Dear all, a short heads up if you like to have a look behind the scenes at the LEGO Group in Billund there are still a few open spots for the LEGO Fan Tours 2020 run by the LEGO House on the following dates:
· March 6
· March 20
· September 4
· October 23
· November 6
You can get more info and book the tickets following this link:
If you are interested please be fast as they sell out quickly.
Last Saturday, I learnt that it's not just AFOL community has its own fancy acronyms when we meet the H.O.G (Harley Owners Group) in a LCS activity. Two LCS events were made to celebrate the release of 10269 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy set, one in Shanghai while another in Wuhan, a city located in central China. The setup was unique as it's not ordinary marketing launch event as you could imagine, but a super cool party joint by both the Harley community and the AFOL community. I was fortunate to join one of these events, thus this blog is mostly based on the event that I have attended.
The event started by 10+ Harley bikers roaming their vehicles towards the LEGO store. A group of AFOLs have just completed setting up their motorcycle MOCs in the store, and waiting for the H.O.G to show up. We were a little nervous about whether there will be good chemistry between AFOL and the motorcycle community, but it turns out the concern was total unnecessary. Without much facilitation, they were having great fun together already. Bikers immediately recognized the original model the AFOLs has built which made them super happy, while AFOLs were also deeply intrigued when the bikers talking about their very own unique Harley babe and ride trips.
If there’s anything in common between the two communities, it is definitely the hands-on customization. A H.O.G representative said to the AFOLs, you can never find two identical Harley Davison motorcycle on the road. We believe that applies to MOCs too. One of the major activities of the day is to split AFOLs and bikers into two groups and customize two 10269 Fatboy sets. No surprisingly, Tony and Stone (two very capable AFOLs from Heroes Club) have got plenty of ideas about what to do and even have some modules built already, while H.O.G fellows also threw many good ideas and inputs as well.
Here’s what we eventually got -- a badass tricycle by Tony and a gorgeous bike with side-car and ape hangers by Stone.
The event concluded at when representatives of each community exchanges the gift to one another. H.O.G rep received a smaller sized Harley Division MOC and AFOLs received good loads of Harley’s merchandise and the honorable membership badges of their H.O.G organization. Overall it was an awesome activity that brought a lot resonance and of course laughs to both community.
Did your group have any experience interacting with other hobby communities? Tell us in the comment area.
Dear all, I like to share a little bit of information about my current activities before I leave for 3 weeks of summer vacation.
AFOL Networking Events (ANE) is one part of my activities which means I run and develop the program that supports the large events worldwide where many international AFOLs come together to mingle, enjoy, exchange ideas and plans, educate each other and have a great time.
Right now there are 12 events in this program which are BricksLA, Bricks Cascade, BrickCan, Brick Slopes, Paredes de Coura Fan Weekend, Japan Brick Fest, Brick World Chicago, Brick Fiesta, Bricks by the Bay, BrickFair Virginia, Skærbæk Fan Weekend and BrickCon.
These events get a larger physical support (LEGO Sets and LEGO elements) as well as extra consulting and attention from the LEGO Group in form of dialogue, activities and staff visits.
In the coming months I’ll work on a strategy with the aim to strengthen and extend the program so it becomes even more attractive for the AFOL Community as well as the LEGO Group and also see how we can extend it to not yet covered regions.
Another part of my activities is to support and educate LEGO Branded Stores globally in how to best work with the AFOL Community. The focus of the role is two-fold 1) continue to help nurture the personal relationship between the AFOL Community and Store personal and 2) create new and interesting activities and collaboration opportunities between the store and community which can be implemented globally and allow us to leverage the store as a platform to engage more with the AFOL community and give back.
What is LEGO Branded stores (LBS)? Moving forward TLG will not differentiate between LEGO owned stores (formerly known as LEGO Branded stores) and LEGO certified stores. The company wants to differentiate based on size, where flagships stores will have a different offering of activities as well as a larger product portfolio vs medium (regular LBR store) and smaller stores (LCE stores). Good news is that once we start launching the toolbox into new markets we expect that more and more recognized community members will be able to join AFOL shopping days and / or participate in the showcase program (please note there will be regional and maybe even local differences – so we will not be able to launch ‘one size fits all’ due to difference is business practice, local relevance, size and maturity of the recognized community etc).
