You gotta love it when you see a cool use of parts and wonder, “Why the heck didn’t I think of that?” One of the greatest things about the LEGO community is that we are in a wonderful position to share ideas with each other, all over the world. Inspiration makes us all better builders. And Jens Ohrndorf is certainly a builder who sparks creative ideas. These adorable little pachyderms are part of a menagerie of expertly crafted creatures. Many of which use clever techniques to achieve character. For example, the use of the Unikitty tail element for an elephant trunk is brilliant!
Who needs virtual reality when you can actually touch the players? Enter LEGO BOOST, some extra bricks, and the imagination of Japanese builder Nipe Nipe. Using adorably crafted characters and interchangeable backgrounds, the classic video game is brought to life on a circular conveyor belt.
This perfectly thought-out game is actually playable via a Bluetooth connection with a phone or tablet. The programming of the system is simple, but comes out looking terrific while in action. With the tap of the screen, you can play the levels of Super Mario Bros in 3D. Like the real game, you have to get the timing just right to avoid those pesky obstacles!
When you build something really interactive, you naturally want to show off how it works. At conventions you might spend a whole hour repeating a demo. Then another. And another. And another… Until you realize you haven’t eaten all day. Of course, leave it to Jason Allemann to find a truly impressive solution to this problem. After he and his wife’s arms got tired opening and closing the LEGO Ideas 21315 Pop-Up Book, she told him it was time to make an automated, page-turning bookstand. So he has! And it’s brilliant!
As usual, Jason has developed a genius and inspiring mechanism. Just watch the video for the full explanation of what’s going on behind the scenes of this elegant lectern. I don’t know about you, but I find it mesmerizing!
While you’re here, check out Jason’s excellent addition to LEGO Creator set 31088 Deep Sea Creatures!
Roller coaster parts had been a long time coming when they were finally released last year. I, personally, was someone begging for them, and was ecstatic when given the chance to review the LEGO Creator Expert 10261 Roller Coaster. Since then, it’s been cool to see what others have done with the track. This time, Daniel Church has built a super cool Steampunk monowheel. All the greebly bits create a lovely design, and the triangular signs and 2×3 pentagonal tiles finish it off well.
The best part is that it actually moves! Who doesn’t love a good LEGO build with movement? I hope the next task is to make it stand by itself and remote controlled!
With the release of the most recent How to Train Your Dragon movie, we’ve seen several builds of loveable Toothless floating around. But none of the others are quite like this version, designed by one of our favorite artists, Jayfa! Great skill has gone into the shaping of the head. And feet… Actually, there is great shaping happening all over this little dragon!
Toothless’ playful nature is perfectly captured in this model. Perhaps my most favorite part is the eyes because they’re so expressive. A minifigure hand inserted into each of the ball socks was quite clever. And while I’m personally a purist, the little white bit cut from a claw/tooth element is undeniably a brilliant finish. Is it ironic that the actual tooth part was left behind?
Jayfa is a master of this style, and most of his creations come from his own imagination. Just check out a pair of some of his best mechs. Want to build your own version of a similar dragon? Check out this Toothless with instructions, designed by Build Better Bricks.
It’s amazing how some things never go out of style. They’re timeless. Like the Beatles, denim, and bubblegum. Underwear (thank goodness)… Harry Potter… LEGO! And Pokémon. Articuno, one of three Legendary birds, was born into the Pokémon universe in 1996 with 150 other First Generation creatures (like Pikachu, Charmander, and Squirtle), and is still popular today with Pokémon Go. This beautiful build by mk bricks is a nod to the famous bird. The layering of parts to create an icy feathered appearance is well-achieved here. It’s not all that easy to avoid making these kind of builds look blocky and repetitious, but not here! And perhaps the coolest (pun intended) part is the most obvious. The bending technique to shape the iconic tail looks great! It really could not have been better accomplished.
Have you ever played one of those games where you look at an image and find the hidden details? They used to be in magazines, but these days there are loads of apps for them. And now, there’s even a 3D LEGO version! This greenhouse, built by César Soares, is a hidden-gem masterpiece. While there are lots of LEGO creations with incredible parts usage, this one goes above and beyond, and may be one of my absolute favorites!
