Mansur Soeleman, nicknamed "Waffles," is our resident lover of the LEGO colour teal, and all things greebly. An art school grad, he is more of a builder than artist, and a new one at that. While he has just started building seriously a few years ago, he has risen to be among the ranks of talented LEGO builders, and has recently become a part of the fan community. Currently residing in Edinburgh, he has lived in Amsterdam, Budapest, London, and Chicago. Besides procrastinating on LEGO projects, Mansur likes waffles, lots of coffee, riding his bicycle everywhere, any music with trumpets, and did we mention teal and greebling? His LEGO creations can be found on his Instagram and Flickr.
A long journey to colonise distant star systems require long, space-y psychedelic songs made by musicians such as Pink Floyd, Gong, and Brian Bennet. I was listening to Life on Mars by Dexter Wansel, when I saw pictures of The Ark by Ben Smith. One year in the making, it is a massive rotating vessel which resembles something from the television series The Expanse. Inside, tiny nature habitats built by collaborators Tim Goddard and Inthert provide residence for the people voyaging across the stars.
Almost a meter in height, this SHIP hides a custom steel frame to bear the weight of electrical motors, LED lights, batteries, and thousands of LEGO parts. This behemoth of a build is as detailed as it is large, with plenty of greebling to feast the eyes. When taking a closer look, one can marvel at the geometric achievements of circular and conical sections of varying diameters. As for those not as keen for grey space machinery, there is some microscale landscaping by Tim Goddard and Inthert. For there must be life within this cold ship, as the inhabitants yearn to settle down on a distant planet.
See Ben Smith’s flick album documenting the long and arduous build process of The Ark. And put on some Pink Floyd while you’re at it…
There is a golden rule of vehicles: If it exists in real life, then it exists as someone’s LEGO creation. This medium-sized Technic off-roader by Anton Kablash is a model of a car that does not exist… yet. A recently announced next-generation Ford Bronco, set to release in 2021, is a modern take on a classic SUV. While retaining its iconic boxy shape, the new model has a futuristic take on the front grille and headlights of the original vehicle. Anton captures the design with pinpoint accuracy using mostly Technic parts with a few of the usual plates, slopes, and tiles thrown in between.
As with the real vehicle, I am drawn to the simple, minimalist design of this vehicle. The clean lines form a box that is aesthetically pleasing rather than boring. The only curves are where it matters – the wheel arches and the frame around the headlights. My favourite is the hood, which Anton constructed from tiles and curved slopes rather than Technic parts. The windows and roof in black offer a nice contrast from the white body, and I particularly like the inclusion of mounted spotlights.
Underneath a clean white livery with openable doors, hood, and trunk, there are as many functions as a large-scale supercar. The working steering connects to both a steering wheel and a “hand of god” gear on the roof. The rear wheel connects to an inline four-cylinder engine in the front, and all the wheels have high-clearance suspension. On top of it all, the chassis and exterior are separate modules.
The Unimog — the multi-purpose utility truck produced by Mercedes Benz — has always been a favourite of mine. Something about the shaping of the cab and the big tractor wheels still fascinates me to this day. Since it is big and aggressive with a high ground clearance, it is something you would see in off-road races, churning up mud and climbing rocks. Yet in most cases, they are roadside repair and agricultural vehicles, sporting orange and green. Vehicle builder Jonathan Elliott reconfigured the Unimog into a logging truck — which is not so uncommon. Sporting a realistic yet simple crane hoisting some nice textured logs built up of column bricks and printed log tiles. The best part is — it’s teal!
Fledgings look to expert builder Inthert and crane their necks to see what he builds next. Specialising in spaceships, he finds the right pieces to build intricate shapes that bring beauty to otherwise now-generic vehicles. He presents us with a pink-haired lady piloting a small and unique starfighter with an unusual shape. When taking a gander from different angles, we can see that this ship has the shape of a plump bird, with the elements of a fighter jet.
Bird puns aside, this well put together craft checks all the boxes that satisfy a parts- and technique-oriented coot such as myself. A bulky body with downwards sloping wings that resemble a small bird gliding on a current is perfect. Aside from unique parts like a white Slizers visor in the front and two sizes of barrels, the use of inverted slopes for small intakes is ingenious. There is minimal greebling, but it works just as well, as less is more. Last but not least: the wing and landing gear function: the landing gear swings out as the wings fold in.
