Tag Archives: Jason Allemann

A kinetic sculpture fit for a god [Video]

In Greek mythology, Apollo is a somewhat complicated figure, so it seems only fitting that he’s the subject matter of Jason Allemann’s latest kinetic sculpture. Building upon his previous galloping horse, he’s expanded the moving parts in this creation to include the horse’s legs, bodies, necks, heads and tails, as well as the chariot body and wheels and Apollo himself. He’s done such a good job making the overall movement look natural, it can be hard to pick out what parts are actually moving independently of each other. It all just flows together quite well.

Apollo

Like everything Jason designs, the mechanics behind it all are quite clever, but even without the movement, this would still be a well-designed static model. I really like the way he’s sculpted the head and face, using a simply gap between pieces to represent the eyes and brow. Also pleasing are the choices of gold elements to adorn the chariot, giving it that ancient and regal look. The relatively new 22 long hose with connector ends is an especially smart choice for the reins. Watch the video he made and take a moment to be mesmerized by the model’s motion and hear about all about the mechanics from Jason himself.

Get high on sugar this Halloween with a LEGO automated chocolate dispenser

You can always depend on Jason Allemann to take all things LEGO to a new level. For Halloween this year, the actual action of dishing out treats to tiny monsters, ghouls and all toddler-sized superheroes has been automated. It’s powered by a Mindstorms EV3 control unit and motor.

Mini Chocolate Vending Machine

It holds a total of 40 candy bars separated by Technic axles acting as dividers. The buttons are connected to lift arms which go all the way to the back activating touch sensors to release the sweet goods.

Click to see the dispenser in full action

Using LEGO to show the inner workings of fear and anxiety

It might be an accurate statement to say that Jason Allemann is having the best month ever. First he was our keynote speaker at BrickCon, where he also designed the commemorative model that we featured here. And now he…or rather JK Brickworks, has completed a series with this model. Why the distinction? Jason is merely the “J” half of JK Brickworks. “K” stands for Kristal and she is the driving force behind this model that is the final part of a trio of sculptures that explore the human mind. The first model, which can be seen at The LEGO House in Billund, explores the mind of an artist. The second sculpture explores the mind of an engineer. This third sculpture, however, might be the most therapeutic for a lot of us. It delves deep and gives us a peek inside a tortured mind.

Inside the Tortured Mind

Click here to delve deeper.

A LEGO builder builds a LEGO builder building LEGO

It was a pleasure to meet Jason Allemann a few weeks back at BrickCon. He was our very funny keynote speaker and if you don’t know him by name, you may certainly know him as the builder who specializes in feats of engineering such as his now famous Sysiphus model and the two times his LEGO Ideas submissions became actual sets; once with the 21305 Ball Maze and the 21315 Pop-Up Book. If you were lucky enough to attend BrickCon this year, you may have had a chance to get your grubby little mitts on the exclusive convention model, which is of this LEGO builder building LEGO, built by Jason, also a LEGO builder. See, it’s totally meta! Like all of Jason’s models, movement is a key feature with this one. You turn a crank and this little fellow toils busily on his LEGO model of the BrickCon logo.

BrickCon 2019 Event Kit

Also, if you happen to have a Power Functions motor you can hook that bad boy to it and this little guy will really cook! But don’t just take my word for it, watch this build video of the designer building the model, then later hooking up a motor to it. Brothers Brick’s own Chris Malloy did the graphic design for the packaging. Neat!

Jason Allemann of JK Brickworks to keynote BrickCon 2019, sponsored by The Brothers Brick [News]

BrickCon 2019 is only one month away. For those who don’t know, each year BrickCon hosts some of the most talented builders at the longest-running LEGO fan convention in Seattle. The general public can see the amazing models these builders bring during the weekend of October 5th and 6th by purchasing tickets. However, registered builders have their own private convention during BrickCon, participating in classes, games, workshops and a keynote. This year, we are excited to announce the keynote will be delivered by Jason Allemann of JK Brickworks and is sponsored by none other than The Brothers Brick.

Jason (the J in JK Brickworks) is no stranger to The Brothers Brick. We last interviewed him about his latest LEGO Ideas set 21315 Pop-Up Book. (And yes, we said latest because he also created 21305 Maze and has another project currently under review.) He is known for his mastery of movement, creating kinetic sculptures out of LEGO like Sisyphus pushing a boulder, a galloping horse, motorized rail cars and most recently a graceful flying luck dragon. Not only does he share his build process, but he also goes to the effort of sharing instructions for most of his creations helping us all become better builders. If anyone epitomizes BrickCon 2019’s theme of “Just Build It,” it is Jason.

BrickCon 2017’s keynote was given by Ty Keltner, who built the food pictured below for The Brothers Brick collaboration.

In addition to the keynote, The Brothers Brick is also organizing a reader collaboration called the Brick Banquet–a life-size LEGO potluck. Builders attending the full private convention can bring any full-scale food item to the TBB table to participate in the feast.

