Tag Archives: Pop Culture

Bricks vs Pixels: the ultimate showdown

OK, so we all know the movie Pixels didn’t turn out how we’d wished a real life- and video game-mashup would, but it’s still a mighty cool concept. South Korean professional builders Olive Seon have run with that concept with an awesome diorama loosely inspired by the movie Pixels. Featuring the iconic scene of Pac-Man munching down a street, the builders have added some characters from Minecraft and several other games also. See how many game characters you can find!

He’s Popeye the LEGO Man!

Very few characters lend themselves to being made out of solid, usually rectangular bricks without some amount of artistic interpretation. But Popeye, with his cartoonish proportions, actually lends himself to being made in brick. Eh, it must be the spinach.

Kosmas Santosa brings the character to life with a faithful build that manages to nail every aspect of the famous design of the sailor. Some custom stickers give the spinach cans their labels and that massive forearm an anchor tattoo, but the rest is straight LEGO and all Popeye.


The cars are the stars -the sequel

Somewhat to my shame, in my time as a contributor to this blog, I have not been a particularly prolific writer. This was particularly true at times when I was also busy writing things for work or dealing with a lot of deadlines, as I have been for a while now. I think all of us at TBB have been struggling with similar issues lately, as you may have gathered from the reduced frequency of posts. Even our lemur isn’t safe, although, to his credit, the kitchen tiles in the compound are now shinier than ever. Since for me stress-relief is a big reason for building, perhaps surprisingly, the upshot of being busy at work is that I do build lots of new models. This is far easier and also more relaxing than writing.

Movie/ TV vehicles May 2015

I’ve been working on a collection of famous vehicles from movies and TV series for about two years now, but by October last year I felt I was about done. However, enthusiastic reactions and suggestions for new ones that I got when I displayed them at the Great Western LEGO show in Swindon (UK) made me decide to continue and to diversify a bit more, by including helicopters. The vehicles in the picture are most of the ones I built since. I already wrote about Blue Thunder and Airwolf, in the back row, but you may not have seen any of the others. The third helicopter is the UH-1H “Huey” that serves as the personal transport for the surf-obsessed and completely insane Lt.Col. Kilgore, from Apocalypse Now. The other vehicles are Korben Dallas’ flying taxy from The 5th Element, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Capt. Nemo’s car from The League of extraordinary gentlemen, the Munster Koach from The Munsters, the GM Ultralite police car from Demolition Man, the AMC Pacer from Wayne’s world and, last but not least, the motorcycle with sidecar from Indiana Jones: the last crusade, all built to the same scale.

To be continued…

Thank you, come again – LEGO announces 71016 The Kwik-E-Mart

LEGO unveiled a second set from The Simpsons today, 71016 The Kwik-E-Mart, which will be available later this year.


Click through for the full album.

As a child of the ’90s, The Simpsons was my favorite show, and naturally Lego was my favorite toy. My reaction to the combination of the two was ambivalence; as much as I still love Lego and hold nostalgia for the golden years of The Simpsons, their merging still feels somewhat unnatural, a feeling continuously reinforced by the uncanny valley nature of the bulbous cartoon heads on classic minifig bodies.

All that said, I’m excited for this set. I don’t believe Lego has ever tackled the inside of a convenience store before, and the set is chock full of nicely designed accessories and a plethora of printed and stickered details. But enough of my reaction based on a set of photos, here’s the press release;

71016 – The Kwik-E-Mart

Ages 12+. 2,179 pieces.
US $199.99 – CA $229.99 – DE 199.99€ – UK £169.99 – DK 1699.00 DKK
*Euro pricing varies by country. Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.

Visit The Kwik-E-Mart—Springfield’s favorite convenience store!

