The Balrog is a difficult creature to create with LEGO as it’s a being of fire, smoke and shadow. And none of those elements lend themselves to the perfectly engineered plastic brick. Luckily Aaron Newman was up to the task and has created not only an impressive rendition of the Balrog, but a striking LEGO creature in its own right.
While I almost always suggest checking out the builder’s photostream for more angles, it’s even more important here so you can see more of the beast. We previously featured another Balrog, and while it did do the fire and flames better than this one, it’s visually more noisey and complex.
A praying mantis may not be the first choice when it comes to creating robots and mechs out of LEGO, but when the result is this good, it really should be. Created by Mitsuru Nikaido, this build is elegant in its ability to look both mechanical and natural at the same time. A sign of a very talented builder with a great idea.
We recently blogged some great builds from Mitsuru, which you should check out if you haven’t already:
The height of Devonian-futurism
Don’t let this mecha dragonfly bug you
It’s hard to believe that dogs like pugs are descended from wolves, but DNA doesn’t lie. I love my little domesticated canines, but I deeply admire the wild ones that keep ecosystems healthy. legostrator follows up on his excellent LEGO elephants with this lonely wolf looking pensive in the moonlight. The wolf with its mix of LEGO colors and textures accurately captures the look of a wolf’s fur, but be sure to take a closer look at the excellent winter landscaping and denuded tree as well.
This dragon model by Eero Okkomen has made me question how a LEGO creation can have so much personality. It proves an image can tell a story without an accompanying explanation — you don’t need to be told, you just know to fear and respect the summoned serpent.
I’ve always thought the Ninjago Morro Dragon set is a mine for amazing pieces, but I would have never in a thousand years have used the wings like this — awesome. And that face — so much expression with so few pieces. The smoke coming from the nostrils is just brilliant, and so are the electric moustaches. Overall, this model is an art piece, and I wouldn’t mind displaying it in my living room, like an ukiyo-e style sculpture.
This mechanized, heavily armored fish looks like an unholy cross between a Dunkleosteus and the hardsuit from District 9. Japanese builder Mitsuru Nikaido has created a truly distinctive look by layering various LEGO flag elements in dark gray over a white internal structure. I’m not sure whether this belongs in the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum or the National Museum of Natural History.
Igor Stravinsky is easily my favorite Classical composer, and I grew up hopping around to The Rite of Spring pretending to be a ballerina, after seeing the Soviet-era Bolshoi troupe perform in 1979 when they toured Japan. Stravinsky’s earlier The Firebird is no less beautiful for being less wildly innovative. In Russian folklore, the Firebird (Жар-пти́ца) is a creature who can aid or doom those who encounter it. In this gorgeous LEGO version built by VSefrem for Russian LEGO forum Bricker.ru, pearl-gold and shades of transparent orange and red add to the underlying yellow for a stunning effect. Particularly noteworthy are the 1×1 round tiles layered on the bird’s neck with clips.
While it’s easy to be distracted by the creature alighted on its branch, the tree uses some interesting techniques to create an aged, twisted look — a perfect contrast for the stunning Firebird.
Sadly, World Elephant Day on August 12 is a stark reminder that there are not enough modern elephants in the world, and that we must take action — stop murdering them — if we want to avoid seeing today’s Proboscidea go the way of their Pleistocene predecessors the mammoth and mastodon. Jens Ohrndorf has been building little LEGO animals for the past few months, and his latest batch includes this impossibly adorable woolly mammoth. With just a few pieces, Jens has captured the shagginess and undeniable majesty of this Ice Age creature. The miniature snowcapped mountain and subtle gray background add immeasurably to the presentation.
As with any ecosystem, the mammoth steppe biome would not be complete without other megafauna. I’m not sure Jens intended for this pair of bison to go with the mammoth, but they complement it perfectly.
See more of Jens’ LEGO animals in his album on Flickr.
As a lifelong student of archaeology, I’ve become more and more focused on the Pleistocene and the Paleolithic, that amazing span of the Earth’s history when humanity emerged in Africa and conquered almost the entire habitable surface of the planet. Along the way, we survived multiple ice ages and lived until fairly recently alongside megafauna such as mammoths. I’ve been meaning to build a mammoth or two from LEGO, so I was pleased to see this adorable mother-and-child pair by Pierre. Noteworthy here is that the adult mammoth is built upside down. And I just love the baby mammoth with its big Dumbo ears. Presented on a base of snowy white, this pair would look great on any paleoanthropologist’s or paleontologist’s desk.
While my favorite lifeform from the age of the dinosaurs (and before) is the trilobite, I also have a soft spot for the hard-shelled ammonite. Leonid An has built a scientifically accurate, albeit fictional, ammonite that he’s dubbed Ammonoidea fictum. The Bionicle pieces make an excellent shell, and I love the big yellow eye glaring from behind a mouthful of tentacles.
Sadly, ammonites died out around the same time as the dinosaurs, survived by the similar (but only distantly related) nautilus. If you like this LEGO ammonite, check out the white nautilus we featured here back in 2009.
It is no secret that Djordje is one of the best character builders, and he usually manages to inject incredible personality to his builds. This time, he managed to capture the essence of a mad scientist with Doctor Karnakogg:
First of all, the cartoonish proportions are spot on, and you can see that this build is not really heavy on pieces — but those pieces are used in a really creative way, making it all the more impressive. What really gets me is the personality of this build, expressing that perhaps a mad scientist can be both scary and charming.
Fresh from delighting us with a rusty hot rod, Austrian builder sanellukovic turns his building skills to more organic shapes with his Midgardsnake creation. The curves and scales of this mythical water-serpent have been captured brilliantly with some nice use of slopes and smart color choices. Whilst the splashes and water running from the serpent’s body are well made, the mix of trans-clear and trans-black plates used for the water itself is just inspired. I can’t say I’ve ever noticed that particular combination being used like this before — it certainly creates a great impression of water in motion. Lovely stuff.
As Pokemon Go fever continues to grip the planet, we will try to stop running in small circles and peer above our phones from time to time, to bring you the best new Pokemon-themed LEGO creations. And our catch of the day features Aerodactyl, Chatot and Snorlax (yes!) by Chilean builder Sergio Rojas:
Oh, and if you explore Sergio’s Flickr stream, you might just stumble upon a few additional monsters!