The 2-4th of May 2015 saw the return of the Yorkshire Brick Show to the National Coal Mining Museum for England in Wakefield. After the success of the first year and the headaches caused by the huge crowds, the organizer went down a different route, holding the event over 3 days and offering timed ticket entry and VIP passes with the proceeds supporting the museum and the fabulous Fairy Bricks Charity that delivers LEGO sets to hospitals all over the UK.
For the exhibitors the event started on the Friday evening with the ‘set up’. This included Andy Wood’s record-breaking attempt to build the deepest underground LEGO model ever constructed. I have to say even though I never got down the mine; the pictures I have seen of the model demonstrate Andy’s remarkable design and building skills. Having only a few models to display, I arrived on Saturday morning. It was my first trip to the mining museum and, coming from a mining family, I was excited to see it. It has a great family feel with extremely helpful and accommodating staff. The hall was a hive of activity with exhibitors and helpers arriving and last minute preparations well underway.
It was nice to see three Lego user Groups (LUGs) supporting the event; Brickshire, Northern Brickworks and the Brickish Association. The main hall was very well set up with the Hairy Fairy, Kevin from Fairy Bricks, directing the original Fairy Bricks mosaic (a great interactive element of any LEGO show) in the centre of the room, and a U shaped display of various models around him. A separate entry and exit point ensured a directed flow, giving visitors a chance to view all the models within the time allotted.
Outside the main hall the Bricks and Bricks Culture teams were there in force and their support, I have to say, added a further dynamic to the event. As well as offering the first edition of both magazines, they hid some exclusive Bricks minifigures in the display, offering prizes for those who spotted them all. In addition they brought some Jurassic Park sets, not yet on general release, for general perusal – a nice way for our visitors to start the LEGO feast before them.
On entering the exhibition room, you were immediately dazzled on both sides. To your left were Mark Sellick’s impressive Pokemon models and a fantastic representation of the ‘Last March of Ents’ from Lord of the Rings. Also on show were his subtle representations of a LEGO Fries Stand and a Burger Station, based on the LEGO Land Theme Park game and a fabulous LEGO Friends themed street, unusually but pleasingly featuring mini dolls. Mark was also given the thankless task of handing out the Brickshire ‘Spot the minifig’ competition forms, which was included in the ticket price and offered the chance to win some LEGO goodies, although someone’s (naming no names) cryptic answer to said competition caused plenty of headaches for a later display table.
Once again Andy Veltman, Dave Key and team did a fabulous job of bringing and setting up their superb city scene. Included were many retail sets that kids love to see as part of a large city scene, and MOC’s (My Own Creations: the term used to identify a unique creations by a LEGO model builders). This included a department store, bank and Ferrari garage. It goes without saying that no LEGO city can be complete without trains and this layout had all that and more. People sometimes forget that there is far more to it than simply putting together a lot of retail sets. It requires careful planning and a lot of thought had gone into this display.
The display was such that the visitor had to continually nip from left to right to ensure they saw everything. Andy Wood’s ever impressive Skull Cove and Medusa’s Temple were there to admire, as was his unmistakable geekdom in the form of ‘Jurassic Hoth’ (an AT-AT/T-Rex chasing a snow speeder based on a picture he had seen). Not unsurprisingly, given the nature of this model, it was only on show on May the 4th. Then came Robert Clarkson’s cracking street scene complete with monorail – a true gem of the show. As usual there were some subtle references to Robert’s sense of humor within the model to chuckle at.
Luc Byard’s body of work included a huge Darth Vader Mosaic, signed by the one and only David Prowse, (I think he was the green cross code man back in the 70’s), and is well worth a look if you get the chance to see it. A technically precise builder, Luc’s truly lovely LEGO Yorkshire Rose is now included on his Brickshire brick-built logo. His Speedy Owl and a row of Disney themed small modular builds were also worthy of perusal. Next
was Jack Anton’s magnificent ‘Battle of Kashyyyk’. Remarkable in size and skill, I am sure Jack will go extremely far with the talents he has, maybe even a future LEGO designer?! Also included on this display table were Kevin Hyatt’s models – ‘Endor Speeder Chase’ and a Ninjago model based on a vastly improved retail
A large brick built Hulk minifigure by The Brick Ladd was followed by Bricks 4 Kidz, doing what they do best, demonstrating motorized LEGO theme park rides and a motorized wave. Following on from that was, as mentioned previously, the second City layout by Mark Willis, showing retail sets though the ages – a lovely nostalgic look at some of the older sets right through to newer sets of today. Have some trains running round it and through a castle and you’re on to a winner in my book. The kids really loved it and a lucky few drove the trains through the castle.
The last table was made up of various models, including my own take on the new ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ TV show. Hearing cries of ‘look the Thunderbirds!’ from both kids and adults alike was very gratifying. Marcin Witkiewicz’s technically brilliant, detailed and intricate models including various vehicles and a train scene began this table.
His work has to be seen to be believed and I had to keep asking myself if it was really made out of LEGO! After Marcin’s models was the always impressive and ever expanding Cloud Cuckoo Land from the LEGO Movie by Sally Mansfield-O’Donnell. Cloud Cuckoo is always a crowd pleaser following the success of the LEGO Movie, and here’s to it getting even bigger. Next were Nicola Lawson’s lovely little Lord of the Rings models – perfect scenes in every way, demonstrating some different build techniques, the water effect being one of them.
Last, but by no means least, we had Chris Adams’ portfolio of work, including the ‘Jaws’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ posters, works of art, which most people, even non-LEGO fans, would be more than happy to hang on their wall. The display was rounded off by Chris’ LEGO Ideas Project, ‘Once upon a Brick’. These are lovely representations of Disney characters based originally on the standard profile of a standard 2×4 brick and subsequently extended to include other 2x brick combinations. Check them out on the Ideas website for a better idea of these wonderful creations, that, with the right support, could be made into a genuine LEGO set.
The whole event was really well organized by Richard Lawson and raised a massive amount of money for the two charities. So if you are reading this and didn’t go, then all I can say is:
Get yourselves there next year as it’s going to be just as good, if not even better…