One of the most incredible things about LEGO is that you can truly build anything you set your mind to. A good builder can take a pile of squared-off pieces and create something that looks organic. Sometimes a LEGO artist (because that’s what they really are) has that extra stroke of genius that takes a build to the next level and gives it life. If you don’t know about Alex de Jong, you should, because he’s proven this point with his stunning tribute to Disney’s Tinker Bell. We were fortunate to communicate with Alex throughout the build process, and he has been kind enough to share with us exclusive details about the project.
There have been some pretty spectacular LEGO versions of Star Wars’ iconic trench run over the years, setting the bar pretty high for anyone taking on the theme. Pro building group Olive Seon have risen to the challenge, deploying intricate details worthy of the original Industrial Light and Magic model. Its nifty laser towers and exploded Y-wing fighter demonstrating some serious building talent, and a hefty upgrade from their first version, which we covered back in 2015.
The surprises don’t end here: rotate the diorama to reveal a complete Death Star interior. Each of the space station’s rooms acting as individual vignettes, from a scene showing Obi Wan’s deactivation of the tractor beam to a battalion of stormtroopers caught mid-explosion. There is plenty of humour here too: ever wanted to see the battle station’s locker room? Well now you can. My favourite feature though is the hilariously over-sized BrickHeadz Stormtrooper herding his droids.
The Brothers Brick is a website dedicated to sharing amazing LEGO builds, news, and reviews. We generally write about things that make us happy. But it is with deep sadness that we must share the passing of an incredibly talented builder, Luca Di Lazzaro. The Italian native was a Deputy Commander for the Carabinieri station in Remanzacco, and an avid bicyclist. Unfortunately, it was a bicycling accident that ended his life at the young age of only 45.
We know Luca (pictured center) because of his presence in the Adult Fan of LEGO community. We have written many articles about his charming and wonderful creations, but we’d like to honor his memory by re-sharing a few of our favorites. You can click the links below to read those articles.
If you don’t speak Italian, you can still read outside articles about Luca by pasting web addresses into Google Translate. If you’d just like to see more fantastic pictures of his work, check out his Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends. In the LEGO community he will be sorely missed.
A couple months ago, we had the opportunity to talk to one of our favorite builders, Takamichi Irie, about his work. He is most notably known for his use of minifigure parts to achieve life-like shapes in creations ranging from insects to household items. His excellent attention to detail gives his creatures character. Enough character, in fact, to have several of his bugs featured at the LEGO House in Denmark.
Takamichi’s builds have been featured several times on our site, such as his exceptional motorized BB-8, based on the character from the Star Wars franchise. After writing about his Dipodidae, we knew we needed to learn more about his creative process, and ask him about his life and inspiration.
Tell us a bit about yourself! What got you started with LEGO? Was there a dark age, and if so, what brought you back?
I’m a student who studies Architecture and Landscape Design in Japan. When I’m asked about my passion for LEGO, I always say that I’ve been building with LEGO or Duplo since I was born, because I have an older bother. In my childhood, I asked my parents for only LEGO as birthday presents every year. But I couldn’t buy much LEGO for myself with my small pocket money when I was in junior high school. I only bought some of the small Star Wars sets for their minifigs at that time. That moment was my darkest age, and after that I started building and uploading my own creations on the internet.
Last year, after Brickfair Virginia 2017, over a few drinks Magnus Lauglo, Aleksander Stein and I had a discussion on what to bring for 2018. The three of us have been attending BrickFair for years and have often admired the large collaborative displays at the event, with builders creating something together. Because of this we figured it would be nice for us to collaborate too rather than bringing our own stand-alone models. We soon agreed to build scenes from the Vietnam War.
I suspect that most ideas that come out of conversations in bars lead nowhere and that is probably a good thing. However, earlier this year we found that we were still pretty excited about this idea and we found that more people wanted to get involved. Ultimately, eleven more builders contributed (in no particular order): Peter Dornbach, Stijn van der Laan, Matt Hacker, Dean Roberts, Eínon, Evan Melick, Casey Mungle, Corvin, Yasser Mohran, Bret Harris and Brian Carter. Corvin, Aleksander and I are the only builders who don’t live in the US or Canada to regularly attend the Virginia event, but our Vietnam group turned out to be a pretty international crowd. We had builders who live in six different countries: the US, Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, Norway and the Netherlands.
We picked Vietnam as the subject because we all watched classic Vietnam War movies when growing up, it is largely novel for most of us and it is far less common for military builds than models from, say, WW2. We considered building a single collaborative battle diorama, but chose to build separate scenes instead. It is hard to find a single battle that is actually interesting to build, as there is usually just a lot of terrain involved and multiple copies of trees, bunkers or vehicles. Separate scenes have the advantage of allowing different builders to give the subject their own twist. I was excited to see what the other guys came up with. The Vietnam War offers a lot of scope for building interesting military hardware, but we could also show some of the history, including the aftermath. Given the wide range of different models on display, we nailed it.
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.
