Nick Brick makes life size Halo weapons out of Legos. He doesn’t get his designs from a box, and he doesn’t put them together using official directions like the ones found in the Lego kits we were used to putting together when we were kids. He has his own workshop where he uses his imagination and love of video games to create life size scaled Halo weapons and other video game designed minifigures like this Bob-Omb or a Ghost replica from the game Destiny (shown in the picture below).
For the last six years, Nick has been building Lego weapons and showing off his creations online or at Lego conventions like Chicago Brickworld (one of the largest Lego fan expos in the USA). If you’re planning to visit Brickworld this year or want to learn how to build your own Lego arsenal, check out this Q&A with Nick Brick where he shares his inspirations, insights and everything else that goes into his life size Lego builds aside from endless buckets of plastic bricks.
Q1: What inspired you to build lego weapons? How did this all get started?
NB: Halo, and shooter games in general, was the inspiration! My dad and uncles used to play 007 Agent Under Fire, NightFire, and Goldeneye Rogue Agent splitscreen on PlayStation 2. Since then, multiplayer shooters have been my favorite game to play. Around when I was 13, my family found a cheap original Xbox with Halo and Halo 2, among other games. We would only play splitscreen multiplayer as we did back in our days of 007. Halo quickly became my favorite game to play, and my favorite gun was the Needler. The Needler was the first gun I built with Lego. I wish I had photos of it. It was pretty bad! It was about 8” long and had red Lego needles sticking out of a gun body built with like five shades of blue. But I loved building the Lego Needler and playing around with it, so I guess that’s where I got my start.
Q2: How many hours, how many Lego pieces and what goes into producing these beautiful weapons?
NB: I don’t think I ever logged how many hours it took to build anything I made! I’d say on average I build 1-2 hours a day. Though there are some days I actually do build for two hours, there are others where I build for ten hours and even those days where I don’t even want to look at a Lego piece!
I’ve also never logged how many pieces go into any of my builds as I built them. This is difficult to do since few of my builds are straightforward in their design – part of the reason why I don’t do step-by-step instructions or timelapse constructions often. The building process is not just constructing. It’s also a lot of deconstructing, revising, rebuilding, and removal of pieces too. What I can tell you is it’s a lot more pieces than you would guess at first glance.
Q3: Where do you build these and what do you do after you’ve finished building them?
NB: I think it would surprise nobody that they’re built from my basement. Got a decent setup of half sorted and half unsorted bins of Lego collected over almost 20 years, a table to build on, and shelves to display finished builds. After finishing a build, first thing I do is check over the whole model. Did I miss any pieces? Do all the working parts still work? Sometimes when I build, a function like a removable magazine works while I build, but when it’s done the removable magazine may not work as smoothly. Once I’m satisfied with the build, I photograph it at my dad’s photo studio, followed by a video shot and edited with help from my friend Jordan. After posting photos and the video online to Flickr and YouTube, the build gets added to my display shelves until they are packed up to be displayed at Lego shows in the Chicago area. The big one I show at is Brickworld Chicago, an annual Lego fan convention in June in Schaumburg, IL. I enjoy showing my builds online but I feel they really shine in person at Brickworld.
Q4: Have you been involved in any lego building competitions?
NB: I have! The Lego fan community on Flickr hosts several fun building challenges. There was one in September 2014 I participated in called SHIPtember. For this competition, builders had one month (September) to build a spacecraft a minimum of 100 Lego studs in length (about 31.5”) completely from scratch. I chose to build the UNSC Savannah from Halo: Reach. It was a difficult challenge and I made the deadline with only three days to spare; that said, it felt like I was just building another weapon due to the size I ended up building. It ended up measuring 40” in total length. SHIPtember is a friendly challenge done for fun (at least it is for most competitors!), but we did have judging categories and trophies to credit outstanding Lego spacecraft. Mine won none of them, but I did get an honorable mention in Best SHIP Based on an IP.
Q5: What’s your favorite build and what’s your most complex build you’ve ever done?
NB: My favorite build is the Hemlok BF-R from Titanfall. The Hemlok is my favorite Titanfall gun; makes me think of an AR-15 version of the Pulse Rifle from Aliens. It was inspired by random pieces I picked up at Brickworld 2014. What I did was I bought about 150-200 dark gray and dark green pieces from one of the vendors and decided to see what would work with the pieces I bought, and those 150-200 pieces became the start of a Hemlok. It was an interesting and different way to build than I am used to, and I will draw inspiration from a new set of pieces when I buy them at next Brickworld! Some of the most fun builds I’ve made were Titanfall weapons, not just because the gun designs are interesting, but also because the people at Respawn were so helpful and enthusiastic about my Lego building. It’s amazing when the people who inspire you love and support what you do.
The most complex build I’ve done was the Ghost from Destiny. It took months to come up with the way I ended up building it. Anything built with Lego that is not rectangular is going to be complicated, naturally. With an octahedral core holding up a pyramid on each face, it seemed geometrically impossible to make with Lego, but I found techniques from fellow Lego builders freely sharing their Lego expertise, and I’m happy the final design came out almost perfect.
Q6: What are some of your most recent builds? What kind of projects are you planning to do?
NB: Most recently, I built the bomb used as the objective in Halo 2 Anniversary’s Assault game mode. This was an easy build considering almost all of the design was made with building instructions from a Lego sphere generator. It didn’t take a whole lot of thought, but I made it simply because I wanted the Assault bomb.
Before that, I built the IMR from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. I love the concept behind the IMR. A gun printing its own ammunition? How cool is that? I decided early on that I would build the campaign version instead of the multiplayer version. What makes the campaign version unique is the red dot sight, a module showing the status of the 3D printer, and the white color scheme.
I have plans for a couple future projects. One I am currently working on is the exotic auto rifle Suros Regime from Destiny. It’s turning out to be one of the most complicated designs I’ve ever built.
Q7: Can people buy these? Where can they check out your work?
NB: Currently my builds are not available for purchase, but that doesn’t mean I’m ruling that out as a possibility in the future. There’s just something special about owning your own original work that makes it difficult to let it go.
You can see my work in person if you are in the Chicago area. I show my work with the Chicago Area Lego Users Group (ChiLUG) at some of their shows, as well as Brickworld Chicago every year in June. Online, my builds can be seen on YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook. Additionally, updates on my current work are posted to Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re an aspiring Lego builder who wants to get to Nick’s level, check out his ChicagoLUG Lego club’s Facebook page, follow him on twitter @Nickbrickbuilds or browse his Lego arsenal on Flickr. You can also check out his work live in and person at the next Brickworld Expo in Chicago this summer June 2oth and 21st.