Monthly Archives: May 2012

Nice Curves

Tromas says that he was inspired to build this little ship by playing a video game called Phoenix. I think I need to get my hands on a copy of the game, because this looks awesome.

The cockpit is an interesting shape and opens and closes well. The color scheme and shape are pretty unique, and it’s impossible to overlook the ridiculous array of weapons.

R-T07 Gonzolla

Mihai’s Inferno: The 9 circles of Hell made in Lego

Mihai Mihu completed a series of creations depicting the 9 circles of Hell. While staying true to the theme of poetic justice served to the sinners, Mihai portrays the punishments through his own interpretations. The recurring architectural elements and portrayal of the sinners tie the scenes together in a way that’s easy for the viewer to transition through. In this short interview, the builder talks about his project and the individual circles of Hell.


TBB: Tell us about your 9 circles of Hell project.

Mihai Mihu: It all started last year with a contest on MOCpages (The 2011 MOC Olympics) where I was challenged to build a MOC in just two colors. I decided to approach an architecture theme for the entry as it was in my comfort zone. While building and the things progressed, the lack of colors made the MOC look lifeless. It was then when I had the idea to transform it into an underworld scene and I named it Limbo.

After the many positive comments that I received, I thought and then decided that it would be great to continue this MOC as an artistic series and I saw a great opportunity to display my skills and my love for design and architecture.

The whole project took me 7 months to complete, with about 2 to 3 weeks for the development of the ideas, design and building of each circle.

TBB: What is your approach to depicting each circle?

MM: The concept of the 9 circles is the work of maybe the first true master of fiction Dante Alighieri. It’s such an interesting idea, and I’ve been meaning to make a re-imagining of the hell depicted by him.

I didn’t read the Divine Comedy, only the small descriptions of the circles I found on Wikipedia and on other websites. I didn’t want to be much influenced by the original descriptions because I wanted to give a whole new fresh approach for each circle. I thought more about the significance of titles and from then on it was only my imagination.

TBB: Tell us about each of the creations.


A place of monotony, here the souls are punished to wander in restless existence while they moan helplessly in echoes between the ruins of a temple.


Surrounded by erotic representations, those overcome by lust are forced to watch and experience disgusting things, ultimately being condemned to drown in the menstrual river.


The circle itself is a living abomination, a hellish digestive system revealing horrific faces with mouths ready to devour the gluttons over and over for eternity.


This pompous place is reserved for the punishment of the greedy ones. The hands of the damned are popping out of the walls and are trying to grab the riches around them or to drag the new arrivals in and feed on their lust for wealth.


In this depressing place the souls are trapped in the swamp, they can’t move and they cannot manifest their frustration which is making them even more angry. Here I wanted to approach a theme more about feelings and emotions. The weeping statue represents those who turned their sadness into anger.


The giant demon watches closely over his fire pit, dwarfing the damned that are dragging the new arrivals in the boiling lava. Those who committed the greatest sins against God are getting a special treatment inside the temple where they are doomed to burn for eternity in the scorching flames.


A place of intense torture where the horrific screams of the damned are eternally accompanied by the hellish beats of drums. There are lots of elements here to convey violence like the suicide statues on top of the ruined citadel, the hanged souls or the river of blood.


In Fraud the Demons enjoy altering the shape of souls, this is how they feed. In this process, the soul manifests its true fraudulent nature and reveals the cheats and tricks that it has committed in life. This is also the place of the cries and lament of a chained Titan who betrayed Zeus.


Lucifer lies here chained by the Angelic Seal which keeps him captive in the frozen environment. All the souls who are cast in Treachery are first processed by the flying demons at the temple where the Judas coins are.

TBB: Which build is your favorite and which circle would you least want to be in?

MM: My favorite build is Greed, because it has a really special feel to it. I like its majestic look and the powerful emotional contrast it expresses. It’s beautiful but sinister at the same time.

Gluttony is the circle I would least want to be in. It’s always freaked me out, it’s disgusting, chaotic and vital, definitely not a place to get stuck.

