As we learned on the first US season of LEGO Masters earlier this year, LEGO creations are best when they tell a story that is easily understood. Keith Reed has been setting up a story through his series of apocalyptic modular buildings, and the plot has become very clear with his latest scene. Here you see a family trying to escape their own impending doom, their car broken down, taking refuge in the back of a Nuka Cola truck.
They figured they’d be safe there for the night, but unbeknownst to them, they’d almost made it to the shelter. Turns out they didn’t make it. Whatever they were running from caught up with them that night, and they died right there, baby in arms.
Earlier this year, back when we could still gather in groups, this model was on display at Bricks Cascade. Keith was standing proudly beside his creation engaging with the public. A twelve year old kid came up and described the scene to his dad. Keith was floored at how well the intended story came across — I thought he might cry.
When you’re traversing the unstable surface of an alien world, it’s important to have appropriate transportation. Luckily, SweStar has provided us with the rover we need to navigate transparent green rubble. The rear wheels are paired to offer steering control, and toothed for peak propulsory power. The front wheels, on the other hand, are smooth and broad for stability and speed. Riding high above the ground, our exploring hero is safe and sound, confident that the sensing sensors will sense any danger, the grabbing grab arms will grab on to anything that needs grabbing, and the slick hull will ensure that striking alien assailants will slide right away.
With the world seemingly ending at the moment, Keith Reed took the opportunity to recreate what the iconic Green Grocer will look like once the apocalypse actually does come. And that look is decaying, faded, rusty, decrepit, crumbling, and rot. That many words are needed to describe just how many different ways this building is falling apart.
The signature sand green walls have faded to olive green. The siding of the building has eroded, the horizontal slats in behind are expertly represented by the underused side of masonry bricks. Huge chunks of the walls have fallen off and the windows are smashed. The fire escape and awning frame are rusted. The rooftops are pock-marked. Nature has started to reclaim the building, with plants sprouting through the sidewalk and vines climbing inside. But one man remains a stalwart holdout, down to his last square of toilet paper.
When I was a kid, one of my absolute favourite LEGO sets was Forestmen’s Crossing, and while those old sets were cool, building techniques have greatly evolved in the last 30 years. Patrick B exemplifies this with his updated version of the classic set. The most noticeable difference is the greater level of texture that’s possible now. All of the large pieces from the original set, like the baseplate or bridge, are instead brick built in this creation, giving both of them greater detail.
The walls of the tower are much more textured, using a mix of various bricks, plates, slopes, tiles, and even light gray briefcases! There are other amazing parts usage throughout, from the red Technic gear as a flower or the brown pneumatic t’s as fence. I love use of Hero Factory rock armour as a rock – simple but brilliant. The thing that really ties it all together though, is how he’s managed to incorporate some of classic pieces like the Forestmen shield or their original minifigure parts, so seamlessly with new elements.
While stuck at home in quarantine or self-isolation, people need fun activities to pass the time. One popular activity is building LEGO sets and designing new creations. If you don’t have LEGO to build with, you can still appreciate other people’s creations online, like Mihai Marius Mihu’s wise owl. And once you’re done appreciating it, this LEGO owl has a new activity for you, read a book! Well, assuming you can get it out from under his sharp talons. I absolutely love the use of 1×2 slopes as the plumage. The waves they’re arranged in makes the owls chest look especially fluffy.
Emotion is one of those things that really brings us to life. It really brings LEGO characters to life too, take Oliver Becker’s scared man. The emotion he’s currently feeling, some combination of fear and surprise is communicated clearly through with some expert parts usage. Most noticeable is perhaps the bush as his hair, standing up in fright. Moving down the face you can maracas as his pupils centered in his eyes, bulging out of his face. The piece that really ties it all together is the 1×1 technic brick has is an open mouth. Dinosaur tail/neck pieces are used in both black and white as his outstretched limbs, and his open hands are well represented with hot dog buns for palms and skeleton arms for fingers. I hope he wasn’t holding on to anything before he jumped back in shock!
