The steampunk spider from Wild Wild West is arguably the most memorable part of an otherwise forgettable movie. Leave it to none other than Imagine Rigney to render it in Lego to add to his collection of gigantic Lego creatures. Check out more photos in the builder’s Flickr set.
I’m sure many of you now have seen The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug–or at have read the book. It offers such rich locations, and I’m glad to see some start to crop up!
Lake Town offered something of a welcome rest for the group heading toward the Lonely Mountain, but of course things never just go the way they’re supposed to for the protagonist of any tale. Fianat has presented Lake Town the way he felt it could have been, and I have to say I really dig his version.
Disney’s latest hit Frozen has such fantastic characters–Olaf being one of them. His wish is to see summer time (and it’s DEFINITELY close to summer-time weather here in Florida). In his words, winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle, but put him in summer and he’ll be a….happy snowman.
Joe Meno‘s brilliant Olaf took his WALL-E towel down to the beach to catch some of those rays:
You can see Joe’s process and progress in his Flickr gallery!
A few week ago we reviewed two of the four new sets for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. With the movie opening this evening and all of the sets now available in stores and on LEGO.com, we’ll dive into the third set, 79011 Dol Guldur Ambush, which is the smallest of the lot.
79011 Dol Guldur Ambush comes with a $19.99 USD price tag, but has an admirable 217 pieces and three minifigs packed in. Taking place in the second film, the set portrays a scene not pictured in the book, in which Beorn ventures to Dol Guldur, the stronghold of the rising dark force we will later know as Sauron. Inside the box are two unnumbered bags and a very crumpled instruction manual. This is a terrific set for parts, particularly for castle builders, as nearly the entire set consists of black, greys, and browns. The instructions first call for the construction of a small double-catapult, which is really a plate with two wheels and two of the mini-catapults. It’s effective, but hardly inspired. The main portion of the set consists of the ruins of Dol Guldur, an ancient fortress. Here we get a bit of broken rocky wall surrounding a large entryway. Of course, as the set name implies, there’s an ambush. On each side of the door there are lever-controlled booby-traps: on the left are two axes, and on the right a giant hammer contraption. Neither are actually triggered by a pressure plate or anything — you simply swing them into place independently with your fingers via a knob on top. To the right of the main doorway is a segment of rock connected by a hinge brick. This swings aside to reveal — you guessed it: a flick-fire missile. A spare missile is included if you really want to go nuts. That’s about it as far as play-features in this set are concerned. The real noteworthy part here, though, is the wall itself. Much like the Mirkwood Elf Army wall, it is constructed almost completely from very small pieces. The designer went a little crazy with the Brick, Modified 1 x 1 with Stud on 1 Side, using 20, when fewer than half that number actually utilize the extra side stud. However, I see this as a bonus rather than otherwise, since the modified brick tends to be more useful. There are also two of the “dougnut tiles,” or Tile, Round 2 x 2 with Hole in dark grey. This is the only set that is actually released yet which contains this highly useful piece, though other sets with it are in the lineup for the new year.
There are three minifigs in the playset: two Gundabad orcs and Beorn. The two orcs are the twins of the two included in the Mirkwood Elf Army, except that the two here haven’t gone prematurely bald. Mighty woodsman Beorn is the unique figure to this set, and he is a profound disappointment. The great furry mane is not a new hairpiece, but is actually part of the head. There is no excuse for LEGO to have taken this route, since the part of the head that is visible is clearly shaped like a normal LEGO head. Nevertheless, the hair and head is all molded as one, reducing the usefulness of it considerably. I won’t bother to enumerate here all the times LEGO has managed to produce similar head/hair combinations without resorting to this sort of shoddy work.
Ultimately, however, this is a really excellent set. The minifigs are not worth bothering with, but the bricks make the set more than worth-while. The wall, while not particularly exciting, is very nicely done, and it even connects up to the bigger 79014 Dol Guldur Battle set to make a bigger playset.
79013 Lake-town Chase is the medium-sized set from the new year-end lineup of Hobbit kits, set to release in conjunction with the second movie on Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug. Some of the new sets are available through Amazon with a ship date of Dec. 1, though sadly Lake-town Chase isn’t available at the time of writing.
