I left my dark ages in 2013. So, I’ve been an AFOL now for a decade. In that time, I have never once been to a LEGO® convention. Travel was always a hinderance. Then, when travel was no longer financially limiting, the Pandemic hit. Before I knew it, 10 years passed by. I’ve seen photos and videos of conventions galore. But I never experienced one in person. This year, Brickomanie 2023 returned to Laval, Quebec. It is the only major LEGO® convention in Quebec, and it was so close I really didn’t have any excuses not to go. And am I ever glad I did.
Having never been to a LEGO® convention before, I have no idea how Brickomanie compares to other shows in terms of the number of participants, exhibitors, vendors, etc. According to their website, they are the largest LEGO® con in Canada measured by square-footage. For my first convention, I found the experience quite enjoyable. Compared to an event like Fan Expo in Toronto, or Comic Con in Montreal, I was much more comfortable. The ailes were wide and exhibits were well spaced. I rarely felt overcrowded. There were not a lot of vendors, but the ones who were there had some great items for sale. However, the only times I felt like too many people were in my space was around those tables. And man, do people ever butt in front of you when good Minifigure prices are concerned! I’d put up with that again for great stuff though 😉
So, what did I buy? I found two trolls from from the 2007 Castles theme. I already had two other variants of this big-fig, but I love the character so much I wanted more. Additionally, I checked the Tiki Warrior from Minifigures Series 11 and the Viking Woman from Series 7 off my wish list. I love the Tiki Warrior because he reminds me of the Islanders from the ’90s. I wanted the Viking Woman to fill out the Viking Village set that comes out in October.
Finally, I purchases a sealed, retired set. It is a duplicate for my collection, but the price was a bit lower than the current Bricklink average, and it saved me shipping to boot. I got 75941, Indominus rex vs Ankylosaurus. I’ve lamented not buying more than one of these sets when they were on the market. I like the building, and I want more than one ankylosaurus in my LEGO® dinosaur collection.
My top 5 Exhibitor Picks
Of course, the sole purpose of Brickomanie 2023 was not shopping. I wanted to see some amazing and inspiring builds. Those displaying their builds did not disappoint. There were so many amazing exhibits of all kinds. I saw GBCs, artwork, cities, ships, and space stations. There were so many brilliant builds and such great inspiration that I couldn’t possibly write about it all here. So, I’ve picked my top 5 builds from Brickomanie 2023.
As a historically accurate, Canadian-themed build, this one had to make the list. However, it was so intricately detailed and full of amazing builds that it would inspire pretty much any LEGO® Pirates fan. The layout was huge and loaded with great brickwork, cobblestone streets, gardens, docks on the waterfront, and even smoke rising from chimneys. I could have spent hours scouring this build for all the little details and stories hidden within. You can find out more about it @bed007_bricks and @bib_brick on Instagram.
ToroLUG’s Classic-themed Space Station
This build is enough to make classic space theme enthusiasts drool. It’s got it all: monorails, iconic colors, astronauts, and raised landing platforms. I love all the curves in this build. Rounded LEGO® surfaces are not always easy, but this display pulled them off amazingly well. I particularly love the aforementioned raised platforms. I’ve often thought about building a space station. If I did, this one would certainly provide a lot of amazing inspiration. You can find out more about it by checking out @davekoudys1701 on Instagram. He’s also @lego_dave_kay on TikTok and @Sparky1701 on YouTube.
My next two picks are both from the castles genre. The first, by @vw_bricks on Instagram, was simply ginormous. The display featured a fun Minifigure search that really made you explore all the little stories hidden throughout the build. My personal favorite was the invading orc party. As long time followers probably know, I went a little orc crazy earlier this year. Nice to see others did too. The most hilarious feature of this castle was the little yellow castle set-inspired bouncy castle that actually worked!
Next up was a wonderful medieval display from @katebrickque on Instagram. Her water build caught my eye from a distance as it glimmered in the overhead lights. Closer examination revealed hidden treasures, giant lobsters, masterful trees, stunning rock work, and loads of my favorite knight faction, the Black Falcons! I feel like the water looks okay in the photos, but it looked amazing in person. It’s just one of those things you have to see. Next year, Caitlin plans to add a castle to go with the village.
Welcome to Jurassic Park
It’s no secret to long-time True North Bricks readers that I am a hardcore Jurassic Park fan. I’ve seen a lot of LEGO® versions of the park online over the years. Photos don’t always do builds justice… but with that said, this is one of the best Jurassic Park builds I have seen. It was filled with so many iconic moments from the movie. The Visitors Center looked great, the Raptor pen was instantly recognizable, there was a goat in the T. rex pen, Ellie was with treating the Triceratops, and the list goes on. I particularly loved the waterfall and helicopter landing platform. Then there was the lettering above the iconic gates. What a huge improvement to the set! @cbast_lego and @the_droumaster on Instagram worked on this build, so congrats to both on a job well done.
Again, there were so many other fantastic builders and builds at the event. You were all wonderful, and props to you for bravely putting your work on display. Additionally, thanks to all the people who recognized me and stopped me in the aisles for a chat. You have no idea how much that meant to me, even if it was just “Hey, you’re True North Bricks!” You all made my day and my first LEGO® convention super memorable. Thanks to the Brickomanie 2023 team as well for all the effort that went into the wonderful show. Did you attend? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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