In the past I have written about my love of Lego. Now as a parent I get to share that passion with my son (AKA The Pok). Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of visits that we used to have at the annual Lego show that would be hosted in one of the big department stores. For whatever reason (probably the Lego company nearly going bust with the advent of the games consoles) they stopped hosting these. But in Sydney the local AFOL (Adult Friends of Lego) club have decided to host a Sydney Brick Show. This year the venue was at the Sydney Town Hall and I grabbed a couple of tickets for my boy and myself, knowing that my wife would not want to come. I grabbed a few other tickets for our friends W and his two boys J & S. So the five boys descended onto the Town Hall for some brick craziness.
This event has become so popular that the tickets were being issued by time over a 4 day long weekend. As we lined up to enter the boys were getting excited. There was a guitarist entertaining the queuing crowd and of course his instrument was clad in Lego.
The entrance hall was lined with Lego portraits of all the James Bond actors – pretty cool. This image is only of the last four, sorry to all the Connery fans.
The Town Hall exhibition space was manic and heaving with exhibitors and displays. We started with an artist who made images using Lego bricks. Here is his Joker (from Batman) portrait.
He was creating another image with a stack of bricks and a computer tablet. I had a quick chat to him and asked him about how he pulls the images together. He explained that he designs the image in a spreadsheet and then uses the conditional formatting capability to determine how many bricks are required and where they go. His next image that he was creating in front of us was one of Boba Fett from Star Wars.
Right next to him was a huge Lego diorama of The Simpsons town of Springfield. It was very accurate with characters and action happening everywhere.
Not much further was a massive scale model of the Sydney Opera House. This is far more detailed that the current Lego set that is available.
What surprised me was that on the reverse side was a fully detailed interior model of the Opera House with minifigures galore. There was all sorts of shenanigans going on in the model with Peter Allen playing the maracas on stage, Jabba the Hutt looking on from one of the booths, and even Buzz Lightyear and Emperor Zurg resolved their differences to watch the show. My son was enthralled with the detail. This was designed and built by the Brickman, Ryan McNaught, and here is the link to his website.
One of the builders made a diorama of Back to the Future 3 complete with rail bound Delorean.
Some of the exhibitors built creations on much smaller scales, but the ingenuity was there regardless. This creator invented his own Lego robots with inspiration from many other science fiction creations.
He designed this ship to. I had a quick chat to him about where he pulled his inspiration from and what came next was a long list of science fiction films, tv shows, cartoons etc. The fact that I knew most of them is no doubt a homage to my own nerdiness.
I watched in wonder as my son was enthralled at the different dioramas. This pirate island had him glued to the table as he examined all the detail. It was then I remembered childhood memories of Lego people in their little Lego worlds that I created for myself as a kid.
One of the most impressive displays was a MASSIVE scale model of the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This measured easily over 10m long and not a single bit of glue had been used. Most impressive. That is the builder there in the photo (back to us) talking to a couple of Lego Fans.
My boy was more impressed by the oversized Lego railway diorama that had many sets of trains running around simultaneously. As a child who has grown up with Thomas the Tank Engine and Chuggington, it was quite difficult for me to drag him away from this exhibit.
My favourite exhibit was this mechanical contraption with descending balls on rails. I think I liked it the most because of the combination of Lego, computing, mechanics, physics, and all thrown in with a bit of play.
It was my favourite because the builder had rigged the whole thing with Lego NXT computers to determine the path that the blue and yellow balls would take. The kids (and some adults) would take a coloured ticket and pick up their corresponding ball. Then they would release it down a ramp where the blue and yellow balls were sorted into different gutters.
Then the balls would travel on their convoluted journey, dodging errant red balls, while returning to their original queue. Awesome.
Sometimes the dioramas were repeated with varying detail to show what life would be like in a land of Lego. Here is a lake house in Summer and Autumn…
And then in Winter and Spring…
All in all it was a manic and crazy time with the boys and they loved it. I loved it too, and look forward to next years show. Hopefully they will find a bigger place as the venue was a little too crowded for my liking. But at lease I was able to be a big kid again, in public, and not feel ashamed about it.