This McQue-inspired salvage tug by Martin Redfern is a plucky little workhorse on its way back to the yard with a fresh haul of parts. One of the reasons I find the floating boats and other vehicles from Ian McQue’s concept art so interesting is that they seemingly float out of the sea and defy gravity without any explanation. It’s as if these worlds simply don’t have the same laws of physics as our own.
If this theme looks familiar, we recently featured another of Martin’s floating vehicles inspired by the same source.
One of the most gorgeous airships to grace the skies has finally emerged from the distant clouds. This is the long-awaited Skytanic, built by Markus Ronge and alluded to in his equally epic-looking Maersk Pier, featured on The Brothers Brick last week. In Markus’ steampunk universe, the airship’s massive size was made possible thanks in part to the ultra-light steel used in its construction. When it comes to the characters involved in the ship’s construction, Markus once again gives them clever names. Hiram Lever is the designer behind Skytanic, which is in turn piloted by Captain Ulysses Wheeler.
From bow to stern, Skytantic looks phenomenal. The red, black and white hull is reminiscent of the ill-fated Titanic, while the gold trim helps give the finished model that steampunk vibe. According to Markus, the ship stands a whopping five stories tall, and each level looks distinct. The top level features a lively looking bar, and the royal cabin is directly below that. If you look carefully enough, you will also find what appears to be a tribute to the Jack and Rose “flying” scene from James Cameron’s hit film, Titanic (1997).
Click to see more of the Skytanic
LEGO and storytelling are a match made in heaven. As much as I enjoy building for the sake of building, I also enjoy LEGO as a medium for producing a narrative. Markus Ronge had me hooked last month when he shared a teaser poster for an upcoming series of story-driven steampunk builds. A few days ago, Marcus revealed the first part of his conceptualized world in the form of Maersk Pier, owned and operated by fourth-generation shipping mogul, Herman van de Maersk.
Bored with the shipping industry, Herman decided to build this majestic port to serve luxury airships and their wealthy clientele. As a steampunk model, Maersk Pier is breathtakingly beautiful and does a great job of blending Victorian-style architecture with steampunk fantasy. The extensive use of white works well and reminds me of marble, which witnessed a resurgence in use as a building material during the 19th Century Greek Revival period. Speaking of history, the model’s name is a clever nod to LEGO’s lengthy relationship with the Maersk shipping company, which has included a number of Maersk co-branded LEGO sets over the years.
See lots more photos of this amazing LEGO steampunk diorama
Flying ships are certainly not uncommon among LEGO builds, going back to the heyday of LEGO steampunk and floating rocks eight or ten years ago. Mark Erickson has incorporated large LEGO boat hull pieces into a rather amazing flagship for his fictional Vermillion Empire.
Mark’s ship uses custom-printed sails cut to standard LEGO size, but the most impressive part of the ship is all the gold detail, both surrounding the cannon ports and at the prow of the ship, where a mighty ram is ready to impale enemy ships.
Daniel Church must love airships. The latest addition to his oeuvre, The Odyssey from Super Mario Odyssey, is the result of a well-documented 3-month building and planning process. It is also a result of Daniel’s exploration of the form over the past nine years—not least of which is the Fortnite Battle Bus we recently highlighted.
There are many subtle details to admire in this build: the slight flare of the upper panels, the use of nearly 50 LEGO rubber bands for ribbing, the Zamor sphere used as a globe, and so many elegant curves.
Airships are one of the hardest types of aircraft to model accurately in LEGO. As a result, a good steampunk dirigible is a creation to be treasured. This fabulous sky pirates model by Thomas van Urk is a classic — a collection of steampunk staples (chequered envelope, boat-styled gondola, unlikely cannon-based armament) that soars effortlessly, somehow avoiding the risk of being grounded by genre tropes.
Whilst a sepia-tinted image is de rigeur for a steampunk vessel, this baby looks excellent in new-fangled colour. That red and black gas envelope is a stunner — the result of careful shaping using Mixel ball-and-socket joints, according to Thomas. The integration of the boat-hull gondola and domed pilot’s station is really nice too.
Lastly, don’t miss the elaborate rigging which runs all over the model. It’s touches like this which really elevate (!) this creation above its peers…
As holiday season approachs, No Starch Press is kicking into high gear with a slew of new titles for LEGO fans. Their latest offering is Steampunk LEGO by well-known LEGO builder, innovator and steampunk enthusiast Guy Himber. This 200 page compilation features the work of over 90 individual builders, and includes just about every notable LEGO steampunk creation of the past five years.
Physically, the book has a definite steampunk feel about it. Its blue and gold hard cover sports a full-color dust jacket (shown here) and all the pages have a high quality satin finish that enhances the sumptuous graphic design. The material is presented in the form an ornate Victorian scrapbook, complete with notelets and other trinkets mounted atop a variety of textured vintage backgrounds.
A cornucopia of building styles are covered here. And while the majority are mini-fig oriented, microscale and life-size builds are reasonably well represented. Entries are 1 or 2 to a page, and organized into logical chapters focusing on different categories such as trains, vehicles, automatons, weapons, sea vessels, airships and even floating rocks. There is also a pleasant ‘interlude’ in the center, showcasing Guy’s memorable Cabinet of Curiosities collaborative project.
When we featured Castor Troy‘s collection of Vampire Hunter steampunk vehicles back in June, the French builder was still hard at work on the centerpiece, the Vampire’s castle. Well now the diorama is complete! And what a whopper this impenetrable-looking Gothic masterpiece is…
Ever wondered what a steampunk SWAT team bust would look like? Well, I think it might look a little something like this charmingly titled diorama by Logan (captaininfinity), “The Grand Arrest of Professor Filius Bertram.” It’s not every day we get a cool steampunk diorama that includes an airship, a tank, and a legged vehicle, all of which come together with the help of copious quantities of earth-toned elements.
Continuing my Steampunk vibe from earlier in the week, here’s the mother of all LEGO airships by French builder Castor Troy…
Now a mothership is nothing without proper air and ground support. Fortunately, Castor has already thought of that. Say hello to Vampire Hunter …which incidentally sounds like the perfect premise for LEGO to use if they ever wanted to get into the Steampunk game!
Apparently these are part of a much larger Vampire Hunter project that will include a French chateau, haunted house, and plenty of hunters. Look out for that some time next year. In the meantime, keep your holy water and silver bullets handy. And wooden stakes. And garlic. Ok, did I forget anything? And hand mirrors. And crucifixes…
I’ve seen a lotta great steampunk flying machines and airships built from LEGO. But this is the first time I recall seeing anyone build a steampunk starship! Here we see the USS Steambucket by Tim Schwalf reaching for the stars, in a wonderful brick-built cloud of steam.
LEGO steampunk fans should really check out Tim’s Flickr stream. While there may not be a huge number of builds up there (yet), every one of them is a keeper.
Guy H. (V&A Steamworks) built this beauty, which heavily employs aftermarket parts. It’s a gorgeous piece of art, and a terrific Eastern take on the usually European steampunk theme, but it does cause me to wonder: just how much of a model can be aftermarket parts before it stops being a “LEGO creation”? Whatever you decide, I hope Guy builds more stuff like this.