BrickCon 2016

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It’s October again and I spent the first weekend of the month at the venerable LEGO convention known as BrickCon. This was my third year of attendance and I decided to up my game, exhibiting models in four different themes and an open collaboration.

Because I was taking a bit more than last year, I sent some of my models up in a van that was transporting some much larger displays. I also got a ride this year, which cut down on my travel time. All this coordinating with other people added a bit to my pre-convention stress and led to me registering my MOCs a little later than I wanted. I was also taking my latest SHIPtember model and that was only finished a couple of days before I left.

Once I was up there, I had a lot of waiting to do. Set-up in the Space theme was chaotic, as I had to wait until some of the larger models were in place before I could unbox my ship. In fact, in almost every area where I had models I was constantly adjusting as later arriving attendees jockeyed for position.

Luckily, I was able to position myself near people who I already know and get some good visibility. I’m torn about how to feel about the late arrivals, especially at a crowded show like BrickCon. I want to have sympathy for people who have other time obligations, but when they show up with numerous large models late on the second day of set-up, I can’t help but feel irritated.

As it turned out, they had over 470 attendees this year, about fifty more than they expected and space was limited in many of the themes. The Space theme was very crowded, to the point where some models had to be placed in an overflow are across the hall.

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Friday was a long day of activities. I had a great time playing games, placing third in one of the Blind Builds (which is literally about building a set for speed and accuracy without being able to see the pieces). I also got to participate in the Master Build, but didn’t do well with the theme and failed to qualify for the second round.

I pulled a decent door prize this year, nicely balancing the cost of registration. This is the first year that my swag balanced my costs at this show. I’m a bit spoiled by Bricks Cascade’s much more liberal prize pool.

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On Saturday the hall opened to the public. The deep tables make it hard to connect with the crowds, but I still managed to have some great conversations with people who were there to see the models.

I had some even better conversations with my fellow builders. I handful of us decided to put together a collaborative build for next year. Another builder and I had a long conversation about the application of art theory and techniques to LEGO that was a highlight of the show.

I didn’t win any trophies this year. As disappointed as I was about that, a little ice cream and Netflix therapy helped to remind me that the competition was fierce in nearly every theme, as some of the most talented builders in the world were in attendance. I received compliments on my use of color from other builders that I admire. On balance, I know that I showed well.

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I didn’t take a lot of pictures. The models above are just a tiny sampling of the amazing models that were on display.

Though I didn’t win anything, my fellow PortLUGgers made out like bandits. At the end of the weekend they took home numerous trophies, including the prestigious Best in Show.

Sunday was a much slower day, with many attendees sleep-deprived or hung over. Public attendance was much lower as well (about 25% down overall from 2015), which added to the low energy ending.

Now that I’ve been home for a bit and had some time to digest the weekend, I can say that I had a great time. It was tiring and frustrating at times, but every year I make new friends and find new inspiration that makes it worth it. I’ll probably make some adjustments to the way I travel and where I lodge next year, but I’m already thinking about BrickCon 2017.

Keep building and enjoy!

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