I have a soft spot for collaborative LEGO train displays because they played a fundamental role in inspiring me to “build outside the box.” Because of this, I couldn’t help but smile when I saw Steffen Rau’s layout module. I love the curves of the track, mountainside tunnels, and wooded landscaping. It feels like a wonderful place to explore, especially with dozens of minifigures enjoying various camping activities.
17th Century Europe was a period rife with change, from feudal powers to the birthing stages of parliament. It also brought with it a decline in houses constructed of wood, giving way to stone and brick-built abodes. Benjamin Calvetti has replicated this style with stunning class, and his English Cottage is jam-packed with lovely details. The continuity in stone work, from the bordering fence line to the walls of the cottage, speak more of the local quarry than they do of a random handful of LEGO bricks.
The Penaeus monodon, otherwise known as the Tiger Prawn, is native to the Indo-Pacific region. It’s also cultivated for food consumption all over the world. Jason Cichon has done an excellent job at bringing these LEGO marine crustacea to life….Well, one of them at least. Seafood connoisseurs will recognise the orange prawn on the bottom, largely due to their understanding of what they look like after having been cooked.
His mix of modified plates and 2×1 Wedge’s in the abdomen creates smooth articulation within the build. This combination allows the pleura to sit snugly against each other. A flexible spike minifig weapon has been used for the rostrum while, further down, the leg assemblies have been topped off with small red horns. In the end, the part that brings this model into the realm of realism is the flexible hose with connection ends as the antenna. The colours employed throughout are so incredibly fitting, I’m sure Jason stood around a barbeque in the summer quite a few times.
The year is 1859, and the British Navy is looking for Atlantis! Builder Paddy Bricksplitter has captured this historic moment of discovery in a detail-rich LEGO scene. Based on the columns and statue, our diver may have indeed found Atlantis. Let’s hope he’s also enjoying the rest of the view while he’s down there.
The Octonaut delivers a solid steampunk aesthetic without resorting to unnecessary embellishments. The tubing along the suit’s arms suggests a very real-world pneumatic solution for grip-strength at the ocean floor. Providing a nice contrast to the gold and brown, black rubber tires do double duty as weights and gaskets.
As cool as the diver is, the real highlight of this build for me is the innovative part usage on the sea floor. Not content with just the LEGO-standard fish and crab, Paddy has brought in Friends Accessories, Technic gears, a street-sweeper brush, and at least three types of minifigure hair. LEGO food items also feature prominently, with cupcakes galore, upward pointing carrots and lime ice cream scoops. And just look at that jellyfish!
Two ideas immediately came to me when in 2017 LEGO released 75176 Resistance Transport Pod, and guess what–builder Veynom has gone and realised both. Designers of vehicles for the Star Wars universe have always embraced the potential of asymmetric form, the transport pod being a case in point. However, there’s a niggling part of my brain that wants to fix things, balance out the shuttle with a second pod. Imagine it looking something like the Twin-Pod Cloud Car–wait you don’t have to because Veynom’s built it for us.
Then there is that second idea. If you were at all interested in the joys of vintage space LEGO, the set’s trans yellow canopy would have been an instant trigger. You’ve guessed it, Veynom’s gone and built a Classic Space version of the Resistance Twin-Pod too.
It might seem odd to describe a LEGO model displaying an environmental catastrophe as cute, but it feels like a fitting tag for Koala Yummies‘ microscale oil rig. The oil spill effect is suitably sinister, with thick black crude oozing out over the water, but it’s the rig itself which catches the eye. This model is packed with detail — don’t miss the helipad, the crane, the dangling orange lifeboats, and my favourite touch, the use of 1×2 grille tiles for the tiny windows in the accommodation block.
Even better, there’s a supply tender ship to go with the teeny-tiny oil rig. It too is perfectly proportioned, and nicely detailed for its diminutive size…
Hammerhead sharks (Sphyrnidaeare) are found worldwide in warmer waters along coastlines and continental shelves. They are aggressive hunters who feed on smaller fish, octopuses, rays, squid, crustaceans and even other sharks. However, this particular hammerhead shark, rendered by Dallen Powell, would rather help you install new cabinets in your kitchen or build a deck out back. He’s the type of shark that knows which nails work best with joist hangers and which ones are best for baseboard molding. With this shark, it is always hammer time. The expression on his toothy face says that he gets the pun too. You should nail down the rest of Dallen’s content as he is no stranger to pun-filled renders. Now, who has that one song stuck their head? You know the one. Sing it with me. “Y’all gonna make me lose my mind, up in here, up in here!”