I’m currently working on a LBS toolbox containing educational material as well as ideas and plans for activities the stores can do together with the AFOL Community. While some elements of the toolbox are already launched in Americas and Europe (like the showcase program) we aim to launch the toolbox in China already this year and we have received great interest in LCS markets in Europe and Eastern Europe. Once the toolbox is final I’ll share more information about its content with you.
I’m also working on a digital AFOL sticker on the digital VIP card for all members of the recognized AFOL community to join the LEGO Brand Retail AFOL Shopping Days. The digital sticker till replace the physical sticker we have today. Some fans have had the pleasure of testing the digital sticker and I look forward to share more information about this new initiative later this week.
The third part of my activities is to support and work with the LEGO House in Billund to integrate and represent the AFOL Community best possible into their activities and displays as the Community is seen as an important part of the LEGO Brand and LEGO experience in LEGO House.
So concrete examples of the activities I work with in connection to the LEGO House are among others MOC exhibitions in different areas of the LEGO House (Master Piece Gallery, World Explorer, Show Cases), LEGO House themed Fan evenings, LEGO House AFOL Christmas Party and LEGO House AFOL Day. I also focus on increasing the representation of toy photography (end of June we had a Stuck in Plastic foto safari held in LEGO House) and the Brickfilm community.
I hope this gives you a good overview and feel free to ask if you need more details.
Have a great summer and I hope to see you around somewhere at an AFOL Networking Event, in a LEGO Store or at the LEGO House.
There’s a new Workgroup running available to all AFOLs about LEGO® themed books. These can be official LEGO books or ones published by fellow AFOLs, ones you use for inspiration and ones you just use for reference. Even if you don’t own any LEGO books, we still want to hear from you and your community! The only limitation here is that participants are at least 18 years old.
The Workgroup we’re running includes a questionnaire as well as some discussion topics. The questionnaire is open until July 31, 2019. Your answers will be treated with confidentiality and you will remain anonymous.
Take the questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LRZ32KP
What more? Join the Workgroup! To join, just log in with your LEGO ID and click “join Workgroup”. Workgroup sign-ups will be open until July 24th and discussion will conclude on August 7th.
Join the Workgroup: https://lan.lego.com/workgroups/workgroup/16-books-for-afols-workgoup/
Please share this workgroup with your community, as it is open to all community members 18 years old or older!
Dear all, it is summer vacation time for many but we all need to plan ahead so I like to announce the traditional (happening for the 3rd time so I guess that is already a tradition) Christmas Lunch for Fans in LEGO House.
It will happen on Saturday December 7 and I hope to see many AFOLs around so we can celebrate and enjoy some cozy hours in great company.
You can buy your ticket here: https://www.legohouse.com/en-gb/whats-on/afol-xmas-lunch
See you around.
On June 6th to 9th I had the pleasure (again) to visit the 4th installment of the Paredes de Coura Fan Weekend in Portugal. This was actually the 10th time the event was run, but the first 6 years it was named Arte em Pecas and wasn't aimed to be the international event it is today. I am personally very pleased with the event and it is always on my wishlist for events that I ask to visit in a year. Partly because there are so many events, that I can't go to all of them. But also because it has participants from a lot of countries and a lot of communities represented - I believe this year had around 20 different countries there and we had 13 Recognized Communities represented in the Ambassador Meeting.
But honestly what I love the most about the event is the setting and the low-down casual friendly way in which everyone goes about the whole thing. I am not saying this is better here than at other events - not at all. I've been to many events in the past 20 years of AFOL life, but there is something about this event which is very special - at least to me and I believe that applies to quite a few of the AFOLs, TFOLs, partners and friends going as well. If you don't believe me, then I suggest you try it out for once and then let me know if you still disagree.
Miguel, the members of Comunidade0937 and the entire city does a stellar job at setting up the event. Paredes de Coura is a beautiful city in the mountains (they could be hills, but to a Dane - these are MOUNTAINS!), the towns people are super friendly and the food is good. What's not to like?
As an additional treat, the swag bags of past years were on display. Some great stuff in those swag bags. One of my favorites is that the event set from each year is connected. First we get the Ricky the Rooster, then he gets a car, then his girlfiend Henriquetta and this year the offspring - Gregg.
