About Thanel

The actual biological brother of Andrew Becraft. Recently emerging from dim ages and participating more actively in the LEGO community. Moving beyond just squealing in delight under the Christmas tree every year and on birthdays. Actively involved in SandLUG and newly posting on Flickr under the name Yupa-sama. Main interests are in historical vignettes, architecture, Star Wars, the seedy underbelly of anything, Japan, nature, Terry Pratchett's Discworld and clever things that tickles his fancy. Generally just fascinated by culture, subculture, counterculture and multiculture. Married, two and half cats, securely employed (thank god), vegetarian teetotaler and news junkie. Apologies for the slight anonymity, but unlike most people, in Thanel's line of work--alas, not secret agency--online networking is as likely to be detrimental as constructive. Connecting with clients personally and repeat business are distinctly bad ideas, so he'd rather keep his real name on the DL as much as possible. He's happy to reveal his secret identity in-person (or online as Andrew's brother). He just wants to keep the explicit electronic signature of his real name and undisclosed underground bunker location to a minimum.

Posts by Thanel

Wrap Up: Numereji 2421 at BrickCon 2011

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the Numereji 2421 display at BrickCon in Seattle last weekend! Because of your skill and creativity people got a much clearer idea of our vision.

LEGO Numereji BrickCon 2011

We plan on a Numereji 2422 collaborative display at BrickCon 2012 and look forward to the return of great creations, changes to reflect the passage of time, and phenomenal additions.

Congratulations to the winners in our four categories who were acclaimed by peer balloting!

LEGO Ark by Drew Ellis Best Overall: The Ark by Drew Ellis (also Best Capital Ship for the entire Space display)
Best Building: Communication Station Iris by Alex Fojtik (counter-rotating arrays of awesome)
Best Terrain: Numereji Ranchero by Josh Wedin (and unofficial sillyness prize)
Best Vehicle: Scavenger by Shane Weckstrom (NPU purple basketball player pants)

LEGO Numereji Yupa FarmsteadSpecial thanks to Brandon Bannerman for his CSS Howland hull design and for working on the hulk up to the wire.

Justin Pyne also deserves a shout out for his very close second in the Terrain category and for embracing the challenge of a peaceful space town. Shows heart in a youngster.

I also enjoyed displaying my own Earthship House, and a barn built from a sections of Howland hull. More pics of that once I get a good light box set up and get rid of this stalker rain that followed me back to San Diego.

Rocketing to Numereji

BrickCon, the LEGO fan convention in Seattle September 29th through October 2nd, is fast approaching and we’d like to invite convention exhibitors to participate in The Brothers Brick’s collaborative display: Numereji 2421.

LEGO gambort EcoDome Deluxe We have a nice backstory worked out, but the concept is simply a space frontier town 400 years in the future. Isolated crash survivors reconnect with their space traveling home culture.

No worries about making it fit the display parameters perfectly, we’ll have fun figuring out how to make it work.

We’ll be offering prizes in four categories:
Best Overall Creation
Best Landscape Feature
Best Building
Best Vehicle

Brandon Bannerman, the writer of our backstory, has also posted pictures of cutaway sections of the centerpiece crashed ship, The Howland, which he’s building so that you can get a better idea of the ship’s shape and structure in order to build partial sections of wreckage or buildings from ship scrap if you’d like. I’m going to build a barn for giant lizards based on this shape.

LEGO Catsy Howland Cutaway

If you have any questions please feel free to ask them here or in the Numereji Flickr Group. Also, don’t forget to fill out a MOC card on the BrickCon attendee page.

If you’re looking for inspiration, we tried to include plenty in our “Building New Howland” post. I’ve been especially motivated by the art of Robh Ruppel, and watching Firefly.

Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

You -.-. .- .-.. .-.. . -.. ?

I’ve been reading about Samuel F. B. Morse in David McCullough’s latest book, The Greater Journey, in Morse’s less known artist role, so it pleases me to no end to see that Matt Armstrong (monsterbrick) has added a Morse Key to his ongoing series of 19th century antiques and inventions.

LEGO Morse Key by monsterbrick

There’s something to be said about such a deceptively simple looking creation of such an unusual subject. Well executed as alway, Monster.

