About Chris (TBB Managing Editor)

Chris Malloy (porschecm2) has been a LEGO fan nearly all his life, having started with System bricks at age 3. He is the co-author of Ultimate LEGO Star Wars, and his creations have been featured in several books and The LEGO Movie. He also helped develop the first LEGO Minecraft set, 21102 Minecraft Micro World: The Forest, which has gone on to inspire a whole theme of sets. He's been active in the online community since 2002, and regularly attends LEGO fan conventions such as BrickCon and BrickCan. He enjoys building in a wide range of themes, but keeps returning to Castle, Space, and Pirates. Check out his LEGO creations and photography here.

Posts by Chris (TBB Managing Editor)

Bring some bling to your brick: custom chrome Ferrari F12

During my research for our review of the new LEGO Technic Lamborghini Sián, I found myself reading about Ferrari’s infamous pickiness regarding the customization owners can do to their cars. But LEGO builder Lachlan Cameron has designed a beautiful Technic Ferrari F12 and then customized it in a way that I think even Ferrari would approve–a luscious cherry chrome paint job supplied by Bubul Chrome.

Ferrari F12 in wild red chrome by Bubul @revaidonat - check it @loxlego

Click to see the interior of the Ferrari F12

Berlin, 1945: the closing push

While it’s more common to see LEGO models of neat and tidy downtowns that would look right at home in Disney, it takes at least as much skill to show a city in the aftermath of war. Builder Paul Rizzi has created this World War II diorama depicting the Soviet invasion of Berlin in 1945. Created using approximately 12,000 pieces, the 1/42-scale diorama’s centerpiece is a pair of large buildings that we can see were once quite ornate, before being bombed out, no doubt during the Allies’ extensive air raids. Paul has been careful not to simply build a standard LEGO building and then unbuild it partially, but instead actually provide some of the structural framework that’s typically not present in a LEGO building, such as the rafters and floor joists. The large number of scattered bricks and rubble blown from the buildings and street during the bombing, along with several large craters, give the whole diorama a sense of realism that’s sometimes missing in the “too clean” versions that many novice builders attempt.

Berlin - 1945

The Soviet tank, a T-34/85, occupies the right half of the diorama accompanied by a handful of Soviet infantry facing off a smattering of German troops. The Soviet forces are crossing under Berlin’s famous Stadtbahn railway, which is striking in dark green. The tank itself employs an aftermarket flag and treads, and is a great version of the angular Russian tank that formed the backbone of the Soviet machine.

Berlin - 1945

 

Stop scrolling and look at this LEGO dragon scroll

Thanks to an ongoing round of Iron Builder, which sees two contestants pitted against each other to build a variety of LEGO models using a specific element, we’ve been seeing an explosion of builds employing the dynamite bundle, from arcade machines to detailed kitchensCecilie Fritzvold, in particular, has been on a roll, sticking that dynamite piece into builds anywhere she can fit it, including into this amazing dragon scroll, where nearly 50 of the bundles make up the twisting body of the beast.

Shenlong

And lest you think Cecilie is cheating by just neatly arranging a bunch of pieces on a tiled baseplate, look very closely and you’ll see that each piece is attached with a clip, meaning you could actually hang this on your wall. Well, except for that brick-built hangar, maybe. The two long black Technic axles that stand in for the string might not be up for the task.

Check out more of Cecilie’s dynamite escapades in our archives: Cecilie Fritzvold LEGO creations

Mobile Strike Force: ready!

During the pandemic, a group of LEGO fans have begun playing a virtual military conquest game a bit like Risk, except each person’s army consists solely of the creations they build to populate it. Douglas Hughes has mobilized his military in a big way with this absolute unit of a transport plane, which he’s fittingly dubbed “Chubs.” The stylized aesthetics of both the plane and the dock equipment reminds me of the Micro Machines I had as a kid, and I can’t help but want to start playing with this epic transport.

CHU-85 "Chubs" Ekranoplan!

Interestingly, Doug’s sculpted the plane studs-out, which allowed him to get the complex curves the fuselage needs, while still leaving the interior mostly hollow. That would be a difficult balance to strike using other methods, such as stacked slopes.

Double the tensegrity, triple the trouble

Over the past few months, LEGO tensegrity sculptures have been all the rage, with their gravity-defying stacking attracting builders of all stripes to try their hands. While most tensegrity structures consist of a single floating element, a few builders have managed to add another floating section to that, which makes the delicate balancing exponentially more difficult. David Roberts makes it look easy, though, with this tower of rings.

The Three RingsTensegrity sculptures stay aloft thanks to being held in tension with three tethers (chains in this case), but David’s model also adds tension to the rings themselves, which simply comprise Technic tread links joined inside out to make a tensioned circle. It all comes together to create a beautifully simple sculpture.

Now, who wants to try their hand at creating a tensegrity sculpture with three floating levels on top of the base? Any takers?

Want to see more tensegrity sculptures? Check out our LEGO Tensegrity archives for examples from tanks to dragons.

The blood moon samurai

Master of brick-built characters Eero Okkonen has shaped this fanciful LEGO samurai, and true to his typical style, has kitted it out with splendid parts usages from top to bottom. While there are many clever building techniques that are worth highlighting, such as the lever bases around the flag on his chest, or the offset cascade of car slopes for the front of the red kusazuri (or skirt armor), in my opinion, the best technique is a very simple one that serves both form and function. The front of the Samurai’s feet are made with two red cheese slopes around a black lamp holder, and the color different would be a problem in most applications. But here it perfectly mimics the split-toed tabi (or socks) of traditional Japanese garb.

