Sunday morning. 9:45am.
The line was longer than anything I’d ever seen for the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra or any other event held at the Melbourne Town Hall. The event this time? Brickvention 2011, Australia’s premier Lego fan convention!
I love Lego. I spent many hours in my room as a kid building houses, hospitals, garages and space buggies. In primary school, one forward-thinking teacher spent a whole term getting us to use Lego Technic sets in order to teach us the basics of physics and mechanics. Every school holidays my parents would take me to see the roving Lego World exhibition where I marvelled at grant Lego structures and remembered learning about the Kon-Tiki and explorer Magellan. I still have my plastic crate of Lego stored away for the day I have my own kids and I love the fact that it’s not a passive toy – it requires imagination and patience and problem-solving skills and manual dexterity.
Lots of adults and kids feel the same way, as evidenced by the thousands of people at the public day of Brickvention, Entry was a mere $6 for adults and $3 for children to wander (or push and shove) their way around the ballroom of the Melbourne Town Hall filled with Lego structures.
Obviously with so many people in the space there was limited opportunity to appreciate the tiny details involved in some of the works, but here are some pictures of the fabulous creations.
The awe-inspiring cutaway version of the Love Boat required 250,000 bricks and who knows how many man hours. There were five ship-related movie moments hidden in the structure – we found two….
Hogwarts Castle and the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter books. I’m impressed that the figurines actually resemble Harry, Hermione, Ron and Draco. I want a Harry Potter set!
A market garden in El Bricko, a fun montage of a frontier town complete with mustachioed Mariachi band, farm animals, saloon brothels, a shootout – and a lynching (a bit of adult humour evident there).
A perennial favourite – famous structures of the world. Here, the Taj Mahal and Tower Bridge.
My dream was always to own one Lego pirate ship. This wasn’t just one pirate ship, it was a whole flotilla of pirate ships! Awesome.
Winner of Best in Show – Drachenburg Castle complete with surrounding German village.
Finally, there was a mob scene at the sellers’ area, where retails stores and enthusiasts could sell their Lego sets. While Tim’s Uncle Ian, an architecture student, was particularly enamoured of the Architecture series (with structures including the Empire State Building, the Guggenheim Museum and Frank Llloyd Wright’s Fallingwater), Tim and I couldn’t go past Creationary – like Pictionary with Lego. I haven’t played Lego in probably 20 years but it’s easy to get back into the spirit of it – the game is really fun (just look at the expression on those Lego people)! The structures you have to build range from easy (banana) to hard (Great Wall of China) but you’d be surprised that it is actually possible to guess in less than a minute that a three-brick yellow and grey structure is a bumble bee.
While I’ll never be a devotee to Lego in the same way as some of the exhibitors at Brickvention, I loved renewing my enthusiasm for the best building block toy ever. I’ve taken to lurking around Bricks to the World, an online store based in Victoria with only $5 postage for any item. I’ve got my eye on the Medieval Market Village….