Brickshire

Mowbray 2017

Mowbray Bricks 2017 took place over the scorching weekend of 17-18th June. Luckily event organiser Andy Veltman had had the foresight to book both a marquee for the outside activities and an ice-cream van which was well used by both visitors and AFOLs.  The build tables, a Minecraft build area and DUPLO brick pit were all well used by the many youngsters and these were the first things many visitors saw as they approached the venue.

Mowbray Bricks 2017
Richard "Bricks McGee" Carter's Fantasy Island at Mowbray Bricks 2017

Once inside a huge variety of LEGO models was available for perusal.  Monster Fighters, Star Wars, Classic Space and M-Tron were some of the LEGO themes displayed. The space monorail took pride of place by the entrance and proved a huge draw for kids and parents alike, as did the trains racing around the LEGO city at the other end of the hall. Getting from one to the other took a while though as there was plenty to inspect on the way.

This included a fantastic representation of the opening scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy Two, a modified Temple of Airjitzu and an ocean full of fantasy islands with contributions from several of the exhibitors. The Brickshire boys and girls obviously have wild imaginations as these ranged from a Bond villain’s hideout, a desert Island LEGO shop, Ra’s Al Ghul, feel younger Island Spa, Unikitty Easter Island and a Minecraft interpretation.  Spotting the various mini figures hidden amongst the displays and watching, and often participating in the live build of a Disney Castle also proved very popular.

A LUG visit to the new LEGO store in Leicester Square, London

A report by member Matt Gibbs, who attended the grand opening of the LEGO store in Leicester Square, London.  Thanks to Matt for writing this and the LEGO Community Engagement team for inviting Brickshire to attend.

Today, Thursday 17th November sees the official grand opening of the new LEGO store in Leicester Square, London but on a grey day yesterday as I waited outside it was good to see a few fellow Northern pilgrims who’d also received an invitation to an exclusive Lego fan event for AFOL’s. (Adult Fans of Lego)

104 like minded fans and I waited patiently outside, loosly grouped in Lego User Group (LUG) conclaves, mulling over aspects of our hobby and excited by the prospect of what awaited us. Highly organised and orchestrated by LEGO, just after 2pm we were called forward, invites and secrecy embargoes collected and checked off and allowed in past the privacy hoarding which has been erected outside the store for some time.

To the applause of staff and fellow fans I came through to join in see for the first time the spacious, bright yellow and white interior and the towering models built up inside for our edification. Standing with other members of ‘Brickshire’, the Yorkshire area LUG we had lovely welcome from the LEGO Group’s esteemed management team. We were talked through the store, now the biggest official Lego Store in the World and the U.K.’s Flagship LEGO establishment. Then we were briefed on the new products that would be available to us on this special day, including the new LEGO Architectue skyline of London set whose designers were on hand to chat about their work.

After this we were given almost two hours to mingle, meet the enthusiastic new staff and see the freshly stocked shelves of the 900 plus square metres of space over the two floors. The staff I spoke with were enthusiastic about the brand and very polite and welcoming and it was pleasing to note a couple were AFOL’s and builders themselves. For a moment I felt my age when one commented I’d been collecting Lego longer than they’d been alive, most amusing!

The huge in-store LEGO model of Big Ben was a real marvel, a truly inspiring and extremely detailed recreation of the famous London landmark standing over 6 metres tall, with a superb working recreation of the iconic clock faces. Next to this was a model of the store mascot Lester, with his union flag waistcoat and umbrella as featured around London on buses and other advertising. Further sculptures include a Tube train which you can sit inside, an amazing 3D light up Thames-scape. Upstairs there was a working almost life sized R2D2 inspired by their Star Wars range.

Useful because of its soon undoubted busy-ness a second set of sales desks is located upstairs along with a massive selection from the various Lego brand ranges interspersed with the showcases of models and a life sized LEGO Red Telephone box!

I had a great time looking over the store and selected several items to purchase, after all it would have been rude not to! There was a nice display of the upcoming seasonal special winter sets which attracted my eye along with a London bus and a few others. The friendliness of the staff was evinced when three of them helped me to locate a particular minifigure from the current series for my 8 year old daughter Jess who’s been chasing one particular one she couldn’t get. Talented fingers assisted my quest and after about five minutes we found one! Thanks guys you will have made a little Lego fan’s day! This little extra is another good reason to shop at the Lego store along with the great VIP scheme to collect rewards points.

All in all I had a great day, meeting fans, the amazing preview of the new store, the amazing welcome and helpful service. A very thoughtful goody bag was a nice touch at the end and all too soon it was 4pm and our special AFOL afternoon was over. Purchases in hand we spent some social time in London before commencing the long journey back home. I arrived back not far off midnight but had a really great day. Thanks LEGO!!

Lego Store in Leicester Square

Billund 2016

A gorgeous weekend in September saw 18 of us making the journey to LEGO’s Holy Grail.  For some it was a return visit and for others their first but for all ‘Brickshire at Billund 2016’ was an experience to remember. 

Most of us squeezed into a couple of chalets at Lalandia, a marvellous holiday camp neatly situated on the edge of Billund.  A visit to the renowned bakery, a wander around the town on the Saturday and a fun-filled day making use of the park’s facilities on Sunday preceded a couple of memorably convivial evenings.

The main event however, was the visit to LEGO HQ on the Monday.  Full of excitement we gathered at the employee shop to make a few purchases before proceeding to the factory.  A peek at an early moulding machine was followed by the factory tour.  A couple of hours later a party of very impressed AFOLs emerged chattering excitedly about the sound of the granulate whooshing along pipelines, the moulding room and how they’d wanted to pick up the piece of random LEGO that had fallen out of a bin and finally the Indiana Jones type warehouse full of robots collecting elements for who knows what. 

