Brickvention 2011 Summary

Brickvention 2011

Australia’s premier LEGO fan event, Brickvention, was held over the weekend of the 15th and 16th of January, 2011 at the Town Hall in the centre of Melbourne, Australia. With Brickvention’s ever-increasing popularity we had out-grown our previous venue and the historic Town Hall provided the perfect backdrop to our annual event.

The Public Expo for Brickvention 2011 was held on the Sunday of the weekend. Right from the start the crowds were far beyond our expectation. The queue to enter the venue started two hours before opening time and eventually looped around the block. In all, around 8000 adults, children and families managed to squeeze into the venue. Star Wars characters from the 501st and Rebel Legion entertained the waiting crowd and the shopping district was so alive with LEGO fans that a number of major retailers ran out of stock.

As per previous years, the display did not disappoint those who attended the Public Expo. The highlight for many people would have been Ryan McNaught’s The Love Boat – based on the 1970s/80s TV series of the same name. Many people will remember Ryan from his award-winning Qantas A380 that was displayed at both Brickvention 2010 and Chicago’s Brickworld.  In a similar cross-section style to the Qantas A380, The Love Boat was over 2 metres in length and dwarfed almost all who eagerly viewed the interior. Ryan’s dedication to detail and enthusiasm for building clearly demonstrate why he has been made Australia’s first LEGO Certified Professional.

Kevin Hall’s Germanic castle also proved popular winning “Best in show” overall. Like Ryan, Kevin spends months designing and building his MOCs and this can be seen in the castle’s internal details and clever use of bricks that are regularly rejected by other MOC builders.  Second best in show was awarded to David Scalone’s Hogwarts Castle. David was a first time displayer at Brickvention but his choice of building and building style resulted in one of the most popular MOCs on the day. Many adults found themselves being dragged back to the Hogwarts Castle by their young children keen for a further exploration of the castle and its grounds. Darren Reid’s Steampunk-themed Hyperion airship won third best in show and proved that you don’t have to have had many years experience to be a talented builder.

Other prizes included the Best Group Build, which was awarded to “Ararat” by Tim Gould and Michael Pianta. Tim and Michael reproduced the main street of the Victorian country town of Ararat as it appeared in the 1979s. Together they proved that you don’t need to live in the same state to produce a high quality group effort. Michael Pianta was also awarded Best Train for his recreation of a VicRail train. Best Town layout was awarded to Dean Niclasen for his Modular House Layout that featured as part of the combined Melbourne and Sydney train club layout. Dean began work on his MOC two years ago by combining the regular modular house sets with his own designs to produce a well thought out streetscape.  April and Lachlan Staines, once again, took out the Best Star Wars MOC with their battle of Hoth, Mark Curnow was awarded Best Space MOC for his recreation of WALL-E and David Boddy was awarded Best Cube Dude for his Bananas in Pyjamas.

Special mention should be made of the Peoples’ Choice award. This is the only prize voted for by the registered attendees of the convention.  This year the prize went to a team of talented builders from Sydney who created a magnificent Wild West diorama. Their layout contained a large number of tan plates and log bricks and even featured a steam train with real “steam”.  Ryan McNaught also awarded a LEGO Certified Professional encouragement award to Caleb for the overall quality of work and effort put into his MOC design. Caleb is an up and coming young LEGO builder who we should watch with interest as he continues to build high quality MOCs.

Not all of the MOCs could be given prizes but there were many that were equally notable.  Coralie’s pink sensation and Fiona’s Hogwarts diorama were very popular as was the massive pirate battle. Ross’s huge crane dominated the stage and Mitchell’s Melbourne tram proved that you don’t need to build big to produce quality work.  Everyone put in a little bit of extra effort this year to include movement and lighting to make their MOCs memorable.

Of course, the Public Expo couldn’t happen without the convention side of the event. Brickvention 2011 saw around 140 registered attendees gathered at the Town Hall on the Saturday.  The first 120 registered attendees received a specially designed convention model. This year it featured Melbourne’s iconic Eureka Tower built in a similar style to the Architecture series of models. Aaron Amatnieks, who has been responsible for many of the previous Brickvention models, designed the Eureka Tower set.

Activities for the day included the usual Build-in-the-bag, Speed Build and Timed Sort competitions. Competition was fierce in all of the games with the Army Men proving to be a challenging set for the Build-in-the-bag competitors. For most people, the highlight of the day was a presentation by Jim Foulds from LEGO. Jim’s talk was entertaining and informative and gave us all an insight into the operations of the LEGO fan community around the world.  The auction was as popular as always with some of the proceeds going to the Queensland Flood appeal.  The main part of the evening concluded with two rounds of Dirty Brickster. As always, the popularity of some items took people by surprise with one group nearly running out of options before the game concluded with clever bargaining from the participants.

Brickvention 2012 will return to the Melbourne Town Hall over the weekend of the 20th-22st of January. We’re excited about expanding the Public Expo over two days and introducing a special VIP night for those wishing to speak to the builders and designers in a more relaxed environment.