The Lord of the Rings: 9471 Uruk-hai Army [Review]


I was elated this morning when my local toy store got in the new Lord of the Rings and Monster Fighters themes. I immediately picked up several of the smaller ones, and I’ll review them over the next few days as I get time. I’m super excited to finally lay hands on these sets. Today I’ll start with the largest set I picked up, 9471 Uruk-hai Army, from the Lord of the Rings license. Clocking in at $35 USD, it’s not a bad size set, considering it’s a licensed theme. With 257 pieces, it’s fewer pieces-per-dollar than the unlicensed themes, but still comes out cheaper than many Star Wars sets, and this set includes six minifigs.

9471 Uruk-hai Army
The box art is gorgeous, with a large image of Sauron’s finger wearing the one ring, with a fantastic map motif behind it. The rear of the box is pretty standard, showing all the play features, and also advertising the forthcoming LEGO The Lord of the Rings video game. Inside the box are two numbered bags, and the instruction manual. Unfortunately, it seems the brilliant idea of packaging the instructions in their own bag with a stiff piece of cardboard didn’t last long, as my instructions were quite curled and bent. On the upside though, there’s not a sticker in sight. The instructions continue the map motif lightly in the background of each page, which looks terrific.

Uruk-haiThe first bag contains the four Uruk-hai and the ballista. In keeping with recent practice, and especially the habit of licensed lines, the figures are all exquisitely detailed with both front and rear printing, and all the heads are double-sided, with a neutral expression and a battle expression. The legs and hips all have printing as well, though on the front only. The machetes and armor of the Uruk-hai are all in pearl dark grey, and seem to be of excellent quality. There are only a few pieces here that are new to me, like the Bracket 1×2 – 1×2 Inverted (recently released with the Marvel line), and a lovely brown 1×4 tile with a wood grain printing (ever so slightly different than the one found in The Burrows set).The Ballista This is, though, the first time I’ve seen 4×4 round plates used as wheels on a siege engine, instead of the old method of 4×4 round bricks, and I think I prefer the bricks, which look more like heavy wooden wheels and less like bicycle tires, even though these are probably quite serviceably within scale. The build for the ballista is pretty straight-forward, with a simple Technic frame. The ballista fires two flick-fire grappling hooks. Like most flick-fire projectiles in official LEGO sets, I’ve never been able to get much distance or speed. At least these have a little pushing mechanism, instead of pushing directly on the projectiles, as in some sets.

Eomer and the Rohirrim SoldierBag two is for the wall chunk from Helm’s Deep, and Eomer and the Rohirrim Archer (or, as LEGO puts it, the Rohan Soldier). Eomer seems a little out of place in this set, though until they make a Meduseld set (here’s hoping!) I suppose this location makes the most sense from a play-set standpoint. Eomer’s helmet is in its own bag, as is the case with most specially painted pieces. The helmet is quite amazing, both in shape (which the Rohirrim archer shares) and in printing, with golden horses on each cheek. The two men’s torso and leg printing is no less detailed, with wonderful generic armor (front and back) that will be of great use to Castle builders. The soldier’s torso is my favorite of the set, and would fit perfectly with the recent dark green dragon faction from the Kingdoms line. And then, of course, there’s the new horse. The New HorseIt’s really quite something. I have to admit that LEGO has done an absolutely fantastic job of re-designing something so iconic as the LEGO horse. I immediately grabbed a classic horse, and took some time to compare the two. The new horse’s head is slightly wider, meaning it can’t wear the head-pieces designed for the old horses, but LEGO has assured us that they’re making new ones. The body, however, while posed differently, retains the classic dimensions, meaning that classic bardings still work. The new pose-able leg-section allows for a two-legged reared up stance, and the legs actually make a soft click into place when they’re fully extended. The horse is remarkably well balanced when standing on two legs, and isn’t particularly off-balance even with a rider or when posed running.

There aren’t any new pieces in this section beyond the horse, though several pieces do make appearances in useful colors. Most noteworthy of these is the 1×2 brick with brick pattern, which appears here in light grey for the first time. This piece is going to be amazing for castle-building. Again, the construction of the 16-studs long wall is straight forward, though it is worth noting that the wall is built modularly, and is intended to fit with 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep to make an even longer wall, which is rather a cool idea. The wall includes a small catapult fixed in place, so you’d best hope that the Uruk-hai don’t veer to the left or right as they charge. Beyond that, the set is pretty sparse on built-in play features, though somehow I doubt kids (and big kids) will have much trouble figuring out what to do with it.

