The LEGO Ideas Voltron set has made me nostalgic for all the Giant Robot TV shows I watched as a kid back in Japan, not least of which was the fantastic Gundam. Two Rabbits shares my love of all things big and stompy, and demonstrates that passion with a series of really excellent Mobile Suits, kitted out with extra gear like the AQM/E-X04 Gunbarrel Striker pack with Strike Gundam from the SEED series. Beyond the rocket engines and weapons pods, the highly detailed frame itself is worth a closer look, with great shaping on the legs and torso, topped with the iconic Gundam head.
From the Wing series, the XXXG-00W0 Wing Gundam Zero features gorgeous angel wings and completely different detail on the mecha frame.
LEGO’s Voltron-themed Ideas set has generated a lot of excitement amongst LEGO and Voltron fans alike (check out our full review of 21311 Voltron). But as a fan of the show myself, I found the set something of a disappointment. LEGO decided to only focus on the show’s ships, not its characters (there aren’t even any minifigs in the set). It is also based on the original 80’s version rather than the wildly popular new Netflix reboot. To address this glaring oversight, I decided to craft my own LEGO tribute to the show that explores different kinds of ships …relationships!
While one segment of the Voltron fan base enjoys its large mecha and explosive battle sequences, another group prefer to engage in shipping. For the uneducated, shipping is the act of expressing, arguing or obsessing — often via fan art — over which characters you would like to see become romantically involved. Each “ship” even comes with its own Hollywood celebrity couple style name, for example, Lotor + Allura = Lotura.
Cute and deadly: Djokson’s Petunia the Pummeler Pixie ticks both boxes. This little creation reveals some inspirational part usage, particularly in the way it reimagines the old banded cones, often used as wind socks in LEGO airport sets, as the pixie’s striped stockings. Piling on more kawaii details in the form of a sweet LEGO Friends bow on her top and a Clikits heart in her pigtails completes the wonderfully destructive candy aesthetic.
While the piece count for this Dragon Ball Z creation by Moko might not numerically match Vegeta’s most famous quote, our enthusiasm level for this LEGO rendition of his Great Ape form certainly does. The face is a knockout, with a great use of minifigure arms to define the eyes and a strategic use of anti-studs to add texture to the ears and nostrils. The rest of the model is full of subtly impressive techniques, like the dinosaur tails to add definition to the shoulder’s edges, the tail made out of tires, and the inverted and slightly angled pectorals.
Be sure to visit Moko’s blog for additional photos of this phenomenal creation.
Arale Norimaki is a fictional character from the Dr. Slump manga series, created by Akira Toriyama. Arale is a robot girl who is strong, energetic and a bit naive. This playful model by LEGO 7 — which also features two Gatchan, or Gajira Norimaki — is a wonderful tribute to these unique characters, who make an occasional appearance on the popular anime Dragon Ball from the same creator.
One of my favorite details is the use of a white rubber band wrapped around Arale’s ankles as a rumpled sock. The simple construction of her gloved hands, made from only 6 parts each is another nice touch. On the Gatchan, an inverted yellow chair forms a bib for this critter who is known to eat just about anything.
LEGO 7 has tweaked the model just a bit to give us a very dynamic and especially playful scene.
Say hello to Aggretsuko (アグレッシブ烈子), the latest character from the creators of Hello Kitty. By day, this red panda is a gentle and kind accountant, doing the best she can in a job she loathes. But by night, she blows off steam by shedding the cutesy look for that of a raging death-metal karaoke enthusiast!
Originally aired as a series of shorts on Japanese television, the adventures of Retsuko have finally arrived on Western shores in the form of a Netflix original series. Taking inspiration from this unexpectedly kawaii take on the modern condition, I decided to try and capture Retsuko’s struggle using LEGO bricks:
Click here to see LEGO Retsuko with all her accompanying accessories
Studio Ghibli’s animated movies are a constant source of inspiration to LEGO builders, and Kiki’s Delivery Service is no exception. Here’s the film’s feline duo, Jiji and Lily, re-created in the brick by car_mp. The curves of the cats’ bodies are nicely done, particularly the studs-out section depicting Lily’s neck fur. But as with other cartoon-themed creations, it’s the addition of the large Mixel eye tiles which injects a bunch of character and fun.
We’ve featured half a dozen or so Savoia S.21 flying boat from Porco Rosso over the years, but it remains one of my favorite LEGO aircraft whenever I run across a new version. This latest incarnation of the racing plane from the 1992 Hayao Miyazaki film is brought to us by Volker Brodkorb. The airplane’s huge engine mounted forward of the cockpit makes this plane instantly recognizable, as do the striping on the angled wings.
Volker uses curved slopes attached studs out to achieve the sloping shape of the boat-plane’s hull, and the pop of yellow on the front of the propeller is a lovely touch.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first feature from Studio Ponoc, an anime production house formed from the ashes of the legendary Studio Ghibli. Based on the Mary Stewart book The Little Broomstick and directed by the very accomplished Hiromasa Yonebayashi (including his directorial debut with The Secret World of Arrietty), this movie easily matches the charm of any Miyazaki production. I enjoyed it immensely, and even listened to the soundtrack while building this LEGO version of Mary on her broomstick:
The above layout takes inspiration from the pivotal scene where Mary first takes flight on her broomstick. Observant readers will notice the inclusion of Tib the cat, a few Fly-by-Night seeds, and a background made entirely from LEGO bricks.
It has become very popular among LEGO builders to create pop culture characters inspired by LEGO BrickHeadz. This particular pair by toothdominoes is from an anime called Gurren Lagann, which features humans living underground, teaming up with mechs to battle oppressors living on the surface. Simon and his mech Lagann stand ready to face the forces of evil.
And such a perfect fit!
Fun fact: The eyes on the mech were custom made by the creator.
They say that Disney movies touch the heart, but Studio Ghibli films touch the soul. None more so than the Miyazaki classic Spirited Away. I’ve modelled the works of this legendary Japanese animator in LEGO before, but on the 15th anniversary of its US release I figured it was time to take a deeper dive into this particular masterpiece:
Spirited Away remains unrivalled for its blend of the spiritual, realistic, fantastic, and human. In balancing all of those realms, Miyazaki was the master. No surprise then that this movie won the Oscar for best animated film and remains Japan’s highest grossing movie to date.
Click to see more Spirited Away scenes
Lynn MinMay from the Robotech/Macross anime series is brought to life by SPARKART! in a modified Brickheadz doll. The styling emphasises the head over other features, with her eyes capturing that genuine anime sparkle. Below you’ll find the parts list and instruction guide to build your very own singing space celebrity.
Click for parts and instructions