Tag Archives: Feature

Interview with LEGO Ideas Pop-Up Book fan designers Grant Davis and Jason Allemann [Feature]

Last weekend, The Brothers Brick attended the launch event for the LEGO Ideas 21315 Pop-Up Book in Portland, Oregon, and we chatted with fan designers Grant Davis and Jason Allemann about their collaboration and how the set became a reality.

Both Grant and Jason (aka JK Brickworks) are talented builders and have been featured on The Brothers Brick multiple times. If you haven’t yet, you should read our official review of the set (spoiler: we loved it) and then dive into this behind-the-scenes conversation about creating the set. LEGO Ideas 21315 Pop-Up Book is now available from LEGO for $69.99 US.


The Brothers Brick: Thanks for chatting with us. We really enjoyed building and reviewing your LEGO Pop-Up Book. Can you tell us a little about how the collaboration first began?

Grant Davis: I had an idea for a LEGO pop-up book in late 2014. I created a model originally powered by LEGO rubber bands, but it was significantly more inconsistent than what I knew a set should be. I ended up contacting Jason because of the technical skill I had seen in his creations, and because he showed interest in my original model on Flickr when I posted it.

Grant’s first iteration of his LEGO Pop-Up Book using rubber bands and bendable minifigure legs.

Jason Allemann: Grant got in touch with me in February 2016 via a message on Flickr. I, of course, absolutely loved the original Pop-Up Book model he had posted over a year earlier, so when he asked if I wanted to join him to develop an Ideas project based on that concept, I jumped at the opportunity.

TBB: Had you two ever met each other prior to this collaboration?

Jason: I don’t think we’d ever met in person before the collaboration, but I was very familiar with Grant’s work via Flickr. I do recall he left a comment on my Particle Accelerator video on YouTube at some point, and I even gave him a shout out in one of my follow up videos for that model, all long before we started working on the Pop-Up Book.

Grant: The first time that we actually met was at Brickworld Chicago 2017 after the Ideas project had already launched and had 8,000-9,000 supporters. We both didn’t know that each other were going to be attending. It was pure coincidence that we ran into each other at the convention! We didn’t talk much about the project, but I do remember that we played some two-player arcade games together as our first in person bonding experience.

TBB: What was your collaboration process like?

Jason: We mostly shared info via e-mail and the occasional Skype call. What I remember most about the design period was that it just took a while. We were both pretty busy with other things, so it would often be weeks between development updates, and it took a full six months before we finally submitted the project. We are both easy going people, so working together was really nice, and we were on the same page with most of the design decisions.

Jason’s first prototype of the pop-up mechanism and an early idea for minifigure storage.

Grant: The bulk of the initial contact was done over email. We fleshed out a lot of the nitty gritty details there in long multi-point messages. We talked through how many inserts we should suggest in the project (we suggested two, which is what LEGO themselves decided to stick with). We set up a Google document to work on the exact description for the project as well, which helped lessen the amount of e-mails.

There was even a lengthy discussion on what exactly the project should be called. We talked through several title options for the project before settling on the simple title of “LEGO Pop-Up Book.” We at one point or another considered “Brick Adventures,” “Brick Tales,” and “Brick Worlds.” The “Once Upon a Brick” title that is on the final model of the book was thought up by the LEGO design team.

The first prototype of Grant and Jason’s LEGO Pop-Up Book submitted to LEGO Ideas.
Click to keep reading our interview with the fan designers of the LEGO Pop-Up Book

LEGO CL!CK – A social media experiment that failed [Feature]

For every successful product or project from LEGO, there are probably many others that you’ve never heard of. The lifespan of these were short and less memorable and they were obviously unsuccessful ventures. However, nothing is ever lost in the pursuit of innovation. Lessons learnt are just as valuable or even more so in the evolution and execution of future ideation. Good ideas that failed or didn’t go so well can be the stepping stones toward future success. In a new series of articles, we’re taking a look at some of the LEGO failures or projects that were simply weird and never really took off.

In this first installment of LEGO Ventures that Vanished, we’re looking back at LEGO CL!CK, a somewhat obscure launch into the social media scene, back when every company tried to get their feet wet with “social media engagement.”

When did it happen?

An inkling of what was to come with LEGO CLICK was first felt during the end of December 2009 with a tweet, soon followed by a press release. But by July 2010, it had all started to taper off, which gave it a rough lifespan of 7 months from what we can trace over time, looking back today.

Learn more about the fascinating history of LEGO CLICK

Top 10 life-size LEGO Star Wars creations [Feature]

Some LEGO builders took Star Wars building to a whole new scale with prop replica weapons you can hold, helmets you can wear, and even starfighters you can pilot. Let’s take a look at the top 10 Star Wars LEGO builds constructed in 1:1 scale that we’ve featured here on The Brothers Brick!

#10: Han Solo’s DL-44 Blaster Pistol

There’s just no match for a blaster at your side. Logan’s DL-44 replica is the perfect tool for shooting Greedo first.

