Posts by Leigh

Afternoon of a faun

They say that dance is sculpture in motion. It follows, then, that a frozen moment of dance is an ideal subject for sculpture. This exquisite LEGO sculpture of ballet dancers from David Hughes reminds me of physics class. When I look at it, I see little force vector arrows showing weight distribution, gravity, and muscle mechanics. As it would be in real life, the ballerina’s weight is fully supported by her partner: her toes touching the ground are a mere formality. Based on a famous photo of ballet star Tanaquil Le Clercq, who was tragically stricken by polio at a young age, this large sculpture contains over 3,000 bricks, and it’s amazing how few of them are attached to the base.

Afternoon of a Faun 3

Roads are for amateurs

The Dakar is a cross-country off-road rally race which is held annually in South America (but named after its former finish line in Africa). It requires a specially designed car which can endure tough terrain and unpredictable weather. If you’re interested, why not take a Ferrari? The F40 may be best known for its smooth lines and road handling, but with the right modifications, it might be the car to beat off the beaten path. This modification of an official LEGO set by LegoMarat has enough suspension, steering, lights, and rollbars to rival any sport-utility vehicle. I can only imagine what the paint job will look like afterwards.

Ferrari F40 Dakar

The hills are alive...

…with the sound of sub-standard housing. According to the builder, simply bricking it, this LEGO model represents a favela, one of the core urban slums of Brazil, where the firetrap structures stack up the hillside like a precarious house of cards, ready to collapse at the mere mention of a disaster. But scratch your head: it also kinda looks like one of those central Italian castle towns, carved into the hillside centuries ago and still struggling to catch up with the times. And the University of Colorado in Boulder is well known for its cluster of red Spanish tile roofs. So is it a slum? Is it a castle town? Is it a prestigious campus nestled at the foot of the mountains? Or is it… a spaceship? Depends on who you ask!


Sky high tide

The fantastic sky boats of Ian McQue continue to inspire LEGO builders far and wide. This latest iteration from Dwalin Forkbeard freshens the style by using different angles than we’ve seen before. The bow of the craft uses long slopes at an angle that resembles a Viking ship — a motif that is reinforced by the tires hanging off the sides like rune-covered Norse shields. Meanwhile, the cabin of the ship has a jaunty lean, reminding us that this style is just as much fiction as science. And of course the mechanical details are great throughout. Plus, it doesn’t smell like rotting fish.

Cloud Catcher

What does the fox say?

Nothing. It’s too dang cold for this beautifully crafted LEGO animal to waste energy on words. Instead, it waits patiently for a morsel of protein to sally forth from a hole in the snow. Although the woodland creatures of Miro Dudas are breathtaking to behold, don’t forget to notice the expertly detailed tuft of grass yearning for spring, or the complex topography of the pristine frozen landscape. Winter has come.

Winter Fox Hunt

And what does the wolf say? Something along the lines of “Arrr-ooooo!” Which, strangely, is also what a pirate says when he sees a nice boat.

Call of the Wild

Every window tells a story

There aren’t many things more brutal or impersonal than a 41-story public housing tower. Seen from afar, they almost look like prisons from the future. Sau Mau Ping was one of the first tower projects in the Hong Kong area. Construction began in the 60s, and even though most of the buildings have been torn down, the towers still house over 38,000 people. But this LEGO model inspired by the towers from Yan and Vincent is not brutal or impersonal at all. Each window decoration offers a glimpse into the personality of the person who calls this place home. And the brightly colored lamps in the courtyard are a reminder that this is a place of history and culture, not a prison. Being made of concrete blocks doesn’t prevent a house from becoming a home.

Sau Mau Ping Estate

This rendition might not be 41 stories like the real towers, but it is definitely a massive model that is interesting from many different perspectives. I challenge you to find two windows the same.

Sau Mau Ping Estate

Sailing the seas of milk

As a person who has spent more than enough time on a ship, I’ve seen seas in every color of the rainbow. That is, every color except white. White is something new. I guess that’s just one more reason why W. Navarre’s LEGO version of The Flying Dutchman from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series is so captivating. The ship’s ragged remnants of canvas are beautifully done in white, and the chains standing in for mast lines give the craft a vulgar and churlish appeal. If you’re wondering what the clear bits hanging off the sides are, those represent scuppers, holes in the side that drain water from the deck. In the films, they always seem to be dripping something, as the boat spends a lot of time underwater. The best details, though, have to be the teeth of the beast carving that makes up the ship’s intimidating snout. Where’s my jar of dirt?

The Flying Dutchman

Return to the Valley of the Wind

More than ten years ago, we featured a LEGO model inspired by the Pejite gunship from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Well, here’s another one. Proving once again that inspiration is a close cousin of creative innovation, Nate Rehm-Daly takes us even further from the original source material. Now, instead of being dark red, it’s a combination of blue and neutral tones. And the sleek anime space style has been replaced by something more akin to dieselpulp. But the result stands on its own. That canopy combination is outstanding, and the poseable blue parts are sweet play features. I’d love to see a swarm of these dive down from the clouds.

Royal Gunship 3

Got milk truck?

Skim, whole, vitamin D, almond, soy: milk is pretty much everywhere. Ever wondered how it gets there? Well, like everything else in this world, it travels by truck. Normally the trucks are full of jugs, bottles or cartons. But sometimes a tanker of milk is the most efficient means of transport.

Although this LEGO tanker truck by MacSergey doesn’t have any clever custom logos on the side, its color is a dead giveaway to the contents. As is the name, Молоковоз, which is Russian for “milk truck.”


There are sweet details and clever construction techniques all over this model, but the best are definitely on the back. An access panel hides the milk-pumping controls, and there’s a nifty ladder for accessing the top of the rig. Check out the gallery for more photos.


Get ready for big spaceships

For some reason, LEGO builders like to make very large spaceships in September. Many of them spend the entire month working on their models, only releasing photos at the last possible moment. But Shannon Ocean is starting the season off with a bang.

Not only is this ship over 100 studs long, it has a well-blocked color scheme and some great stickers. What really stands out, though, is the uniquely innovative warp drive at the tail end. It looks sorta like the front of an old 50’s-style raygun, but is also vaguely evocative of something late modern, like Star Trek. And, oh my stars, that studs-down base! I hope the rest of the month is this exciting.

SHIPtember: SVB Kilimanjaro cruiser

In space, no one can hear you swoosh

Description says it’s a spaceship, but some LEGO models are like clouds: you can see almost anything in them. To me, this could easily be a retro-futuristic submarine, aiming torpedoes at George Jetson’s commuter car. Or, if you imagine the stand as a handle, this could be a pistol for Barbarella.

Whatever it may be, hold it in your hand and run around the house making strange noises. Or just stare at the smooth, clean lines and great minor details. The color scheme is deceptively awesome — there’s actually 7 colors visible, but the eye only cares about two of them. Red Spacecat‘s photo is also notable for its background texture, which enhances the model’s appeal without attracting its own attention. Swoosh!

Thanks, but no tanks

If I were a tank, I’d be scared as heck of this LEGO anti-tank droid. Droids are supposed to be cute: think R2-D2 or Johnny #5. This one ain’t cute. It’s creepy. And menacing. Those long legs remind me of insects and spiders, and I bet those Wolverine claws make an awful skittering noise when it walks. Plus, it has a gun that can destroy a tank! Well-lit, in front of a white background, this contraption could evince a much lighter industrial tone. But Marco Marozzi has chosen to use the nightmare lights instead, and the tanks are rolling out as fast as their treads can carry them.

Anti Tank Droid