Tag Archives: Interview

The people behind the fascinating LEGO models we feature here are just as interesting! Read interviews with notable LEGO builders, LEGO book authors, LEGO set designers, and many others right here on The Brothers Brick.

Sweeping LEGO diorama tells the story of Welsh privateer Henry Morgan [Interview]

Collective Brick to the Past are a team of expert builders who have been wowing crowds at LEGO shows and conventions in the U.K. with their vast historically researched dioramas. They’ve built massive LEGO displays about the Battle of Hastings, Viking raids on Anglo-Saxon Britain, and the Jacobite Rising. Their latest monumental project is the work of Dan Harris, James Pegrum, Colin Parry and Simon Pickard, and depicts Henry Morgan: Welsh Raider of the Spanish Main. It is their first project to be set outside the U.K. and is based on the buccaneer or pirate – that’s for you to decide – Henry Morgan’s raid on Lake Maracaibo.

Henry Morgan: Welsh Raider of the Spanish Main

The layout features some amazing 17th Century Colonial buildings, a sea fort based on Carlos de la Barra and an array of beautiful period-perfect ships. As always, the diorama has been meticulously researched and filled with all manner of details and surprises.

Henry Morgan: Welsh Raider of the Spanish Main

Dan Harris from the Brick to the Past team kindly agreed to tell us a bit more about the history that inspired the model, the research and building challenges faced in its construction and highlights some of his favourite parts of the layout.

See more photos and read our interview about this huge LEGO diorama

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

UK-based LEGO-building business Bright Bricks bought for £8.5m [News]

Last weekend saw Live Company Group, owner and operator of BRICKLIVE exhibitions, announce their acquisition of Bright Bricks, the UK-based LEGO-building business, in a deal worth £8.5m {$11.1m). This is a significant investment in the business of LEGO shows, and highlights Live Group’s ambitions for their BRICKLIVE brand of events and touring exhibits. They have previously stated their aims of expanding and increasing the number of BRICKLIVE shows across the world, with a particular emphasis on Asia and the US.

Bright Bricks bought by Live Group

You can read the press release about the announcement here, but we wanted to know more. We spoke with Ed Diment, one of the directors of Bright Bricks, to find out more about the deal, the ambitions of the new business, and what this might mean for the world of LEGO shows.

Click here to read our interview with Ed Diment

Interview with Takamichi Irie, builder of LEGO House bugs and a motorized BB-8 [Feature]

A couple months ago, we had the opportunity to talk to one of our favorite builders, Takamichi Irie, about his work. He is most notably known for his use of minifigure parts to achieve life-like shapes in creations ranging from insects to household items. His excellent attention to detail gives his creatures character. Enough character, in fact, to have several of his bugs featured at the LEGO House in Denmark.

Takamichi’s builds have been featured several times on our site, such as his exceptional motorized BB-8, based on the character from the Star Wars franchise. After writing about his Dipodidae, we knew we needed to learn more about his creative process, and ask him about his life and inspiration. 

Tell us a bit about yourself! What got you started with LEGO? Was there a dark age, and if so, what brought you back?

I’m a student who studies Architecture and Landscape Design in Japan. When I’m asked about my passion for LEGO, I always say that I’ve been building with LEGO or Duplo since I was born, because I have an older bother. In my childhood, I asked my parents for only LEGO as birthday presents every year. But I couldn’t buy much LEGO for myself with my small pocket money when I was in junior high school. I only bought some of the small Star Wars sets for their minifigs at that time. That moment was my darkest age, and after that I started building and uploading my own creations on the internet.

Read the full interview with Takamichi Irie

Iconic landmarks in Singapore transformed into Brick Architectures [Interview]

Initiated by the National Heritage Board (NHB) of Singapore working with local brick artists, a recent project has recreated eight historically significant buildings in Singapore to showcase and remind people of the hidden gems amongst the modern city landscape. The eight showcases were built by Xylvie Wong, Eugene Tan, and Andy Goh and was part of the recent team from UNESCO Piece of Peace brick exhibition.

The Brothers Brick had a chance to speak to the trio, and let them share some insights on their journey and what goes on inside of a builder’s mind while recreating impressive large-scale structures like these.

From left are Andy Goh, Xylvie Wong, and Eugene Tan.

Click to read the interview

Celebrating 10 years of HispaBrick Magazine [Feature]

HispaBrick is a free digital magazine for LEGO fans that is published in both Spanish and English.  There are three full editions of HispaBrick released each year, packed with technical articles, interviews, and features on almost every aspect of LEGO. The very first edition of HispaBrick was released back in 2008, making 2018 the 10th anniversary of the magazine, and there are a few surprises planned to mark the occasion.

Within the 10th anniversary edition, there’s an interview with Carlos Méndez, the LEGO fan who proposed the idea of HispaBrick Magazine ten years ago. You will also find a timeline spanning magazine’s ten years, along with interviews with the current staff members. Other features include Andrea Valcanover showing how to build a beautiful tree, Pau Padrós explaining the secrets behind Modular buildings, an interview with the LEGO Technic team and a report of the latest LEGO event in Bilbao.

