A cornerstone of gaming, the role-playing online game World of Warcraft, has recently had a resurgence. The re-release of its original form (before seven expansions) has had millions hooked, me including. I guess that explains my lack of activity in the LEGO world… But while everybody else is busy killing boars and growing out their hair, Chi Hsin Wei has been building. The result is Illidan Stormrage, one of the central characters in the Warcraft storyline.
The character is obviously instantly recognizable, with the torn wings, green demonic tattoos and his weapons, the warglaives of Azzinoth built using lime green dragon wings. The muscles of the upper body are quite impressive, as is the construction of the character’s pants that look like they have not been changed for ten thousand years…
Large spaceships get the geeky type quite excited, and we LEGO builders are some of the geekiest. Over the decades, this has lead to a standardized criteria of what qualifies as a large space ship – 100 studs in length. While I do love every large spaceship out there (as the especially geeky type of person I am), I wonder if this criteria has started to impede creativity. With an annual celebration of large LEGO spaceships (also known as SHIPs) every September, the bricks of the world have been concentrated to bring us many elongated spacecraft that quite often measure exactly or just over 100 LEGO studs long. What about bulkier 90 or 80-stud spaceships that so rarely get made? On the other side of the coin, this cultural phenomenon has been a great source of inspiration to builders who may not have otherwise built a big hunk of space metal, not even a medium sized one! Another point is that this common perception of what qualifies as “large” is a uniting factor in the community.
The third side of this (apparently three-sided) coin are builds that are basically the definition of an elongated spaceship, but still manage to impress immensely! Anthony Wilson brings us a creation that has some amazing textures, negative space and colour blocking. What I love most about Anthony’s Pelicon-3 is the bridge area, with windows on either side, revealing a busy interior filled with trophy minifigures.
Abandoned factories seem to divide people into two camps: those who for some reason find them beautiful, and those who think such structures should be demolished as quickly as possible. Such locations attract all sorts of people, from graffiti artists to homeless people and edgy teenagers looking for adventure. Dutch LEGO builder and photographer Niek Geurts probably isn’t homeless, and I doubt he is an edgy teenager. Judging by his photography website, he seems to be inspired by abandoned industrial architecture, and his recent LEGO recreation of an abandoned factory is filled with all the functional details one would expect in a factory.
The scene has just about everything you could ask for. There is a little guard house, a railroad access, all sorts of hoses and air vents on the roof and other must-haves for any factory, abandoned or not. There are a few characteristics of abandoned buildings as well; broken windows, graffiti (wonderfully brick-built examples here!), cracked pavement and uncontrollable vegetation sprouting everywhere, including a bit of moss on the roof. The two bikes on the left side of the diorama are either stolen and discarded or the property of whoever is filming clickbait YouTube videos inside…
The world of Magic: the Gathering is, despite its cheap fantasy storyline, a treasure trove of characters and other motives. Some (far too few, if you ask me!) LEGO builders like Eero Okkonen take inspiration from it and create amazing works of art. This recreation of The Wanderer is a great example of a builder capturing the original artwork perfectly. The Wanderer is a clichéd mysterious character in the lore that would be quite interesting if it was in any other story.
The build is mostly what one would expect from this master character builder. The real highlight is the incredible accuracy to the source material. The exotic colours like pink, gold and sand green are not the easiest to work with in LEGO, but Eero stretched his collection to the limit and successfully recreated the character, with all her challenges. The most interesting part usage to me was the Technic figure scuba flipper used as the ends of the hair. To read more about the building process, check out Eero’s own blog post on Cyclopic bricks.
In a world where human influence seems more and more destructive, it can sometimes feel like there is less hope for life every passing day. Patrick Biggs tackles this topic with an expressive character that seems to embody wild plant life. Now, we should not oversimplify the ecological crisis to just deforestation, but as a symbol this creation is quite powerful. It may be a touch ironic to talk about such problems through plastic bricks, but if it makes just one person consider their carbon or plastic footprint, the world is better for it.
The character’s leafy face has a perfect shape and an expression achieved by two simple pin holes. The body has much more detail than I would expect from brown. But the character would not have the impact it does without the burnt stump it is presented on, as well as the flowers sprouting from said stump under the gardener’s influence.
So I have been building again. This one was quite a stress-free build, inspired by my other recent dragon, Dragon Unit LL-32167. I was struck by a moment of inspiration about a month ago and realized that I have a yellow 24-toothed gear that would work perfectly in the dragon’s neck. The thought process continued with the idea that if I build a dragon using no light gray and (almost) no blue, I could keep the previous one assembled for a longer time. This means that everyone visiting my tiny local LEGO shows/conventions may have a chance at seeing the two mecha dragons side-by-side. I name this awesome construction worker mecha dragon Workhorse.
