We’ve featured custom LEGO kits by Brickmania many times over the years, but Dan Siskind‘s small business has grown considerably since the last time we reviewed one of the company’s kits. Most notably, Dan himself is no longer the sole or even primary designer — great LEGO builders like Cody Osell now contribute many of the custom designs to the company’s products. While Dan is best known for tanks, Cody has designed most of Brickmania’s airplane models, including the F-4C Phantom II we’ll be reviewing today.
Catawiki is an auction website that focuses on rare and interesting items, and they’ve been featuring unique LEGO lots for several years. Unlike eBay, Catawiki’s lots are curated, with LEGO experts on staff who work with sellers to ensure the lots are interesting and have detailed information.
One of the most unique LEGO auctions I’ve seen in a while is happening this week, with a custom LEGO version of the Bell Tower of Florence built from over a hundred thousand bricks! Built by Luca Petraglia over the course of more than three years, the tower stands 3 meters (nearly 10 feet) tall.
Luca has displayed his tower at LEGO conventions such as the LEGO Fan Weekend in Skærbæk, Denmark. You can get a better sense of the tower’s massive scale with the builder standing next to it.
Catawiki also has a number of other interesting LEGO-related auctions this week, including some 1950’s vintage LEGO.
Change is inevitable within any community, and the online LEGO fan community has certainly weathered its share of major disruptions over the past 20 years.
Ever since the future of LEGO photo sharing website Brickshelf.com became unclear in July 2007, the majority of the LEGO building community has made its home on Flickr. But with Yahoo! failing to keep up with the times, the venerable web company has begun shedding its online properties, leading to the acquisition of Flickr by SmugMug earlier this year. Unlike the hysteria back in 2007, the reaction to the SmugMug acquisition among LEGO builders has been fairly muted, and generally positive given the sense that Yahoo! had effectively abandoned Flickr several years ago. This changed recently when SmugMug announced changes it would be making to Flickr’s Pro and free accounts at the beginning of 2019.
To celebrate the release of the new Fantastic Beasts movie this month, LEGO is releasing 40289 Diagon Alley as a giveaway on LEGO Shop purchases over $99. LEGO sent us an early copy of the set to review. The microscale set is built to the same scale as 71043 Hogwarts Castle, and includes 374 pieces along with a minifigure of wand shop owner Mr. Ollivander.
A little over a year ago, Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, killing thousands of residents and leaving many more without power, water, and basic necessities for many months afterward. Contrary to the words and actions of some American politicians, Puerto Rico is no less a part of the United States than Washington, D.C. itself is, but recovery efforts have been hampered by racism, callous politics, and name-calling. LEGO builder Nathan C. lived through Hurrican Maria, and recently created a LEGO model that illustrates the fear, terror, and destruction he experienced as the storm passed over him.
Not only does his detailed LEGO diorama capture the destruction that Hurricane Maria caused on the island, Nathan has animated his model with LEGO Power Functions — the tree and satellite TV dish sway in the wind, roof boards flap, and more. Also be sure to click through to the photo above to read Nathan’s detailed notes about the specific ways in which Maria affected the people and buildings of Puerto Rico, ranging from the implosion of concrete walls to broken water mains.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve featured a strong political statement in LEGO about a terrible storm. Back in September 2005, I commented on the Federal government’s poor reaction to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans with a much smaller LEGO vignette.
Every October, LEGO builders assemble their bricks for Ma.Ktober, a build challenge inspired by the 1980’s Japanese plastic models Maschinen Krieger. Chris Perron‘s contribution this year combines an old-style Dewback body with a bubble canopy and some rather ingenious parts usage for greebly bits on its legs, including crutches as struts. The sponson-mounted cannons are also an excellent touch.
The enormous, elephant-like oliphaunts (also known as Mûmakil to their Haradrim riders) wowed the hobbits Sam and Frodo as they made their way through Ithilien. Impressive as they may have been in the books and movies, this LEGO sculpture by Marcin Otreba adds movement to his bricks and brings the creature to life.
If the Disney animated series Star Wars: Rebels was any indication, LEGO fans can look forward to a full assortment of sets featuring the characters and vehicles from the new series, Star Wars: Resistance, which just debuted a couple weeks ago. While we wait for official sets, we can enjoy this lovely mini version of the Fireball, a racing ship maintained by Kaz Xiono, Tam Ryvora, and their teammates, built in brick by Tim Goddard. Tim captures the unique color schemes and markings wonderfully, including the little fins and vanes on the nose and wingtips, and even the small gray panel in the white stripe near the nose.
Next up, Torra Doza’s Blue Ace in iconic Gulf Oil livery?
With its distinctive inverted gullwings and gorgeous dark blue color scheme, the Vought F4U Corsair is easily my all-time favorite fighter plane. Produced throughout both World War II and the Korean War, the warplane also has the distinction of having the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter. While James Cherry may not be the most prolific LEGO builder — he shared his amazing 1/15-scale LEGO F-14A Tomcat jet fighter exactly two years ago — but each of his creations is well worth the wait. Built to the same scale as the Tomcat, James’s Corsair is deceptively huge; for a better sense of the scale, notice that the palm trees are built from stacked washtubs! We’ve estimated that this LEGO Corsair has a wingspan of over one hundred studs (over 32 inches or 82 cm), and it’s over 80 studs long from nose to tail (over 26″ / 67 cm).
Back in late 2017, before LEGO released any BrickHeadz characters from the Star Wars Classic Trilogy, we reviewed the New York Comic-Con exclusive Boba Fett & Han Solo in Carbonite. I excoriated LEGO for creating artificial scarcity in what would inevitably be an incredibly popular set. That set is now selling for at least $200 on eBay, but there’s good news: LEGO has now released another wave of Star Wars BrickHeadz characters, this time including Boba Fett (41629), Princess Leia (41628), and Luke Skywalker & Yoda (41627).
A couple times a year, our friends over at Citizen Brick open their vault and pull out all the prototypes and other rare pieces that they’ve only produced in limited amounts. Because their quality is indistinguishable from official LEGO products, we’ve been huge fans of Citizen Brick for many years. As always, one-off items will be released every couple of hours, and tend to disappear quickly, so check CitizenBrick.com regularly to pick up unusual items that may never be produced as products.
Full disclosure: Citizen Brick is an advertising partner of The Brothers Brick. However, our advertisers have no influence over The Brothers Brick’s news coverage.
LEGO has been producing large models in the Ultimate Collector Series of LEGO Star Wars sets since 2000, which was only the second year of the LEGO Star Wars theme. But on October 1st, 2018, LEGO will be releasing 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City, the first in a new “Master Builder Series” focused more on playsets based on locations than on large vehicles like the 7,500-piece 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon. This first set in the series includes 2,812 pieces with 18 minifigs and will retail for $349.99 in the US ($399.99 in Canada | £299.99 in the UK), and it’s available early to LEGO VIP Program members today.
LEGO tells The Brothers Brick that the new Master Builder Series branding will be applied to “complex” sets that include “many play features and functions, interior details as well as a range of minifigures.” Let’s dig in and find out if the set lives up to that description.