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

LEGO Technic 42112 Concrete Mixer Truck [Review]

The Summer 2020 LEGO Technic wave has had a surprisingly high level of controversy surrounding it. The 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey got cancelled, and the 42114 6×6 Volvo Articulated Hauler can’t move without being paired with a smart device. That just leaves the 42112 Technic Concrete Mixer Truck to try and put a positive spin on things. This 1163 piece set will be available in North America starting September 1st, and is available now in the UK from the LEGO Shop Online (US $119.99 | CAN $159.99 | UK £89.99). Technic fans have been asking for a concrete mixer for ages… Can this offering satisfy that demand? Or will this set finish off the season’s offerings with some cement shoes?

Click to read the full hands-on review

A nice place to be snowed in

They say all snowflakes are unique, and that seems to also apply to microscale castles in the snow. This excellent creation by Simon Liu is rich in clever part usage. Orange unicorn horns, tread attachments, and 1×1 roof tiles add just the right splash of color to the grey stone. In the castle there are plenty of clever angles and building techniques to explore. I like the use of rail plate to form the walls, and that inverted bucket at part of the main tower. For the snow, various tooth plates in white add texture and context for the scene. It’s a tiny winter wonderland!

Castle in the snow

As a cool bonus, this scene also fits inside a LEGO snow globe ornament for that added touch of whimsy. It’s a creation very much on the same level as Simon’s other great builds.

The perfect reading nook

Spending all this time indoors would be easier if everyone had a cozy reading nook like this one by Jonathan Fictorie. I love the details like the open book, tasty beverage in a brick-built wine glass, and the rustic feel for the chair and end table. The textures of the brick the wall are only surpassed by the intricate stained glass work in the window. This model has all the comforts of home I could ask for.

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Click here to take a closer look of this cozy scene

That’s one angry shop

Some places are inviting, but this microscale Seaside Shoppe by Halhi141 seems to be a grumpy fellow. Maybe I’m seeing things, but the crossbeams, red awning, and doorway arch make a perfect little face screaming “Go away!” And who puts a store on a remote island anyway? Still, that didn’t keep me from appreciating the excellent LEGO building techniques in play. Check out the minifigure scaled book that forms the roof, and the clever binocular chimney with cattle horn smoke. The landscaping is also worth a closer look, as cherries are used to create some perfect little shrubs. And I really like the curving path made from a animal tail element.

Seaside Shoppe

Mircoscale creations, when done right, pack a ton of detail into the tiniest places. Just check our archives for even more tiny goodness!

A very statuesque elf

This elven archer by Dmitry would be at home on any Lord of the Rings fan’s mantelpiece. The clean and minimalist approach to the facial features makes the ornate armor all the more impressive. I particularly like the use of Ninjago Spinner blades as wrapped hair braids, and the grill tiles for a flattop makes me chuckle. (As did that golden banana as part of the tunic.) But I’m certainly not laughing at the great shaping in grey achieved by cheese slopes and curved brick, or at that elegant display stand.

Elf Archer

This build has a different look from most LEGO figures we see at this scale, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

LEGO Technic 42114 6×6 Volvo Articulated Hauler [Review]

With the cancellation and controversy around the Technic 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, the Technic Summer 2020 wave has taken a bit of hit. The skies may be empty now, but on the ground, there’s still plenty to talk about. The 42114 Technic 6×6 Volvo Articulated Hauler will be available September 1, 2020 from the  LEGO Shop Online for US $249.99 | CAN $319.99 | UK £229.99 It’s part of the “Control+” line, LEGO’s next generation of remote-controlled vehicles. That sounds pretty cool on the surface, but is it really? We take a look at this hefty 2193 piece set from multiple angles to see what sort of “construction” we’re dealing with.

Click to read the full hands-on review

What are birds? We just don’t know.

Birds are an enigma, and this LEGO one by DOGOD Brick Design is no exception. Well, okay, we do know it’s a Taiwan blue magpie, the so-called “long tailed mountain lady.” And we can see that there’s some really nice naturalistic shaping happening. A combination of ball joints, hinges, and curved slopes allow for the wings to curve gracefully around the body. And the yellow 1×1 round plates make for a suitably mysterious (or just bird-brained) expression.

