I just attended the longest consecutive running LEGO convention in North America. Brickcon 2012 was the 10th anniversary of North-West Brickcon. The link between LEGO and Science Fiction and Fantasy is undeniable. In fact, Brickcon is responsible for hooking me up with Stack Exchange in the first place. I became aware of LEGO Answers SE thanks to a Facebook post by Mellissa McConnell after last year’s convention. It was just a matter of time before I wandered over to the Science Fiction & Fantasy site.
This year’s event drew more than 470 convention attendees and over 12,100 visitors during the 12 hours of public viewing. Held in Seattle at the Exhibition Hall from Oct. 4-7, it brought together people from around the globe. Sweden, England, New Zealand, South America and Canada all sent representatives to rub shoulders with their American counterparts.
The energy level when I walked into the Exhibition Hall was palpable. These people were stoked, and rightly so. They came to play, and they came to show you how well they play. But there is more to a Lego Convention than just showing your projects to the world. There is a camaraderie that exists between builders. Sure, they want to show you what they built, but they also want to see what you have come up with. They feed off each other a lot like we here at Scifi.StackExchange.com do. Someone gets inspired, and then everybody gets inspired.
The themes were many and varied. They ranged from architecture to art. Castles and Superheroes. Microscale and macroscale creations abounded. The Best in Show model was a breathtaking version of Hogwarts Castle, but it could have easily been the 14 foot tall Space Needle, or the 20,000 piece Bat-Cave. Once you throw away the instructions that come with the sets, anything goes.
Thursday and Friday were spent checking in and setting up, though some MOCs weren’t actually completed until moments before the doors opened to the public on Saturday morning. But, like I said, Brickcon is more than just showing your model to the world. Seminars and contests for the attendees take place throughout the weekend. Each conventioneer gets a “goody” bag and an engraved Lego badge that allows them “back stage” access to a side of the convention the general public doesn’t get to see. In fact, some builders shy away from the press of the crowds during the public viewing portion of the event, choosing to take part in blind builds, bag and box builds and other assorted contests centered on building speed, agility and creative ability rather than bask in the glow of public attention. It’s enough for some to just be there with friends and other like minded individuals that soon become friends.
This year, my MOC was a microscale version of Brickcon. It consisted of Lego tables displaying microscale MOCs while being viewed by miniland scale Lego people. I put the idea out there and before the weekend was done, people from all around the country had added to it. Marianne brought an entire table from California and populated it with models she and her brother had made. Alaskans Breann and Ty pitched in too. Breann added a tiny Bionicle while Ty built an oilrig then added a nanoscale version of it and a miniland version of himself. Fellow Washingtonians Gus and his parents built a dead on Jeep CJ-5 and then whipped up a microscale version to place with the growing micro display. Shawn and Amanda, another couple of locals from Washington and Meg from Colorado also joined in by adding tiny replicas of their models and a risque miniland figure to place in the crowd. It was my first collaborative build, and it went over better than I had imagined.
The 20,000 piece Batcave was outstanding. It included interior lighting and all the bells and whistles you could imagine. Here is a link from another Batcave fan that just about says it all. (My photos did not do it justice) From the top to the bottom, Wayne and Carlyle created a masterpiece. http://kotaku.com/5950767/you-have-to-see-this-incredible-lego-batcave-no-excuses
However, this year’s People’s Choice and Best in Show awards went to Alice’s mega Hogwarts Castle. She began building it for last years convention and hasn’t stopped. It is HUGE. It is eye catching, and she nailed it. If you look closely enough, you’ll find what you are looking for.
Here are a couple of shots of Alice’s award winning creation:
You can find more photos from Brickcon 2012 at FLICKR.
So, to sum it up, if you’ve never been to a Lego convention, you are missing out. The energy levels are high, the entertainment value is well worth the $9 general admission and the experience can be likened to Comic-con. The only thing better than coming to the public display is joining the behind the scenes activities the convention attendees enjoy. It truly is eye candy for all ages. I’ll look for you next year. I’ll be the guy wearing the Major Stackings badge.