Pagoda of Kiyomizu-dera by Matija Grguric

During my wife and my last two trips to Japan, the complex at Kiyomizu-dera has been the first stop after detraining at Kyoto Station so it made me happy to see among Matija Grguric’s excellent series of world landmarks (including Easter Island heads and Great Wall) this colorful pagoda based on the one at Kiyomizu-dera. I’m especially impressed by the contours of red painted woodcarving under the eaves and the tiled angles on the roofs.

LEGO Kiyomizu-dera Pagoda by Matija Grguric

If you’re ever at Kyomizu-dera, it’s worth grabbing a snack at the little stand just inside the southwest entrance. Tea, mochi dango and kitsune udon.

Breaking and entering with LEGO

I have an odd interest in the intersection of crime and LEGO, so I’m thrilled by this clip from the 1979 Danish film The Olsen Gang Never Surrenders (Olsen-banden overgiver sig aldrig) featuring a LEGO assisted commercial burglary.

Thanks for the tip, Joel!


Dirt, by Jade Wisniewski (Taz-Maniac), has a perfectly matching name for what it is: a dive bar in the future.

LEGO Dirt bar by Taz-Maniac

The use of what look like solid looking spaceship hull and portholes simultaneously communicates the future, but also that the occupants don’t really want outsiders to see in. There’s also a nice bit of interior detail.

Another space surface creation, the Pit Stop, is also worth checking out.

Tiger Moth and Cobra spaceships by vinn

Kurt Vinnedge (vinn) has posted a few great spaceships this week and these two are well worth sharing. The first is this A-8 SSIC Cobra, which features a very functional looking cockpit and sensor/weapons array as well as lovely angling up and back toward the engines.

LEGO A-8 Cobra spaceship by vinn

The second, the ASSIN-9 Tiger Moth, is an equal beauty with similar livery, but its highlight for me is the way he’s built the engines in a ‘V’ going off to the sides from the cockpit. The most subtle, yet effective, feature is the little bits of red peaking out from under a radar dish covering the cockpit. Angry beady little red eyes.

LEGO ASSIN-9 Tiger Moth spaceship by vinn

If you want to see these in person, Kurt will be taking them to Brickfair near Washington, D.C.

Comic-Con 2011 Wrap Up: Fine Weather, Comic LEGO and 125K Nerds

Comic-Con was crowded. The biggest pop culture celebration in the world happened in San Diego from July 20 to 24. Over 125,000 crashed my Downtown where I work and eat. Infernal interlopers. Seriously, it was great hectic fun as always. It’s nice to live in the city where there’s an annual shopping, people watching and pop culture extravaganza of epic proportions.

I wasn’t lucky enough to get 4 day passes with preview night or scoop everyone on the biggest LEGO related news from Comic-Con, but others in the LEGO and Comics fan worlds were on it, and we were able to pass it on to you last week: LEGO negotiated DC and Marvel Comics licenses. DC sets are scheduled for set releases in January 2012 and Marvel in summer of 2012.

LEGO Wonder Woman minifigure I went back on Sunday and got some slightly better pictures of prototype minifigures of Wonder Woman (with very invisible plane), Super Man, Hulk, Batman, Cat Woman, Poison Ivy, Thor, Iron Man and Wolverine.

There was also a display with four Hero Factory tie in figures: Green Lantern, Batman (no, I don’t know what’s attached to his back), Iron Man and The Hulk.

Both the minifigs and Hero Factory characters are official, but keep in mind they’re prototypes so they’re likely to be a bit rough and have changes before final release.

Unfortunately, the only LEGO panel this year was a Star Wars panel on Friday morning, which I missed. D’oh!

The other great highlight is running into all kinds of people. People in costumes, friends and even friends in costume. The only LEGO related costume I saw this year was a sexy red number sported by Michael “Bruno” Todd, an excellent human being, cat rescuer and force of nature. He dressed up just like an extremely rare vintage LEGO promotional figure that he somehow managed to snag late last year. Really, he looks just like the doll.

Bruno Todd as vintage LEGO doll

I was also amused by a woman dressed as Poison Ivy standing right next minfig Poison Ivy. My wife also dragged me over the LEGO free build area to see a strong contender for my personal Cutest Hobbit Child Dressed as Yoda Prize. Very prestigious.

Another great highlight of at Comic-Con is all the inspiration for LEGO building. Several weeks ago I searched all over the internet to find good concept art for the Numereji 2421 display at BrickCon and found some good stuff, but nobody quite had what I was looking for. It was a pleasant surprise to run across Robh Ruppel’s book, Aspect Ratio, and the great concept art sketches on his website. Not too militarized, not too idealized. Hit my personal sweet spot.

