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.

VESTIGE – A LEGO space exploration short film documentary [Feature]

Most of us can probably think of iconic LEGO advertisements from when we were kids, whether it was the little red-haired girl proudly holding her creation, or the Brick Maniac’s zany exploits from the 90s. But it’s not very often that you get to see a LEGO campaign pitch that didn’t come to fruition. In 2016, Brian Ellis pitched a new branding concept to LEGO that unfortunately wasn’t chosen. However, Brian has shared not only the video pitch, but also a full 20 minute documentary of a behind-the-scenes on how it was created. With 5 years of effort put into this bringing friends and like-minded individuals together, it also offers an insight into just how much work needs to be put in for a 60-second production.

If you’re thinking, what so special about it all? There are several. For one, it’s always admirable and insightful to see how fans of LEGO go the extra mile — putting more blood sweat and tears into a production for the toy company whose products we love so much. It also features no computer-generated graphics (CGI), something rare in this age of digital. The stage and models were built by hand, including the costumes, and put together in post-production with traditional non-linear editing software. The LEGO builds were made by LEGO Designer Mark John Stafford, who we recently interviewed for the Jurassic Park: T-Rex Rampage release. Everything down to the soundtrack, which has a Blade Runner-esqe feeling, was composed specially for the one minute feature.

Click to read our interview with the creator and watch the full video production and documentary

LEGO 75936 Jurassic Park: T. rex Rampage, the biggest LEGO dino ever [Review + Interview]

Last week, LEGO announced the biggest set yet in the Jurassic World license, 75936 Jurassic Park: T. rex Rampage. While most of the LEGO Jurassic World theme has centered around the new films starring Chris Pratt, this is the second time LEGO has revisited the 1993 Spielberg classic film, following 75932 Jurassic Park Velociraptor Chase last year. With 3,120 pieces, this new set banks on scale with a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex and Jurassic Park gate, which are much larger than minifigure scale. In addition to our usual review, we also had the chance to speak to LEGO Senior Designer Mark Stafford about the set. T. rex Rampage will retail for US $249.99 | CAN $299.99 | UK £219.99 beginning June 19th for LEGO VIPs, with general availability beginning July 1st.

Click to read the full review

Ask LEGO anything: We’re talking to LEGO, and we want your help! [News]

Next week The Brothers Brick will be in Billund, Denmark at LEGO’s headquarters to talk with LEGO about how the company interacts with the fan community. That’s not all we’ll be doing though, as we’ll also have an opportunity to sit down with a handful of LEGO designers to pick their brains about your favorite themes. We want to give our readers a chance to get in on the action, so if you’ve got a burning question about one of these themes, you can fill out our form to submit your question. Just remember, LEGO designers can never talk about unannounced future products or plans, so there’s no point asking “will LEGO ever make Monorail again?” or “what sets are planned for next summer?”

Click to read more about how you can submit your questions

Exclusive interview with LEGO Star Wars head of design Jens Kronveld Frederiksen [Feature]

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars, I recently sat down with Jens Kronveld Frederiksen, the Director of Design for the LEGO Star Wars line. Jens has been with LEGO for more than 20 years, and shares his insights on how he joined the company, what lessons he’s learned over the years, and how LEGO balances input from both kids and adults. Read through to the end to learn a really cool detail about the movie Millennium Falcon Jens saw during a visit to Pinewood Studios during the filming of The Force Awakens!

The Brothers Brick: Just about every LEGO builder’s dream is to become a set designer. How did your career as a designer begin?

Jens Kronveld Frederiksen: A little bit of a weird story and coincidence. LEGO has been a great part of my life for as long as I remember. I really, really loved LEGO but I was never thinking of it as a profession or a career to be honest. In 1998 I was participating in a model building exhibition. I have a hobby building plastic model kits, which mainly is of World War II stuff. At that event in Copenhagen, there were some LEGO people there, and they were looking to hire designers not for model builders but for making new prototypes for new elements, and well I was of course interested in that. And then before I started on that, I saw a job application for a permanent position as model builder and I got the job. That’s how I got into it.

