Empowering Brick Innovations: Unveiling the Women’s Brick Initiative – Insights by Megan and Alice from Seattle

Story #31 – Women’s Brick Initiative

WBI – ‘Clutch Holds More Than Bricks Together’

The LEGO fan community is diverse – or is it?  According to LEGO, only about 14% of all adult fans of LEGO (AFOLs) are women.  If you go to a LEGO User Group (LUG) , odds are it’s mostly men.  If you go to a LEGO convention, you find that men outnumber women greatly.  To a woman new to the hobby, it can be intimidating walking into a convention or a LUG meeting on their own.

Skaerbaek Fan Weekend is an international AFOL networking event that takes place in a small town about an hour south of LEGO headquarters in Denmark.  It attracts AFOLs from all over the world.  At SFW in 2017, Alice Finch (of Hogwarts and Rivendell fame) and noted toy photographer Shelly Corbett met, and upon learning that they shared the view that there should be more women involved in the LEGO hobby, decided to do something about it.  As a result, the Women’s Brick Initiative (WBI) was born!

What’s notable about that fateful first meeting between Shelly and Alice is that they both live in the Seattle area, but needed to travel several thousand miles in order to meet.

Using the phrase “Clutch Holds More Than Bricks Together” as a motto, WBI has specialized in conducting workshops at several LEGO conventions worldwide, geared toward women and aimed toward teaching skills in all aspects of the LEGO hobby – photography, building, lighting, jewelry making, among others.  WBI has also hosted collaborative builds, such as the duck build shown at Bricks Cascade in 2020.

WBI at Bricks Cascade 2020

As the pandemic has shifted conventions online, WBI has continued their workshops and hosted collaborative builds virtually.  Notable among the builds has been the original WBI Quilt, that included contributions from over 35 women and allies from four continents. The WBI Quilt has proved so popular that several other LUGs have copied the idea and created their own. We’ve since had a Yule quilt that had over 40 contributors!

Our proud WBI quilt!

Now run by Alice Finch and director Megan Lum, WBI has continued to focus on bringing equity and diversity to the LEGO hobby.  In 2020, WBI started its groundbreaking intern program, made possible through a partnership with Smith College. WBI interns conducted research around gender and equality issues in the LEGO ecosystem.  Results of this research is posted on our website and shared during presentations at LEGO conventions.

WBI has been getting more visibility – Alice and Megan were interviewed in an episode of For The Love of Brick; WBI will be featured in an upcoming issue of Brick Journal (Alice is guest editing), and WBI has authored an Instagram guide of Inspiring Women Creators.  We’re also looking forward to the second year of the intern program and continuing our research.

WBI does have a significant online presence, you can find Women’s Brick Initiative on their website (www.womensbrickinitiative.com), Facebook, X, and Instagram (@thewomensbrick). WBI also has an active Facebook group.

Check out the Women’s Brick Initiative guide at Brick Inspired and if you are interested in joining.

Megan and Alice – Seattle

Unlocking LEGO® Adventures: Melissa Rekve’s Inspiring Journey as Lil’ Bricks, from Vancouver

Story #29 – The LEGO Story of Lil’ Bricks! (aka myself)

Why am I the luckiest girl in the world? In 2017, I met Paul Hetherington and a few months later we began dating. He’s an incredibly talented artist who uses LEGO® as his medium.

Paul setting up at LEGO® House Masterpiece Gallery in 2019

When we met, I knew Paul was well immersed in the LEGO® world, but I didn’t really know what that meant. I was naive to the idea that the LEGO® world was this huge culture of AFOLs, conventions, LEGO® clubs, LEGO® Artists, and much more. I have never encountered a company so down to earth and eager to listen to what their fans/consumers want as The LEGO® Group is. LEGO® is a lifestyle, I quickly learned.

Fast forward to today. In the just three years, I have been to 21 LEGO® conventions and 4 virtual ones; LEGOLAND® in Billund, Denmark; LEGO® House during the Masterpiece Gallery setup day (because Paul was invited to display a model in there) and AFOL Day.

Our LEGO® House Experience in Billund: A Memorable Journey with Paul Hetherington in 2019

I’ve stayed at the Knight’s Castle LEGOLAND® Hotel in Billund, Denmark; I’ve added many stamps to my LEGO® Passport from all over, and I have made some amazing memories with some incredible people. Being a big kid at heart, I am having the time of my life. Thank you, Paul!

The Lego Conventions I’ve attended in person include BrickCon, Seattle; BrickCan, Vancouver; BricksCascade, Portland; Brickworld Chicago; BrickNation (display at Emerald City Comic Con), Seattle; Skaerbæk Fan Weekend, Denmark; and many Brick Universe shows throughout America… I have been to all of these conventions more than once, with the exception of Skaerbæk. In the past year, I have also experienced 4 Virtual LEGO Conventions: BrickCan Virtual, BrickCon Virtual, BricksLA Virtual, and Brickvention Australia. 

