The Art of the Brick … in pictures

September 5, 2017 12:45am
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Although I’m not really much of an art person – at least the kind to spend an afternoon trying to guess what mood an artist was in while he was painting something 100 years ago, anyways.

But I do love Legos, and so when I learned that The Art of the Brick was going to be making a stop in Tampa this summer, I knew that we had to check it out. I’ve been a fan of Nathan Sawaya for a while now, so there was the added bonus of getting to tour the work of a famed Lego artist in addition to simply checking out the unique art form that nobody else has ever really worked with before!

Now admittedly I noticed right away that the exhibit was a bit different than walking around all of the larger than life models found around Legoland Florida and Disney Springs – it did feel a bit more academic, even though some of the more familiar painting recreations like The Starry Night, Scream, the Mona Lisa, and even the American Gothic sculpture made me feel a bit more cultured. 😉

I think what was most impressive is just considering that throughout the entire exhibit, each and every last one of the pieces was created by one guy … compared to the giant models around Legoland that are very impressive, yet are the works of entire teams of builders between computer modelers and fabricators and builders actually putting the bricks into place. And I think that helped me to bridge that gap between art and model, in a way, because my own art (writing) has very much always been a singular exercise as opposed to writing with other people.

It’s neat to walk around this huge exhibit and see some of the ideas inside the head of another creative person brought to life.

Above all, I think by far my favorite piece in the exhibit, though, was the model of the exhibit itself … particularly once I realized just how meta it got when the model itself was found within the model of the exhibit! That delighted me to no end – to first track my way through the exhibit from the front door to where I was standing, only to realize that within that the entire exhibit had been replicated again. So cool! 😀

I also really appreciated the interactive section at the end where kids could finally touch the bricks and play on their own … because if the other kids in the exhibit were anything like my own, they were more than due for a reward by the time they got to the end! Plus, it was just a nice way to end the presentation by bringing the art down to a relatable level for children because that’s the age when the seeds for any good, lifelong passion find their roots.

As a final thought, before writing this post today I did a little digging to see where The Art of the Brick would be going next because this was its last weekend in Tampa, I was intrigued to find that there are actually multiple shows currently touring the globe, meaning that the show I saw this weekend may not be the same other people will see – which is kind of neat and makes me wonder what pieces the other shows feature, too!

This one, in particular, over in the UK looks especially neat because it’s focused primarily on DC Superheroes – and though I’ve always been more of a Marvel guy myself, some of these models even beyond the giant Batmobile look like they’d be very cool to check out.

All in all it was a great exhibit, and I’ll be damned if we didn’t end up venturing over to the Lego Store to buy some new sets for ourselves after we were done, too! 😉

374 Lego Minifigures All in a Row…

May 6, 2017 7:08pm
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Apparently I somehow neglected to blog about this a few months ago when I completed my Lego Collectible Minifigure collection, sans Mr. Gold – of course, so now that Series 17 is officially in stores and I was able to pick up a few packs yesterday, I thought I’d knock this post out while the new additions are fresh on my mind…

According to some old blog posts of mine, I first started collecting CMFs around 2011 with series 3, so it took me roughly 6 years to nab 23 series total … with Series 17 that just came out making series #24! It’s kind of fun to track the display itself as my collection slowly grew over the years – how it started with just a handful of minifigs on my desk, then started filling up a single base plate, and a couple of years later I upgraded to four base plates in the display total.

Now about four years after those four plates, I’ve since had to clear off a significant portion of one wall in my office to make room for the massive twelve plate display that are in use today … and really, as soon as whatever follows Series 17 is released, I’m going to have to expand AGAIN!!!

I remember when I first started seriously collecting, I really liked the look of some of the shadow boxes that I saw online, but seriously – with nearly 400 minifigs and counting, it would just take up way too much space … at least in the home office that I have today! Maybe when we eventually move to a bigger house, but for the time being we’ll have to stick to what’s working for now. 😛

My Favorite Minifigs
I know I’m not the only one who’s a fan of the guys in costumes theme that has been present throughout the years, but there’s a good reason – these guys are cool! With so many minifigs, it’s really hard to even pick favorites because there are tons of cool ones, but these guys all stand out, that’s for sure.