Read our exclusive interview with LEGO’s head of design for Star Wars

New LEGO Star Wars Build Your Own Adventure book — exclusive first look and interview [Feature]

May the 4th — Star Wars Day. Perfect timing to take an exclusive first look at the new LEGO Star Wars Build Your Own Adventure book. Galactic Missions comes with a new Cloud Car model and Bespin Guard minifigure, and the story is packed with new LEGO Star Wars models and building tips put together by The Brothers Brick’s very own Rod Gillies. The book will be available in August, and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon.

LEGO Star Wars Build Your Own Adventure

We caught up with Rod to find out more about the new book, and what it’s like for a ‘fan-builder’ to work on a project with the LEGO Star Wars team and book publisher Dorling Kindersley.

Click to read the interview and see more pictures of what’s inside the book

Beryll Roehl and the beautiful world of LEGO test bricks [Feature]

Do you have any 2×4 bricks in wild colors with unusual letters on their studs? If you do, you just might have a treasure from LEGO’s historic quest to improve the quality of its bricks back in the late 1950s-1960s. German LEGO fan Beryll Roehl (aka Fantastic Brick) enjoys collecting and artfully photographing such test bricks. We found Beryll’s pictures so impressive and intriguing that we reached out to her for an interview. Get ready for a fascinating and colorful journey into the wonderful world of test bricks!

Lego Bayer 8xf - Light Violet

TBB: Hi Beryll, and welcome to the Brothers Brick! Can you tell our readers little bit about yourself?

Beryll: Sure! I grew up in the late 1960s, so I come from the generation that built LEGO models with the few types of basic building blocks that were available. I currently live in small village in northern Germany with my three adult sons…and their LEGO bricks! Careerwise, I studied mathematics and art and currently work for a school in the special education sector.

TBB: Could you tell us why you collect test bricks and how you became interested in collecting them?

Read more about the intriguing world of collecting LEGO test bricks

Interview with LEGO Star Wars designers Jens Kronvold and Kurt Kristiansen [Feature]

Earlier this year on March 29th, The Brothers Brick team was invited to take part in a Star Wars Fan Media Day at the LEGO House in the centre of Billund, Denmark. One of the main events was a round table discussion with LEGO Star Wars designers Jens Kronvold and Kurt Kristiansen — designers who have been working on LEGO Star Wars sets since the very first wave of products hit shelves back in 1999. Jens and Kurt had a lot to share with us, so we didn’t miss a chance to ask them some of the most exciting questions.

Kurt Kristiansen (left) and Jens Kronvold (right)

Q: Tell us about the LEGO Star Wars model design team. How many people does it include? How many lead designers are there?

Jens: Right now, the model design team consists of 10 people: me as the Creative Director and Lead Model Designer and nine other model designers. We also have two graphic designers, who create designs for all the stickers, printed pieces, and minifigures. While in the office, we sit it an open office environment together with the marketing team, people who design building instructions and other specialists. So, all together we form one “super-team” which I find particularly nice and convenient. If you need to talk to somebody, they’re just next to you!

Kurt: It’s the same with any other model design team. And if, say I have a question regarding LEGO Technic elements, I just need to walk 10 meters down the aisle and I can talk to anyone of my colleagues who are working with LEGO Technic pieces. So, it’s a very open office environment.

Q: How many sets does LEGO Star Wars model team create each year? How many sets are designed by each member of the team?

Click to read the rest of the interview with LEGO Star Wars designers Jens Kronvold and Kurt Kristiansen

Brilliant custom handcrafted wooden LEGO builds by Craig Daniel [Feature]

A while ago, we featured an in-depth look at metal-sculpted LEGO creations. But what happens when you cross a skilled wood craftsman with a pinch of LEGO love? You get a master sculptor that churns out larger than life-sized LEGO made of wood. These are not just any ordinary wooden figures, but they are made with basic hand tools and a lathe and fully articulated. For those unaware like me, a lathe is a machine used to form a piece of wood into the desired shape. We just had to speak to Craig Daniel and find out more.

Click to read about Craig’s build process and photos of his wooden sculptures

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