The LEGO group announced today that it is acquiring LEGO marketplace website BrickLink. BrickLink was founded in 2000 by the late LEGO fan Dan Jezek, and was purchased from Dan’s family in 2013 by mobile game company Nexon founder and entrepeneur Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim. Over the past six years, the new owners, via Mr. Kim’s investment company NXMH, have taken the website in a number of new directions, including a “MOC Shop”, Stud.io virtual LEGO design software and the AFOL Designer Program earlier this year.
Although the official press release is fairly light on details, prior to the announcement today, LEGO invited The Brothers Brick to conduct a one-on-one interview with Julia Goldin, Chief Marketing Officer for the LEGO Group. We asked Ms. Goldin about potential conflicts of interest in LEGO now owning a large proportion of the secondary market for its own product, the future of the community-driven BrickLink catalog, and more. Read our in-depth interview in the article below. We’ll also have more analysis and discussion in the coming days.
Read the full interview and press release about LEGO’s acquisition of BrickLink
There are only a few days left to purchase a set from BrickLink’s AFOL Designer Program (ADP), and having just taken a second look at the Wild West Saloon a few days ago, we wanted to give the same treatment to one of the program’s most successful models, Löwenstein Castle by builder Raziel Regulus. We’ll also take look back at the overall program.
In our early review of Löwenstein Castle, the finished packaging of the set was not yet ready from BrickLink. With the final product now available, let’s revisit the set and packaging, and take a look at the expansion of the base model that has been developed by the original fan designer.
Click to continue reading about the Löwenstein Castle
Over the last few months, we reviewed the Wild West Saloon and the popular Löwenstein Castle custom LEGO sets from Bricklink’s AFOL Designer Program (ADP). Since we received an early review copy, it arrived without the actual packaging and manuals. Bricklink has now generously sent us the actual packaging backers can expect to receive. With box-in-hand, we wanted to provide our readers with a quick revisit of the set, this time only focusing on the unboxing experience and instruction manual.
Click here to experience the full unboxing
Last year Bricklink hosted its first AFOL Designer Program (ADP), a grand effort to make fan designs come alive and be available for purchase. If you’re unfamiliar with Bricklink, it’s an Amazon-like marketplace for purchasing current and discontinued LEGO products. This includes the sale of individual LEGO bricks for restoring sets or making original models known by many fans as My-Own-Creations, or MOCs for short. The Brothers Brick features fan-designed creations every day, and we often receive questions regarding instructions or if they can be purchased. While ready-made MOC kits are not a new concept, where Bricklink’s ADP program shines is in how it took the needed time to solicit builds from the community and used a Kickstarter-like system for fans to determine which sets would be produced for purchase. Best of all, the program received an endorsement from the LEGO Group.
As of now, all of the sets have been selected and are slated to ship this month to the proud supporters who funded them. Bricklink has provided an early copy of the Wild West Saloon by Jonas Kramm (aka Legopard) to the Brothers Brick. When it comes to the number of supporters, this design ranked second to the Löwenstein Castle we recently reviewed. This set comes with 1496 parts, is priced at US $149.99 before shipping, and does not come with any minifigures.
Click to read the full review of the Wild West Saloon designed by Jonas Kramm
If you’re a dedicated LEGO fan, there’s a good chance you already use BrickLink.com to buy LEGO sets and individual elements. Now the 19-year-old marketplace has a new way of capturing the hearts and wallets of AFOLs (aka Adult Fans of LEGO). Announced last year, it’s called the BrickLink AFOL Designer Program, or ADP. With it, BrickLink is bringing a handful of fan-designed kits to market via a crowd-sourcing initiative. In many ways ADP resembles The LEGO Company’s own Ideas platform, but besides boasting larger payouts to designers, ADP also promises that the final sets will be virtually unaltered from the submitted designs. After a review period, 16 designs were first made available for a pre-ordering process with a minimum threshold of pre-orders before BrickLink would actually publish the kit. It’s a similar process to the way Kickstarter projects require a funding goal to be met. 13 of the designs met that goal and the largest model, Löwenstein Castle by builder Raziel Regulus, skyrocketed in popularity resulting in all 2,500 copies completely selling out during the pre-order phase. BrickLink has provided us an early review copy of the set, so let’s see how this fan-built model stacks up. Löwenstein Castle has 2,015 pieces and a $199.99 USD sticker price, though it is now sold out.
