Visiting Brisbane for LEGO Fans

[From the questions: Where can I buy LEGO in Brisbane? What is there is see and do LEGO-wise in Brisbane? Are there any LEGO specialty stores in Brisbane? Are there any LEGO themed play centres in Brisbane? Where is the LEGO Certified Store?]

Stores and centres

Bricks 4 Kids

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Bricks 4 kids is a LEGO themed franchise that operates across Australia. They run birthday parties, workshops and after school and holiday programs for children using LEGO bricks. Their location varies according to the activity. Details of their current workshops and activities can be found at their website or on their Facebook page.

 

Bricks n Fun

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Bricks n Fun considers itself to be Brisbane’s number 1 LEGO specialty store. It’s a big claim but they do have an impressive set up. Not only do they have a great range of current LEGO sets but they also have a large selection of loose parts available to purchase. They also operate a Bricklink store. At the back of the store they have a large LEGO display featuring a city with trains, display of the history of LEGO and working Technic models. The Build Room features a variety of new and old sets that can be built for a small fee and is available for bookings for children’s parties. Bricks n Fun can be found on Facebook. The team behind Bricks n Fun also coordinate the popular Brick Events LEGO Fan displays in Brisbane and regional areas.

Location: Shop D, 1 Finucane Road, Capalaba, 4157

Opening Hours: Mon-Tues: 1300 – 1700, Wed-Sat: 0900 – 1700, Sun: 1000 – 1600

 

Building Block Studio

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Building Block Studio is a family run modern learning activity centre that specialises in LEGO but also caters for interests in 3D printing, coding and electronics. The centre runs school holiday programs and workshops but is also available for drop in LEGO play and birthday parties. Drop in play may not be available during school holiday time. Further details can be found at either their website or their Facebook page.

Location: 75 Rainbow Street, Sandgate, Queensland, 4017

Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 1000 – 1700, Sat: 0930 – 1400. Drop  in play may not be available during school holidays

 

LEGO Certified Store (opening November 2016)

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Australia’s first LEGO Certified Store will be located at the Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast about an hours drive south of Brisbane. It is likely to feature a Pick a Brick wall along with store exclusives and hard to find items. As a Certified Store, it does not support the VIP program.

Location: Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera, Queensland 4209

Opening Hours: (not yet open)

 

The LEGO Education Learning Centre

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Moore Educational is a long established centre for LEGO education in Brisbane. They provide workshops for both teachers and students as well as birthday parties and school holiday activities. . LEGO Education sets, LEGO merchandise and regular LEGO sets are available from their website and their store in South Brisbane. Details of their activities can be found on the website or on their Facebook page.

Location: 2/78 Merivale Street, South Brisbane, 4101

Opening hours: Tues-Fri: from 1000, Sat: 1000 – 1500, closed Sunday and public holidays, open Mondays during the school holidays. Opening hours may vary depending on the days activities.

 

Switch Bricks

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Switch Bricks is a pop-up play centre and LEGO display based in Ipswich. It operates during the school holidays and provides two daily sessions of LEGO-based play.  The sessions are aimed at children and adults may only attend if accompanied by children. Details of their sessions and other up-to-date news can be found on their Facebook page and website.

Location: The Amare Centre, Sacred Heart Primary School, 25 Cothill Road, Booval, Ipswich

Opening hours: Two daily sessions during the QLD school holidays, 0900 – 1200 and 1300 – 1600.

 

Other things to see and do

Ryan McNaught (The Brickman) Models

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Brisbane has its own Ryan McNaught models which can be found at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. The LEGO models were originally on display at the old Royal Children’s Hospital and the Mater Children’s Hospital whilst the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital was under construction. They were moved to their current location once construction was completed and the two hospitals were merged.

Location: 501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane, 4101

 

BrisBricks

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BrisBricks is one of  two LEGO fan groups based in Brisbane. The group holds regular meetings on the second Saturday of most months except January, June and October.  They also hold popular LEGO Fan displays in June and October. Details can be found on their website, Facebook group or Facebook page.

