In 2019, we covered a few feature-depth articles that explore a different side of the typical topics to uncover and share original and interesting stories within the LEGO community. If there’s any feature that you missed, here’s your chance for a revisit. We take a quick look back at the ten most popular feature articles of the year.
When we last checked in with Christophe Pujaletplaa almost a year ago, he’d just finished adding roads to the microscale LEGO city he calls Microville. It’s now grown to more than 11 meters squared, or close to 100 large 48×48-stud baseplates and gained a waterfront.
Christophe has been continuously working on the city since 2010, slowly adding more streets with detailed buildings, along with the occasional larger upgrade. The waterfront section adds new beach real estate and an industrial port next to the airport. Continue reading
Sometimes you see a LEGO part and you think “now what will I ever do with that?” I’ve always loved the greebly, mechanical look of the ripcord housing element, but for the life of me I’ve never found a use for it. That’s not a problem for Cezium, though, who whipped together this brilliant digital model with two whole rows of them for the teeth–er, excuse me, railgun housings on this sentry bot. This just goes to prove that old LEGO building axiom: all pieces are useful if you have a sufficient quantity of them.
Alex “Orion Pax” Jones is a very focussed builder. All his LEGO building time lately has been spent on creating as-accurate-as-they-can-be digital Transformers Generation 1 characters. There’s so much to love about these as they instantly transport us back to a time when morning cartoons were not streamed and you had to wake up early to tune in to what now are amazing pop culture classics.
In addition to the amazing LEGO models created by builders all over the world, The Brothers Brick brings you the best of LEGO news and reviews. This is our weekly Brick Report for the last week of December 2019.
We review the LEGO Employee Exclusive set: The Christmas X-Wing. Keep reading our Brick Report to get all the details.
TBB NEWS AND FEATURES: This week we looked back at some of the best builds of the year, started packing our bags for BricksLA, and reviewed five new sets including: The LEGO Technic Top Gear Rally Car, LEGO Ninjago Avatar Arcade Pods and the LEGO Architecture Tokyo skyline.
- Shortlist announced for Brothers Brick LEGO Creation of the Year 2019 – Check out the contenders for TBB’s LEGO Creation of the Year 2019!
- LEGO Masters reality show announces teams, including some familiar faces – LEGO Masters has announced it’s cast of contestants for the upcoming brick building reality TV show.
- Only 2 weeks to Bricks LA 2020, Southern California’s premier LEGO convention, Jan 11-12 – If you’re in southern California, be sure to check out Bricks LA to get your new year’s dose of amazing LEGO creations!
- The story behind LEGO’s 1981 Classic Space Christmas card [Feature] – The LEGO Group creates a special Christmas card for its employees each year. Enjoy a blast from the past with the story behind their Classic Space-themed card of 1981!
- LEGO Ninjago Avatar Arcade Pods: 71714 Kai, 71715 Jay, and 71716 Lloyd [Review] – The 2020 Ninjago lineup is a cyberpunk aesthetic set in a digital world via a videogame.
- Completing a lap around the test track in LEGO Technic 42109 App-Controlled Top Gear Rally Car [Review] – We build and play with the latest LEGO Technic remote-controlled car, which is licensed by the BBC’s Top Gear. It leaves us with a lot of mixed emotions….
- LEGO Architecture 21051 Tokyo skyline takes us to Tokyo Tower, Shibuya, Mt. Fuji, and more – A native Tokyoite takes a close look at the new LEGO Architecture 21051 Tokyo skyline set.
- LEGO Star Wars 75273 Poe Dameron’s X-wing Fighter from The Rise of Skywalker [Review] – Poe Dameron goes through X-wings faster than Carrie goes through Manolo Blahniks. But how does his third X-wing (75273 Poe Dameron’s X-wing Fighter from The Rise of Skywalker) compare with previous versions?
- Christmas X-Wing: the Lego 2019 employee exclusive set [Review] – This year’s LEGO exclusive employee holiday gift is a Christmas-themed X-Wing. Celebrate Life Day with an in-depth review of this festive set from a galaxy far, far away!
OTHER NEWS: There were quite a few other interesting LEGO news articles from around the web this week. Here are the best of the rest:
- Why Did Scientists Cool LEGOs to Nearly Absolute Zero?, Gizmodo – Scientists cooled LEGOs to nearly absolute zero—and hope to one day incorporate a LEGO-style material into a quantum computer.
- How LEGO changed a blind superfan’s life: ‘I never thought it would happen’, Yahoo – Matthew Shifrin is a self-confessed LEGO addict. But the difference between Shifrin and other LEGO enthusiasts is that he’s blind.
- Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley Shares What She’s Learned From The Trilogy While Building Lego, Elle – Daisy Ridley discusses the recent Star Wars Trilogy while building a Speeder Chaser.
Let’s look at it this way: Stormtroopers always miss their shots and Jedi constantly use their Force push capabilities to render those poor troopers in weak plastic white armour lifeless. Letranger Absurde shows off this exact scenario taking place in (almost) real-time with an unarmed Stormtrooper. That red light saber, says a lot, doesn’t it? Hint: EVIL! The character build is stunningly simple yet gives off a maximum punch with the pose giving off a dynamic in-motion feel.