Each convention is jam-packed with games, MOCs, friends, sightseeing, and great new memories. It’s always a rush to do everything and see everyone, even when the con happens at home. That’s part of the fun.

In 2019, I became a member of the VLC, the Vancouver LEGO® Club. I love to follow directions, so building sets is what I am most comfortable with. This year, I finally got up the nerve to attempt my first MOC  (my-own-creation).

Creating a MOC for the first time a daunting process, but it’s even more daunting when I’m dating an artist of Paul’s caliber. With lots of advice from friends and Paul to help answer questions during the process, I did it! It sure felt good when my MOC was completed, the 6 months it took me to build it felt like a lifetime. I chose to create a mosaic instead of a 3D MOC because I thought it would be easier. Silly me! The biggest lesson learned was that mosaics are NOT easy. For my first MOC, I chose something that is a big part of my life, Garbage Pail Kids.

I created the Garbage Pail Kids logo because they’re one of my all-time favorite fandoms

I have been a GPK collector since the 80’s. I decided to do a mosaic of the classic Original Series 1 card, 8a – Adam Bomb. I put my own spin on it, and added my favorite color, Pink, into the background. It is now on display in our house.

My first MOC

Each Convention is unique. From the AFOLs who attend, to the location, to the talks, to the games, to the swag, to the vendors, and to the MOCs. At Brick Universe I volunteer as part of the team, my biggest job there in the past has been dismantling the LEGO® when the kids are done playing with it in the Build Zones, but I do many other things as well. I may or may not have the nickname Godzilla when I am dismantling brick. Haha! 

Volunteering for Brick Universe has been the experience of a lifetime. The Brick Universe team is (like) a big family, and it is geared towards families to attend instead of classic Conventions which are geared toward AFOLs. Brick Universe also has LEGO® Clubs and AFOLs display models, and a lot of AFOLs and couples attend the show as well. There is something for everyone. I highly recommend it. 

Volunteering at a LEGO Convention!

One of the unique (and amusing) things about dating an Artist who uses LEGO® as his medium, is the look on people’s face when they ask you what my spouse does for work. Or what I do for fun. People have openly gasped, laughed, and become super awkward once I answered. I secretly enjoy these responses, because people have no idea what they are missing on. It’s fun to keep some mystery to the AFOL world and LEGO® lifestyle. It’s like a not-so-secret club of super fun and talented people who can make little plastic bricks look cool. I love it!

They say Nothing Lasts forever, but I hope this lasts a lifetime. My motto has always been, Never Grow Up, and I think I have achieved that. 

The excitement is building! Time to go do just that.

Melissa Rekve (Aka Lil’ Bricks!), North Vancouver – Canada

Mastering Success: The Evolution from LEGO® Technic to Brick Experiment YouTube Channel

Story #28 – From my first LEGO® Technic videos to my Brick Experiment YouTube channel

When I was young, I often tried to create a LEGO® hoist. I’d attach a LEGO® motor to an axle and wind a string with it, trying to lift a heavy load. I was especially interested in the LEGO® brick structure supporting the hoist.

I knew there was a right and wrong way, based on basic physics, to build the structure. I could find the best solution by thinking about it, or by testing different variations. Often I used both ways, a combination of intelligence and hard work. In hindsight, the creations were not spectacular, but I remember once being able to lift a 5 kg dumbbell in the air, powered by a single LEGO® motor (the old square LEGO® motor from the 90s, part id 5114-1).

Twenty years later, as an adult, I decided to try that once again. I had just bought a new camera and there was a lot to learn with the camera features, lighting and editing. I’d better start shooting with something simple, like LEGO®.

LEGO® is great for a beginner video creator because it doesn’t move, as humans and pets do. You can take your time and try out different shooting angles and lighting compositions. As a studio, you need just a small table and a little space around it for your camera, lights and a microphone. I found a perfect place for that in my clothes/storage room. It’s quiet and the clothes dampen reverberations so that a microphone catches all the important LEGO® building noises. Also, I learned that you can buy LEGO® parts individually from a website called bricklink.com. Great, I can choose exactly what parts to buy and in what colors.

So the video objective was to lift the heaviest possible weight. I was going to use only LEGO® parts and one LEGO® Medium motor. I figured out all the parts I’m going to need and ordered them from BrickLink. As the main color I chose red, since it represents enthusiasm and because red bricks are easily available. I also bought a weight scale to measure my progress.

