If you went to BrickWorld Chicago in 2016, you might remember seeing the amazing Eurobricks collaborative display called “Ready, set, escargot!” The display consisted of giant medieval-themed snails racing around a track. The template for these mammoth mollusks was designed by Mark Larson, while the structure on this snail’s back came from the mind of Marco den Besten. Marco drew inspiration from the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise, and I think his take on the idea would make for an interesting game. The rustic-looking towers complement the dark tan structure of the snail’s shell. Speaking of the shell, Marco has attached wooden posts to the sides for some classic platform gaming fun.
Our recent collaborative display at BrickCon 2018 in Seattle was an outstanding success, generating an amazing response from both the convention attendees and the public. What started as an idea back in February of this year to expand on the official city set for my son, who is a big Ninjago fan, turned into one of the most popular displays at BrickCon, judging by the crowds leaning into the stanchions, and the tremendously positive feedback we received throughout the 4-day convention. Our collaboration enjoyed the participation of over 30 people, comprising a few of our staff and a lot of awesome readers, and together we displayed nearly 60 custom blocks for Ninjago City, plus numerous sections of waterway.
J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle-earth, best known from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books and films, has shaped much of modern fantasy. Indeed, LEGO builders have been finding inspiration there for a very long time, in the recent years even more so with the support of the official LEGO themes based on the movies. Over the years, we’ve seen multiple collaborative projects appear both as online galleries and convention displays; however, we think this latest initiative is among the most impressive. The massive collaborative project includes 10 builders and 13 creations depicting different locations and events of the Third Age of the Sun.
The project consists of dioramas of varying sizes and styles, although modern castle-themed builds tend to have moderately standardized techniques and styles in the fan community. This makes for a very consistent group project, while still letting each builder’s individual style shine through, and making each creation a great stand-alone build. Continue reading
With only a few weeks until BrickCon 2018, we here at The Brothers Brick are super excited by the tremendous positive response to our collaborative public display! With over 30 contributors signed up to participate, it is shaping up to be one of our larger projects! For more information about the project, check out our original announcement feature. Also, be sure to check out our recent feature on building the lower level of Ninjago City. There is still time to join the fun if you are registered to attend the private convention from October 4-7 in Seattle. Check out the Flickr group to join the project, or to see more photos by contributors.
Just be sure to register your creation by Sept. 30th so we can be sure to have enough space allocated for the display.
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 Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us some epic spectacles in recent years, with the battle of Sokovia from The Avengers: Age of Ultron being one of the biggest. Inevitably it would take a team of super-talented builders to replicate the movie’s centre piece in LEGO form; step forward SaltyLUG who amazingly have achieved just this.
Displayed at Brickfair Virginia, this sprawling scene captures the key scenes from the battle in a single diorama. Amongst the exquisitely built streets mayhem’s breaking out everywhere. Look closely at the front of the church and you’ll find Thor, Vision and Iron Man confronting Ultron. Elsewhere Utron’s army causes havoc amongst the general populace. Inside the Novi Grad church the rest of the Avengers prevent further sentries from reaching and deactivating the repulsors keeping the chunk of Sokovia afloat.
There are many more details and several Easter eggs to find if you look close enough. The group have also recorded the development of the project on NS Brick Designs’ blog.
Summer is here, and that means there are only about three months left until BrickCon 2018. As we announced in May, The Brothers Brick will be hosting a public collaborative display of Ninjago City open to any full convention attendees. Check out that announcement for detailed instructions on the guidelines and how to participate. In the meantime, we here at TBB have been busy little builders, and have over a dozen city blocks underway, not to mention a massive volcano lair for Garmadon. Today we want to share some tips and tricks to help get you started, as well as some of the building techniques that we have used so far in the construction of the lower levels of Ninjago City. Let us know in the comments below if you would be interested in more detailed guides or additional techniques shown in our city blocks.
Ninjago City is a layered city, with the oldest buildings on the bottom stories, rising to modern, nearly sci-fi architecture at the top. As such, we’re approaching the building of our modules from the bottom up, starting with the oldest, lowest level. Nearly all of the buildings shown here will have additional structures placed on top to complete the upper levels–in many cases several more stories. Look for additional articles as we continue building the upper levels. Each of these modules conforms to our standard to ensure the whole layout will fit together well (except in the few special modules we’ve noted).
Last year’s LEGO Ninjago Movie (the third installment of the LEGO Movie franchise) has led to the release of the largest modular city set in the entire expert line, 70620 Ninjago City, and the announced 70657 Ninjago City Docks. The modular nature of these sets is the inspiration for our latest collaborative display at BrickCon 2018 this October in Seattle. We were even able to do a test display recently at Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) in March.
This year’s collaboration will be open to any of our TBB readers who are planning to attend the BrickCon private convention (unfortunately, we can’t accept drop-offs during the public hours). The display at ECCC was well-received by both builders and the general public, and there was a lot of discussions during the event about how to make the display even bigger and better for BrickCon.
Some of the best builders are the ones who are constantly trying to push the envelope of what LEGO can do. And arguably, some of the best builds are a tale of two parts. When you get two great builders together, there is no telling what innovative works of art they might come up with. Shinmizu Village by the brother-sister duo of Geneva (Kai NRG/Geneva) and Isaiah (Robert4168/Garmedon)is a great example of such a creation. At first glance, it’s a beautiful little village on a cliff. But there is more to the story! According to the builders, it’s a mash-up between Venice and Japanese design. And apparently, achieving the angles of the layout was quite a feat!
The good folks of KC Bricklab have come a long way since they started the Kansas City-based LEGO club five years ago. Their most recent exploit is an incredible journey through the half live-action, half-animated feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The 1988 Robert Zemeckis film is filled with hairy escapades, quick humor, and more than a bit of weirdness, and at 8 by 16 feet, KC Bricklab’s display brings it all to life.
The display was a collaborative effort by 19 members of KC Bricklab, and contains the zany mainstreet of Toontown, the huge Acme factory warehouse, and a bit of psychedelic forest among other scenes.
KC Bricklab began planning the build in December of 2016, and had it completed in time for display at Chicago’s Brickworld LEGO convention in June. Although the club meets monthly, most of the planning was done virtually, and the finished display for the convention was the first time the builders got to see the full layout assembled.
While VirtuaLUG is currently the undisputed king of collabs at Brickworld, that may change soon with this rising crop of young builders…
At Brickworld 2014, the so called “ChiLUG+ImpLUG+Friends” group unveiled their Princess Bride Collaborative build, based on the classic 1987 movie. This group consisted of: Philip Bernston, Daniel Church, Casey McCoy , Ben M Merrill, Lee Muzzy, Matthew Oh, Max Pointner, Ian Spacek, and Paul Vermeesch.
As always our friends at Beyond the Brick have a great video highlight of this layout:
This amazing collaborative layout tells the story of the Greek hero Odysseus and his 10 year adventure home after the battle of Troy. Feel free to take the video tour of this massive Layout, courtesy of our friends at Beyond the Brick:
VirtuaLUG of course is the mega-group that brought us Lord of the Rings (2011), Alice in Wonderland (2012) and The Wizard of Oz (2013). So it came as no surprise that they took home Brickworld’s top prize (and Master Builder to boot!):
VirtuaLUG (Not pictured: Bart, Kevin, Kyle, Mark and Leo)