Tag Archives: Asia

The diverse cultures and complex history of Asia continue to inspire LEGO builders all over the world. China, Japan, and Korea also have large and active LEGO fan communities that contribute to the global conversation through their LEGO models. This page features LEGO models inspired by Asia, coverage of events that happen in Asia, and background about models by Asian builders.

TICO Mini Bricks. The New Tiny Kid on the Block.

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During my recent trip to Taiwan, I came across a new line of micro brick construction toys called TICO. It appears to be a Taiwan made clone brand of the Japanese brand Nanoblock at only half the price. I bought a set, #3010 Battle Robot (RxB) for NT$180, which comes out to a little more than $6 US for around 80 pieces.

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The elements are very tiny and are rather difficult to handle, requiring a great deal of fine motor control. The instructions are straight forward, however, they use a technique of hi-lighting the pieces used in the current step by showing the pieces a shade lighter.  This is a problem when the set includes 2 shades of grey, creating confusion as to which shade of grey is needed at which step.  Secondly, the elements have no way of locking the studs of a connecting element on the long axis of an element, allowing the element on the underside to slide around.  This creates a lot of play in the construction, making it somewhat difficult to line pieces up correctly.

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The final model is very loose and fragile as it has many one stud connections.  The overall construction is less the sturdy, lacking in overlapping elements to lock things in place.  If micro bricks are your thing, TICO Mini Bricks are an affordable alternative to the pricier Nanoblock.  According to their website, TICO appears to have licensed sets for Totoro, Angry Birds and One Piece, which are all very popular in Taiwan.

Chinese landscape painting and jade seal

Ericmok from Hong Kong built a scene from Romance of the Three Kingdoms in the style of a Chinese painting, using monochrome shades to mimic the effect of a painting in black ink. The scroll background is a perfect way to frame the scene, making it very presentable.

Chinese Landscape Painting

His jade seal is also worthy of a mention, in which green and sand green are used to convey the texture of the jade. The characters on the seal say “Three Kingdoms.”

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An Unexpected Discovery

As soon as I’ve seen this photo’s thumbnail, it reminded me of Avatar. I turns out that -infomaniac- really based this creation on the Western Air Temple from the show. Amazing rock work, beautiful trees and architecture is what makes me like this.

An Unexpected Discovery

On the side note, if you still haven’t, it’s time to start watching the sequel to Avatar – Legend of Korra. You too might get inspired to build something as awesome as this.

Seoul’s Sungnyemun gets the LEGO Architecture treatment [News]

I had the privilege of visiting Korea three times while growing up in Japan, but unfortunately I was too young to remember much. Which is a shame, because I would love to have seen the Sungnyemun, or “Gate of Exalted Ceremonies,” in Seoul. LEGO recently announced that this gorgeous structure — sadly destroyed by fire in 2008 — will be released on June 1st as part of the LEGO Architecture series.

LEGO Architecture Sungnyemun

Here’s the full press release:

Sungnyemun has stood in the heart of South Korean capital since 1398 as one of the most complete examples of Joseon Dynasty architecture. It is listed as the country’s foremost National Treasure.

“Sungnyemun survives as a symbolic marker of a lost place in time,” says the architect and designer of many of the LEGO models Adam Reed Tucker. In capturing the essence of Sungnyemun in LEGO bricks Adam looked at the aesthetics rather than engineering, especially the use of colours, patterns and materials that define the ‘spiritual DNA’ of a culture.

Construction of Sungnyemun started in 1396 and was completed two years later. Further alterations and renovations continued over the next 600 years. In 2008 the wooden structure was completely destroyed by fire and it is expected that the restoration – using traditional hand tools – will be complete at the end of 2012.

LEGO Architecture products feature well-known buildings, and the work of important architects. Aimed at inspiring future architects, engineers , designers and architecture fans around the world, the range contains a booklet featuring step-by-step building instructions prefaced by history, information and photographs of each iconic building, its design origin, its architect and its architectural features.

The LEGO 21016 Sungnyemun will be launched officially at the Danish Pavilion during the EXPO 2012 exhibition held in Yeosu, South Korea. It will be available for purchase from June 1 in LEGO brand retail stores, LEGOLAND Stores and online at http://shop.lego.com/. The product is designed for ages 12+ and includes a booklet with facts and history about Sungnyemun. Recommended retail price is $34.99 in the US and €34.99 in most European countries.

Microscale Matsumoto Castle by Blake Baer

Matsumoto Castle is an unusual castle in Japan that has striking black walls instead of the more familiar white walls of Himeji or Osaka castles. Blake Baer captures many wonderful details, from the red balcony to the slats on the black walls.

Matsumoto Castle

Thanks to reader Jake for making sure I saw this.