Click here to see more from the 10th Anniversary Issue and an Exclusive Interview

LEGO Star Wars set designers discuss 75181 UCS Y-wing Starfighter [Video]

The new LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series 75181 Y-wing Starfighter launches on May the Fourth this Friday, and we’ll be bringing you our hands-on review at midnight GMT on May 4th, so check back later this week for our own review. In the meantime, LEGO has released a really great video in which model designer Jordan David Scott and graphic designer Madison O’Neil discuss how they approached the design process, their own background as LEGO Star Wars fans, and more.

The video provides great insights into the LEGO set designer role, rather than just focusing on the set’s play features. We’ll be covering the play features (and more) in our review, so the video provides a wonderful view into the interesting people behind our favorite LEGO sets.

Interview with Jeff Friesen of Cityscapes, The Brothers Brick’s Creation of the Year 2017 [Feature]

We singled out Jeff Friesen’s Cityscapes as our 2017 Creation of the Year. If you’ve missed it then, these are still very much worth a look, and even if you’ve seen them, they’re so mesmerising that you may find something you missed earlier on. It’s almost soothing and appealing to let your eyes wander around these intricate builds.

We could not resist reaching out to have a deeper discussion with Jeff to understand the mind of an artist that could create something so different and unique with the very same bricks all of us see and build with every day.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, e.g. where are you based, your LEGO history, and your work (LEGO/Photography and real life if it is different)?

I’m an award-winning photographer based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, which is on Vancouver Island. I have vivid memories of playing with LEGO from the age of 3 (that was in the early 1970s). I had a shoebox full of white and red bricks in the classic sizes, mostly 2 x 4s. Those bricks were used to make everything from aeroplanes to cities to double-decker car ferries for Matchbox racers. Recently, I was wondering why the brick selection was only red and white. After doing some research it appears the bricks must have been a hand-me-down set from the 1960s. Back then LEGO used to have basic building sets in just red and white.

The late 1970s brought with it the dual treasures of minifigures and Space LEGO. I essentially lived in a Space LEGO drama for a few years. Blue, trans-yellow, and grey were the primary colours of that era. As a child, the actual LEGO building is just the beginning of the fun, and then you get to play with what you’ve made. As an adult, I’ve replaced the play phase with photography.

It’s amazing how LEGO has been there through every stage of life, and now my daughter’s life.

Click here to continue reading our interview with Jeff Friesen

A conversation with Matthew Hocker – a LEGO ephemera collector [Interview]

Matthew Hocker has been on the LEGO scene for quite a while now and has had his builds featured right here on TBB. What you may not know is that he has an extended love and appreciation of collecting LEGO ephemera. The term is derived from the Greek word ephemeros, which means “lasting only one day, short-lived.” An ephemera collection consists of the paper materials that frequently get thrown away or lost because of their short-term usefulness or popularity, such as letters of correspondence, sales literature (brochures, pamphlets, catalogues, etc), postcards, ticket stubs, etc. Matt’s love for his LEGO collection enhances his appreciation of the hobby and its vast history.

  Matt in 2014 together with the wooden duck in Idea House

Matthew has contributed digitized literature and write-ups to Brick Model Railroader and digital contributions to the library section of Brickset. His research skills and appreciation for a collection of this nature stems from his day-to-day role as a librarian.

Our curiosity got the better of us, and we ended up having a long conversation with Matthew, learning a lot about what he does and why he does it. Here’s an insight into Matthew and his collection.


A portion of Matt’s collection of Brochures

Read our full interview with LEGO collector Matthew Hocker

The Jacobite Risings took 5 builders 10 months to build using 1 million LEGO bricks

This year’s big build by Brick to the Past is called ‘The Jacobite Risings: The Fight for Britain’s Throne’. The risings took place between 1689 and 1746, mostly in Scotland as supporters of the Stuart dynasty attempted to restore them to the throne. They were effectively Britain’s last civil wars.
The model is around 16 square metres in size, sitting on the equivalent of 105 48 stud baseplates. It has a mountain in its centre that reaches about 1m high. It was built by the Brick to the Past (BTTP) team,  Dan Harris, James Pegrum, Simon Pickard, Tim Goddard and Steve Snasdell, and took around 10 months to complete.

See more detailed photos of this massive build and read our interview with Brick to the Past

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

LEGO Space builders take over the moon [Interview]

This year’s season of LEGO shows in the UK saw a massive collaborative moonbase display, from some of the UK’s best-known and most talented builders. The model was absolutely enormous, 2.5m square, featuring a huge tower and multiple compartments. It was built with more than 50,000 bricks…

Collaborative Space Base build

The moonbase plays host to an impressive collection of landing pads, with Neo-Classic spaceships and rovers of all shapes and sizes…

Collaborative Space Station – top section, view 2

But below the lunar surface, there is even more action going on, with dozens of cutaway compartments and corridors, stuffed with lighting effects, motorised elements, and cool building techniques…

Vehicle Bay by Peter Reid and Jason Briscoe

Brothers Brick caught up with Jason Briscoe, one of the collaboration’s organisers, to find out more…
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