9471 Uruk-Hai ArmyMy conclusion: With six highly detailed minifigures, a bit of wall, and a ballista, this set is a great introduction to the Lord of the Rings line, even though it doesn’t come with any members of the Fellowship. I’m sure a great many of you plan on buying the whole Lord of the Rings line no matter what I say, but if you want a larger orc army, this is a fantastic way to get it.

Check out these Studs!

Brandon Griffith, who you may remember from his role in the awesome Tower of Orthanc diorama, has a cool new project up on Kickstarter. It’s a set of trading cards, but the subjects aren’t athletes, they’re LEGO builders and their creations. The mock-up photos look pretty awesome to me, and I’m also honored to say that I’ve been asked to be an artist in the series.

LEGO Studs trading cards

A survey of British birds by DeTomaso Pantera

DeTomaso Pantera (DeTomaso77) recently began posting some seriously gorgeous LEGO representations of British birds that I just can’t pass up.

My favorite is this adorable robin named “Bobby,” complete with the handle of a spade to perch on.

LEGO robin

Beyond the beautiful birds themselves, what I love about these is how DeTomaso has presented them in a variety of settings, like “Gloria” the goldfinch, complete with a nest, perching twig, and lovely piece of suet.

LEGO goldfinch

DeTomaso promises to post more birds, so keep an eye on Flickr and MOCpages for updates.

Thanks for the tip, Bruce!

10226 Sopwith Camel biplane announced, plus 65-piece mini version [News]

This past weekend, LEGO announced the new 10226 Sopwith Camel set at AFOLcon in Manchester, UK.

10226 Sopwith Camel (1)

Lots more photos in the photoset on Flickr.

In addition to the large-scale version, LEGO will also be releasing a mini version:

40049 Mini Sopwith Camel

Here’s the full press release:

10226 Sopwith Camel

Ages 14+. 883 pieces.
US $99.99 CA $129.99 DE 89.99 € UK 79.99 £ DK 799DKK

Relive a classic era of aviation history with the Sopwith Camel biplane!

Recreate your very own piece of aviation history with the historic Sopwith Camel. This detailed replica of one of the most recognizable British single-seat biplanes ever to have graced the skies. Features include a realistic rotating propeller and engine cylinders, hinged tail rudder, realistic tension wires, functioning wing ailerons and tail flaps that can be controlled from the cockpit – just like the real plane! The detail doesn’t stop there; this authentic model has over 880 bricks, including dark green, dark tan and metallic silver elements.

  • Features include a rotating propeller and engine cylinders, hinged tail rudder, functioning wing ailerons and tail flaps that can be controlled from the cockpit
  • Includes dark green, dark tan and metallic silver elements
  • Recreate a piece of aviation history
  • Turn the propellers and see the cylinders rotate
  • Model measures over 15” (40cm) long and has a wingspan of over 19” (50 cm)

Available for sale directly through LEGO® beginning June 2012 via, LEGO® Stores or via phone.

LEGO adds:

In addition the Sopwith Camel has many sought-after parts including some metallic parts on the cowling and new 1×1 round tiles. “We’re also introducing the 1×1 brick in dark tan, which was on our top ten list of elements that our fans want and we give you quite a few of them,” adds Jamie

“We have tried to avoid stickers wherever possible and have a brick-built rudder in the characteristic red, white and blue of the original. Also included are dark green 8×16 plates and 1×3 tiles in the same colour.”

Finally, here’s the designer video:

Amazing Avengers Props by Ken Robichaud

Today might be a witty day for a Star Wars celebration, but it also happens to be the day The Avengers film is released. And with as much excitement as the rest of us, but a with great deal more effort and skill, Ken Robichaud (aka buriedbybricks) is showing his enthusiasm for Marvel’s latest film. Ken has broken out his Lego to create some astounding life-sized props for the Avengers. I actually spent a moment looking at Hawkeye’s bow, and trying to figure out why it was in the “Lego” group on flickr, before I zoomed in and realized that it was, in fact, entirely Lego. And Ken’s other props are no less magnificent.