The event also has several shops which sells all kind of things LEGO related. Home made jewelry with LEGO bricks, new LEGO sets, loose LEGO bricks, old LEGO sets and the odd LEGO curiosities. So there's plenty of ways to spend you hard earned money.
The Fairy Bricks Tombola is by now an integrated part of the event and it would be odd and wrong not to have Kev and Andy there with their "way" of engaging with the AFOL Community and event visitors (all in a good and joyful way). Plus the minifigures they have in their tombola are quite interesting and even sometimes cheaper than buying them on the second hand market.
This year also saw the BrickLink team visiting the event, displaying the AFOL Designer Program models, doing presentations on the AFOL Designer Program and BrickLink Studio. Great team which really took the time to talk to the AFOL Community and they got a lot of great feedback both on Studio and the AFOL Designer Program.
As usual the MOCs were pretty awesome (aren't they always when done by the AFOL Community?). And I did my best to take photos. Below are the photos I took, that came out "alright". My deepest apologies if I missed your MOC - it's not excluded, I just didn't get to take photos of everything and sometimes I put my fingers in front of the camera. I am sorry - it's nothing personal, it's just me being clumsy or out of time.
On Saturday night we had the AFOL Dinner with the Town Council members participating as well as representative from LEGO Iberia. There's nothing like a flock (or murder) of AFOLs enjoying great food and awesome company. Thank You for being the most amazing, caring and friendly community I've ever been part of and engaging with.
I kindly like to remind you to book a ticket soon if you like to join the Grand Old Designers Fan Evening in LEGO House on October 11th 2019.
The Designers will be Niels Milan Pedersen, Olav Krøigaard and Steen Sig Andersen and together they have almost 120 years of LEGO Design experience. Bring your old LEGO sets if you like to have a signature on them.
The lovely Are Heiseldal from Norway will be again the interviewer for the evening.
We are looking forward to welcome you.
Astrid and Jan
More than 1500 Fans Construct Massive LEGO® Tower Filled with Colorful Apartments, Shops and Businesses
Billund, Denmark - June 23, 2019 - LEGO® Games, part of The LEGO Group, shattered all expectations today, breaking the Guinness World Records title for the largest LEGO® Brick Diorama at the LEGO® House in Billund, Denmark. The massive structure, weighing in at 400 kilograms (881.8 pounds) and spanning 21,04 square meters (226 square feet), brings to life themed floors, apartments and shops from the upcoming game LEGO® Tower. Over the course of three days, more than 1500 number of fans joined together to recreate 554 rooms and their Minifigure residents as they appear in the game.
"It’s thrilling to see hundreds of creative and passionate builders come together to construct the world’s largest LEGO® Brick Diorama, and truly an honor to be recognized by Guinness World Records for this monumental achievement,” said Edgaras Racinskas, LEGO Tower Marketing Lead. “Our fans have given rise to a massive structure that is testament to the imaginative power of LEGO bricks combined with the fun digital play to be found in LEGO® Tower.”
“Together with LEGO Games we have been working hard to develop LEGO® Tower, created to inspire and charm our fans worldwide. Seeing the LEGO community come together to build LEGO® Tower in the real world has truly been a captivating and rewarding experience over the last three days,” said Ian Marsh, co-founder of NimbleBit.
LEGO® Tower, launched on iOS and Android devices on July 1, tasks players to build and manage their own tiny skyscrapers, overseeing a wide variety of spaces for their Minifigure residents to live, work and play. The tower-building game was created in partnership with acclaimed mobile games studio NimbleBit, giving players a new way to build out their LEGO® dream rooms in the real world.
To pre-register for LEGO® Tower, please visit the App Store or Google Play.
It was a fairly simple project, really – at least for the Enfield Model Shop.
“We decided, let’s blow up some of the elements, so they’re just elements from the set,” said Jeff Rushby, the Senior Model Builder who designed the models for the Stranger Things events at the NYC Flatiron and London Leicester Square LEGO Brand Retail Stores.
A walkie talkie and the Barb poster from 75810 Stranger Things The Upside Down were blown up 24 times their normal size (as LEGO elements) and built in bricks. The famous waffles were blown up 25 times. Since the events were happening at the same time, the team had to build two of everything: two waffles, two walkie-talkies, and two Barb missing posters. This took a team of three builders working with Jeff as the designer.
It all started pretty quickly – the project details were decided in early May, and the team finished everything in time for the events May 15th.
