The Brothers Brick publishes so many stories that we’re giving you the best of LEGO news and reviews. This is our Weekly Brick Report for the last week of February.
TBB NEWS & REVIEWS: The week was light on news, but after such frantic last week, we don’t mind. We still have some reviews, an interview and a guest post for your reading pleasure.
OTHER NEWS: There was a little LEGO news from other places around the web this week. Here are a few items we noticed and thought you might enjoy.
That’s your Brick Report for the week. See you next month!
Berthil van Beek loves making some of the coolest LEGO machines around. Just a few week ago we highlighted his awesome LEGO ball maze that accelerates balls to 1,000 rpm, and he’s already back having spent more than 100 hours designing another breathtaking creation. This time, it’s an undulating wave of LEGO colors featuring 38 distinct swatches from LEGO’s palette (a palette that’s changing over the years).
Like Berthil’s ball maze, this mechanism is designed to fit with the Great Ball Contraption standard, fitting end-to-end with other fans’ creations for continual movement of LEGO’s tiny soccer balls and basketballs. Berthill tells us he was inspired to create the rainbow wave machine after seeing the vibrant rainbow of colors in the official image of LEGO’s Creator XXXL Box, which he also used a source for many of the colored bricks.
The Rainbow Wave Great Ball Contraption uses about 1,150 pieces and is powered by a single motor, with each of the colored pistons sitting on an 8-tooth gear. Each piston’s gear is exactly 1 tooth offset from its neighbors, and this means the balls travel in a perfectly level line as they move across the waving surface. Berthil says this mechanism took a lot of testing and redesigning to perfect, in particular because digital prototyping with LEGO rendering programs isn’t feasible for complicated moving machinery.
Sariel has long since been a regular feature on this site with impressive Technic and Power Functions builds such as a motorised Kaneda’s bike from Akira and a remote controlled Batpod.
Now the builder’s newest creation — an RC car modeled after the Pagani Huayra — is sure to make petrol heads like myself happy. While it may not be a purist build (it uses 3D printed covers to simulate a new rim design as well as aftermarket chromed pieces) it’s still an amazing model and all the functioning and structural bits are LEGO.
Particularly impressive are the awesome features of the build such as the “aero flaps” which flip up in unison with the front steering as well as the rear wheel drive propulsion with a transmission. Sariel gives a lot more information on how he built this car, including pictures of partial breakdowns on his website.
How do you recreate a video game using LEGO? You could build the game’s characters, or even a 3D version of a level. But that doesn’t capture the movement videogames have. Or you could do what Jason Cichon has done, and take the term “side-scrolling platformer” quite literally by turning the classic Mario Bros into a moving diorama.
The various pieces of the level are attached to a conveyor belt out of sight, and a crank on the diorama’s side scrolls the level past the viewing screen, duplicating in 3-dimensional bricks the feeling of moving through the level.
This week at the CES technology convention in Las Vegas, LEGO unveiled Boost, an entry-level building and coding toolkit to help bring your creations to life. More simple than Mindstorms, LEGO Boost (17101) is like its little brother but cooler and easier to get to know. The Brothers Brick is at CES and we’ll bring you hands-on coverage soon, but in the meantime, here are the basics.
With Rogue One dominating the news, we wanted to highlight that LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, Season One is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.
For those of you unfamiliar with the popular Disney XD show, The Freemaker Adventures is about a ragtag band of rebels tracking down a mythical lightsaber while the Empire goes about building the second Death Star brick by brick. In typical LEGO humor, expect to see cameos from all around the Star Wars universe, Palpatine’s gift shop, baby wampas, Buffy the Vampire Slayer meta-references, and a George Lucas lookalike named “The Maker” who’s gone into seclusion because he’s tired of space wars.
The DVD and Blu-ray sets are both available at Amazon on sale for around $25 — a steal for five hours of quality entertainment.
Imagine Rigney has been combining his love of LEGO and retro-scifi video game Bioshock for years. The Brothers Brick first covered his impressive entrance to the underwater city of Rapture in 2011, and in 2014 Imagine’s breathtaking Bank of the Prophet from Bioshock Infinite amazed us with its stunningly huge songbird perched above the floating city.
Well, we weren’t the only ones who noticed Imagine’s incredible talent — Bioshock developers 2K Games have also been keenly following his brick-built fan art. Recently, 2K contacted Imagine and asked him to build a brick version of the cover art for their remastered edition of the Bioshock games, Bioshock: The Collection. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Imagine set to work, and has turned out this jaw-dropping collage of Bioshock imagery.
Famous a capella group Pentatonix gets LEGO-ified in their new music video for the Christmas classic “Up on the Housetop.” The video uses YouTube’s new 360° functionality, meaning you can pan around in the video to see in every direction. While the graphic fidelity won’t be winning any awards, being able to see what’s “behind” the camera is pretty cool even without VR, and will look even better if you have Google Cardboard or another VR device.
Japanese builder akiyuki applies the concept of strain wave gearing to Great Ball Contraptions, a popular LEGO fan convention theme in which hundreds of balls are passed through complex machinery. From both an engineering and a visual standpoint, the module is mesmerizing to watch. See the module in action in the following 2 minute video.
A fascinating read detailing the design process and engineering challenges faced by the builder can be found on akiyuki’s blog.
Ingenious LEGO builders are always creating amazingly complex machines to do cool tasks — just check out this automated Christmas cookie decorating machine! Braiding rope is a fairly straightforward task for a human, but it’s complex for a machine because it requires strands to be passed underneath each other. It’s mesmerizing to watch Nico71‘s braiding machine pass three of the shuttles back and forth between the rotating spindles to interweave the 5 strands.
Manuel Nascimento built this incredible LEGO Technic Porsche 919 after watching the real-life car win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015. Not content to simply recreate the stunning shape out of LEGO, Manuel also decorated his car like the real one, saying, “I had too much fun decorating the car but at the same time I also had a lot of work because all stickers were hand made.” Check out more of this beautiful racecar below, including the working functions.
Grant Davis has built this spectacular little microscale castle. Like most LEGO microscale creations, it’s awash in terrific creativity, with lots of unusual pieces used in new ways, and the finished product belies its complexity. Fortunately for all of us curious viewers, Grant made a short video that shows some of the techniques he employed as he walks us through the disassembly of the model.