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.
This week our travels take us to South Bohemia, in the Czech Republic. There we tracked down František Hajdekr, a builder known for his small builds of big vehicles and equipment of all kinds. František lives in the town of Bavorov, with his wife and three sons. He is 39 years old, teaches high school and runs his own Youtube channel, which is loaded with lots of “how-to” LEGO videos. Let’s explore his mind a bit, shall we?
TBB: Hello, František! How you got into LEGO and what was your first set?
František: My first set was the classic Town 6621 Fire Truck from 1984. And for a long time it was the only set that I had. Lego was not so available in my country, so I built mainly with different building blocks – Seva or metallic Merkur (Czech made).
The Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the late 1700s and saw a shift from manufacturing within people’s homes, using hand tools or basic machines, to powered machinery, factories, and mass production. Factories and steam locomotives were signature developments of the times. Toltomeja has used both of these icons of the industrial revolution in his LEGO diorama. There’s a large factory with tall chimneys emitting clouds of smoke (the part used is the cloth spider’s net) and a steam train loaded with coal. The bridge and the factory are very nicely put together, but it was the brick-built lettering and the little horses and carts that really caught my eye.
The steam locomotive is cleverly built at this scale, using a telephone handset as the coupling rod connecting the drive wheels, while a few treasure chests become the open wagons containing coal.
This entry for the ABS Builder Challenge by Brother Steven is simply prickle-licious. The dark red and bright yellow of the desert flower really make the creation leap out, contrasting beautifully against the green cactus. And those olive spines are so prickly they almost sting your eyes. This build is simple, elegant, and perfect. I love that it comes with a cheeky note from the builder: “A gift to my competition. Handle with care.” Brilliant!
Although often offering wise words to Simba, the wizened old Rafiki nevertheless delights in riddles and unorthodox tutelage. Channeling that spirit of unconventionality, builder SephiMoc FF7 uses quite an interesting assortment of LEGO pieces to bring life to this sage from Disney’s The Lion King. The eccentric mandrill is recognizable with his brightly colored face, which is framed with white fur made of feathered wings and various horn elements. Look closely and you’ll spot that Rafiki’s eyebrows are a handlebar, while the ball joints give this character plenty of poseability.
The bold choice of a purple background works splendidly, offsetting both the white face and the grey body, as well as complementing the orange logo nicely. There’s even a tiny Simba cub for Rafiki to gloriously hold aloft:
Nick Trotta’s series of detailed and unusually shaped starfighters continues with a vertical fighter named Volkite. The verticality combined with excellent color blocking and smooth transitions between sections of the craft make an eye-catching model.
On his YouTube, Nick shows a couple videos about Volkite. The video below shows how each chunk of the starfighter fits together (about 18 minutes long). It is a fascinating watch as you can see how the smooth transitions between components are achieved.
Residents of Birmingham, Alabama will surely recognize this creation by Wesley Higgins. It’s the McWane Science Center, a real-life building in Birmingham that’s been transformed into a place where minifig families can spend an afternoon learning about science.
The focal point of this LEGO creation is the Science Center’s iconic mosaic-like rotunda. But Wesley’s version includes the entire building including furnished interiors and even a parking garage. Wesley says it took 12 months to complete the LEGO McWane Science Center and he spent a lot of time working on it while simultaneously watching television with his family.
If you happen to be in the Birmingham area, you can see Wesley’s creation in real life! It’s currently on display at the McWane Science Center and there’s even a contest to guess the total number of bricks in the creation. Pretty neat, right?
Ever wonder what it might look like to wander the streets of New York at night, if you were a minifigure and the city was made of LEGO? Builder sponki25 has taken some incredible shots of his brick-built emergency vehicles, placing them in their urban environment, and it gives us exactly that experience.
We’ve highlighted some of Sponki’s amazing minifigure-scale emergency vehicles before, but he continues to grow his collection, recently adding a GMC 2500 FNDY support truck and an instantly recognizable FDNY EMS Ford Interceptor (the law enforcement version of the Ford Explorer).
Mecha builder Sam Cheng amazed us with his trio of Autobot Transformers, and he’s back again with another classic all-time favorite, the RX-78-2 Gundam. At an estimated 700 piece build weighing in at 0.66 pounds, Sam spent a period of 3 weeks with some amount of interruptions to build this detailed brick mecha including a good deal of time ensuring that he could capture a number of signature poses.
I was born within walking distance of Ogikubo Station in Tokyo, and by the age of ten or eleven, I was using the subway system to get around the city to take foreign tourists to see the sights, earning myself a bit of extra LEGO money. Australian LEGO Certified Professional Ryan McNaught and his team of builders spent more than two hundred hours building this complete Tokyo subway system map from 31,000 LEGO bricks, showing all thirteen lines in their distinctive colors (my favorite line is the Chuo line in orange). The mosaic measures 4.6 meters (over 15 feet) wide and 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) tall, dwarfing the rather tall bloke standing nearby.
Is this encampment the last bastion of humanity in a world gone awry? Or are there other holdouts, lone refuges for the few who still know friend from foe. I suspect the inhabitants of this outpost created by Lego Master don’t know, but they’ll keep on fighting against the undead hoards no matter what.
It’s early, the alarm has just gone off, and you wearily drag yourself out of bed, not exactly rising and shining. I know that I enjoy that first cup of coffee to clear the cobwebs and it seems that Brother Steven enjoys a cup too. What a great combination for fans of LEGO and coffee — a cup of coffee made with bricks. I love the pouring action from the milk carton and the splash into the coffee.
On second thoughts, there is a certain drawback to LEGO coffee… it doesn’t quite hit the mark on taste.