BrickCon 2020

The world has gone online this year, and BrickCon is no exception. Normally held the first weekend in October in Seattle, the convention went virtual and I was able to attend for the first time in a few years.

I attended BrickCon every year from 2008 through 2015, but since then I haven’t managed to make it up to Seattle for it. I’m hoping to get back there one of these years, but in the meantime it’s good to take advantage of the current pandemic situation enabling us to attend LEGO Conventions online.

Because the convention was online, I couldn’t do the usual thing of wandering the convention hall taking photos of the MOCs (“My Own Creations”) that people brought to the event. Instead, people were invited to upload their MOCs online, and they were made available to convention attendees via private Flickr photo albums. I uploaded a number of photos, but didn’t win any prizes.

Unlike most of the LEGO online conventions this year, BrickCon was a multi-day event. Their motto was “Keeping BrickCon BrickCon” as they tried to preserve as many of the features of the regular conventions as possible. They had opening, awards, and closing ceremonies as Zoom webinars, complete with drawing names for door prizes (which will be drop-shipped from LEGO). They made a commemorative model, T-shirt, and engraved bricks as usual, which you could get shipped to you before the convention (albeit at an additional cost).

One great thing about the online events is that you don’t have to travel to go there… BrickCon had a number of attendees “visiting” from not just all over the United States but from overseas as well. Friends that I met in Denmark in 2014 and in Australia in 2017 were there as well as plenty of new (to me) faces.

The convention had the usual panels, presentations, and games. I gave a version of my Brick Geometry talk (this time with Studs on All Sides content combined in to the presentation) as a Zoom meeting; and hosted a panel on Micropolis building techniques with Zonker Harris, Daneen McDermott, Amanda Payton (Flickr), and John Klesh. We talked about Zonker’s proposal for Micropolis 2 featuring support for wiring up electronics in models, as well as his micro trains, and some of the other ways that builders such as Christian Benito, Amanda, and others have innovated that deviate somewhat from the official standard.

But for me a highlight was the Master Build. Normally a LEGO convention will have a variety of contests, such as speed builds, blind builds, etc. where they give you a LEGO set to build that you get to keep. Of course we couldn’t do that remotely so what they did instead was tell everyone to purchase a copy of the set LEGO Creator Deep Sea Creatures 31088 (the 3-in-1 set that builds a shark, angler fish, or octopus), and they used that for all the games. I didn’t participate in any of the speed build events, but I did join for the Master Build, where you are to build a model using a theme prompt out of only the parts in that set. I didn’t want to build any undersea creatures, but the parts in the set lent themselves well to creatures generally–I struggled for a while to come up with something and eventually ended up with this puppy:

BrickCon Master Build: Puppy 1

I originally had a much cuter nose, using a jumper plate with a cheese slope, but I needed to take that jumper plate away to build the front paws, and ended up with the two nostril approach using these 1×1 Technic liftarms.

For a while, all I had was the head, and I struggled to attach it to the body, until I decided to settle on this approach, where the back of the head fits into a slot on the neck and is held in place just by gravity:

BrickCon Master Build: Puppy 5 (head connection)

I haven’t built any other models since Bricks by the Bay, but seeing all the LEGO creations at BrickCon was pretty inspiring, and I hope I can get back to it soon. In the meantime, at least here is one MOC for you.