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.
I’m probably in the minority of nerds who prefers the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit to the current overblown Peter Jackson spectacular, but I won’t let that stop me from posting great models based off the 7-part film series. This particular scene comes to us from Paul (Disco86), who uses some familiar but effective techniques to paint an immersive scene from the trailer of the latest installment of “The Hobbit“. The diorama is entitled “It is our fight” and it appeals to me in large part because there is nothing but Lego in the scene, no glaring white background, kitchen table or Photoshop weirdness, just 100% mainline ABS goodness. There is also a nice technique I haven’t seen before involving flower-petals and green string. I’m guessing that’s Legolas on the right, probably saying something incredibly clever like ““There is a fell voice on the air” or “A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind”. Oh Legolas, won’t you ever lighten up?
Alex Eylar has been putting his film education to good use lately in a series of vignettes depicting the early years of Tinseltown both on-screen and off. As you would expect from an Eylar model, both the lighting and composition of each shot is exemplary. The series is now 15 entries deep with no sign of slowing and these are two of my favorites: Harold Lloyd’s iconic clock scene from 1923′s “Safety Last” and a recreation of the very first Academy Awards ceremony from 1929. The entries include some interesting factoids so if the history of the movies is your bag, be prepared to roll deep into Mr. Eylar’s photostream.
The title of our next featured model sounds more like the name of a module from Dungeons & Dragons, filed right next to “Shrine of the Kuo-Toa” or “Queen of the Demonweb Pits”….not that I would know anything about such a dorky game. The diorama was designed by lisqr, who really shows a mastery of how to compose a shot here. The purists among you need not fear, the swords are stuck in the gaps between log-bricks and do not appear to be cut, glued, or otherwise mangled. One of my initial reactions was to admire the builder’s choice of having only one minifig present in the expansive scene, it really adds to the desolate feeling of the diorama. You can’t actually see him in this photo, he’s just off-screen to the left, but you can get a better view in lisqr’s full set. This shot just appealed to me the most, even with the ghostly light-switch in the background it’s a critical hit!
Look twice, because this fantasy tower by Kris Kelvin (Montgomery Burns) is larger than it looks (Kris says it’s over 1.4m tall). The ramshackle, staggered look of the tower is terrific, and all the texturing on the walls gives a lot of personality to the structure.
Since both brickshelf and flickr seem to be down right now, I went outside my comfort zone and had a look at MOCpages. And after discussing the excellent “Guardian of the Emerald” creation by LukeClarenceVan I’m very glad I did. The sea serpent uses a great set of multiple textural techniques, including some nice water effect, and the diorama itself is well set up. Great work all around.