Shooting the video was straightforward with building and testing, continuously improving the machine and getting bigger and bigger numbers to the scale display. I was surprised to see how well those little LEGO® gears withstand high torque. The bottleneck was mostly the LEGO® axles that deformed under string pressure. In the last test the generated force momentarily exceed 55 kg, which was the max limit for the scale. The scale printed “E” on the scale display for a second, and then the test bench exploded. A metal part had bent and disconnected the string from the scale. That was a great end to the series.

Here is the finished material, split into two videos. First video for testing pulleys and the second for gear reduction.

Video 1 – Testing LEGO® pulley systems
Video 2 – Testing LEGO® gear systems for hoisting

The original plan was to do a third video that combines the two engineering methods, but I got tired, so I just uploaded the videos to YouTube and forgot about it. They had served their purpose in teaching me about video creation.

About 6 months later the second video started to get a lot of views and positive comments. It got 20 thousand views in three weeks. That was interesting. I was surprised to see such a demand for this type of material. Was it because I concentrated on building and testing instead of the end result? Or the lack of background music that many other LEGO® YouTubers use? Whatever the reason was, I decided to make a run with it. I took down the videos and created a new YouTube channel called Brick Experiment Channel, re-uploaded the videos there and started making similar videos.

That was three years ago. I’ve been creating LEGO® videos since and now I have 1.4M subscribers – I’m glad so many people appreciate my videos.

Anonymous, Finland

Unveiling the Passion: Inside the ‘For the Love of Brick’ Podcast Creation

#26 – Why I created ‘For the Love of Brick’ podcast, by Greg McDonald, Australia

In this audio story, Greg McDonald – the creator of the LEGO® podcast ‘For the Love of Brick’ – shares how he rediscovered LEGO® again after his dark ages.

Greg talks about why he plays with a “children’s toy” and explains why he wanted to start a LEGO® podcast. Last but not least, he talks about the generosity of the AFOL community.

You can follow Greg’s podcast episodes here and a MOC of his studio below!

Photo courtesy of Greg McDonald

Greg McDonald, Australia

LEGO® Minifigure Magic: Father-Son Adventures Unleashed!

#25 – My son and I creating LEGO® Minifigure adventures

My name is Benjamin Rummens and this is my LEGO® story. 

As a child, I played hours and hours with the lovely bricks alongside my brothers. I stopped playing as an adult ,  but when I bought the Queen Ann’s Revenge LEGO® set for the 5th birthday of my son Noah… it all came back. 

I have always been busy artistically –  as an artist first (I studied plastic Arts) and most recently as a street and circus performer.  Two years ago I got the idea to make my vacation pictures a bit more creative – and in every picture you could see a dad with his two sons. 

During the last few months, due to COVID,  all my shows have been cancelled – so we got back to the idea. What about taking creative pictures of LEGO® minifigures in real-world situations.

So my youngest son Janosh and I started the project again, just with much more details and with many more minifigures than before. Because we have a big collection of them the possibilities are endless!

Sometimes people on the street find me and my son quite strange,  when they see us laying there belly flat on the ground with a minifigure. But we don’t really care, it is our moment – and we are making other people laugh. 

So everyday we try to take a new picture, and it is very interesting because we really start to look differently to our environment and notice. It is like a never ending quest, and we didn’t even start to use the figures of Lord of the Rings

We will keep adding more and more minifigure adventures in our page and I hope they inspire people to be creative. Even with the constraints of a pandemic, creativity will always win!

Benjamin Rummens, Belgium

Winter Wonderland: Building a LEGO® Christmas Village

Story # 23

I have been passionate about LEGO® since the first set I received as a child about 40 years ago. My childhood was dominated by the building toy, it’s all I wanted for Christmas and birthdays.

My passion for building with LEGO® continued on as a young adult. I had my first child at 21, and I used this as an excuse to buy more LEGO® for my daughter to play with. Back then it just wasn’t as socially acceptable for adults to play with the building bricks, so this worked well for me! In 2009 I started to get more serious about the hobby when my second child was on the way. This was also around the time when LEGO® started releasing more complex and adult oriented sets with the Creator expert line, and the first Winter Village set, the Toy Shop.

I was very excited that LEGO® decided to start this theme. As a child I always marveled at my grandmother’s ceramic winter village display she would put out each year on their fireplace mantel. The thought of recreating this in LEGO® was quite exciting and a tradition I wanted to carry on in the family in a new form.

The first rendition of my Winter Village was displayed in 2010 once the second set was released from LEGO®, and I had a modest setup with some customizations. This of course continued to grow each year as new sets were released and I acquired more pieces via buying on BrickLink and harvesting extra inventory from my own BrickLink store.