Whether you come to see everything with general public tickets or register for the private convention as a builder, we hope to see you at BrickCon 2019!

Kinetic LEGO sculpture of the Luck Dragon from The Neverending Story [Video]

Stranger Things season 3 will undoubtedly have given Limahl’s royalties a boost with its use of the theme song from The Neverending Story. But if you’re a fan of the original movie, then Jason Allemann‘s latest creation will have you smiling and humming the song to yourself without a single reference to Hawkins, Indiana. He’s put together an excellent LEGO version of Falkor the Luck Dragon.

LEGO Neverending Story

Jason is the undisputed master of LEGO kinetic sculpture, imbuing his creations with wonderful motion, and this model is a perfect example. Check out the video featuring the Luck Dragon in flight, and Jason talking through the design process.

This one’s a real page-turner! [Video]

When you build something really interactive, you naturally want to show off how it works. At conventions you might spend a whole hour repeating a demo. Then another. And another. And another… Until you realize you haven’t eaten all day. Of course, leave it to Jason Allemann to find a truly impressive solution to this problem. After he and his wife’s arms got tired opening and closing the LEGO Ideas 21315 Pop-Up Book, she told him it was time to make an automated, page-turning bookstand. So he has! And it’s brilliant!

Motorized Pop-Up Book Stand

As usual, Jason has developed a genius and inspiring mechanism. Just watch the video for the full explanation of what’s going on behind the scenes of this elegant lectern. I don’t know about you, but I find it mesmerizing!

While you’re here, check out Jason’s excellent addition to LEGO Creator set 31088 Deep Sea Creatures!

A new “swim” on LEGO Creator set 31088 Deep Sea Creatures [Video]

Inspired. That’s all I can say about how I feel every time I see one of Jason Allemann‘s new creations. And maybe a little jealous at how talented he is. Recently, we wrote and article about his update to the LEGO Forma mechanics with a custom shark. This time he has taken a recently released official set, LEGO Creator 31088 Deep Sea Creatures, and brought it to life. It’s done so well that you would think the set was always intended for this purpose.

Swimming Shark Redux

With the turn of the crank or an attached motor, the drive mechanism of this build gives the shark an appearance of organically gliding through water. The most impressive part (as always with Jason’s builds) is how smooth and seamless the motions are. Truly fluid! And as a bonus, this creation isn’t just for admiring from afar! He has kindly shared these (and many other) instructions on his website so that others can build it too!

31088 Deep Sea Creatures is actually on sale at Amazon right now, along with LEGO Ideas 21315 Pop-Up Book, the official set that both Jason and Grant Davis collaborated to design!

Sit tight Santa! Travelling at 1800 miles per second isn’t easy. [Video]

Not many have figured out that Santa’s portly figure is dreadfully important to making sure he stays firmly in his sleigh at the speeds he needs to cover the world in a single night. A slight miscalculation on dietary needs lands him in trouble. Jason Allemann never ceases to amaze me with his elegant and magical mechanical LEGO builds. They’re often very simple but always hit a home run by capturing just the right details to make to hypnotize. This build has a playful theme with Santa Claus on a sleigh pulled by four reindeer that sway from side to side above a tiny village. It shouldn’t be too hard to spot Rudolph among his other mates and Santa hanging on for deer life.

Pursuit of Christmas

Play the video below to see it in full action

Busy in Santa’s workshop... [Video]

Now that we’re closing in on December, it’s time to release the Christmas builds! I’ve been anxiously anticipating another seasonal kinetic sculpture by Jason Allemann, and he hasn’t disappointed.
Elf Workshop

These elves at their workbench are cute enough alone, but of course, there’s more! Jason’s latest creation uses a nifty mechanism to give it an assembly line feel.

Watch a video of this kenetic sculpture in action

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 Ideas 21315 Pop-Up Book packs a big fairy-tale surprise [Review]

LEGO has revealed the next LEGO Ideas set: 21315 Pop-Up Book. Chosen back in May from the crowd-sourced LEGO Ideas platform, the book’s final design has been kept secret until now. LEGO has figuratively taken the covers off the set which includes 859 pieces to build the book and two stories that fill its pages, as well as four minifigures and one microfigure. The set retails for $69.99 USD.

The Pop-Up Book is the brainchild of two fans, Jason Allemann and Grant Davis, two names you may recognize. Both Jason and Grant are regulars here on The Brothers Brick, having a long history of building excellent creations. However, Jason’s name may ring a bell for another reason, since this isn’t his first LEGO Ideas set. Jason also created 21305 Maze. (Check out our interview with him about that project.) This brings Jason into the exclusive double-feature LEGO Ideas club, which was previously occupied solely by Ellen Kooijman who created 21110 Research Institute along with 21302 The Big Bang Theory.

Click to open up the new LEGO Pop-Up Book and get a closer look inside