Welcome to The Kwik-E-Mart—your one-stop shop for convenience foods at inconvenient prices! This highly detailed and iconic LEGO® version of The Simpsons™ store is packed with more rich, colorful details than a Mr. Burns birthday cake has candles! Walk under the huge Kwik-E-Mart sign and join Homer, Marge and Bart as they browse the aisles filled with beauty products, diapers, dog food, pastries, fruits, vegetables and more—including Krusty-O’s and Chef Lonelyheart’s Soup for One. Then head over to the refrigerated cases where you’ll find Buzz Cola, chocolate milk, various other drinks and snacks… and frozen Jasper! There’s also a Buzz Cola soda fountain, juice dispensers, coffee machine, arcade games, ATM and stacks of Powersauce boxes. At the counter, Apu is ready to tempt you with a variety of printed magazines, comic books, cards, tofu hot dogs, freshly expired donuts and his ever-popular hallucination-inducing Squishees. At the back, there’s a storage closet complete with rat and an exit. On the roof you’ll discover Apu’s secret vegetable garden, while outside this amazing model features bright-yellow walls, 2 phone booths, a stack of purple crates, and a dumpster area with ‘El Barto’ graffiti, opening door and an iconic blue dumpster that also opens. You can also remove the roof and open out the rear walls for easy access. This set also includes Snake (a.k.a. Jailbird), who loves nothing more than stealing cars and robbing the Kwik-E-Mart—but this time Chief Wiggum is hot on his tail in his police car. Capture this bandit and return peace to the town of Springfield and the amazing Kwik-E-Mart. This fantastic set includes 6 minifigures with assorted accessory elements: Homer Simpson, Bart Simpson, Marge Simpson, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Chief Wiggum and Snake (a.k.a. Jailbird).

  • Set includes 6 minifigures with assorted accessory elements: Homer Simpson, Bart Simpson, Marge Simpson, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Chief Wiggum and Snake (a.k.a. Jailbird)
  • Features opening rear walls, a removable roof with secret vegetable garden, Kwik-E-Mart signage, light-blue walls, dusty blue floors, turquoise welcome mat, shelves, refrigerated cases, counter, Buzz Cola soda fountain, juice dispensers, coffee machine, 2 arcade games, ATM, crates of Powersauce bars, surveillance cameras, rear storage closet with a rat, cheese, rat hole and an exit door.
  • Shelves feature beauty products, diapers, dog food, pastries, fruits, vegetables and more—including Krusty-O’s and Chef Lonelyheart’s Soup for One
  • Refrigerator cabinets feature a variety of beverages including cans of Buzz Cola… and frozen Jasper!
  • Counter features a cash register, magazine and card display, lottery machine, hot dog oven, donut display and a Squishee dispenser with 2 Squishees
  • Also includes Chief Wiggum’s police car featuring an opening trunk, removable roof and space for 3 minifigures
  • Accessory elements include Bart’s spray can, Marge’s shopping basket, Apu’s broom and Chief Wiggum’s cuffs and truncheon
  • Snake (a.k.a. Jailbird) is exclusive to this set for fall 2015
  • Removable roof features rare, dark-orange bricks
  • Lift off the roof and open out the rear walls for easy access
  • Drink a Squishee and get that sugar-high feeling!
  • Apprehend Snake before he robs again!
  • Stock up with overpriced convenience goods
  • Discover frozen Jasper!
  • Relax in Apu’s utopian vegetable garden
  • Have a donut…. mmm, dooonuts!
  • Kwik-E-Mart measures over 5″ (14cm) high, 14″ (38cm) wide and 10″ (27cm) deep
  • Police car measures over 2″ (6cm) high, 2″ (6cm) wide and 5″ (15cm) deep

Building a teenage dream

While many here in Seattle spent the last week getting over our last-minute defeat at Super Bowl XLIX, the rest of the country seems to have been focused on Katy Perry’s half time show – in particular the fabulously unsynchronized “left shark”.

Several of you were puzzled that I didn’t jump on this viral image with one of my trademark LEGO parodies. That’s because I decided to experiment with a different format on this occasion. So hats off to Conrado PLG for stepping in and creating the LEGO version that we were all dying to see!