Photo by author

Around Christmas 2019 I realized I had to rethink my display with the limited space I had and the ever increasing number of sets and parts I had at my disposal. I knew I had to build up. The living room credenza was the only space I had and it measures 63″ x 16″ deep. Work began on planning the structure and ordering parts.

Due to COVID, I had more time and budget on my hand as we were at home a lot and were not traveling much. So In the summer of 2020 I finalized my design on paper and ordered the final parts I would need to build my vision. I sorted and organized everything and started the build, from scratch, in October. I spent about a month getting everything just right and to the point you see it here in my video.

My future plans include lighting and to add some movement with power functions, as there is lot’s of space under the elevated section in the back.

I have received so much positive feedback for my creation, and hopefully this inspires others to keep building!

Jason Pettyjohn – British Columbia, Canada

LEGO® Legacy: An Interview with Ted, Son of a Inventor

Story # 22

One of my friends I’ve known for 6 years, Ted Wahler Jr, checked in on me yesterday to make sure I wasn’t too stressed at work. I mentioned how I’ve been building LEGO® here to help reduce stress. I’ve been collecting and building LEGO® for just over a year, and I haven’t really spoken about it to other people until recently when I really started getting into the groups, forums, and conventions to meet other LEGO® enthusiasts. 

Ted had no idea that I was into LEGO® and he asked me if I knew his connection to LEGO®, which I didn’t, so I asked him about it. It turns out, his dad ran the Samsonite Toy division in the 1960s when LEGO® came to America. Wait, what?!

This is what Ted shared with me:

“As you know, LEGO® originated in Denmark, a gentleman named Christiansen licensed the rights to Samsonite for manufacture and sales in the US.  Samsonite hired my Father, also named Ted Wahler,  to run that division. He ran the LEGO® division until Samsonite gave it up in the early seventies. I was the first model in the first set brochure, I think in 1963. My brother, Eric Wahler, was the second. My father took it from the 2 brick, 4, 6, and 8 block. He invented baseplates, longer blocks, the motor and gears, the roof blocks, windows, and some that I am not thinking about right now. We were the guinea pigs. We always had prototype toys costing thousands of dollars each but never the regular toys the other kids had. I built a model Monticello for a school project once from hand made pieces that were being invented as I built. They were then approved and went into production.”

I looked up some of the 1960s brochures and we found the ones with him and his brother. This is my friend Ted in the picture:

Source: Brickfetish.com

Ted also told me that he felt that his father never seemed to have received the accolades he deserved for all of the innovations he brought to LEGO®. It was easy for him to see his dad’s contributions because he “sat at the kitchen table with him as my dad welded with acetone, glued with epoxy, and cut and pasted bits and pieces together. Then he tested it on us – his kids. Some of those eventually made it to production.” His dad was “dedicated to learning pathways, personal creativity, and using play to build critical thinking skills”.

“Frankly, my poor Father would hate all of the single purpose kits that seem to be the core of the product line now.  We had a one foot by six foot box of “floor sweepings”, which were the blocks that fell on the factory floor, that us brothers would sit around and build stuff from. That was his vision. Not a lot of kids had a Dad with a clipboard watching them play I’m guessing.”

I explained to Ted how kids these days usually take the sets apart after they build them to build their own creations, so that’s something that Ted’s dad would have been happy about. I shared with him how the world of MOC’s (my own creations/custom builds) is huge, and shared some MOC LEGO® groups with him. 

About my story with LEGO®: I met Ted at a Float Conference 6 years ago. We both run massage therapy/float therapy centers, which are great for helping people reduce stress, among other great benefits such as helping with anxiety, pain, and other mental health disorders. But running a float center can be very stressful. 

I bought a few of the UCS Star Wars LEGO® sets during a trip to the Mall of America about 6 years ago. I had no intention of buying LEGO® during that trip to Minneapolis, but I stopped by the Mall of America because I wanted to see the large sculptures that I had seen in pictures. I’ve always been a huge Star Wars fan and after seeing some of the UCS sets they had at the store I thought to myself, “wow, LEGO® has come a long way since I was a kid. These would look amazing on display at home”.

Photo by author

So I bought 6 sets that day, had fun building them, and had them on display for years. When LEGO® released the newer UCS Millennium I bought it, and shortly after that I REALLY got back into LEGO® building and collecting. 

And I am probably never going to stop. And although my friend’s dad, Ted Wahler Sr., might have not received the accolades he deserved when he was alive, it seems that he played a major role in bringing Old Kirk Christensen’s vision to America to help shape how we all know and play with LEGO® today, and I’ll never forget that. And I am probably never going to stop. And although my friend’s dad, Ted Wahler Sr. might have not received the accolades he deserved when he was alive, it seems that he played a major role in bringing Old Kirk Christensen’s vision to America to help shape how we all know and play with LEGO® today, and I’ll never forget that. 

