Tag Archives: Mailbag

TBB Mailbag – Time for some answers [Feature]

Thank you so much for all the great LEGO and TBB-related questions that have filled our mailbag this past week. I’ve got some answers for you below. But if you don’t see your question below, or my answers lead to more questions, the mailbag is still open on our original post.

All your questions will be answered below…

TBB Mailbag – A call for questions [Feature]

Dear reader, we know you have so many questions for us about LEGO news, reviews, and the creations we feature on our site. We see them regularly in our comments, in messages sent via Facebook and Instagram, and through our Contact Us page. And while we try to reply to the multitude of inquiries we receive through these portals, it’s about time we had an official Q&A session with you all. Use the form below to submit your questions, and I’ll be back next week with as many answers as I can muster (to questions submitted through any of these channels, both old and new). If there’s something you’ve been wanting to ask us about LEGO, writing, or anything else relevant to the site, let us hear it!

Fill out the form below with your questions

Neither rain nor sleet nor discarded fruit skin...

There’s almost too much clever parts usage in this LEGO delivery-monkey character by Nikita Nikolsky. Nah, I’m just kidding. You can never have enough excellent part usage! With the red snake for the monkey’s tie, the Dots bracelet for the strap on its mailbag, and the Bohrok masks strapped on as knee and elbow pads, this build is certainly overflowing with examples. The motion Nikita has created here is fantastic, with the rocket shoes shooting out flames and the white smoke trail leading up to a bit of hazardous fruit. It’s clear that letters are about to start flying! And I’ve got to take a minute to marvel at those shoes, some of the best brick-built ones I’ve seen. The white tread, on full display as our runner falls prone, is a symphony of texture befitting the rocket-propelled footwear.

Unlucky seven-league boots

A. Lemur does BrickCon

Hey Folks!

It’s the Lemur here. Just got back to the compound after a great weekend in Seattle, at BrickCon. There were lots of tasty creations there and I was able to get my paws on all kinds of cool swag.

Caylin let me check out everything on the condition that I not break anything and that nothing got eaten. I took a few little nibbles here and there but was able to stay out of trouble, for the most part. I did accidentally clear the building during public hours, but that really wasn’t my fault. Who knew the shiny red “fire alarm” panels weren’t for public consumption? Anyway, the Fire Department responded quickly, nobody got hurt and I got to sit in a fire truck.

Paul Hetherington won “Best in Show” with his motorized Steampunk robot called “Unchain My Heart”. It kind of creeped me out but it was very well built. I even sat on its head and no breakage occurred.

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Ask A Lemur – Art, History, and the Dark Ages

lemurbrickchewHello, everyone!

This week has been so great! Andrew forgot to yell at me, and even asked me to grab him coffee. And you know what’s amazing? I didn’t mess it up! Josh was so proud. He decided I’d be allowed to “help” with the “Battle of Bricksburg” display for BrickCon! He says I’m not allowed to chew on any bricks though. I’m not sure how much I’m going to like that.

My minion training seems to be going well. Caylin just hits her face with her palm and sighs really loud, and tells me to do it again. She says if I don’t get it soon, then I’ll have to help Ralph clean up his lab. I’d rather not, cause the last time I did that I ended up with an extra tail. It was red! Simon joked about shipping me to BrickNerd.

Okay, time for this week’s questions!

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Ask A Lemur – Monorail, MOCs, and Renders

lemur face & tailHi there!

I, uh, owe everyone an apology. You see, I got into some bit of trouble at the TBB compound. I found this room, right, and it was nice and warm and had the BEST multicolored vines. It turns out those were important? Andrew called them “cables.” Chris found me chewing on them for a snack. I had to go into hiding after that, cause Iain apparently missed something called Downton Abbey? I don’t know what that is, but apparently it’s extremely important.

I’ve been helpin’ around now that they’re less mad at me. I’ve been told that I will not be included in Ralph’s upcoming experiments, so that’s nice. I am not allowed to go anywhere near any of the vehicles, boats, planes, bicycles, or anything form of transportation. Simon said I was grounded.

