A long time ago, knights would sometimes ride into battle on a trusty steed. I’m not talking about horses of course – that’s so this galaxy. I’m talking about Jedi knights, and Okay Yaramanoglu is clearly on my wavelength. They’ve reconstructed Jedi knight (okay, he was a master at the time) Obi-Wan Kenobi’s varactyl mount from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, named Boga. It’s quite a unique ride, and with its bright colours it certainly stands out a bit more than the traditional equine mount. Okay’s build is no different, cleverly using palm leaf elements for the beast’s headdress. (Is it a headdress? Maybe it’s a mane. I don’t know, I’m no varactologist.) The coloured feathers contrast nicely with the dark green of Boga’s body, with a couple of boomerangs used for her tail feathers. More leaf elements are used as an excellent match for the feet – perfect for chasing after fleeing cyborg separatist leaders.
Greg Dalink is slowly making his way through the bounty hunters from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with his awesome battle-mech concept. With IG-88 and Boba Fett already part of the roster, it’s now the turn of the Trandoshan terror Bossk. Unlike the previous two, Bossk naturally has a lot more ‘organic’ parts on show, and Greg has boldly elected to stick with olive green for his scaly skin. There are still a limited number of parts in this colour, so there are a few creative choices – most notably the use of a dinosaur head for, er, the head. Bossk’s signature yellow jumpsuit is well integrated with mechanical details accomplished by greebling, which makes it look more like armour than a cloth suit. It adds some good emphasis to the heavy-duty feel of the mech.
Greg has gone the extra mile and created a sandy base for this bounty-hunting walker to stand upon as well. My favourite detail of these battle-mechs is the fact they can seat a minifigure version of the mech itself, and they can poke their heads out of the top. I can only assume that Bossk is having a friendly conversation with this Tusken raider, rather than looking to gobble him up…
Everyone remembers Bionicle, right? It was one of the themes that is credited with saving the LEGO company from ruin at the turn of the century. Six builders have recently decided to pay tribute to the Bohrok-Kal by reimagining these fearsome creatures. Redverse is one of those builders, and has combined the Bionicle villains with a much more obscure theme from around the same time: Spybotics. This theme was a subset of Mindstorms, and each came with a large cockpit piece which doubled as the programmable brick. 3807 Snaptrax S45 forms the inspiration for this creature, with the red cockpit being an obvious inclusion. The mirroring of the cockpit shape with the trans-red covers on the guns is a nice touch.
The tracks on the legs are also an homage to the 2002 set, but they aren’t just there to look cool! As well as its intimidating walking stance, this mech can transform into a slightly less aggressive form.
I was in Brussels Zaventem airport the other day, where I came across an enormous red and white rocket in the departure lounge, standing an impressive 6 metres tall. Stefan Johansson must have been through the same airport, as he has built the very same spaceship at an equally impressive scale! Of course, this isn’t just any old rocket. This is the craft that Belgium’s most famous son — at least in comic book form — used to travel to and explore the moon. The rocket is one of the most recognisable pieces of Tintin iconography, and as such has seen a fair few LEGO versions, but at 1.4m (4 feet, 7 inches) tall, Stefan’s is easily the biggest brick-built one I’ve seen!
Few LEGO builders do other-worldly creations quite like Bart de Dobbelear. His latest creation is a super bit of sci-fi workmanship, inspired by a digital piece from another artist. At first glance, I wondered if there had been some photoshop trickery at play to achieve the repetition of the rings, but on closer inspection, they are indeed four distinct rings. (I really should know better than not to expect such attention to detail from Mr de Dobbelaer!) The greebling is superb, but the real skill lies in the restrained use of pieces. In doing so, the build can show off its tremendous physical depth while keeping the look of the rings consistent. Moreover, they look simultaneously ancient and futuristic. Quite what the rings are for is unclear, and Bart says as much in his description. However, he does mention a few “mysterious disappearances”, with caution being warranted at night…
… So you’d better have your wits about you, as he has treated us to a night-time version of the build as well! The blue light wire is something Bart has used to great effect before, and understandably so – it really elevates the build to something truly alien. If we don’t hear from this TBB favourite for a while, it may well be because he got too close to the rings on Llyria Y9…
I’m really digging this LEGO model of the protagonist from the video game Shovel Knight by Dylan Mievis. This is a game that’s been buried on my to-play list for a long time, and is a love letter to classic NES platformers. The eponymous Shovel Knight is instantly recognisable in its bright medium azure armour – the LEGO colour is a remarkably close match to the source material! Dylan’s shaping is excellent, using curved pieces where necessary alongside some sharp angles to mimic the cartoonish video-game proportions of the original character. This is particularly evident in the helmet with its enormous horns.
