Posts by Matt Hocker

You build...raptors?

From Jurassic Park to Jurassic World, velociraptors have remained a fan favorite in the series. While the raptors in Jurassic Park were hungry killing machines, Jurassic World gave us lovable trained carnivores. The scenes of Owen Grady bonding with Blue since birth are memorable, and I bet Owen would be proud of this wonderfully detailed LEGO version of Blue built by PaulvilleMOCs. There is a pleasing balance of form and function here. A splash of color keeps the model visually interesting, while ball & socket and hinged joints allow Blue to “strike a pose.” I really like Blue’s mouth, which consists of a 1×3 hinge tile, with the finger wedged between a modified 1×1 plate with clip. Finishing off the mouth is a dark pink minifig hand, which makes for a really cool-looking tongue.

LEGO Jurassic World Blue Velociraptor Left

And if you still haven’t had your prehistoric fill, the builder has also done a fun rendition of Mr. DNA.

Mr. DNA

Aiwan Ting Pavilion is eye-pleasing, both inside and out

When it comes to building historic Chinese architecture from LEGO bricks, it can prove challenging to capture the sweeping curves of rooftops and ornate details. While we’ve seen builders employ a variety of techniques for this, with his model of the Aiwan Ting Pavilion, Chinese builder Smoker Nie has managed to pull off both the shape and the details in an especially eye-pleasing manner. Aiwan Pavilion is located on Mount Yuelu in the Chinese province of Hunan.

LEGO MOC Aiwan Ting Pavilion Of China

Smoker’s building is an excellent likeness, both inside and out. According to the builder, 12350 LEGO bricks were used in its construction.

Click to see more of this LEGO Aiwan Pavilion

Cumulonimbus dead ahead! The “unsinkable” Skytantic

One of the most gorgeous airships to grace the skies has finally emerged from the distant clouds. This is the long-awaited Skytanic, built by Markus Ronge and alluded to in his equally epic-looking Maersk Pier, featured on The Brothers Brick last week. In Markus’ steampunk universe, the airship’s massive size was made possible thanks in part to the ultra-light steel used in its construction. When it comes to the characters involved in the ship’s construction, Markus once again gives them clever names. Hiram Lever is the designer behind Skytanic, which is in turn piloted by Captain Ulysses Wheeler.

Royal Yacht "Skytanic"

From bow to stern, Skytantic looks phenomenal. The red, black and white hull is reminiscent of the ill-fated Titanic, while the gold trim helps give the finished model that steampunk vibe. According to Markus, the ship stands a whopping five stories tall, and each level looks distinct. The top level features a lively looking bar, and the royal cabin is directly below that. If you look carefully enough, you will also find what appears to be a tribute to the Jack and Rose “flying” scene from James Cameron’s hit film, Titanic (1997).

Click to see more of the Skytanic

Motoring through the ages with Peter Blackert

When LEGO car builders come to mind, Peter Blackert is probably one of the most prolific. Over the past few years, Peter has churned out dozens of high-quality LEGO cars, and it isn’t unusual to see him share four or five new builds in a given week. Peter is well-qualified to be making brick-built cars because he works as an engineer for Ford Motor Company. Last year also witnessed the publication of his book, How to Build Brick Cars. Peter renders his digital models using POV-Ray, and his portfolio of LEGO cars is rich and diverse, consisting of a wide range of makes spanning over 100 years of production. Having looked through his models, we have decided to pick a car for each decade spanning the early 1900s through the 1960s. They look nice individually but, when grouped together, they help tell a story of the motor industry.

1900s – Curved Dash Oldsmobile:

At the turn of the Century, automotive design was still heavily influenced by horse-drawn transportation. This period also represented a mechanical gold rush, with tons of individuals and organizations attempting to make their mark on the industry. One of the most important contributions to the industry during this period was the assembly line, which allowed for cost-cutting mass production. Credit for this development is often given to Henry Ford and the Model T, but the Curved Dash Oldsmobile was America’s first mass production car. Peter’s version of the Curved Dash looks faithful to the original and looks wonderful with its top up or down.