 

QLUG

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The other LEGO fan group, the Queensland LEGO User Group (QLUG) has the primary purpose of connecting people in more remote areas of Queensland through social media. Their initiative has lead to the creation of a number of regional LUGs that now have their own meetings and events. They have irregular social gatherings but are likely to organise one if a visiting AFOL is in town. QLUG members participate in Brisbane-based and regional displays coordinated by Brick Events. Details of upcoming events can be found on either the QLUG Facebook group or on their webpage.

 

Visiting Melbourne for LEGO Fans

[From the questions: Are there any independent LEGO stores in Melbourne? What is there LEGO related to do in Melbourne? Where can I see some of Ryan McNaught’s work in Melbourne?]

updated 28th June 2016

Melbourne is a cosmopolitan, multi-cultural city in the South Eastern Australian state of Victoria. There is an active AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) community and it is home to Australia’s only LEGO Certified Professional (LCP), Ryan McNaught. Here are just some of the things that might be of interest to a visiting AFOL.

Stores and Centres

Bricktastic Parties

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Bricktastic LEGO themed parties are now available from Pop Toys in Brighton. Although aimed at children aged 4-9, you might be able to persuade them to allow you to have your own party at their venue. Information regarding their party offerings can be found at the Pop Toys webpage.

Location: 399 Bay Street, North Brighton,

Opening hours: Tues – Fri: 1100 – 1700, Sat: 1000 – 1500

Build and Play

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Build and Play (formerly Agent Bricks) has widened their stock and no longer deals in just recent and retired LEGO sets. Their stock now covers Mega Bloks, Meccano, board games and Pop Vinyl figures. A popular feature of the store is their “Pick a Brick” and “Build a minifig” selection. The associated Bricklink store is now called The Walking Brick and is operated at a separate location to the main store. Build and Play can also be found on  Facebook where they list regular specials.

Location: 5 Barlyn Road, Mount Waverley, 3149

Opening hours: Wed-Sat: 10:30 – 16:30, Sun: 11:00 – 15:00

I’m Rick James Bricks

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Originally located in Traralgon, I’m Rick James Bricks is now located in Pakenham and is in its 5th year of operation. Rick mostly stocks new LEGO sets along with Brick Arms. There is also a popular Pick a Brick section where you can buy new bulk LEGO bricks. The store can also be found on  Facebook.

Location: 85 Treloar Lane, Pakenham, Victoria 3810

Opening hours: Tues–Fri: 10:00 – 17:00, Sat: 10:00 – 16:00, Sun: 11:00 – 16:00

Inside the Brick

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Inside the Brick is described as a Social Enterprise and specialises in providing activities for children impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders. Their studio is open for casual play sessions, Brick Club activities and birthday parties. They also run sessions for those who wish to improve their LEGO building techniques. Check out their Facebook page for details of their upcoming exhibitions and special events.

Location: 70 Station Street, Fairfield, 3078

Opening hours: Tues-Fri: 10:00 – 17:00, Sat: 9:00 – 17:00, Sun: 10:00 – 17:00

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre (Opening late 2016)

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Slated to open in late 2016, the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre will be located at Chadstone Shopping Centre. It is expected to be set up similar to other Discovery Centres and may have a shop selling LEGO products.

Location: Chadstone Shopping Centre, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone, 3148

Opening hours: Not yet open

The LEGO Education Learning Centre (Moore Educational)

Moore_Educational

Moore Educational is a long established centre for LEGO education in Melbourne. They provide workshops for both teachers and students as well as birthday parties and “Sunday Fun Days”. LEGO Education sets, LEGO merchandise and regular LEGO sets are available from their website and their store in Docklands.

