Friends of mine in the US used to own a Japanese minivan and it was reliable, comfortable and great for road trips, but about as exciting as wet noodles. When I think of Japanese cars in general, the first ones that spring to mind are tiny little boxes on wheels that seem more suitable for a shopping trolley and the second ones are competent but boring sedans. However, this impression isn’t fair at all, as shown by the Datsun Z240 by LegoMarat.
Z-cars are exciting. The 240Z had the looks of a classic long-bonneted sports car, but without the dodgy electrics that plagued similar endeavours from England. The roof on the model looks a bit too flat to me and the wheel arches are a bit awkward, but the model has presence. This is helped by its dark blue colour and the nicely curved flanks.
It doesn’t just look good; it too has some very clever engineering inside. It drives, powered by two Power Functions motors and using a servo motor for the steering. These are controlled via a nifty third-party Bluetooth controller, called an SBrick, which is specifically designed to interface with Lego Power Functions. It allows the user to operate them via an app on their smart-phone or via the internet. Its development was funded via a kickstarter campaign that Nannan reported on in July last year. You could be forgiven for thinking that this too must be Japanese, but it was actually designed in Hungary.
German builder Disco86 recently completed his triptych of builds focused on medieval Japan, for the 12th annual Colossal Castle Contest over at Classic-Castle.com. And I think it’s fair to say he saved the best for last, with this beautiful and colorful diorama. (Can you spot the lurking ninja?)
Say hello to Kamen Rider, from the successful 70’s Japanese TV franchise of the same name. This build is the work of Japanese pop-culture aficionado Moko. If it looks strangely familiar, that may be because Kamen Rider was the inspiration for a certain 90’s American knock-off called the Power Rangers (which, confusingly, spawned a spin-off called Masked Rider that aped the original show).
I love this piece not only because of its perfectly proportioned stud-less design, but because it’s just the latest in a long line of explorations of the masked rider by this builder, going back as far as 2006. Though with this latest interpretation, I think it’s fair to say he’s finally nailed it!
As a small child back in Japan, I used Go pieces to create serpentine roads across tatami floors for my little Tomica cars, but my family left Japan before I ever played a proper game. I still get nostalgic whenever I see Go games. Joe Miller built this fully functional 9×9 Go set completely from LEGO, using some rather complicated techniques to place the black lines on the board.
The lines themselves are the tops of 1×2 half-panels wedged into full (3-brick high) panels, combined with some serious sideways and upside-down (SNOT) construction.
Disco86 has built a unique bit of medieval history here. This scene depicts how the Japanse began to build rice terraces on the northern mountains of Honshū in order to cultivate rice there. The build is very striking. I can set aside my normal disgust for borders on this one because the flowing lines of the terraces are nicely accentuated by the rigidness of the border. The brightness of the blue also contrasts nicely with the black of the border and is complemented by the green vegetation. All that makes for a build that is really nice to look at.
Tyler Halliwell is best known to our regular readers as a creator of amazing LEGO busts. So his latest work – depicting the Monkey King of Chinese mythology – is an ambitious departure in terms of its size and construction. We think you’ll agree that the attention to detail and the naturalness of this figure’s clothing and facial expression are completely mind-blowing!
We journeyed for several months across the Asian subcontinent, rescuing helpless villagers from all manner of demons along the way, to visit the mountain in which Tyler has been imprisoned for the past 500 years, so we could find out more about this creation…
BB: So how many hours and how many bricks went into this creation?
TH: That’s tough to estimate, but probably about 100 hours over the past two months, with most of it coming into shape in the past two weeks. There’s less pieces than you’d think, as it’s mostly hollow but for a technic frame. So if I had to guess, I would say around 1500 bricks.
BB: What inspired you to choose the Monkey King as the subject of your latest LEGO sculpture?
Like many guys born in the seventies and eighties, as a child, I spent many Saturday mornings watching cartoons on TV. I used to watch classics such as Transformers, M.A.S.K. and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors and build them out of LEGO. By the time Pokémon came along, I had lost interest in cartoons (other than Ren & Stimpy). Pokémon struck me as an obvious ploy to get children to spend their pocket money on what were obviously rubbish toys. Gotta catch ’em all, right? Not at all like the cartoons I used to watch.
I have, of course, come to realise that my favourite cartoons were as much about selling toys as Pokémon, but I still think that much of the TV series was a bit rubbish. That said, I also realise that, to many people, Ash & Pikachu are no less iconic than Scott Tracker and T-Bob, or (dare I say it) Bumblebee and Spike Witwicky. This and the quality of the models, means that I cannot overlook these great figures built by Combee!. Pikachu looks particularly cute.
Thanks to Niels Huyzer, who suggested this to me several weeks ago.
It’s been almost three years since Japanese builder Chaosbrick (カオス煉我) created the first LEGO version of the wildly popular digital pop star and Vocaloid character Hatsune Miku (初音ミク). Since then there have been plenty of other versions, by such builders as Moko, Mike Dung, LegoWyrm and even yours truly. But now Chaosbrick has returned to outdo them all with this life sized version!
Construction of the model began in October 2013 and took 6 months to complete, during which time the builder teased fans with work in progress shots from his Twitter feed. The final model uses over 20,000 bricks, and by all accounts it was quite a feat of engineering to make such a tall and slender LEGO model stay in one piece. But the end result is spectacular in its detail and accuracy, and should meet the expectations of even the most hardened Hatsune fan. Especially with the cheeky inclusion of some brick-built fan service ;-)
At first glance nothing seems out of the ordinary about this modern Japanese tram going about its business on the streets of Sapporo, Japan…
…until you realize it was built from LEGO! Flickr member 1103spa not only went the trouble of photographing the model “on site” in forced perspective, but also did a great job using stickers to complete the illusion. Here’s the reveal:
Anime-style figure sculptures have become something of a trend these days, and Ruby Rose by Mike Dung is exemplary among them. The key to good figure sculpting in this scale is to balance creating details with merely evoking them. Ruby’s face, for instance, is nearly as simplistic as possible, while the bodice is quite intricate; both, however, meld to create a fantastic sculpture.
Mike’s not a one-hit wonder, though. Check out his other sculptures, such as Snow Miku.
I’m embarrassed to say I had no idea what a Tengu was before I saw Cade Roster’s (Apocalust) delightful build.
Using the new awesome Mixle sets, Cade has recreated this Japanese creature of legend:
The face is dead on and this little guy is just pure fun!
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This oft-quoted nugget from Arthur C. Clarke is perfectly embodied in this otherworldly model by Nick V. (Brickthing). It’s not often that I’m blown away by the aesthetics of a spacecraft, but Nick is one of the best builders in the community, and has been tearing it up of late. This model, an alien “deity” worshipped by ancient humanity, à la Stargate, is a study in excellence.
To avoid making every other post here on Brothers Brick one of Nick’s new models, I’m also going to point out this stunning bonsai tree.