Posts by David Alexander Smith

Celebrating the off-centre

Over the last year Roanoke Handybuck has built something of a reputation for his wonky building style. Celebrating the shapes and forms of the medieval period he focuses on capturing the way wooden beams bend and walls subside. In this latest model, titled Eldford Market, he demonstrates in a tiny 16 x 16 baseplate all the LEGO techniques synonymous with his work. Everywhere you look, bricks are matched irregularly or held at off-centre angles, whether it’s in the cobbled street or as part of the weathered tower. The icing on the cake, though, has to be the way the upper floor of the main building tilts elegantly into its neighbouring sloped roof – brilliant!

GoC- Eldford Market

With LEGO, the classic Atari becomes a wooden console made of plastic

The Atari VCS console is one of those objects that instantly trigger an emotional response. Seeing Build Better Bricks’ faithful LEGO model of the gaming system takes me back to my childhood, and I suspect will do the same for many other video game fans. Although much smaller than the original machine – consoles back in the late 70s really were bricks – it embodies the wood-fronted spirit of the console. There’s an eye for detail too, with inverted clip and claws mounted on inset bars to create the iconic flick switches, as well as superbly built joysticks. Before you know it, I’m sure this build will have you pining for a quick round of Combat tanks!

1977 Console

The tools of the trade

Whether you like your role playing games online or dice based, we can all agree on the joys of spending that hard-earned gold on some serious equipment upgrades. Spencer’s shop offers the discerning adventurer a smorgasbord of LEGO swords, shields, and other paraphernalia. The store has it all from your standard spear to the more exotic aftermarket weapons, and for the right price I’m sure that shifty looking dwarf might even supply a black market Mega Bloks Halo sword – but that’s just speculation, and you definitely didn’t hear it from me.

Shopping

Napoleon Brick-aparte

The more skeptical of LEGO fans might think that the BrickHeadz formula was wearing thin, but once again Cindy Su proves us all wrong. Taking Jacques Louis David’s famous painting Bonaparte Crossing the Great St Bernard Pass, she achieves the inconceivable, rendering it not only in bricks, but as a BrickHeadz model. Of course, the joke’s not lost on us, transforming this piece of heroic propaganda into something innately cute and relatable, not to mention taking a pop at Napoleon’s notoriously diminutive stature. The piece uses some neat forced perspective, making it appear to leap from its mosaic background. It also makes me wonder just how much further the simple BrickHeadz theme can be pushed — quite a long way I suspect if Cindy keeps building like this.

The world famous art collections-「Napoleon Crossing the Alps/拿破崙越過阿爾卑斯山」

Hot dog or hot rod?

Abandon all logic! David Roberts is back at his surreal best, with this fine meat-based entry to the Febrovery building event. David asks us why we wouldn’t want to drive around in a car shaped like a hot dog, and I really have no answer for him. Taking his inspiration from master children’s illustrator and author Richard Scarry, whose mad world saw anthropomorphic pigs at the wheel of just such vehicles, this build ticks all the LEGO fun boxes. Take a final moment to marvel at its mustard windshield, sausage chassis and wrap around bun – genius!

Frebrovery 2019: Hotdog

Build your own baby

I love a bit of creepy LEGO, and this scene by Leonid An is probably as unsettling as they come. The Scala baby figure is a perfect foil for this grim tale of genetic experimentation. Lit from below in its artificial birthing pod, the infant’s eyes are covered, as it is slowly infused with whatever vile substance lingers in the second dome. The control panel has a retro-futuristic feel, with its rainbow displays and offset cartridges; an ominous bin of discarded limbs at its side. It’s just another example of the LEGO brick’s untapped uncanny potential.

Infusion

Ace lace work

I’ve been advocating for many years now the joys of building LEGO models that use bricks as a two-dimensional medium. This genre often works best when it takes its cues from folk art, and Azurekingfisher has done just this in their run of lacework-inspired squares. Whilst essentially simple monochrome designs, the repeats and generation of negative space created from the selection of bricks result in sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing patterns. As a sequence, the stepped scaling of the three pieces adds further interest. Frame them, hang them on your wall and you have that most elusive of things: LEGO art!

square

Circling the wheel in space

If like me you’ve been following Tim Goddard’s Instagram feed, you’ll have seen him teasing a fleet of colourful microscale LEGO spaceships over the past few weeks. Well the big reveal is finally here: I give you the Perhelion Point space station and attendant spacecraft. Constructed as a series of scaled disks that rotate around a central core, it looks wonderful hanging atmospherically in orbit.

Perihelion Point

Up close you’ll find some neat building techniques, like the modified plates with pin holes, which are matched with turntable disks to form the station’s super-structure. Naturally, there are multiple landing ports and shuttles to liven things up too. Continue reading

Friends in the rain: LEGO BrickHeadz Totoro and Satsuki

It would take a hard heart not to be moved by Kendall Brown‘s adorable digital LEGO Totoro and Satsuki. As with his Elf and Narwhal and Wizard of Oz characters, which we recently featured, it’s a perfect example of how to build in the BrickHeadz theme. In this case it’s the selection of cartoon tile eyes, perfectly spaced, which captures Totoro’s quizzical expression and lifts the build to another level. Mix in all those extra touches like the flicks in Satsuki’s hair, Totoro’s tummy fur, and atmospheric Photoshop rain and you have a fitting tribute to one of the greatest animated films of all time.

Totoro & Satsuki - BrickHeadz Moc

Wake up and smell the coffee

Nothing starts the day off better than a good cup of joe, and where better to get your caffeine hit than at Andy’s Café. Built by Norton 74, this coffee stand boasts a beautiful retro modernist design, with an elegant curved façade, bustling terrace and funky coffee cup signage. The iconic ‘we’re here’ arrow makes sure you don’t pass this one by.

Coffee Stand | Andy's Cafe

The interior is a barista’s paradise, overflowing with coffee grinders, an espresso machine, sprinkles, syrups and pastries. In amongst it all are some lovely LEGO techniques: simple touches like the placement of white cones on single studs to suggest stacked cups. Continue reading

Neo-classic space drill inspection

Whilst the spacecraft of the classic LEGO space theme seem to grab the nostalgic limelight, for some of us the lunar rovers were the real stars. Maybe Andreas Lenander is trying to make this point, and if he is what better way than through this magnificent Neo-Classic Space Drilling Rover. It’s certainly got my classic space pulse racing. Although it sticks faithfully to the grey and blue colour scheme, its forms and shape speak to a more realistic post-NASA near future. There’s phenomenal part usage too, just look at the way the old rails form the drill casing, and the Jurassic World gyrosphere looks as if it were designed to be a moon buggy cab. To complete the scene Andrea signs off with a troop of new pink astronauts, from Benny’s Space Squad, scouring the variegated planet surface for its precious mineral reserves.

Syrsan - NCS drilling rover

The tree house of your LEGO dreams

Once gain I have the pleasure of highlighting Alanboar Cheung‘s amazing work for TBB, previously sharing his butterfly mimicry and cloud car models. Never predictable, his newest build, a quirky dream treehouse, is inspired by The LEGO Movie 2.

LEGO MOVIE DREAM TREE HOUSE 樂高電影夢幻樹屋

Built for the movie’s unique cast of characters, it incorporates a rainbow, clouds, piano room, and even a Unikitty slide — although I’m little worried as to where you’d end up if you actually tried to ride it. Simply exploding with colourful charm and cute details, it’s one of those creations that is going to be just as much fun to play with as is to marvel at. It’s also another reason – as if I needed one –  to get excited about seeing the film, which comes out later this week.