Location: 5/439 Docklands Drive, Waterfront City, Docklands, 3008

Opening hours: Tues-Sat: 10:00 – 15:00, Sun: 10:00 – 14:00
(hours may change due to school workshop schedules)

Myer Melbourne

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Myer is a well-known department store in Australia. Many of their stores in the capital cities, like Melbourne, feature special LEGO displays and are worth visiting just to see the unique models. The Melbourne City store features local icons rendered in LEGO bricks by Ryan McNaught and his team. There is also a good range of LEGO sets available to purchase.

Location: Melbourne City, 314-336 Bourke St, Melbourne, 3000

Opening hours: Mon-Wed: 9:00 – 19:00, Thurs-Fri: 9:00 – 21:00, Sat: 9:00 – 19:00, Sun: 10:00 – 19:00

Shop for Me

Shopforme

Shopforme is an independent LEGO store that specialises in providing a “Daily Blitz” special offer at 11am. They have three store locations as well as a popular website. Stock varies between stories so worth contacting the stores ahead of time to check availability. Their Coburg venue also offers birthday parties on weekends. Shopforme can also be found on Facebook.

Brunswick Store

Location: 506 Lygon Street,  Brunswick East, 3057

Opening hours: Mon-Wed: Closed, Thurs-Fri: 11:00 – 17:00, Sat-Sun: 11:00 – 16:00

Coburg Store

Location: 23 Dawson Street, Coburg, 3058

Opening hours: Sat-Sun: 11:00 – 16:00

South Melbourne Market Store

Location: South Melbourne Market, Aisle B, Shop 61, 322-326 Coventry St, South Melbourne, 3205

Opening hours: Wed: 8:00 – 16:00, Fri: 8:00 – 17:00, Sat-Sun: 8:00 – 16:00

ToyBricks.com.au

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Toy Bricks.com.au operates within Inside the Brick (see above) and has a comprehensive range of new stock along with some retired/collectable item. They also sell the Life Lites brick lighting system, train track, clothing and books. Individual minifigs can be purchased along with items from a “Pick a Brick” style wall. Toy Bricks is also associated with the OzBricks Bricklink store and any online orders placed there are be collected from the Fairfield location. Toybricks.com.au can also  be found on Facebook.

Location: 70 Station St, Fairfield, Australia 3078

Opening hours: Tues-Fri: 10:00 – 17:00, Sat: 9:00 – 17:00, Sun: 10:00 – 17:0

Other items of interest

Brickvention

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Brickvention is Australia’s premier LEGO fan event and it is held every January at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton. Public Expo tickets are usually available from the start of October. Such is the popularity of Brickvention that it attracts AFOLs from all over Australia and overseas to attend the event. Further information is available from the website.

Melbourne LEGO User Group (MUGs)

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The Melbourne LEGO User Group (MUGs) was first established in 2000 and has been meeting regularly ever since. It is an active community with many members both within Melbourne and the wider Victorian community. Meetings are free to attend and are held on the second Sunday of the month in two alternate locations. In addition to monthly meetings, there are also special events held throughout the year. Check the Facebook group for more information.

The Melbourne Class W2 Tram Model

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The Melbourne Tram model was constructed many years ago and has travelled to a number of locations across Victoria. The model consists of over 7500 bricks and took nearly 180 hours to build. Although the model needs a little bit of TLC, it is quite unique and worth visiting if you are in the area.

Location: Myer Northland, 2-50 Murray Road East, Preston, 3072

Opening hours: Mon-Wed: 9:00 – 17:30, Thurs -Fri: 9:00 – 21:00, Sat: 9:00 – 17:30: Sun: 10:00 – 17:00

Ryan McNaught (The Brickman) Models

Ryan McNaught is Australia’s only LEGO Certified Professional and is responsible for many of the LEGO sculptures seen around Australia. If you are interested in seeing some of his work whilst visiting Melbourne, these are some of the more accessible locations.

Melbourne Star Model

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Based on the design of the actual observation wheel, this model can be found in the gift shop at the base of the Melbourne Star in Docklands.