This time of social distancing and self-isolation is the perfect time to build new LEGO creations. James Pegrum took this time to build a small scene from the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1920. While there isn’t a whole lot going on in the picture, there are some nice little designs for rafters, hanging sheets, and early hospital beds. Aside from the build itself, the subject matter is what’s important today. The patient here is doing what the nurse is telling him to do. We all need to do the same. We’re going to get through this by listening to public health officials. One of the loudest messages I’ve heard is to stay home if you can, which is the perfect time to come up with more amazing LEGO creations!
LEGO builder Paul Hetherington’s creations continue to amaze me. His latest masterpiece, Tiki Madness, draws on one of Paul’s interests outside of LEGO – tiki bars! Whether he’s at home in Vancouver or visiting a new city for a LEGO convention, Mr. Hetherington is always willing to sample a new tiki menu. And you know what, all that – ahem – research, has really paid off here. Tiki Madness would fit into any tiki bar, lounge or room, and tells a fun story too.
The main part of the model is a giant tiki mug, and if I’m not mistaken, the minifigures have tried to drown a giant pirate in it! But little do they know that pirates are especially talented at emptying mugs. Our pirate has clearly found his own mug, and started to drink his way out of there! Storytelling aside, there are some amazing parts usages on display here. For one, he’s incorporated so many different colours. And aside from the colours, a couple parts really stand out. Constractable Obi-Wan’s breastplate has been expertly turned upside down to be a nose, and a handful of white inner Bionicle masks make the perfect teeth.
So I know I’ve written about quite a few Mandalorian LEGO creations now, but to be completely honest, there’s just a lot of quality Mandalorian LEGO content coming out and it’s begging to be shared. And some, like this cute scene by Fuku Saku don’t even include our beloved Baby Yoda (though technically the Child is in the picture). While this vignette is small, it’s packed full of clever techniques and well-designed LEGO models. I’d like to highlight two aspects. First, the speeder bikes. LEGO has made a plethora of speeder bikes in the last 21 years, but I don’t think any of them compare to the size and detail of the bikes presented here. In fact, I like them so much that I’m going to try to build some of my own! The second thing I want to point out is the blaster bolt missing its target. The trans-neon orange robot hand is the perfect element to give the flame that extra oomph, while making the bolt look like it’s still flying through the air.
Amidst all the detailed and complex LEGO models of our lord and savior Baby Yoda, it’s easy to overlook some of the more subtle renditions of our yiddle messiah. In these trying times though, we still have much to be thankful for, as JS_Ninjnerd has made sure to depict all 8 pounds, 6 ounces of our dear baby Yoda with only a handful of pieces. And though it’s easy to hone in on him, the Child isn’t really the focus of this model. While yes, the scene playing out does depict the good Mandalorian protecting the wee lad baby Yoda from the ugly Trandoshans, the setting built up around them is breathtakingly sculpted. I’m a sucker for good rock work, and this one sucked me right in. While the technique isn’t anything new, it’s executed well here, and the colour combination of dark tan and medium nougat is refreshing.
Knights in shining armour are rarely as shiny as this LEGO creation. Moko’s knight mech is the shiniest knight I’ve seen. On top of the pure shiny factor, this guy is incredibly ornate to boot. The elegance is easily noticed in the halberd; the axe head and spike are eye catching focal points. The helmet is also distinct: while it might look a little large for the dwarf it’s intended for, it fits appropriately here. What’s truly amazing is how well the builder was able to sculpt the form using the limited palette of silver and gold pieces. The cleverest parts usage are the Hero Factory masks as thighs and knees.
I love to see LEGO parts used in innovative ways, as well as LEGO creations that are just a bit different from what you normally see. This map by alego alego hits the target for both of those things for me. While the 1-to-1 map and accessories aren’t huge by LEGO model standards, they’re all jam-packed with detail and nice parts usage. The map itself is a simple mosaic, including a well-integrated circular compass rose, as well as appropriate printed tiles. The perfectly sized black compass case is very simply represented by the Vader pod piece. My favourite details are the hilts of chrome knives used as pins on the map, and the subtle use of these rock/claw pieces as wax piling up at the bottom of the candle. What creative part usage can you spot?