Chinese New Year is little more than a week away and, according to the Chinese zodiac, we are entering the Year of the Rat. When it comes to heavenly rodents, Ian Hoy has another cute critter in mind. Of course, I’m talking about the guinea pig! This little guy is beautifully sculpted with angled and curved slopes to capture the adorable chunkiness of domestic itty-bitty piggies. The facial expression is priceless. As for that bit of yellow in his hands, if you thought it might be a morsel of cheese, you would be sadly mistaken. It’s actually yuanbao, a gold ingot that was used as a form of currency in China from the Qin Dynasty through the Qing Dynasty. I wouldn’t mind dropping a few yuanbao myself if it meant this little fellow could join the colorful cast of zodiac animals.
If you ever have problems sleeping, perhaps instead of counting sheep, maybe, build sheep? Well, if nothing else works, maybe you can give it a go? You can thank Tiago Catarino for providing the pieces needed and video instructions to go along and guide you into a mundane repetitive task. You may want to grab a few extra eye elements or pick some other fancy ones for variety and fun. Let us know what count you got to before dozing off. Meh! Meh!
Video with pieces required and step by step guide here:
Before the internet was blessed with our Lord and Savior Baby Yoda, we were something of a cat worshiping culture. And though we’ve perhaps mostly moved on, there are still adherents to the old ways out there, paying tribute to the former deities of the web, like this Tiger by Herbert Lee (Tigers are the best kind of cats too). I’ve always thought that tiger paws looked big and blocky, and now I get to see them made out of plastic blocks. The use of black horn/tail pieces used here is impressive, both in obvious places, like the tigers claws, and less obvious, like the stripes transversing the white and orange pieces that sculpt the body. Two other impressive details are the minifigure hands as eyes and tooth plates to form an unmistakable cat snout. It makes me believe those pieces were designed for this model.
I’m a firm believer in the tried and true mantra, “good things come to those who wait.” While we didn’t know it, we had to wait a full year for this formidable looking fire gorgon built by Andrew Steele; that’s how long it took him to build the beast! It’s no wonder either, because at 1.4 m (4.6 ft) in length the fire gorgon is as big as some children! Building big allows for more detailing, and the sculpting of this creature’s body is phenomenal.
Can someone help me with a tech question? How do I set the parental controls so that my parents can’t watch Fox News? While The Brothers Brick IT team and I are working that out, I’d like to show you a fox of a different kind. This Kyuubi no Kitsune (Nine-tailed Fox) built by Jessica Farrell is a well-known character in Japanese folklore. Jessica tells us that this magical creature lives for an incredibly long time and grows a new tail for each century of spiritual training and wisdom. Upon gaining its ninth tail, the Kitsune has reached its full powers and its tails may begin to turn golden or white in color. Its natural form is that of an ordinary fox but the powerful Kitsune is able to shape-shift into other forms, particularly that of a beautiful young woman, and get up to all sorts of mischief!
She also tells us that this model is comprised of 4,304 elements and took three weeks to design and build. I am particularly fond of the intricate textured stones and the flowing brook. The entire setting instills a tranquil feeling for me and the Kitsune’s expression exudes wisdom. Now that is a Fox network I would watch!
We’ll soon return you to your regularly scheduled Baby Yoda or Star Wars spaceship or whatever you folks are demanding more of but first I wanted to show you this cute near life-sized rat built by Keiichi Kamei. The rats that occasionally invade my backyard are a bit bigger than this but his stance, his little ears, his bare tail and even his hands are all pretty spot on. I’d be more agreeable to sharing some cheese with them if they weren’t so invasive in real life.
This is not quite instructions but you can sort of reverse engineer your own with the help of this photo. Neat, right? We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Woodlice are terrestrial isopods and, among other nicknames, are affectionately known as “roly-poly pill bugs” for their ability to roll into a ball. Though this ability is a natural defense mechanism, Japanese builder Moko drew inspiration from the woodlouse for their latest LEGO mech. Moko’s mech emulates the woodlouse’s segmented body thanks to staggered round shell detail elements, which appeared in black in 2012 Hero Factory sets Black Phantom and Toxic Reapa. This black armor is also reminiscent of the crab-like Garthim from The Dark Crystal.
As an added bonus, Moko’s woodlouse mech rolls into a ball just like the real thing. While the real life woodlouse does this to protect itself, I think it’s safe to say this mechanical critter can also use it for quick getaways. Now, that’s using your exoskeleton!
Winter is coming, and so LEGO fans throughout the northern hemisphere are turning to their collection of white elements and building scenes that capture the calm quiet of a winter wonderland blanketed in snow. In this case, a regal and watchful snow fox by John Cheng sits patiently on a snow-covered rock. Whether searching for their next meal, or standing guard over a litter of pups, the construction is both simple, and surprising. I love the use of tooth parts for the ruffled chest, and the many different slopes used to sculpt the long fluffy tail. A few accents in azure strike the perfect contrast to the white and black details.
Now, what have we here? Far from its habitat in Mecha Antarctica, Mitsuru Nikaido’s Mecha Penguin is here. But why is it here? Well, from a distance we can’t really tell now can we? Is it here to destroy its enemies? Or perhaps it wants to endear us for treats of little robotic pilchards. The way I see it, all evidence seems to indicate the former. Observe the creature’s razor-sharp beak and wings. Not something you’d quite want to cuddle up with. The glowing eyes may also be a clue to his intentions. Whatever the case, I think it best to keep our distance and hope he doesn’t see us.
Hop around! Hop around! Hop up and up, and get down! In devising solutions for building robots, it’s sometimes best to start with examples found in nature. When Moko set out to build his latest LEGO mech, he looked to the springy grasshopper. Moko’s model is both an excellent representation of the insect and has just enough metallic bits to make it feel mechanical. Hopping power is provided by the legs’ robust hydraulic system, while the black pistol feet likely give it the ability to stick to nearly any surface.
We all have LEGO rooms or at the very least a designated work-space to build our creations. One LEGO space I’d love to see is that of Mitsuru Nikaido. Sometimes it’s satisfying to have “a thing” and Mitsuru’s “thing” is white animal mechs with dark gray interspersed throughout. If Mitsuru is the type of builder who keeps most of his creations, I bet I’d be treated with a menagerie of intricate animal mechs peering at me from his shelves. This octopus is his newest and among my favorites thus far. Whether it be for a flared fender, hot-air balloon or, in this case, an octopus head, this tapered piece is a godsend. This wily cephalopod is certainly brimming with character. Be sure to check out some of his previously featured friends including a frog, a crocodile, and a locust and crane creature double-feature.
Prolific LEGO builders scatter our desktops with inspiration constantly, showing us more with each coming build. Miro Dudas has been doing such for me for quite a while, with his Woodland Creatures Collection. His newest accomplishment, simply titled Buck, brings another to said collection, leaving me wanting this on my shelf too. The regal stag is such a strong animal, in muscle and stance as the king of the forest.
Dudas’ rendition, though heavily inspired by Joe Perez’s impressive Stag from earlier this year, stands on its own accord. The reddish brown coat with tufts of white are nice adjustments to his inspiration but it’s those antlers, made predominantly from small bony appendages and mechanical arms, that bring this build into a realistic zone. I don’t know about anyone else but when I first saw this, I instantly wanted to see two of them standing off with horns locked..
If you’re more sci-fi inclined, maybe check out Miro Dudas’ fury little Wicket..