Syd Mead, the designer behind the iconic look of Blade Runner amongst other movies, has died aged 86. Chances are, if you’re into sci-fi and LEGO then you’ll have tried to recreate one of his famous designs — The USS Sulaco from Aliens, the light-cycles from Tron, Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, or this, the famous Police Spinner from Blade Runner.
When you think of Star Wars, the first things that come to mind are likely spaceships and laser swords. But cantinas occupy an only slightly less iconic place in the lore of that galaxy far, far away. One of those seedy, backwater bars is the Half-Pint Cantina, proprietor Hass Mavoc, brought to us in LEGO form by bcinman6. A character from the builder’s own imagination, Hass is a Sarian barkeep with some excellent shaping to achieve his alien features. Most notable are the red Hulk arms used behind the eyes and the space armor for the mouth.
Back in 2013 Tyler Clites contributed a fantastic tutorial to the Brothers Brick on how to photograph your LEGO creations; and his latest creation proves once again that not only is he one of the LEGO community’s most talented builders, he’s also a master at presenting his work. Of course the featured spaceship has all the hallmarks you’d expect from Tyler: nice piece usage throughout, wonderfully shaped engines, and appealing splashes of colour for detail. However, as he notes, he wanted more for this craft than a shot of it flying through space. With a repurposed rock base, and the creation of some creepy bug aliens, we now have a story to be told. Hunkered down for repairs in the middle of nowhere, the ship’s auto turrets save the day. Mix in ace lighting effects and a swirling mist, courtesy of a vape pen, and you have what I have previously written about, the perfect marriage between LEGO and photography.
Although Sad Brick’s War of the Worlds diorama occupies a tiny base plate, it still packs in some serious detail and a sense of scale completely at odds with its diminutive size. It’s one of the perpetual ironies of LEGO building, that working small creates some of the best representations of physically huge vistas.
A few rotated and misaligned transparent cheese slopes become a broiling ocean, unbelievably hot dog sausages are reimagined as the suspension arches on the Golden Gate Bridge – a design adapted from builder Li Li’s brick-topper badge for Bricks by the Bay 2017 – and a minidoll syringe doubles as
a submarine periscope Alcatraz Island’s watchtower. Setting the scene for one of the littlest, and best, brick-built aliens I’ve seen, to cause havoc in.
If you’re wondering what a group of bikers is doing in front of a Mesoamerican temple, then I appreciate your imagination, but also recommend a closer look at this LEGO creation… Joking aside, this Alien Construct by Tirrel Brown embraces the otherworldly aesthetic of Mesoamerican architecture and takes it one small step further, onto another planet.
The trees and alien flowers deserve a bit of attention, but it is a good thing that the greenery is not too distracting, as your main focus is and should be on the alien temple in the middle. The simple yet interesting design is very futuristic, while a brick texture gives it an ancient look. An important thing to notice is what appears to be white patterns in the construct – it is actually light aqua, one of the LEGO colours closest to white. This subtle change makes the pattern almost glow.
There are few monsters in the history of movies that strike more terror in audiences and fans than the Queen Xenomorph imagined by James Cameron in the movie Aliens. Here at TBB we have featured many LEGO xenomorphs in the past, but in my opinion, this Queen by Manufactura Jarema is one of the best, most detailed queen models I have ever seen.
There are so many details that are worth mentioning. For one, the use of two black clip elements used to create the tapering barbs on the flexible tail. Also, the hinge piece on the arms is the perfect part for making thin yet posable limbs. Besides the many wonderful details in the Queen herself, the stand which contains great environmental structure also features another hero of this model, the Facehugger!
It’s not often that we see LEGO creations that incorporate the large Technic figures that LEGO included in sets back in the late 80’s through the 90’s. Similarly, most of the LEGO xenomorphs we’ve featured largely use standard System bricks to recreate the terrifying creatures from the Alien movies. Weilong Yao breaks with both of these traditions by building a work loader around a Technic figure and incorporating lots of Bionicle in the alien itself.
There’s something strangely familiar and yet haunting in this simple creation by Chris Maddison. Maybe it’s the loneliness of being in space or on a far-away planet that evokes the terror of the unknown. What horror lies ahead that seems partially organic and yet at the same time part machine that preys on an unknowing space explorer? Chris pulls off a frightful yet calming scene inspired by an artist who dreams up of things that preys on what we fear the most.
The power loader from Aliens is difficult to pull off at minifig scale because of the inherent lack of movement in a minifig. But Daniel Schlumpp has done a darned good job with this LEGO version, as well as an appropriate Xenomorph alien to go with it.
And while we’re in the Aliens universe, be sure to check out the 1:1 scale motion tracker we featured recently.
The quote above is from Arrival and it refers to the linguistic complications that can arise when trying to communicate with someone who speaks an unknown language. I won’t spoil the film by trying to explain what is happening, but I will say that this simple LEGO scene by Simon Liu perfectly captures the overall tone and eerie feeling of the movie. Even the floor has the perfect texture!
The lifecycle of the xenomorphs in the Alien franchise is fascinating — from egg to facehugger to chestburster to a rapidly growing black monster. While we’ve seen many LEGO xenomorphs over the years, including a great minifig-scale version by TBB’s own Tim Lydy, but not too many other stages in the creature’s lifecycle (other than the amazing LEGO chestburster by the Arvo Brothers nearly 10 years ago). Tim has corrected this with a wonderful vignette featuring a facehugger leaping from its egg sack towards a surprised Colonial Marine.
Tim uses minifig hands to represent the facehugger’s flailing arms, and suspends the jumping facehugger above its empty egg case with clear LEGO. The expression on the doomed marine’s face is priceless.
For myself, the wonder of being a licensed theme builder is the fact that everything I create is not only something new, but never before possible. With the release of the LEGO Doctor Who set we finally have official minifigures of our favorite Doctors, and it’s now possible to build our own adventures for the famous time traveler.
Not only that, but with LEGO we can create cranium-exploding crossovers. So while the epic sight of the 11th Doctor marveling over the appearance of a Xenomorph may never happen on TV, it can surely happen in LEGO. And we’re all the better for it – well, until the Alien starts attacking that is.