While the BrickLink ADP sets are not official LEGO sets and will not bear the LEGO logo, the sets do have The LEGO Company’s blessing. The AFOL Designer Program was initiated in affiliation with LEGO to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the LEGO brick, and each box will feature the official 60th-anniversary logo. The LEGO Company has also worked with BrickLink to provide elements explicitly for the sets. This is unlike any other aftermarket sets, which have always relied on pieces sourced out of regular LEGO sets (and consequently, those sets have a much higher price).
Click to read the full hands-on review
Last September, LEGO launched the AFOL Designer Program in cooperation with BrickLink to help bring fan designs to life and produce limited edition sets for sale. BrickLink has since crowdfunded and revealed the packaging for several of the sets, and today is the last day to pre-order any of the designs (including free shipping) before they officially launch.
Of the initial 16 finalists, all but three have officially reached their crowdfunding goals to be produced. You can read about each of the designs and place pre-orders on BrickLink’s crowdfunding page.
Click to read more about the AFOL Designer Program sets
In September, LEGO launched the AFOL Designer Program in cooperation with BrickLink to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the brick and to help bring fan designs to life. Out of the 443 submissions received, 16 designs were selected as finalists coming from fans from nine different countries. Today, pricing of those designs has been revealed, and they are now available for pre-order as the crowdfunding part of the program begins.
Designs will only be produced and shipped by BrickLink if they hit their target funding levels before April 15th. (That is the same day orders will be processed and charged.) If a project successfully crowdfunds enough orders, it will ship in May. Bricklink is also offering free domestic and international shipping for sets ordered during the pre-sale period.
Click to see each AFOL Designer Program finalist, price, and pre-order information
The second half of AFOL Designer Program finalists have been revealed, bringing the total and final number of designs to 16. (Take a look at the first eight finalists here.) The initiative was launched by LEGO in cooperation with BrickLink to bring fan designs to life.
Crowdfunding for finalists will begin on February 1st, and if a set reaches its pre-sales goal, it will then be produced and shipped by BrickLink. Voting will take place on BrickLink’s AFOL Designer Program homepage, which also features more photos of each of these finalists.
Click to see the AFOL Designer Program finalists
Back in September, LEGO launched a new initiative in cooperation with BrickLink called the AFOL Designer Program where fans could submit custom designs with the possibility of being produced and sold by BrickLink. Out of the 443 submissions received, 16 were selected as finalists and the first half of those have now been revealed.
The digital submissions were test-built for stability and reviewed by both BrickLink and LEGO designers to determine the finalists. Crowdfunding for each of the finalists will begin on February 1st, and if a set reaches its pre-sales goal, it will then be produced and shipped by BrickLink.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the first eight finalists.
Click to see the AFOL Designer Program finalists
There are only a few days left to submit entries to Bricklink’s AFOL Designer Program before the Nov. 18th deadline. Up to 20 finalists will be judged by current LEGO designers, and the winning designs will be crowdfunded, produced and sold by Bricklink.
The designs must be created in Bricklink’s Studio 2.0 software. The eventual release of the fan-designed sets is slated for April 2019, with 10 percent of the sales going to the designer. For more information and videos, you can visit Bricklink’s forum or read our earlier news article on the program.
Today LEGO launched a new initiative in cooperation with Bricklink called the AFOL Designer Program where fans can submit custom designs which will be then be produced and sold by Bricklink. (The term AFOL is an acronym that stands for “Adult Fan of LEGO.”) The creations will be judged by current LEGO designers, “crowdfunded” through pre-sales, then released as limited edition 60th Anniversary sets.
The one-time program will accept submissions through November 18, and the designs must be created in Bricklink’s new Studio 2.0 software. Up to 20 finalists will be selected for judging. The eventual release of the fan-designed sets is slated for April 2019, with 10 percent of the sales going to the designer.
Click to read more about the AFOL Designer Program
Following the acquisition earlier this year of Bricklink.com by gaming mogul Jung-Ju Kim, Bricklink has begun to make changes to their site in anticipation of a complete site overhaul. One of their first steps has been to roll out a new ToS. Bricklink appears to also be claiming the exclusive rights to the common naming system for LEGO pieces, through threatening legal action to competitors. This is intended to protect Bricklink’s market dominance from newcomers like Brick Owl. It is natural that Bricklink takes reasonable steps to protect its interests, but they may have stepped too far with this claim. Our friend Tim Johnson over at The New Elementary has an excellent write-up covering the issue.