Greg Griffin – USA

我的複古樂高小鎮

Story # 21

Chinese version:

經過多個月既努力,儲左幾十年既舊SET終於都可以以城市形態再一次重現眼前。😭😭😭 數數手指對上一次砌個LEGO® town出黎已經係26年前中學時代了。砌呢個城最大嘅挑戰係點樣利用有限嘅空間而有效地display到最多嘅set出嚟,而出到嚟又唔會有迫夾嘅感覺。雖然實際動工砌前已經用digital方法 plan 咗layout但係砌到出嚟睇又係另一回事,所以其實layout更動都改咗三次。而且display出嚟更加要顧及觀賞/影相角度要有層次感盡量要收埋建築物嘅背面同唔好重疊建築物。🏠🏘⛰(避免前高樓遮住後矮樓)基於土地問題關係我經過嚴選後已經放棄左好多set show唔到出黎只能display到1/3既vintage set左右,所以重複的建築物如消防局LEGO®總出過四間咁只能活一間了!有部分車仔我想放但係唔夠路面😢。希望不久既將來可以再砌大D令到個城更加豐富啦。🥰 其實我作為一個玩LEGO®數十載嘅fans可以喺香港呢個彈丸之地砌到呢個能夠媲美外國規模嘅城市,真的滿足了!謝謝觀賞🙏🏻尺寸:366cm X 228cm 32×32底板數: 15×8塊盒裝使用數量:150盒以上最舊既set: 376 House with Garden (1978)最新既set: 10219 Maersk train(2011)最細既set: 6606 Road Repair Set (1983)最大既set: 6399-Airport Shuttle (1990)

English version:

A Nostalgic Journey: Building a Classic LEGO® Town

After a few months of hard work, I finally finished building a LEGO® town with some of my lovely vintage sets that I have collected in the past 40 years. The previous time I built a LEGO® town was 26 years ago, when I was in high school.

Photo credit: Jerry Hung

A few more details about my LEGO® vintage town:

Size: 366cm X 228cm. 32×32 base plate number: 15×8

Number of box-sets used: above 150!

Oldest set used: 376 House with Garden (1978).

Newest set used: 10219 Maersk train (2011).

Smallest set used: 6606 Road Repair Set (1983).

Largest set used : 6399 Airport Shuttle (1990).

I tried to make it look like the old school LEGO® catalogs. Most sets in this town (there are 150 of them) were produced between the 80’s – 90’s. I wanted to build a LEGO® town that only had vintage sets, no modern city or modular buildings at all. Due to limited space, I only can display about 1/3 of my vintage sets collection. I hope I can expand my town in the near future. Thanks for reading!

Jerry Hung – Hong Kong

Designing a Dream Display: A Custom LEGO® Wall

Story #20 – How I built my LEGO® wall

LEGO® has always been a part of my life. As young as 3 years old I was playing with it. My father traveled a lot when I was young and, back in those days, the only toy available at airports was LEGO®. I used to wait for him to come home, not just to see him, but to see what LEGO® he had found.

As I grew older, I moved through the various genres of the brick, from town and space through the electronic train and into Technic. I have always been an early riser and my mother said she always knew when I was awake because she could hear the LEGO® being rummaged through.

I was never someone that played with LEGO®, I was always purely a builder. Nothing was ever finished so there was no time to swoop the spaceship through the air, I could always see how it could be improved or that it needed a landing pad or support truck.

Laurence Woolford

By the time I was 13 and moving into being a teenager I had amassed quite a collection and had a permanent LEGO® layout in my room. My move to boarding school started my path into adulthood and I put my LEGO® into several large storage boxes and hid them in my parents’ loft. It was not until years later with the birth of my 3 children that my LEGO® was recovered, and I started an entirely new relationship with my lost youth.

Laurence Woolford

I delighted in teaching them how to build but would find myself staying up late into the night building. Buying LEGO® for them and spending time building reconnected me with lots of happy memories and feelings from my youth which helped me through 2 nasty divorces. I can remember at the end of my first marriage building a huge Eagle Transporter from Space 1999 that was minifigure scale and over a meter long.

As my children grew away from LEGO®, LEGO® became more and more a part of my life. I used building as time to think and reflect. I was never happier than building, listening to an audio book and letting my mind wonder over all the problems of my life. My LEGO® was listed in my second divorce and I nearly lost my 1st Edition Millennium Falcon! Fortunately, I have managed to hold onto it although it was destroyed and had to be rebuilt from scratch!

