This year, I did Brickvention a little differently, choosing to attend on the Convention Day instead of the usual weekend. Mostly because it’s a little hard to for me to go on the main days with a baby.
Brickvention 2017 is held at its usual venue, at the Royal Exhibition Building and is Australia’s largest LEGO fan convention and exhibition.
The Convention Day is primarily aimed at Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs) and is filled with tons of cool activities, talks, games and presentations from a really diverse group of people.
Among the speakers this year were LEGO Australia, who unveiled their new Build Australia campaign, which we’ll hear more of in the coming weeks.
One of the highlights, was hearing from John Peddie, the gentleman who was responsible for bringing LEGO into Australia way back in 1962. He was exceptionally dapper and enthralled attendees with his candid story of how he was whisked from England to Australia in less than two weeks.
Equipped with a suitcase filled with early LEGO sets and how he got started introducing the beloved brick to toy stores Down Under who had never heard of the Danish company.
Turns out, the very reason why LEGO is still so beloved today – its premium quality and means of unlocking limitless play was key in winning Australian retailers over, laying the foundation for the country to thoroughly embrace the LEGO brick. John is still very much engaged with LEGO, and still occupies a seat on LEGO Australia’s board of directors.
This year, Brickvention also brought in the Jason and Kristal from JK Brickworks, who gave an awesome presentation, from what I heard. Unfortunately, I missed most of it as I was out at lunch. Thankfully, I also had the opportunity to sit down with them for an interview, so look out for that in the coming days!
I really liked the Convention Day and will strongly consider attending again next year. Even though I didn’t get to stay the entire day because I was still quite unwell, I really enjoyed how laid back it was which allowed you time (and space) to really take in the builds and models on display, without being elbowed by a dozen people.
I also really enjoyed chatting to the exhibitors and display designers, who were extremely gracious and were more than happy to talk about their builds, or LEGO. It’s always great to be in the company of other people who are passionate about LEGO.
The Convention Day is highly recommended if you dislike jostling with the crowds on the public days, and you do get your money’s worth.
As is the case every year, there’s a dizzying amount of LEGO to check out at Brickvention, and despite having a little bit more time this year, I still felt like I could’ve spent a few more hours admiring the designs.
It’s impossible to fit all the photos I took during the day, so here are some of my personal highlights from Brickvention 2017. If you want to see all the photos I took, please check out the album on my Facebook page.
I’ve tried to credit as much as possible, but I’ve missed a few thanks to my terrible memory, so if you see a MOC here that’s uncredited, please let me know and I’ll edit accordingly! Also, if you’re one of the designers and would like me to link to your Flickr, drop a comment or an email!
I was really impressed by this gorgeous take on Melbourne’s Majorca Building, and the Flinders Lane scene beneath it. Unfortunately, I forgot to take note of the designer, so if you know who it is, please let me know!
This chaotic jumble of colour was utterly delightful. Loved the use of colours and all the minifigures included inside. Would give Unikitty’s Cloud Cuckoo Land a run for its money!
You can expect to see plenty of Castles at any LEGO fan event you attend, and Hornreach Keep was by far the most impressive at Brickvention. The technique used to build the outer wall, and the interiors were sublime. It’s a really minor detail, but I also really liked the white snakes used as smoke plumes.
Hornreach Keep took away the 2nd Best In Show award. Check out Benjamin Costantin’s Flickr page to see more of his builds and designs!
The Hatter’s House was another favourite of mine and made for a charming and whimsical setting for Alice in Wonderland. The exterior curves that give the structure its unique top hat shape and detailed interiors were just a pleasure to behold.
Tamara’s Hatter’s House won a Commendation Award.
Dean Niclasen’s Government House was yet another stunning build at an impressively large scale. Really loved how well the Victorian architecture was so well captured, as well as its bright, white exterior.
Always nice to see the entire LEGO Pirates fleet (minus Pirates of the Caribbean ships) assembled together. If I had money, I would try and collect all the historical Pirate Ships.
Forgot to take note of the builder, but who doesn’t love a massive Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, terrorising a city. I also really like the extended Bank & Money Transfer building in the background – a LEGO set that I have really fond memories of.
This superb galleon designed by 15 year old Hannigan was insane. I really loved how he achieved the curves on the brickbuilt hull, and extra kudos also to the structure on the island, especially the burning tower that’s in the midst of toppling over. I wish I had this much talent and ingenuity when I was 15.
Frogs and Lobsters won the Best Under 16 award, which was thoroughly deserved!
Every year, there are several “trending builds” at Brickvention. This year, it all seemed to revolve around brick-built food, specifically picnics!
This dragon sculpture has to have one of the best scaling designs that I’ve ever seen. The colours and textures give it such a unique look and I think is one of the most eye-catching designs in the entire convention.
These Earthmoving CAT vehicles were absolutely massive and most importantly, incredibly well designed. I could totally imagine this as an entire licensed theme (that would sell truckloads).
Every year, the Hansons always manage to impress with their massive Duplo displays. This year, they whip out a complex Duplo train system, and a motorised carousel. As there aren’t that many Duplo displays, these always stand out for all the right reasons.
I really loved this dragon jamboreee which brought all sorts of LEGO dragons from Castle, Creator, Ninjago & Elves together, all under the leadership of a yellow version of the iconic LEGO Dragon sculpture.
This collaborative CLUE diorama from South Australia LUG was one of my personal favourites from the show. The intricately designed rooms elevate the concept of this design to a whole other level.
