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

Tremble at the might of Mecha T-Rex

The maths involved here are simple: (LEGO + T-Rex) * Mech = AWESOME. Mitsuru Nikaido knocks it out of the park with this amazing mechanical menace. The white cladding gives just enough structure and shaping to the model, whilst still leaving plenty of room for the greebly details to show through beneath. The restrained colour scheme works well, the dark grey mechanical gubbins offering sharp contrast to the panels. This could have been enhanced further with a different colour of backdrop for the photography, but that’s a small gripe at an otherwise excellent creation.

LEGO T-REX_03

There’s so much good work on display in this model, but the highlight for me is the use of minifig chainsaw pieces for the jaws — simply perfect.

LEGO T-REX_01

When giants roamed the Earth

It’s not often a small LEGO creation manages to look HEAVY, but takamichi irie‘s wonderful Styracosaur carries enough heft that you can imagine the ground shaking as it passes by. The use of bow plate curves across the build creates a real sense of muscles and sinews beneath the skin, and the colour choices are excellent — muted and natural-looking, but not bland. There’s good parts choice for the “beak” at the front of the mouth too.

Styracosaurus

I don’t care if Styracosaurus was a herbivore, and that those horns were probably for display rather than protection, I’m not getting within a hundred yards of this behemoth. Check out the close-up look and tell me you feel any different.

Styracosaurus

A Nordic town to settle down in

Games can provide inspiration for LEGO builders, although its often videogames rather than their more old-school cousin, the board game. Simon NH, however, has taken Settlers of Catan as his muse, and it has prompted a wonderful island scene, which ironically wouldn’t look out of place in a medieval real-time strategy game on PC! The landscaping grabs the initial attention, with a lovely colour gradient around the shoreline and excellent rockwork. But it’s the buildings which hold the eye, rewarding a closer look at some of the fabulous building techniques on display.

Island of Catan

See more of this great medieval building

Judge me by my size do you?

Yes Yoda, I AM judging you by your size. And I judge you to be the cutest little Force-wielder ever. These microscale LEGO Star Wars figures by dmitri dolgov are fabulous — enough detail to be instantly recognisable, yet teeny-tiny enough to be supercute blocky interpretations. Sorry Dmitri, but I insist you go and build all the other Star Wars characters at this scale. Immediately.

Starwars micro figure

Summer 2017 LEGO Disney Princess sets revealed at New York Toy Fair 2017 [News]

Continuing our coverage from New York Toy Fair, here’s a look at the new LEGO Disney Princess sets, coming this summer.

Everyone’s favourite mermaid, Princess Ariel, makes an appearance in 41145 Ariel and the Magical Spell. This cute undersea playset depicts the moment Ariel makes her ill-advised deal with Ursula the Sea Witch, gaining feet, but losing her voice in the process. The set contains 222 pieces and will retail at $29.99

U58A3914

U58A3915

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Summer 2017 LEGO City Jungle sets revealed at New York Toy Fair 2017 [News]

Continuing our coverage from New York Toy Fair, here’s a look at the new LEGO City Jungle sets, all coming out this August.

First up, the biggest set in this new theme: 60161 Jungle Exploration Site features a jungle temple, a crashed plane, a helicopter, an exploration truck, and a cool little amphibious vehicle. The set contains 813 pieces and will retail at $119.99

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Like a bridge over troubled lava

Whilst collaborative building is often all about massive displays for LEGO shows, sometimes it can result in something smaller, but no less cool. Eli Willsea and Grant Davis follow up on their impressive tropical island megabuild with this microscale scene of two cities separated by a river of fire. This would be an impressive little creation anyway, but knowing it was put together by two different builders somehow only adds to it. There’s a real sense of two different cultures and architectural styles confronting one another from either end of the bridge.

Twin Kingdoms

Typical day in Laketown – everyone just chilling

Despite mixed reviews of what happened to Tolkien’s beloved stories, the trilogy of Hobbit movies still served up some eye-popping visions of Middle Earth. One of the best, to my mind, was of Laketown — the city of wooden huts built over the Long Lake in a doomed attempt at protection from dragonfire. Marcel V. must have liked the movie version too, as he’s built a wonderful slice of it in LEGO bricks. Trans-clear tiles as icy water creates an appropriately chilly atmosphere, and the house on stilts is good enough to make me wish Marcel had built more of the town. And don’t miss the imaginative parts usage — minifigure ice skates as ladder rungs, and skeleton and minifigure limbs to create the twist of smoke rising into the frigid air.

Laketown

LEGO interior prompts nostalgia for Modernism

Clean brickwork and good macro photography make this modernist LEGO interior by Brick Of Infamy really stand out. There’s a lot here to love — from the excellent giant angle-poise lamp, the smart-looking chair, through to the way the desk is integrated into the wonderful bookcase. And last, but not least, don’t overlook the clever use of grey toothed monorail tracks to lend texture to the background wall. This is a deceptively simple-looking scene, which probably took much longer to build than you think!

"It's a setup!"

He-Man gets whitewashed

By The Power Of Whiteskull! Grantmasters has the Power! Or he certainly appears to, based on his latest piece of LEGO microscale building. The skull sword hilt is put to excellent use here, and its textured elements give an impressive sense of depth and scale to the tiny castle’s entrance. However, don’t miss the use of skeleton legs, wheels, and a good old-fashioned LEGO maxifigure’s arm in the creation of the rest of the keep’s towers.

Castle Whiteskull

And they call it Bella Notte

Just look at the puppy dog eyes on display in Nick Della Mora‘s LEGO rendition of the unforgettable spaghetti-eating scene from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. Using relatively few bricks, Nick has managed to perfectly evoke this famous moment, and capture the charm and personality of the central characters. Check out the perfect recreation of Tramp’s ears! All that’s missing here is a LEGO version of Tony the Chef, serenading the canine couple with “Bella Notte”.

Happy Valentines Day!

We are sailing

Not content with crafting beautifully curved brick-built hulls, Felipe Avalar has clearly spent ages getting the rigging and sails perfect on these two boats — the Amberle and the Eritria. Felipe says the below-decks areas on each vessel are stuffed full of Technic gears keeping all the lines at appropriate levels of tension. Such painstaking attention to detail is the hallmark of the best LEGO scale modelling — and these craft are great examples. I marvel at the skills of builders who create brick versions of real-world vehicles and buildings. Personally, I tend to build made-up fantastical things, because then nobody can tell me they’re not accurate!

Amberle & Eretria