Now a bachelor, and still a big kid, I have embraced my LEGO® heritage. It is a huge part of my life. I have a “mini figure me” the travels all over the world with me and has been to some amazing places from Maputo to Burma. It always gets a huge smile when I set him up to take a picture.

Laurence Woolford

During the recent renovation of my home I was determined to make LEGO® a permanent part of the building, making a corner of a garden wall a feature to look like the entire wall was LEGO®. It is this that has inspired me to build a LEGO® house into the corner wall of the kitchen. The house is about to have all the windows changed so my LEGO® room is packed up but I do have some of my favourite pieces on display in the downstairs toilet!

Laurence Woolford – United Kingdom.

How I Became an Adult Fan of LEGO® (AFOL)

Story # 16

I spent my childhood as many other kids – building with LEGO® a lot. I think it was my favorite toy.

Since I had a few health problems early on, I was not that active as other kids at my age. So my favourite past-time was LEGO®.

I got older and maybe in my father’s eyes I should have had other interests beside LEGO®. So my dad told me to pack it away – and the plan became to give it away to the child hospital ward where I had been a few times. After this happened, I felt for a long time that my dad didn’t want me to play with LEGO®.

You may think that my LEGO® Dark Ages came – the time where I had to quit playing with LEGO® and find other interests. But no, my LEGO® building passion went into Technic sets. It was more a young adult type of LEGO®. I only bought large sets that I liked and built – and then would hide them away in the basement.

Around 2012, I found myself at a LEGO® crossroads. Should I keep building the new Technic sets or quit building LEGO® altogether? I think the one thing preventing me from quitting were the Modular House sets. I bought the Pet store and I was hooked. Oh how I missed that little brick – my love for LEGO® was back. 

And the LEGO® that was supposed to be given away, was still in my basement.

So in late 2012, I found my way to the local LEGO® User Group (LUG). They had an event coming up soon in Trondheim, a city in another part of my country. Having never been to any LEGO® events, I decided to attend. I didn’t have the courage to tell my father I was going to a LEGO® event. I had a feeling that it would not end well, so I just told him ‘I’m going to Trondheim’. But when I posted the LEGO® event on Facebook, my dad saw it – and the cat was out of the bag. But, to my surprise, he took it well and told me that I was more than old enough to decide my own hobbies. E even offered to give me a lift to LEGO® events!

And then I took an extra step. Some colleagues at work knew about my LEGO® hobby.

One day in 2014, I got an idea to turn some of my work into a LEGO® model. I was servicing the rent bike racks. So, I made a model based on that in LEGO® –  a rack, and the two service cars.

I later showed a picture of this to my manager – a few moments later it was posted to everyone in the company. I was not that happy about that but OK – at least I could finally tell everyone about my hobby.

This is my trip from packing my LEGO® away in a basement… to becoming a proud Adult Fan of LEGO®. Today I have fun with LEGO®, building my own creations and collecting sets. I no longer have worries about my father. My mother loved LEGO® from the start and my father learned to accept it.

LEGO® helped me in so many ways. And that’s why, still today, it is my favorite toy in the whole wide world.

Petter L, Norway

My favorite LEGO® MOC

Story #15 – My favorite LEGO® MOC

For those of you that don’t know what is a LEGO® MOC, it stands for My Own Creation.

Normally you can buy LEGO® sets in a box with instructions. A MOC is something that a fan like  me designs and then publishes the instructions for other LEGO® Fans to build, on sites like Rebrickable

I love designing and sharing MOC’s with the world. I design them because I can really use my creativity and build something out of my own imagination. And I have built already more than 500 of them!

My favorite one is the Dessert Village one. I built it from 12 different MOC’s, with 3957 pieces. It took me more than one month to build but at the end I was really happy with it. 

Photo credit: Guy Gabizon

If you want to see more of my creations, you can check my website – https://htbi-moc.com/. I love to see when a fellow fan builds one of my MOC’s – and I am looking forward to myself building creations from others!

Guy Gabizon, Israel

The quest to find IT

Story #14

When I was 10 years old, I remember playing with my few LEGO® sets until exhaustion.  Every Christmas, I eagerly waited for the catalogues from the big retail stores, showcasing all the toys you can imagine. My favorite toys were always RC cars and of course… LEGO®!

One day, I went with my mom to her manager’s house and… I saw IT! An enormous LEGO® Technic set, that I only had seen in the Christmas catalogues booklets… and that I thought I would never see in real life.  ‘IT’ was the 8865 Test Car, laying around… Half on the floor… Half on the box… left abandoned, and worse… I wasn’t authorized to play with IT! 

That day, I secretly promised myself – ‘One Day I will have IT! Meanwhile (unfortunately…) I grew up, and went into my LEGO® dark ages, years went by and LEGO® became just a fading memory. just a memory and fade!

