Today we are fortunate enough to get the chance to explore the mind of Master Mech builder, Mark Neumann! Mark lives with his family in western Washington State and has been a prominent member of the Adult LEGO Fan community for many years. While being know primarily for his awesome Mechs, Mark has also planned and organized many collaborative builds as well as the first BrickCon. In addition to his other efforts, He also recently finished a massive Classic Space SHIP known by her call sign “LL-2016”. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
TBB: Hi Mark, glad to talk to you today! To kick things off, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Mark: Well, ok. Hiya. I have been an adult fan of LEGO since around the year 1999. That would have been when I was walking through a Fred Meyer with my (at the time) girlfriend and spotted something cool in the toy section. Star Wars LEGO. I could get a X-Wing, with Luke Skywalker! Yeah, I racked up some debt on the credit card that day.
This week we were able to track down Fedde Barendrecht to his Australian hideaway in Brisbane. Fedde, who goes by the handle Karf Oohlu, works from home, uploads another crazy LEGO creation almost daily and dreams of world domination. Somehow lots of monkeys and frogs are involved. Let’s dive into his mind but keep your wits about you. Once he has us in his tentacled embrace he may not let go again.
The Brothers Brick: Hey Fedde! What can you tell us about yourself? How did you get into LEGO and what keeps you there?
Fedde: Hi, I’m an old fart, my name is Fedde Barendrecht, Dutch born, Australian raised, and now living in Brisbane Australia. I blame a certain AFOL, Aaron Andrews (aka Darkspawn)—it’s all his fault. The first time I’d visited his place, I saw all the castle MOCs he was working on. (These days, family life—kids—is burning up most of his spare time, and cost him his Lego room.) It got me interested, so I first got into Bionicle, thinking they seemed restrictive and so would feed the interest but not get out of hand. A few System sets eventually got bought, some more—things got out of hand.
This week we were able to sit down with Vincent Gachod from Toulouse, in the south of France. While balancing his job as the head of video production at a french university and raising two kids, he finds time to create some incredible LEGO builds. Let’s pick his brain and see what we can learn from this master of the brick.
TBB: How did you get into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Vince: I started with LEGO in the mid 70’s with bricks from my brother’s collection. My first set was the 374 Fire Station of 1978. After my “dark age” in the 90’s, I came back to LEGO with my son and his first sets. I’m inspired by lot of influences (movies, animation, videos games, books, magazines, cars, architecture…) but I’m more inspired by the details : a car’s wheel, a plane’s engine or a vintage vacuum cleaner! I often start a MOC from a single detail like a car’s grille or an exhaust pipe. I spend a long time working on details.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Pacurar Andrei, also known as Vitreolum (Letranger Absurde). Pacurar lives in Romania and builds in a wide range of styles and genres. His work is highly regarded and his build, Room with a View, made our short-list of the year’s best creations. Please walk with us as we explore the mind of a builder!
TBB: How did you get into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Pacurar Andrei: I got into the hobby when I decided to sell my childhood collection. They were all mixed together in two large bags, so I had to sort and build everything… by the time I was done with this I ended up buying sets instead of selling. Everything inspires me, from someone else’s build to things that surround me. Sometimes just looking at a certain part will be enough. Or just an idea that suddenly pops in my head. Although my biggest source of inspiration has always been movies, games and literature. The challenge is whether I can translate it into bricks.
Here at The Brothers Brick, we tend to specialize in certain kinds of news, LEGO creations, and reviews, but thanks to our partnerships with other LEGO websites, we’re able to bring you more kinds of content. Please enjoy this excellent interview that originally appeared on New Elementary.
To conclude our farewell to LEGO® BIONICLE® “Generation 2”, we have an interview with three members of the team. This was actually recorded prior to the announcement that the theme would be ending, but of course these guys continue to make Constraction figures with The LEGO Group, so whilst BIONICLE is dead (or perhaps merely dormant), the elements live on!
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Paul Hetherington and take a tour inside his head to see how he invents such fantastic creations. Our readers will recognize him as the builder of our Creation of the Year 2016, Gotham Theater Showdown, but his creations span a much greater range in subject and technique than many people may realize. Let’s get to know Paul, shall we?
TBB: Can you give us a little background on how you got into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Paul: I’ve been into the LEGO hobby since before you could reasonably use the word “classic” to describe old space and castle sets. I bought my first set as an adult in 1991, which was the Space M-Tron Pulsar Charger. Little did I know back then that I had just taken the first step on an epic journey — one that would introduce me to so many amazing people, and have my LEGO creations be recognized around the world. Because back in 1991, as far as I knew, I was the only crazy adult who bought LEGO sets.
There are so many things that inspire me to build. My first creations were just built for my own enjoyment, as there was no way to share them. Then when the internet came along, all of a sudden a local LEGO club formed which I joined. From that point I had a reason to build. The first years of creating were mainly spent recreating local buildings, trains and hot rods for train shows and museums. I found I really enjoyed doing research to ensure that my creations were historically accurate and to scale. I soon became inspired to add some fantasy elements into my creations. I discovered Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and the works of Antoni Gaudi. Theme parks, Mardi Gras floats, and parades were also a great source of inspiration.
