Tom Alphin Author: Tom Alphin

Tom is the Editor-in-Chief at Brick Architect. He founded the website in 2015 just before releasing his bestselling book The LEGO Architect (which teaches 7 architectural styles using LEGO bricks). In addition to reviewing new LEGO Architecture sets, he likes to write articles exploring technical aspects of the LEGO hobby including LEGO storage, and the LEGO color palette.

Tom has written 138 stories for Brick Architect.

Spring Cleaning—What’s New?

While Staying at Home to slow the spread of COVID-19, I’ve make a ton of small improvements to the Brick Architect website.

First of all, I want to recognize that COVID-19 presents a very real threat to our safety and way of life. My thoughts are with everyone on the front lines fighting this virus, everyone working critical jobs to support our communities, everyone whose livelihoods are at risk, everyone who is nervous for the safety of family and friends, and everyone who is struggling in these ambiguous times.

I’ve been able to work from home for the last six weeks… relying on walks, bike rides, and gardening to keep me busy. I’ve been less motivated to create new content, but I have made a ton of smaller improvements throughout the website.

Updates to existing content:

Visual Improvements:

  • A subtle studded light gray background is shown on large displays (over 1200px wide).
  • Articles with a ‘Featured image’ appear borderless on the Homepage, Category Archives, & Author Archives. (Before this change, the left edge of the image was aligned with the text.)
  • A description for each category is now shown on the respective Category Archives. (A “show all” button was also added to upper-left corner of the Archive Pages.)
  • Updated pages for The LEGO Architect, additional resources, and the 9 foreign-language editions to fix bugs and increase consistency with the rest of the website.
  • The Table of Contents is less distracting and works better on smaller screens. (It is only shown on long articles/pages.)
  • For comments without an avatar, I replaced the generic image with the silhouette of a LEGO head.
If something looks funny, or you have an idea to make Brick Architect even better, please email me at tom@tomalphin.com!

Updates to LEGO Brick Labels page

LEGO Brick Labels is one of the most popular resources provided here at Brick Architect, but I hadn’t updated the page where you can download and learn more in 4 years!

The updated page includes an up-to-date list of compatible label printers. It’s also shorter, easier to read, and encourages readers to visit my LEGO Storage Guide to learn more about storage solutions.

 LEGO Brick Labels  

Cool Yellow (Bright Light Yellow) is having a moment

The new Fiat 500 gives us 40 new parts in a previously rare color.

While I keep meaning to update my 2018 article Hard-to-Find LEGO Colors (and what to do about it), it clearly indicated that 226Cool YellowBright Light Yellow was a “rare” color since it was only available in 8 of the 24 parts used in my analysis. (While I didn’t update the article in 2019, you would have found that it was up to 14/24 parts, nearly entering the “uncommon” category.)

Suffice to say, the newly released Creator Expert #10271 Fiat 500 set has put the previously rare color on the map, since it is used as the color for the car’s brick-built exterior.

#10271 Fiat 500 includes a ton of new parts in the rare Cool Yellow color.

#10271 Fiat 500 includes a ton of new and useful parts in the rare Cool Yellow color.

The set incudes 40 parts which are new for 2020 in the 226Cool YellowBright Light Yellow color. Among those new parts are 13x 1×3 Plate (Part 3623), 5x 2×4 Plate (Part 3020), 3x 1×4 Tile (Part 2431), & 9x 1×8 Tile (Part 4162). This brings it up to 18/24 parts, putting it well within the “uncommon” category, and on track to become a common color soon.

The Fiat 500 costs $89.99 (€79.99 / £74.99) for 960 pieces (or a cool $0.09 per part.)

Should you decide to add this ‘cool’ car to your collection, please consider purchasing the #10271 Fiat 500 using our LEGO.com affiliate link—Thanks!

Interview about LEGO Brick Labels

Richard at The Rambling Brick just posted an interview about my LEGO Brick Labels collection.

In the interview, I explain how each label is made, the criteria for inclusion in the label collection, and challenges in designing great labels. You’ll also learn a bit about my favorite parts and colors, as well as my day job and some of my non-LEGO Hobbies.

 The Rambling Brick  

Updates to ‘Unofficial LEGO Architecture Set Guide’

I’ve added two new models to the guide (‘Raadhuis Hilversum’ & ‘NH Hotel Rotterdam’), and a link to PDF instructions for ‘The Istana’.

P.S. Let us know if you discover any unofficial LEGO Architecture sets that we should add to the guide!

 Unofficial LEGO Architecture Set Guide  

LEGO teases new lighting kits, causes controversy

A little bit of lighting makes LEGO models look amazing after dark. Long the domain of small business, The LEGO Group is exploring offering products of their own.

“Lights out” hours at LEGO Conventions like Brickworld Chicago encourage fans to add lighting to their models. Inspired by DIY solutions, several small businesses offer ready-made kits with parts and instructions to add lighting to many official LEGO sets. (In past articles, we’ve reviewed Brickloot LED Light kits and generic Battery-powered LED Christmas Lights.)

This week, The LEGO Group announced a partnership with Light My Bricks to produce and sell LEGO-branded Lighting Kits for official LEGO sets. This kind of partnership is new; LEGO will be investing money and resources in companies through their new Lead User Lab program.

LEGO 'Night Mode' Light Kit for Ford Mustang (Photo: Brickset)

LEGO ‘Night Mode’ Light Kit for Ford Mustang (Photo: Brickset)

The story gets a bit more complicated… In this detailed article, Brickstuff (a pioneer in this category, founded in 2011) has alleged that their designs were stolen in 2016 by Light My Bricks.

The LEGO Group has some time to figure this out, since the Lighting Kits aren’t actually available for purchase at this time. This is a bit confusing, since realistic-looking boxes of LEGO-branded lighting kits were displayed at a LEGO store in Copenhagen, coinciding with this year’s LEGO World covention.

Further reading on this controversial news:

In the meantime, we’re hoping to share reviews of a few more 3rd-party LEGO lighting kits soon, so stay tuned!

#10272 Old Trafford – Manchester United

With nearly 4000 pieces, here’s a set for serious football (soccer) fans!

Another new set of interest to Adult LEGO builders is this massive model of Old Trafford, the stadium where Manchester United plays. While I have no familiarity with the building and no connection to the team, I immediately noticed the intricate architectural detailing throughout the model.

#10272 Old Trafford - Manchester United

#10272 Old Trafford – Manchester United

I doubt that I will get an opportunity to build this massive set, but it is really interesting to see something this unique added to the Creator Expert product line.

Reviews:

#10272 Old Trafford – Manchester United costs $299.99 (£249.99, €269.99) for 3898 pieces, and you can buy it now at LEGO.com.