Monthly Archives: August 2007

A steamer on legs

Zachmoe’s latest is a beautiful piece. It’s very difficult making something look this thrown together, but the result Zach gets leaves me dumbstruck. Check it out on his flickr stream. It is based on this concept art from the Classic-Space concept gallery.

Edit: The original concept art is drawn by Keith Thompson. Thanks for the heads up Ethan!

News: The New is online

Now in its fourth incarnation, is designed to become the place where new LEGO fans can learn about the hobby and see how they can get involved in the fan community.

The site will grow over time, but head on over and check out some of the sections that are already online, including several articles, news, and profiles of the current LEGO Ambassadors (with a particularly unflattering picture of me, which I’ve been meaning to have replaced).

You can contact administrators with your questions and suggestions, and I’ll also be happy to pass along anything you’d like to say.

News: The latest from PodBrix sells out in a day

Speaking of custom LEGO products, artist “Tomi” has been creating various Apple+LEGO products under the PodBrix name for several years. Tomi uses a combination of offical elements and customized pieces to create his artwork. Each new product is released as a limited edition, and seems to get more popular each time — the most recent one sold out in a day! The latest from Tomi is a vignette showing the early days of Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs (cofounders of Apple Computer):

Thanks to readers Paul and Jeremy for the reminder!

News: Barnyard animals from BrickForge

I wrote in my review last week that BrickForge would soon be selling livestock. Well, that “soon” has arrived!

The $5 cows come in solid black and Holstein white, the $3 pigs are currently available in black and pink (with white coming soon), and the $3 sheep are available in black and white. You can further customize the cows with udders — no, I’m not kidding — and horns that are sold separately ($0.50 for a pair of horns, $0.50 per udder).

BrickForge Minifig Accessories [Review]

Reminded by the pictures of their upcoming livestock shown during BrickWorld, I recently ordered a rather substantial number of weapons and accessories from BrickForge.

I wrote a review here on The Brothers Brick of modern weapons from BrickArms last February, so I thought I’d do the same with my new collection of BrickForge products. BrickForge primarily sells historical and fantasy accessories, including Greek, medieval, and “Elven” armor, as well as unique hair and beards.

The Photos
First up, Greek Hoplites and Norse warriors:

Next, a bunch of knights and dwarfs (or “dwarves,” if you prefer):

A wizard and Robin Hood:

Finally, “The Mysterious M” and some partially LEGO Nazis:

Click the individual pictures for descriptions that include which BrickForge products I used, and check out the full photoset, where I’ll be adding some minifigs I didn’t get to when I wrote this review.

My Review

As with the BrickArms weapons I’d bought before, the test for any “LEGO-compatible” accessories is how well they integrate with official LEGO elements. (And it’s going to be difficult not to compare BrickForge with BrickArms, since that’s my only other point of reference.) For me, this has to do with several factors:

  • How well the colors match (or are distinct from) LEGO colors.
  • How the custom pieces [i]feel[/i] to the touch.
  • How well the custom pieces photograph alongside LEGO.
  • The durability of the custom pieces.

BrickArms solves most of these challenges by using ABS (the same plastic as most LEGO) and only selling its products in black, the easiest color to match. A major difference about BrickForge is that it has far more products in many more colors. BrickForge accessories are durable, feel pretty much like “real” LEGO, and photograph well (as proven by Armothe, Kaminoan, and other customizers).

The only remaining potential problem, then, is their color. Here’s what I observed about the BrickForge colors when compared with LEGO colors:

  • Black: 100% match with black LEGO.
  • Bronze: Color unique to BrickForge, so no clashing issues. Really a beautiful color for the Greek accessories.
  • Brown: Matches “old” brown nicely.
  • Dark Gray: Good match with old dark gray, but slightly lighter.
  • Dark Orange: Matches the dark orange LEGO hair color nicely. (Only available in beards.)
  • Light Gray: Forgot to order an accessory in this color. :oops:
  • Red: Good match with red LEGO (and red is apparently a hard color to match).
  • Tan: 100% match to tan LEGO.
  • Silver: Color unique to BrickForge, but close enough to some pearl silver colors (with a slight blue tinge) that you might not want to use both in the same minifig.
  • White: 100% match to white LEGO.

So, in nearly every case, BrickForge produces accessories that match official LEGO elements well, and therefore BrickForge weapons do indeed meet all of my criteria for great “LEGO-compatible” products.

My one qualm is that some of the colors don’t seem 100% appropriate for the accessories that they’re available in (though perhaps I’m not thinking creatively enough). That’s just a matter of choice when you buy them, so a “problem” that’s easy enough to solve from the buyer side.

Ultimately, I think what makes BrickForge products so great is how they enable builders to extend LEGO in ways that using only official parts can’t (“Duh,” all the customizers say). The prime example of this is their Greek set. For $3.00, you get a helmet with a plume, a javelin, and a big round shield. Many builders have approximated these with the dragon helmets, regular spears, and other round shields, but the effect isn’t the same, and the BrickForge versions are so much more authentic.

Another of my favorite accessories is the beards. Available in 10 colors and two lengths, they’re much more realistic than the long white and gray (and non-production black) official beards. Perhaps we’ll see some new colors with the upcoming 7036 Dwarfs Mining set, but I doubt we’ll get new, shorter beard molds. BrickForge beards are the perfect solution.

Overall, I’m very happy with the selection and quality of BrickForge accessories, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next. Oh yeah, we already know: Livestock! :D