Firstly apologies it’s been a quiet week on “All About The Brick“, so much so that for the first time ever I have 7 unopened LEGO sets just waiting to be built and reviewed – Damn my 9-5 (or 8-8) job!
Anyway back to the blog in hand and I’ve been very fortunate and privileged to have Stephen Kendall agree to answer some questions on my next installment covering exhibitors at Bricktober-Perth 2016.
For those who don’t know Stephen and his wife Joanna started up Bricktober-Perth 3 years ago.
Considering they had plans for a bigger display (really?!), what they finally presented at Bricktober-Perth was an epic sized display mixing Joanna’s Friends theme with Stephen’s City theme with the transition marked with a rainbow that could have come fresh out of cloud cuckoo land!
Now time for Stephen’s pearls of wisdom:
My love of Lego started in 1978 when I first saw the Technic LEGO ads that were running on the TV back then. I told my Mum I wanted the set with the motor in it – referring to 853, Auto Chassis.
But my Mum didn’t know what I as was really talking about so for my 8th birthday she got me 107 which is a 4.5v motor mainly for trains that is a supplemental set, not a play with set.
I was a very disappointed 8-year-old, but I played with the set a lot until 10 months later when Christmas came around and I got my first Technic set in 850 the yellow Fork Lift.
That set was a great set and I loved the steering system and the cog and rack system for raising the load. For many years after that I only asked for Lego for Christmas and birthday gifts and began amassing quite a collection.
I did have a dark age from about the age of 14 to 36 when I was interested more in cars, girls and work.
I came out of my dark ages when in 2006 my wife Joanna and I travelled to Copenhagen for the World Rotary Conference and added a visit to Legoland Billund to the trip. I had dreamed of visiting Legoland for 28 years and wasn’t disappointed.
I stopped building with Lego when I was 14 when I finally had enough parts to build a car with a working V12 motor, an operating 3 speed gearbox and an operational differential with suspension. It was the pinnacle of my building and once I built it, I felt like I had achieved every thing I wanted and didn’t know what to built from there, so I stopped building, what a silly thing to do!!!
Once we got back into Lego building and collecting I found out through the internet there were many people around the world that loved LEGO as much as I did.
But Perth was still a very unconnected Lego group back then and the only Lego show of sorts was the Model Train Show that the WABS where involved in. I used to go every year and look at what they where building and noted the numbers of people around their display compared to the others and knew that people loved looking at LEGO creations.
Joanna and I had a lot of LEGO at home and we were building a lot of stuff and wanted to show other people what we had. I felt that Perth needed its own dedicated LEGO show, not just a tack onto another show.
So one day I came home from one of the Model Train Shows and told Joanna that we needed to do our own show and that we could raise a bit of money for the community in doing it. So we talked our Rotary Club into sponsoring the show and hosting it, that’s how the Rotary Club of Ascot got involved, as we are both members of the Rotary Club of Ascot.
It just started off as a way for people to know at the show who was the person responsible for setting up the show, the members of the Rotary club when asked who started the show, they could point to the guy in the top hat and say, him.
The club’s shirt is dark blue, so one day I just grabbed a blue torso, top hat and a mo and added it together to make a Sig Fig, we soon where using it on the web site and Facebook page to easily let people know it was a LEGO show.
We called him Mr Brick to differentiate between me and the Minifig as the club started calling me Mr Bricktober.
It was all just a bit of fun, but now Mr Brick has his own Facebook page and following, we even released limited editions of him at the 2015 show which a lot of the Exhibitors now use in their displays for a bit of fun.
The layout for 2016 was a heavy rebuild of our displays from 2014and 2015.
We spent many hours on Bluebrick planning the layout and this year combined my city and Joanna’s “Friends” city together and created the rainbow transition section.
The planning started the week after 2015’s show, the purchasing of parts took about 10 weeks and the actual building took about 3 weeks on and off.
We had to scale a lot of it down as we ran out of time to build everything we wanted to do, that was a hard thing for us to deal with as in all we dropped 11 tables from the layout. Oh well, there is always the next show.
The raised section of the city was built in one night and was built very quick and nasty, it worked for the show, but when we transported it home, it all collapsed, so we will be rebuilding it from scratch.
It also had too many pillars too close to the train tacks underneath it and I couldn’t run all my trains through the tunnels, so that needs to be redesigned.
Our favourite parts of the layout were the sloped roads and the treasised houses, we had a lot of fun building that section and where really pleased with how it came out.
I also loved the rainbow and how it came out, it exceeded my vision of what it would look like.
Our displays are packed away in a rack system, wrapped in plastic and stored in an industrial unit. We don’t have a house big enough to have the city set up in.
My tips for new comers or returning to the hobby, have a good supply of money, stick to just one theme and clear a room in your house for storing the Lego, because it’s all going to get bigger and more out of control as you go along.
More high level train sets like the Emerald Night, Maersk and Horizon Express.
And please please please, release a Bluetooth controller system for the Power Functions system, being a purist builder, this would make the setting up and controlling of trains a lot easier for me.
I once built a prototype safety system for a machine at work to show how the machine could be made safer, I have used bricks to prop up a banner sign and built business card holders.
11. Where to next for Bricktober?
Well, not sure yet, each year we do a debrief on the show and decide from there what we do.
Everyone tells me that we will get bigger and bigger each year and soon we will be at the Convention Centre.
But that will never happen, the concept of Bricktober is to have a community event that is connected to the community and involves other community organisations, hence we have the Rotary Clubs of Kenwick and Vic Park involved, along with the Morley Scouts, Wheels for Hope and the 501st Legion Desert Scorpion Squad.
To have a family friendly event that is affordable for families is also very important to us at the Rotary Club of Ascot, that isn’t possible at a commercial venue like the Perth Convention Centre.
12. Any other points open question?
Lastly I would like to thank every one involved in Bricktober-Perth.
From the Exhibitors, helpers, assistants and volunteers, the partner organisations, The Rotary Club of Ascot and their members and partners.
All the committee members that help me put the show together and help set it up and run over the weekend.
Many people I ask for help and assistance and I am always honoured and grateful when they say yes.
Special mention goes to Richie and Dale from the PLUG group for their support, feedback and advice and assistance in promoting the show.
Ryan Masters for his help with all things graphic artist related and his constant support and feedback in listening to me and my crazy ideas. Along with his tireless hours in helping out with the promotion of the Exhibition and ideas and modification of the “Be a Driver” systems.
Thanks to all our family/ friends and Rotary club members that help us build our displays, it was truly a community build.
Finally a big, massive thank you to my wife Joanna for all her work on the project, keeping me in check and helping me through the difficult times and celebrating the good times.
One last thing, start building now, because you will run out of time very quickly!!!