There are some builders that we can’t help but showcase again and again. These are the incredible artists that somehow manage to consistently produce one beautiful build after another. One such builder, Felix Jaensch, is at it again. His LEGO animals are always superb, and stand as frozen replicas of their real-life counterparts. This handsome male kestrel is certainly no exception. He shares a remarkable, regal resemblance to the real bird, only slightly larger to capture the detail.
Kestrels are very unique predators. At least in the US, they have sometimes been mistakenly called “sparrow hawks” for their size. But these little birds are not hawks at all. They have the distinct “tear” marks and notched beaks of the falcon family. They also hunt and dispatch their prey with their beaks instead of their feet. One unique thing about kestrels is that they hover-hunt. Which means their wings are specially designed to fly almost stationary, less than 80 feet off the ground. Then they dive at their prey. Also, they can see the ultraviolet glow of vole urine, which is left in trails through fields. Additionally, males and females are dimorphic, meaning that they look different from each other. Males are smaller and more colorful, while females are larger and more neutral.
I have actually had the lucky opportunity to work closely with a mated pair of these magnificent little birds, Simba and Nala. I was captivated by their charm as I helped train them for an Ambassador Animal program at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Unfortunately, both birds were un-releasable due to previous injuries. Simba was missing an eye from hitting a window, and Nala had a bad wing from being attacked by a cat. It’s a stark reminder of our impact on wildlife. You can help by supporting your local wildlife center, putting a bell on your cat, and placing deterrents on/near windows.
“Before you even knew what you had, you designed it, and built it, and slapped it on a plastic baseplate…”
-Ian Malcolm (not really)
A new Jurassic World film is on the way, and ZiO Chao is celebrating with a set of busts of some of the most iconic dinosaurs from the franchise. ZiO built his model for Rebrick’s “Iconically Jurassic World” contest (now closed). Each dinosaur’s head is depicted with a 3-dimensional profile view, with the following prehistoric beasts being represented….
See all of the LEGO dinosaurs up close!
Trek far enough through the tropical rainforests of South America, and you might be lucky enough to stumble upon the toco toucan. Toucans are widely recognized because of their big, bold, bodacious beaks. It’s a wonder they are able to support the weight of that massive-looking head. For that matter, we are amazed Sven Franic was able to pull off the same feat with his brick-built toucan. By utilizing a wide variety of curved elements, Sven has managed to sculpt out an excellent likeness of this magnificent bird. The wooden perch is also a nice touch, one that probably also helps with supporting bird’s weight. It’s “toucan-tastic!”
In addition to being the grandmother of Prince William and Harry, Queen Elizabeth II is known for her love of Corgis. She has owned several over the years and, if given the chance, would probably adopt this glorious puppy built by BrickinNick. BrickinNick’s chibi-like design is simply adorable, from the dog’s panting mouth and big eyes to the cape on its back and tilted crown. The small arches also make for nice, little, perky ears. I can almost feel the warm and wet puppy kisses!
The Queen recently lost the last of her famous pack of Corgis, a dog named Willow who starred with Daniel Craig in the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Our condolences to Her Majesty.
If you’ve never seen a red-crowned crane, they are certainly a site to behold. Standing at 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, with a wingspan of 7-8 feet, and weighing up to 25 Lbs (over 11 Kg), these endangered creatures are among the largest birds in the world. Their mating dance is also incredible! Native to East Asia, the sacred cranes have significant symbolism in Japanese tradition. They represent luck, longevity, and fidelity, and they often show up in art, like this elegant diorama by ggwingx.
The background and base are a perfect tribute to the homeland of these beautiful animals. But what really stands out is the terrific use of those white clamshells, and black and white feather pieces to really give them dimension. The legs, necks, and heads are also clever. Altogether it’s a great use of simple parts to make something that truly embodies the gracefulness of these creatures.
Spring is for the birds. Helping usher in spring for TBB’s cover photo this month is Gregory Coquelz’s excellent rendition of Pixar’s For the Birds that we featured back in February. Each time you visit us on our social pages, you can imagine the endless chatter of birds on an electric cable. Or, it might be the birds outside your window. We’ll leave that up to you to figure out.
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Organic shapes are surely some of the hardest to capture in LEGO bricks — leaving many builders to concentrate their efforts on structures and vehicles rather than animal forms. However, Joe Perez seems to be up for the challenge — his latest model is a lifelike and intimidating bull on the charge. The shaping is excellent here, with slightly exaggerated proportions that effectively convey a genuine sense of heft and menace.
Joe has been slowly putting together an impressive series of creatures in this style. Don’t miss the excellent brick-built stallion we featured a few years ago, and this wonderful stag…
The Tournament of Roses Parade is a fun event held annually in Pasadena, California on New Years Day. Bill Vollbrecht has built a LEGO model representing the typical parade float that can be seen during the parade. This particular float has an underwater theme with a shapely red and yellow octopus taking centre stage with tentacles reaching across the rest of the build. There’s a lot going on down on the sea bed, with divers finding buried treasure and a couple of mer-folk waving to their adoring crowd and Poseidon sitting on his golden throne. My favourite aspect of this build, other than the octopus itself, is the use of colour – I imagine the real parade floats are just as eye-catching.
It’s no wonder that “darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter” in such a colourful, fun-filled environment.
Paul Hetherington thinks that the average farm animal would want to cruise around the country roads, partying in a dilapidated, old, rotten Model T salvaged from the barn. Initially Paul set out to only construct the splendid animal heads and started with the googly eyed horse’s head. In the end, Party Animals took Paul five weeks to build. Once he had an idea of the animals’ size, this set the scale for the vehicle. Creating the Model T using a combination of lovely dark greens and rustic colours, Paul has even thought to include bird droppings.
Look out chickens!
Beasts from Bricks: Amazing LEGO Designs for Animals from Around the World is the latest LEGO instructional book from Quarry Books, authored by LEGO artist and designer Ekow Nimako. This is the second book in the series following Birds from Bricks. The 144-page book presents illustrated step-by-step instructions to build 15 animals from around the world: Africa, Europe, Asia, Antarctica, Oceania, Central/South America, the Caribbean, and North America. Each set of instructions includes a couple of paragraphs of information about the animal’s characteristics and habitat. Also included is a bonus gallery of Ekow Nimako’s more complex, large-scale animal designs.
Read the full review after the jump
If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own chibi menagerie, Chungpo Cheng has got just the thing for you. We’ve got practically an entire zoo here. Or, at least if the zoo focused on animals from Africa, but you get the picture. Each one has such character!
What I find particularly fantastic is that should you need to study for your African mammal anatomy test, we’ve got you covered. Check out the rib cage and internal organs on this hippo! Just fantastic.
You can further explore the whole safari on flickr. Which is your favorite?
This watchful owl, by Mihai Marius Mihu, looks poised to fly off and tell its master of your approach. Proceed with caution!
The owl is nicely done but the angles on that dead tree? Very elegant.