Only Inthert can make it so simple and work so well. But my favourite part still remains the girl with the lavender coloured Elves hairpiece. Something about a pink-haired girl being the pilot makes an already perfect spaceship even cooler.
See more perfect builds by the talented Inthert here.
When I saw this spaceship build by Elven Ranger, a certain colour caught my eye. Everyone knows I am a lover of teal, and any LEGO creation with that colour wins my heart. But upon a second glance, I realised that it is a different shade of green, just the lighting is different. “My disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined.”
Nevertheless, this grey-and-green spaceship features enough details for its small size to feast my eyes. The angular wings contain layers of plates resembling hull panels, enhanced by a few masonry bricks and minifigure ingots. This adds to a great balance of smooth surfaces and more textured elements. Similarly, the two colours balance each other, making sure that the dark green does not overshadow the light green. Stickers provide extra decorative piping and paneling to give this ship a subtle, yet rugged look. And if anything other than teal that wins my heart, it’s greebles.
If you want more, take a look at our spaceship archives. There is plenty of greebling, and even some teal!
The bittersweet ending of The Lord of the Rings is a scene that impacted many readers and viewers such as myself. It is the last we see of our beloved heroes after so many trials and tribulations in their story. In this scene, our heroes join the elves on a boat departing Middle-Earth to “a far green country under a swift sunrise.” Many see this as an allegory for death and the journey beyond, whether it be heaven or something else. Like Bilbo, I like to think of this in a more optimistic way: a new adventure in an unfamiliar land. JNJ Bricks captured the moment in the Grey Havens right before their departure in a striking, immersive LEGO scene.
The minifigures of Frodo, Gandalf, and the hobbits stand in the foreground, out of focus and facing away. The elves wait by the boat, ready to take them on their journey out of the completely brick-built harbour. LEGO parts make up everything in this scene, from the water to the sunset sky between the cliffs. My favourite detail, the arches, and towers across the water look just like the movie, despite being so small. The boat, being grey, is distinct enough to not blend into the background. The accuracy of this scene invokes the same emotion in me as I experience while reading the book or watching the movie. Now I am in the mood for some of Tolkien’s poetry…
The recent release of the 501st battlepack has taken LEGO Star Wars fans by storm. Many bought multiple sets containing the fan-favourite clone troopers for collecting, army building, and for use in their builds. While many built scenes starring the 501st troopers, landscape artist First Order Lego already completed their most iconic and memorable battle. The Battle of Umbara is regarded as the best four-episode story arc of The Clone Wars and is enough to elevate the whole series to Star Wars fans’ favour. In these episodes, the 501st struggle against the natives, the landscape, and even their own in a brutal war story. They showcase that the Republic are not the good guys, the soldiers are disposable, and that the war is pointless and harmful. Thus, people frequently compare them to the real-world inspiration: the United States invasion of Vietnam.
The 501st, led by Anakin Skywalker, advance through trenches and carnivorous plants on this elaborate against the Umbaran natives. The dark terrain and the eerie flora is visually striking, providing good contrast against the white armour of the clone troopers. First Order Lego uses many rubber tires to give a smooth and rounded look to the large spiky plants. Many bladed elements make up smaller plants, and even a few construction parts provide roughness to the landscape. In addition, various transparent parts dot the terrain, providing light and giving Umbara its signature “evil” look. While on the far side, the neon-lit road is a welcome change from the rough black wilderness.
First Order Lego also provides a time-lapse video of this battle scene coming together:
In a not so distant future, everything is blocky and grey. To brighten up the world, MadLEGOman, a scientist at Abnormal Genetics Laboratories has added too many DOTS to dinosaur DNA. The result is a unique Kaiju that no imagination could ever fathom… The dreaded AbbyNormaJeane, which bears resemblance to Grimlock from Transformers with the colour scheme of General Mayhem from The LEGO Movie 2.
