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

Curl up on the LEGO sofa

Here’s a great little LEGO scene from Foolish Bricks depicting a lazy morning spent on the sofa. There are no fancy building techniques on display, but there’s a good selection of parts which add depth and texture to every surface, and the details are meticulously placed to great effect. The precise layout is enhanced by some good macro photography, and the overall presentation is excellent — those light rays and the curl of steam from the coffee mug (which I’m assuming was added in post-production) elevate this model into something special.

Lazy Sunday morning

Run silent, run deep

Digital LEGO models can be a polarising topic — many people would say it’s not “real building”. Strictly-speaking, they’re correct, but occasionally a CGI image comes along which demands attention for its imaginative construction without being a wish-list model of unavailable pieces in rare colours. This stylish and minimalist vision of submarine warfare by Mark B. is a cracker, rendered or not. The microscale ship and submarine models are nicely put together, but it’s the colour choices that set the tone and make this look so cool. I’d love to have this hanging on my wall as an art piece.

Run Silent, Run Deep

A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the height of its dreams

There’s no shortage of microscale LEGO cityscapes, but the variety within our favourite plastic bricks ensures no two cities are entirely alike. Marco De Bon impresses with this microscale creation, what looks like a transition zone between suburban residences and the soaring towers of downtown. Check out the angles on the grey and blue tower on the right, and the use of a studshooter part as a footbridge between two of the red buildings. The simple stacking of clear 1×2 plates to create the trio of towers at the rear is surprisingly effective, and the restrained use of sand green studs and lime green ice cream scoops makes for some nice vegetation.

Lego micro city - district n.02

Alright stop, Warhammer time

The Warhammer fantasy universe offers tricky inspiration for LEGO builders. When a fandom is founded on detailed models and painted miniatures, the thought of replicating those creations in another medium can be intimidating, and there’s also the question of how to make it interestingly different. Dwalin Forkbeard pulls this trick off admirably, with this LEGO diorama of Karak Kadrin, the mountain fortress home of a band of fearsome Dwarven warriors. The impressive stone face above the gate might grab all the initial attention, but don’t miss all the texture and the gold details in the construction — nice touches which prevent the walls becoming an unbroken mass of dark grey.

Karak Kadrin

Aside from the looming fortress and the mountain, this creation impresses with the detailed activity and smart landscaping in front of the gate. I particularly liked this band of warriors heading out into the wintery wilderness past the statue…

The Statue of Karak Kadrin

Chinese dragon is ahead of all others

The key to many LEGO creations is the model’s “face” — be it the head on a mecha, the front grille of a truck, or the pointy end of a starfighter — often when you crack that part of the build, the rest flows into place. And sometimes, if you get the face right, you don’t need anything else at all, as with this wonderful Chinese Dragon by Pol Mac. The dragon’s head is excellent, with smart parts use offering excellent shaping. Don’t miss the intimidating frown from two pearl gold bananas, the use of Chima armour to create the pug-nosed snout, and the spot-on curved jaw created from red flame parts. Yes, sometimes it’s great to see large-scale creatures rendered in their entirety, but sometimes the full model is simply not required.

Chinese red Dragon

Daisy daisy, give me some LEGO do

LEGO, with its cuboid forms, can be a tricky medium in which to attempt organic shapes. Ольга Родионова has done a lovely job with these daisies though — beautiful white petals surrounding a glorious sun-yellow core. Nice work with the green clamshells underneath too. The depth of focus on the photography is excellent, creating a nice sense of scale, and adding immensely to the model’s presentation.


Sand green tank conquers the sands

The release of the new 21042 LEGO Statue of Liberty set has seen a whole bunch of parts become available in Sand Green for the first time. Peter Reid takes advantage of the new range to put together this cool futuristic tank. The shaping is excellent, and the level of detail and texture crammed into such a small creation is impressive. The backdrop is simple, but provides a nice setting for the central model, and the addition of track marks in the sand behind the vehicle is a lovely touch.