Since it’s been so long since I’ve gotten to snack on some fanmail, I went a little overboard!

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Ask A Lemur – Cracks in new LEGO, Restoring Yellowed Bricks, & Posting Privileges

Hello, Long-Suffering Friends!

Stern Lemur

Well, I’ve a had a rough week. Apparently Josh thought I was getting too big for my britches (whatever those are) and decided to replace me with someone more easily manipulated. Without anyone else’s knowledge, he sent me on a “special mission” to one of our remote listening posts and conveniently forgot me there.

It was very cold and all I had to eat were old surplus MREs. I would have starved, except the wrappers were rather tasty.

Once I was out of the way, he brought in my replacement. Apparently Josh had him bred in a secret lab somewhere (No, not Ralph’s…he had nothing to do with it). The little bug-eyed freak tried to take my place in your hearts and minds but thankfully you all realized something was amiss. After reading your comments, Andrew also came to his senses and demanded that Josh bring me back. Apparently the new guy couldn’t keep the yacht as shiny as I did. Thank goodness for that!

Now for the good parts!

I’ve got pieces from fairly new sets (less than a year) that have got cracks in them. Does LEGO want to know about these pieces? Should I send them a picture that includes the pieces’ numbers?

Absolutely! If you come across any quality issues with new LEGO, you should contact them. I can’t guarantee how they will respond but LEGO’s customer service department has a rather good reputation. If you do contact them regarding damaged pieces, you should have the pieces with you when you call. The numbers inside the brick can tell them a lot of information, including exactly which mold the piece came from. If there is a molding issue, this will help them zero in on the problem. If you know which set the piece can in, that can also help, especially if you still have the box. Most manufacturers put codes on their packaging so that they can tell the date, time and batch the product came from.

Also, if you are missing pieces in a new set, you should contact them. They will probably send you the missing bits and it helps them track any issues in their packaging system. Please do not abuse this! There have been rumors that a few dishonest people have taken advantage of the Missing Piece system. Don’t be “that guy”, okay?

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Ask A Lemur – Sourcing LEGO, Old Grey vs New Grey & Gender Stereotypes

Greetings and High-Fives to all my good friends out there!

lemur thumbs up

It is I, A. Lemur, writing from The Brothers Brick’s compound! I’m here to answer all of your fabulous questions about anything and everything.

This last weekend, I attended Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle and I have to tell you, it blew my mind. So many new things! I got to attend with Andrew, Iain and Josh. Their invite kind of surprised me but I had a great time. Josh wanted signatures from all the celebrities and Andrew and Iain had a list of items they wanted as well. They had too many parties to attend or they would have stood in line themselves.

I was happy to do it and I got to meet all sorts of people in the lines. Some of them had the most interesting smells! The majority of the people thought I was “cosplaying”, whatever that means. I also saw a LOT of Super Heroes. That Spiderman guy really gets around. Seemed like every time I turned around, he was there. I think he was following me. Never saw him swing on any webs, even though I was watching. I probably missed it. The crowds were pretty packed and I had to be on my toes to keep from getting trod upon by stompy robots and such. That Doctor Who guy also was everywhere. He looked slightly different each time I saw him but I hear that happens, from time to time.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part! There was a Food Truck area along one of the nearby streets! When I wasn’t standing in line for Josh, standing in line for Andrew or standing in line for Iain, I was standing in line at the Food Trucks. They were so awesome!

Enough about me…on to your questions!

Where do I source the amount of LEGO needed to build these large displays I’m always seeing?

That is a great question. To begin with, let’s talk about large displays. Very few of the large displays or layouts that you see at conventions are built by one person. The majority are collaborations between multiple people, sometimes as few as two but often up to 15 or 20 people. This way one person doesn’t have to amass all the brick nor do they have to do all the work by themselves. Working with other builders is really the way to go if you have a large display in mind.