Han Solo's DL-44 Blaster Pistol

#9: Millenium Falcon guitar

Metal cover of Imperial March intensifies. General Kkaebok’s Millenium Falcon guitar is certainly one of the most unique picks for Star Wars in 1:1 scale.

My millennium Falcon Guitar <밀레니엄 팔콘 기타>

See the rest of the Top 10 picks after the jump

When Life Imitates LEGO – The Octan Gas Company [Feature]

Every city needs fuel to run, and prior to 1992, real-life oil companies like Shell, Esso, and Exxon provided the energy to keep brick-built LEGO cities running. Then, a new competitor entered the market — a Danish oil company that went by the name Octan. Soon, all the other players couldn’t keep up with Octan and that led to the dominance of a single supplier monopolizing the brick fuel market. Octan were not satisfied with just the ABS market, and it seems like the fictional gas company grew into a real-life company supplying gasoline to real-world vehicles… (HOLD ON RIGHT THERE!) Yes, you read that right… How did a fictional company become real?

Well, we’re not going to give you false hopes that we know exactly how a fictional oil brand came to exist in real life, but we just wanted to share a mysterious incident that popped up on the web. A screen capture appearing to show an Octan-branded gas station in the real world went viral within the LEGO fan community recently, and we decided to find out what we could. We may not have all the answers, at least for now, but we do hope that someone will step forward to give us some background and context.

Click here to read more about our investigation into the real life Octan oil company

Minifigure hairstyles – which styles were a cut above the rest in 2017? [Feature]

Looking back, it felt as though 2017 was a year full of minifigures sporting cool hairstyles. I imagine the release of The LEGO Ninjago Movie Collectible Minifigure Series had a key role in supplying these modern hairstyles, along with Batman and the odd Star Wars eclectic hairstyle. I thought it would be interesting to step inside LEGO’s minifigure hair salon to take a look back at some of the more interesting styles that LEGO introduced for our little friends last year.

Stepping out of LEGO's 2017 Hair Salon Continue reading

Case Closed: The investigation on Mulder and Scully and their LEGO minifigures [Feature]

This iconic photo of two top-billing Hollywood stars holding their minifigs has been making the rounds in the LEGO-sphere, re-shared and re-surfacing regularly over the past couple of years. Our curiosity got the better of us… Was it a conspiracy from the LEGO Group? Was it a tease of an upcoming X-Files theme? So much mystery from this single photo. So many questions. We know the TRUTH IS OUT THERE, so we decided to do some digging.

Mulder and Scully with Mulder and Scully!

Click to read more on our very own investigation

An investigation into the origins of the LEGO Foot Soldier comic [Feature]

LEGO memes are in abundance, but not many of them surface more often that the idea that stepping on a LEGO brick is painful. One of the best-known iterations of this meme is a comic that’s been making the rounds on the internet for years featuring a brick-general giving training to other brick-soldiers gathered around a plan of attack diagramming the human foot.

If you’re a fan of LEGO, chances are good that you’ve seen it at some point in time and probably even had it shared with you more than once. But did you ever stop to think, who created this? Well, perhaps I’m more inquisitive than most, but that’s what piqued my interest. So let me share with you the journey of discovery that I took…

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EXCLUSIVE: LEGO-made gingerbread houses decorate the White House, plus an interview with the design team [Feature]

Each year during the holiday season, the White House transforms into a veritable forest of glittering Christmas trees with festive decorations as far as the eye can see. But this year, the highlight of the White House holiday décor began in Enfield, Connecticut, with seven LEGO Master Builders.

They were fast at work like Santa’s elves, designing and building 56 unique gingerbread-style houses representing each U.S. state and territory. The team also created two massive gingerbread men and a first-of-its-kind 18-foot long interlocking brick-built paper chain. 500 hours and more than 200,000 pieces later, the LEGO-built decorations are on display in the White House State Dining Room.

White House Christmas The LEGO gingerbread houses were built “studs out” in order to reduce the weight on each tree while still maintaining detailed exteriors customized to each U.S. territory and state. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

In this exclusive interview with The Brothers Brick, Amanda Santoro, Senior Manager of Brand Relations for LEGO Systems, tells us more about building a display for the White House which has been seen by nearly 70,000 people this holiday season.

The Brothers Brick: From the Winter Village product line to advent calendars, Lego has become a holiday tradition in many homes. How did the opportunity arise to create such an impressive display for “The People’s House”?

Amanda Santoro: We were contacted by the amazing events group that works directly with the White House to develop the holiday décor theme. There were some exciting discussions about potential opportunities and ultimately, we were asked to provide the decorations for the State Dining Room.

White House Christmas 56 LEGO-built gingerbread houses representing each U.S. territory and state adorn the trees in the White House State Dining Room, along with two massive “ginger-friends” and an interlocking brick-built paper chain. (ALEX WONG/Getty Images)

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