About Chris

Chris Malloy (porschecm2) has been a LEGO fan nearly all his life, having started with System bricks at age 3. He's been active in the online community since 2002, variously enjoying the lively families at FBTB, Classic-Space, Classic-Castle, Builder's Lounge, and Forbidden-Cove. In 2011, he finally made it to his first convention, Brickcon. He enjoys building in a wide range of themes, but keeps returning to Castle, Space, and Pirates. He has been a member of the LEGO Ambassador program since 2010. His flickr account can be found here.

Posts by Chris

A bit of a switcheroo

Although it’s not clear if builder Jay Bramhall just liked the bright colors (or maybe M-Tron), given the time of year I prefer to think that he got into Christmas spirit with this colorful Vic Viper. The ship conceals a sweet feature, namely the sweeping wings which are geared together and activated by turning the engine. The clean color blocking brings a nice pop of color to the drab regions of space, and Jay incorporates both old and new shades of dark grey to give a hint of the weatherworn nature of this craft.

Switch Swiper - VV2018

When two warriors meet

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the LEGO minifigure, and its chunky proportions are beloved the world over. However, as excellent as the minifigure is, it remains stiff and able to strike only a handful of poses. Some builders like √erde’ have turned to sculpting their own characters out of small elements, employing minifigure headgear to give them a lifelike appearance. This pair of warriors, representing brute force on the left, and speed and agility on the right, are magnificent examples. Plus, the photography makes them really seem like they’re on a battlefield.

Ancient Warriors

TBB cover photo for December 2018: The quickest way to the top

For December’s TBB social media cover image, alanboar is taking us back to the turn of the last century in Hong Kong, where the Taikoo Ropeway spans the mountainside in Hong Kong. In use from 1891-1932, the aerial ropeway (also called the Mount Parker Cable Car) provided quick transportation from the docks and sugar refinery to apartments on the mountain’s slopes. Alanboar’s rendition is an artistic representation all decked out in the white of snow, backed by the apartments and elegant steep-pinnacled peaks with clouds punctuating the sky.

LEGO Taikoo Ropeway 太古百年吊車 「銅鑼飛棧 」

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LEGO’s latest free gift with purchase is 40293 Christmas Carousel [Review]

Nearly every month, LEGO gives away a small set with purchases over a certain amount. We don’t always review these little bonuses, but sometimes they catch our eye with a standout model, such as last month’s excellent 40289 Diagon Alley or June’s 40291 Creative Personalities. For the first 10 days of December, the gift-with-purchase set is 40293 Christmas Carousel, featuring 251 pieces and valued at $15 USD. The set is available both in stores and online with purchases over $99 in the US and Canada, or £85 in the UK. The lovely design and moving parts made us decide to take a closer look, so let’s see what’s in store.

Click to read the full review

Defending the grey depths of space

In space, enemies can come from any side. And so rigorous armor is needed in addition to heavy armaments. Enter Patrick Massey‘s UNN-717 Olympia, replete with rows of chunky armor paneling and heavy turrets and a subtle submarine vibe (complete with rudder and diving planes). The nearly unbroken grey of the ship’s hull lends weight and scale to the model, helping it convey the ship’s monstrous size. And speaking of size, the LEGO model is no slouch either, ringing in around 3 feet in length.

UNN-717 "Olympia"

The mighty walls of Carcassonne

For about the past decade, LEGO castle builders have trended towards what I like to call a ramshackle aesthetic, with precariously towering walls and gravity-defying roofs attached with a song and a prayer. It’s natural that builders would flex their chops in that manner, as that painterly style requires a great deal more skill than the simple, studs-up brick walls of classic castle sets and many early castle builders. However, equally difficult is building more traditional, real-world castles and avoiding the dreaded “grey wall syndrome” of thoroughly boring architecture. Isaac Snyder‘s walls of Carcassonne accomplishes this excellently, featuring a short segment of the French city’s fortifications. The walls and even roofs are no less detailed than any you’d find in the more ramshackle style, yet are thoroughly grounded in authentic style.