Curved Dash Oldsmobile 1901-1907

See more of Peter’s amazing vintage automobiles

“How can you build this? There’s no pictures!”

“Well, some people use their imagination.” Mike Nieves has used his imagination to create a wonderfully whimsical representation of Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Mike’s character build may not have a defined face, but the pose and setting is iconically Belle. Thanks to her outstretched hand and head tucked in a book, I can almost hear her singing.

Belle

Thanks to an extensive use of curved and angled slope elements, Mike has done a great job of capturing the look of Belle. As we can see in this shot, sloped elements are also used to convey a sense of motion with the flow of Belle’s dress. There is some incredibly nice detailing here, including the clever ribbons for the hair and dress.

Belle
If you like Mike’s model of Belle, you won’t want to miss his other LEGO Disney character builds.

Built it through the grapevine

Amidst the summer heat, Josephine Monterosso’s brick-built grapes look quite refreshing, not to mention realistic. They look like they were just picked off the vine, right down to the green leaf hanging off the end of the stem (the leaf appears to be a green minifig cape). The grapes themselves are purple Technic ball joints, a part which has been around since 2001 but never appeared in dark purple until this year (you can find it in sets 76103 & 41342). A good part can be made even better with the proper technique, and I especially love how Josephine used plant pieces to create a very organic looking bunch of grapes. Bon appétit!

Grapes

Maersk Pier is a majestic port that is sure to marvel all

LEGO and storytelling are a match made in heaven. As much as I enjoy building for the sake of building, I also enjoy LEGO as a medium for producing a narrative. Markus Ronge had me hooked last month when he shared a teaser poster for an upcoming series of story-driven steampunk builds. A few days ago, Marcus revealed the first part of his conceptualized world in the form of Maersk Pier, owned and operated by fourth-generation shipping mogul, Herman van de Maersk.

"Full Steam" Maersk Pier

Bored with the shipping industry, Herman decided to build this majestic port to serve luxury airships and their wealthy clientele. As a steampunk model, Maersk Pier is breathtakingly beautiful and does a great job of blending Victorian-style architecture with steampunk fantasy. The extensive use of white works well and reminds me of marble, which witnessed a resurgence in use as a building material during the 19th Century Greek Revival period. Speaking of history, the model’s name is a clever nod to LEGO’s lengthy relationship with the Maersk shipping company, which has included a number of Maersk co-branded LEGO sets over the years.

See lots more photos of this amazing LEGO steampunk diorama

Welcome to a temple with a “killer” view

No matter how strange or limiting a LEGO part may appear to be, there is no such thing as a useless piece. With a little thinking outside the box, it’s sometimes surprising what you’re able to accomplish. Case in point, David Zambito’s microscale “Temple of Tarrasque” takes the LEGO Batman Movie’s Killer Croc minifigure and literally turns him on his side. Killer Croc’s body has been cleverly placed within the model to form a major portion of the mountainside, and the figure’s printed dark green spots are reminiscent of shrubbery. It accentuates an already beautiful landscape filled with a variety of fun angles, and the tiny temple is equally impressive.

Temple of the Tarrasque

From parts car to restored racing legend, this garage has it all.

Over the past few weeks, I have been following Pixeljunkie’s progress on an exciting series of photographs that seemingly depict the restoration of a classic 1950s Mercedes race car. Time and time again, Pixeljunkie has demonstrated an impeccable talent in building minifigure-scale vehicles and setting the scene (like his Bugatti we featured back in July). His latest image depicts a gritty but gorgeous-looking garage, along with his partially stripped down Mercedes race car. Pixeljunkie opted to leave the engine exposed, and it sports a fair amount of detail for being confined within such a small space.