Most Expensive Minifigs
If I had to guess, I’d say that each of these three minifigs ran me about $40 a piece … the nurse is one of the rare minifigs from Series 1, the Boxer was a pain because he’s from the London Olympics series and I had to order him from overseas, and I don’t really know why Bunny Suit Guy was so pricey, except that I was a little more cautious because I actually found sellers counterfeiting them when I was ready to order that one. All in all, it’s probably not crazy to estimate that the entire collection cost me a couple thousand dollars between buying blind packs ranging from $2.99 – $3.99, orders on Bricklink, and trading away or selling my doubles.

Ok, so it’s a little crazy, but remember – that’s $2,000 over the course of six years! Maybe that’s not helping… 😛

Most Unique Series
Series 14, also known as The Monsters Series – if these had been more available, I might’ve considered giving them out for Halloween, but the entire line-up is just really creative and spans all sorts of the best themes from ghouls and ghosts, zombies, a wolf man, and even a tentacle monster! (my personal favorite)

Most Coveted By My Son
Anyone who follows me on Twitter may have noticed that I’m currently stuck watching Toy Story approximately 7,000 times a day because my three-year-old son loves Buzz Lightyear. Whenever he comes into my office, the first thing he does is point out Buzz in my minifig collection on the wall, which is thankfully still well out of his reach, but just to help placate him I did first give him the Buzz minifig out of one of the Toy Story sets from a while back, and then later ordered a couple of extra Buzzes from the CMF line as well for when he loses them.

Which he does – often! In fact, I need to remember to look for more, but hey, at least he likes Legos and Disney? 😉


In some ways, it’s definitely a bit of a relief to have my collection done – or at least caught up to the current series – namely because the last ones to grab were the hardest to find either due to price or only being available overseas. I tended to buy them in lots of about $50 worth at a time, though towards the end that would sometimes only end up being a couple of minifigs instead of half a series!

Still, it’s a fun set to look over and enjoy all of the creativity that the designers have put into them over the years, and despite the ever-growing demand for more space, I’d still like to see them keep it going because they’re something simple and fun I can pick up without having to find the time to put together a new set … because not for nothing, but I seriously have a good half a dozen lying around that I just have yet to find the time to build. 🙁

Adult problems, I know. But that adulthood – and its disposable income – allowed me to amass this sweet collection of Lego minifigs over the years, so I suppose growing older isn’t all bad… 😉

Fighting the Counterfeit Lego Fight on eBay

August 3, 2015 6:20pm
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This is a little frustrating because as I’m nearing the end of my Collectible Lego Minifig collection, the few minifigs that I still need (22 of 266 as of today) are all pretty rare and expensive, so I’ve been wandering the web searching for the most economical ways to help close the remaining gaps in my collection.

I picked up a few series 1 minifigs from an eBay auction last week, and also found myself irritatingly reminded about the joys of sniping as I watched three other auctions that I was in lost by pennies a piece, but I also came across a scary number of copycat minifigs from overseas sellers that makes me hesitant to order anything else Lego from eBay in the future.

Case in point #1 – I still need Bunny Suit Guy from series 7, which currently averages on Bricklink for about $35-45 … however I found a guy on eBay who’s selling lots of five of them starting at only $25…

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Depending on the minifig, if you’re paying attention you might catch on via the posting – for example with this one, the carrot that the real Bunny Suit Guy comes with is actually orange and green in two separate pieces whereas the fake ones were made all as one orange piece…

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And of course, you should trigger your too good to be true flag for seeing a lot of one of the rarer minifigs for so cheap, but if you’re in a hurry trying to jump on cheap prices, it would be easy to see how you might not realize it until the package shows up and you’re able to take a closer look in person. The video above has some great examples to show how although they may look the same from a distance, disassembly shows that some are made exceedingly cheaply and sometimes in no way like actual Legos are made underneath the surface!

A lot of these guys get away with this stuff because although they’re directly copying popular Lego minifigs, they don’t specifically use the brand name “Lego” anywhere in their listings. A common term that I found was “custom,” but “toys” or “bricks” as the video explains are also popular keywords.

I think what makes me the most nervous though is that although it’s fairly easy to identify these lots of the same minifig … from Taiwan or China and simply overlook those, today I found “a complete set” of series 1 minifigs that’s entirely counterfeit selling for only $29.99 Buy It Now out of Hong Kong…

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You’d be hard pressed to eyeball any errors out of that picture, which just makes it worse for genuine collectors and fans once these minifigs leak out through “custom auctions” and into the general population of things that look like Legos, but really aren’t.

