Tag Archives: Jason Allemann

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

Reverse engineering the LEGO Forma shark with a brick-built “skin”

Last month LEGO revealed Forma, an experimental kinetic sculpture set designed to target the adult market. The product was launched via crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo but is currently only available to buyers in the U.S. and U.K. The product was of interest to Jason Allemann since he enjoys building LEGO kinetic sculptures. Because Jason lives in Canada and is unable to order the Forma set, he decided to reverse-engineer the design well-before its official release!

Swimming Shark

Jason’s shark is more than a direct copy, as it contains his own personal touch. Since the Forma skins are not currently available, Jason created a stunning brick-built skin. The brick-built shark body doesn’t interfere with the model’s functionality and will likely appeal to LEGO fans who were not impressed by Forma’s plastic skins. Jason modified the mechanism to achieve a more realistic swimming motion, and the lower level consists of a small school of fish swimming beneath the shark. Finishing off the entire model is an attractive coral reef base, which offers a nice splash of color.

Monorail, monorail, monorail [Video]

Hearkening back to the 80s LEGO Monorail with its centre-engine car and retro look, Jason Allemann has come up with another fantastic kinetic powered creation. This time he has built a motorised train for the new LEGO rollercoaster system.

Roller Coaster Train

Jason is using an ingenious design with Technic half bushes and rubber tyres to attach and propel the mini monorail. Watch the video to find out more about the challenges he faced and overcame to create this cute little piece of LEGO nostalgia.

Exclusive interview with Jason Allemann, creator of LEGO Ideas 21305 Maze [News]

LEGO’s newest Ideas set, 21305 Maze, is available starting today. Jason Allemann, the Maze’s creator, has long been known known for helping out fellow fans by providing instructions to many of his models, and this time around, Jason has put together a special Maze website which hosts instructions several alternate maze layouts, and inspiration for even more. Jason has even created a motorized miniature golf-inspired maze (video below).

We got our hands on the Maze last month and had fun reviewing it, but we wanted to know what its creator had to say. Jason was kind enough to speak with us about the Maze, his design process, and how to create a successful LEGO Ideas project.

LEGO Ideas 21305 Maze

Click to read the full interview with Jason

LEGO Ideas: 21305 Maze [Review]

The latest product of LEGO Ideas has arrived, and unlike many of the previous Ideas sets, it’s not a pop-culture reference. LEGO Ideas is the company’s crowdsourcing initiative, and this set was originally designed by LEGO fan Jason Allemann. It is a classic two-axis ball maze familiar to kids and frustrated adults everywhere. We highlighted Jason’s original LEGO Ball Maze way back in 2012, and now almost four years later LEGO Ideas 21305 Maze will hit shelves April 1. The Maze contains 769 pieces for $69.99 USD. LEGO has provided us with an early copy to review, so let’s dig in.

LEGO Ideas 21305 Maze

Click here to read the full review