BRICKLIVE 2016 will take place this week from 27th to 30th October at the NEC in Birmingham.
While we are unable to take along our large models, a few of our builders will be there with a selection of excellent builds, including some very impressive parts of England 793.
You can find out more at:
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 weekend is the Great Western Brick Show in Swindon. We'll be there if full force, with an expanded England 793, Hastings and many more never before seen marvels. Come say hello at one of Britain's best Lego Shows!
Find out more at:
Yesterday was the final day of the Bricks in Time exhibition at the Rheged Centre and so we were back on site to do the take down. The exhibition was a great success attracting over 25,000 visitors between July and September. We're incredibly pleased to have been part of the event and really happy that it was enjoyed by so many people.
The ancient Britain section.
We were lucky enough to have a quick wander around before everything closed and despite being a little bit dusty, the models still looked great. It was also great to be able to chat to a few visitors; it's always interesting to hear what people like and notice about models... plus who doesn't like a bit of praise?
While it was sad to see our models taken apart once more it won't be long before they're up again, because in just a few weeks we'll be at the Great Western Brick Show in Swindon. The show is on the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of October and is well worth a visit - we hope to see you there!
And so things come to an end... but not for long.
Apologies for our late blog post, but summer time usually means things take a little bit longer. After all, when the sun is shining there’s very little incentive to sit indoors and thrash out copy for the website. Plus most of us currently have broods of out-of-school children to entertain, which is a distraction all by itself.
Anyway, this is a quick report on the first ever West Country Brick Show, which took place in Exeter's Phoenix Centre on the last weekend of July. This event was organised by Darren Smith, Lewis Aylmer, Marc Reid and our very own builder, Simon Pickard. Unfortunately, Brick to the Past could only be present in a very limited capacity as most of our models are still in Rheged, however Simon and James Pegrum were able to take along some excellent smaller scale displays, which we are delighted to say were well received.
Busy day at the Phoenix Centre.
The show was an amazing success, attracting around 2,400 visitors, which is some way above the 700 the organisers expected to get. Simon said:
“Starting out as four friends that wanted to share our hobby, in a region of the country that we thought had little interest in LEGO, we were naturally overwhelmed by the unprecedented demand for a LEGO show in the west country. Despite the long queue that formed, visitors were really enthusiastic about the event. We are now working keenly on ensuring that the west country gets the bigger and more accessible LEGO show that so many requested in their feedback.”
Simon dispenses Lego based wisdom.
The show raised funds for three charities; the RCN Foundation, who offer financial support and career development opportunities to UK nurses, midwives, health care assistants and nursing students; St. Loyes Foundation, an Exeter based charity that for over 75 years has been working to transform the lives of disabled and disadvantaged people in the area; and Fairy Bricks, who provide Lego sets to sick children in hospitals throughout the UK.
We congratulate the event organisers and hope that there will be many more shows to come.
It's the West Country Brick Show this Saturday. We'll be there in a slightly limited capacity because most of our models are in Rheged, but fret not, we'll still have lots of really cool stuff to show you - as will the other exhibitors!
Find out more at:
Bricktastic sadly over, Monday morning saw us leaving Manchester in convoy and making our way north to the Cumbrian town of Penrith. Penrith is home to the Rheged Centre where our models would be built once more to become part of the Bricks in Time exhibition, curated by Bright Bricks. Not only would we be contributing our Bricktastic models to this event, we would also be adding an Iron Age village, Romano-British villa, mosaic of the emperor Hadrian, Norman keep, and Sir Frances Drake’s ship, The Golden Hind.
We would not however be setting up until Tuesday and so with some time to kill we decided to go on a road trip into the Lake District. The British summer delivered its usual mixture of rain and lukewarm temperatures but we still managed a short walk and a cheeky ice-cream. The trip also turned into an impromptu photo shoot as new mugshots were needed for our website; this activity was more popular with some than it was with others, but I think we can safely say, the camera loves our Lego models more than it loves us.
Tuesday morning brought some bad news when we discovered that Simon Pickard’s Iron Age village had been seriously damaged in transit and so what was meant to be a five minute job turned into 10 hour one as he endeavoured to re-build it; we blame the northern cattle grids. Owing to its complex structure this was no mean feat and Simon demonstrated superhuman levels of patience in completing a task that would send lesser mortals into fits of Hulk-like rage. Thankfully, the rest of our models went up reasonably quickly giving us time to lavish extra attention on the placement of vegetation and minifigures, an activity that by contrast, fosters zen-like calm in our builders. Rheged is undoubtedly a gorgeous venue and it was wonderful to see our models laid out so cleanly and lit so beautifully; we are massively excited to be on display here.
The exhibition will run from Saturday 9th July to Sunday 4th September 2016 and if you love history and you love Lego then be sure to make time for a visit. Tickets are £2.50 per person and 3’s and under go free. Read more about it on Rheged’s website:
Show season finally kicked off last weekend with Manchester’s Bricktastic taking place at the event centre known as Manchester Central. Being, as the name suggests, in the middle of Manchester, it is an awesome place for a show and has the added bonus of being but a short walk from the city’s Lego shop, which is great news for our collections but bad news for our wallets. The movement of folk from the show to the shop following close of day on Saturday is up there with the great migratory events of the natural world; indeed, the jostling for position that occurred on arrival at the Pick a Brick Wall has much in common with the nesting practices of certain birds; other customers looked on with what must have been a mixture of confusion and concern.
This year we bought not one but two of our massive creations, built collectively by partners James Pegrum, Jimmy Clinch, Dan Harris and Steve Snasdell. Also with us was Simon Pickard, who bought along his own collection of inspiring models. Our largest creation and star piece was a 7.4 x 1.95 metre depiction of Anglo-Saxon England, including island monastery, Anglo-Saxon villages, burial chambers, and of course, hordes of Viking raiders. Our resident lavatory expert James Pegrum also built another one of his finely detailed period toilets, which delighted both children and the resolutely immature alike.
Coming in a close second in terms of sheer scale was our 2.2 x 2.2 metre model of the Battle of Hastings, generously decorated with over 750 Saxon and Norman warriors. As I’m sure you know, this year is the battle’s 950th anniversary and we felt that waiting for its 1,000th anniversary might be tempting fate a bit too much. In this model the battle is just about to get serious, so King Harold is still in possession of all of his eyes and the creators of the Bayeux Tapestry are yet to secure their lucrative commission. Talking of the Bayeux Tapestry, we had a third but comparatively small model depicting some of its key scenes, medieval tapestries and modern Lego models proving themselves to be remarkably compatible mediums.
The show was a great success, attracting more than double last year’s visitors. With so many highlights it’s hard to pick a favourite, but Dan Harris was overjoyed to be able to ride Bright Bricks’ giant Lego dragon, he is after all, Welsh. We were also blown away by the reception our models got and it was wonderful to stand back and watch people point out all the little details we like to pack into each of our creations. As always, the weekend left us both happy and exhausted in equal measure, but our work wasn’t over yet…
Read more in tomorrow’s Blog to the Past.
Bricktastic is run to raise money for Fairy Bricks, a charity who provide Lego sets for sick children in Britain’s hospitals; it is an honour to be able to contribute to their mission.
We're heading to Manchester Central for July 2nd & 3rd to be a part of Bricktastic 2016
See bricktastic.org for further details.
Blog to the past
On LEGO, History and other things by Brick to the Past