When it comes to building grimy-looking industrial salvage spaceships inspired by Weiland-Yutani, the company from the Alien franchise, I can think of nothing better than to re-use elements from previous spaceship models. Frequently featured builder Shannon Sproule demonstrates this salvage technique beautifully, along with some post-production effects, to create a working ship that has clearly seen a lot of action. One of my favorite details is the use of similar circular elements and tiles along the side. Large slopes and pipes sticking out on all sides, and very few well-placed studs complete the look.
Have you ever been a passenger in a car when the driver is just going way too slow? Geneva Durand seems to have had that experience, and brings that frustration to life in an expressive, yet tiny, creation. In this scene, brick-built horses pull a carriage fit for microfigure nobility through a dense forest. Every feature is instantly recognizable, which is pretty astounding considering those microfigures are just under 2 centimeters tall.
It’s a twisty path, so maybe the driver is justified in a more cautious pace. Perhaps the passenger is just upset that his crown is way too tall to fit inside the carriage, requiring him to lean out the window the whole way. Geneva first designed the carriage back in 2013, and later updated it in 2017. Maybe their next iteration will include a little more headroom!
In the meantime, though, we can appreciate the skill that goes into the current build. I like the “studs down” building approach for the horses, the variety of techniques used for the tree trunks, and the subtle curves in the carriage canopy. There is also some great part usage, including minifigure hands for flags, and helmet plumes for the horsetails.
Be sure to check out Geneva’s blog post detailing the techniques that went into the forest background.
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is to Chinese literature what the works of William Shakespeare are to English literature. A semi-historical story set in the time period of the Three Kingdoms (A.D. 169-280), the novel was perhaps written in the 14th century, though specific dates are hard to come by. It tells the story of how the Han dynasty gradually fell apart and became three independent kingdoms and all of the bitter rivalries and infighting that led to that point. Among all of the hundreds of characters in the novel, LEGO builder Jae Won Lee has chosen the main protagonist, Liu Bei, his chief strategist, Zhuge Lian, and the Five Tiger Generals who fought for them. The five generals are depicted in stunning fashion astride charging stallions, manes and tails flowing with the speed of their charge, and the other two men are nobly standing.
The appearances of the generals are inspired by Chinese artwork, complete with the unique coloration of each. The dynamic posing of many of the models puts this a step above most similar builds. There might be more studs showing than some builders would prefer, but it works well with this style. They deserve a closer look!
We all love a good origin tale, and Solo: A Star Wars Story–particularly the exhilarating scene involving a Mobquet M-68 Landspeeder–establishes a handsome young Han Solo as a daring risk-taker, an adrenaline junkie, a gambler, and a hotshot driver. LEGO has given us an official set of the now iconic landspeeder, but a builder going by the name of Barneius Industries has taken it to a whole other level. A level involving 853 pieces, to be precise. Everything from the speeder’s asymmetrical design to its greebly bits to its striking color scheme and even Han Solo’s lucky dice are replicated nicely in this 1:16 scale model. It is no accident that this supercharged speeder resembles a classic muscle car; in fact, the original design team states that it borrows cues from the Dodge Charger and the Chevrolet Malibu.
If detailed and accurate models of Star Wars craft are your thing, then I highly recommend checking out this builder’s other content. This speeder got a young Han Solo out of trouble but then immediately into some more trouble. There was more trouble after that and even more later on. We would learn that trouble followed Han Solo throughout his entire life but that is why we love him. And he knows it.
We love a scrappy fighter, and in this case a fighter literally made of scraps. Johann Dakitsch’s plucky LEGO brawler has been pieced together by a fascinating array of specialist elements. Its skeleton is formed from mainly grey parts, which hints at pneumatic power and intricate gearing. The coloured outer casing looking to all the world like the shorts and shirt worn to the gym. Topping it off, the mean robot boxer’s rooster Mohawk and studded knuckle-dusters suggests he might not fight according to gentleman’s rules.