About Chris Doyle

Chris has been involved in many parts of the LEGO community for over twenty years, and has been building most of his life. A love of transparent bricks and pop culture combine in most of his creations, which tend to be pretty large scale. His website, Reasonably Clever, featured one of the longest running brick-based webcomics, as well as one of the first LEGO-themed avatar creators. His photographs and creations have appeared in several books.

Posts by Chris Doyle

Chibi Sisyphus can never get ahead of his head

In order to fully appreciate this next creation, we’re going to have to define a couple of terms. The first is chibi. That’s a Japanese slang term that describes an art style where characters are drawn as small, chubby figures with exaggerated features. The second is Sisyphus. In Greek mythology, he was a king who was punished by the gods for his wicked ways. He is forced to push a giant boulder up an even bigger hill, only to have it roll back down every time it nears the top. At first glance, these two terms don’t seem to have a lot do to with each other. Leave it to Sheo to unify them into a really cute image of eternal torture. In this version, Sisyphus doesn’t have a boulder to push; instead, his over-sized chibi head is the enormous weight that has to be moved upwards.

Chibi Sisyphus

Creative use of various arches and curved slopes creates an anguished, yet adorable, visage. The use of a curved brick for the leg gives a great sense of that upward pushing. I also like the detail of the 2×2 round tile for his belly, and let’s not ignore the build of the mountain either. The rocks are built out in all directions, with a combination of slopes, plates, and tiles giving some lively texture to the backdrop.

Sound and Fury: The Doof Wagon is the personification of driving music

The 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road is a ton of fun. It has stunning visuals, great acting, an engaging story, and rich world building. And, oh yeah, just a touch of hyper-modified post-apocalyptic vehicles that really define the word “awesome.” Take, for instance, the Doof Wagon – Immortan Joe’s idea of driving music. Nicola Stocchi has created a stunning rendition of this beast that lives up to its on-screen origins. From the dual flamethrowing guitars to the towering tower-speakers, it took just over 3000 LEGO elements to bring this beast to life. There are lots of excellent details to call out, like the different types of 1×1 round plate that mix up the look of the speakers. Check out the use of Technic pins to add texture to the engines. And did you spot the minifigure squeeze-bulb horn? You have to wonder what luckless warboy gets to work that particular instrument.

The Doof Wagon + instructions

The rear view shows off the build on the giant drums. Each is made from hard plastic wheel with a drum head cleverly made of a 2×2 round tile surrounded by four 2×2 macaroni tiles to create the equivalent of a 6×6 round tile. I’m also fond of the expert usage of wedge plates to match the industrial feel of the resonators.

The Doof Wagon + instructions

Overall, this is one sweet ride. Why settle for rattling your car windows with a pathetic in-dash sound system when you could have the Doof Wagon blasting out “Sweet Home Chicago” at 220 decibels?

This LEGO diorama is a real train wreck

It’s a pretty typical scene: You’re running late. Trying to make up for lost time you watch the speedometer creep upwards as you race to your destination. If you’re unlucky, this might result in a speeding ticket. If you’re very unlucky, you might end up in a crash. And, if you’re one of the most unlucky people who ever lived, you’re a train engineer in Paris in October 1895. In that last case, you’re unable to brake. Your train runs through the buffer stop. And then it crashes through the upper-story station wall to end up standing on it’s nose in the Place de Rennes below. SEBASTIAN-Z captures this tragic moment, the Montparnasse derailment, in an intricate LEGO diorama.

Lego Montparnasse Derailment 2

The Gare Montparnasse terminus has been simplified to a facade, with eye-catching details like the clock made from parts from Big Ben and Santa’s workshop. The broken window makes good use of transparent LEGO elements like wall panels, and 1×2 bricks and plates. The selection of minifigure onlookers are well constructed, and giving one of them a baguette is a nice way to help establish the location.

Lego Montparnasse Derailment

This particular scene has become a part of popular culture. A similar crash appears in a dream in the movie Hugo, which is where SEBASTIAN-Z first heard of it. Let’s hope wrecks like this stay in the realm of film and LEGO from now on…

A brighter future (maybe)

Don’t get me wrong; I love me some sci-fi dystopian futures. But, after a while, it’s nice to see something a little more upbeat. Stenertje treats us to such a vision with “Space Police II Outpost.” Sure, it’s a police station, but look at how friendly and clean it is! There are trees, festive flags, and even a mailbox. The local mounties ride kaadu instead of heavily-armored speeder bikes. And the ship at the center of it all! Clean lines, and what appears to be only a hint of weaponry. It’s a breath of fresh air.

Space Police II Outpost
Pulling back the camera a little, things may not be quite as placid. The tops of the pylons surrounding the launch pad are covered with missile launchers and guns. And is that a robotic Gatling gun off to the right?
Space Police II Outpost
Well, no matter. I’m sure the heavily armed fortifications are just relics from the past, and not some subtle build up for a future Space Police theme…

Mysterio has Spider-Man on the brain

When I was little, one of my favorites nick-nacks was filled with water, a plastic carrot and a few tiny pieces of plastic “coal,” and was labeled “Florida Snowman.” (Look, trust me here. This was hilarious when I was six years old.) I’ve always had a fondness for snow globes. In unrelated trivia, I was also a big Spider-Man fan. I never dreamed, though, that both of those childhood loves would come crashing together. Builder Flambo14 changed all that with a fun LEGO build inspired by Spider-Man: Far From Home. In this creation, Mysterio’s trademark fishbowl-dome head is a LEGO Christmas ornament filled with 1×1 round plates for snow. You’ll aslo find a simple-but-effective microscale New York City skyline and, of course, Spider-Man himself. There’s even a sand-green minifigure telescope as an itty-bitty Statue of Liberty.

