Japan BrickFest 2018 – Event Report

IMG_1569
I have recently returned from Japan BrickFest 2018. The fourth Kobe Fan Weekend took place on Rokko Island, in the port city of Kobe, near Osaka and Kyoto (Just as Geelong is near Melbourne, but with more frequent trains).  Organised by Edwin Knight, and members of the Kansai LEGO Users Group (KLUG), this event is a LEGO® hub event for Asia.  Exhibitor’s attended from all over the world – predominantly countries around Asia, but the USA and Australia were also represented.

I arrived on Friday afternoon and set up in one of the two gymnasiums used for the display, accompanied by the majority of builders visiting from overseas. We shared the space with the Great Ball Contraption,  a brick built monorail and a train layout.  LEGOLAND Japan had a display, and there was also an area to get your hands on some bricks and just build! The other gymnasium had many exhibitors from around Japan, and a theatre had larger scale models from members of the Kansai LEGO Users Group.

IMG_1498-2.jpg
My MOC: NEXO Classic Space

I had taken my NEXO Classic Spaceships. [imagine the 1978-79 Classic Space Sets built with NEXO Knights elements and colours] This was the third time I had displayed them this year, but the first time they had travelled more than 1000 km from home. ….I set about the task of discovering how my models had survived at the hands of international baggage handlers, as well as myself bouncing between multiple railway stations.

I set up my terrain and installed the lighting.  Everyone I met was extremely friendly, offering words of encouragement as my various models were unwrapped in more pieces than I remembered them being in when I wrapped them up.

In the name of ergonomics, I would get up and walk around for a few minutes between rebuilds. In real life I would steal the chance to look around some of the other exhibits in the hall:  Mechs were gathering next to me, tanks behind me and next to me, beside me, were some amazing bricks that opened and unfolded, and played air guitar. In between were an amazing array of characters.

Character builds dominated the exhibition halls: some were BrickHeadz, many were not. Unfortunately, I had no idea who many of them were.  Some were from manga and anime, others from history and video games. Some I suspect were from real life.  There was a remarkable level of attention to detail for relatively small models, and I think there are a number of factors which contribute to this. Continue reading

Conspiracy or Coincidence III: Helicopters- from Red Cross to the Star of Life [626/6626 vs 60179]

In which I look at a couple of helicopters, with 40 years between their release dates, consider what happens when a humanitarian organisation reclaims its trade mark and contemplate the special place that helicopters have in the world of LEGO® Vehicles…IMG_9819As has been previously discussed, this is a year for celebrations at the LEGO Group. We have seen sixty years of the LEGO Brick, forty years of the minifigure (celebrated with the release of the series 18 Collectable Minifigures), and twenty years of Mindstorms.

Great vehicles:

While we have the recurrent police theme (even with the new mountain setting), some , miners, as well as last year’s fantastic jungle theme still on the shelves, we also have the ‘Great Vehicles’ sub theme. Now, I recognise that there is a limit to just how many different vehicles might be presented in LEGO Set form over the years. This year however, we seem to have a number of sets that give more than a passing nod to sets that were released twenty, thirty and forty years ago.

IMG_1069IMG_0338Here at the Rambling Brick, we would far rather believe in a conspiracy than a coincidence, and so I would like to believe that these might be a covert celebration of sets celebrating their decennial anniversaries this year. In recent months we have discussed the JetCar and the Helicopter Transport Truck. Today, I would like to compare some  helicopters- specifically the Red Cross Helicopter from 1978 and this year’s Emergency Helicopter. While the Helicopter from 1978 may not be as obvious counterpart to today’s set, compared to the the helicopter carrier and speed record car, there are a number of interesting comparisons between then and now that I would like to make today.

First, let us start with the change in the markings used… Continue reading

Celebrating 60 Years of LEGO Bricks Endless Creativity

January 28 marks the 60th anniversary of the iconic LEGO® brick

image004
Today, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Patent Submission for the LEGO Brick as we know it today. It is a phenomenal achievement, to inspire children over such a period of time, that only a few iconic brands have achieved.
There are a number of sets that have been released to mark this occasion.
These include the 40210 Anniversary set, which includes microscale versions of a number of classic sets, including :

Too Busy to Build: Visiting the Downtown Diner (10260) in LEGO® Worlds

Without a doubt, the release of the Downtown Diner(10260) as the latest modular has brought about a few interesting discussion points, from the reintroduction of teal, the change of the faces from the Classic Smiley, to the change in the architectural style not being in keeping with the other modular buildings.

2018012221502500-1CFA4F0AFF14019A30AD91A509EF4A14
While not coming in the Downtown Diner set, Tara looks like the perfect addition to the setting.

I personally like the change, and particularly adopting a look from 60 years ago, in line with the 60th anniversary of the LEGO® Brick, which we celebrate this weekend.

