Do you ever wonder what a polar bear thinks as he or she travels hundreds of miles, alone, across the vast ice? Other than, “I can smell a seal about 14km away,” there has to be something they daydream about. Doesn’t this tiny LEGO version of the half-ton carnivore, built by Chi Hsin Wei (LEGO 7), look like he has a lot on his mind?
My favorite parts are the tiles in clips for ears and the car hoods on his sides. This build is great, but it’s only one of many incredible creations by LEGO 7, our 2018 Builder of the Year. This talented artist builds just about everything!
The line of LEGO Star Wars constraction figures has unleashed a plethora of new sculpted parts to feed the Bionicle building frenzy. However, this delicious looking lobster by 楚 沐猴 puts some of the parts from LEGO 75529 Elite Praetorian guard to a very different use. The finished product is a crustacean that looks good enough to eat.
While they sometimes get a bad rap, vultures are incredible animals. These threatened and endangered birds hold a very important place in the ecosystem. They help to prevent the spread of disease as they scavenge for carcasses. Their heads are bald because it’s actually a cleaner way to eat. This build by Jens Ohrndorf caught my eye because of the way he used the parts to create that iconic vulture look. The elbow pieces and Technic gears that make up their necks are perfect. Altogether with the skeleton, it’s a really cute little build. Another fun fact: vultures don’t necessarily circle because they see a dead or dying animal below. They’re pretty big and heavy as far as birds go, and it takes a lot of energy to flap around long enough to spot food. So they use their massive wingspan to their advantage by letting circular warm air currents carry them up as high as they can get, and then gently soar back down. Very little energy wasted. Efficient, eh?
If you like this build, you should check out Jens’ entire collection of animals, including his rhino, mole, and bison.
If you went to BrickWorld Chicago in 2016, you might remember seeing the amazing Eurobricks collaborative display called “Ready, set, escargot!” The display consisted of giant medieval-themed snails racing around a track. The template for these mammoth mollusks was designed by Mark Larson, while the structure on this snail’s back came from the mind of Marco den Besten. Marco drew inspiration from the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise, and I think his take on the idea would make for an interesting game. The rustic-looking towers complement the dark tan structure of the snail’s shell. Speaking of the shell, Marco has attached wooden posts to the sides for some classic platform gaming fun.
Meerkats are pretty incredible little creatures. They live in tight-knit family groups and are known for fearlessly defending each other from predators. When they are old enough, every family member takes a turn at keeping watch. This wonderful sculpture by Andreas Weißenburg is a lovely tribute to those exceptional lookouts.
What’s even more impressive is that these sentinels actually move their heads from side to side, scanning the horizon. The inner mechanisms are simple, but clever and efficient. It involves two continuous belts catching and turning gears at different times. The resulting movement really brings them to life!
In Norse mythology, the god Oden is accompanied by two ravens; one named Hugin and the other named Munin. Respectively, their names mean “thought” and “memory,” and as legend goes, they fly the world by day and return to Oden at night to tell what they learn. This beautiful LEGO representation of Hugin is the work of builder Birgitte Jonsgard. It is one of the best brick-built birds I have ever seen. She did a truly lovely job on the body-shaping, and yes, his wings do unfold!
Who doesn’t love adorable animals? Perhaps there are Scrooges out there that would contend that question, but if you’re reading this, that person probably isn’t you. If you want to learn how to build some animals, The LEGO Zoo by Jody Padulano might just be the book you’re looking for. Whether you clicked that link for your own sake, or you think a special kiddo in your life might love this book, we have the answers regarding what to expect. So grab your safari vest and binoculars, and away we go!
If your LEGO city is situated by the seas, here are four complementary birds that could be residents of the local shores. Tammo Screates a few feathery friends from a lesser black-backed gull, a parrot/finch, a common redshank and a royal tern. They’re tiny enough for a quick build, so start looking in your bin of parts and give them a go! My favourite is the proud parrot – what’s yours?
It wasn’t very long ago that we featured an interview with superb Japanese builder Takamichi Irie. We’ve also covered a number of his builds on this site. So if you’re having deja vu about seeing this lovely animal before, you’re not crazy! The sleek scorpion is back as one of Takamichi’s signature automata. Using only brick-built cogs and simple mechanics, he’s breathing new life into this automaton and other eye-catching builds.
This whimsical fellow is the work of Oliver Becker, who was inspired by the original legend of storks delivering babies. He decided to add a twist to the story with a character whose beak was curved with the weight of carrying those little bundles of joy. Oliver also came up with a made-up discoverer of the creature: Erasmus Class van der Ailer. While the Curve-Billed Stork is not a real animal (living or extinct) it is indeed based off of real birds. The ibis, a cousin of the stork, is an interesting bird with a curved beak that it uses to probe the ground for food.
I like this build because it has a lot of personality and some nifty parts usage. A couple months ago we featured another baby delivery bird which looked a bit like a pelican, but was just as fun!
As a zoology nerd, my favorite things to write about are, of course, animals. When I saw these lovely LEGO birds by Luis Peña, I just couldn’t resist! The creative build features iconic species, including the Hyacinth Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, Andean Condor, Black-Necked Swans, Ringed Kingfisher, and Magellanic Woodpecker.
I adore Kingfishers, but I’d have to say that my favorite bird in the series is the Woodpecker. There is some clever parts usage here, giving it character. I love that mohawk headpiece, and the worm that is formerly an “Insectoid” (13757) from 70709 Galactic Titan.
Luis is a talented builder who we’ve featured before. If you like these animals, check out his recent Paleozoic sea creatures!
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.