Years later, when I was already an adult,  my inner geek started to come out again when I started watching The Big Bang Theory. When my girlfriend gave The Big Bang Theory LEGO® ideas set, I rediscovered the world of LEGO® again!

This year I turned 40. And one night, after putting my 2-year old daughter to sleep, I went on Ebay to look for my next LEGO® set. And I stumbled upon it… a second-hand 8865 Test car! With so many memories coming back to me I decided – I have to have IT! 

Image by author

And as I write this story, I am bringing its yellow aged bricks back to vibrant colors – and I can’t wait to build IT… Finally.

Alexandre Fernandes – Caldas da Rainha, Portugal

Experience Sky-High Thrills: Unveiling Benny B’s LEGO® Plane Adventure

Story #11 – My LEGO® Plane Bought On… A Plane

Bet you didn’t know LEGO® was available for purchase on flights a long time ago.

My family took a plane ride on one particular vacation. However, back in 1988 there was no in-flight entertainment.  So how did my mother calm her increasingly annoying bored child?

She bought me my first LEGO® set ever to keep me occupied.

Photo credit: Benny B

Colors have faded & lost pieces replaced along the way, but the spirit remains.

Photo Credit: Benny B

Benny B – New Jersey, USA

#10 – Growing into LEGO®, by Raquel Lemos – Sweden

I don’t remember building LEGO® while growing up. Never felt particularly drawn to it but – like with Scouting – I always thought I’d love for my kids to try.  You always want them to be the best version of themselves that they want, right?

When we went to other kids’ places, not much interest in LEGO®, at all.

But at home, she received her first LEGO® at 4 – a kit with guided mini-builds. A fun own-time with mommy, the final result displayed in her bookshelf, but not coming across as a big passion.

Then Corona came, and I attended an online event at work with the LEGO® Serious Play methodology.

Illustrating her emotions around the virus through LEGO®, but mostly competing with fellow co-workers’ kids for the tallest LEGO® tower, brought both excitement and tears. It was her competitiveness that was her catapult to LEGO® – go figure!! Your kids are their own person, and that’s so good!

So now we’re growing into LEGO® (and DUPLO®), all girls in the family, with story-telling and creative stops in the builds as their rightful demands.

They’re on the lead, I enable. 🙂 It turns out it’s fun and kind and sharing and opening windows. It can be a lot.

Looking forward to the next episodes with my girls.

Raquel Lemos, Malmö – Sweden

Demystifying LEGO® Instructions: Insights from Ana Beirão in Lisbon

Story #6 – What do you mean LEGO® Instructions?

When I was a child, I would borrow all my LEGO® from my cousins.

They were given to me in big shopping bags filled with bricks, or half-built with one or two parts to be rebuilt. I loved building and played with these bricks all the time building houses for my dolls or just doing official repairs for my cousins!

When I saw LEGO® ads on TV, I wondered the amount of imagination it took to build such boats and buildings – and I tried my best to replicate them with my bricks. 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The years went by, and as an adult was time to do the same that my cousins did for me – spark imagination and creativity. So when my son turned 5, I bought him a LEGO® box and I was completely gobsmacked that there were instructions. I had no idea! 

I shared my amazement with a friend. 

Ana Beirão – Lisbon, Portugal

Enchanting Homecoming: António Marques Mendes Welcomes Minnie and Mickey to Lisbon

Story #5 – Bringing Minnie and Mickey home

Today they are in the front line of my display case. The most amazing minifigures.

But it wasn’t always like that.

The setting: the always crowded LEGO® shop in Leicester Square

The hero: me, of course. I was positively groping all the minifigure bags in the shop, although the sign was quite clear – DO NOT to touch anything. But I was determined to find Minnie and Mickey.

The villain: The security guard. He saw me and tried to kick me out but the store manager looked at me and laughed at my technique… and lack of shame. 

The ending: I was completely embarrassed, but I found them, purchased them and  brought Minnie and Mickey home…where they belonged.

Image by author

Antonio Marques Mendes, Lisbon — Portugal

LEGO®: Meu Brinquedo Precioso, Revelado por Teresa Raupp – São Paulo

Story # 3 – LEGO®, o meu brinquedo precioso

Quando eu era criança, acho que todo o mundo tinha problemas financeiros e era comum as crianças herdarem dos irmãos mais velhos, brinquedos inteiros ou não, para enfim, chegar nossa hora de soltarmos nossa imaginação e brincar como se fossem brinquedos novos.

Na verdade, esses brinquedos para mim eram até mais preciosos, porque vinham com uma regra mandatória da minha irmã mais velha:

“Cuida bem desse brinquedo, foi precioso para mim!”.