This holiday season, Star Wars fans are flocking to movie theaters to see the final installment in the Skywalker saga. Since Star Wars came out in 1977, we’ve grown older, some of us have had kids of our own, some have bought homes, held more than a few jobs, some of us may even be looking as old and grizzled as Luke Skywalker himself. No matter how we turned out in life, Star Wars fans who were children or young adults in 1977 recall the year that changed their lives immesuably. An entity named NS Brick Designs has sparked a sense of wonder and nostalgia for older Star Wars fans with a LEGO rendition of the original Tom Jung pulp poster that started it all.
Luke’s robe billows open revealing his massively muscled chest while a subservient, sultry Leia slinks at his feet holding a blaster. This wasn’t the reality of the movie; Luke wasn’t all that ripped and it turns out Princess Leia could hold her own and wasn’t going to play second fiddle to a farm boy from Tatooine. But pulp images, especially this one inspired by the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta, have a way of capturing the imagination and bending perceptions a bit. Now in modern times, we are calling the newest movie the last of the Skywalker saga, but we have new heroes to look up to such as Finn, Rey and Poe. Thanks to a dedicated fan base and thanks, in part, to images like this one, the magic and lore of Star Wars has persisted with us most of our lives and will likely remain with us for generations to come.
Each year LEGO’s homebrewed Ninjago theme finds a new setting for its cast of pseudo-ninja heroes, ranging from sky pirates to medieval fantasy. The theme has always reveled in a no-holds-barred approach to mixing and matching ancient bladed weapons, advanced technology, and outrageous antagonists. The 2020 lineup’s twist is a cyberpunk aesthetic set in a digital world via a videogame. All of the Ninjago heroes find themselves dueling in the cyber realms via their avatars, bringing a Ready Player One-like plotline to LEGO’s most successful in-house theme. Today we’re looking at a trio of small sets that serve as the entry points to theme both for the consumers and the characters in the world. These arcade cabinet boxes are the transformation portals wherein Kai, Jay, and Lloyd are transformed into their digital avatars. 71714 Kai Avatar – Arcade Pod (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99), 71715 Jay Avatar – Arcade Pod (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99), and 71716 Lloyd Avatar – Arcade Pod (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99) will be available starting January 1. They contain about 50 pieces each.
Last year, we shared an article on vintage LEGO holiday greeting cards. The LEGO Group has established a tradition of giving their employees exclusive Christmas themed sets like the X-Mas X-Wing for the holiday season. Even longer than that, since at least the 1970s, the LEGO Group has produced special Christmas cards for employees (and, occasionally, the UK LEGO Club). Each year brings a new card, with artwork ranging from carefully staged minifigures to elaborate brick-built designs. You can find blank examples that were used to send personalized messages, as well as cards with printed holiday greetings from LEGO’s leadership, such as owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen.
Do not self destruct! This diorama featuring the climactic battle from Chapter 1 of The Mandalorian deserves never to be taken apart. “Outpost on Arvala-7” is built by none other than KevFett2011 — one of the most accomplished LEGO builders in the world, who has returned with this stunning model of The Mandalorian and IG-11 closing in on their bounty.
In a way, this build is incredibly simple: There are only four colors used in the hut, well and landscape. Deciding what color palette to use in a highly-detailed scene can be frustrating, but here KevFett utilizes the saying “less is more”.
Another aspect of the build that I like is the roughness of everything. There are hardly any smooth surfaces, which makes sense on a harsh desert world like Arvala-7. Slopes, studs, and angular pieces help illustrate the idea that the pair of bounty hunters are not welcome here, and that they’ll have to fight their way to their goal.
Bricks LA is Southern California’s premier LEGO convention, open to the public January 11-12. Builders from around the country will gather at the Pasadena Convention Center to showcase more than 13,000 square feet of amazing creations to eager LEGO fans of all ages. Vendors will be selling vintage LEGO sets, LEGO-themed jewelry, custom gifts, and more. Tickets are only $5, with kids under 5 free, and are available online.
Bricks LA also offers a special experience for adult LEGO fans, beginning January 10. Participants will enjoy LEGO-related games, panels, prizes, and more, as well as be able to display their custom creations for the public. For more information, click here.
The Brothers Brick is proud to be a sponsor of Bricks LA.
Lately, between The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker, the LEGO building community has seen a great wealth of fan creations based on all things Star Wars. This is not, in itself, a bad thing. I mean, Baby Yoda is indeed very cute. But it’s still nice when a builder will take things in a very unexpected direction. Let’s say you have a 75117 Kylo Ren set on hand. Sure, you could build it according to the directions and act out your favorite Dark Side moments. But Letranger Absurde decided to take those parts and present a very different Dark Side vision. The Blood Countess takes key parts from that set and turns them into a vision of malice that is, to me anyway, just a bit scarier.
The most obvious part is Kylo’s torso, inverted and used for the Countess’ abdomen. Less easy to identify are the shoulder guards now forming her bodice. Of the non-kit parts in use, I like the Ninjago influence in the hat for the belt buckle and spinner ring in the sash detailing. Beyond the Countess herself, check out the build on the heart (or other glob of flesh) in her hand. There’s a telephone receiver in there. Is the secret message of this build “reach out and touch someone?” Gosh, I hope not.