Regarding how to source brick, you can buy lots of sets but that is the most expensive way to do it. Buying sets is part of how you will build up your collection but it shouldn’t be the only tool in your toolbox. There are also LEGO Brand Stores scattered all over the world. If you have one nearby, they have a very important resource known as the Pick-A-Brick wall. They don’t stock every piece but they do have a quite a variety and you can buy them in bulk via large plastic “cups”. You can save a lot of money and acquire large amounts of specific pieces via “The Wall”, especially if you learn how to pack a cup properly.

It may not help with gathering specific pieces but you can build up your collection by keeping an eye out at local sales, Craigslist or by just word of mouth. There is a lot of second-hand LEGO sitting unused in attics and garages. You have to look for it, but it is out there.

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Ask A Lemur – Finding Blog-Worthy Builds, Discovering new techniques & The TBB Compound

Tonga sao, My Dear Friends!

Lemur is Snazzy

Here I am, once again, the lemur intern for The Brothers Brick! As you know, I’ve taken it upon myself to answer any and all of your questions regarding the LEGO fan community or The Brothers Brick itself. If there is anything that has been on your mind, please feel free to post it in the comments and I will do my best to answer it.

What crazy fun have you been up to this week? I’ve been so productive! The TBB library needed organized, so I took it upon myself to sort all the books. The library looked so pretty when I was done, with all the books arranged into groups by color. The contributors seemed less than enthusiastic but their moods are very unpredictable. I’m beginning to despair of ever making them happy. Nannan took me aside and explained that most libraries use some system called “Dewey Decimal”. I don’t know who this guy Dewey might be, but he seems to have created a monopoly of sorts. It’s really not fair. Anyway, while I was sorting the books, I stumbled upon Andrew’s antique pipe collection. They are great for blowing bubbles. Don’t I look handsome?

Enough about me. Now for the important part…your questions!

How do you find the images you do on flickr?
As far as Flickr goes, most of the contributors start looking in the LEGO group. If you want the most exposure, put your pictures there. After that they all have their favorite groups that they check out. Most of them also do a search for recent pictures tagged as “LEGO”.

If you want your pictures to be seen, simply building a good model isn’t enough. Good photography is a must, learning which groups to frequent is vital and figuring out what to tag your photos is very helpful.

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Ask A Lemur – Role-play Projects, the “Super Jumper” Challenge & New Contributors

Greetings, Dear Readers! I’m back and I’ve missed you so much!

lemur cheer

It’s been quite a hectic month. I apologize for being off-line for so long. Several things happened to stop me from posting, all of which were beyond my control. First off, groceries and supplies were getting low, here in the TBB compound. Though she knew better, Caylin sent me on a supply run to Costco. They have such an incredible array of samples there! I tried all of them several times, to make sure the quality was good, you know. Just to be thorough, I also performed quality control tests on the playsets, mattresses, office furniture and TVs. You never know when that kind of information might be valuable. That took awhile. Plus they don’t accept paw prints as a valid form of identification. I think that’s discriminatory, but I digress.

After spending a couple of weeks on my supply run, I got back to the compound to find that Iain was performing server tests and needed me to crawl down the Jeffries tubes to check out some problem areas. I did it, but accidentally caused some “downtime”. It’s not my fault all the pretty colored wires look so tasty. Seriously. If you aren’t supposed to knaw on them, they should be more boring to look at.

Apparently this upset the bosses and my internet privileges were revoked. Fortunately I found were Andrew writes down all his passwords, so I’m back! I really have missed you all very, very much.

On to your questions…

What is your opinion on Lego Role-playing games such as GoH, LoR or LOM?

I think they are awesome! Anything that promotes building and strengthens the community is a great thing. For those who might not know, Guilds of Historica, Lands of Roawia, Lands of Mythron are fantasy-based role-playing projects that require the participant to build scenes to advance the storyline of their characters. There are other projects as well, including Space and Super Hero themed role plays. These projects are great for bringing together like-minded builders and encouraging creative story-telling and unique building.

They have a few downfalls, namely that it can be daunting to join, because so much has gone on and it is hard to get a grasp on the previous history of the project. Also the advanced level of building can be intimidating to newer builders. However, this shouldn’t stop those who are interested. Dive right in, it can really be a blast!

