Brick Universe – 2016

It is Brick Universe Season and this year they are showing up in Plano Texas (June 11-12), Columbus Ohio (August 20-21), and Tulsa Oklahoma (Sept 10-11).  A rather central US focus for 2016.  Prior to attending the Expo in Plano this year, I was curious about a handful of things:

  • What do they offer?
    The Expo is composed of a few basic components:

    • Displays – these pretty much resemble the showcases you’d find at your county or state fairs where people enter in their creations.  These are not all mind boggling and amazing, some are rather disjointed and somewhat entry level, where as others did prove to be quite masterful.  There doesn’t seem to be any prizes so this is mostly an oportunity for people to show off their Lego builds.

  • Building Areas and Contests:
    While there I saw several build zones.  These were areas where you could just play with their bricks.  You obviously didn’t get to walk out with your creation.  The parts were mostly rather basic.

    • Single Color areas: All the bricks were just 1 color.  In Plano they had a white area (Architecture) and a red area.
      Brick Universe Uni Color
    • General bricks: Tables set up with various bricks of all colors and basic shapes
      Brick Universe Building Zone
    • Star wars: An area for you to build with the parts that have come from various star wars sets.  This lent itself to building spaceships.
    • Friends: An assortment of Friends pieces
    • Building contest that appeared to be timed.  There was a line to get in.
    • Big Jumbo (non-lego) bricks – I saw a dad build a box around his kiddo to trap him in.
      Brick Universe Big Bricks
  • Character Sightings: There were a few characters that walked about including a Lego person, a Lego Batman, and Star Wars costumed characters such as a Storm Trooper, Darth Vader, and Darth Nihilus.
  • Retailers: There were essentially 4 retailers that showed up to the Expo.  One featured exclusively on off brand Lego War paraphernalia (so guns and arm clothing).  Two booths offered a lot of Minifigs (one booth was priced far better than the other), poly bags, and some trinkets.  The biggest booth was loaded with bulk poly bags, current box sets, some minifigs, the light up light sabers, and a few custom builds.
    Brick Universe Merchandise
  • Caricature Artists: There were a few artists there that would draw/paint your portrait to stylistic resemble a minifig.  From what I saw, one artist got the concept quite well, another artist understood the hands, but not exactly the heads.
  • Crowds: Getting there at the opening bell proved ideal as the crowd was very reasonable.  After an hour though, it was at times intensely crowded.
  • What was not there?
    • Unique items for purchase: There were very few custom builds (excpet for a gumball machine, arcade cabinets, and a minion)  I was hoping to find genuinely unique figures possibly, possibly customs like the anatomy guy, xenomorph, Kiss, Mario Brothers, anything not made by Lego and perhaps made by artists…nothing of the sort.
    • Deals on the merch: You pretty much know there won’t be many deals on the merch go in, but thought I’d mention that when a retailer gets their hand on a minifig, they assume they have their hands on a commodity.
    • No Rides
    • No door prizes or Lego Handouts
    • No sign up sheets or anything to join the local Lego build club or anything.
    • An updated website.  The sight still lists attractions from previous Years that did not include the current cities.
  • Should I go?
    • All in all, it wasn’t a bad time.  The little kiddos had a lot more to do than say a grown up collector would.  The displays were nice enough to get some ideas from.  Look for a coupon code, I found several and used “EARLY” which got me 20% off.  It starts at 15$, more at the door, and the coupons brought that down.  I was able to kill 3 hours without building with the generic bricks, maybe you and your kids could last longer.  My biggest let down was not having a lot of unique things to buy, mostly just the same things that are in stores, or price gouged the same as the are on Bricklink or Ebay.
  • Who puts this thing on and who gets the money?
    Still not exactly sure.  Estimating 15 a head and based on the amount of people there, someone made some good coin, even after renting the event space, not sure who.


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