If you ever find yourself wandering through the lush tropical forests of Lanyu Island, off the coast of Taiwan, you may come face to face with a Lanyu Horned Owl. But don’t be frightened! The Lanyu Horned Owl’s piercing yellow eyes and pointed ear tufts are just for show and it’s probably only looking for a nice midnight rodent snack. Our nocturnal friend comes in peace, as we find it calmly perched as Ian Hou’s latest LEGO bird creation. Ian uses a combination of curved sloped bricks for the owl’s wings and staggered wedge plates to render the plumage on its face and backside. Dark tan shell pieces form most of the owl’s chest feathers. The result is a wonderfully realistic build, shaped in all the right ways.
Batman’s watercraft mostly played second fiddle to his main vehicles in The LEGO Batman Movie. It would have been great to see a submarine from his fleet explore the deep seas of Gotham City. Stevenpavan created the BATSUB, modeled after the Yellow Submarine, with some major upgrades, and of course in black. The BATSUB’s specs are imagined with the type of realism you’d expect from some tinkering by Lucius Fox. According to the builder, it’s armed with electromagnetic harpoons (on its sides) and EMP blasts (not visible). We’re just happy to see that it has dual propellers and a removable roof to place a few minifigures in the cabin.
The latest LEGO set to be released under the Adult Portfolio theme (previously known as the Creator Expert line) is the Crocodile Locomotive. LEGO has been making trains and locomotives all the way back from 1965 and since then it has given life to die-hard fans that gather around communities and clubs that that focus on this single theme. Trains and locomotives, without a doubt, is an evergreen theme that has evolved in many forms and I dare say that its featured every single year since the beginning of its first introduction regardless the sub-theme it may appear in, from the tiniest polybag to the generic City sets, or even tie-ins from the Harry Potter franchise. After a 7-year hiatus of a serious train release, we take a look and share our thoughts on the latest Crocodile Locomotive theme consisting of 1271 pieces and priced at US $99.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £89.99
Street Fighter II in an arcade cabinet is the ultimate trap. Once you get your hands on it, you’re hooked. Now, Capcom’s iconic fighter video game from 1991, known for attracting crowds from pizzerias to amusement parks, now exists in miniature LEGO form thanks to _pixeljunkie_. The cabinet looks close to the height of the 8-bit mini arcades by Basic Fun, but _pixeljunkie_ recreated Street Fighter II‘s key gameplay through minifigures of Ryu and Ken.
At first glance, I thought this was just another lovely LEGO microscale train. I do love a good micro-train, being a seasoned microscale builder myself. But taking a closer look at the lower-left area of this delightful creation by brickleas, what do my eyes behold, but a tiny flying Ford Anglia nearly splatting the ground, which would have put a rather inglorious ending to our heroes. The rocky landscape is well crafted, and the minimal parts used for each passenger car is impressive, but my favorite detail is the lever handles used as both the main driving wheels and the spokes that drive them.
It’s important to understand as you read this review of the new LEGO 71374 Nintendo Entertainment System that I never owned an NES myself as a kid back in the 80’s. But I wanted one. After all, it felt like nearly every one of my friends in the neighborhood in Japan where I lived had a Famicom, or later the true NES launched in 1985. As I went over to my friends’ houses and played Super Mario and the very first Legend of Zelda, I so very desperately wanted one! But I never did, partly because I was told that I had enough toys in the form of all the LEGO underfoot in my bedroom. Now, I can buy my own (US $229.99 | CAN $299.99 | UK £209.99) and build it for myself from LEGO, which seems even better. Does this marriage of my favorite little plastic bricks with the big plastic brick of my dreams live up to 35 years of pent-up expectations? Let’s find out…
Sealife is a popular subject for LEGO builders, from the official set designers to fans around the world, which considering the Earth’s surface is 71% water, is no big surprise. This wonderful model of a dolphin by Koen Zwanenburg, leaping out of the water is a great blend of simplicity and beauty, with its gently curving form and some great parts usage, like that Bionicle part for the snout and blowhole, and a number of new water-based minifig power elements used for the splashing effect at the base. I think my favorite part is the hollow studded bracket used for the eye.
Music-inspired LEGO sets are getting a lot of attention right now. While the recent announcement of this fall’s LEGO Art The Beatles set honors the Fab Four, Gorillaz are a more contemporary awesome foursome that is popular with LEGO fans. Legotruman designed Gorillaz as buildable figures. The British virtual band is one of legotruman’s latest virtual creations, following the stunning Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.
Even before I became a UX designer, I’ve always been fascinated by the user interfaces designed for television and motion pictures. Compare the chunky, muted panels in the original Star Trek show with the sleek curves and touch screens of The Next Generation, and you realize that someone, probably an entire team of people, was responsible for designing every button and screen display blinking away in the background.
George Cave, an interaction technologist and design engineer, has written a very insightful article on the history of UI design in LEGO control panels.
Movies like Star Wars and Alien, restricted by available technologies and the capabilities of “modern” screens and monitors, did a pretty amazing job of bringing pivotal scenes to life, like the simple lines of Luke’s targeting computer in the trench run, and the giant display at the center of the Rebels command center, which showed in no small way, just how close they came to total annihilation.
When it comes to LEGO control panels, the small space creates an even bigger challenge for UX designers, who use design principles like color, proximity, and size to create subtle relationships between physical controls like dials, buttons, and switches, and the visual display of information those physical controls affect.
The Summer 2020 LEGO Technic wave has had a surprisingly high level of controversy surrounding it. The 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey got cancelled, and the 42114 6×6 Volvo Articulated Hauler can’t move without being paired with a smart device. That just leaves the 42112 Technic Concrete Mixer Truck to try and put a positive spin on things. This 1163 piece set will be available in North America starting September 1st, and is available now in the UK from the LEGO Shop Online (US $119.99 | CAN $159.99 | UK £89.99). Technic fans have been asking for a concrete mixer for ages… Can this offering satisfy that demand? Or will this set finish off the season’s offerings with some cement shoes?
Before the battleship sailed the seven seas, before the dreadnought instilled terror across the globe, there was the ironclad. Creator Sunder_59 is a shipbuilder in his own right, having a history of both starship and naval vessel construction in his roster. His most recent digital build is the ironclad, father of all metal warships.
Every little detail is impressive. From the billowing of the sails to the curvature of the ship’s hull, the wood deck paneling to the various gun mounts, it’s all here. Everything was taken into account, even right down to the bronze propeller.
We hope to see more historical builds from Sunder_59 soon. Share your favorite part of this creation below!
I love single-use LEGO elements, those pieces that are so specialized that they can only be used to make the one thing they were designed to build. Take, for example the head of a dewback from Star Wars. It’s very useful for building, well, a dewback, but not much else in the hands of an average builder. But in the hands of a master, like Simon Hundsbichler, that same piece becomes a mossy hill in a microscale creation. Add in one of the hip assemblies from the same creature, a video camera as a tower, a Bionicle leg as a coniferous tree, a werewolf head as a cliff, and about thirty other pieces, and you have a miniature masterpiece.