The NYC store event also included a mural of the famous Stranger Things wall.
Renderings of the models
“The Barb poster was probably the coolest one, and the most challenging,” Jeff says. “In the set, it’s a decal, so a lot of it had to be hand-done, you had to turn some bricks sideways to get the letters right.”
It was also two-sided, with the poster appearing upside down and a little roughed up on the back side.
“The mosaic took about 150 hours to design and build– that one is pretty cool because we strung lights over it,” Jeff explains. Due to its size, some wood was used on the back of it – although only bricks were used in the other models for the event.
A rendering of the whole project – with children for scale
Of course with a mosaic that large, the question remains, how do you get it from the model shop in Enfield, CT to NYC?
Transportation of models created by the model shop varies depending on what they are – sometimes models are shipped in pieces, sometimes crates are constructed as “cradles” so large models can be laid down.
“This mosaic was most likely shipped stacked one panel on top of the other and reassembled at the event space,” Jeff says. “The props would have been wrapped in bubble wrap or foam and put in boxes, as they were small enough to do that with. It all went out on one large pallet.”
So what happens to the models now that the event is over? They don’t get to come home quite yet.
“The plan was to use them here and there for other events – I’m sure they’ll travel again,” Jeff explains.
“I think it’s super cool we have a Stranger Things set,” Jeff admits. “I hope this is successful and we do something even bigger.”
75810 Stranger Things The Upside Down is available for purchase from the LEGO Shop.
On May 22nd to 24th we had the pleasure of hosting this year's Recognized LEGO Fan Media Days.
We invited the tier 2 Recognized LEGO Fan Media (RLFM) and raffled 3 participation tickets to the rest of the RLFM, the Recognized LEGO User Groups (RLUG) and Recognized LEGO Online Communities (RLOC) in the LEGO Ambassador Network (LAN) forums.
This resulted in participation from:
Stuck In Plastic
The Brothers Brick
The Rambling Brick
In total we had 23 participants representing the above communities and fan media. It was quite hectic, but I believe we pulled it off fairly ok and, as always, the participants leaned in and helped us work through any "bumps" quickly and smoothly.
Wednesday was dedicated to talks and presentations from various parties inside the LEGO Group. We had the team from LEGO Foundation behind Braille Bricks there and also the Powered Up Team was there, talking to the new power platform and providing more information. There were other presentations, but the content and information is still under embargo - so you will have to wait for that to come from the participating communities and fan media.
Thursday was all about interviews with LEGO designers and employees from various LEGO themes/franchises. There were interviews conducted with Creator Expert, Architecture, Ideas, Technic, Overwatch, Star Wars Boost, Hidden Side, Jurassic World, Harry Potter, LEGO Games, Speed Champions and Powered Up! Furthermore Tormod Askildsen (Head of AFOL Engagement) and Signe Lønholdt (Head of Community Growth & the LEGO Ambassador Network) were also available for interviews and talks. I really wanted to show a picture of the interviews with the various themes, but there were also embargoed and confidential items being shown - so again, you'll have to wait for the fan media to publish their articles on embargo time for more insights.
In the morning prior to the interviews starting, we had the pleasure of getting a presentation from the designer of the new LEGO House Dinosaur set. Nina talked us through the design process and afterwards everyone got to build one of the dinosaurs from the set.
On Friday we visited the LEGO Factory "Kornmarken" and I gave a guided tour of how we make the LEGO bricks. Sadly the factory is confidential and therefore no pictures or video was allowed in there. After the tour we met with Kasper from LEGOLAND and he gave us a tour of the new Castle Hotel in Billund and once everyone was fed and happy, we went for a "Behind the Scenes" tour of LEGOLAND. It was truly amazing - to a point where it proved very difficult to "persuade" the New Elementary participants to leave, when we were in the LEGOLAND element warehouse which has elements in colors never used in LEGO sets.
This was the fourth time we hosted this event for the Recognized LEGO Fan Media. It was a pleasure and I look forward to seeing all the great content coming from this event. Below is a few links for already published articles and videos:
https://itlug.org/2019/05/intervista-a-jamie-berard-sul-10266-nasa-apollo-11-lunar-lander-e-molto-altro/ (In Italian)
https://itlug.org/2019/06/intervista-a-mark-stafford-e-marcos-bessa-sul-set-t-rex-rampage/ (In Italian)