Samurai of the Blood MoonYou can read more about the samurai and how Eero designed it on his website, Cyclopic Bricks.

Toa Helryx, the OG Bionicle

LEGO’s Bionicle lore runs deep, encompassing a complex world history from its inception to the heroes we all recognize as the various Toa. Even the theme’s origin story is fascinating, as David Robertson recounts in Brick by Brick the Bionicle theme was originally envisioned as a metaphor for battling cancer, with the bio-heroes (cancer-fighting drugs) being delivered to the world (body) in pill-like canisters. Builder Anthony Wilson is participating in a fan-run challenge to create the Toa Helryx, which the lore names as the first Toa in the Bionicle world.

Toa Helryx No sets or images were ever produced of this Toa, but Anthony has sculpted this regal figure from the few descriptions. The brick-built mask, so central to Bionicle characters, is crafted from multiple elements, most notably the silver Nexo Knights shield, whose ribbed edges look marvelously organic here. Another great detail is the giant mace Helryx wields, which is tipped with a Technic differential.

Build your own horse, Lucky Luke!

What’s even more difficult than creating just the perfect LEGO minifigure for your creation? Crafting the perfect character in a small scale without using minifigures. Well, ok, this build by Marion Weintraut actually uses a lot of minifigure pieces, just not how you’re “supposed” to. The long-running comic strip hero Lucky Luke and his horse Jolly Jumper are wonderfully gangly and full of cartoon whimsy. From the perfectly placed hollow studs for Jolly’s nostrils, to the small slope for Luke’s bandana and the minifigure pirate hook for his cigarette, there are so many techniques to love here.

Lucky Luke + Jolly Jumper

Although, while I’m always a fan of unorthodox techniques, I do detect a slight twitch in my eye at the way the minifigure arms are connected for Jolly’s tail. Let’s both pretend we didn’t see that, and enjoy the rest of this splendid creation.

The LEGO Technic 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 rolls in: the good, the bad, and the ugly [Review]

Back in 2016, LEGO Technic did a new thing: it drastically raised the bar for LEGO sets targeted at adults by creating the 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS with not just a complex and detailed design, but also premium packaging befitting a luxury product. Two years later, the Technic team followed it up with a stunning recreation of one of the world’s most expensive vehicles, 42083 Bugatti Chiron, and we hailed both vehicles as among the best sets LEGO has ever produced. Announced last month, now LEGO Technic is back for a third time with another supercar, the 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37. Revealed by the Italian brand late last year, the Sián marks the company’s first hybrid vehicle in its 57-year history. The LEGO model is available now with a retail price of US $379.99 | CAN $489.99 | UK £349.99 and includes 3,696 pieces. Has LEGO struck gold three times in a row with Technic supercars? Yes, but not without some unfortunate missteps. Let’s take a closer look and unpack the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly, in this lime green speed demon.

Click to read the full hands-on review

Wizards by the Coast

According to LEGO builder Josh, this diorama depicts the abode of the Wizards by the Coast, which has me wondering, perhaps the denizens of this quaint little seaside town are best known for their gaming masterpiece, Dumgeons & Dargons? At any rate, this little village is awash in a magical air, from the crazy twisted tower and giant butterfly to the precariously perched flowerbeds. The little scoops of ice cream, long used by LEGO builders as smoke, find a great use here as sea foam. Meanwhile, the wizards are cooking up a mean fish fry courtesy of a Fireball spell. Someone invite me!

Wizards by the Coast

Who will take the ring to Mustafar?

As evil armies spread across the land, a young boy from a farming town journeys to strange places on a quest to defeat the mighty villain. Accompanied by a group of friends and gifted a glowing blue sword, he soon finds himself in the company of a weird little creature speaking in odd sentences, before ultimately defeating evil by casting it into a giant pit. That’s the backdrop for this mighty tower, which LEGO builder CRCT Productions calls The Emperor’s Eye or Vader’s Barad-Dûr.

The Emperor's Eye, Vader's Barad-Dûr

The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars share a lot of similarities, but perhaps none so visually striking as the resemblance of Darth Vader’s Castle to the architecture of Sauron, and this nifty little microscale diorama shows the resulting mashup. The best part is the Force-blue glowing eye between the spires. The squared-off base works well to counterpoint the jumbled lava rocks around the foot of the tower, and there are some great parts hidden if you look closely, such as chain links and robot arms.

LEGO Nintendo Super Mario full theme revealed with 16 sets and a collectible blind-bag series [News]

LEGO has revealed what we believe is the complete LEGO Super Mario lineup, which amounts to 16 individual sets and ten blind bags–one of the largest single-theme launches LEGO has ever undertaken. LEGO revealed its partnership with Nintendo back in March and has since been drip-feeding us information about the theme, revealing a few sets at a time.

The theme is focused around the base adventures set–which is the only set to include the electronic Mario “digi-fig”–and is available to pre-order now for US $59.99 | CAN $69.99 | UK £49.99. Today’s product reveal includes several previously unseen level expansions featuring Thwomp and King Boo, a LEGO Super Mario app, as well as a collectible bling-bag series of enemies including a Paragoomba, Fuzzy, Spiny, Buzzy Beetle, Bullet Bill, Bob-omb, Eep Cheep, Blooper, Urchin and Peepa. The entire LEGO Super Mario lineup will be available starting August 1st.

We’ve listed every set in the LEGO Super Mario theme along with photos, price and availability.

Click to see more photos of each product in the LEGO Super Mario lineup