79013 Lake-town Chase depicts a scene presumably from late in the second film, when our heroes arrive in Lake-town, the village built upon Long Lake under the shadow of the Lonely Mountain. It’s a town built upon a pier, with the entire town raised above the waters of the lake to act as a natural moat and to aid in defense against the fiery breath of the great dragon Smaug. The set is priced at $49.99 USD, weighing in with 470 pieces. Included are two of Lake-town’s structures and a longship.
The box contents contain no surprises: 4 numbered bags, 2 instruction manuals (2 bags per), a very small sticker sheet, and the loose boat mast. Bag No. 1 builds the ship, Bilbo Baggins, and Thorin Oakenshield. The ship is a great build, cleverly placing 2 rowboats stern to stern to create the hull. The boat is the twin of 7016 Viking Boat against the Wyvern Dragon from 2005’s Viking theme. I’m OK with that, though, since the Viking theme was one of LEGO’s coolest non-licensed themes in the last decade, and the 7016 was one of the better sets from that line. The few minor differences are simply swapping out a few details, such as utilizing the newer smooth round shields instead of the old stickered Technic disks, plus the addition of a nifty brick-built furled sail. The shields here are printed with a Viking-esque double fish pattern which looks fantastic. There’s a large barrel in the fore of the longship to finish up the Barrel Escape scene from the last wave of sets (but still from the second film). Also included is a mini catapult in the aft. Bilbo is naturally equipped with Sting and the One Ring, and Thorin is armed with the gladius. As per usual, two extras of the One Ring are included, along with an extra oar and some typical spares.
Bag No. 2 builds the smaller of the 2 buildings. I’m not entirely sure what sort of building it’s intended to be. Part of it seems to be some sort of armory, containing a removable rack with extra weapons. The opposite half of the building has a small enclosed space, with a flip-up door/barrel of fish. The action is controlled via a knob on the side. There’s a ladder on the side that can function as a gangway between the two buildings. For both of the buildings, the pier is depicted by placing large plates atop 1-brick high pillars over blue plates, a visual language LEGO has been using since 1991’s 6267 Lagoon Lock-up. This bag also contains the only generic figure of the set, the Lake-town Guard, who is armed with a fancy pike.
Bags No. 3 and 4 together make up the larger structure, which is a jail. True to form with all LEGO prisons, there’s a lever-activated break-away wall segment for easy escapes. The neighboring house has an upper floor containing a simple table and lamp, though no ladder, and there’s a balcony above the cell which contains another mini-catapult. The entire building is open in the rear. All 3 of the stickers are used in this section. While I’m not typically a fan of stickers, the ones included here are pretty innocuous. There are wood plank stickers which are applied to 1×4 and 1×6 brown tiles, and the jailhouse sign hanging out front is stickered with a padlock image. I went ahead and applied all 3, since I can see them being useful in their stickered forms in other creations. There are also 2 more of the of the reddish-brown “Gothic” arches which I noted in 79012 Mirkwood Elf Army. Both this building and the previous are frosted with patches of snow, which looks quite nice and increases the visual interest of the buildings considerably. This segment includes the final 2 minifigures: heroic Bard and the Master of Lake-town, carrying a bow and a pearl gold key, respectively.
I understand that LEGO feels it necessary to include protagonist characters in every set in the theme, but I really wish this set had included more guards or townsfolk instead of Bilbo and Thorin. Thorin, at least, has a torso print that is unique to this set. Bilbo is identical to versions that have appeared in multiple previous sets. The generic Lake-town guard looks snappy in an ornate purple frock over armor. The helmet is a very detailed accessory, with a silver top, dark tan fur brim, and brown leather side flaps. The crest on the helmet is quite generic, so it won’t look out of place in other settings. The guard’s pike now has a hole in the bottom that is almost, but not quite, the size of a plume. You can fit a plume in, but it’s extremely tight and doesn’t seat all the way. It’s an odd change, but of no real consequence. The Master of Lake-town has a detailed suit of fine clothes and an ornate hat that incorporates his flowing hair. The hat has a plume hole in the top. The Master also wears a double-sided cape of dark tan and dark red, which looks fantastic. And finally, there’s Bard. In every trailer I’ve seen for The Desolation of Smaug, I can’t help but see Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner character from Pirates of the Caribbean. The semblance is perpetuated in the minifig version of Bard, who looks more like Will Turner than the official Will Turner minifig. Bard is sporting Qui-Gon Jinn’s hairpiece in black, which is a new color for that piece. The LEGO kid is still featured on the back of the instruction manuals, looking like an adolescent R. Lee Ermey as he screams at you to take the survey.
