LEGO made waves this year by taking back to Billund a total of four out of 19 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards presented at the 2019 New York Toy Fair. This is the highest number of awards that LEGO has won in a single year since the awards’ inception, celebrating four sets that no doubt represent the high level of talent that went into making them.
The Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards (also known as the “Oscars” of the toy industry) are presented annually to the top toys, games, and properties of the year. Administered by The Toy Association, the awards program supports the philanthropic work of The Toy Foundation, which delivers new toys to children in need.
We at The Brothers Brick wish a heartfelt congratulations to The LEGO Group and especially to the designers and creative team behind these sets including Justin Ramsden, Joel Baker, Robert Heim, Jaime Berard, Mark Stafford and Crystal Fontan as well as the folks in the minifigure team led by Matthew Ashton for their passionate work that led to these wins. No doubt we’ve missed many people who helped these sets come to fruition as product design is a team effort, so we congratulate all the unsung heroes behind the scenes as well.
Christmas may have come and gone, but Jonas Kramm is still celebrating with this elaborate scene calls “Christmas at Hogwarts.” I love the composition of this build, which is filled with plenty of excellent architectural details and brick-built furniture. Jonas drew partial inspiration from The Book of Unwritten Tales 2, a modern point-and-click adventure game. This is where he found the idea for the curved balustrade and fireplace depicting stacks of books. Some of my favorite details include the bat-a-rang used in a candelabra, gifts tied with LEGO rubber bands and Belville bows, and the dark orange easy chair. The tree also looks nice, with enough decorations to make it stand out but not distract one’s eye from the rest of the image. I’m sure Harry would approve!
I must admit that animals often catch my eye by themselves, but this immersive group of builds by Sven Franic is even better. It’s easily recognizable as Hedwig and a collection of Harry Potter’s possessions. But what impresses me the most is the exceptional attention to detail and unique use of parts. Take the ink-spill or the black hotdog wick on the candlestick, for example.
The conical hat from LEGO Ninjago sets was an excellent way to finish off the handle of the wand. Additionally, the 6-stud shooter and gold wheel were a great solution for the lamp filament. I admire the body-shaping for Hedwig, as it’s not an easy feat to produce nice feathers on a bird looking straight on, let alone from the side.
Sven is not a stranger to building birds. Back in June he produced a pretty epic toucan. You could even build your very own cuckoo clock bird using Sven’s excellent instructions!
Wow–either someone cast engorgio on a dementor (and who in their right mind would do that?) or diminuendo on Hogwarts castle. Whatever happened, this brick-built dementor by Maxime Cheng hovering menacingly over Hogwarts is magical. Special recognition goes to the dementor’s mouth, made from two collars from the William Shakespeare collectible minifig. The sculpted body and the streams of tattered cloak give this model a very sinister appearance. The school grounds and building are also very nicely detailed at this scale.
This lovely model of Harry Potter’s famous owl, Hedwig, is the work of DOGOD Brick Design. He does an exceptional job producing streamlined, organic shapes with LEGO. One of my favorite aspects of this model is the use of the automobile hoods to resemble chest feathers. I also love that she is posable, and that the handlebar used for the wink is easily replaced with a matching eye.
If you like this, check out his adorable Niffler! We also recently covered his excellent Frankenstein for Halloween.
Black Friday LEGO deals and exclusives are starting a week early. The LEGO Store is offering their first exclusive holiday gift with purchase (literally a gift box!), double VIP points, and the lingering Harry Potter Diagon Ally set with orders more than $99 USD, available Nov. 17-18 only, while supplies last.
Barnes and Noble is also hosting a Harry Potter fan event and offering the elusive minifigure four-pack as a gift with purchase for all LEGO orders $75 and above only on Saturday, Nov. 17.
Going back to the original book description of Hogwart’s headmaster, Eero Okkonen has created a fantastically faithful portrait. With a beard down to his belt, a nose broken in at least two places – built from a modified plate with tooth brick – and flowing purple robes, this Dumbledore is true in every way to J. K. Rowling’s beautiful prose. The build also utilises some seriously clever piece selections, from the LEGO parrot that forms Fawkes the phoenix’s beak to the wing elements that double for sideburns. Peering over his half-moon spectacles, this model is LEGO illustration at its best.
LEGO Harry Potter has a new microscale set out today. 40289 Diagon Alley is now available as a gift with purchase from LEGO with orders more than $99 USD until Nov. 21 (or until supplies run out). The sizeable set (read our review here) includes 374 pieces (with a few cobblestone prints) and one minifigure of wand-maker Ollivander.
To celebrate the release of the new Fantastic Beasts movie this month, LEGO is releasing 40289 Diagon Alley as a giveaway on LEGO Shop purchases over $99. LEGO sent us an early copy of the set to review. The microscale set is built to the same scale as 71043 Hogwarts Castle, and includes 374 pieces along with a minifigure of wand shop owner Mr. Ollivander.
Robert Maier has opened the LEGO Chamber of Secrets and unleashed a fantastic beast of a basilisk! If you’ve followed Robert for a while like we have you’ll note this model, while a bit of a departure from his usual post-apocalyptic fare like a toxic wasteland and a world without trains, displays his typical knack for textured, murky worlds.
In this scene you can see Tom Marvolo Riddle (AKA teen Voldemort) near the climax of the book/movie after he has spent months manipulating Ginny Weasley with his diary-Horcrux. Here she’s unconscious just before Harry Potter swoops in to save the day on Fawkes the phoenix in a bit of deus ex machina. The ambiance of the scene is perfect with bones of victims past, rotting plant life, and foggy water. The basilisk model itself dominates the chamber as it slithers out of Salazar Slytherin’s statue. I especially like the vertical nature of the statue against the horizontal striations of the chamber walls. You can check out some finer details of the basilisk itself in the closeup shot below. It’s a far cry from the basilisk we reviewed in the Hogwarts Great Hall!
There were so many terrific creations for our Microbuild Magic! Contest that it was incredibly difficult to choose the winners. While not everyone can win, there are still more that are certainly worthy of a spot on our front page. One wonderful build that caught our eye was this little recreation of Gringott’s Bank, complete with the Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon. The artist behind the build is Zed, who also recreated Harry’s “Cupboard Under the Stairs” for the competition. There were several Gringott’s scenes, but this was one that really stood out.
I’m a big fan of the clever parts usage on the dragon, as well as the contrast of the dark vaults below. The wand-sprue gate is a perfect touch. Overall, the build is clean and elegant, and made even more so by the black background and crisp photography.