Then it was on to lunch; excellent food in the company of the hospitable LEGO CE team and a welcome break between the activity of the morning and the further attractions of the Ideas House and Vault.  Here we had the opportunity to admire some of those original sets that we had as children (that was if we weren’t coveting the ones we’d ‘missed out’ on in later life) and see the development of toys created by LEGO since its inception in the early 30s.  Whilst wandering about in and soaking up the atmosphere of the Ideas House we sneakily took the opportunity to have an impromptu committee ‘meeting’ in Ole Kirk’s office.  The final element of the trip was a fascinating presentation on the designing and development of the new Ideas House.  Many of us will be making a return journey to see it!  

Chairman’s Award: Yorkshire Brick Show 2016

The Chairman’s award is awarded to a Brickshire member who has displayed their MOC at any event at which more than Brickshire MOC is displayed. Any MOC of any size will automatically be entered if it meets the criteria. For the purpose of the award, the MOC can be a combination of sets which have been modified for display, a MOC based on something or a completely original build. So give it a go. Build anything from a sofa to a large scale scene and then get down to an event and put it on display. Even the master builders started somewhere.

The first winner of the chairman’s award is Marcin Witkiewicz for his exquisite Warsaw Palace. The reason this MOC stood out for me was the attention to detail, a feature of all Marcin’s models if I am honest. However this one is different as the detail isn’t instantly noticeable. It is only after the MOC draws you in that you recognise the complex techniques used. There is such a touch of class and elegance to this MOC that it just makes you sit back and say ‘wow’. I will openly admit that historical buildings are not my thing, nor would I have imagined that I would pick this MOC over others. A wonderful MOC, and I take my hat off to Marcin; congratulations on winning the first ever Brickshire Chairman’s award.

Runner up at YBS 2016 has to go Sally Mansfield-O’Donnell’s Chocolate Room. It was quite a close run thing, and not just because it was right in front of me, but for completely different reasons. I am sure some will admire the many different sections of the MOC, or Sally’s interpretation of an iconic scene. For me it was how it drew in the audience, children and adults and the constant ‘ooos’ and ‘ahhhs’ and “Its Charlie and the chocolate factory, look at him getting sucked up the tube!” I could go on. Sometimes it’s not just about the techniques, the choice of colours or even the skill level. It has to be how it is received. On another day this would have won hands down, so congratulations go to Sally for an excellent MOC.

Mowbray 2016

After only two years Mowbray Bricks has become something of a must for Brickshire builders. Luckily the people who live and work around Bedale and North Yorkshire clearly feel the same because over 1800 turned out to support us and our fundraising efforts meaning an impressive total of £5000 was raised for Mowbray School. A steady stream of visitors meant we were busy from the moment the doors opened on Saturday and Sunday was even busier with dads and children enjoying a Father’s Day treat together. As one of our members said ‘We’re in the middle of nowhere, where have all these people come from?’ I didn’t know but the smiling faces demonstrated that a good time was had by all.

This year’s event saw 0ver 30 AFOLs displaying models that ranged from a Star Wars diorama, intricate and detailed renditions of vehicles to a realistic village square and fantastical elves universe. As usual the city layout, featuring an impressive monorail and five-wide train track was a big draw with children and adults. The speed build was enthusiastically attempted by old and young alike with some individuals coming back to try and improve their time more than once. A couple of LEGO’s most recent Ideas model, the maze, (including a track especially designed for very young children) were available to play and the building table was never empty. The final part of the ‘something to see, something to do, something to buy’ LEGO show triptych was completed with the sale of a range of LEGO merchandise, sets, loose parts and mini figures.

The organisers would like to thank all who visited and look forwards to seeing you again next year. Plans are already afoot!

Ultracon 2015

September this year saw Brickshire attending Ultracon at Magna which, despite the change in both name and venue, is actually the same event as Knightcon which we attended last year.

Some of the models there have been seen at previous events, some were altered versions of previous models, and some were completely new; however all of them were absolutely fantastic. Ultracon was the first outing for some amazing builds, such as Craig Rushton’s Batcave, which won more than one award on the day, as did Richard Lawson’s Bumper cars which was also a brand new build. Other awards were won by Chris Adams’ ‘Once Upon a Brick’, which, although it isn’t new to events, is constantly having new members added to it, such as the Frozen girls and The Little Mermaid.

The show also featured a wonderful new collaborative build ‘England in Early Summer’, which, just like the other collaborative builds our members have done, was a fantastic example of how amazingly talented our members are and what can be achieved when great minds come together.

There were so many wonderful creations there that I am unable to mention all of them, but needless to say they were all amazing and, as I always am, I was blown away by just how skilled all of the Brickshire members are.
However, Ultracon isn’t just a show based around LEGO, it is primarily a convention for all things geek. Some Brickshire members really got into the spirit of things and, alongside the attendees of the event, decided to cosplay. We had Marty McFly, some of the crew of Serenity, and my personal favourite, Arnold Rimmer, who was posing for photos and doing the Rimmer salute much to the pleasure of the guests.

Our friends over at Bricks and Bricks Culture also came to the event, and their stand proved to be quite popular. There was fun to be had all round with them enjoying having their magazine photographed with all of the amazing cosplayers, as well as people enjoying the magazine and the extras that they brought with them.

Overall it was a great event, with stalls, parades and movie cars. There was plenty to do and see. Just like last year the Brickshire team had a brilliant time, and we hope that everyone else in attendance did too.