But beyond that? Total mystery.

DOGOD_Urocissa caerulea_s01

If you want to try and figure out more about our brick-built avian friends, then you could always dig deeper into our archive of LEGO birds. Who knows what you might discover?

This little tractor has a lot of pull

This microscale LEGO tractor by BrickJonas could possibly be accused of hot-dogging it. Or should I have let that sort of pun skate on by? Either way, there’s some really nice part usage here, and the tricky connection that holds the front end on is also really clever. This much detail in just 25 pieces? It’s exhausting to think about.

Microscale old tractor

If you’re in for the long haul, check out our tractor archives for more!

Seas the day

If sailing vessels are your jam, then Simon Pickard has a treat for you. This LEGO microscale galleon packs an impressive amount of detail and shaping, making great use of sloped brick to form both the hull and sails. I like how a round 1×1 plate with bar is combined with a clip plate to give the spirit sail a rakish angle. The display stand is pretty swanky as well. I’ve always been a fan of using the turntable base as a design element, and the varied shades of blue work well to make the sea of 1×1 round plate in transparent blue really pop.

Microscale Galleon

This isn’t the first nautical creation by Simon we’ve featured. The last one was minifigure scaled. Will the next one be micro-micro scale? How small a boat can you make out of LEGO?

Eshu? Gesundheit!

It’s always a pleasure when a really artistic LEGO build comes along. This sculpture of the Nigerian trickster Eshu by Buttloaf Builds is a really elegant take on the subject matter. Let’s start off by talking about those wire-thin limbs. Those are made from LEGO flex tubing, joined up to larger animal tail elements. Small bits of larger gauge silver flex tube and Technic bushings form jewelry, creating a visual break for those thin lines. I suspect there’s some photographic trickery going on to make this sculpture stand upright…or maybe it’s just divine intervention.

Eshu

But as cool as those limbs are, Eshu’s face is even more impressive. A mix of Bionicle and System parts in sharply contrasting colors draw the viewer in. I’m particularly impressed with the creation of eyes from the negative space between sets of horn elements. And check out that necklace of Technic gears. There’s just enough curve in the construction there to create a very organic feel.

Eshu

And the curves don’t stop there. Seen from the rear, you can really appreciate the work that went into shaping the headpiece. I’m not sure if it reminds me more of a ram’s horn or a xenomorph skull.

Eshu

Questionable name or not, I think we’ll be seeing more creations from Buttloaf Builds in the future.

It sounded like a good idea

Seismic communication? In my Federation? It’s more likely than you think. The Brick Artisan has created a LEGO Heavy Communications Rover that overcomes planetary dust and electrical storms with the power of vibration. It’d take a scientist to explain that, probably. Meanwhile, we can marvel at that intricate radar dish construction. There’s everything in there from minifigure jackhammers to battle droid torsos. The overall shaping of the rover reminds me of the old Rock Raiders theme, or the even earlier 6950 Mobile Rocket Transport, which isn’t too shocking considering the wheels and fenders were likely sourced from the Rock Raiders line and the canopy pieces from Classic Space — those three interlocking yellow windscreens take this build to another place entirely.

Heavy Communications Rover

Speaking of Rock Raiders, how many of you first thought you were looking at a cave interior as the background here? I sure did. But that’s actually a still from Fury Road showing a massive dust storm. It still works for this creation’s backstory, but it sure felt weird to realize that. Anyway, if you want to see even more details of this clever build, check out this unedited shot.

A submarine with a screen door

I like cutaway models that let you explore the interior mechanics and design of a vehicle. There’s something cool to know a builder went beyond thinking about the exterior shaping of a vessel to consider how it could really operate. And when you combine a quality cutaway of a submarine with a lively undersea diorama like General Tensai has, you get something extra special. Even if, just for a moment, I had to wonder about the lack of a tight water-seal. The Nokirian Battle Submarine feels like it could have been lifted from a scene from Das Boot. There’s a lot of slice-of-undersea life happening from the cots and galley to the more functional touches like the brick-built engine and periscope station. I also like how the somber reds and greys of the sub contrast with the vibrant aquatic life on the seafloor.

Nokirian Battle Submarine

Maybe there’s a link between this sub and the General’s oil rig. If there isn’t, there should be.