About Rod

Rod likes building stuff, particularly steampunk and microscale. He's built for a number of the Dorling Kindersley LEGO books, including LEGO Play and the Awesome Ideas book. When he's not building, he writes, and has published a trilogy of old-fashioned adventure stories. To pay the bills he works in innovation and marketing for one of the world's biggest brewers, inventing new beers and ciders. This is clearly the best job in the world.

Posts by Rod

Wide-mouthed fighter will make you smile

A flying cement truck doesn’t sound like a great idea, yet Damien Labrousse has used LEGO’s concrete mixer parts to great effect in his Basking Shark Fighter. The gaping air intakes might grab your initial attention, but you’ll linger over the whip-smart colour scheme, and the wonderful angles of the rest of the fuselage.

Baskingshark

The angular styling reminds me of the funky geometry of the fictional MiG-31 “Firefox”, from the Clint Eastwood movie of the same name, but it’s those massive engines which lend this little fighter a big character all of its own.

Baskingshark

Explore the moon in this tin (tin) tank

What better way to explore the lunar surface than in a LEGO version of TinTin’s moon tank? Stefan Johansson has nailed Herge’s classic design, notable for its twin bubble cockpits upfront. The tank’s blue and grey colour scheme is accurate, and it’s making we wonder if the original comic strip from the 50s provided any inspiration for LEGO’s original Space theme? Stefan has included figures of Professor Calculus, the Thompson Twins, Captain Haddock, and TinTin himself, all clad in fetching orange spacesuits. All that’s missing is Snowy the dog popping his head up under one of the domes.

TinTin moon tank

Who winds up the watchmen?

The LEGO watchmen stalk the streets, keeping their eye on a wary citizenry. Dwalin Forkbeard‘s sinister steam-driven sentinel would like to remind you that if you’re behaving in accordance with the law then you have nothing to fear from their oversight. This is great steampunk/clockpunk building. I love the use of the welding mask, the twin-barrel blasters as control sticks, and of course, the design of those fabulous spindly legs. But the highlight of this model for me is the wonderful streetlight.

Colonial Watchman

Dwalin says he took inspiration from the Tallboys of the Dishonered videogame. I recognise this in some of the elements, but I also think this has a nice clanky style all of its own.

Mixing up the LEGO ingredients

Great LEGO building isn’t all spaceships and robots and Star Wars you know. Josiah N. cooks us up a beautiful domestic kitchen scene, which includes some excellent little touches. The rolling pin on the worktop, the white croissant as a curl of stray icing oozing from the pipe, and the classic design of the radio — all great. But the undoubted main attraction here is that mixer, and the clever use of an inverted knight’s helmet as the mixing bowl. Not just imaginative parts usage, it fits perfectly into the scene and looks fabulous.

A Baker's Dream

Un-BEAR-able cuteness

The overwhelming cuteness of this red panda by Vitreolum might blind you to some of the great LEGO parts usage on display. Sure, it’s the chubby feet and the stripey tail that’ll catch your eye — but don’t miss the white croissants as bushy eyebrows, and the black Kepi cavalry hat for a nose! This is a cracking little model, somehow managing to be realistic but packed with cartoony character at the same time.

Red Panda

Court is in session. The verdict? Lovely

A Federal Constitutional Court building might not sound the most obvious inspiration for a LEGO creation. But the resulting microscale creation from Pascal Schmidt is just lovely. Designed by Paul Baumgarten, the original German building was one of the first truly modern court building, avoiding the traditional use of oppressive architecture designed to intimidate and impress. Pascal has perfectly captured the lighter, airy, Modernist feel of the structure. And those trees — fantastic.

Federal Constitutional Court

This could be the beginning of a beautiful enmity

The relationship between Batman and The Joker has been the source of countless LEGO creations, not to mention the main theme of the recent LEGO Batman Movie. However, we don’t often see large-scale interpretations of where it all began, the confrontation between Batman and the leader of the Red Hood Gang at Gotham’s Ace Chemical Plant — as depicted in the classic graphic novel The Killing Joke. Once again Tim Lydy proves he’s a master of LEGO Batman creations, following up on his wonderful large-scale figures with this brilliant diorama.
ACE, "The Chemical Place"
I love what Tim’s done with the chemical tanks — their contents look suitably toxic. And the level of detail and greebling creates a fantastic impression of a working plant, full of pipes and valves and gauges. As soon as I saw the Red Hood figure in the Batman Collectible Minifig range, I knew someone would have a go at this scene. I’m just glad it was Tim — he’s certainly done it justice.

I think, therefore I tank

As the release of the live-action version looms, expect to see a bunch of LEGO creations inspired by Ghost In The Shell. However, all you would-be ThinkTank builders out there should beware, Pascal has cornered the market in cute-but-deadly styling for your favourite mecha design. The use of olive green and the tip-toe stance are nice, but it’s the neon burst of pink coupled with the stark backdrop which really makes this model stand out.

Military Technology

What is the nature of your space emergency?

We see a lot of military and exploration rovers and ships in LEGO Space, but other services make only irregular appearances. Frost attempts to balance things out with this smart Medical Rover. The colour scheme absolutely pops on this model, especially coupled with the lime green minimalist scenery. But for me, it’s all about the double cockpit and the angled “snout” — an eye-catching unusual design, nicely-built.

Febrovery 2017 Day 17

Don’t miss the view of the rover’s rear, and the excellent use of short red axle pieces in “cross-hole bricks” to create mini Red Cross symbols. Lovely.

Emergency Medical Response Rover

Sad robot will make you happy

LEGO’s new Brickheadz line has prompted a few fan-built creations using the same chunky feel. This robot by Luigi Priori was inspired by the official line, but rises above aping the style to be a great model in its own right. Here the chibi look enhances the creation, whereas recently I’ve seen a lot of Brickheadz-style figures where the blockiness has felt a little forced. Luigi’s Mr Robot may look terribly sad, but he’s nicely put together — the over-sized limbs work well with the cubist feel of the torso, creating a super-deformed super-cute robot with a real sense of character.

A spaceman's best friend

A little slice of LEGO serenity

Sometimes all you need to relax is to contemplate a beautifully-built LEGO model. This wonderful bonsai by ZiO Chao deserves your attention — chill out and soak up the serenity. The gnarled and twisted tree itself is nicely-done — with an interesting technique of inserting flower stalks into larger leaf pieces — but it’s the little rock and the display stands which elevate this into brick-built art. I want one of these for my house.

Pine Bonsai

Hovering across the apocalyptic gunk

Curved silver elements lend a nice retro chopper feel to George Panteleon‘s hoverbike, but it’s the smart use of sand green pieces to depict a post-apocalyptic sewer which grabs the eye. The tentacle tip makes for a perfect outpouring of skanky muck, and the soccer pitch part creates a great impression of a thick gloopy liquid in motion. I love when builders pay as much attention to the surrounding scenery as to the central model in a scene — it makes all the difference between a decent image, and a standout one.

Honda C740