaceship that is reminiscent of the Rocket Boy LEGO Collectable Minifigure, to the cleverly crafted plants. The creative parts usage is rad and makes me want to go dig through my oddball parts. I particularly love the claw elements used to make the wavy red and orange… thingy? Genius!

Setting foot on planet Zaklonis

This builder is not a stranger to TBB. He built one of the first tensegrity builds we featured.

The LEGO harvester to rule all harvesters

Holy guacamole, Batman, this machinery puts Scarecrow’s to shame! Corn cobs everywhere are shaking in their husks!

Well, this giant LEGO harvester built by Michał “Eric Trax” Skorupka actually has nothing to do with the infamous Gotham criminal, but it sure is impressive. With all the details of the real-life Krone BigX 770, the specs are incredible. With its perfect body-shaping and lack of dirt, it may even look better than the real thing. But it’s not just how it looks on the outside.

Even if you know absolutely nothing about farming equipment, you can appreciate the effort that went into making it move. Inside every expert-level LEGO Technic vehicle is a complex system of motors and gearing that is sure to leave you wondering how they designed it. And this behemoth even puts some of them to shame. It houses 9 motors (one servo, one XL, one L, and six M motors) and is controlled by three Sbricks. It even has lights! Simply put, it’s ridiculously cool.

If you’d like to see more like this, take a look at a couple more of Eric Trax’s other farming equipment builds.