Grab some candy-corn and your hockey mask; it’s time for some spooky action to get you psyched for All Hallows’ Eve. These eye popping scenes were designed by Kiwi Millie McKenzie (Leda Kat) who has a real talent (even without the ghosts) for taking the mundane and turning it into something spectacular. Although the photos will lead you to the collection of scenes on Flickr, you can only get the full sequence with its accompanying story over on MOCpages.
My latest creation, which I hastily whipped together last night, is a rendition of Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. The book and water base I already had from a previous creation, which I hope to eventually photograph. It was great fun matching the figures to the painting, though now in the light of day with a more critical eye I see that I made a few mistakes, such as Washington being positioned too far back in the boat. The trickiest bit of the endeavor was figuring out the flag–I don’t think my poor white capes will ever be the same again.
As nice as the individual models that we blog are, I think there’s often something really special about collaborative builds. The collaborative display by Pennlug at Brickfair, for instance, was one of my favourite things on show and Bricksboro Beach, built by members of Brickish, was probably the nicest display I have ever personally been involved with.
Last weekend, Legoworld took place in Utrecht in the Netherlands. Even though it is the public event closest to where I live and the largest LEGO-event in the Netherlands, I could not make it there myself. This is unfortunate for a variety of reasons, including because I would have loved to see the collaborative city display by lowlug-members Erik Smit (عʈ¡ – ʇıɯs ıʇə ʞıɹə), Tijger-San, Thomassio, Mockingbird, Arjan Oude Kotte (Konajra), Neverroads, Ruben Ras (workfromtheheart) and JeroenD (in random order).
The individual elements, such as the cafe-corner compatible buildings (such as the ones by Tijger-San pictured above) are nice, but the whole display is one of those ‘whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ kind of things. You could walk around this and would keep noticing new things. If you want to get an impression of what it must looked like to members of the audience, check out Erik’s video.
It’s likely not what builder Paul (Disco86) had in mind, but this scene reminds me of all the random encounters in the Elder Scrolls games (or the vastly under-rated Two Worlds games). It’s really a great little diorama, and I like the stonework ground under the orc camp. The blackened patch around the firepit is a nice touch, and the barricade looks convincingly ramshackle.
I told myself I wasn’t going to blog any Ma.Ktoberfest 2013 offerings this year because like some of you I find the whole end of the year sci-fi themed months to be a little overwhelming and Brother Tripod has that particular beat covered. However, my love of a great diorama overrides any such petty concerns and it is my pleasure to share with you “Super Jerry” by Logan (∞CaptainInfinity∞) that has just the right mix of detailed vehicles, understated landscaping and good photography from a builder who knows how to frame a shot. The tree isn’t too shabby either.
The popular Guilds of Historica fan-theme features outstanding models from a variety of builders who participate in a connected world of five distinct Guilds, each with their own territory, history, and geography. The latest eye-catching build comes to us from Australian builder and TBB regular Gabriel Thomson (qi_tah) who would like to present Petraea University – Grand lecture theatre and debating hall.
As you can see the structure uses a cutaway presentation, with equal attention to detail both inside and out. Although I love a little bit of the old ultra-violence as much as the next droog, it is refreshing to see a castle diorama that doesn’t involve some kind of boilerplate siege or marching troops. At the center of this brick-built story is the presentation of an honorary degree to some sort of political figure; a celebration of brains over brawn. If you follow the links to both the builder’s photostream or the GoH headquarters, you will encounter as much back-story as you can handle and an opportunity to get in on the action yourself.
Mister Fedin (Fianat) brings us this great little diorama of a old west mining operation in full swing. It’s a very well put-together scene, with some nice details like the slanted beams around the mine entrance, and the brick-built rails. I particularly like that Fedin has included the headframe (the tower above the mineshaft), which is a cool structure that we don’t see as often in LEGO dioramas.
And when they’re done pillaging, the tiny Vikings will return home to their wooden fortress among the ice floes. Lukasz Wiktorowicz has made this remarkable microscale diorama for the Classic Castle Micro Castle Contest, and if this is the quality of entries the contest is eliciting, the judges will have a tough time. The palisade wall made of wooden doors is particularly nifty, and Lukasz has made use of the cracked ice technique.
