BrickCon07: A Front Line Report . I went through four straight days of Lego overload and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. . In this exclusive report from a wide-eyed BrickCon rookie, we attempt to answer these and other burning questions: Castle vs. Space -- Which theme will reign supreme? Will Shannonia capture the vaunted Best Microscale award? What do the questionable characters of Keithlug have planned for my monkey? Lego groupies -- myth or reality? Intrigued? All right, take a deep breath... let's dive in!
Thursday evening: not much going on -- people were still coming into town, the folks that had arrived were busy unpacking and setting up their MOCs. It took just a few minutes to unload and put together my meager contributions, and then it was off to look at the stuff that was there and do a little meet and greet. When you're a misanthropic recluse like me, that last part does not come as easy as it sounds.
Lino Martin's (AtomicBuilder on Brickshelf) tripod thing collapsed twice while I was around to witness it, and took out part of someone else's MOC at least once.
Keithlug's mighty Omicron Weekend -- so big you can barely fit the whole thing in one picture, just like Keith's mom. (Sorry, but it was just too easy.)
By the time I rolled in on Thursday evening, they'd been setting it up all day, and had most of the structure in place. The minifig cast of thousands to bring it to life would be added Friday and Saturday.
Half of my contribution -- the long awaited sequel to the smash hit Space Ninjas: Bridge of the Everlasting Fire, you ask breathlessly? Maybe. This unfinished, unnamed terraforming plant is actually scheduled to be the site of SN3, but may yet overtake the troubled production of SN2: The Temple of Balanced Duality. Stay tuned.
I know, I know, Town is so boring... but look at the technique on this house. Those are upside-down chairs for the walls, and the way the corner bricks are tweaked a bit to get that texture is genius. Unfortunately, I have no idea who built it. Of the handful of woman builders there, I gathered that two of them did the majority of the Town display, so chances are it's one of them.
Lego isn't big with the ladies... which brings us to the subject of Lego groupies. Put it this way: If you're looking for a place to meet chicks, you'll have better odds almost anywhere else than a Lego convention.
I did see someone's wife or girlfriend had a nametag with the title of Lego Groupie, but she was firmly attached to his entourage. My personal Lego groupie was a thousand miles away, but she'd have been there if she could. So they do exist but are rare, like leprechauns and American Indians.
They can put an In-n-Out on the moon, but not one within 800 miles of where I live. What a world.
The Far Side vignettes -- yes!
Flintstones... meet the Flintstones...
If I was a more felonious individual, I would have stolen Bram Lambrecht's bunny in a heartbeat. What can I say, Watership Down is my favorite book.
While two of the three Omicron builders were insistent that YOU control the action, the third was more than happy to tie you down to some convoluted story about monkey amputation, fractured triple alliances, and a conspiracy within the Catholic church to suppress the true nature of Christ. The whole diorama was apparently layed out in such a way that a symbologist could decipher its true hidden meaning -- oh crap, I've already said too much.
You know, there was hardly a page of The DaVinci Code that I didn't think to myself, "What the ____! I'm a better writer than this clown!" Meanwhile Dan Brown is a millionaire and I'm sitting on an unpublished epic poem living paycheck to paycheck. What a world.
Phew! Just had to get that off my chest. I feel much better now.
Nathan Proudlove's sleek and sexy Blacktron-2 SHIP. Most impressive to me was the sturdiness of it -- it was packed basically entire and all he had to do was open some panels into the interior, take out the fins and antennas and things that stick out, attach them, and pop it on the table. I've never built anything near approaching this length, and still my biggest ships were never strong enough to be lifted in one piece.
Who needs Brickforge cows? Not the vikings on this island.
Dogs are always so stoked when you let them tag along... Poor innocent Pluto, marching off to war with no idea of the horrors that would ensue.
I arrived very late Saturday, after the public had come and gone. I found that my Space Ninja thing had been incorporated into the backdrop of some chaotic mecha battle, struggling for control of the hazy frontier where the Space, Moonbase, and Mecha zones all converged. Fighting so fierce, evidently, it mussed up the plastic tablecloth sheet.
The moment you've all been waiting for -- the new expanded Shannonia! (Get that "Best Micro" trophy ready!) So in order to get a free Keithlug T-shirt, you had to bring a Lego monkey. Not until you brought him were you informed that nothing is free, and that your monkey had to pay for that shirt with one of his paws. So he was a hook-monkey all weekend, but there is good news. I did manage to save my monkey's paw, and am now happy to report that he is resting comfortably at home with the limb reattached. Others were not so lucky, and may remain permanently hooked.
Some of Shannonia's so-called "competition" in the micro category. Ley Ward's micro moonbase was my choice -- it was better than the real moonbase across the room.
The best photos I got of this amazing thing -- we had alternate rain and sun, so lighting coming in through the big windows was problematic at times.
Ah, memories... how many of these sets did you own? How many did you covet and never get? How many of you hadn't even been born when these sets came out?
My first allegiance will probably always be to Space, since that's what I grew up with. Castle holds a place in my heart as well. Town has always been lame and boring -- a stance I have only recently begun to reconsider. So how would I rank the various layouts of these three Great Powers? Prepare to be surprised...
I was very disappointed in the Moonbase. Not only did the Castle display blow it out of the water, it couldn't even compete with the Town. How could this be? I had to sit down and take stock of everything I thought I believed in.
Here's the trouble as I see it. The Town and Castle displays were much more cohesive, whereas the Moonbase looked random and messy. I know that's kind of part of the plan, but apparently the Moonbase is like communism -- it works well in theory, not in practice.
What's wrong with this picture? On Sunday during public hours I was hanging out near Shannonia for a bit to hear what people said about it, and a couple kids started exclaiming over the monkey climbing one of the buildings. The city sits on eight 16x16 baseplates that aren't fixed in place, so I took that one off and handed it to the kids so they could play with it a little. One of them put it back, and it wasn't until hours later, after a few of us AFOLs had made a side trip to Jimi Hendrix's grave and the new Seattle Public Library (a very cool building) that I noticed he'd put it back wrong -- the river doesn't line up.
History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men... Godzilla!
And the winner for Best Microscale goes to... The Comoros, by Andrew Lee, a.k.a. Wintermute! It was the biggest robbery since the 2006 Superbowl, maybe even the 2000 presidential election. Actually Andrew's a cool guy and had a lot of really good stuff there, so I was able to swallow my justifiable rage, grit my teeth into a strained smile, and applaud politely when his name was called over mine.
Mementos of four magical days... Make it out here next year, and you too can join in the fun.
Trophies won: 0
T-shirts received: 1
Friends made: several
Monkeys maimed: countless
Parking tickets: 1
It was still worth it.