Vintage Garage

With the extensive repairs out of the way, it’s time to load the car up for transport. The fully restored racer looks simply stunning, and the small team of restorers is just as charming as the car itself. Out of the entire lot, the middle-aged motorhead with cigarette in hand is my favorite (the cigarette itself is an interesting use of three Nanoblock pieces). Several other fun details can be found in Pixeljunkie’s garage, such as a loft area with a drafting table and sink. Meanwhile, shelves are filled with a wide variety of tiny tools.

See the vintage Mercedes racing car in its restored glory

The minifigure turns 40: a colorful history of LEGO’s most beloved characters

Did you know that 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the modern minifigure? In recognition of this very special birthday, the LEGO Group released its party-themed Series 18 minifigures a few months ago, including a remake of the 1978 policeman. The LEGO Group continues to celebrate, this time by reaching into their archives to share some historic images with our readers. Here at The Brothers Brick, we love minifigures and are excited to share the images and history behind the LEGO Group’s versatile and lovable characters.

A system is born, and so is a police officer:

In the post-World War II economy, the LEGO Group began shifting its priorities in toy manufacturing. While the foundation of LEGO rested on wooden toys, Ole Kirk Christiansen saw a future in plastics and purchased the company’s first plastic injection molding machine in 1947. It was with this equipment that the LEGO group first began producing its Automatic Binding Bricks in 1949. These hollow-bottomed bricks were the forerunner of the modern LEGO brick.

LEGO’s earliest sets were fairly basic construction toys, and characters were never packaged with the sets. This changed after Ole’s son, Godtfred, introduced the System of Play series in 1955. “System of Play” referred to the versatility of LEGO bricks to be used by themselves and with a child’s existing toys. LEGO advertised the toy as the perfect companion for dolls and HO (1:87) scale toy trains. LEGO created the Town Plan series, which is populated by brick-built buildings and prefabricated vehicles, to serve in part as an add-on for model railroading.

It was also during this time that LEGO introduced the great-great grandfather of the minifigure, a set of four tiny police officers. The figures were posed in four different positions, designed so they could direct traffic throughout the intersections of the Town Plan. Resembling HO-scale figures, they did not have moving limbs or recessed indentations for connecting to studs but were nevertheless LEGO’s first people manufactured for the System of Play.

Click to read the full history of the LEGO Minifigure

Bricks for Glory I: so you want to build a hero

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Sierra was one of the biggest names in PC gaming, and high-quality adventure games were one of their specialties. One of their most beloved franchises was the Quest for Glory series, developed by Lori Ann and Corey Cole. Of the five games in the series, Letranger Absurde chose to recreate the opening scene of Quest for Glory I: So You Want to be a Hero. As the hero enters the picturesque town of Spielberg for the first time, he is greeted by Sheriff Schultz Meistersson and his massive right-hand-man, Otto Von Goon. Going by the colors used, Letranger appears to have based his representation on the VGA remake. He makes a great use of various angles to form the buildings in front of the town square, and forced perspective is cleverly used to suggest there is another area to explore. The characters are instantly recognizable, including a brick-built version of Otto pulling off a yo-yo trick like he often does in the game.

Quest for Glory

These classic hot rods are totally tubular

Throughout America, a trip to the beach can often go hand-in-hand with a classic car show. People love the warm summer sun, the smell of the surf, and feeling the breeze blowing through their hair as they drive down coastal roadways. Taking this as inspiration, Norton74 has created a beautiful beach setting for two equally gorgeous hot rods. Early Fords are popular with hot rod enthusiasts, which is probably why Norton74 went with modified versions of a 1930s Ford V8 (left) and 1920s Model T (right). Thanks to the combination of curves and exposed engine details, the cars look both sophisticated and mean. They’re like the classic bad boy with the soft heart. A sign warns surfers to watch out for sharks, but I would probably be more worried about that sand washing up on the tile-built boardwalk. Scratch attack!

Totally Tubular!