I’m crossing my fingers that this will inspire our friends at the LEGOLAND theme parks to add a left shark “easter egg” into one of their Miniland displays. I think he’d look perfect next to sad Keanu ;-)

Lego Ideas Ghostbusters Ecto-1 Review

Generally, I am not particularly interested in sets and LEGO CUUSOO/ LEGO Ideas does not do much for me personally, but I have to admit that I was stoked when I found out that the Ghostbusters Ecto-1 by Brent Waller passed the design review and that LEGO were going to turn it into a set. I’ve been a big fan of the movie ever since I first saw it as a child. It is imminently quotable and still funny, thirty years after it was released and the car is a moviestar in its own right.

Lego ECTO-1 review

I think that the earlier Cuusoo Back to the Future DeLorean looked a bit disappointing compared to the design originally submitted to CUUSOO. Pictures of the Ecto-1 set looked pretty good, however, and I was eager to have a look at the model in real life. Last week, while on a trip, I came across the set in a toy store in Germany (for €49.90 ) and decided to buy it.

The Vehicle
The real car used for the movie was a customised 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance conversion. The 59 Cadillac is an icon of excess, known for its enormous aircraft-inspired tailfins and its ornate front, with a lot of chrome and double headlights.

Front left view

Brent’s original represented this look quite well and, as his own comparison picture shows, not much was lost when his design (on the left) was turned into the set (on the right). The car in the set is a bit less smooth, but it is also a bit smaller. This is a good thing in my book, but more about that later. Ecto-1 is a popular subject and a lot of builders have built their own examples. On most, including Brent’s original, the windscreen is too steep. On the set, however, the angle is just about spot on, but it does look a bit too tall. I built my own larger scale version last year and spent a lot of time poring over photographs of details of all the equipment and lights mounted on the roof. The set’s version is impressively faithful to the original.

Lego ECTO-1 review

The roof of the model can be easily removed, revealing an interior large enough to seat three of the figures (in tandem) and one or two proton packs in the back. The sides of the body are mostly built using SNOT techniques, which keeps the tailfins nicely thin. The side windows are angled slightly, using a clever technique involving clips and bars. The set designers have done an excellent job.

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Life sized Hatsune Miku  built from LEGO

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 ;-)

I feel the need...the need for speed

“How’s it feel to be on the front page of every newspaper in the English-speaking world, even though the other side denies the incident?” Top Gun is so cheesy, it’s like mature cheddar wrapped in a slice of Emmental with some Parmesan sprinkled on top. Yet, when I first saw the movie as a teenager, I loved it. Not for the actors and certainly not for the scenes of sweaty fighter pilots playing volleyball, mind you, but because of the true star of the movie: the wonderful Grumman F-14 Tomcat. I have been a Tomcat fan ever since and have had at least one LEGO model of a Tomcat for at least 20 years.

I have been thinking about building a larger scale aircraft for about two years now. Seeing the excellent 1/18 F-16 by Everblack a few weeks ago, in combination with my ongoing movie vehicle project prompted me to finally have a go. If I was going to bite the bullet, it would have to be a Tomcat and it would have to be the one from Top Gun, cheesy or not.

Top Gun F-14A Tomcat (1)

The process was relatively painless. Building an aircraft at a different scale was interesting. Some of the solutions that I’m used to didn’t really work, so I had to be a bit more inventive. However, the larger scale does have advantages. I had a lot more room to work with, which meant I could incorporate a lot of techniques that I normally don’t have room for. It is 108 studs long, excluding the nose probe, and with the wings in their most forward position has a wingspan of 110 studs. This isn’t small by any means, but it’s also not quite so large that I had to worry too much about structural issues.

I know that there are some readers out there who are of the opinion that I do blog rather many of my own models and, admittedly, I have blogged a fair few. I build a lot more than the ones I blog though and, be honest, do you think the other guys wouldn’t have blogged this if I weren’t one of the contributors?

LEGO Officially Announces 71006 The Simpsons House [News]

Presumably in response to this week’s unofficial release of images of the upcoming Simpsons House, LEGO has officially unveiled the set, which will be available in February. Below is the official press release.

