Today is Chinese New Year, celebrated around the world by people from many different countries. According to the Chinese Zodiac, this is now the Year of the Monkey, so LEGO builders have been posting a plethora of simian creations in honor of our cousins.
Many of the LEGO models feature Sun Wukong, the Monkey King hero of the Chinese epic Journey to the West (and its many adaptations for film and TV). Donna Liem puts the iconic hero astride a cloud in the sky.
Click through for more monkey madness!
Indonesian builder Dennis Qiu brings us another stellar example of the amount of character that can be captured in LEGO. This Chinese lion would fit perfectly into mythology or, because I love robots, an episode of Zoids. LEGO has been going gold-crazy lately, but the use of it here is superb.
This week Hong Kong hosted its gigantic annual fan convention Ani-Com, an event that makes San Diego Comic Con look like a book club meeting at a Starbucks. Local builder Alanboar Cheung was a finalist in the show’s LEGO building contest, with this delightful and very stylish “Dream House”:
This thing is packed to overflowing with awesome details – the closeups are definitely worth a look.
This event always produces some stellar MOCs, but information is a bit hard to come by. We’ll show you more of them as they come across our radars.
As a small child back in Japan, I used Go pieces to create serpentine roads across tatami floors for my little Tomica cars, but my family left Japan before I ever played a proper game. I still get nostalgic whenever I see Go games. Joe Miller built this fully functional 9×9 Go set completely from LEGO, using some rather complicated techniques to place the black lines on the board.
The lines themselves are the tops of 1×2 half-panels wedged into full (3-brick high) panels, combined with some serious sideways and upside-down (SNOT) construction.
Tyler Halliwell is best known to our regular readers as a creator of amazing LEGO busts. So his latest work – depicting the Monkey King of Chinese mythology – is an ambitious departure in terms of its size and construction. We think you’ll agree that the attention to detail and the naturalness of this figure’s clothing and facial expression are completely mind-blowing!
We journeyed for several months across the Asian subcontinent, rescuing helpless villagers from all manner of demons along the way, to visit the mountain in which Tyler has been imprisoned for the past 500 years, so we could find out more about this creation…
BB: So how many hours and how many bricks went into this creation?
TH: That’s tough to estimate, but probably about 100 hours over the past two months, with most of it coming into shape in the past two weeks. There’s less pieces than you’d think, as it’s mostly hollow but for a technic frame. So if I had to guess, I would say around 1500 bricks.
BB: What inspired you to choose the Monkey King as the subject of your latest LEGO sculpture?
At the end of this month, some 150,000 people will cram themselves into the San Diego convention center to attend San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC). Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific about five times that number will be attending Ani-Com (ACGHK) at the Hong Kong Convention Center.
LEGO fans are well catered for at ACGHK, and the members of HKLUG always put on a good show. TKH has taken a break from his usual Anime style builds to create this amazing tribute to Cantonese opera especially for the event…
Pictured here in breathtaking detail and accuracy are two classic historical characters from the genre: the scheming bureaucrat Cao Cao, and the heroic General Guan Yu. If you’re not sure which is which, I’ll give you a hint: Like almost every detail in a Chinese opera, the color of the actors’ masks is highly symbolic. But the color code is the opposite to what Westerners might expect ;-)
The above expression may not be familiar to English speakers, but you might think of it as the Chinese equivalent to “letting the cat out of the bag”. And like many common sayings, this one has a historical origin: In 228 BC, as a last ditch attempt to avoid invasion by its enemies, the nation of Yan sent a man named Jing Ke to assassinate the King of Qin. Using a map of Yan’s most fertile areas as bait, Jing Ke was able to get close to the King, and as he unfurled it, he pulled out a dagger that had been hidden inside.
Hong Kong builder Vincent Cheung (fvin&yan) has created this fabulous portrayal of the attempted assassination, in a style very similar to his Beauty and the Beast sculpture. I love the freeze-frame action of the characters, and of course the three-dimensional detailing on the map! Vincent was clearly influenced by folk art depicting the event, as you can see from this example:
Spencer Rezkalla (Spencer R) is a master of micro-scale skyscrapers, and his models have been featured on TBB many times. That does not stop me from calling your attention to his latest project, however. The US may be known for cities full of skyscrapers, such as Chicago and New York, but nowadays most such buildings are being constructed in Asia and Spencer has now turned his attention to China, building the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Jin Mao Tower.
The subtle curve and the way the façades intersect on the Shanghai Financial Tower is particularly noteworthy. A third skyscraper, called the Shanghai Tower, is currently under construction next to these two and is due for completion in 2014. As you can see from the picture above, Spencer has already saved a spot for it.
I’m not completely sure what’s going on with fvin&yan’s latest effort, but the unfortunate fellow with the dapper hat is about to get a knife to the face! This model is simply stunning from top to bottom and features a pleasingly wide range of color. Perhaps one of our readers can help with the translation of the title and very brief accompanying text, the best I was able to come up with was “Poor included bei, also from Emperor Jing Ke Thorn”.
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.”
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.