CCC XVI: Walls of Carcassonne

Perhaps next time Isaac can include a road though, as I’ve been needing a straight wall segment with a road to complete my city for ages!

LEGO Speed Champions 2019 sets revealed; includes Mini Coopers and more [News]

The next wave of LEGO’s Speed Champions theme has been revealed on Amazon France. Though the products aren’t available to order yet, this is our first official look at the new lineup of cars, which spans the breadth of the automotive landscape from compacts and muscle cars to supercars. There’s no word on the precise price points for these sets yet, but they should be officially available January 1. However, we can expect to see them trickle into retailers in the final weeks of December. We’ll also be publishing reviews of these sets even earlier than that, so stay tuned in the coming weeks for our hands-on coverage.

75890 Ferrari F40 Competizione | 198 pieces | January 2019

Click to see the rest of the sets

Sculpting the sculptor

An artist’s work is never done, but even when the stone block is still half rough from the quarry, there’s room to marvel. Gabriel Thomson‘s rugged craftsman may be working with a harder medium than Gabriel himself, but it’s nonetheless a reflection of the skill involved in art, be it made of marble or LEGO. And speaking of skill, the horse head is fantastically sculpted, but no less so than the workman with his thick beard and toned arms.

Kaliphlin sculptor

No one builds like Gaston

We recently covered Mike Nieves‘ excellent Belle from Beauty and the Beast, but of course, she needs an antagonist. Now Mike is back to bring us everyone’s favorite Disney chump, Gaston. With ludicrously bulging muscles and a smarmy grin, this LEGO sculpt captures the essence of Gaston perfectly as he shows off for a disinterested Belle. The little bit of scenery ties it all together, with an excellent stump that even includes tree rings.

Belle and gaston

It’s time to get medieval

LEGO fansite Classic Castle’s annual Colossal Castle Contest is upon us yet again. Now in its 16th year, this long-running contest draws out scores of world-class builders. We’ve got our eyes on all the contenders, but the one that caught my eye today is Isaac Snyder with a pair of simple yet elegant medieval builds. While modest in both scale and intent, Isaac has crafted a wonderful slice of middle-age urbanism, with neatly designed houses crowding over a packed street. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Isaac has opted for a refreshingly clean aesthetic, eschewing the now-common jumbled style of bricks at crazy angles and roofs mere moments from collapse.

CCC XVI: Fresh Baked Goods!

Next, Isaac moves to the countryside while retaining the same tidy style, bringing us a happy cottage on a streambank. The wattle and daub architecture is expertly accomplished, and the little touches like the chicken coop give life to the scene.

CCC XVI: Mitgardian Farmhouse

LEGO 10268 Vestas Wind Turbine is back as the newest Creator Expert set [Review]

Since its inception, the LEGO Creator Expert line has come to be recognized by its advanced building techniques and great value. However, as statistics teaches us, in every group there are bound to be outliers. Enter 10268 Vestas Wind Turbine, a set that sticks out from the crowd in every sense. A re-rerelease of set 4999 from 2008, which only saw limited release to Danish energy company Vestas’ employees, the new set has 826 pieces and is priced at $199.99. It will be available beginning on Black Friday (Nov. 23).

Click to read the full hands-on review of this set

How to tame your dragon

This LEGO dragon tamer by Jayfa may not be a reference to everyone’s favorite dragon-taming movies by Dreamworks (or the books that preceded them), but it’s nonetheless epic. The tamer himself is a mashup of claw- and tooth-shaped elements that somehow weave together into awesome armor, and there’s no denying that having greaves made of dragon skulls must give you an edge in intimidating the beasts.

Arkov the Dragon Tamer

But the real masterpiece here is the dragon with its vivid magenta highlights. From the exceptionally clever brick-built eye (made with a white rod element flanked by two yellow minifigure hands) to the armor plating down the neck made of robot arms and teeth, everything works together beautifully to give the creature grace and personality.

The Elder Salamander