About Iain

Iain Heath is an avid builder specializing in the "Bricks of Character" style, which he helped define. He has been using LEGO to parody popular culture since 2007, when he created the now infamous Stephen Hawking model. He is a SeaLUG member and regular theme coordinator at BrickCon. For five years he also ran a blog called The Living Brick, that showcased the best character-based LEGO creations from around the world. You can find his irreverent body of work on Flickr.

Posts by Iain

Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark by Mike Doyle [Review]

It’s been barely a year since No Starch Press released Beautiful LEGO, a coffee table book packed with carefully curated images of LEGO creations, conceived and organized by New Jersey graphic designer and LEGO builder Mike Doyle.

Unlike many of their other LEGO themed titles, which are targeted squarely at the AFOL community, the book had the potential to appeal to almost anyone with a passing interest in LEGO (ie. almost anyone on the planet). It soon started showing up on the shelves of regular book stores, and has since become one of their best sellers. So the rumors of a sequel came as no surprise…

Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark replays that winning formula, with some interesting twists. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s weightier: this version is about 50 pages longer and sports a proper hard cover. Some folks will be pleased to hear about that change, although as a coffee table book, I kinda find this one harder to handle.

Mike has also cut back heavily on builder interviews (just 4 this time round, compared to 9 in the first book). I’m sure some AFOLs will see that as a loss, but I think it makes sense for a work like this to focus on the images first and foremost. For those curious to learn more about specific builders, every image is labeled, and the Contributor index contains all the necessary URLs.

Then there’s the subtitle, “Dark”. With this book, Mike applied what he calls a “thematic filter” to the curation process, targeting specific classes of build. It’s a bold move, but gives this sequel a much stronger identity than merely “hello, here are some more great builds”. Admittedly “dark” is a rather broad theme with many possible interpretations, but I think it still pays off. The builds range from the serious, the creepy, the political, the darkly humorous, and even just darkly colored.

As for the individual builds and images, Mike delivers again with another 300 pages of gorgiously photographed creations, from over a hundred different builders, that will be appreciated by both AFOL and non-AFOL alike. Everything is organized into chapters such as “Creepy Crawlers”, “Skin and Bones” or “Future Shock”. And a wide variety of building styles and categories are covered.

To achieve a harmonious effect, some of the models were specially reworked or reshot by their creators, and Mike also re-tuned some of the images too (for example, applying neutral backgrounds). The overall effect is definitely moodier than the first book – and that means it’s literally darker. The builds in this tome also skew to the more complex/detailed end of the scale than in the first one. So you’re gonna want to read this one under a decent light!

For the sequel, Mike also chose to include a small selection of digital creations. This is definitely a controversial decision, which Mike acknowledges and explains in his Preface. But the digital creations are clearly annotated as such, wherever they appear.

Like its predecessor, Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark is a beautiful object, that shines a flattering (low wattage) spotlight on the LEGO building community, and in a way that makes that world accessible to the general public. I’d recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who enjoyed the first book. And I really hope this becomes a series of books. If it does, I cannot wait to see what theme Mike decides to cover next!

Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark goes on sale everywhere November 20th, and will retail for USD $39.95.

“Bricks of the Mouse Guard” project launched on Kickstarter

2015 may well be the year of Mouse Guard, as it celebrates it’s 10th anniversary and – as we previously mentioned here – Seattle’s own ArchLUG will be unveiling a big collaborative Mouse Guard display at Emerald City Comic Con in March. Of course you can expect some pretty amazing architecture in this display. But how are they going to recreate the Mouse Guard characters, you might ask? Simple, with Bricks of the Mouse Guard, that’s how! And you can get in on the action too.

Following on from his wildly successful Munchkin Bricks project, Guy Himber of Crazy Bricks has just launched a new project to bring you Mouse Guard themed LEGO accessories.

Backers have the opportunity to receive a set of mouse heads in various colors, and a set of matching accessories (including a flagon that looks like a must-have for almost any Castle enthusiast). And as you might imagine, there are all kinds of stretch goals that will unlock additional items in additional colors, and even a fully equipped custom Mouse Guard mini-fig with pad-printed torso. Other goodies include BrickArms crates, printed bricks and even original artwork by Mouse Guard’s creator for top-tier backers.

Rewards start at $19, and the project will be accepting pledges for the next 32 days, so back it today!

Powered by the stars themselves

Spanning two decades and achieving worldwide popularity, the Stargate franchise gave Star Trek a pretty good run for its money – and is now even up for a movie reboot. The final spin-off, named Stargate Universe, tried to lure fans by adopting the grittier realism of shows like Battlestar Galactica. Unfortunately that shift didn’t gel with audiences, and the show was cancelled after just 2 seasons.

I’m a huge SG-U fan and was sad to see it go. So when German builder nameless_member produced this beautiful model of the star ship Destiny, it was nice to be reminded I wasn’t the only one…

I really love the compactness of this build – it’s probably the smallest scale that you could build Destiny at and still do it justice. It has just the right level of greebling, and the ship’s distinctive curvature is perfectly captured, as you can see from this rear angle. Even the shuttle craft have been included!