Click here to read more about my latest build and a comparison with my earlier similar build
I love LEGO dragons, and the air dragon Bandea from this immersive (almost) fully LEGO scene by one of our contributors, Benjamin Stenlund, is one of my favourites from the past few months. The body is chunky and curvy like a “real” dragon is. What gives it the edge are not the Ninjago sword edges, but the awesome background it is presented on. The horizon is put on just the right point with the corresponding camera angle. What I love most are the realistic rocks, made of wedge slopes and polygonal panels fitted together to represent the cracks and angles of a real rock face.
The builder has quite a few elemental-themed dragons in his portfolio: Moto the Fire Dragon, Maji the Water Dragon, Hewa the Air dragon and Daera and Kijani, the Earth Dragons – the last one being my personal favourite so far.
A good LEGO creation will be good despite the motive and theme it depicts. Some times though, a build comes up that is both built well and plays on your personal interests. The builder that does that to me most often is Eero Okkonen. If you have been following The Brothers Brick for a while you are probably familiar with Eero’s beautiful character builds of various themes, many of which come from the Magic the Gathering trading card game, just like this particular one.
The build represents an elf planeswalker (basically a glorified mage) important in Magic’s storyline. The character’s likeness is incredibly well captured in LEGO, especially the iconic green markings on her face. The clothing and posing is great as well, with a flowing green cape and a green flame in her hand. You can read more about the build on Eero’s blog, Cyclopic Bricks. The builder is so good at capturing iconic characters that one could call him an Iconic Master…
Readers from eastern Europe will instantly recognize this adorable critter from the Czech cartoon Krtek (which means “little mole” in Czech). Having read books and seen cartoons of Krtek’s adventures throughout my childhood, I never thought to see the character built out of LEGO. But when I saw this perfect recreation by Eero Okkonen, I went full “aww-mode”.
The pose on the image is so iconic that one would hardly notice this is LEGO, were it not for a jagged edge here and there. Curved pieces capture the character’s shape very well, but my favourite parts are the red nose and the three long hairs on the mole’s head. As a master character builder, Eero has explored many different source materials and themes, but none quite as iconic as this one. Thanks for the nostalgia trip, Eero!
There are certain LEGO building systems that are tailored to different themes and motives. Technic is most suitable for mechanization, System tends to be best for buildings, vehicles, landscapes and similar motives. Bionicle (character & creature building system, or Constraction, or whatever you may call it) was obviously intended to be used to build characters and creatures and not volcanoes! But LEGO fans love to use parts in unique ways and chubbybots‘ latest build is a prime example.
The build mostly consists of armor shells, probably connected on their intended limb pieces (or possibly in a different way, but we can not really see the inner structure). There are a few trans-neon orange chains for thinner lava flows and some round plates and bricks as smoke. But that is it. Such simple techniques were used in a unique way with a good sense of shape and topped off with good photography, resulting in a very memorable creation.
Certain core LEGO themes like castle and space seem to have very specific directions of experimentation and technical progress. We generally associate castle builds with unique textures, but having a colour palette usually limited to various earth tones. Colour experimentation is not unheard of in the theme though, but remains the rare exception that reminds us of specific builders like Luke Watkins or jaapxaap, among others. This time, Anthony Wilson goes to the extreme with what almost looks like a negative image of what would otherwise be a cute but quite ordinary castle scene.
There are so many tones of blue, yellow and orange in this build that even if I try to count them all, I would probably still miss one or two. The transitions between the different colours in the grass are especially smooth and really add up to a realistic effect (as realistic as yellow grass can be). The 1×2 tile-based wall is not a new technique, but the two rows look great overgrown by all sorts of dark brown plants. The yellow ninja minifig and its animal companion add that vitally important bit of life that complete the scene.
Their similar goals of provoking thought in the beholder is why science fiction and abstract art often go hand in hand, and this applies to LEGO as well as other media. The freedom to create something new also makes it easier to send a new message. Ralf Langer has taken this freedom to create a mysterious scene of a discovery on an alien planet. What lies beyond the door? Is it a symbol of creation of new life or the inevitable change in an already existing one?
No matter the meaning, the creation is impressive in a completely technical view as well. To less experienced builders it may seem like a few simple surfaces broken up by random and inherently meaningless technical textures we like to call “greebling”, but there is much more to it. Ralf is a master of textures as he proves here with grids of minifig stud shooter triggers. The main point of this build is composition though. Ralf has joined seemingly simple parts into something that looks full, but not cluttered. My personal favourite part is the mysterious gate, with a unique texture made using LEGO treads.