If you’d prefer to support smaller LEGO-focused businesses rather than just gorging on massive LEGO discounts on Amazon.com, there are plenty of other ways you can begin your holiday LEGO shopping.
Our friends at Brickmania have been hard at work designing and releasing a bunch of really cool custom kits, including Dan Siskind’s excellent new Mark V tank from World War I (micro-review: I’ve built it and I love it!). All World War I kits are on sale throughout the month of November, and shipping is free now through the end of Monday the 28th.
The mischievous elves at Citizen Brick have just released a number of cool minifig sets, which all make it quite easy to reach the $75 threshold and score this cool tin of Xmas swag.
See more custom LEGO sales & deals
Author, artist, and all-around mad scientist Guy Himber has launched his latest Crazy Bricks Kickstarter project, centered on unique character accessories for LEGO minifigs. Mascot Bricks has just over two weeks to go toward its $15,000 goal, which will result in these entertaining characters — Mr. Slice, Pugs, Gentleman Nut, and Mr. Toast.
TBB generally doesn’t endorse specific Kickstarter projects, but Guy has a strong track record of successful projects that have resulted in real, interesting products. I’m personally most excited by the pug hat. LEGO + pugs — what’s not to love?
Customizing minifigure is a skill unto itself. We do occasionally feature particularly lovely specimens, and this fantastically creepy Crow Warrior from Ser Eathan is an excellent example.
The customized headpiece reminds me an awful lot of the masks worn by doctors treating plague victims, which adds another level of creepy to the minifig. I don’t know what he’s doing with the axe, but I don’t think he’s doling out medical advice.
Hang in there Red Dwarf fans, only a couple more months before Series 11 airs! In the meantime, feast your eyes on this totally spot-on Red Dwarf custom LEGO play set designed by Bob Turner. The dance-ready Series 8 version of Blue Midget shuttlecraft is definitely the star of the show here, but it’s the smaller details that really make this scene a real fan-pleaser:
Of note are the brick-built scutter, the inclusion of the Holly Hop Drive from Series 2, and most importantly a set of custom Red Dwarf minifigs. Each one is accurate and immediately recognizable. And in addition to the main crew, Bob has even included minifig versions of popular alternate characters Duane Dibbley and Ace Rimmer.
Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast!
Having already delighted us last summer with his mosaic of everyone’s favorite holographic vocalist Hatsune Miku, Chris Rozek does it again with this cute minifigure version – well, Friends “minidoll” version to be precise. We’ve featured customized LEGO Friends before but it’s always nice to see more customizers using them to recreate well-known screen characters.
This was Chris’ first try at custom sculpting hair pieces. The hair is made from 6 pieces of carved and sculpted resin. The entire figure took around a week to complete.
It’s been a couple of years since I’ve reviewed the custom LEGO kits designed by Dan Siskind of Brickmania. Back in 2013, I reviewed the Dodge WC54 Ambulance, and writing those reviews really got me started in building World War II models seriously. In the meantime, Dan and his team have continued to release new custom kits, on a near-weekly cadence. One of Dan’s recent Brickmania releases is the M3A1 Scout Car, produced by the White Motor Company between 1940 and 1944. The vehicle served throughout WW2, and its basic design served as the basis of the iconic M3 Half-track.
Like some of the custom kits I reviewed back in 2013, the M3A1 Scout Car is a WW2 vehicle I also built back in 2014, so I’ll be comparing Dan’s version with my own.
Click through to read the full review
After building two huge 1/16 Diesel locomotives, one of which we blogged in February, Dennis Glaasker (Bricksonwheels) has turned his attention to something rather more old-school: a Union Pacific 1941 `Big Boy’ steam engine.
Its scale is 1/38, based on LEGO’s track gauge. This is relatively small by Dennis’ standards, but the model is still more than 1 m long and took two and half months to build. The engine can run, albeit not on standard radius curves, and to get it to run, Dennis chose to include several custom and aftermarket parts. The wheels and the valve gear and side rods were 3D printed by Jaap Kroon (JaapTechnic). The model is driven by three (!) Power Functions XL motors, controlled through an SBrick and powered by a rechargeable RC battery pack. To top it all off, this behemoth is equipped with lights and electronics supplied by Brickstuff. Purists may be horrified by this cornucopia of high-tech non-LEGO parts, but I think it’s hard to deny that the end result is impressive.
The LEGO Ideas Maze continues to inspire builders to construct their very own LEGO mazes. IamKritch steps into the fray with this Aztec-themed beauty. In order to make it out alive, you must delicately and precisely guide a ball from the very top of the pyramid to the lone ship anchored along the shore. Along the way you must avoid pit traps filled with spikes, and cross narrow bridges.
The jungle and temples look great at this tiny scale and I particularly like the decorative skulls and scrolling patterns along the frame of the maze. Be sure to watch Kritch’s video to see all this build has to offer.
Aureliusz Falowski took the already expensive UCS Millenium Falcon model and replaced all the light gray parts with custom metallic silver ones to create an eye-dazzling pimped out ride for the galaxy’s most dazzling smuggler. Where did he get all those shiny parts you ask? It helps that he owns the store that makes them. Check out more detail shots on Flickr.
When it comes to customizing LEGO minifigures, Minh Pham is one of my favorites. I enjoy the contrast of his highly detailed armor pieces with a clean minifigure face. His latest is the Raider Power Armor set new to the Fallout series in Fallout 4, and he sculpted and painted the haphazard Raider look rather well at this scale.
Custom accessory makers BrickWarriors are having a Small Business Saturday sale starting today, with 22% off through Cyber Monday. Head on over and help support another great LEGO-themed small business.
And don’t miss the other LEGO-focused small businesses we’ve highlighted so far this week:
Another great LEGO-centered small business we love to support here at TBB is Brickmania, led by talented designer and all-around great guy Dan Siskind.
Dan and his team in Minneapolis have posted daily deals all week this week, leading up to the massively discounted Fokker Dr.1 — The iconic Red Baron’s tri-plane from from World War I. It’s discounted from $195 to $95 starting at midnight tonight.
Brickmania has been releasing a new custom kit at the rate of about one a week for months now, and I’ve been eyeing this gorgeous M3A1 Scout Car for the last few weeks.
Like other BrickArms resellers (including Citizen Brick and GI Brick), Brickmania is also a great place to stock up on the types of custom accessories that LEGO will likely never produce.