“An optimist is simply a pessimist with no job experience” – Dilbert

Since very slightly before the dawn of the Internet, Scott Adams’ comic strip Dilbert has served as daily therapy for anyone trapped in the dysfunctional and illogical world of modern office life …but in particular, engineers in tech companies. And while it contains many in-jokes that only a bunch of worthless code monkeys would ever get, all of us can relate to the Pointy Haired Boss, the futility of PowerPoint presentations, or being punched into the middle of next week by an angry co-worker.

And now Cristiano Spiller has decided to continue his Cubedude renaissance with this comprehensive tribute to Dilbert, featuring all of your favorite heroes and anti-heroes:

It’s actually alarming how well they translate to LEGO! Cristiano has also recreated some memorable secondary characters, such as the Elbonians and Loud Howard, and topped off the collection with a very snappy interpretation of the Dilbert logo:

 
 

It’s enough to make me want to form a proactive synergy restructuring team to change the six-sigma paradigm! Nya, I’ll get some intern to do it…

LEGO unveils new line of BIONICLE sets for 2015 [News]

BIONICLE is back! At New York City Comic Con last week, LEGO unveiled detailed information and images for a new line of BIONICLE sets. The sets will be available globally from January 1, 2015 and revolve around an entirely new storyline. Prices will range from USD $9.99 – USD $19.99.

“We are thrilled to announce the relaunch of the LEGO BIONICLE franchise, which was one of our most popular LEGO franchises and our first ‘constraction’ or constructible action figure line.” said Michael McNally, Senior Director of Brand Relations. “We are eager to introduce and immerse a new generation of children in this rich character-driven world and can’t wait for fans of all ages to interact with the new story.”

The January line-up consists of six “Master” sets, and six “Protector” sets, each based around the elements of Fire, Earth, Water, Stone, Jungle and Ice. There is also a thirteenth set called the Lord of Skull Spiders. You can find photos and set details up on our Flickr stream, so go check ‘em out now!

Can the Toa save Okoto from the latest threat?

The new storyline takes place on the mythical island of Okoto, where the forces of darkness are on the move, and the evil Makuta is once again materializing. Makuta is overcome by the desire for the three mythic masks that will cast the world into darkness: the Mask of Creation, the Mask of Control, and the Mask of Ultimate Power.

The desperate island inhabitants enlist six heroes called the Toa – each masters of a sacred element – to help save their beloved island. The Toa must embark on a quest for Okoto’s ancient power masks, that will allow them to unlock the full potential of their elemental powers. Only when the heroes are united, will they be able to battle the forces of evil, defeat Makuta, and save Okoto.

Paleolithic cat food

Built for the MOC Olympics contest in a round focused on human evolution, Deus Otiosus created this scene depicting one of our forebears about to become a cat’s lunch. The sculpture and posing of both characters is perfect. And as an added bonus, you can even enjoy this build from all angles thanks to a handy spinning animated version.

Enjoy the great outdoors on a “camper tricycle”

Serbian builder Milan (Ultimate-Design Bricks) wanted to create a build that combined his passions for bikes and camping. So when he discovered artist Kevin Cyr’s Camper Tricycle project, he knew that was what he wanted to recreate.

Milan’s model is packed with details, and he provides a full breakdown on his website. The tricycle features front and back suspension, rear differential, 180 degree steering, working pedals and chain link drive. The camper has working doors, a retractable sunshade and a plethora of storage areas and personal effects.

Camper tricycles totally need to become a real thing! Oh wait, hills…

Giant LEGO tribute to Mouse Guard unveiled at BrickCon

If you’re a fan of fantasy and/or talking rodents, then there’s so much to love about David Petersen’s world of Mouse Guard. This groundbreaking and expansive comic book series, with its rich cast of characters and detailed world, has already been turned into a roleplaying game, and now even rumors of a movie version abound.

Canadian builder Paul Hetherington unveiled this enormous homage to Mouse Guard at BrickCon last week, and promptly won “Best in Show” for his efforts.

Paul is well known for his epic minifig based dioramas such as the Fabuland Fun Fair and Joker’s Funhouse. So I’m personally rather excited by his recent diversion into the weird little world of brick-built characters! It was great to see both his Mouse Guard and Tintin builds in the flesh last week.

 

And if just one LEGO Mouse Guard creation is not enough to satisfy you, Seattle’s ArchLUG is planning a series of Mouse Guard themed builds for Emerald City Comic Con next March, so watch out for that!

“HUMAN DECISION REQUIRED”

If there are two things we *love* at The Brothers Brick, it’s spaceships and nostalgia. And pugs (ok, three things). So unless you were watching TV in the mid-seventies, the pictures below will probably leave you scratching your head!

Last year saw the release of the book Build Your Own Galaxy by builders Joe Klang, Oliver Albrecht, and Lutz Uhlmann. And now Joe has posted images of their Space 1999 scenes from the book. And this minifig scale Eagle One is to die for! There’s even a matching moon buggy complete with astronaut occupants. Oh, and the entire command center and crew too…

I will admit that Space 1999 was one of my favorite Sci-Fi shows growing up. From the mind of Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson, it was like a more dramatic, more stylish, and more British version of Star Trek. With an actual special FX budget.

Spoiler alert: He’s Luke’s dad!

For a Star Wars themed building contest over at Imperium Der Steine, German builder Disco86 had to come up with a creation who’s footprint was only 4×4 bricks. Not only did he manage to stay within the letter of the law, but he also managed to recreate one of the most iconic scenes of the entire franchise. Way to think outside the box!