About Elspeth De Montes

Elspeth De Montes is Scottish but lives in North Yorkshire with her partner and twins. She is a LEGO Builder not a collector of sets, which in theory should make the hobby less expensive (ahem!) but monochrome collections can be pricey.   You can see more of Elspeth's work on her blog or website and Flickr   Elspeth is also a bike lover; mountain bike, fixie, road bike, tri-bike (n+1=number of bikes I need).

Posts by Elspeth De Montes

Let’s party like it’s 1984! [Instructions]

Those were the days, back when you had rewind the tape to play your favourite song again or when ‘shuffle’ meant spending hours making up a mix-tape. Hudson Rippetoe, otherwise known as Brick Classics, has found a way to capture some of those sweet musical memories with his LEGO version of the cassette tape. He has kindly provided us with these instructions so you can make your own LEGO cassette tape. Giving a mix-tape was a way to impress the ladies (or guys for that matter) and I bet presenting someone with a LEGO mix-tape will have an even better effect.

Cassette Micro Building Guide

Classic Cassette

Remember, you don’t need a pencil to fix this LEGO cassette tape if it gets stuck in the player.

Bringing music to the masses

The beginning of the 20th century brought music to the masses with the invention of mass market gramophone records, allowing for the reproduction of sound and radio broadcasts. Jazz and Blues were the first new-age genres to form entire cultures around them. Sven Franic‘s entry to the 2017 Brickstory contest in the History of Music category captures the essence of that category’s description. I particularly love the ingeniously designed treble clef and musical notes,  but the scene is completed by the gramophone and a singer—presumably singing some bitter-sweet blues into the mic.

Twentieth Century Music

Then nightly sings the staring owl

Owls are mainly nocturnal, solitary birds of prey who are known for their silent flight. Most birds of prey have eyes on the sides of their heads, but the owl’s forward-facing eyes facilitate their low-light hunting. Shawn Snyder has created a LEGO owl with plenty of attitude and a somewhat impudent glare. This is an owl who knows his position, with those piercing, hooded eyes, sharp talons on show, and wings spread wide in an act of defiance.

Owl_front

That’s a lot of character to be displayed by a brick-built owl – I feel watched.

When steam powered a revolution

The Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the late 1700s and saw a shift from manufacturing within people’s homes, using hand tools or basic machines, to powered machinery, factories, and mass production. Factories and steam locomotives were signature developments of the times. Toltomeja has used both of these icons of the industrial revolution in his LEGO diorama. There’s a large factory with tall chimneys emitting clouds of smoke (the part used is the cloth spider’s net) and a steam train loaded with coal. The bridge and the factory are very nicely put together, but it was the brick-built lettering and the little horses and carts that really caught my eye.

Industrial Revolution

The steam locomotive is cleverly built at this scale, using a telephone handset as the coupling rod connecting the drive wheels, while a few treasure chests become the open wagons containing coal.

Industrial Revolution

Make mine a cup of mo’joe

It’s early, the alarm has just gone off, and you wearily drag yourself out of bed, not exactly rising and shining. I know that I enjoy that first cup of coffee to clear the cobwebs and it seems that Brother Steven enjoys a cup too. What a great combination for fans of LEGO and coffee — a cup of coffee made with bricks.  I love the pouring action from the milk carton and the splash into the coffee.

Morning Coffee

On second thoughts, there is a certain drawback to LEGO coffee… it doesn’t quite hit the mark on taste.

LEGO BrickHeadz 41593 Captain Jack Sparrow and 41594 Captain Armando Salazar [Exclusive Review]

Last month we revealed the two new BrickHeadz characters from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Captain Jack Sparrow (41593), and a new character, Captain Armando Salazar (41594). TBB has already exclusively reviewed Salazar’s enormous ghost ship 71042 Silent Mary and now we’re taking a look at the movie tie-in BrickHeadz characters.

TBB_POTC_BHZ_Completed

Like all the BrickHeadz, Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Armando Salazar will retail for $9.99 USD/£9.99/9,99 €. They have 109 and 118 pieces respectively, and will be available March 17 for LEGO VIP-card holders both in LEGO stores and from the LEGO Shop Online.

