About Rod

Rod likes building stuff, particularly steampunk and microscale. He's built for a number of the Dorling Kindersley LEGO books, including LEGO Play and the Awesome Ideas book. When he's not building, he writes, and has published a trilogy of old-fashioned adventure stories. To pay the bills he works in innovation and marketing for one of the world's biggest brewers, inventing new beers and ciders. This is clearly the best job in the world.

Posts by Rod

The Demon’s price seems reasonable — he only wants your soul

Demons stalk the night. Or at least they do in Jayfa‘s world. This LEGO Bionicle creation is a wonderfully dark and brooding character, put together using a prototype mask and custom-designed wing membranes. The pose is excellent, powerful and intimidating, and the colour scheme is spot-on — those splashes of trans-blue work brilliantly with the pearl gold against all the black. Inexperienced warlocks beware, this probably wasn’t the low-level denizen of the Netherworld you meant to summon…

LEGO Bionicle Winged Demon Balrog

Jumping on board the Mexican bandwagon

Most Western-themed LEGO creations take their architectural inspiration from the single-street towns of the Gold Rush — clapperboard buildings, usually saloons and general stores. It makes for a pleasant change to see something a little more Southwestern in tone with Andrea Lattanzio‘s build of a classic whitewashed adobe flat-roofed house. And even better, there’s not a gunfighter in sight; instead, we’re treated to a mariachi band arriving in their wagon to serenade the farmer’s beautiful daughter. The house is a visual treat, covered with nice details, from the use of printed 1×1 round tiles on the protruding ends of the logs to the plant-covered arbors that provide shady spots on the flat roof. The use of woodgrain tiles above the windows and doors adds some welcome texture amongst the white. Bien hecho, Andrea!

LEGO Mariachi Band Mexican House Adobe Southwestern Architecture

A glorious day down on the farm

LEGO Castle is a building style dominated, perhaps understandably, by LEGO castles. It’s good to see the less militaristic side of medieval life depicted in the bricks — particularly when it’s as well done as this Manor House and farm scene by Peter Ilmrud. The main building is excellent — stone walls evoked with lots of texture, a nicely-built thatched roof, and the typical “Mock Tudor” woodwork enlivened with sand green window frames. The surrounding farm is wonderfully detailed with a field of corn, a carrot and pumpkin patch, a paddock for the horses, and a filthy-looking pig sty.

LEGO Castle Manor House

A lower-angle image gives a nice close-up view of some of the finer details, including the attention paid to the different types of paving and path, the tiled roof of the outbuilding, and those wonderful crops…

LEGO Castle medieval farm

Reactor online, sensors online, weapons online

1984’s BattleTech brought the mech designs of Japanese anime crashing into Western table-top gaming. Two years later, MechWarrior expanded the universe into a wider role-playing game. These two games were responsible for introducing a whole generation to the glorious concept of giant mechanical walkers shooting at one another. Kale Frost has put together a cracking LEGO version of the Timber Wolf mech — the series’ signature design. The details are spot-on with the upper body slewing to the left on spindly legs whilst missiles burst into the air from the shoulder-mounted pods. All systems nominal.

LEGO Mecha

And I’ll have that coffee to go...

A coffee delivery service is a great business idea. Especially if the mugs of boiling liquid come rushing towards you on servo-powered legs. Hmmm. Hang on. Perhaps that’s actually a rubbish business idea? Regardless, Markus Rollbühler‘s madcap vision of the Coffee Of The Future makes for a cracking LEGO creation. The legs and cup-holding limbs are gloriously detailed, packed full of functional-looking greebly bits, and the little splash of bright blue adds a lovely touch of colour amongst the light grey and silver. Brilliantly bonkers stuff.

LEGO Cup Walker

Enormous LEGO castle dominates the shoreline

If a medieval castle was an exercise in the projection of power, we’ve got a new Lord of the Manor on the scene in Joel Midgley. His latest LEGO project is Hingston Castle, a formidable fortress, impressive in both scale and details. The sheer size of the castle grabs the initial attention, but then you’re sucked in by the little touches — the lovely shoreline landscaping, the water, the roughness of the walls, the off-grid angles of the outer rampart. And as for that dark grey line tracing the contours of the crenellations — beautiful!