Location: 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands, 3008 (near Costco)

Opening hours: Daily from: 10:00 – 22:00 (subject to weather conditions)

Toyworld Southland

TobyToyworld hotdogguy giraffes3

Toby the Toyworld mascot features in this display at Toyworld in the Southland Shopping Centre. He is currently located in the front window of the store. There is also a side window display which features a large minifigure with a hotdog and a large yellow LEGO brick that were also constructed by Ryan and his team. The two Duplo-style giraffes in the same display were constructed overseas.

Location: Toyworld, Level 2, Shop 2060, Southland Shopping Centre, Nepean Hwy, Cheltenham, 3192

Opening hours: Mon-Wed: 9:00 – 17:30, Thurs – Fri: 9:00 – 21:00, Sat: 9:00 – 17:00, Sun: 10:00 – 17:00

Myer Melbourne

(see listing above)

 

Some hints and tips for displaying your creation at a LEGO fan event

[From the Questions: How do I make my display look impressive? What are some things I need to know about displaying?]

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Here are some hints and tips for displaying & transporting your exhibits at LEGO fan events or displays:

1) Always ensure your display is labelled with an Exhibit Info Card (aka MOC Card, Info Card etc) so people know who is responsible for the build. If everyone is printing in colour, you should aim to do that too. Some events will supply a standard stand for you. For others, you will need to purchase a stand. Check with the event organisers if they haven’t already mentioned it.

2) If you have a group of collected exhibits, only use one card for the whole layout/display and not one for every single item. For example: a group of spaceships by the same person could be called “The Galactic Armada” rather than naming each ship. This request is to prevent your display looking cluttered with Exhibit Info Cards which may detract from the actual models.

3) Try not to put too much on your display. If possible, link items together in a diorama rather than it just being a display of models. Using the spaceship example again, rather than having individual spaceships, create a space base or a hanger so there is some cohesion between the models. Make sure there is plenty of space between each model. Don’t try to fill every bit of your table with lots of models. If you put too much on your display, nobody will be able to focus on the detail of each model.

4) If possible, give your display some height so it is visually appealing. This might be via a mountain side if building a landscape or via some form of small plinth or stand if displaying individual models. There are many ways this can be achieved and it will make your display stand out and draw the attention away from those that are all the same height.

5) Make sure your exhibit is clean and has most of the dust removed. People will notice the dust. A paint brush or make up brush are good dusting tools. Try to do this before you get to the venue.

6) Ensure your display looks tidy throughout the weekend. Avoid leaving coffee cups and drink cans on the table. Check your display every few hours to see if anything has fallen over or needs repairing etc. Although most patrons are usually pretty good, it is easy to bump a table and disrupt a display.

7) If you are worried about a particular minifig being on your display because it is valuable, then don’t display it.

8) Where possible, avoid placing items close to the edge of your display. If your display goes right to the edge of the table, consider requesting a second table so your display can comfortably sit on the tables without having to worry about it being bumped.

9) When transporting exhibits, make sure they are securely packed in a strong box. Custom made boxes often work best with large exhibits. We recommend the use of plastic wrap (glad wrap or specialised postal/pallet wrap) to hold the model together and bubblewrap to avoid bumps in transit. It also helps to place smaller models in individual ziplock bags. Do not trust that a model will survive in the back seat of your car or an ordinary suitcase.

10) For larger exhibits, we recommend modularising the build so it is easier to transport.

LEGO User Group meetings

[From the question: What happens at a LUG meeting?]

LUG (LEGO User Group) Meetings are different in different parts of the world. Even within the same country/state/region they can vary. There is no “typical” type of meeting.