Pinball machines bring out the kid in all of us, hanging out in an arcade losing quarters and setting high scores. And the Classic Space era of LEGO sets appeals to so many of us who got our first LEGO sets back in the 70’s through 90’s. The Brothers Brick contributor Bre Burns hits it out of the nostalgia ballpark with a fully functional LEGO pinball machine called “Benny’s Spaceship Adventure.” She spent several months perfecting the design with over 15,000 LEGO bricks, including LEGO Mindstorms NXT programmable bricks to make sounds and count your high score.
Bre has kindly shared loads of details about her LEGO masterpiece, which stands over two and a half feet tall, exclusively with The Brothers Brick. Let’s pull back that ball launcher, flick those flippers, and learn more about this amazing LEGO creation!
But first, let’s take a look at the pinball machine in action as Bre shares its working features and tells us a little bit about the design process in our latest TBB video.
The new LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series 75181 Y-wing Starfighter launches on May the Fourth this Friday, and we’ll be bringing you our hands-on review at midnight GMT on May 4th, so check back later this week for our own review. In the meantime, LEGO has released a really great video in which model designer Jordan David Scott and graphic designer Madison O’Neil discuss how they approached the design process, their own background as LEGO Star Wars fans, and more.
The video provides great insights into the LEGO set designer role, rather than just focusing on the set’s play features. We’ll be covering the play features (and more) in our review, so the video provides a wonderful view into the interesting people behind our favorite LEGO sets.
As TBB’s cover photo for May, Łukasz Libuszewski’s awesome little roadster prepares us to cruise the highways and byways, looking for adventure. Each time you visit us on our social media pages, you will feel the call of the open road!
Want to see your own LEGO creation featured across TBB social media for a month? Then read the submission guidelines and send us your photo today. Photos that do not meet the submission guidelines will not be considered, and will be removed from the group.
This scene was built by Eli Willsea (also known as ForlornEmpire) for a recent brick challenge. Brick competitions usually consist of using a seed piece of which various builders have to find clever ways to use it in their creations. The seed piece for this build is the Silver Goblet. See if you can spot how they were used in the theme.
What’s great about this build is not only the level of detail it took to pull off this futuristic lab scene, but Eli took the time to share with The Brothers Brick an exclusive in-depth behind the scenes video on how it was built. He shares the thought process and analysis you won’t be able to grasp by just looking at a static photo. If you have aspirations towards doing a scene like this or even just want to enjoy hearing what goes on in a builders brainwave when constructing a complex scene, this is for you.
Did you enjoy the video? Would you like to share your creative build process with the world? We are always looking for interesting builds and videos to feature and discuss. Feel free let us know, and you could be the star of the next video!
We singled out Jeff Friesen’s Cityscapes as our 2017 Creation of the Year. If you’ve missed it then, these are still very much worth a look, and even if you’ve seen them, they’re so mesmerising that you may find something you missed earlier on. It’s almost soothing and appealing to let your eyes wander around these intricate builds.
We could not resist reaching out to have a deeper discussion with Jeff to understand the mind of an artist that could create something so different and unique with the very same bricks all of us see and build with every day.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, e.g. where are you based, your LEGO history, and your work (LEGO/Photography and real life if it is different)?
I’m an award-winning photographer based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, which is on Vancouver Island. I have vivid memories of playing with LEGO from the age of 3 (that was in the early 1970s). I had a shoebox full of white and red bricks in the classic sizes, mostly 2 x 4s. Those bricks were used to make everything from aeroplanes to cities to double-decker car ferries for Matchbox racers. Recently, I was wondering why the brick selection was only red and white. After doing some research it appears the bricks must have been a hand-me-down set from the 1960s. Back then LEGO used to have basic building sets in just red and white.
The late 1970s brought with it the dual treasures of minifigures and Space LEGO. I essentially lived in a Space LEGO drama for a few years. Blue, trans-yellow, and grey were the primary colours of that era. As a child, the actual LEGO building is just the beginning of the fun, and then you get to play with what you’ve made. As an adult, I’ve replaced the play phase with photography.
It’s amazing how LEGO has been there through every stage of life, and now my daughter’s life.
You never know what you’re going to get when you ask the right questions. Recently, we had the chance to speak with Douglas Khoo about his work. Douglas is a talented builder who seldom showcases his builds online, but does what he does for the love of it. If the builder’s name rings a bell, that’s because he was part of the crew that was invited to create and build an exhibit for the UNESCO’s Piece of Peace exhibition that will travel the world.
Douglas created this magnificent collage of LEGO Star Wars ships with a silent tribute to the Dark Side. This montage only took Douglas about two hours to complete, and if you did not already notice, it’s inspired by a similar piece by artist Louis C. Hébert from the Bleublancrouge advertising agency from the Star Wars Identities Exhibition over at the Montreal Science Centre, back in 2012. The difference though is Douglas makes use of the negative space a lot more to give the Star Wars ships a showcase of their own and individuality. If you still don’t see Vader there, squint your eyes, take a step back and look again!
When asked about how big a fan he was, Douglas’s answer was – you’ve got to be kidding me. That’s when we were introduced to a showcase of his other masterpieces which all center around the beloved Star Wars theme. With each of these builds, Douglas adds his own twists of interpretation and re-imagination to the scene.