LEGO Castle

Joel has lavished as much attention to detail on the action within the walls as without. The central yard plays host to grazing animals, trees and flowers, patrolling guards, and stables…

LEGO Castle stables

Best of all, hinged panels in those walls allow visibility of the castle’s fully-detailed interior. Click to take a tour of this incredible LEGO castle…

Cry havoc and let slip the wolves of war

Steam-driven military walkers are a staple of the LEGO Steampunk building genre, and this one, by Carter Witz, is a great addition to the corps — a spindly tripod affair with touches of dark red in amongst the grey greebles. The functional-looking joints on the legs support a nicely detailed body packed with texture (and armaments).

Mech Monday

I particularly liked the evocation of a classic Prussian-esque “pickelhaube” spiked helmet. This is one of those LEGO creations where the presentation adds immensely to the overall effect. The base is simple but well done, and the addition of the figures advancing beneath their mechanical companion gives an impression of scale the central model alone might lack. And dropping in that wolf is a masterstroke — immediately creating a sense of mystery, danger, and otherworldliness. Steampunk needs more wolves.

Give me a career as a buccaneer, the life of a pirate for me

Ah, the pirate life — it’s all palm trees and rum, blue skies and treasure chests. Oh, and scurvy. And tropical insects. And crabs. Regardless of the reality of the pirating lifestyle, it remains a perennially popular subject for LEGO builders. Here’s Isaac Snyder‘s take on a small pirate hideaway — Cutthroat Cove — a rough wooden shelter built into the rock, complete with jetty and a lookout position on the cliffs above. The vegetation and the dual-coloured rockwork are nicely done, and the mix of browns used for the shelter gives it an appropriately ramshackle feel.

LEGO Pirates Cutthroat Cove

This massive LEGO Mos Eisley diorama has got it where it counts

The Millennium Falcon might be the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, but she’s also the subject of many a LEGO creation. Here’s Daniel Ross‘ take on the famous Star Wars freighter, depicting the moment we first set eyes on her, squeezed into Docking Bay 94 in Mos Eisley spaceport on the planet of Tatooine. At first glance, you might think the ship is the massive official version — 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon — but no, this impressive piece of building is a custom model, all Daniel’s own design.

LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon Mos Eisley

Click here to see more pictures of this impressive diorama

Enormous Imperial hangar is the perfect place to fine-tune your AT-AT

Back in 2017, tastenmann77 took inspiration from The Empire Strikes Back and built an impressive Imperial AT-AT Walker. However, now he’s taken things to a whole new level and put together a huge maintenance hangar diorama to surround it. This LEGO creation is enormous – the walker itself is 45cm tall and 50cm long, which should give some impression of just how big the hangar is.

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Sometimes larger LEGO creations rely on their sheer scale to impress, but this one is also filled with a frankly astonishing amount of detail. We’ve got Darth Vader arriving to carry out an inspection welcomed by a formation of Stormtroopers, there are Imperial officers overlooking the maintenance efforts from a gantry, there’s welding going on inside the AT-AT’s hold, and the floor is marked with realistic-looking warning stripes and is covered in interesting cargo and equipment. There’s even a mouse droid tootling around! Continue reading

New York’s Hearst Tower skyscraper recreated in 20,000 LEGO bricks

Manhattan’s Hearst Tower is one of the city’s most distinctive skyscrapers and DeepShen has built an impressive LEGO version of this interesting block. The faceted corners of the tower’s 182m height give it a striking visual signature, enhanced by the interesting contrast between the modern skyscraper and the 1928 cast stone facade which surrounds its base. This, the original Hearst building, was intended to be the ground floors of a skyscraper, but that construction project was put on hold by the Great Depression. In 2006 its purpose was finally realised — a protected landmark, the facade was retained as a street-level front for the stunning new building which emerged from its heart.

LEGO New York Skyscraper

DeepShen says the model used roughly 20,000 LEGO pieces and is built to 1:156 scale. By my calculations that makes this creation around 110cm high — so it’s as impressive in scale as it is in shaping.

Norwegian Swiss-style chalet, built in Danish bricks

“Sveitserhus” is the Norwegian name for the Swiss Chalet style of architecture popular across Northern Europe during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Nowadays in Norway, surviving houses of this style are usually painted in white, and that’s the colour scheme Birgitt Jonsgard has chosen for her beautiful LEGO version. This stark all-white model might initially look simple, but the level of texture in the house’s “woodwork” is particularly impressive — with the style’s signature detailing and fretwork given due attention.

LEGO Norwegian Architecture House

Birgitte has lavished as much care on the little details as on the house’s structure itself. Don’t miss the flowers in the garden, and the interior curtains and blinds, and the various furnishings visible through the windows…

LEGO Norwegian House details