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Ask A Lemur – “Legos”, Tiles in Clips & Lemur Minifigs

Welcome to my abode, dearly esteemed Readers!

Lemur's Mail

I’m very sorry for the delay in posting today. When I crawled out of my crate this morning, all the contributors were already up (a true rarity, let me tell you) and running amok. I was sternly informed that it was Andrew’s annual inspection and I had to rush about straightening and dusting all of their offices and suites. There were a lot of confusing references to Andrew and his white glove. Not entirely sure what it’s all about but I’ve been pretty busy, running from one rancid mess to another. It was almost enough to ruin my appetite. Almost.

Just now I decided that I deserved a break today, so I had a mango and peanut butter sandwich and sat down to answer your questions. I am a bit afraid that someone will come looking for me, so I’m writing from inside the vacuum-cleaner bag. No one uses it except for me, so they will never think to look here.

Off we go!

What is your stance on the word “Legos”?

This is a common question and it’s probably time to cover it again. Grammar police all throughout the hobby love to beat down people who refer to LEGO Bricks as “Legos”. The offender is generally someone new to the hobby and the enforcer gets to show off his or her superior knowledge. In all honesty, it’s not about being correct but usually about being a jerk. It doesn’t matter what you call our lovely little building elements. It’s about creativity and relationships. Don’t be a jerk.

And remember, in Denmark LEGO is pronounced “LEE-GO”. If you correct someone for saying “Legos” and insist the correct way is “Lay-go” without an ‘s’, you are just as wrong. There, now I’m a jerk too.

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Ask A Lemur – 3rd Party Elements, Raising Children & the Lie that was Susan Williams

Hello again, Dearest Readers!

Stern Lemur

I had a strange experience this last weekend. I had the honor of attending a rather unusual tradition that is practiced in the United States. It was called “Super Bowl”. Josh had a party at his house and invited me to come over. I was very excited to see how big this super-bowl was and what sorts of yummy things it held. Come to find out there is no actual “bowl”. There is a lot of food involved but no bowl. What’s up with that?

So, I was the first guest to show up. Apparently the first one to arrive gets to wash the host’s cars. I’ll remember that for the future as no one else had to wash anything. Anyway, the rest of the evening seemed to involve watching some guys on TV fight over an inflated pigskin. I’m not sure why they were fighting over it, as no one got to eat it when it was all over. But the food was good (Bacon-wrapped Jalapeno poppers, FTW!) and I learned enough to yell at the TV when everyone else was. I’d go again next year, but I’ll try to be fashionably late.

On to your questions!

Why do so many people think that 3rd party items are cool but consider clone bricks to be taboo?

This is a great question and the answers are highly subjective. For those how don’t know, 3rd Party items are made by LEGO fans and intended to complement LEGO. Clone bricks are elements made by companies that compete with LEGO.

In general, 3rd Party Items are intended to fill a niche that LEGO is not supplying. For example, LEGO has stated that they will not make modern weaponry. Several small companies, owned by LEGO fans, have attempted to fill that void. 3rd party manufacturers make a large variety of items that are intended to work with or replace certain LEGO elements but are not meant to compete with or replace LEGO as a whole. The quality tends to be high, though it does vary. Fans of the various 3rd party companies tend to be very vocal and enthusiastic.

Clone Bricks are made by companies that are trying to compete with and replace LEGO itself. They make versions of the exact pieces that LEGO already makes and are trying to convince people to buy their products rather than LEGO. The quality tends to be lower than LEGO, but there are exceptions. The names of clone brick companies are often used as substitute expletives.

There are LEGO fans who won’t touch either 3rd party items or clone brick. There are other builders who will use anything and there is a wide range of people in between. The general consensus seems to be that 3rd party items are okay because they are made by fans of LEGO and are meant to add to LEGO. Along similar lines, clone bricks are bad because they are intended to compete with and/or replace LEGO.

In all honesty, there are problems with the logic of any of positions. It all comes down to personal preference. For the most part, they all taste the same. Arguing over it is silly.

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