It kind of makes me glad that I’m not even in the market for Mr. Gold right now because although I do eventually want one for completion’s sake, I’m honestly not sure where I’m going to find a $500+ minifig that I feel comfortable buying online! Right now Bricklink only has 5 sellers with them, all listed for at least $2,000 a piece, and maybe 4 out of 64 legit listings on eBay.

Thankfully it’ll be a while yet before I’m ready to figure that one out – maybe I can find a private seller and make arrangements to travel and meet in person for it – but as for those other 22 that I’m still after, I’d rather pay a little more for better vetted sales via Bricklink than risk getting a ripoff that’s masquerading as a bargain… 🙁

As mentioned last month, the time had come once again to reorganize my minifig collection, as noted by the minifigs that were hanging upside down and otherwise cluttering up entirely too much real estate on my desk!

Some sixteen series in with at least 2-3 new lines coming out each year, scalability was a primary concern.

Also, well … space, because this collection is starting to get mighty big!!!

Mighty big, indeed…

LEGO1

So I started by doubling the number of baseplates that my last display used – the alternating colors are pretty much because I learned the hard way that blue is out and apparently the tan baseplates are now officially in. 🙁

I pretty much hung them the same way that I did last time – drilled a hole in the top corners and then tacked them up to the wall, with the one major difference being that this time I did what I should’ve done last time and went the extra step to connect them all together so that the baseplates would all be touching like one giant display area.

It’s honestly about the same number of rows per plate, but I think I like how it looks better.

LEGO2

To save you from counting the whole lot (because I just spent the last two hours dusting and putting them up 16 at a time!), my current count is 235 minifigs total … still missing most of series 1 and then a few random figures from the rest, along with the 9-figure limited edition Team GB set done in 2012 for the Olympics, and of course, the elusive and way too expensive Mr. Gold.

My rough estimate is that I can fit about another 8 series up on my new wall as-is, and if need be after that I can relocate a row of picture frames beneath its position on the wall to add another row of baseplates that would at least give me another year.

I’m not going to worry out more than a few years because at that point we may be in a different house altogether and despite the horror of having to move this whole thing, I’d still love to do something a little classier looking with custom-made shadow boxes and whatnot … though as you can see, wall space even with this configuration is tight so I’d need to have a ton of new space to work with to do proper cabinets or something.

Oh well, for the time being I’m happy once again – now it’s time to hop on Bricklink and order another couple of series 1 minifigs before they’re all going for $20+ a piece! 😯

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to share this year’s Lego Holiday Village because a) I only put it up about a week ago, and more importantly b) I literally didn’t finish putting together the latest set – Santa’s Workshop – until about 3:00am last night!

As you can see, the space issues from last year were only partially resolved by relocating the village to our Lego shelves in the family room and eventually I can still see the entire display taking up residence on a card table or something in the years to come … no idea where said table will go, mind you. But I like how it looks and I think that the lights and the snow are a nice touch … at least until we can really go wild with it and design a set with white base plates and actual brick snow… 😀

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Six months of building and 3.5 TONS of Legos to build the tallest Lego model in the southern hemisphere!

I thought that it was kind of neat to see them using Duplos for the bulk of the tree itself, as I’m not sure if I can really think of many of the bigger models that I know of using Duplos at all. Makes me want to hop on a plane to Sydney to check it out in person! 😉

Lego Smaug Be MAD!!!!!

November 1, 2014 1:14pm
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I don’t know how in the world I missed it earlier this summer, but pretty much everything that Brotherhood Workshop puts out is bona fide gold!

…and only 47 more days until the last chapter in the series is finally revealed… 😯

Famous Films in Lego!

October 20, 2014 12:59pm
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This is cool – I particularly liked Singin’ in the Rain and Wayne’s World! 🙂

Welcome to Lego Springfield!!!

July 3, 2014 6:33pm
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It wasn’t long ago that I murmured the phrase“Where’s the rest of my Lego Springfield?!”

It seems that my wish has been fulfilled…

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(photo via Pepa Quin on Flickr – click through for an entire album of Lego Springfield goodness!!!)

Seriously, he’s got the Nuclear Power Plant, and the Kwik-E-Mart, and Flanders’ house to go alongside The Simpsons’ house, and Moe’s, and Krusty Burger, and The Android’s Dungeon, and even the elusive Stonecutters Lodge!

Best. Lego display. Ever. 😉

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