Brickmania has just released a new version of the iconic World War I tri-plane flown by Baron Manfred Von Richthofen, The Red Baron. The Fokker Dr. 1 kit includes special MG08 “Spandau” machine guns, hand-injected in the Brickarms studios, as well as a custom printed minifig of the baron himself.
I just picked up a Claymore Crate from GI Bricks to review and Julie sent me the other two packs as well. All of these packs come with a BrickArms crate with special printing and four BrickArms weapons painted by Brick Mercenaries. They are available exclusively from GI Bricks.
This pack comes in a brown BrickArms crate with a splash of red blood printed on one side. The printing is very nicely done, as we have come to expect from BrickArms. The crate itself would actually be quite useful in a battle scene, perhaps with a slain minifig leaning against it. The pack includes a Claymore, Damien Blade, Havoc Blade and Killstrike Saber. What makes these weapons really special is the paint job by Josh Baum of Brick Mercenaries. The paint looks professionally done and he was able to recreate an accurate representation of blood-soaked weapons, rather than randomly applying red paint, as is so often done. The paint also feels very durable. On the GI Bricks website, it says that these are for display purposes only, but I think they would stand up to light play. They will get scratched up if left in a bin with other weapons, but normal handling isn’t going to affect them.
Ryan Hauge, of BrickWarriors, just posted this fun little scene of an assassin training their apprentice. The timbered roof is cool and the crazy green flames in the fire make me smile, but the archways over the doors and fireplace really make this standout. I also have to mention that four-poster bed. The finials on the bedposts? BrickWarriors’ Magic Wands. Nice touch.
Ryan told me that this is a scene from his new book, now available on Amazon, also called “Riddle of Regicide (Pentavia Book 1)“.
Here is a build that we missed from earlier in the year. Hammerstein NWC is a force to be reckoned with and this “Kromikoma” is some of his best work. All the custom “shiny” makes me jealous.
I’m surprised both our Canadian contributors passed this up, but I’ll use my 1/4 Canadian heritage as an excuse to highlight this awesome custom minifigure by Kristi (customBRICKS), based on a friend’s Halloween costume.
Kristi calls him Captain Cold, though I think Captain Canada might be more correct. Either way, he’s pretty awesome.
If you’re curious to see what other comic book characters look like in the style of Lego’s Hulk, then The Brick Creator has just what you’re looking for with their 3″ Hulk-sized “EPICFIG” figures. Shown below are Rhino, Venom, Hulkbuster Armor, Colossus, and Juggernaut. Check out Flickr for more photos on how they’re made and visit their Facebook page for details on how to purchase them.
Guy Himber recently talked with me about his company CrazyBricks and his projects past, present and future. He also sent me some of the prototypes from his current SKULLS project as well as an early version of one of the add-ons, namely the GingerDead Man. The skulls come in three varieties. The largest one is my favorite, as it is the same size and proportion as the regular minifig head and most minifig hair can sit on it fairly naturally…though there is no stud, so anything you put on it is held in place by gravity. The other two skull varieties are a bit smaller than the large skull. One has a stud and the other doesn’t. The smaller skulls fit better inside helmets and cowls. The GingerDead Man is quite nice. He is a zombie variant of the CrazyBricks’ Gingerbread Man that is currently available. The printing is exceptional, made of a combination of both regular flat printing and embossed printing. Anyway, enough from me…let’s explore the mind of a builder!
Josh– Hello Guy, thanks for sitting down with me. You are known to many of our readers as V&A Steamworks, the builder of steampunk creations. But now you have actually started a company called CrazyBricks. Tell us about the concept behind the company and the name.
Guy– Hi Josh!
I had done a number of side projects that I made available to other builders (The Big StovePipe Hats and CrazyArms) and really enjoyed the creative process. I found that as a side effect, I also enjoyed interacting with my fellow LEGO enthusiasts and sharing what I had made. These early items were all machined (versus injection molded) so there was a limit to how much I could create via this method. When the idea of Pigs vs Cows was proposed for last year’s BrickCon I decided it was time to take the next step and bring some of my ideas to market in the form of the Pig and Cow characters. Since this project went beyond my ‘hobby’ and into more of a business, I decided to form a company to sell them under once the Kickstarter project had funded and that Company became CrazyBricks – inspired by the CrazyArms I had made earlier.
One of the many cool things I didn’t list in my report on Steam 2013 was mechabrick.
