What better way to explore the see the sights of Victorian London than aboard the latest in steam-driven LEGO transportation? This contraption, cobbled together by Revan New, has room for only one passenger, but makes up for its limited capacity with speed. Capable of reaching the dizzying speed of 6 miles per hour, gentlefolk of a nervous disposition are advised to ride with caution.
The model has a nice level of texture and detail, as does the base. The woven basket and streetlamp are relatively simple, but add a sense of place and period. The only bit I’m unconvinced by is the use of a white droid arm as a plume of steam — I think it would look better with round white plates or stacked ice cream pieces. However, that’s a minor nitpick at a smart little steampunk vignette.
French builder Vince Toulouse has invented a Victorian era motorcycle using dark green elements from the legendary 10194 Emerald Night train set. But there is no better way to personalize a model than with a couple of bold touches. This time these are a pair of the biggest Technic shock absorbers, which still cannot drag all the attention from a masterfully devised and executed grill on the front of the bike’s body, made with a dozen golden 1×1 rings.
If “LEGO Sandpunk” wasn’t a thing before, it totally is now thanks to this wonderful desert city scene from sweetsha. Windmills abound amidst the Middle-Eastern architecture, and there’s a nice sense of activity with the bustle of minifigs around market stalls. However, it’s the huge clock that dominates the townscape, creating an eerie collision between mysticism and technology. The whole thing is reminiscent of Stargate, but the transformation of the gate into a clock is a masterstroke, turning this into something all its own.
My only niggle with the model is the relatively plain studs-up base, which might have benefited from some added texture — pebbles, boulders, maybe a couple of plants. However, that’s a minor criticism of an otherwise well-built and interesting diorama. Check out this wider view to get the full effect of this creative build (and don’t miss the smart use of hot-air balloon pieces to create the onion dome on the foreground building on the left).
The LEGO watchmen stalk the streets, keeping their eye on a wary citizenry. Dwalin Forkbeard‘s sinister steam-driven sentinel would like to remind you that if you’re behaving in accordance with the law then you have nothing to fear from their oversight. This is great steampunk/clockpunk building. I love the use of the welding mask, the twin-barrel blasters as control sticks, and of course, the design of those fabulous spindly legs. But the highlight of this model for me is the wonderful streetlight.
Dwalin says he took inspiration from the Tallboys of the Dishonered videogame. I recognise this in some of the elements, but I also think this has a nice clanky style all of its own.
Those who attended Brickslopes in 2015 may recognize this build from K.Kreations. Well, it’s finally been photographed and put online, so the rest of us can enjoy it! This fantastic floating rock plays home to a Guild House, combining some of the builder’s favorite things: castle, steampunk, and rocks. It’s a winning combination. I love the stonework on the side of the building, and the details on the tower are wonderful. There’s a lot going on in this creation, and all of it’s great.
Building for the first time in steampunk style, Robert Heim wanted to create something “wacky and flimsy looking”, but created something rather streamlined instead. This sleek steampunk racing machine features fantastic steam billowing out of the rear mounted boiler vents, and copious amounts of gold Bionicle parts used in interesting ways. The wheel guards are made from Visorak heads, and the front fenders are made from shoulder armor and a couple of ice picks. The nose of the vehicle looks great. I love the wing mirrors, but what sells it for me is the look of sheer delight on the drivers face.
Let’s get the magnifying glass out and take a closer look at these Steambugs.
See all of these LEGO critters up close
In the steampunk realm, vehicles are powered by the Victorian power of choice: industrial steam. Well, with a futuristic spin, of course. This LEGO steampunk galleon by Chris Wright fits the genre perfectly — a huge steam-powered mega-wheel with a central ship that seems to defy gravity. The detailed central minifigure-scale ship remains stationary within the huge outer wheel thanks to a collection of wheels at the points where the two meet. The ship itself is full of great details but the first thing to catch my attention is the size of this thing and colour scheme thanks to those Medium Azure highlights throughout.
See more of this massive steampunk marvel
This week we were fortunate enough to track down Guy Himber. Guy has worked extensively in the film industry with credits for special effects, creature mechanics, makeup and more. He is a prolific Steampunk builder and has authored a book on the subject entitled LEGO Steampunk. He runs the Iron Builder LEGO competition and has founded his own company, CrazyBricks, which manufacturers quirky, short-run, custom pieces compatible with LEGO. Let’s dive in and raid his brain!
TBB: What can you tell our readers about how you got into building with LEGO?
Guy: Like most folks I grew up playing with LEGO as a kid. Countless were the hours I spent building and rebuilding and sorting and blowing up my favorite plastic bricks. The dark ages kicked in around middle school and I didn’t do much with the bricks until I started using them to do some mechanical prototyping for animatronics in the Film Industry (mainly Technic bricks from my old collection). When my son was old enough I got him his first LEGO set and he took to the bricks like his old man and the two us started building more and more sets and then creating massive environments and Jurassic Parks. The fateful AFOL day arrived via a special trip to BrickCon in Seattle many years ago. That was the Con that got me bit by the LEGO bug again and started me building at a serious level.
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.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Paul Hetherington and take a tour inside his head to see how he invents such fantastic creations. Our readers will recognize him as the builder of our Creation of the Year 2016, Gotham Theater Showdown, but his creations span a much greater range in subject and technique than many people may realize. Let’s get to know Paul, shall we?
TBB: Can you give us a little background on how you got into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Paul: I’ve been into the LEGO hobby since before you could reasonably use the word “classic” to describe old space and castle sets. I bought my first set as an adult in 1991, which was the Space M-Tron Pulsar Charger. Little did I know back then that I had just taken the first step on an epic journey — one that would introduce me to so many amazing people, and have my LEGO creations be recognized around the world. Because back in 1991, as far as I knew, I was the only crazy adult who bought LEGO sets.
There are so many things that inspire me to build. My first creations were just built for my own enjoyment, as there was no way to share them. Then when the internet came along, all of a sudden a local LEGO club formed which I joined. From that point I had a reason to build. The first years of creating were mainly spent recreating local buildings, trains and hot rods for train shows and museums. I found I really enjoyed doing research to ensure that my creations were historically accurate and to scale. I soon became inspired to add some fantasy elements into my creations. I discovered Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and the works of Antoni Gaudi. Theme parks, Mardi Gras floats, and parades were also a great source of inspiration.
More recently, I had the pleasure to work with the artist Douglas Coupland on an installation and came to the realization that Lego has a place in the Art world. I find the Surrealists, especially Dali, and Pop Art, and Comic book art to be particularly inspiring. In recent years my creations have had more of an artistic twist and I see myself going more in that direction. Architecture will always be at the heart of what I do and is usually the catalyst for my creations.
Charis Stella depicts the moment when two proud LEGO inventors introduce their latest steampunk automaton to a pair of potential inventors. The figure posing here is well done, with nice use of custom arms allowing one of the inventors to adopt an appropriate “Goodness Gracious” stance. But it’s the clanky contraption doffing his hat to the visitors which captures the eye — a lovely touch which adds a bunch of character.