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.
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.
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.
Noah McClung (Glory_Forever) has created an absolutely stunning scene for the Colossal Castle Contest. The combination of natural landscaping and beautiful architecture creates a very tranquil scene!
And that roof just makes me smile :)
Full photo set
Gabriel Thompson (qi_tah) is really building amazing stuff these days. Here is another one of his creations – oriental Teahouse. I admire classic asian architecture, and just love the colors and details on this one.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Stefan Käsmayer (– 2×4 –) likes his samurai movies, and we like his creations. His second samurai house once again shows how effective grill tiles are for the roofs of such buildings. You can see his first samurai house we blogged last year.
The Japanese builders know their mechs, and this one by Legorobo is a prime example. Beyond looks, the mech features remote controlled movement and more. Check out the video below:
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to reader Jake for making sure I saw this.
Whether you are familiar with Lego podcasts, they provide unique knowledge about the hobby. LAML Radio and A Look At Lego Podcast are two sources I’m aware of that regularly post new episodes and interviews.
I want to highlight the most recent show from LAML Radio containing interviews with Andy Hung and Schneider Cheung, two of the most well known AFOLs in Hong Kong whose works are also familiar to many of our readers. Even though our interactions with the active and talented Hong Kong AFOL community are limited by the language barrier, we seldom cease to appreciate their works in the instances they were featured on the blog.
Click on the image below to download the episode of the podcast.
Flickr user lisqr has built this wonderful microscale model of one of the most impressive architectural feats in mankind’s history, the Great Wall of China. While the real Great Wall was several thousand miles long, lisqr employs a nifty series of connected vignettes to capture the wall’s serpentine path.
As OJ says over on The Living Brick, “The great thing about Japan and China using the same zodiacal chart but celebrating the New Year on different dates is that I get to do this twice!” Indeed.
Schneider Cheung celebrates the Year of the Dragon with the most wonderfully sculpted Chinese dragon I’ve ever seen.
Meanwhile, rack911 celebrates with a depiction of Cai Shen, the God of Wealth, complete with a golden dragon and a bowl for treasure.