It was started by British AFOL Ben Jarvis that combines three of his passions: Lego, robots and wargaming. Ben has launched a kick-starter project to get it under way. If successful, this should enable the launch of the first mechabrick kit, which will consist of all the parts you need to turn four minifigs into kick-ass mecha (with friggin’ big guns, of course) and four boards that are to be combined to form the play board. The kit will also contain stickers to customise the mecha, as well as dice and a rulebook. Mechabrick is more than just a war game with mecha, however. An essential and fun part of the game will be building the scenery and obstacles on the game board with our favourite plastic bricks. Ben built a rather impressive example for the show.
At the event I had the opportunity to handle two of the prototypes and they looked (and felt) promising. I’m sure that plenty of you, like Ben, are fans of Lego, robots and wargaming. Check out the pictures in the flickr group and the project page. If you like what you see, you can pledge your support.
It is time to celebrate the minifig-driven heritage of this august blog with a 6-pack of little people. Purists beware; you have just gone through…the scary door…
First up is Madame man-hands, or as she is more properly known, The Iron Lady by Hammerstein NWC.
There are some places where LEGO won’t dare to go, and that’s where the fans fill in the gaps. Citizen Bricks released a Breaking Bad playset featuring their printed elements and exclusive minifigures. The cost is $250, but if you’re an addicted fan, how can you resist?
Jeff Churill‘s ski-fi gunship incorporates uncommon techniques such as using tubes for the main construction of the hull. He then fills the gaps with cloths and decorated Technic panels. Despite the non-purist ways, the result looks amazing. You can read more interesting facts about this creation on Flickr.
Thanks to having run out of LEGO track (I can’t wait for Brickmania Track Links), I’ve been forced to build something with wheels. Between June 1941 and September 1945, the United States delivered 400,000 Jeeps and trucks, 12,000 armored vehicles, 11,400 aircraft, and 1.75 million tons of food to the Soviet Union as part of the Lend-Lease Program. The US often reserved the latest arms and armor for its own armed forces, and older or obsolete designs ended up on ships to the USSR to fight the Third Reich on the Eastern Front.
One such vehicle was the M3 Scout Car, an armored car created by the White Motor Company in the late 1930s. You can clearly see the M3 Scout Car’s heritage in the later M3 Halftrack, which I’ve included here with the Scout Car — both in Soviet livery.
Recent posts about my LEGO World War II models didn’t really discuss materials or building techniques. While I wholeheartedly agree with LEGO’s stance not to produce LEGO sets based on recent real-world military conflicts, it does leave a gap for the minifig-scale LEGO military modeler. Several custom accessory vendors fill that gap. Here’s a quick run-down of the custom items I’ve used in my recent models.
- Weapons and headgear by BrickArms: Will Chapman has been branching out from American and sci-fi weaponry over the last couple of years, with PPSh & DP-28 machine guns, Mosin-Nagant rifles, Tokarev pistols, and even an ushanka hat for those long Russian winters.
- Flags and trenchcoats by Cape Madness: My Soviet armor wouldn’t be the same without a proper Soviet flag. Naturally, LEGO isn’t going to make one of those… My thanks to Dave Ingraham for generously giving me a large selection from his catalog.
- Printed accessories from Citizen Brick: Though a bit on the pricey side, Citizen Brick sells a variety of interesting elements you can’t buy from LEGO, including printed BrickArms headgear like the ushanka with the red star and the medic helmets I’ve included in previously posted models.
- Printed BrickArms crates from Brickmania and G.I. Brick: Quite possibly my favorite recent addition to the BrickArms catalog, the crates are long enough to hold long guns and come in a variety of realistic colors and useful patterns. Frankly, I feel a compulsion to collect them all…
The Soviet decals — “CCCP” and so on — are stickers salvaged from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull LEGO sets (a theme rife with exceptions to LEGO’s policy, but full of elements useful to the military builder).
I’ve written before about how much I enjoy research while building LEGO models based on historical people, events, places, and vehicles. Though I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks, I’ve continued improving many of my existing WW2 models based on feedback from other builders and better photos I’ve come across.
Once I’m reasonably happy with a military model, I like to reproduce it so I can make further variations without destroying each one in turn. Here’s my much-improved (I think…) M5 Stuart Light Tank alongside a new M4 Sherman Medium Tank.
I rebuilt the front of the Stuart to reduce how much it projected in front of the treads, lowered the turret by a plate, and gave the turret a proper commander’s hatch. The Sherman has a brand new turret, using 1×3 arches that I first saw built into the turret on the Brickmania Sherman I reviewed earlier this year — another example of how LEGO builders are indebted to each other to improve their designs.
I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with all my World War II armor (LEGO Italy circa 1943 seems overdue for liberation), but I’m certainly enjoying the vehicle builds along the way.