I’m not exactly sure what this mechanical contraption is… but that’s the very reason why I like it. It’s got a bit of steampunk, without the cliche colour scheme and I think the solitary colour makes this stand out all the more.
Everytime I look at the Blue Adventurer, I constantly spot something I never noticed before.
Another “trending” build this year is AT-ATs. I just like how lush and green this fantastic diorama of the Battle of Endor is, as well as the massive AT-AT. There was another gigantic AT-AT that I saw that was in the middle of being put together when I left. I kinda regret not seeing that one come together!
More AT-ATs, this time the AT-ACT from Rogue One.
That said, this was hands down my favourite AT-AT, this sensational steampunk AT-AT from Gavin Crawford. This is one of the best designs I’ve ever seen in all the Brickventions I’ve been to.
One of the cleverest builds in the entire show, Ascending Descending, a tribute to M.C. Escher’s Relativity blew my mind away. When viewed as is, it’s got a decent design, but nothing exceptional…
That is, until you view it from a specific perspective, via a little peephole, does this design’s genius reveal itself.
I’m not particularly familiar with the city of Albury but I really like how well designed these monuments were.
This massive diorama, which mashed up scenes from all your favourite Star Wars movie was cool, mostly because of this supersized Death Star.
This awesome homage to one of LEGO’s most beloved themes, Paradisa was all sorts of delightful. And made me want to start buying more Paradisa sets.
I really enjoyed getting to see, vintage (and I mean really vintage) LEGO on display. It jived really well with John Peddie’s talk.
You have to watch the video to see the extend of this display, but this year’s Great Ball Contraption (GBC) was amazingly cool, and I believe the biggest one yet.
This Brickvention saw plenty of awesome LEGO Elves-inspired builds, but my favourite was Miranda’s design, the Valley of the Wyvern Riders, mostly because of the cool “tree-house” and her wyvern that she designed herself. It’s a fun, whimsical take on high fantasy. I also loved all the cats strewn around the build!
I’m not the biggest Star Trek fan, but that didn’t stop me from admiring this giant USS Enterprise by Michael Peebles, who leads the Bendigo LEGO User Group.
If I didn’t collect LEGO, I think I would’ve gone down the equally as expensive route of collecting Transformers, one of my other childhood loves. This awesome build has two of my favourite Decepticons, Starscream and (I believe) Skywarp! Skywarp was my first ever Transformer toy and holds a special place in my heart.
Gavin Crawford, who was behind the steampunk AT-AT also gave us this delightful display that also doubles as a very clever play on words. A rack of TIE Fighters! I especially liked all the “themed” TIE Fighters, especially the Classic Space and Blacktron 1 TIEs.
When it comes to sculptures, this was one of the best in the show. The model’s size and sense of scale were very impressive, especially when viewed in person.
The Gaze of the Cockatrice won the 3rd Best In Show award.
You can never go wrong with a Star Gate MOC at a convention that’s filled with inherently geeky people.
I’m not that big of a Technic junkie, but I could’t help but be awed by this insanely detailed motorcycle.
Again, one of those that I forgot to get the builders details of! This model won Best In Show at Brickvention 2017 and was thoroughly deserved!
Check out the sick roofing on this cathedral, as well as the stained glass windows.
This relatively simple but effective model by Ryan Clewer, who was a under-16 builder was pretty fantastic, as it captured the climax of the Miracle on the Hudson which was immortalised in the recent movie Sully extremely well.
This idyllic Steampunk village caught my eye for two reasons, for the charming little snapshot of a lazy steampunk village, but most of all, for its excellent mix of colours and contrasts. One of the best uses of colour blocking in the entire show.
You can always count on some excellent Classic Space build, and this massive monorail layout by the Mees both impressed and made me supremely jealous, all at the same time.
The Rainbow Bricks LUG can always be counted to put on a fantastic display at Brickvention, and this Rainbow Tower totally stole the show this year with its multicoloured and intricate exterior.
I’m a bit of a Greek mythology enthusiast, so I really enjoyed this brilliant take on the Parthenon in its glory days.
Matthew Dadswell’s Parthenon won a Commendation Award.
There are three things in life that are certain – Death, Taxes and a mind-blowing LEGO train layout courtesy of the Melbourne L Gauge Club every year at Brickvention. The co-ordination and effort to assemble these displays year after year just wrinkles my brain.
Last, but not least is the Micropolis build, which is a collaborative display by Brickvention exhibitors. Each year, it gets bigger and bigger. Micro-scale builds have a special place in my heart so it’s always a treat to see what Micropolis is like each year.
So yeah, another fantastic showing from Brickvention 2017! To view more photos that I took, be sure to check out my Facebook album which has more than double the photos here, including some other fantastic builds that I didn’t have the space to fit here!
All in all, I thought that it was another great showing from the Australian LEGO fan community. This year, there were less “mega” models or displays and there was a definite Ryan McNaught-sized hole (he’s off running his own shows around the country) but that didn’t detract from the overall experience at all.
Each year, it blows me away to see Australia’s LEGO fan community churn out designs that astound, entertain and enthrall me as a LEGO fan. This year, I think the younger under-16 builders have really stepped up their game and on many occasions are able to go toe-to-toe against more seasoned builders.
There was a lot more fun, and you could really feel the light-heartedness and love for the brick & minifigure channeled through some of the “smaller” builds and designs each year.
So much gets poured into these designs and displays each year that makes me feel very blessed to live in Melbourne and privileged to attend Brickvention for the 4th year running now.
That’s all for now and I hope you enjoyed the photos! If you were at Brickvention this year, I’d love to hear what you thought of the displays this year and which ones were your favourites. Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!