I am looking forward to taking on this set in real life, however the queue for building  is long, and time is poor. So I did what anyone would do when confronted with this conundrum.

I went to check my social media.

Twitface Snapagram

Continue reading

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly…Recovering from Brickvention 2018

IMG_9946.jpg
Test Pattern by Jason Cichon

Normal Service will resume As Soon As Possible…

This last weekend saw Brickvention 2018 take place at the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne. As an exhibitor, with a MOC still being prepared up until the last minute, I have been a little preoccupied. [ I really should highlight the excellent MOC by Jason Chicon which sums up my situation perfectly]

I had the privilege to spend  the weekend hanging out with some extremely talented LEGO artists, renew some old friendships and forge new ones. I also managed to catch up with a couple of the VIP guests, Mariann Asanuma and Bailey Fullerton.

My Mystery Project X even made its debut. Nexo Classic Space. Essentially revisiting 1978-79 LEGO Space sets, using the NEXO Knights parts palette. I’ll post more about that in due course.

It will take a while to process my images, and to gather my thoughts. I have a few other posts waiting on some final tweaks before publication. In the meantime, I recommend visiting Jay’s Brick Blog for an excellent, timely writeup and set of photos of highlights of the event.

Thanks must go to my fellow exhibitors and convention attendees, and the volunteer organising committee for making the event such an amazing experience.

Members of the 501st check out a massive Death Star. (Do you know who built this model? Please send me a message)

A quick random selection of MOCs seen at Brickvention: Tamara Dadswell’s Lumiere; one of Jeff Carroll’s Nexo Knight Inspired Mechs and Darren Reid’s ‘Finding Captain Nemo’.  These are just a few of the incredible displays that I saw. I am, once again, overwhelmed by the talent that exists in our community. I will feature some other MOCs on the Rambling Brick Instagram Channel over the next few weeks… [ @ramblingbrick ]

Did you go to Brickvention? What did you enjoy? Why not leave your comments below. I’ll take a couple of deep breaths, have a bit of a lie down, and be back soon.

Until then, play well!

 

 

Mystery Project X: Let’s Start with a Place for Space.

I am working on a display for Brickvention, our local LEGO Fan Convention- It is now less 2 weeks away, and I feel as though I am more on track than I have been any time in the last 10 years. Admittedly, I have previously done a lot of landscaping with trees flowers and rivers. These last few months I have found myself drawn towards Classic Space. It seems odd to me that it has taken so long. Minifigures were first released in Town and Castle in 1978, and Space reached Australia in 1979- I was about nine or ten years old at the time. I remember the ’78 catalog showing some images of space (coming soon), but perhaps my childhood memory and facts are in slight disagreement. Star Wars (back in those days there was only one) was very much inspiring my imagination at this time

img_9218

Our family collection of space was limited to the Space Scooter 885, Space Buggy 886, Radar Truck 889 and the 1981 Moonbuggy 6801 – although I seem to remember that last one as all gray.

So, since picking up a used 918 Space Transporter from eBay, a few things have come together. I was given a bulk lot by a friend: A mixture of Classic Town and Space. I have identified parts for all of sets I once had in this collection.

I gave all the parts a wash in warm soapy water in the summer sun, and set about reconstructing what I found, knew and once had. Continue reading

Minifigure Gender distribution: 2017 update

A little over a year ago, I wrote up an analysis of gender distribution in LEGO® Minigures in the post friends era.  In the years since LEGO Friends had been released, there had been some positive trends towards an equal balance, after starting from a pretty low base line (around 11% in 2012) up to 30% in the Volcano Sub-theme of LEGO City in 2016.

As well as supporting the regular themes, 2017 has been a big year for LEGO tying in with cinematic releases, with both inhouse and external IP.  By the end of the year, we will have seen a new Star Wars movie, Wonder Woman and Justice League movies, The LEGO Batman Movie and LEGO Ninjago Movie released.

21312-1
The LEGO Ideas set: 21312 Women of NASA.  Real Life STEM role models in LEGO Form.  This set is due to be released this week from LEGO retail stores. 

This post was provoked, in part after reading a comment about the relatively low female representation in the Collectable Minifigure sets recently released. I thought it would be interesting to revisit the question of gender distribution in some popular LEGO themes, and see if there were any significant shifts in trends over the last 12 months, when I last reviewed the numbers. The impending release of the Ideas set ‘Women of NASA’ is also of interest, as it certainly demonstrates a desire to see inspirational female role models immortalised in LEGO form.

I would like to look specifically at LEGO City, overall, as well as broken down into its major sub themes; The LEGO Batman Movie; The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and also LEGO Friends. I would also like to look at LEGO Star Wars sets released since the Force Awakens… Continue reading