Some things that you may expect at meetings:

  • General informal chats about LEGO and other topics. This may be about a new LEGO product or it could be about a new movie or TV series or something completely different
  • A formal section where announcements are made and there may be a discussion
  • Guest speakers or presentations
  • Sharing of building ideas and techniques
  • Trading/selling etc or LEGO sets, parts, minifigs or other items
  • Competitions (Build competitions, Tower Build, Dirty Brickster, Blind Build, Speed Build, Build in the bag etc)
  • People building a LEGO set they have bought along for that purpose (some people don’t get much time to build at home)
  • Sorting of LEGO bricks (might belong to the LUG or an individual)
  • An excursion to the local shopping centre to buy LEGO sets
  • Partsies (especially in Melbourne, Australia) or Parts Drafts
  • Brik Wars
  • Cooperative building of a model
  • Display of someone’s latest MOC

Some meetings are held in clubrooms, some are at restaurants or pubs. Others may be in private homes or rented rooms in community centres or similar buildings.

They may run all day, just for the afternoon or just in the evening. Weekends are popular for meetings but they may also be held on weeknights or whenever people are available.

Starting your own LEGO User Group

[From the question: How do I start a LUG?]

With LEGO being very popular at the moment, lots of people want to join a local LUGs (LEGO User Groups) or start their own.

We recommend checking the LAN page to see if there is one in your local area. Some of the LUGs have been around for a long time and are often happy to meet fellow LEGO enthusiasts of all ages. Some LUGs are aimed at just adults whilst others are inclusive and have members of a range of ages. The LAN page will tell you if there are any Registered LUGs (RLUGs) in your region. Sometimes there will be ones in the same state/region but they may not really be close to you. If possible, try to attend some of the meetings of the nearest group to see how they operates and what sort of things they do at a meeting. This is worth doing so they can get to know you and offer some assistance in setting up a group nearer to where you live.

It can happen that there is a local LUG that is not yet registered and it would be worthwhile checking Facebook or doing a Google search to see if there is anything in your area.

If you do decide to start your own group, here are some suggestions that may help to become established:

  • Find some friends or other people with a similar interest. You may have to create a flyer to place around town to attract the attention of local LEGO enthusiasts. Local libraries or community centres can be good locations in which to promote your group. You may even choose to place an ad in the local online classifieds.
  • Find a venue in which to hold your meetings. Lots of LUGs have had their beginnings in someone’s lounge room or garage. If you require somewhere larger, you might like to consider Scout or Guide Halls, Community Centres, Church halls, Libraries or Schools. These places often rent out rooms to community groups and may be suitable. Some may be free whilst others may have a small cost involved. Share the costs amongst your attendees.
  • Create a Facebook page/group or webpage for your LUG. Remember to not use the word “LEGO” in your URL if you are creating a website. This will help promote your group and can be a good way to promote activities and meetings.
  • Attend local events organized by other groups. You may meet other people from your region who may like to join your group.
  • Once your group has at least 20 members and has been established for a year, you may like to consider registering the LUG with the LAN so other people can easily find your group. This will give you a LEGO Ambassador who will act as a direct contact with LEGO. Once registered, you LUG will be able to participate in special programs run by CEE Team from LEGO.

Reasons to join a local LEGO User Group (LUG)

[From the question: Why should I join a local RLUG or LUG?]

Registered (RLUGs) and non-registered LEGO User Groups (LUGs) can be found all over the world. Most countries have multiple groups and there is likely to be one in your regional area or state. This online map may help you find one near you.

Some people are happy to not interact with other LEGO Fans or prefer to do it just on an online environment (via the Official LEGO website, Facebook, online forums or email lists). Every person is different but there are many great reasons to become part of a LUG that has meet-ups and social events.

  • It’s a great way to meet people who have similar interests to you.
  • It’s a fun social event with like minded people
  • You may be able to trade with others and pick up pieces that you need to complete sets. It might save you postage if you can pick it up at a meeting
  • Seeing someone else’s MOC in person can inspire you to create something of your own.
  • Great way to increase your knowledge on a topic or to learn new skills
  • May give you the opportunity to work collaboratively on a project
  • Advance notice of upcoming LEGO Fan events and displays involving the LUGs
  • Competitions and prizes
  • (in RLUGs) participating in LUGBULK
  • (in RLUGs) opportunity to be involved in special projects organized via LEGO
  • (in RLUGs) communication channel to LEGO via your RLUG Ambassador