A Tour of Brickvention 2024

Brickvention 2024, an AFOL Networking Event, was recently held at the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, Australia. It’s now in its 18th year and continues to attract some of the best builders and most enthusiastic AFOLs from around Australia and other countries. This year, around 280 exhibitors displayed their creations, with an additional 250 non-exhibitors attending the convention day. Around 15,000 members of the public visited the exhibit over the weekend of January 20th and 21st. So let’s take a tour of Brickvention 2024!

Brickvention 2024 exhibitors

State library of victoria by Brickman

Even though the public event is held over two days, Brickvention is really a four-day convention. Everything starts on Thursday morning as the exhibit is set up and the AFOLs greet their new, old, and soon-to-be friends. Friday is the convention day. The day is devoted to guest speakers, games, and workshops and with the added special opportunity to buy from the vendors and see the exhibits without the hindrance of the crowds over the weekend.

This year’s convention day included a special presentation from the BrickLink Designer Program, a talk on LEGO-related careers from the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, a question and answer session with past LEGO Masters competitors, and a live recording of an episode of the Extra Pieces podcast. Additionally, workshops were available on textual building, designing a basic LEGO pinball machine, and new LEGO elements. Friday concluded with a challenging LEGO-themed trivia competition. On Saturday evening, a special convention dinner was held at the historic State Library of Victoria. The food was delicious, and the location enabled dinner guests to view the Brickman model of the library building.

No doubt you have probably already seen many pictures of the outstanding creations exhibited at this year’s Brickvention. I’ve included a few of my favourites below.

Even before the event started, Donny Chen’s Golden Dragon was a viral hit with claims that it must be an AI generated image. It is very real, however, and definitely one of the most popular builds at the show. No trophies were awarded this year, but it was clearly the most popular having received the largest number of tokens of appreciation of any other build at the event. A video of the construction technique used in the Golden Dragon can be found on YouTube.

dragon by donny chen with tokens of appreciation

Another worthy mention is the Viking boat by Aido Kessler. A beautiful piece, it initially appears simplistic in design, yet it reframes the concept of LEGO part use when one considers it is largely made of LEGO chains and track pieces. I thought it would be a fragile build, but Aido encouraged me to touch the chains to see how freely they flowed and how strong the build actually is. He was also the designer of this year’s Brickvention commemorative set, the Bushranger.

Viking boat by aido Kessler

This Spirited Away scene by Joss Ivanwood surprised everyone with its incredibly creative parts usage and intricate details. Joss is well known for his elaborate fantasy creature builds, and this creation showed the full breadth of his skills.

spirited Away by joss ivanwood

Fleur Watkins created a 1:1 scale vintage Singer sewing machine on an original cast iron Singer base and delighted all who have fond memories of using such a machine or seeing family members doing so in times past.

The singer sewing machine by fleur watkins

Adjacent to Fleur’s sewing machine were the Fantastical Footwear of Tamara Dadswell. Though not wearable in their current design, they did show the possibilities of building to utilise the features of various LEGO elements. I suspect they would pair nicely with the Wedding Dress by Veronica Young as seen at last year’s Brickvention and currently on display at the LEGO House Masterpiece Gallery in Billund, Denmark.

Fantastic footwear by Tamara Dadswell

A personal highlight for me was Richard Jones and Shelly Timson’s revisiting of their upscaled Fabuland build in a celebration of 45 years of the fondly remembered theme.  Fabuland has been a favourite of mine since I first discovered it as a post-dark ages AFOL in the 1990s. I love seeing it used in MOCs—and even more so when it’s reimagined and reinterpreted in a different way. Many adults and AFOLs found this to be a lovely, nostalgic throwback to their own early LEGO building days as children.

The upscaled Fabuland build of Richard Jones and Shelly Timson

The brightly coloured Punjab Scala Station by Robb and Leigh McGowen highlighted the use of the more unusual LEGO parts, including a Scala doll and Belville parts in its design. Many a person was heard to query the inclusion of “non-LEGO,” not realising they really were LEGO parts. Robb’s devotion to the use of parts from the lesser-known LEGO themes is equal to my inclusion of Clikits parts in many of my own builds.

Punjab Scala Station by Robb and Leigh McGowen

Michael Balin revisited his soft brick yellow castle—a version of which was exhibited in 2023 at Brixpo in Adelaide, South Australia. Although there have been quite a few upscaled builds of the classic LEGO yellow castle, nothing is quite the same as seeing a MOC inspired by the set but made from soft education bricks. Unlike most MOCs, the nature of the bricks means it needs to be mostly reconstructed on-site every time it is exhibited.

Yellow castle build by Michael Balin

Gyldenspir castle by dale harris

Dale Harris of HarrisBricks continued to display his mastery of textures, landscaping and castle design with his own yellow castle inspired, Gyldenspir Castle. Like so many of the highly detailed builds at Brickvention, it would be easy to spend hours just looking at all of the details included in the build. Ben Cossy has provided a detailed description of the finer points of Dale’s build in this video.

The Melbourne LEGO User Group (MUGs) collaborative build of the MUGs Gallery was a delightful team effort by over 30 people. The basic parts were sourced via the RLUG Project Support program and participants were encouraged to use the sections to create their own interpretation of what might be found in a museum or art gallery. Even though I contributed three modules to the build, I was genuinely surprised at just how well it came together. Every module was a cornucopia of storytelling with the lighting, rooftop and grand entrance complementing the overall design.

MUgs Gallery by the Melbourne LEGO user Group

Trains, as always, were very popular at Brickvention. The Melbourne L-Gauge Train Club (M>LTC) combined the work of nearly 30 builders to create a massive train layout that dominated the central section of the west end of the building. Part of the build included a recreation of the Historic Newport Train Workshops created through the RLUG Project Support Program from LEGO. The Newport train sheds provided the perfect background for a group photo of past Brick Train Awards winners. This build can be seen at the upcoming Steamraill Victoria open day event on the 9th-11th of March, 2024.

Newport workshops by the Melbourne L-Gauge Train Club

The Victorian Railways L-Gauge Modellers had their own layout which focused on trains and locations in the Australian states of Victoria and South Australia. This detailed layout was created, maintained and dismantled by a group of ten people.

part of the train layout by the Victorian Railways L-gauge Modellers

This year’s Brickvention also featured the largest Great Ball Contraption (GBC) ever assembled at the event. Just 12 people put together around 167 modules. It was so popular that it was difficult to follow a full circuit on public days, so Rohan Beckett created a video of this year’s Brickvention GBC.

Members of the Bendigo LEGO User Group (BALD), other volunteers. and members of the public worked to create a lovely floor mosaic promoting the new season of LEGO Dreamzzz. Located in the northern section of the building, this was a popular distraction as visitors headed towards the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Minifig Swap Wall and interactive zone.

the dreamzzz mosaic from brickvention 2024

Other fun activities over the Brickvention weekend included a chance to meet LEGO Certified Professional and LEGO Masters Australia judge, Ryan McNaught (AKA Brickman), and a number of contestants from LEGO Masters Australia, New Zealand and the US. In addition, the Fairy Bricks charity operated a lucky dip, there were photo opportunities with cosplayers and plenty of wonderful things to buy including exclusive Brickvention merchandise, new and rare LEGO sets, LEGO-related gear, LEGO-compatible lighting kits, minifigs and various LEGO-inspired creations.

the world heritage listed venue for Brickvention

If you have yet to make it to a Brickvention, I thoroughly recommend you consider it as a future option as it is not a LEGO Fan show to be missed!

(All photos used with permission.)

Have you ever visited Brickvention? Let us know in the comments below.

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