Sergeant Chipmunk is the master of texture. First, it was insanely beautiful, jagged rockwork. Then, a sleek and stylish castle of ice. Now, it’s a deceptively simple castle with extra-blocky crenellation surrounded by autumn-time trees. The new texture? Well, Chipmunk put a handful of 1×1 round tiles to great use by carefully stacking them into dragonscale-like textured walls for his castle. I can’t imagine the zen-like patience this man must have.
It’s been a couple of years since I’ve reviewed the custom LEGO kits designed by Dan Siskind of Brickmania. Back in 2013, I reviewed the Dodge WC54 Ambulance, and writing those reviews really got me started in building World War II models seriously. In the meantime, Dan and his team have continued to release new custom kits, on a near-weekly cadence. One of Dan’s recent Brickmania releases is the M3A1 Scout Car, produced by the White Motor Company between 1940 and 1944. The vehicle served throughout WW2, and its basic design served as the basis of the iconic M3 Half-track.
Like some of the custom kits I reviewed back in 2013, the M3A1 Scout Car is a WW2 vehicle I also built back in 2014, so I’ll be comparing Dan’s version with my own.
When my friend Lego Junkie posted his version of Mack from ReCore a few days ago, I only had a sketch model of heads for the main characters Mack and Joule. His version, as well as new gameplay footage and screenshots from E3 of these characters, was just the motivation I needed to move forward with said sketches.
These larger-than-life sculptures by Bruce Lowell look more like pixelated photos than LEGO creations. Seriously, just squint your eyes a bit and these lunchtime treats look just like the real thing! I particularly love how Bruce captured the Subway and Lay’s logos perfectly, even on three-dimensional surfaces. And while it normally bothers me to see an underlying color showing through to a top layer of a different color, allowing the white layer to show through on the stair-stepped portion of the raw red onions is simply genius!
Tim Schwalfenberg expands his Homeworld Vaygr fleet with this classy Vaygr missile frigate. It’s the second ship of Tim’s Vaygr fleet we’ve featured, after his excellent corvette, and Tim has more on the way to round out the armada. One of the best hallmarks of Homeworld-inspired spaceships is the clean color blocking, and Tim’s interpretation of the Vaygr fleet looks striking clad in white with red stripes. One of the best details is the missile launcher mounted on the side, a fantastic brick recreation of the original model’s detail.
Following up a 1:1 scale Sky-Hook and an incredible minifig scale Songbird diorama, Imagine Rigney is back with another build from the universe of BioShock Infinite. This time around it’s an itty bitty Songbird that you can build from a handful of pieces, and there’s full instructions to make one yourself.
Leonid An is running awesome building experiments on some of the new parts. The result is this gorgeous handheld portal device from the Portal video game. I am guessing this build started with the white large figure armour piece, which has the same shape as a part of the original portal gun. However, the rest of the weapon is no less excellent and features a couple of great building solutions including these three minifigure hammer pieces on the other end. Take a moment to appreciate the peculiar scale of the gun; it is not too large, but has enough details which make it instantly recognizable.
It has been thirty years since Top Gun hit the big screen, and the true star of the movie, the charismatic Grumman F-14 Tomcat, was retired from US Navy service almost ten years ago. I built my first LEGO Tomcat more than 20 years ago and I have kept making improvements, as I learned new tricks and as new parts became available. Usually the changes were fairly small, with the core of the model changing very little.
Ever since I completed my 1/22 scale model a few years ago, I’ve been eyeballing my three smaller 1/36 scale models, no longer liking what I saw. They looked very crude compared to the bigger model and they lacked a few essential features. The intakes on the Tomcat are cranked and the vertical tail fins are canted outward. These sort of things may not seem important, but they make a big difference to the look. Furthermore, the undercarriage never really worked properly, the nose was a bit long, the angles of the wings weren’t quite right and there were a host of other little things that could be improved. Of course, I had to avoid messing up the things I did like about the existing model, but small incremental changes weren’t going to hack it any more.
I started with a new model, albeit with the old one nearby for comparison purposes. The first jet I decided to rebuild has the famous skull and crossbones markings of Fighter Squadron 84 “Jolly Rogers”, like they had in the ‘seventies. I don’t care much for stealth fighters. My Tomcats are probably the closest thing I have to a signature build, which makes me proud to say that the cat is back!
We see a lot of original spaceship designs from the LEGO community, and a lot of LEGO pieces being used in clever new ways. But I’m still always impressed by those builders who boldly integrate unusual pieces and pull it off with panache. One such builder is Curtis Collins with the Seraph. It’s a gorgeous design that uses bright red LEGO canoes for the engine cowlings, despite a plethora of black greebling on the struts—and miraculously, it works. Keen-eyed readers will also spot that the cockpit glass is a LEGO Christmas ornament.
This dangerous looking spaceship is filled with clever techniques and interesting parts. The extensive use of Technic gear racks is especially menacing, but the real standout here is the innovative sticker usage. They weren’t custom printed. Rather, Adrian chopped up a bunch of the yellow stickers from set 75053 The Ghost (from Star Wars Rebels) and placed them on the model in an interesting pattern. The stickers were already printed to be scruffy-looking, but the builder wanted them to be even scruffier. So he abraded the stickers by rubbing the model back and forth on a wooden table. The stickers aren’t shiny and smooth any more, but the result is definitely worth it.
Microscale creations often bring out the best in builders, forcing would-be architects to look at mundane LEGO pieces in new and unusual manners, seeing a portcullis arch in a shark’s jaw, fortress spires in Technic pins and embellished walls in pauldrons. Take a look at this fascinating floating castle by Marcel V., and observe how all the tiny details crafted from odd pieces coalesce into a menacing microscale fortress.
It may not cut through much, perhaps not even warm butter, but this gorgeous little LEGO chainsaw by František Hajdekr is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. And it really works! The Technic panels and liftarms fit together as snugly as a jigsaw puzzle. Inside you’ll find a battery box and a Power Functions motor. The safety guard also acts as a safety catch. A simple trigger controls the action. But why take my word for it? See for yourself!