The Golden Empress Airship

Guy H. (V&A Steamworks) built this beauty, which heavily employs aftermarket parts. It’s a gorgeous piece of art, and a terrific Eastern take on the usually European steampunk theme, but it does cause me to wonder: just how much of a model can be aftermarket parts before it stops being a “LEGO creation”? Whatever you decide, I hope Guy builds more stuff like this.

The Golden Empress by V&A Steamworks

8 comments on “The Golden Empress Airship

  1. MROptimusPrime

    Considering the vast amount of work, talent, sweat, and sleepless nights you builders put into these pieces of art. I say that even ONE aftermarket piece makes it non-LEGO. It is easy to create outside the boundaries of LEGO. It is something else all together to stick to the brick!

  2. wyldjedi

    I am a purist in most cases, from parts to glue/paint/cutting etc. Occasionally if there is an aftermarket part not made in Lego colors but otherwise the same as a Lego then I ‘might’ be ok with it such as the green 6×5 plant leaf part. I forget who makes them, but they are not too bad if used sparingly. I think they come in white, yellow, orange and trans colors. Non Lego weapons like Brickarms stuff is nice for old military stuff but I still am not too wild about them. I saw a roller coaster in Lego’s Flickr page the other day and it took a good look to realize that the track was non Lego. Since the track could not be duplicated in Lego but the rest of the Moc was pure I was cool with it. This airship, while impressive in scale and detail, really annoys the purist in me. I really cannot say it is a Lego build with those parts. Still nice though

  3. VandASteamworks


    When you can prove to me that all you bricks were made in Denmark – and not Mexico or China – then we can talk about ‘purist’

    The bottom line is, if it looks cool – then it looks cool.

  4. Minifig-man

    A significant part of the look is created by the BrickTW pieces. Roofs and mudblocks.

    I’m not a purist per se, but I build Lego. So most of a moc’s pieces should be original Lego. I don’t care if that the production process took place in China, Denmark or Antarctica.

  5. Keith Goldman

    The model is pretty interesting, a good concept, although I wish it wasn’t so boxy in the back. I agree that all the aftermarket bling-bling is annoying, mostly because I don’t think it adds anything substantial that official parts could not. The tide turned a long time ago on the purity issue and I’m not going to fight against it. This is a fine model.

  6. Catsy

    In my opinion, this is less of an artistic question and more of a tribal one; it has almost nothing to do with the merits of the model and everything to do with brand loyalty.

    Think about it from a different angle: if someone takes a Warhammer model kit and sculpts, scratchbuilds or otherwise “converts” the model such that its most distinctive aspects don’t come from GW parts, is it no longer a Warhammer miniature? If an artist sculpts something out of stone and then adds decorations and paints it so that you wouldn’t know what the original material was if you weren’t told, is it no longer a stone sculpture?

    You could make an argument that in the second case it’s more accurate, artistically, to refer to it as mixed-media. And that’s fine. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a work of art sculpted from stone, regardless of whatever else was added to create the final product. Likewise, I don’t think many WH/40k players would bat an eye at the legitimacy of a model that used a significant amount of aftermarket work as long as it was fundamentally based in some part on an actual GW model.

    I get that this is an old divide that isn’t going to be resolved by anything I’m saying here. I’m just trying to point out that this kind of question–of whether or not something is really a “Lego” model because it uses x% of aftermarket parts or derives its distinctiveness from those parts–is a tribal marker, not a way of measuring anything of actual artistic value. Lego is a medium, a material used to create art. If your creation uses other materials as well, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a Lego creation any more than painting a stone sculpture makes it not be a stone sculpture.

  7. jaster

    Guy: Lego made (still makes?) parts in Switzerland for a long time too. It’s not about where the parts are made; it’s about who makes them. I agree with Keith about the model’s boxieness and about the effectiveness of the clone brand parts. It looks like you started a keep and an airship separately, decided to put them together, and finally put a pearl gold dragon on the front to remind people that this is supposed to be steampunk and East Asian.

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