Click on this image to see the full gallery of photos.

71006 The Simpsons™ House

Ages 12+ 2,523 pieces
US $199.99 – CA $229.99 – DE 199.99€ – UK £179.99 – DK 1,699.00 DKK
*Euro pricing varies by country. Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.

D’oh! The Simpsons™ House has been turned into LEGO® bricks!

Build The Simpsons™ House with detachable roof, modular design, car with dent, the famous family couch, 6 minifigures and so much more.

Recreate hilarious scenes from the classic animated TV series with The Simpsons™ House. Taken right out of Springfield, this amazing model is crammed with tons of LEGO® brick detail. Lift off the roof and open up the house to discover Homer and Marge’s big family bedroom including bed and Maggie’s crib, Bart’s room with his skateboard and Krusty the Clown poster, Lisa’s room with her favorite books, jazz poster and more, and bathroom with shower, toilet, sink and mirror. Lift off the top floor to reveal the fully-fitted kitchen with dining table, chairs, yellow and light-blue tiled floor and lots of pots, pans and other accessories. Then it’s into the living room with couch and TV playing Itchy and Scratchy, purple piano and more. Next to the house is the detachable garage, complete with workbench, tool rack, vacuum cleaner, broom, toolbox, tools and the family car, complete with dent (because only in a LEGO world are dents a plus!), opening trunk and ‘radioactive’ bar from the nuclear power plant. Step outside onto the terrace and you’ll find loads of cool items, including a grill, wheelbarrow and air conditioning unit with ‘Property of Ned Flanders’ decoration, sausages, 2 garden loungers, flowerpots, a shovel, 2 fruit cocktail glasses, Lisa’s camera, Bart’s skateboard ramp with ‘El Barto’ graffiti and an antenna on the roof. The Simpsons™ House is the perfect collector’s item for fans of all ages. Includes 6 minifigures: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and Ned Flanders.

• Includes 6 minifigures: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and Ned Flanders

• First floor includes yellow and light-blue tiled floor, sink, oven and stove, drawers, cups, pot, pan, bowl, mixer, plates, cake tins, cutlery, dining table and 4 chairs

• Living room features TV playing Itchy and Scratchy, couch, boat painting, telephone, carpet, purple piano and staircase to the second floor with family photos

• Bart’s room features a bed, night lamp, desk with pin board, chair, Krusty the Clown poster, skateboard, shelves with books, radio and a cap

• Marge and Homer’s bedroom features a bed, 2 side tables, Maggie’s crib and Marge’s bag
• Lisa’s room features a vanity mirror with hairbrush, stool, bed, table with lamp and cup, shelves with books, magnifying glass, backpack and a jazz poster on the wall

• Bathroom features a shower, toilet, sink and a mirror

• Detachable garage features the family car, tools, workbench, tool rack, vacuum cleaner, toolbox and a broom

• Family car with space for 4 minifigures features a dent in the front and an opening trunk to store Homer’s suitcase and a ‘radioactive’ bar from the nuclear power plant

• Outside area includes a grill, wheelbarrow and air conditioning unit with ‘Property of Ned Flanders’ decoration, sausages, 2 garden loungers, flowerpots, a shovel, 2 fruit cocktail glasses, Lisa’s camera, Bart’s skateboard ramp with ‘El Barto’ graffiti and an antenna on the roof

• Can you spot all the items Homer has “borrowed” from Ned Flanders?

• Remove the roof and top floor to access the different rooms inside

• House is hinged in the middle for easy access

• The perfect set for fans of LEGO® brick building and The Simpsons™!

• The Simpsons™ House measures over 9” (23cm) high, 16” (42cm) wide and 9” (24cm) deep


Now You Must Face the Future

It comes as no surprise that the dynamic duo Sean and Steph Mayo (Siercon and Coral) have yet again produced another stunning model that nudges the boundaries of building possibilities a little further out. The Intelligence, as this model is named, is inspired by the classic pin-art toy, and seems to be straight from the pages of a surrealism guidebook.

The Intelligence