Mysterio Bust

Mysterio’s torso has some fun details, too. I like the use of the minifigure ring to help create the eyeball-patterns present on the cape clasps. The smoothness of the wedges used to construct the cape makes the exposed-stud build of the chest feel much more textured, just like the movie’s costume design. There’s also just the right touch of other gold elements to give him a bit of showmanship.

I’d love to see a whole series of Mysterio snow globes. If anyone else takes a swing at one, let us know!

A tip of the hat to a great mech

When it comes to quality LEGO mechs, builder Marco Marozzi sure knows how to build them. This latest offering, UM Soldat 2 Mech, has a real sense of expensive style about it. The combination of black and gold armor nicely offset the touch of grey from the exposed mechanical parts. Maybe this mech defrays some costs by leaning heavily into corporate sponsorship. There’s certainly evidence of that based on the numerous logos, some sourced directly from LEGO sets and some from UK nail art sticker sheets.

UM Soldat 2 Mech

See more of this black and gold mech

When tagging along with Hitchhikers, remember to bring a towel.

There are a lot of variation to the giant spaceships created for SHIPtember (SHIP = Significantly Huge Investment in Parts). Many of them draw inspiration from classic LEGO themes, video games, or movies. Sometimes, however, you see something new from this month long building challenge. For instance, Sheo‘s Hitchhikers has some fascinating shapes, unusual colors, and great part usage. One standout detail is the Death Star piece at the core of the Technic construction at the aft of the ship. I also really like how the main body isn’t built with a standard “studs to the ceiling” approach. The angled bricks give the Kirby-esque detailing a very energetic feel.

Hitchhikers

In a nice recursive touch, the Hitchhiker has some smaller hitchhikers of its own. These four micro ships also have some unique color choices and part usage. I particuarly like the use of a minifigure hat and flower petals on the blue and red model. The roller skates on the red cargo hauler are pretty sweet, too.

Hitchhikers

The magic inherent in transparent purple LEGO bricks

I’ve always felt that there’s something magical about transparent LEGO bricks and that transparent purple LEGO bricks are extra magical. Builder Jayfa also sees something in those elements, as evidenced by their Voidwalker. The entire build is an ode to “nice part usage.” Hero Factory ball joints and armor create the body of an elegant beast. Meanwhile, White Hero Factory armor covers the body, leading to a head that combines Legend of Chima wings with an eerie black large figure armor for the face. Even the tail ends in style, with minifigure wings at the tip.

Voidwalker

According to the photo description, Voidwalker was built in just two days. I wish my own creations came together with such quick beauty!

We’re...not...gonna need a bigger boat?

Disney’s iconic ship, the S.S. Willie, set sail earlier this year with a LEGO Ideas set. Sure, the boat was a little smaller than the cartoon original, but you could forgive that little bit of cost-cutting since few of us would be able to afford a bigger one. But at least LEGO didn’t go as far as alego alego did when it comes to reducing part count. Because…wow. This is one tiny version.

Micro Steamboat Willie

Creating a recognizable shape at microscale takes some creative part usage, and we certainly have that here. The helm’s windows are roughed in using a single 1×1 plate with black square pattern, with the front whistles represented by a round 1×1 tile with pin holder. The star of the show, though, is the re-use of Vintage Mickey’s hat as the smokestacks.
With all the huge sets being released these days, it’s nice to see fan creations that don’t require an entire spare room to display.

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs...er...squid...of war?

There’s nothing pretty about war, but Dane Erland finds a way to bring some strong visual interest to the concept. Based on a creepily organic inspiration, the Abyssal moves forward in a manner far removed from a standard tank. Instead of treads, six clusters of tentacles sprout from the undercarriage. Each is made of pneumatic hose aligned with 8-Tooth Technic gears, and finished off with an array of claws. The tan body has some nice curves and angles, and it bristles with a wide array of brick-built sensors and weapons.

Abyssal

Is this a peek into the next stage of warfare? Maybe I’ll just stay indoors for the foreseeable future.

This groovy exterior will make you dance

When building with LEGO, one of the more frustrating things is when the bricks just don’t seem to line up right. Oh, sure, LEGO has amazing interlocking technology built in, and that helps. But when you’re trying to do something fancy with half-stud offsets or SNOT, sometimes those joins are a little less than static. El Barto has taken this pain point and turned it into something lovely with their rendition of the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Center for Theater and Dance at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH. Built with meticulous attention to detail, the walls use a repetitive mis-alignment to create a zig-zag pattern that matches the textures of the real building. Even better, the whole build sits askew on the display stand, mirroring those interesting angles.

Goel Center: Entrance

The sides and back of the building also have that great texturing. The rest of the landscaping is also well executed, with brick-built trees and curving walkways.

Goel Center: Side

If you’d like to see it in person, this creation will be on display in the lobby of the Goel Center for the remainder of the academic year. I just wonder if the display table is also at an angle…

Getting pump(kin)ed for Halloween

Some people gripe about Christmas decorations going up in stores too early. (Full disclosure: I’m one of them.) On the other hand, I don’t hear many folks complain about a bit of early spooky cheer for Halloween. Corvus Auriac is one of those ready for the festivities to start, based on Creepy Pumpkin. Made up of only 82 pieces, this Jack-o-lantern has nice curves and an expressive face. And check out that great part usage! The stem is made up of a frog and a Ninjago scarf – truly a combination of elements I never expected to write about.
Creepy Pumpkin
If you’d like to make one for yourself, keep an eye on Corvus’ Instagram, as they’ve promised to share a tutorial soon!