Reverse engineering the LEGO Forma shark with a brick-built “skin”

Last month LEGO revealed Forma, an experimental kinetic sculpture set designed to target the adult market. The product was launched via crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo but is currently only available to buyers in the U.S. and U.K. The product was of interest to Jason Allemann since he enjoys building LEGO kinetic sculptures. Because Jason lives in Canada and is unable to order the Forma set, he decided to reverse-engineer the design well-before its official release!

Swimming Shark

Jason’s shark is more than a direct copy, as it contains his own personal touch. Since the Forma skins are not currently available, Jason created a stunning brick-built skin. The brick-built shark body doesn’t interfere with the model’s functionality and will likely appeal to LEGO fans who were not impressed by Forma’s plastic skins. Jason modified the mechanism to achieve a more realistic swimming motion, and the lower level consists of a small school of fish swimming beneath the shark. Finishing off the entire model is an attractive coral reef base, which offers a nice splash of color.

3 comments on “Reverse engineering the LEGO Forma shark with a brick-built “skin”

  1. Purple Dave

    Keeping in mind that the primary model is a freshwater koi fish, there would be no saltwater coral beneath them unless it was a cast aquarium decoration. Sharks, on the other hand _may_ be reef inhabitants (like the four species of Reef Sharks) or live immediately adjacent to reefs (like Tiger Sharks), but a lot of them are pelagic sharks that swim the deep ocean. I can kind of see some logic in not including decoration on the base strictly on the basis that depending on the species of shark it might require a different deco scheme than the koi.

    The movement may or may not have also been based on koi swimming, but nobody broadcasts Koi Week on TV, so I’m not really familiar with how they swim. Our dorm had an aquarium when I was in college, so I do know that some aquarium goldfish like fantails have such short, bulbous bodies that it’s like watching a dog whose whole body wags with the tail. Sharks in cruising mode swim very lazily, with very little movement in the front half of the body except for steering, and most of the tail movement is limited to the very end with the caudal fin. As they start swimming more aggressively, you get more of a full-body tail wag going on. Really about the only time you’d get any sort of S-shape to the body is when they’re swimming slowly while turning. So, I don’t he got the body movement perfect, but it’s a lot closer to how sharks swim than the default design.

  2. Realistic Swimming Motions of a Blobfish

    I, for 1, appreciate Purple Dave’s analysis. I thought the original model’s swimming motions in the trailer video didn’t look very realistic, which was somewhat irritating because they said they studied fish swimming for a long time. JK Brickworks’ model’s movement is definitely better. I do feel like it could still be improved upon, but it would probably be hard. Particularly getting an effect where it looks like the wave motion travels from the head to the tail would be amazing. But I don’t have the skill or the pieces.

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