We have a save the date for you today. We are pleased to announce that we will once again be exhibiting at the Great Western Brick Show in Swindon. The show is in its 15th year and will be held over the weekend of 7th and 8th of October 2017.
Held in Swindon’s Museum of the Great Western Railway it is undoubtedly one of the UK’s best shows with tons of superb models and lots of fun activities. We’ll be displaying The Jacobite Risings: The Fight for Britain’s Throne along with a number of smaller models; keep following this blog to find out what.
Find out more, sign up to a newsletter and buy your tickets at:
We have our first save the date of 2017 for you. Bricktastic is back on July 1st and 2nd at Manchester Central (formally the GMEX). We'll be there with the first part of our latest build The Jacobite Risings: The Fight for Britain's Throne.
Early Bird tickets are on sale until March 31st, after that they will increase by £1/ticket. Find out more and buy your tickets at:
Our models are massive and this means they only have a limited lifespan and are taken apart so that the parts may be recycled. They are never completely dismantled though because we like to keep parts of them so that they can be rented out and taken to other shows.
From England 793 we are keeping the island monastery built by Dan Harris and it is available to rent along with a number of other models. We call this part of the model 'Legofarne'.
The island is based on the famous Anglo-Saxon monastery at Lindisfarne in Northumberland, which was founded in the year 635. It was here in 793 that the first Viking raid is said to have taken place; famously the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reads:
You may also be interested to know that we have a range of other historic models available covering many eras of British History. Ask us about the packages we could provide you.
All photographs are © Brick to the Past and Andrew Whyte, 2016.
Last week we bought you our official photos of England 793 as seen at the Great Western Brick Show. You can see them again on the build's webpage. There were however lots of photos that didn't quite make the cut, because basically, there are only so many photographs a webpage can handle. So today we bring you our most loved extras.
A special thanks must go to Andrew Whyte of Long Exposures for taking many of the photos and Blocks magazine for arranging it. They were taken for an article in Issue 24 of the magazine, which is still on sale now. It's well worth getting a copy as it has lots more awesome photos as well as some interesting (at least we think they're interesting...) interviews with our builders.
Last week was Brick Live 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham and we sent along builders Tim Goddard and Simon Pickard to represent us. They took along sections of England 793 as well as a number of other high quality builds of their own.
Brick Live is the UK's largest Lego show, taking place over four days and attracting tens of thousands of visitors - so we were, to put it mildly, quite busy! According to Tim, he spent the day after the show feeling as though he had "just woken from a coma". There's no doubt it was worth the effort though, and Tim is keen to point out that both the public and his fellow AFOLs were wonderful and engaging and made the time fly by. "It’s always a pleasure meeting new fans and catching up with old ones", Simon added, "I'm looking forward to doing it all again next year!"
Last weekend was the Great Western Brick Show, held every year at Swindon’s Museum of the Great Western Railway, also known as STEAM. This is one of our favourite shows, being in a great venue, attracting awesome exhibitors and drawing a large and enthusiastic crowd.
This year we were once again in the Caerphilly Hall, sitting under the imposing shadow of the Caerphilly Castle, once upon a time the world’s fastest train. Lego Hastings made a return and was the first model people saw on entering the venue. Our centrepiece however was a much expanded England 793, with new additions from Simon Pickard, Tim Goddard, James Pegrum, Jimmy Clinch and Dan Harris. The model now covers an enormous 16 square metres and was built on 105 48x48 stud Lego baseplates. Every year we get asked how many pieces go into our models and every year we have no idea, but we are talking somewhere in the high 100,000s for this one.
Key features of England 793 include an island monastery inspired by Lindisfarne, a ship burial representing Sutton Hoo and an Anglo-Saxon village based on West Stow. A further neat touch was a vast cavern filled with dinosaur bones, which sat under a soaring hill of over 30 bricks in height. Running amok among this sweeping landscape was an army of Viking raiders who are bent on plundering the treasures of the poor Anglo-Saxons.
A shot of England 793.
This year’s show also coincided with Swindon 175, which celebrates 175 years since the birth of the Swindon Railway Works. We couldn’t let this go without note, so we bought along a mosaic of the founding father himself, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Brunell, in Lego form.
We also had a number of smaller models on display, including a Nine Man’s Morris board, a couple of versions of hnefatafl and, in contrast to England 793, our first ever micro-scale build. The micro-scale build is particularly special as it represents the first stage of our work for Caithness Broch Project – a miniature Lego Broch. Brochs it appears are not well known in southern England so we had a great time spreading the word.
Micro-brochs and ye olde board games.
Spreading the word about brochs.
We were once again delighted by the reaction to our models and cannot wait to return next year.
Official photos of our models will be uploaded to the website as soon as we finish editing them. Watch this space for updates!
This week is National Parks Week in the UK, so we thought it might be a timely moment to bring you an article about why we love them. A strange topic, you might think, for a blog that mostly concerns itself with Lego and photos of decaying piles of stone, but in fact, National Parks provide us with a great deal of inspiration.
Our National Parks aren’t just wildernesses to be preserved like enormous cumbersome museum exhibits, they’re vibrant fluid entities, embracing history and culture as much as nature and conservation. Their landscapes are the product of thousands of years of interaction between man and environment, and it’s this interaction that provides us with the rich and infinitely diverse subject matter that proves so popular in Lego form.
By now I think it’s fair to say that we’re well accustomed to creating massive sprawling landscapes that test our reserves of dark green and reddish brown, but landscapes aren’t just endless expanses of pasture and peat bog, they’re also made of buildings and ruins and of course, decaying piles of stone. To date, our largest model of a National Park’s landscape is 2015’s ‘The Wall: Rome’s Northern Frontier’, a sixteen square metre intricately detailed depiction of Hadrian’s Wall. Some of the Wall’s most iconic and best preserved sections are located within the Northumberland National Park, including Housesteads Roman Fort, which provided much of the source material for our own fort. We of course undertook a field trip to Housesteads, walked a section of the wall, chatted to English Heritage’s knowledgeable staff and generally had a good poke around. The visit proved invaluable and, in our own inflated opinion of our work, it’s reflected in the quality of the build.
2017 will once again see us drawing heavily on the history and landscape of one of Britain’s iconic National Parks. At the moment we’ll leave you guessing as to its identity, but needless to say, we have big plans for this one, it is after all, a big Park. Field trips are already underway; stay tuned for further clues, updates and, in the not too distant future, a big announcement.
Could this blurry snowbound ruin be a thinly-veiled clue to 2017’s big build?
Anyway, the point is we love our National Parks and we love building bits of them. Don’t forget, this week is National Parks Week, so put down your phone, tablet or computer and get out and enjoy one... or two or three if you can manage it.
Blog to the past
On LEGO, History and other things by Brick to the Past