Since it’s been so long since I’ve blogged anything I’m cutting myself some picture quality slack and putting this one up here on the blog. I’ve been jealous of those with the time to play this, from all accounts excellent, game.
It’s been a very long while since Brian Kescenovitz (mondayn00dle) has brought us one of his dieselpunk mecha but it’s definitely been worth the wait. His “Badger” Combat Walker features some very, very nice part use and lots of delightful plausible details like pistons and armour plating.
The LEGO Shop online has extended its free shipping (with guaranteed delivery before Christmas) several more days, through December 18. They’ve also reduced the minimum purchase from $99 to $49.
And since I missed it earlier, NinjaGo gets a refresh in 2012 with a bunch of funky sets, which are all out a few weeks early.
In news that should surprise nobody, Arkansas-based warehouse store Sam’s Club (Walmart’s version of Costco) has pulled copies of Brendan Powell Smith‘s new book The Brick Bible from its shelves, citing the book’s “mature content.” Walmart and Sam’s Club have a long history of corporate censorship (yes, that link is from 1997!), but it’s sad to see them throw their weight around against one of our own.
Brendan’s publisher Skyhorse sent The Brothers Brick a copy of The Brick Bible a while ago, and I finally found the time to sit down with it over Thanksgiving. The book is a large-format paperback, like a graphic novel. Some of the photos are a bit dark and/or grainy, but given that they span ten years of digital photography, I suspect the lower-quality ones are the earliest (the ones I know are his most recent all show off Brendan’s stellar presentation skills).
In terms of subject matter, The Brick Bible is no more a children’s book than the Bible. In that sense, Sam’s Club isn’t wrong — yes, indeed, the Bible is rampant with “mature content.” And Brendan’s version doesn’t shirk from the difficult stories compiled by the Deuteronomist in books like Judges that rarely make the sanitized Sunday School curriculum. Yes, Brendan’s LEGO version of the Levite and his concubine (Judges 20) is tough to read, but so is the original. Don’t like the way Brandon shows God repeatedly making the Israelites stone their neighbors who’ve committed minor sins (a la the Taliban)? Too bad, it’s in the Bible. Think it’s a bit odd that God and Satan use Job as a plaything in their cosmic game? Read the book.
Oddly, though, The Brick Bible is just as thought-provoking and works just as well regardless of your religious or philosophical persuasion (as Bruce says). For the non-religious, the book confirms why some of us have set aside the belief system illustrated so well in Brendan’s book. For believers, The Brick Bible is an accurate (if incomplete) representation of the Old Testament. If your belief doesn’t come through stronger after seeing exactly what’s in the source material, don’t blame Brendan Powell Smith. But for all of you out there reading this (presumably LEGO fans) who might not see yourself so clearly on one side or the other of the religious divide, it’s a great collection of LEGO art with interesting building techniques and (generally) excellent LEGO photography.
My recommendation? Buy it. I’ll give you three reasons: First, because it’s a rip-roaring read that has all the crazy shenanigans in the ancient original. Second, to show support for a fellow member of the LEGO building community. Third, because buying this banned book makes a statement about corporate censorship in the face of the likes of Sam’s Club/Walmart. Sure, most of us live in countries where our governments don’t have the right to censor the art and literature we choose to consume, but corporations do have ever-increasing power over what we can and can’t read, watch, or listen to. I’d love to hear about a campaign to have the Bible banned from Sam’s Club on exactly the same grounds they used to ban Brendon’s illustrated LEGO Bible. Think of the children! Anyway, buy the book. Don’t let Sam’s Club/Walmart win.
Capturing liquid forms is hard to do in LEGO, but great water features keep cropping up in this year’s Colossal Castle Contest entries. This wonderful waterfall diorama by Sean and Steph Mayo (Siercon and Coral) includes lots of little scenes that add up to a great story.
You might miss the water nymph, so here’s a close-up:
Thanks for the tip, Blake!
I don’t have much to say about this new creation by Peter Reid (legoloverman) except that it’s just great. The use of minifig sextants to build a cube is brilliant, and makes a perfect micro scale Borg cube. It’s hard to think of a more ridiculously single purpose-part, and yet it works quite well to add detail at this tiny scale.
Jared (Freedom01) has chosen not to grant this space ship a name, but he’s given it lots else. The spindly neck joining rear engines to a forward control area is reminiscent of larger ship designs, and it’s refreshing to see it used on a fighter. The fins at the rear help spice things up, while the large gun-turret slightly off-center provides an interesting break in the symmetry.
I was unable to track down the name of Stefan1987 so if anyone can help me there I’d be grateful. Stefan Schindler (brainbikerider) presents the SF-30 Sparrowhawk, an unusual, elegant and beautiful bird.
PS. And no thanks to flickr for dumping him as a contact of mine… I’m so sick of that happening.
Here’s the official press release from Lego:
BILLUND, Denmark – A project backed by Minecraft developer Mojang has become the first user-sponsored project to reach the 10,000 vote threshold on the new global version of LEGO® CUUSOO, opening the way for a LEGO set featuring Minecraft to become a reality.
It took the project only 48 hours to gather votes from 10,000 fans of the project from around the world.
“We’re really excited to see the fantastic enthusiasm of the Minecraft community. This is what LEGO CUUSOO is all about, connecting people’s passion to the LEGO brick,” says Paal Smith-Meyer, Head of the LEGO New Business Group. “It is still too early to say whether a Minecraft play set will become a LEGO product as it still needs to go through a review and approval process to ensure it meets our usual LEGO standards, but it is certainly a lot closer.”
A go/no-go decision should be reached within the next few weeks. Assuming it is given a “go,” then development on any new sets will begin. During this time, LEGO model designers refine the product, while packaging, instructions, and marketing are developed ready for a production run. This will take several months.
LEGO CUUSOO is an idea collection system that asks the Danish toy manufacturers’ consumers to submit and vote for their favourite ideas for new LEGO products. It can be found at http://lego.cuusoo.com . The site is currently in “open beta” and has been well received by fans and niche interest groups eager to see their ideas become official LEGO products.
CUUSOO, which means ‘imagination’ or sometimes ‘wish’ in Japanese, has been developed with CUUSOO SYSTEM, a subsidiary of Japan-based Elephant Design that has worked with open innovation and crowd sourcing for more than 10 years.
The LEGO Group has worked with CUUSOO since 2008 on a Japanese site that has attracted hundreds of ideas and seen thousands of votes cast by a 35,000-strong community. Now the time has come to test the concept internationally.
The first Japanese product, the Shinkai 6500 submersible, went on sale in Japan in February 2011. The next Japanese LEGO CUUSOO model will be the Hayabusa unmanned spacecraft launched in the first quarter of next year.
It took the Shinkai 6500, 420 days to reach 1,000 votes in Japan. Hayabusa took 57 days to 1,000. With the launch of the LEGO CUUSOO worldwide site the threshold was raised to 10,000 to reflect the larger audience.
On LEGO CUUSOO, ideas that are supported by enough votes will be examined by a LEGO jury that will check that the models meet LEGO standards of safety and playability and support the LEGO brand. Consumers who have their ideas chosen for production will earn 1% of the total net sales of the product.
In the case of the Minecraft project, Mojang and the collaborators have offered the 1% CUUSOO royalty to a charity of Mojang’s choice.
Joshua Morris (I Scream Clone) built a ruined maze that has a convincing look achieved without advanced techniques. All that’s needed are some variations of earth colors, differently textured stone bricks, and diverse flora.