Probably thanks to perceptions created by movies like Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, I’ve always thought that funiculars were somehow a uniquely European mode of transportation. Although that’s not actually the case, they definitely have a certain Old World, vaguely steampunk vibe — reinforced by the fact that many of them were first built in the 19th century. Croatian builder Sven Franic has lovingly recreated the Zagreb Funicular, a tram that takes passengers up a relatively short incline in his hometown.
Establishing himself as a master of customization and variation, Pangeran Panda, whose Imperial Carousel and BB-8 variations we featured recently, has created a version of Jason Allemann’s kinetic Sysyphus sculpture inspired by The Force Awakens. The base features Rey lounging in front of her crashed AT-AT home, while the upper sculpture shows Rey pushing BB-8 along.
Like Jason’s original, the figure’s legs “walk” and BB-8’s body rocks back and forth.
One of my favorite custom LEGO kits of all time is Chris McVeigh’s Mac, but German programmer Jannis Hermanns has gone one step farther by building a tiny Apple Macintosh classic case from LEGO around a Rasperry Pi Zero with an e-paper display and Wi-Fi running Docker.
Jannis says in his blog post that he designed the case in LEGO Digital Designer, ordered the bricks (upon which he performed some rather shocking customizations to fit the display), and inserted the electronics he’d programmed himself.
The whole thing — LEGO, e-paper display, Rasperry Pi, power supply, and Apple stickers — cost barely over $100, and Jannis provides detailed instructions on his website if you want to build your own.
Given the popularity of the manga and animated series, it’s surprising how few LEGO creations we see inspired by Dragonball Z. David Liu corrects this oversight with an adorable pair of custom BrickHeadz featuring Goku in his “Super Saiyan” form battling Frieza in his “100% Full Power” form on the planet Namek. Goku’s spiky golden hair is perfect, and the inverted purple cheese slopes add exactly the right detail to make the evil Frieza instantly recognizable.
We’ve seen plenty of LEGO Ecto-1’s from Ghostbusters over the years, including not one but two official LEGO sets. Answering the question, “What if the Ghostbusters had franchised their organization on a global scale?”, OutBricks carries the iconic vehicle across the Atlantic with a customized version of his own LEGO Citroën DS design. The builder says “Dr. Romain Sétant gives Monsieur Marchemelleaux the final shot…” leaving to the viewer’s imagination what a Gallic incarnation of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man would look like.
Despite spending the first fifteen years of my life in Japan and living in the same city as one of the largest Go clubs in North America, I’ve really only admired the ancient game of Go from afar. I’ll need to correct that someday, perhaps by building one of my own Go boards from LEGO, as Kadigan did. The 17×17 board takes advantage of the tiny gaps between LEGO tiles, with 1×1 round tiles as the black and white playing pieces. He’s even created realistic wooden bowls from ball turret bases.
If you liked this, you might also appreciate the 9×9 LEGO Go board built by Joe Miller a couple years ago.
Immersed in and inspired by a broad range of innovative source materials in sci-fi — from novels and short stories to TV and video games — builders of LEGO space creations have no boundaries to their creativity. Tromas proves this by not only building a chunky, believable starfighter but also giving it a chunky, believable name with a chunky, believable backstory. This gunboat sports a massive quad cannon toward the rear, with lovely orange stripes on a white hull. The reclined cockpit configuration has a viewport built from a transparent hexagonal wing piece integrated among wedge plates. But what really draws the eye are all the little technical details around the edge — not your usual gray greebles, but hyper-realistic black and gold thrust nozzles, white sensor arrays, spots of sand green, and more.
The rear includes no less detail, with primary engines that match the color scheme of the small directional nozzles.
You’re welcome to add your own joke about George Lucas meddling with the Original Trilogy as he cranked out the Prequel Trilogy, but I love Star Wars again so I’ll leave that to the unrepentant cynics. The last LEGO creation we featured by Kit Bricksto brought the wonderful planets of the Star Wars universe to the garden. The builder continues his strong streak with this utterly unique diorama featuring tiny scenes from The Empire Strikes Back on a brick-built film strip set against a larger Hoth hangar scene in a TV. The potted background ties this latest build to Kit’s previous build.
It feels like years since we’ve featured brightly colored zombie-fighting vehicles, so I’m rather pleased by this “apocafied” garbage truck built by Guy Smiley. Not only do all the great post-apocalyptic add-ons work wonderfully — the slatted front windscreen, the spikes, gun turret, and roof rack with sun shade — the underlying truck is excellent, particularly the trash can lift mechanism.
Guy says he built this for a zombie-themed contest, so I hope we see more excellent vehicles like this in the coming weeks, though Guy has certainly set the bar high for other builders!
A few years ago, I built a microscale version of Tokyo, complete with rampaging kaiju. While Marco Gan‘s microscale Tokyo is considerably less colorful, it accurately captures the view of Neo-Tokyo seen in the 1988 Japanese animated movie Akira (and Katsuhiro Otomo’s original manga version that ran between 1982 and 1990). The monochrome cityscape is built on a simple blue baseplate, but includes a density of detail, from the bridge spanning the two halves of the city to a proliferation of landscape fragments.
To tie his build to its inspiration, Marco also included a small backdrop with brick-built lettering spelling “AKIRA” with pops of red reminiscent of Kaneda’s bike. But it’s not until you view the diorama from a higher angle that you discover Marco has also recreated the distinctive outline of the bay from the original comic, representing a screaming human head.
Duck Hunt brought new game dynamics to the Nintendo Entertainment System with light guns that players could aim at the television screen to shoot ducks as they popped up from the bushes. While brick-built LEGO consoles like this LEGO NES (including a light gun) are popular subjects, faithful recreations of early console games are more rare. Eero Okkonen does Duck Hunt justice with this “Game Over” screen featuring the laughing hound, score, the number of ducks hit, and more.
As the final entry in his month-long Iron Builder challenge using the Duplo grass part in every build, “Game Over” seems an appropriate conclusion.
As we reported from Toy Fair in February, the April 2017 LEGO Architecture releases include a redesigned Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (21035). The new LEGO Guggenheim includes 744 pieces and retails for $79.99.
This latest Guggenheim is a new edition of an earlier LEGO Architecture set released in 2009. We’ll compare the two versions later in this review.