I’m finally back on home soil after being away for almost half a month traveling, first to the RLFM days in Billund, Denmark and almost immediately to Kobe, Japan for the Japan BrickFest!
Apologies for the lack of updates but it’s been quite a whirlwind trip for both countries and I’m still unpacking all the goodies from both trips!
Japan BrickFest 2018 is the second iteration of the LEGO fan community convention which was awarded the title of “official LEGO fan event” in 2017. This year boasts over 270 participants from all over the world with attendees from not just the peninsular but from countries like the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines and South Korea just to name a few.
While there are two other official fan events around the world, Skærbæk Fan Weekend and Paredes de Coura Fan Weekend but this is the one that truly rallies the Asian builders together for the love of the brick.
There are two main halls for display, one for Japanese builders and another for the international builders, and a third hall for activities and meetings which also houses two of the largest builds in the event.
The futuristic city scape below is constructed by the members of KLUG (Kansai LEGO User Group) who are also part of the organisational committee for this event.
Then there was this insanely huge
Blacktron MTron Battle Cruiser by Mo-ya that spanned 5 meters long!
Did I also mention that this ship comes complete with flashing lights as well?
The rest of this area is dedicated to the other members of KLUG with a variety of dioramas, mocs and mechs.
What really caught my attention in this area are some of the smaller builds actually. There was a whole range of mini-mechs with such dynamic poses which really gave a life-like feel to the models.
I’m going to start consolidating the the mocs by category so that it will be easier to peruse. The Japanese fascination with mechs and larger than life robots translates perfectly to LEGO especially when you see first hand what can actually be done with the medium.
It is almost a subculture with builders dedicating themselves to creating that perfect mech with some even publishing books on the different techniques involved.
I’m not a mech builder myself but Japan BrickFest is where all the best mecha builders congregate and it would be a shame to miss a chance to interact with these masters.
There was this Sazabi model that stands at about a foot and a half tall and the builder actually opened up the hip skirting to reveal the joint mechanism which is something that I’m sure a lot of mech builders can appreciate.
This mode of transportation factors a lot into Japanese culture and it would be no surprise that it would also permeate into the LEGO moccing scene with AFOLs designing their own fully motorised trains that zip around sprawling dioramas.
The attention to detail is just simply amazing when you compare the actual train to their LEGO creations by JT-LUG.
And the fascination with trains transcends borders too with William Wong’s (Hong Kong) own micro-scale versions of the Japan’s popular trains like the Shinkansen and the NEX.
But the main treat for me is to finally see in person Masao Hidaka’s fully functional monorail complete with track switches and carriage swapping mechanisms!
This monorail has been a feature of Japan BrickFest since the beginning and it is one of the attractions that gets the most reactions.
It runs on a track system that is Hidaka’s own design which is completely brick built. Through a combination of bricks and plates, he was able to make the track bend into a gentle curve as you can see from the break down below.
The track is complete with track switches which allows the monorail to switch to another track or be funnelled into the maintenance bay.
And the best part is that there is also a monorail carriage swapping system devised that allows you to move any monorail on and off the track without affecting the flow of the other carriages.
This is truly a remarkable design and build that would keep any monorail fan occupied for hours.
That is all for part one. I will be sorting through more photos and penning down the rest of this amazing event for the rest of this week.
Stay tuned for more Japan Brick Fest 2018!