No spoilers! Take a moment to scan the whole thing, and read below once you get stumped. Can’t remember where you last saw that part? We’ll fill you in on a couple of those hard-to-pinpoint pieces!
It takes a great deal more skill to sculpt with basic LEGO bricks than you might think. The ability to produce organic curves from rectangular bricks is awe-inspiring, and strikes envy in those of us who are always searching for that perfect shape. Upon seeing this life-size Rhesus macaque, I knew it had to be the work of Felix Jaensch, who is a master of the art. I must say, it really could not have been done better!
Adult males like this one (just in case you weren’t sure if it’s a male) are about 18-25in long and weigh an average of about 16-19lbs. They have an expressive face, which is perfectly captured here. Additionally, the lovely use of a select few slopes gives the fluffier bits texture and character, and the minifigure hand to finish the nose is genius!
Rhesus macaques are probably the most commonly known macaques in the world. That’s partly because these monkeys have a massive home range in central and southern Asia, and are invasive in several other places in the world. They’re also widely studied and used in research due to their high level of intelligence and fairly close physiological relation to humans. It was a study of their blood that led to our understanding of the Rh blood-typing system we use today!
In many Asian cultures, koi ponds symbolize luck, good fortune, and abundance. They also tend to represent courage and perseverance. Perhaps that’s why, even with the abundance of rain, this geisha isn’t afraid of her makeup running!
Banter aside, this expertly photographed build by Architeclego is stunning. I personally find heavy rain beautiful and almost calming. From inside, its enveloping, rhythmic drone is even cozy. This is one of those picture that provokes those feelings.
While the photography in itself is compelling, the build is not to be overlooked! I’m a fan of the layout and recessed pool, and I especially like the inversion of the arch bricks for the roof. We certainly hope to see many more pieces of art like this in the future.
I’m a sucker for the stories behind builds. I’m also one for nicely cut lines and color choice in architecture. This build by Brother Steven displays all of those traits. Although we’ve seen it done before, the journal of an adventurer chronicled in LEGO is a fascinating concept, and done well by Steven. This particular creation is part of a series of builds, all following “Zenas Abbington” as the hero. There are so many lovely aspects to the castle: the round base, the shape of the towers, the pearl gold carriage wheel in the windows, and the accents on the front door. Let’s not forget how adorable those sheep are too!
And the flip-side is just as pretty! That tree is magnificent, with its color and angled branches. I’m also a big fan of the underside of those mushrooms! It’s no wonder that this, coupled with a few other creations, won a “Brickee” at BrickFair Alabama 2019!
Some of the details of this build are reminiscent of other creations from Steven’s magical world, such as this floating castle we featured last year.
What’s a city layout without the staple vehicles: police, fire, ambulance, bus, delivery, mail, garbage? You gotta have them all! LEGO has released a few generic garbage/recycling trucks, but none of them are this cool. At first glance this build by Scott Hasse looks a bit like an average set. But up close it’s pretty nifty. Rather than the typical manual dump action displayed in the City line, you get a truck that works much more like the ones you see on the street in real life.
A simple turn of the knobs not only grabs and dumps the bins, but also compacts the refuse into the dump collection in the back. The whole thing is really smooth and works like a charm! An if you had a fleet, you could put tiles on the sides to indicate garbage vs. recycling or compost. Would anyone else besides me get hours of entertainment from playing with this thing? My next step would be to motorize it!
This could become a real set one day, you never know. But in the meantime, you can use some simple instructions to build your own little garbage truck.
Inspired. That’s all I can say about how I feel every time I see one of Jason Allemann‘s new creations. And maybe a little jealous at how talented he is. Recently, we wrote and article about his update to the LEGO Forma mechanics with a custom shark. This time he has taken a recently released official set, LEGO Creator 31088 Deep Sea Creatures, and brought it to life. It’s done so well that you would think the set was always intended for this purpose.
With the turn of the crank or an attached motor, the drive mechanism of this build gives the shark an appearance of organically gliding through water. The most impressive part (as always with Jason’s builds) is how smooth and seamless the motions are. Truly fluid! And as a bonus, this creation isn’t just for admiring from afar! He has kindly shared these (and many other) instructions on his website so that others can build it too!