Steampunk LEGO by Guy Himber [Review]

As holiday season approachs, No Starch Press is kicking into high gear with a slew of new titles for LEGO fans. Their latest offering is Steampunk LEGO by well-known LEGO builder, innovator and steampunk enthusiast Guy Himber. This 200 page compilation features the work of over 90 individual builders, and includes just about every notable LEGO steampunk creation of the past five years.

Physically, the book has a definite steampunk feel about it. Its blue and gold hard cover sports a full-color dust jacket (shown here) and all the pages have a high quality satin finish that enhances the sumptuous graphic design. The material is presented in the form an ornate Victorian scrapbook, complete with notelets and other trinkets mounted atop a variety of textured vintage backgrounds.

A cornucopia of building styles are covered here. And while the majority are mini-fig oriented, microscale and life-size builds are reasonably well represented. Entries are 1 or 2 to a page, and organized into logical chapters focusing on different categories such as trains, vehicles, automatons, weapons, sea vessels, airships and even floating rocks. There is also a pleasant ‘interlude’ in the center, showcasing Guy’s memorable Cabinet of Curiosities collaborative project.

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Ruination

Oddly perhaps, one of the things I enjoyed most about the Maschinen Krieger models I built myself a couple years ago was not the hardsuits and vehicles themselves but the little bases I made to display them. Matthew Oh takes this to a whole new level with the highly detailed ruins with which he surrounds his SAFS “Wolverine” hardsuit.

Ma.K SAFS Wolverine Diorama

Many LEGO builders take our inspiration for Ma.K models from the creations of plastic modelers both working with the original kits and scratch-building in the Ma.K universe inspired by nothing more than their imagination. The cross-section profile of Matthew’s LEGO diorama beautifully matches the aesthetic of what plastic modelers do, while retaining enough visible studs to ensure it’s abundantly evident that the model is built from LEGO. Oh, and that roof!

Do you want to play a game? – Jigsaw puppet

With Halloween around the corner, I figured it was time we spooked up the place… French builder Pistash has built Billy the puppet from the Saw horror series, which celebrates it’s 10th birthday this Halloween.

Billy puppet Face

He’s managed to really capture the creepiness of a the Billy puppet – not an easy feat with LEGO.

Billy puppetI think I’m going to eat some candy and watch happy cartoons now…. this build freaks me out.

 

Colonel Mustard in the study with the candlestick

Ian Spacek seems to be on a roll in the ongoing 2014 MOCOlympics contest. In a round focused on board games, he chose to recreate Clue, a classic family game that has been around since the 40’s.

I love the way Ian has captured all the woody tones of the original board, as well as packing the build with many beautiful details such as the floor patterns, furniture and props. Check out MOCPages for loads of close-up photos and a chance to compare Ian’s interpretation with the original.

Destiny’s Phaeton Class v2 jump ship

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s marketable in pulp culture these days, the video game Destiny has pretty popular. It has also become a pretty common excuse: “Sorry, can’t build, playing Destiny”.  Jake (Jayfourke) has solved this problem by building Destiny with this fantastic ship:

Phaeton V2

Even if it wasn’t from a game, the ship design is gorgeous. I love the simple colour stripes, and really great angles that Jake was able to recreate. Though my favorite part, and what impressed me most was those iconic triangular intakes:

Phaeton V2

This thing looks like it was built for swooshing.

LEGO 21116 Minecraft Crafting Box 8-in-1 [Review]

LEGO has sent The Brothers Brick a copy of the Crafting Box, one of the larger sets from the new minifig-scale Minecraft line. The set includes 518 pieces, and will be $49.99 USD. LEGO hasn’t given us an exact release date, but it should be available in stores around the beginning of November.

LEGO Minecraft 21116 Crafting Box

Now, I know many LEGO fans roll their eyes at the fact that LEGO picked up the Minecraft license at all, but I love it. I’m a huge Minecraft fan, and I have a bit of history with combining LEGO and Minecraft. I created the first minifig-scale Minecraft creation back in 2011, and was one of three fans involved in the development of the first official LEGO Minecraft set, 21102 Minecraft Microworld. During the development phase of that set, we started off trying to create a minifig-scale set. We quickly realized, however, that it would be very hard to do justice to Minecraft at that scale within the price range that the LEGO Ideas (née Cuusoo) program was targeting, namely $30-$40 USD. The current lineup of six minifig-scale sets is a valiant — but flawed — attempt at doing what the original set could not.

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Adorable 1959 BMW Isetta 300 bubble car goes *beep beep*

The recovering industries of post-war Europe produced a number of fascinating micro-cars to operate in the narrow streets of countries like Germany, Italy, and France. Chief among these was the Isetta, a gorgeous little bubble-car that ming1903 has faithfully recreated in LEGO.

Brick Models - 1959 BMW Isetta 300 front

I’d challenge builders out there to create a LEGO Isetta that fits a minifig and has a functional pop-open front, but this version beautifully replicates the shape of the real-life car.