Lake-town Chase doesn’t seem to contain a lot of chase, though it does contain a nice bit of Lake-town. It’s a solid set; the buildings are well-built and looking nice, and the ship is great. There’s not much in the way of unique or new elements, aside from the arches, but the vast majority of the pieces are brown or dark brown, with plenty of log bricks, so if you want to stock up on brown, this is a good way to do it. Fans of the line will be interested in it for the 4 unique figures. Fans can create much more interesting wooden structures than the ones found in this set, but any equivalently sized fan-created set would cost at a minimum twice as much, so we can’t be too harsh on LEGO.
Be sure to also read our previous review of The Hobbit’s 79012 Mirkwood Elf Army.
MOCpages people’s champion matt rountRee just finished his take on the famous zero-G hallway fight scene from 2010’s Inception and it is every bit as eye catching as the film. The expression on Arthur’s face is perfect and the pose of the bad guy makes for an inspired tribute to the trippy scene. If you follow the link you’ll find some interesting commentary about the build and some pulled-back photos that show how extensive the set-up is.
It’s time to celebrate the success of one of our own, constant reader, a 15 year veteran of the hobby known far and wide as Nathan Todd who’s first feature film has just today hit the big-screens in the UK. No it has nothing to do with Lego, but when a cherished member of our tribe makes good on this level I think it is incumbent upon us to raise our collective glass in celebration. I had the good fortune of meeting Nathan at Chicago’s BrickWorld back in 2010; he’s one of those characters you meet at a convention that makes an immediate and indelible impression, so much so that I jumped at the chance to pimp his film. However, in an attempt to appease concerned parties I’ve included a couple of outstanding Irish themed models at the end of this shameless advertisement. IMDB provides the plot synopsis:
“A BELFAST STORY” explores life after terrorism. Set in a city which has weathered hundreds of years of hatred, 30 years of bombs and a war without winners, just victims. A new era brings new risks. There is peace, but that can also be deadly.”
“We had some amazing good fortune in not only being one of the first projects (in any field) to bring together contributors from the two sides of our war torn city and have them work together, but also had some really amazing Hollywood lads throw in their skills to bring what would otherwise be a very local story up to the big screen. (The crew has 24 Oscar Nominations between them, take a look through the production notes if you want a good laugh about just which high powered lads will give in and help you if you annoy them enough.)“.
The film has not been released in the U.S. as of this posting, so I don’t have an official rating to pass on but given the subject matter and the trailer, it wouldn’t be appropriate for young kids or sensitive mankinder. If it helps your appreciation of the film at all, Nathan did specifically mention that he thought building Lego dioramas payed off while working on the project. If you’re interested in seeing the film and supporting Nathan, head over to the official Facebook page.
Now on to the Lego related portion of the post.
First up is the beautiful “Survivors of Trauma Lego Mosaic” by Alyska Bailey Peterson. According to the builder “based on the stained glass window “Survivors of Trauma” at the St Silas Church in North Belfast, Ireland. The original window was designed by Alice McGuinness of Ogham Gallery. The Survivors of Trauma Center was established in 1995 to assist those affected by the troubles in North Belfast, and help them transition from victims to survivors, empowering the community to become vibrant once again.”
Best of luck Nathan and congratulations from the tribe.
Sometimes a model doesn’t need to be hugely complicated or full of wonderfully clever new connections of parts to be great, although there is definitely some clever stuff going on here if you look closely.
If, like me, you grew up watching cartoons in the eighties, the Autobot logo built by Jason Alleman (True Dimensions) really needs no further explanation. If you want to build your own (and you know you want to), you can even download instructions from Jason’s own website.