Brick Sketches: Out Of The Box

If you’re a Star Wars fan who has been lurking on the LEGO periphery you might not know about Chris McVeigh’s brick-built signature sketch card series, but most LEGO fans will have come across them at some point over the years.

To catch-up the uninitiated, and to recap for who are, Chris McVeigh was an AFOL/amateur LEGO designer who shared his sketch card creations on Flikr until he got hired by LEGO in 2019. Having to put his personal passion project to one side in order to concentrate on his professional requirements meant that the sketch card series was on hiatus for a while, but once Chris felt he had gained the confidence of his employer he took a punt during a Creative Boost.

These in-house sessions give employees a chance to make suggestions about new themes, demonstrate new building ideas and propose new sets – one of which led to 10179 Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon in 2007.

Check out our original Brick Sketches release notice if you want to learn more about Chris’s sketch cards.

Chris’s suggestion got kicked around for a bit, before ending up at Licensing & Extended Line department who could see a place for his sketch cards in the LEGO line-up. Obviously, the pitch proved successful because, in 2020, the Brick Sketches theme was soft launched via Brickset.

The first series, which was released in mid-June 2019, included two Star Wars characters, as well as a Batman and The Joker. All four of which were presumably chosen for their pop culture appeal.

First impressions of this theme is positive; the box is solid, the graphics are eyecatching and the choice of character selection is apparent – at least for the DC pair, any way. As for the Star Wars combo… is it because LEGO knew they’d sell well or perhaps the First Order Stormtrooper is actually FN-2187?

Brick Sketches contents

The size of the box promises quite a large set, based on the standard that the packaging LEGO uses is 65% of the size of the finished set. Sadly, this isn’t the case as there is ample room for the finished product and the instruction book inside the box. At the risk of jumping ahead of the rest of the review, this is really the only thing wrong with Brick Sketches; so unless LEGO plans to include the Wicked Witch of the West in the series, then they ought to reduce the box’s volume.

Coming in a range of three to four bags, these are simple and easy builds that come together in a pleasing fashion. Anyone worrying that the step-by-step instructions are a throw-back to those contained in the 10018 Darth Maul instruction book need not be concerned, because LEGO took the step of keeping them at isometric angles.

Each of the Brick Sketches is 12 studs wide and 16 studs tall, and though the official LEGO description says they come on a baseplate, they don’t. It’s not a big deal, however, and the multi-element “canvas” doesn’t detract from the build.

Designed to be put on display – whether using the coupling plate as a hanger for a wall-mounted decoration or by extending the kickstand to prop it up on a desk or bookshelf.

One particularly interesting feature of the Brick Sketch sets – particularly Batman, and, to a lesser extent BB-8 – is that the design isn’t constrained by the dimensions of the frame, which bodes well for a version of The Child.

The end product, which only takes a coffee break to get to, is quite satisfying. The layered plates do create a simple 3D effect that is reminiscent of decoupage, and the blockiness of the design – combined with the simple colors – makes these Brick Sketches feel like an illustration, rather than an attempt to render an authentic facsimile.

Both 40431 BB-8 and 40491 First Order Stormtrooper – as well as DC’s Batman and The Joker – are available from the LEGO online store and branded outlets now, for $19.99.

Entertainment Earth

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