Posts by David Alexander Smith

London launch of the new Harry Potter 71043 Hogwarts Castle [News]

Early this morning, Leicester Square witnessed the biggest gathering of Harry Potter fans since the final film premier was held there in 2011. Fans of LEGO and J. K. Rowling’s famous wizard were out in force, excitedly queuing outside the store, some camping out overnight for the highly anticipated 71043 Hogwarts Castle set, which is now available.

At over 6,000 pieces, 71043 Hogwarts Castle is the second-largest LEGO set released by the company to date. Packed full of amazing architectural detail and showcasing almost every important scene from the series, it certainly lives up to its billing. Earlier today we posted a full review of the Hogwarts Castle LEGO set that covers every nook and cranny of the impressive build.

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Relive the battle of Sokovia from The Avengers: Age of Ultron in this huge collaborative display

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us some epic spectacles in recent years, with the battle of Sokovia from The Avengers: Age of Ultron being one of the biggest. Inevitably it would take a team of super-talented builders to replicate the movie’s centre piece in LEGO form; step forward SaltyLUG who amazingly have achieved just this.
Ultronscene
Displayed at Brickfair Virginia, this sprawling scene captures the key scenes from the battle in a single diorama. Amongst the exquisitely built streets mayhem’s breaking out everywhere. Look closely at the front of the church and you’ll find Thor, Vision and Iron Man confronting Ultron. Elsewhere Utron’s army causes havoc amongst the general populace. Inside the Novi Grad church the rest of the Avengers prevent further sentries from reaching and deactivating the repulsors keeping the chunk of Sokovia afloat.

There are many more details and several Easter eggs to find if you look close enough. The group have also recorded the development of the project on NS Brick Designs’ blog.

Sukia the samurai finds the perfect balance between elegance and simplicity

Two or three carefully selected elements are all it takes to create something truly elegant from LEGO and ItouN’s samurai girl Suika makes this a case in point. Combining inverted wedge and red ball joint elements to create flared britches is inspired building at its best. It’s a trend that continues throughout, from the clip plates that double as braided hair through to the pointed red boots; everything here works towards a coherent aesthetic vision. Simplicity in this instance is the very essence of beauty.

Return to an alternate Paris in 1889 with this sprawling steampunk scene

Like all great cities, Castor Troy’s steampunk Paris continues to grow. Previously we’ve featured Casotor’s models of the Colonial Office and the Louvre, both of which feature in the layout. This time around we’ve been treated to a new row of buildings running alongside Notre Dame.

Paris Steampunk 1889 V2

Each contains the kind of beautiful architectural details we’ve come to expect, from the Egyptian Art Deco building with its innovative use of ornamental fencing for doors and gold claw elements to represent two opposing sphinxes, to the new maritime office with its wall mounted ship’s wheel. Let’s hope that Castor’s passion for development continues to see new wonders being added to this splendid city.

Paris steampunk 1889 v2

A modern take on the classic space super-rover

The Gorgone maintenance and rescue rig, built by Spacerunner, captures the essence of the Classic Space super-rover whilst resolutely remaining a serious contemporary creation.  What I love about this model is its understanding of the ethos of its archetypes, notably the M:Tron Mega Core Magnatizer, without any slavish adherence to colour schemes or piece selection.

Gorgone

Instead, it borrows key elements such as the trans-blue windscreen, alongside masterfully built play features such as the rear-deployed mini-rover and mobile claw arm. The result, a well-crafted model that manages to ignite that special spacey nostalgia.

Gorgone

Giving birth to an idea

There is a dark yet beautiful quality to Reven New’s creation that reminds me of the Swiss artist H. R. Giger’s best work. Playing with the cold interconnection between the human body and technology, the sculpture counterpoints an emaciated body, built from an oddball assortment of LEGO pieces, with the new life of its title. The minifigure baby is no longer grown within the womb, instead created in a birthing tank hooked up to its mother’s brain. Photographed dramatically under a lurid green light, we are left in no doubt as to the unnatural process taking place. As Reven notes in his own description: “No more emotions… Only thoughts, only purpose.”New Life

The best carpenters make the fewest chips

The way the sunlight streams through the wooden slats of Simon NH’s carpenter’s workshop shows not only exemplary building skill, but also quite the talent with the camera. This idyllic scene of a bygone age of craftsmanship matches nifty piece uses, such as the minifigure hair wasp’s nest in the rafters, and the subtly positioned gear rack saw blade, against an eye for pictorial representation. Using the lines of the beams and rafters to exaggerate the perspective in the photograph, Simon pulls the viewer’s eye into this little world, able to linger over every detail of the carpenter’s life; and be rest assured those minifigure hands on the floor are wood chips and not the result of a grisly accident.

The Wood Tryptichon Part II - The Carpenter

This LEGO AT-ACT from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story strides through the palm trees

Builder Ben Cossy intended to make a small scene set on the planet Scarif from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but ended up with an imperial sized project, creating this stunning AT-ACT Walker.  The bulkier sister to the standard AT-AT, this walker has a heavier animalistic design, consistent with its construction site deployment.  Ben taps right into this aesthetic, imbuing his model with a weighty sense of gravitas, doubling the hinged knee joint on its longer legs, as well as triple plating the armoured body.  Yet, it’s that first decision to situate the composition on the planet surface, where the AT-ACT can tower over the tiny palm trees, that truly captures its ominous sense of scale.

 

Living the dystopian dream

Ah, to get away from it all — just pack up your trailer and head out of town. Well, according to LegoFin in 2046 you might just end up living in one of these dystopian suburbs. A collage of jumbled junk, all of course expertly built, from the resourceful layering of dishes to create the defunct electrical transformers, to the lovingly detailed generator out back.

CyberPunk 2046: Trailer Life

The caravan’s design uses some cleverly arranged slopes, giving it its distinctive shape; a real home from home, it’s got everything you need… well, alright it has a bucket. Still, if you do get lonely, there’s always that suspicious-looking drone to keep you company.

Find safe harbour in Markus Rollbühler’s microscale port

This microscale city-port built by Markus Rollbühler packs detail into every stud of its tiny 12×12 base.  Everywhere you look something grabs your attention: ships built from epaulettes, with sails formed from the new triangle tiles found in the Speed Champion sets; printed Minecraft plates make excellent wharf buildings; and, my personal favourite, party hat spires adorn the town’s numerous towers.  Of course Markus doesn’t stop there — keep searching and you’ll find treasure hidden in the dock’s cellars.

Of Sails and Spires – Summer Joust Prize, Vignette Category

A little LEGO manga smile from Cells at Work

I can think of few builders able to nail ‘cute’ quite like MikeVd; and his latest creation, Platelet from the Japanese manga series Cells at Work, is no exception. The series reimagines human cells as anthropomorphic characters, with platelets – the blood-clotting agents – depicted as helpful children. Using a modified plate to capture an innocent smile, Mike pushes the kawaii aesthetic with a carefully tilted head and flowing hair. The result: an adorable, sparkling-eyed, little LEGO girl!

[Cells at Work!] Platelet

A samurai’s secluded retreat

The flower-laden gardens and open paddy fields that surround Rollon Smith’s Snake Samouraï Temple create a beautifully secluded retreat for the noble Japanese warrior.  What I find really appealing about this scene is the way the well-selected decorative details, such as the serpent reliefs and the various printed tiles, are balanced against an obviously tended natural landscape.

Snake Samouraï Temple

Zooming in you find the minifigure inhabitants of the temple caught in the acts of harvesting rice, pruning plants and raking gravel; and it’s this little nod to Zen aesthetic practice that ultimately makes for such a satisfying build.