Ganhei uma quantidade incompleta de peças de LEGO® e com ela, fiz enormes e incríveis castelos, bonecos, mesas, bancos e até cavalos em cujos dorsos de pelos macios e crinas longas ajudavam as princesas fugirem dos seus vilões. Foram tardes e mais tardes no meu mundo encantado, com algumas peças também perdidas por aí, algumas resgatadas anos depois.

Eu sempre fui uma criança solitária que morava num mundo encantado, mágico, colorido, cheio de histórias incríveis, personagens marcantes. Esse mundo era construído com LEGO®, bonecas, cachorros de verdade, caixas de papelão, além de grama, terra e pedrinhas que serviam de banquetes para reis e princesas.

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Photo by Taylor Heery on Unsplash

Conheci no meio da minha trajetória, uma médica pediatra que observava suas crianças entretidas sempre com os mesmos brinquedos. Ela concluiu graciosamente que os brinquedos têm anjos e aqueles brinquedos preferidos por todas as crianças, certamente eram conduzidos por anjos melhores, mais pacientes com as crianças.

Pois meu LEGO® deve ter um desses anjos, pois quando meu filho tinha seis anos, presenteei com meu bom e velho Lego, não perdendo a oportunidade de pedir:

“Cuida bem desse brinquedo, foi precioso para mim!”.

Meu filho brincou muito com essas mesmas peças, mas transformando-os em terríveis dinossauros, árvores colossais, robôs do bem e do mal travando batalhas entre si, canhões de guerra, naves espaciais.

Felizmente o LEGO® resistiu às décadas e ele ganhou mais caixas de peças, novas, diferentes, fantásticas.

Passaram-se os anos e o LEGO® voltou à caixa.

Eu esperava guardar para alguma criança adorável que lhe desse devido valor. Incrivelmente, fui mãe de novo depois de treze anos e minha filha herdou o brinquedo do irmão com a devida recomendação: “cuida bem desse brinquedo, foi precioso para mim!””.

Assim, os ciclos se repetem e os resistentes brinquedos de LEGO® acompanham as gerações e as reminiscências em histórias maravilhosas e eternas.

Teresa Kimijima Raupp — São Paulo, Brasil

Building Brilliance: My Yellow Brick Tower by Diogo Lobo from Lisbon

Story #2 – My Yellow Brick Tower, by Diogo Lobo – Lisbon

It all starts with a single brick.

At 8 I had a big box of LEGO® bricks. I mean a big, BIG box.

It was so big that I could easily fit inside the box. I had all kinds of pieces, bricks and LEGO® stuff in there. I even had a smaller red box to sort LEGO® bricks, by color and by shape.

I think it was a box of some sort of appliance my parents bought. I used it to keep my LEGO® safe from the world (meaning my dog and other kids).

This is the box where Diogo kept his LEGO bricks over the years
Vintage LEGO®

And it was always the same ritual: I would bend the box slightly so all the pieces could lie on the floor but so that ALL the pieces could be in sight. DO NOT lose any piece was the absolute mantra. Even if I didn’t need it for a build, I would never lose one single brick. Never.

Then, creativity took over and castles, cars, buildings and even ice creams would see the light of the day. In the end, I would put all the pieces back in the big box and close it with that childish feeling that my treasure was safe. Those were the days!!

Many amazing structures were built and destroyed minutes afterwards, but one always stuck with me. The Yellow Tower!

But not just any tower, it would be a single line with one brick on top of the other straight to the sky. Will it stand? Do I have enough pieces? How many days will I need?

This image shows a 1x4 yellow LEGO brick
One Brick to Rule Them All

First try: 30 seconds later it fell, didn’t even reach the height of my forehead.

Second try: looking good and steady until someone opened the door and I looked away slightly touching it. Nooooooooo….

Third try: My hands are shaking.

Maybe I need help.

– “Moooooom!”

– “Why don’t you do it in sections and then put them together?”

– “What are sections? “ — I was 8…

– “You do one part with 20 bricks and put it on the floor. Then do another one exactly the same, and another, and another. Once you have 6 or 7 sections, let me know and I´ll help you.”

And then again I went. Section by section I was learning that a journey is made of small steps. One after the other just like LEGO® bricks, one after the other.

Once I had my sections ready to shine, we started to build it. And we only finished it when it touched the ceiling (almost). And there it was — a single line of yellow bricks from the ground to the ceiling, from down below to the clouds above.

I was 8…

I must have of photo of it somewhere. I still have the box. I still open it sometimes and remember that big tower.

It was tall. It was yellow. It was LEGO®.

Diogo Lobo, Lisbon — Portugal