Chibi Tank

You can read more about the creation of this model over at parts-focused blog New Elementary here.

Red hot brick is extra-cool

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the UK is currently in the grip of what our press is calling a heatwave (although folks from other countries would probably describe it as “mildly warm”). And so, this great little melting LEGO brick from Chris Maddison totally fits the mood. The curved slope parts employed, and the effortless SNOT (studs-not-on-top) construction techniques, create a fabulous impression of a classic red 2×4 brick slumping and spreading in the heat. Just looking at this thing is enough to raise the temperature. Hot stuff.


It’s summer in tiny Sweden

Summertime in Scandinavia — beautiful blue skies, and sunlight bouncing from the timbered houses. At least that’s the vision conjured up in Sarah Beyer‘s latest LEGO creation; a lovely little postcard-style microscale model of a Swedish block of flats. The grille bricks create an impression of timber-clad buildings, and the window frames are nicely-done. The foliage is simple but effective, particularly that street-sweeper roller used for the pine at the building’s rear. Ice cream scoops as little fluffy clouds provide the perfect final touch — breaking up the expanse of blue, and making it feel like a wonderful summer’s day.

Swedish Block of Flats MOC

A dark, dingy, dangerous future awaits

Often LEGO Space models depict a bright and shiny future. Even when humanity might be threatened by aliens, or blasting ourselves to bits in starfighter duels, our brick-built future is usually one of primary colours and gleaming surfaces. Andreas Lenander offers us a very different vision with his latest creation — a dark and gritty scene of spacemen hard at work. The twin mechs are nicely done, particularly those fearsome-looking cutting claws, but it’s the presentation of the models — the lighting and surrounding clutter in the corridor — which elevates this beyond the usual LEGO sci-fi diorama.

The corridor

Stunning LEGO Minas Tirith stands watch over Gondor

Minas Tirith, the Tower Of Guard, capital of the nation of Gondor, principal defender of the Realm Of Men against Mordor’s dark threat. This famous city from Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings has been the subject of many a LEGO creation, but it’s seldom looked better than in this rendition by Koen. The model is large, despite being built in microscale, and is composed of around 11,500 pieces. Taking six months to design and build, it’s remarkably faithful to the films’ version of the city. All the key elements are here — the great curved walls, the massive spur of rock, the tall citadel and the single white tree found on the topmost level. Koen has even gone as far as to include the tombs of the Gondorian Kings and their Stewards, situated behind the citadel itself.

Minas Tirith

The Pelennor Field, the large plain before the city, is seen here in happy prosperous times with farms and forests right up to the city walls, which makes a pleasant change from its usual appearance as an orc-ravaged battlefield. Koen has shared more images which show the details of the buildings within the lower rings, and the various techniques employed to give them varied texture and shape. The muted “sand” shades of green, red, and blue used for the roofs gives a sense of realism whilst providing a pleasant contrast to all the white.

Minas Tirith

My only quibble with this model arises from its accuracy to the film version of the city. It has always irked me that the outer wall in the movies was white to match the upper levels, when in the books it is described as hewn from the same arcane black materials as Orthanc. However, it seems harsh to hold that against such a wonderful piece of LEGO art, so I’ll push my Tolkien-geekery to one side and instead appreciate the building skills which went into this wonderful creation.

Racing back to the 80s in style

Here’s a collection of beautiful Porsche 962 racing cars, built in LEGO bricks by PROTOTYP and decked out in the livery of 3 of the teams from the 1988 Fuji 1000km Endurance Race. Originally designed in 1984, the 962 was to become one of the most dominant racing cars in its class. In the Fuji race depicted with these models, the 962 took no less than 7 of the Top 10 places. The curved lines of these LEGO versions are excellent — wonderfully smooth and immediately recognisable. The different team liveries are nicely done too, with the colour blocking on the white model particularly good.

Porsche 962, Fuji 1988

As if the smart shaping wasn’t enough, there’s a brick-built 2.8L engine lurking beneath the removable rear cowling…

Porsche 962C Trust GReddy, JSPC 1988