Posted by Jeremy on January 24, 2018 at 09:49 PM CST
Each year volunteers from the Melbourne LEGO Users Group (MUG) puts on an Australian-based convention and public display for LEGO fans. This two-day event brings LEGO fans of all ages together from all across the country to view original and unusual creations built by local and regional bricksmiths. Open to the public it is a safe-haven for LEGO fans of all ages and levels of interest.
If you've ever been to a LEGO convention before then you'll know what to expect - a central core with a Great Ball Contraption and a massive train set which combines a number of environment and building themes, surrounded by an endless number of MOC builds and dioramas. If you've never been to a LEGO event before think of the playroom you always wanted!
Brickvention didn't fail to deliver the standard recipe, so no-one would go home disappointed. And I don't mean that in a bad way; it's just that there is only so many ways to set up a LEGO convention and when you're talking about something as delicate and desirable to little hands as LEGO the tried and true method is where it's at. What made the event really special was the location, and once you are there you know why the UNESCO World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building is the perfect venue. This hall was built to host the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880 and is such an iconic element of the city that it has been included in MINILAND at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne.
While LEGO largely organises its construction sets in to themes, Brickvention decided that a more eclectic arrangement would better suite the crowds. It certainly kept the masses moving and encouraged people to look closely at each table. The gallery level, not open to the public but access was awarded to media pass holders, afforded the best view and gave Son of LEGOscum and I a chance to gain an overview of the event, and from our vantage point we were able to pinpoint a number of Star Wars displays.
The big builds - especially the oversized Death Star playset - were captivating, and crowds were drawn in to gawk at the scale and detail. While the adults fussed over the minutae it was the kids who took in the big picture and enjoyed all the aspects of the MOCs. I overheard one father say to his son "you've got enough LEGO to build that" while gesturing to a particularly large diorama. The child denied having that much bricks and excitedly took the opportunity to verbally share his LEGO Star Wars with his dad, rounding off the conversation with a wish list of the sets he was hoping to get.
Motorisation was certainly popular over the weekend, and there was even enough power left over from the massive train set to run a number of LEGO Star Wars displays. The Star Wars fun fair, with its MicroFighter-scale Ferris wheel which overlooked the AAT bumper car ride, Rebel flight school, Imperial dance floor and Hoth merry-go-round, was a major pull.
Son of LEGOscum got particularly excited about the Carida stormtrooper factory that rhythmically processed Imperial ground pounders, under the watchful gaze of Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, Director Orson Krennic and Colonel Wullf Yularen, like the battle droid factory on Geonosis. He was mesmerised by the seemingly automated process but when he realised that the MOC was a series of loops and not a complete process he was ready to move on. I wasn't though and stood there taking it allin for another five minutes.
The motorised treats continued with the discovery of a Death Star dogfight. In a mash up of A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, a midi-scale Millennium Falcon is chased by micro TIE Fighters across the surface of the Empire's dreaded battle station while Luke pilots his micrco X-wing down a trench to deposit a surprise in Galen Erso's trap door.
Droid builds and variations on the BrickHeadz theme were very popular too, with a number of builders creating different characters from the BB-8 created by Henrik Lorentzen who submitted his design to LEGO Ideas and then shared the instructions to the world.
One of the best things about LEGO bricks is its adaptability for different scales, and this was put to good use by a number of builders who produced small-scale detailed models and dioramas, and the Master Model Builders from LEGO Discovery Centre Melbourne (which we visited the day after Brickvention) who produced a slew of life-sized lightsabres for the show.
As much as the movies were an inspiration, the animated Clone Wars TV show was represented by a number of builders who drew reference to the series in an amazing vertical build as well as a Mandalorian bunker skirmish.
And finally, some builders are able to squeeze Star Wars into any diorama!