Roving Brickset reporter caperberry has been at the public display at Brickvention in Australia today and has sent us this exclusive report:
The 7th annual Brickvention Australia closed its doors today after what surely must be its most successful year yet, although as this was my first ever attendance I can’t really claim that! But what with fans from all over the country, a LEGO Designer from Denmark and 18,000 members of the public attending, how could it be anything else?
Of course there were too many wonderful builders and world-class models for me to report on but here is a handful. As mentioned previously, Gabriel Thomson was a worthy winner of Best in Show with Turtle Island. Rhet McKenzie’s stunningly realistic Kenworth T908 truck came second and Matthew Lawrence’s masterful Doll’s House was third.
Matthew was on a table with his fellow Sydneysiders, and this table became my personal favourite of the show. Particularly original were the exquisite range of flowers built by ‘pinkpinkandmorepink’; full of “NPU” including one made of lime Ninjago snakes with orange seaweed. ‘Pete white brick’ displayed his Light Violet Town buildings, which were not just light violet but also every fabulous and rare colour that ‘girls’ LEGO themes have featured over the years. Making a flying visit was his elongated Friends-esque vegan activist, O. Summer Bean-Larder with her precious cargo of seals. Crazy, hilarious stuff.
There were lots of great displays by TFOLs and KFOLs. Eli Brinsmead and Benjamin Constantin won the Under 16 category with their Lion's Head Tavern medieval scene, which included a straw roof created from some 100 minifig hands. Luke Williams won the Under 12 category with a hugely popular model of IKEA’s Boxing Day sale! The actual store layout was recreated in LEGO, with an appropriately long queue of shoppers.
Australia’s only LEGO Certified Professional, Ryan McNaught, had an impressive presence with a 4 metre long bushfire-fighting orange helicopter, the return of his Love Boat, a four-foot tall Mech and some excellent mosaics. Aaron Amatnieks also impressed with the return of many of his prize-winning Melbourne buildings. He also designed the 350-piece model of the Royal Exhibition Buildings, which all Convention attendees received a copy of.
A name that kept cropping up was Rob Deakin, whose company Inside the Brick did brick printing and chroming for many of the models mentioned above as well as the Convention itself. But that’s the least of his talents. He runs a regular brick club in Melbourne and has won a Churchill Fellowship for his work in raising awareness about the benefits of LEGO therapy for children with Autism and Asperger’s; if you’re not aware of his fascinating work do check out www.asdaid.org and expect to hear his name crop up even more in years to come.
After previous years in the Melbourne Town Hall, this year’s beautiful and simply ginormous venue, the Royal Exhibition Buildings, meant the public never had to queue long to see the models which were spread through half of the naves and aisles of the ground floor. A generous area of space was set aside in the immediate entrance; allowing visitors to stand agape at a World Heritage listed building full of LEGO - and wonder what the hell to look at first. With the rear nave of the building unused, there’s room for expansion in future! My only trouble with the venue was that light was fairly low in the middle row of tables in the aisles – not a problem for human eyes, but my iPhone struggled to get enough light.
The only thing I found odd was that there were less Technic models than I am used to seeing at LEGO shows. Obviously, this is no criticism of the show – in fact I was constantly astounded over the apparent ease with which the committee organised this huge event. Things like this are never smooth sailing – but it sure felt like it to those attending the Convention and Public Expo. Congratulations, respect and thanks to them for all their hard work.