It was my distinct pleasure to attend the 12th annual BrickCon in Seattle last weekend along with about half of TBB’s contributors, hundreds of talented builders and thousands of slack-jawed public hours gawkers. While I’m sure you’ll be seeing and reading more about the convention from my Brothers, I’ll be focusing this post on a collaborative sci-fi project I took part in called Hub 14 that featured 23 builders from Brazil, Canada, Germany and a U.S. contingent that included both Alaska and Hawaii.
Hub 14 was a sprawling 4ft by 12ft slice of alien landscape that included an air-traffic control hub, landing pads and swampy terrain that provided a stage for dozens of VTOL spaceships, mecha, minifigs, monsters, hard-suits and personal conveyances of every variety. Although it apparently won a category award of some kind (I didn’t actually see it happen) Hub creator Michael Rutherford claims that no trophy was actually distributed and if there was he had no specific knowledge of such an artifact. The real value of the Hub was the camaraderie enjoyed by its participants and the shared effort to bring the diorama to life. Clear evidence of the spirit of the Hub was the exchange of VTOL’s by many of the builders at the end of the convention, with nobody being more generous than Simon Liu, who basically gave everything away. Everyone pitched in from set-up to tear-down and I think I can safely say that a good time was had along the way. My favorite aspect of the project was meeting and working with some of my favorite builders that I’ve somehow missed in my convention travels, people like Pascal, Gilcelio, Nick, Sam, Chris, Aaron, Adam, Evan, Ryan, Simon and Will. While it’s great to work with beloved cronies like Mark, Breanne, Bram, Josh, Ian and Ley (to name a few) there is a special thrill adding new blood to the mix. I learned a great deal about collaboration along the way and I feel like I’m a better builder as a result.
But there was also a dark side to the shenanigans occurring at Hub 14, most notably this truly disturbing and deadly embrace shared by Michael Rutherford and Ryan Wilhelm. While this borderline cosplay only lasted a brief 3 and a half minutes to get as fellow Hubbite Simon Liu put it “Just the right shot“, it seemed to most observers that time was slowed like Neo stopping incoming bullets in The Matrix. I like to think I’ve been to my share of conventions and seen some odd behavior out of my fellow Lego nerds, but this was a whole new level of strangeness….at least in the on-site venue. I still wake up screaming, thinking about this terrible soul-kiss…and yes constant reader…there was tongue.
Although my final anecdote is only superficially related to Hub 14, it is without qualification, the best. No doubt as a result of his association with the Hub, the eternally effervescent Nick Trotta was approached by Lego’s own Keith Severson (Sr. Manager of Community Support) about taking Nick’s “Solar Sweeper” starfighter back to Billund to be displayed within their innovation studio. Apparently it will be set up in an area for LEGO designers to regularly see and take some inspiration from what our awesome building community is up to. In Nick’s own understated words “Wow!“. After meeting Nick and his long suffering (and much funnier) wife Adelle, I can safely say it couldn’t have happened to a nicer, more humble dude. So keep hope alive constant reader, if you have the requisite skills you might just get “discovered” at a convention.
So many thanks to the hard working and hard partying international crew of builders that was Hub 14, you guys (and gal) are the best. The project would not have been possible without the generosity and logistical assistance from TBB’s elder statesman Andrew Becraft who not only allowed me to ship 10 boxes to his domicile but also moved them to the venue and shipped them back without so much as a complaint. Thanks also to Wayne Hussey and team for another fabulous BrickCon! If you are interested in the specific contributions of each member you can follow the links throughout the article or head on over to Ryan Rubino’s photostream for additional action. Due to post-convention hangover disorder (PCHD), some of the contributors have not yet officially posted their models to Flickr, so stay tuned to your stream for more details. There is a public Group Pool for the Hub, but again, because of PCHD it is still in its infancy.
I’ve been told by experts in the know that this sort of coverage isn’t well loved by our audience and usually results in a downward spike in statistical interest, so thank you for your indulgence. If you have a thought you’d like to share on the topic of convention coverage I’d love to read about it in the comments.
Bart de Dobbelaer, the master of crazy space dioramas, strikes again with this monolithic structure of gravity defying space garbage–or whatever that is. In any case, Bart’s signature style of limited colors and great designs makes for an exceptional diorama. The all dark-brown base gives a more subdued feel to the setting than LEGO’s standard reddish brown, and I’m not sure I even want to know how Bart got all of those spikey bits to stick to the suspended sphere.