AFOLCON and BRICK 2015 – report and review

This week (Thursday & Friday) I attended both AFOLCon and the BRICK event at the ExCel exhibition centre in London, England. A great experience which turned out to be well worth the trip (with only a few minor nuisances). Thanks to the great public transportation system in London, the ExCel was easy to travel to. Gatwick Express -> Victoria station -> Tube & DLR to Excel went smoothly and I even got to check in early at the hotel and have a shower!

AFOLCon

AFOLCon was basically a conference day for AFOLs (Adult Fan Of LEGO) with a collection of interesting speakers and a get-together in the evening. My favourite speakers were Are Heiseldal (L@go) with his ingenious remakes of classic sets, Mark Stafford (renowned senior LEGO designer) presenting the new theme Nexo Knights and Rocco Butteliere (21 year old architect student) presenting his absolutely amazing skyscraper project (pictures in the Flickr gallery below). In the evening we also got to see (and play with) the new Ghostbusters HQ set and the new modular building, the Brick Bank. Both were very interesting and I will definitely consider getting them at some point. The GB HQ is pricey but it's also almost twice the size of a normal modular building (and over 4600 pieces). The AFOLCON event itself could have been better organized. The full agenda was only presented a few days before the event, which was £100 to attend, so I feel did take a certain risk there. There was only one break, during which we had to stand in line for a tiny LEGO freebie for half of tit. As for food and drink, all we got was a bottle of water and some dry biscuits during the break. No coffee as that would have been too expensive according to the event director. I decided to skip most of one of the sessions to get some fresh air, which was not a bad idea at all. The evening was spent at a hotel a few minutes walk away from the ExCel and was nice enough (apart from the fact that the food serving totally collapsed and some people had to wait 1.5 to 2 hours to get something to eat). I got to say hello to the Danish delegation from the LUG Byggepladen, two Dutch GBC specialists (pictures below) and got a few closeup glances at the two new sets mentioned above. There was LEGO to play with on all tables, which was a decent ice breaker. There was supposed to be a speed build event, but I guess they cancelled it because of the food shortage at the hotel. Apart from getting to know new people, I went to bed with mixed feelings about the day. I guess I expected a bit more after reading the following advertising on the AFOLCon website:
Each year at AFOLCON, we have a few extra special somethings ready for all the fans. Whether it's an inside trip to a LEGOLand Discovery Centre, exclusive first looks at new sets, a special trip to a local LEGO Brand Store, or even just the chance to get your hands on huge amounts of LEGO first!

BRICK event

The BRICK event is a huge exhibition with lots of AFOL displays, activities for kids, live shows and vendor stands including Bricklink sellers, publishers (Blocks, Bricks & DK), T-shirt vendors and artists. Toys R Us also had a pop up store there with some great discounts (for UK people at least, not so much for us Norwegians because of our crappy currency) and some free polybags and a Star Wars poster. The event can't be described in few words, it's better to have a look at the pictures below.  There was something for all tastes and probably also for non-hardcore LEGO fans. However, I only had time to be there on the first day (approx 6 hours), which was too little to get the most of it. There were so many things to see (and buy)! So make sure you set aside at least two days for something like this.

Conclusion

Bottom line - the BRICK event is highly recommended. The AFOLCon - it depends on how hardcore you are. The speakers were quality. Just be sure to bring your own food and drink though. I got to say hello to some nice Brikkelauget (my LUG) members (L@go and Birgburg who were exhibitors) and MrFuture. In addition I spent a bit of time with fellow LUG member Eiker86 during the days I was there, thanks a bunch for hanging out, sharing your experiences and babysitting me during my first big event abroad. His Flickr album from the event here: Eiker86 AFOLCON album - highly recommended, as his photos are of better quality than mine. Update: Huw @ Brickset also wrote a report, check it out through this link. Also, another Flickr gallery from BRICK by Adeel Zubair.

Images galore!

Click one of the pictures to start a slide show. I apologize for the poor quality / blurriness of some of them. For the next event a proper camera I must bring, hrmm! Yes.

BRICK 2015, ExCel London

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