That’s it. Great weekend of geeky frolicking.

Sand Baron sky-fi flying wing by Chrispockst

What I like the most about Chrispockst’s Sand Baron flying wing is that he went out of his way to use all kinds of what he calls “un-useful/unusual parts” that work well together to make this thing look like a chunky behemoth.

LEGO Chrispocket Sand Baron flying wing

I especially love the huge off-angle engines around the low sleek cockpit.

Numereji 2421: Building New Howland

Our hope for the Numereji 2421 display at BrickCon 2011 is that the contributors will be free to create their vision of what kind of community would develop from a group of crash survivors isolated for a generation, and how their reconnection with other space travelers would play out.

Outpost by sketchboookThis is 400 years in the future, so we’d love to see where both imagination and practicality go:

You name it, go to town with it. There’s definitely a place for elements of sci-fi, ecopunk, space, cyberpunk and frontier themes.

That being said, it does help to provide a little bit of a framework so people can know how to contribute to the overall collaboration, so we’re laying out a few guidelines, many of which are the result of discussions among TBB contributors and in the Flickr planning group.

Anchor piece: Brandon Bannerman’s crashed ship, The Howland, will be 96×96 studs and fairly tall. Check out his great accompanying backstory.

Scale and life forms: Minifig scale, with yellow headed minifigs as the main survivor group, though non-human and brick built species (sentient or not, mega or not) are welcome to join in the fun. Animals and plants from Earth, native species, and centuries of genetic modification would be pretty cool.

pic name New Howland: The community of New Howland had a rough few years of scavenging at the beginning, but figured out a way to sustain itself for the long haul because the survivors didn’t have hope of moving on to a new planet. They developed some civil institutions, commerce and law enforcement.

The newer arrivals could include elements of an interplanetary government and even private corporate security, but we’re not going for a space ware here though the layout is likely to reflect the contrast between the tightly knit sustainable survivor community and all the new people and interests pouring into the place.

It’s the very mix of all these styles that will make the display interesting!

Vehicle/building color palette: The main survivor group would have scavenged from the crashed ship, which will be have mainly white hull sections and gray/bley machinery. They would have eventually started to build other sorts of structures as time passed.

The Green Wall from Stephanie Brothers on Vimeo.

The later arrivals will bring either a bit more rag tag aesthetic or might even have a corporate look.

Landscape color palette: The main planet surface will be tan with a Mediterranean or moderately arid climate. Modules that include water features, stone outcroppings, hills, mountains or forests will be fine just as long as the builder figures out some way to transition back to the rest of the display at the edges of their sections.

Modules: For the main part of the display we’ll be using a base plate plus one brick standard (BP+1B) in 32×32 stud sections. The little bit of height will hopefully allow for people to work in little depressions, gullies, plowed fields or hillocks. Simple tan base plates for countryside and farmland or gray base plates for the newly established spaceport part of town will be workable. Smaller or larger modules in multiples of 16 studs (e.g.: street, aqueduct, landing pad) will be okay and even helpful in breaking up the 32×32 grid pattern.

pic name

Display size: Width we won’t know until much later, but depth will be about six or seven 32×32 modules, just in case someone is thinking about building a stream or mountain range across the display. We’d even be open to cliff dwellings, underwater stuff or hill and building cutaways that go to (or even over) the edge of the tables.

Build a Community, play well, and ask yourself how you would sustain a community in a new land.

If you have any questions or ideas please participate in our Flickr planning group or leave comments right here.

Everybody’s surfin’ now

This simple composition featuring some not-so-simple creations by Jack Marquez (Ewok in Disguise) captures the feel of a Beach Boys song: Corvette convertible, custom Harley-Davidson and a surfboard.

LEGO Jack Marquez Ewok in Disguise Beach Bombs

Check out all the pedals and valves on that Harley and the red rubber bands for racing stripes.

Beautiful, beautiful cheese floors

I’m consistently wowed by the geometric designs that Katie Walker fiddles with and frequently shares. It’s extra rewarding when she incorporates the results of her experiments into beautiful architecture like this grand staircase and mosaic floor.

LEGO Katie Walker Eilonwy77 Grand Staircase in Queen's Palace