This guy would look great as a static sculpture, but Dylan has gone the extra mile to make Shovel Knight fully poseable. Here he is standing ready with his weapon of choice (a shovel, naturally). When it comes to character, this creation has it in spades!
One of the key design elements of the Star Wars universe is its ‘lived-in universe’ feel. A consequence of that is that some of the ships can sometimes look a bit drab in their greys and blacks. Joey Klusnick has seen fit to remedy that with a ship designed to fit in the Star Wars galaxy, but with a colourful twist! The bright yellowish-orange paintwork, alongside the purple canopy, really makes this little spacecraft pop. There are some design cues taken from elsewhere in the galaxy far, far away. The unique, asymmetrical shape reminds me a bit of a B-wing, while the smaller engine ports follow the same Incom design used on the X-wing or U-wing. There is just about enough grey and battle damage (created with stickers) to keep that signature used feel. It even comes with a few play features – the cannons on the end can rotate on their axis, and the Astromech’s port actually opens rather than being an empty 2×4 hole!
It can be a challenge to recreate the curvaceous, flowing lines of modern cars in LEGO’s angular format. The G Brix clearly enjoys a challenge, and if that wasn’t enough he’s chosen one of the prettiest cars to come out in recent years. No pressure, then! Luckily for us, they are a very talented builder, as evidenced by this Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAm. The car is built to the same 8-wide standard as current Speed Champions sets, although with slightly more detail than might be expected from the official LEGO kits. Before we get to that, though… Let’s appreciate just how gorgeous this car is:
LEGO’s Speed Champions line has done a pretty good job of covering cars from a diverse range of eras, but they’re yet to represent the really early days of the automobile. In truth it’s unlikely they ever will, but thankfully we have builders like Pixeljunkie to scratch that particular itch! Pixeljunkie is no stranger to vintage automotive builds, and his latest creation is a doozy all the way from 1905. The car in question is the Laurin & Klement (L&K) company’s first motor car, the Voiturette A, which is where the firm now known as Skoda can trace its origins to. The company originally made bicycles, which makes the use of bicycle wheels for the car’s spindly wheels rather appropriate! Nougat and .dark red pieces are good approximations of the wooden body. The lamp on the right hand side of the car is worthy of further inspection, as well. It’s very simple: two gold chrome pieces, including the One Ring, on a headlight brick. The fact this headlight brick is transparent, though, makes the gold pieces stand out, and makes the lamp seem smaller and daintier than if a solid colour had been used. Finally, take note of the umbrella used as detailing on the footplate… There’s no roof on this puppy, so if it rains, you may need it!
When thinking of the early development of the supercar in the 1980s, most people will probably think of the Lamborghini Countach or the Ferrari Testarossa as the poster boys of that era. One that sometimes gets overlooked — unfairly, if you ask me — is the BMW M1. It mixes the craziness of the Italian-born wedge-shape with some classic German refinement and engineering. LEGO builder Leo 1 has perfectly captured the first German supercar (I count the original Porsche 911 as a grand tourer, before you ask!) in all its orange glory. A pair of headlight bricks are the perfect choice for the BMW snout nose, as are the circular tiles for the rims.
The exquisite shaping continues around the rear of the car. Slopes and tiles at subtle angles abound to capture the sharp shape of this Bimmer, which is not easy in bright orange as the parts palette is still fairly limited. The little details, like the interior or wing mirrors, are the cherry on the cake. And we can all agree that twin-pipe exhausts just make a car look cooler, can’t we…?
One of the challenges of moving to Finland for me has been picking up the language – I am finding it rather difficult to get my head around it. One of the suggestions that has been put to me is to watch children’s TV shows, and after seeing this build by Mikael Montelius (Gonkius), I may have found one to do just that! This adorable character is called Bobbo, and is one of six characters in the educational show Babblarna (‘the Babblers’). It’s originally a Swedish show, but does apparently have versions in Finnish, as well as English, German and Norwegian. Bobbo here is a high-energy character with an occasionally fiery temper. He also likes to dance, and Mikael has captured him mid-boogie! The red windscreen pieces are the perfect choice to capture his circular shape, and the half-circle tile used for his tooth, along with the eye tiles, gives him oodles of character.
I’m sure we’d all like to have LEGO collections full of pristine bricks. The reality though is that they are not infallible, and sometimes we’ll come across a broken LEGO element and think it is good for no more than the trash. But as Josh (Sergeant Chipmunk) demonstrates with this underwater scene, broken bits of LEGO do still have a use! In this case, a selection of flex tubes that have seen better days are used to represent a broken mast in a sunken ship. The rest of the scene is equally is good – the shaping of the ship’s hull is great, and the rockwork poking through the bow makes it clear it has been beneath the waves for a long time. Those waves, incidentally, are made up of tiles and clips that allow for a wavy shape that, while fragile, gives a good impression of a sea in gentle motion.