The Brothers Brick LEGO Creation of the Year 2023 [News]

As a whole, the LEGO community’s original works of 2023 were absolutely astounding! Over those 52 weeks, we covered so many beautiful works of art, trying to highlight the very best created by builders all over the world. And with our shortlist in hand, we’re ready to identify our favorite of the bunch. The days of 2023 were marked with massive collaborative work, giant themes and creations that brought us together after pandemic isolation over the prior two years. And in that vein, we selected the excellent collaboration between Joshua Morris, Rod Fiford, Gavin Rich, and Handoko Setyawan. The Brothers Brick LEGO Creation of the Year 2023 is Cerulean Straits.

When trying to take account of all the great builds of the past year, it can be difficult comparing the work of one individual against the work of a group. While some collaborators can absolutely bring it with an exceptional contribution to the overall layout, others may join in last-minute with a small addition. But Cerulean Straits presents an evenly divided build, with each quadrant a creation worthy of recognition on its own. The culmination of these four sections into one mega-build with a consistent structure, theme, and tone is what really pushes the work over the top, marking it with our Creation of the Year designation. And while I could rehash the specifics in this collab all over again, it’s probably best to reference my words in the initial write-up of this creation:

Our first stop at this port is to get some grub at the Krak’n Snack. I mean, where else are you going to find a set of tentacles skilled in the art of sashimi? Handoko’s parts usage here is marvelous, utilizing different T-Rex pieces to make the head and arms of the squiddish beast. And the concept of hiding most of the creature within a ship, both to allow for flexibility in fashioning its shape and to almost provide a “workspace” for it, is a brilliant storytelling idea!

Gavin’s contribution includes some beautifully-crafted schooners and galleons. This is a talent that I’m quite jealous of, as most of my ships end up looking more like a wedge of pie than anything else. These boats not only have the look of period vessels, but are open enough to house some brilliant minifigure scenes. Loading barrels, abandoning ship, sword fighting – all of these activities are vividly on display. But that said, sometimes it’s the simple things that stand out the most….

It’s not until we reach Rod’s quadrant that we find something that’s not been a big part of the map thus far: sandy coastline. His landscaping skills are on full display here: exposed studs, the occasional spot of green or gray, and a steady gradient down to the water properly replicates a natural beach. The voids along the sand only make the pockets of activity stand out more, showcasing the fishermen bringing in their haul and the benches next to that darling red-roofed tavern, filled with thirsty patrons.

And don’t forget every LEGO pirate’s nemesis: the Imperials. Joshua gives them quite the base of operations with this white coastal fortress. Its pale walls look well-worn and are broken up nicely with the occasional crack, revealing their interior adobe construction. Add to that the clay-tiled roof and curves reminiscent of a Spanish mission, and the stronghold feels right at home in the scene. And make sure to check out Joshua’s Instagram for some great shots of the market in front of the castle.

Congratulations to Joshua, Rod, Gavin and Handoko for making the TBB LEGO Creation of the Year 2023, as determined by our staff. Be sure to check out the TBB LEGO Creation of the Year 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 to see our past winners.

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