A look at Brick Fanatics magazine issue 4

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When we announced the launch of Bricks Fanatics magazine late last year there was scepticism from some of you, and me, about whether we needed another LEGO magazine, and also whether we actually needed a LEGO magazine at all, given the plethora of websites that provide news, reviews and so on, for free.

Now it's had a few months to get established I thought it would be worthwhile taking a look at the latest issue so you can judge for yourself whether that scepticism was justified.


It's an 80-page A5-sized publication so it's half the surface area of most magazines. However, what it lacks in size it makes up for in the quality of the articles and contributors.

Magazine editor Rob has given me permission to reproduce a few spreads so you can see for yourself what's inside.

View image at flickr

Content can roughly be categorised as follows:

  • On Topic (news): not just a re-hash of old news but more of an in-depth look into recent significant stories, such as the 20th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars this month
  • How to: Tips and techniques for building, photography, using online resources and so on
  • Columns by regular contributors including Kevin Hinkle and Jme Wheeler
  • In depth articles which this month includes one about designing the Speed Champions McLaren Senna with contributions from the designer of the actual car at McLaren as well as the LEGO designer, Christoper Stamp.
  • Review+: You'll probably be pleased to hear that there are no regular reviews in the magazine, there are plenty of them online, after all. In their place are articles that provide background information about the sets or insight into the design process. In this issue, for example, there's the story of the real-life MINI Cooper that inspired the 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally in 75894, illustrated with an excellent diorama built by Simon Pickard, and how LEGO designer Leo Francisco was tasked with reducing the size of the classic 9448 Samurai Mech to produce this year's Ninjago Legacy 70665 Samurai Mech.

So, despite its diminutive size it's packed with good quality content from authoritative contributors that you won't find elsewhere. Unlike some magazines there's no filler and you'll probably find yourself reading it from cover to cover, as I did.

It's not perfect by any means. The quality of the photography is variable, which I guess is inevitable given the photos are often taken by the contributors, not all of whom will have the ability to properly light and photograph their models. It's certainly not a problem unique to this magazine but it does detract from the overall perception of quality.

You'll find it in WH Smiths and Barnes and Noble, and you can also take out a subscription or buy single copies online. I know Rob and his team work hard to produce it and have big plans for the future, so do support them by taking out a subscription if you can.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


Thanks to Rob Paton for sending me a copy to review. All opinions expressed are my own. Brickset will receive a small commission on orders placed via our affiliate links.

7 comments on this article

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By in United States,

@huw When does this become available at Barnes & Noble?

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By in United States,

I have thoroughly enjoyed the magazine! I subscribed after buying 2 individually.

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By in United Kingdom,

I got issue 3 but not 4 yet due to the lack of whsmiths near me who stock it.
I'm still torn if I need two magazines. I already buy Blocks regularly - which is sold in more places so easier to get hold of. As every shop that sells magazines in an area are usually supplied by the same wholesaler any plans to sell in more places?

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By in South Africa,

Ordered online for some time ago. Did not receive anything.

Contacted them again, still havent received anything. :-(

Dont feel very motivated to became a customer...

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By in Canada,

any plans to bring the magazine to Canada, Indigo would be the only option.

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By in United Kingdom,

I enjoyed your review. I thought about whether it was needed as well and personally concluded it depends on your circumstances and how you want to spend your time. It probably does take £5 from my Lego buying budget (unless I can find something else to go without), but I find the magazine to be a nice break from screens when I feel too tired or short of time to get stuck into building my back log of sets. It's also small enough to transport and read on the go quite easily. I usually spend most of my day online for work & hobbies and then even more time for Lego reviews and news and other entertainment. I think it is nice to have lots of different mediums for the hobby. I'm looking forward to reading my copy of this issue.

@ChicoCheco - I ordered 2 back issues last week and they arrived in good time. So far my own experience with this magazine has been very good. Perhaps try one more time and include the reference number for the order and the payment if possible to help them track your order's progress.

I found the WHSmith closest to me put these out near the kid's Lego comic style magazines, rather than with Blocks which was in the adult hobbies area. (In case that is helpful to anyone. It would probably be best to check both areas.)

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By in United Kingdom,

Found this in WH Smiths in Meadowhall, it was placed immediately in front of Blocks magazine and because of its size it looked like a freebie. Sadly I passed on buying after having a quick flick through. Although the size is appealing the price is not. It doesn't stand out on the shelf either and having worked in the newspaper retail sector before I fear that it won't last.

On the plus side the mag itself seems well produced, and the quality of the images are fine.

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