This month’s cover photo is this Star Trek inspired bridge scene by Guy Smiley. It’s a miniature symphony in it’s use of lighting, color, texturing, fine details and blank space. The sole figure on his raised plinth, back to us, gazing outward, really conveys a sense of the loneliness of command in the loneliness of space.
The LEGO Speeder Bike Group is hosting their annual Racing League Contest. Any minifig-scale speeder bikes are welcome to enter. Check out the group’s photo pool for examples, if you aren’t familiar with the genre.
There are three Grand Prize sets up for grabs, as well as individual category prize sets, donated by The Brothers Brick!
This week we were able to track down Fedde Barendrecht to his Australian hideaway in Brisbane. Fedde, who goes by the handle Karf Oohlu, works from home, uploads another crazy LEGO creation almost daily and dreams of world domination. Somehow lots of monkeys and frogs are involved. Let’s dive into his mind but keep your wits about you. Once he has us in his tentacled embrace he may not let go again.
The Brothers Brick: Hey Fedde! What can you tell us about yourself? How did you get into LEGO and what keeps you there?
Fedde: Hi, I’m an old fart, my name is Fedde Barendrecht, Dutch born, Australian raised, and now living in Brisbane Australia. I blame a certain AFOL, Aaron Andrews (aka Darkspawn)—it’s all his fault. The first time I’d visited his place, I saw all the castle MOCs he was working on. (These days, family life—kids—is burning up most of his spare time, and cost him his Lego room.) It got me interested, so I first got into Bionicle, thinking they seemed restrictive and so would feed the interest but not get out of hand. A few System sets eventually got bought, some more—things got out of hand.
The wedge is a classic shape in LEGO starfighter designs, and that can mean a pointy model needs something eyecatching to stand out from the crowd. mrutek‘s Arrow does exactly that, through a combination of beautifully-shaped brickwork, and a retina-dazzling yellow color scheme. I’m a particular fan of the use of “bow” curves down the ship’s sides to create a lovely smooth section.
Sometimes LEGO creations using one predominant colour can see the details get washed-out and lost, ending up a little bland. The builder escapes that trap here through some judicious striping, and depth of texture added through the use of smaller tiles. Personally, I might have gone with blue rather than black for the stripes to create a bit more visual jazz, but that’s nitpicking at an otherwise lovely little spaceship.
What use is a super-cool, super-fast speederbike if it won’t go? Don’t underestimate the importance of vehicle maintenance in LEGO’s far-future. Sad Brick makes the mechanic the hero in this smart hangar diorama. The speeder bike itself looks great — it’s a veritable festival of greebling. But don’t miss the wall of neatly-placed tools, and the cabinet towards the rear with its tiny drawers — little details that create a sense of reality. Finally, the use of a blue glass “notepad” by the minifig is a cool futuristic touch (even if it is a it of a sci-fi trope!)
Building anything tiny out of LEGO is always a joy — especially when you’re able to use parts creatively as something other than what they were designed for. Cole Blaq‘s hoverbike, which is modified heavily from a bike frame, has a few things that stand out. One is that jetpack that seems to be mounted at the back of the rider, but what really tickles my fancy are the telescopic fork tubes that utilise paint roller handles. Bring your own helmet if you’re up for a fast ride… no license needed where there are no roads built for it.
Nobody likes to do chores, but even a starship needs to be swept and dusted to ensure those grey space corridors are dust free for photoshoots. This fun little scene by TBB contributor Jen Spencer shows some Brooma and Waita droids helping out with the chores, albeit with a general lack of enthusiasm for their task. Jen’s little droids are adorable, with their cute pot bellies and Kardishan-esque booties.
The part used for their ‘assets’ is the dark orange 2×2 curved top brick, which is also the seed part in the ongoing ABS Challenge contest. And did you spot the ingeniously subtle use of the huge Airplane wing parts forming the walls and doorway?
The comical posing of the droids really makes this little scene for me; the Waita droid at the end seems to be struggling with his heavy plate of fruit. The poor Brooma droid on the lower floor is having to deal with a messy Cola spillage. I hope he has called for some back-up, ideally droids bearing mops and buckets!
This week we were able to sit down with Vincent Gachod from Toulouse, in the south of France. While balancing his job as the head of video production at a french university and raising two kids, he finds time to create some incredible LEGO builds. Let’s pick his brain and see what we can learn from this master of the brick.
TBB: How did you get into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Vince: I started with LEGO in the mid 70’s with bricks from my brother’s collection. My first set was the 374 Fire Station of 1978. After my “dark age” in the 90’s, I came back to LEGO with my son and his first sets. I’m inspired by lot of influences (movies, animation, videos games, books, magazines, cars, architecture…) but I’m more inspired by the details : a car’s wheel, a plane’s engine or a vintage vacuum cleaner! I often start a MOC from a single detail like a car’s grille or an exhaust pipe. I spend a long time working on details.
There’s something strangely familiar and yet haunting in this simple creation by Chris Maddison. Maybe it’s the loneliness of being in space or on a far-away planet that evokes the terror of the unknown. What horror lies ahead that seems partially organic and yet at the same time part machine that preys on an unknowing space explorer? Chris pulls off a frightful yet calming scene inspired by an artist who dreams up of things that preys on what we fear the most.
There are wings and portrusions of unknown function sticking out of this starfighter by Perig Perig and I am totally cool with that. Unique shaping like this is becoming more and more the standard of spaceships lately, which is comparable to extremely detailed stonework in castle creations. There is a great balance of smooth surfaces and technical looking details, which together with great colour blocking and splashes of contrasting colours come together into a very memorable little fighter. It looks very swooshable too.
And very good presentation (combining two angles on the same photo) really invites a closer inspection. My only complaint is the “windshield”, which is not integrated very well into the white frontal area.
French builder F@bz is well known for building fabulous sci-fi vehicles of every sort. His latest futuristic LEGO creation has some sharp, clean lines and a lovely pop of lavender. But what really caught my eye was the use of those Paradisa roof slopes on the rear of F@bz’s spacey drone.
In fact, those printed tiles remind me so much of LEGO Set 6419: Rolling Acres Ranch (and consequently, my childhood) that I cannot stop picturing these drones being remotely controlled by a crack team of horse scientists (via hoof-compatible controls, of course). Come to think of it, the shaping on this drone looks a little like a horse’s head and neck… anyone else see that?
Close behind his recent space fighter, ZCerberus proves he’s on a Neo-Classic Space (NCS) roll with a similarly-themed support craft. It’s neat to see such a specialized spacecraft in minifigure-scale, and furthermore in those classic space colors. The builder incorporated enough functions and hidden features to resonate the inner child of any adult – including a compartment for a small ATV. This latest build is just one in a series of NCS creations by ZCerberus, and we’re told the biggest and best is yet to come.