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A chocolate box château in France

The Château de Chenonceau is a historic building in the Loire Valley in France, spanning the River Cher. The current château was built in the early 1500s on the foundations of an old mill and was later extended to span the river. While not the original owners, the château was acquired by the Menier family, who are famous for their signature chocolates, and they still own the château to this day. Isaac Snyder has managed to capture the architectural essence of this beautiful, grand building in LEGO microscale.

Chateau de Chenonceau

The complex collection of varying roofs that depict the chapel and library areas at that Northeast end of the château are very nicely built, but my favourite section is definitely the multiple archways with the flowing river below.

Duplo brick in critical but stable condition

You can almost smell the clinical environment and hear the beep… beep… beep of the heart monitor in this hospital-themed build by Finnish builder Eero Okkonen. The IV bag hanging from the drip stand seems to contain the infamously yellow vitamin B infusion with a tube leading down to a rather frail looking hand on the bed. The pulse oximeter is hooked up to a large monitoring machine with a glowing display. Additional details like the “Get Well Soon” card and a couple of bottles of tablets are a lovely touch.

Hospitalized

What is particularly impressive about this build is the ingenuity of the part that Eero used as the screen display for the monitor — it’s actually the underside of the current seed part in this round of Iron Builder, namely the Duplo part Fire/Grass/Ice 1x4x2.

 

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 71042 Silent Mary [Exclusive Review]

Last month, we went to New York Toy fair to bring you the first images of 71042 Silent Mary when LEGO unveiled their latest Pirates of the Caribbean tie-in set, 71042 Silent Mary, and now we’re pleased to bring you this exclusive early review of the set.  Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series and is due for release on 26 May, 2017. Although the official trailer for the movie features the Silent Mary, Armando Salazar’s ghost ship, there may be some very minor spoilers below.

TBB_POTC_71042_Completed_Set-Edit

LEGO 71042 Silent Mary has 2,294 parts and  is due for release to LEGO VIP members on 17 March, 2017 priced at $199.99/£179.99/199,99 € and is listed for ages 14+. The Silent Mary isn’t quite the largest ship LEGO has made, though she does impressively measure over 18” (48cm) high with the main mast in vertical position, and 26” (68cm) long and 8” (22cm) wide. She’s just over 14” (36cm) wide with the main mast collapsed. To give you a comparison, a largest LEGO ship is 10210 Imperial Flagship, which measures 29.5” (75 cm) long and 23.6” (60 cm) tall. 4184 The Black Pearl is a bit smaller, coming in at 21” (53cm) long, 20” (50cm) tall and 5” (12cm) wide.

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A gull flies in the face of the iron curtain

Back when the iron curtain was firmly in position, a car manufacturer called GAZ was producing luxury cars from within the Soviet Union.  Anton Creator has built one of their car models in LEGO, the GAZ Chaika (Rus: Ча́йка), which means gull.  The boxy car is a throwback to a time when big meant luxurious and mpg efficiency did not feature highly when prioritising car choice. While the car is a great little built, it is the background that really brings this whole build to life. The red flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics hangs in place with a gold hammer crossed with a gold sickle, symbols of communism and socialism.

Lego GAZ 13 Chaika with the USSR flag

I must ask Anton where the fallen star has gone?

The great Steambug migration has begun

You may have heard of the great migration of the Serengeti wildebeest, who migrate over 1,600 kilometres each year in search of grass and water. Well, the dust is rising over Butcher Paper Canyon, and it’s due to the massive Steambug Migration heading across the land, thanks to  Ted Andes’ imagination and building skills. There are 7 initial species of Steambug present in this migration, but Ted hopes that many more will join by the time the migration reaches BrickWorld later this year.

The Great Steambug Migration - BW17

Let’s get the magnifying glass out and take a closer look at these Steambugs.

See all of these LEGO critters up close

The wooden fortress of Valahadrian can withstand any force (except fire)

The Elven Fortress of Valahadrian is located deep in the Mystic Isles of Avalonia, and was created from the imagination of LEGO builder Tirrell Brown. The  tan and reddish brown colour combination fits well into the green woodland landscape surrounding the fortress. I love the unusual circular construction with overgrown arches to give a really organic feel to the architecture. Tirrell has clearly spent time on the trees and greenery to bring the whole build together, resulting in a lovely vignette. There’s a story unfolding before our very eyes with the rowing boat arriving and someone awaiting the visitor’s arrival.

Valahadrian

I can’t help but draw your attention to the multi-layered base mimicking the differing grass, soil and water layers — a very nice detail!