Medium azure 1×1 round tiles provide the AbbyNormaJeane her primary colour, her underbelly and feet include some pinks and magentas. Whereas these are scales or armour, her base body is a white canvas that the DOTS cover. In addition, a combination of flex tubes and plates with clips sculpts the creature’s organic shapes. It all results in a funky blend of organic forms and mechanical details in a fun monster build.
Doctor Who is a British sci-fi television series about the titular character who travels through space and time. Since it first aired in 1963, it has been a staple of pop-culture and has even gotten an official Doctor Who LEGO set. Fan builders also built many iterations of the time-traveling spaceship TARDIS, many large and complex on the inside. However, Librarian-Bot created a console room of a different TARDIS operated by a different Time Lord. This one is not unlike the hero’s TARDIS from the late 1970s, still recognisable and iconic. While more recent console rooms are grey and greebly, Librarian-Bot adds a splash of colour with white and blues. But my favourite section has to be the usage of computer and button tiles in the middle. Despite being LEGO’s generic decorative elements from old space and town sets, they fit right into this scene.
In 1979, LEGO launched their first ever space theme, with it the Galaxy Explorer flagship that inspired generations of fans. Amongst them, builders like to recreate these classic spaceships with new pieces and designs. Tim Goddard, the co-author of LEGO Space: Building the Future, has presented us with his take on this iconic piece of LEGO history. While staying true to the original ship, Tim’s LL-928 flies with a perfect balance of smooth grey wings and a greebly hull. Through a great transparent yellow canopy, spacemen sit in a detailed cockpit complete with controls, cabinets, and cup of tea.
Though he is an experienced builder, Tim perfected his craft by implementing various advanced building techniques. He has angled the wings with slope bricks that transition perfectly between each section. In addition, the smooth wings have a curved edge that is reminiscent of modern aircraft wings. The curved nature of the wings carries over to the rear section which conveys a bit of the rounded 1960’s sci-fi design. Last but not least, Tim stepped out of his comfort zone by engineering a working landing gear using functional Technic parts.
See some more modern takes on LEGO Classic Space, and check out more of Tim’s builds here.
Most builders love a good challenge, but everyone loves free LEGO. Such was my reaction when my LEGO user group, Brickish, selected me to represent them in a build challenge. In this friendly competition amongst UK and Ireland-based LUGs, the task was to build anything using the parts provided in 100 LEGO Star Wars magazine foil packs. These were provided by Fairy Bricks charity, and contained 10 each of 10 small sets. I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) challenged myself to take these small Star Wars models and… not build anything Star Wars related. There weren’t much of the usual grey bits anyway. So I had my next favourite thing in mind: microscale architecture.
I had no plan going into this build challenge. But the parts provided were surprisingly good – lots of small bits that I use in my building style. I knew I was going to surprised myself with the finished results, and I did, for such is the nature of any challenge. It definitely produced a beautiful build I am most proud of: The Voyage to Cirrus Palace.
When certain design elements dictate the look of the gritty Star Wars universe, it is best to stay within those constraints when designing new and different ships. That doesn’t mean make them same-y and boring, but rather different and unique enough to make sense. LEGO builder Librarian-Bot has struck the perfect balance (literally!) with a hybrid of the Millennium Falcon, the Ghost, and the Resistance Bomber. The Raging Comet flies with a unique wedge shape that combines the bulky nature of the freighters mentioned above. Despite a top-heavy structure, this ship balances on its tip by a stand or a singular landing gear. To achieve this feat, Librarian-Bot built this freighter with an airy but detailed interior to reduce the weight.
Many details also add to the characteristics of a starship from a galaxy far, far away. Starting from the top, there is an oversized sensor dish and on either side, familiar circular docking rings. In the front, a cockpit with an iconic conical shape, and lots of intricate angles and greebling between it all. These are a great homage to the Millennium Falcon, which set the standard for Star Wars ship designs. Four engines in the rear are different from what you would expect, but they do not look out of place. The entry hatch further down includes a foldable boarding ramp that some might find excessively long, its superfluous nature just screams “Star Wars!” Red highlights break up the monochrome greys, and a black and yellow checkerboard pattern give the impression of the Raging Comet being a fast smuggler ship.