More recently, I had the pleasure to work with the artist Douglas Coupland on an installation and came to the realization that Lego has a place in the Art world. I find the Surrealists, especially Dali, and Pop Art, and Comic book art to be particularly inspiring. In recent years my creations have had more of an artistic twist and I see myself going more in that direction. Architecture will always be at the heart of what I do and is usually the catalyst for my creations.
It is not an everyday occurrence for me to get an email from the South Pole. Several months ago, however, I was contacted by Ethan Rudnitsky, who was spending the winter at the US Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, and who asked me for instructions to build a model of an LC-130 Hercules. This is the aircraft used to fly people to and from the station and Ethan wanted to put the model on display in the station. TBB used the opportunity to find out more about LEGO fans at the South Pole in an interview and agreed to supply the instructions, stickers, and the parts to build the Hercules.
Ethan and I had yet to work out how to get the model there. Enter Martin Rongen, a physicist and LEGO fan, like myself, who contacted me from Germany having seen my LC-130 prototype. He was due to travel to the Pole around Christmas (summer in Antarctica) and wondered whether I was willing to share instructions so that he could take the LEGO model with him. How about that? Problem solved! We could ship the whole lot to Germany.
Click here to read the full interview
Imagine Rigney has been combining his love of LEGO and retro-scifi video game Bioshock for years. The Brothers Brick first covered his impressive entrance to the underwater city of Rapture in 2011, and in 2014 Imagine’s breathtaking Bank of the Prophet from Bioshock Infinite amazed us with its stunningly huge songbird perched above the floating city.
Well, we weren’t the only ones who noticed Imagine’s incredible talent — Bioshock developers 2K Games have also been keenly following his brick-built fan art. Recently, 2K contacted Imagine and asked him to build a brick version of the cover art for their remastered edition of the Bioshock games, Bioshock: The Collection. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Imagine set to work, and has turned out this jaw-dropping collage of Bioshock imagery.
In June, French artist Mat Green amazed us with a pair of life-size LEGO minifigures made of steel. Those figures, named Hugo and Pablo, were a classic minifigure and a punk rock LEGO skeleton. Mat has now finished his next project — more classics you’ll surely recognize, the pirate Sparrow and his parrot Jacquot. We spoke with Mat about his work translating these iconic LEGO figures to life-size metal sculptures.
Canadian brick artist Chris McVeigh is one of our favorite builders, and No Starch Press is one of our favorite LEGO-friendly book publishers, so their new book The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book: 15 Designs to Spread Holiday Cheer is a match made in holiday heaven.
No Starch released the book back in September, but between a lengthy overseas trip for work followed by BrickCon, I simply dropped the ball — my sincerest apologies to Chris and our friends at No Starch for the delay. But the good news is that it’s now officially the Christmas season, so I guess this is even more timely? Enough excuses. On to the interview!
The Brothers Brick: We first featured you here on The Brothers Brick way back in 2008, when you were taking pictures of chipmunks with action figures. When did you start focusing more exclusively on LEGO?
Chris McVeigh: It happened rather quickly! Pairing Star Wars action figures and chipmunks was a fun challenge, and it motivated me to do more photography of action figures and other toys. Unfortunately, Hasbro wasn’t producing any play sets (aside from large ships), so it fell to me to create my own sets and backdrops for action figure photos. This was a rather time-consuming task that ultimately prevented me from getting on with toy photography.
Click through for our full interview with Chris McVeigh
Did you know that LEGO finally stopped making wooden toys in 1960 when the wooden toy warehouse burned down? What year did LEGO release its first minifigure? When did From Bricks to Bothans start? What in the sacred name of Ole Kirk Christiansen was Galidor? If you’ve ever wanted answers to these and other key questions of 20th-century and early 21st-century world history, you need look no further than The Brothers Brick’s new history of LEGO & the LEGO fan community page.
The page starts in 1932 and is up to date through the end of 2016, though we’re confident that there are a lot of important dates and events we’ve missed along the way. We’ll be adding more information based on your feedback and as we uncover more sources like Dave Eaton‘s “AFOL History Project.”
We’ve also updated and expanded our LEGO dictionary of AFOL jargon, with double the entries of the previous version, including entries for the commonly used names for lots of parts and building techniques.
“Are you busy in May?”, was a question I got in an e-mail early this year from my friend Ed Diment, co-director of Bright Bricks. The organisers had asked them to build models for a LEGO event in Dubai and to get in touch with fan builders, with large collections of models they would be willing to display at the event.
The event in question was Stack and it was the first of its kind in the Middle East. I’ve been very fortunate to attend many different LEGO events in Europe and in the US, but I knew this one was going to be special.