If you feel a longing for vibrant colors, piece, and quite, try spending a day at Anthony Wilson‘s underwater lab. Built for fundamental marine research, this facility looks like a proper resort: huge windows, glass tunnels, and out-of-this-world species diversity right in front of you. I bet this place was engineered by those escaping anything happening above the water. It took me at least a couple of minutes to spot all the different fish captured in this build. I must admit, now I feel a lot calmer and happier.
When I think of castles, I usually think of a grey structure, especially when the castle is built from LEGO bricks. There are only so many LEGO colors that look like stone, after all. Perhaps something tan would work, or black if the castle is for bad guys. And then comes Anthony Wilson, building a castle out of red and dark red. Those aren’t stone colors! What could he be thinking? It is called outside the box, I believe, and sometimes it even works. Given the Ninjago figures with multi-tailed canines and the transparent blue crystals, the red creates a beautiful fantasy atmosphere.
I’ve always admired builders who can do excellent round towers, and this is no exception. Someday I’ll have enough 1×1 round bricks to play like a big kid, too. The variation in colors is just right, and a 1×2 plate here and there creates a refreshing change in textures from the smooth 1×2 tiles. Don’t miss the stud shooters serving as broken crenelations at the top, or the wheel arch over the window. The slick round black base ties it all together and makes the presentation oh-so-sharp. Almost as sharp as those magical crystals look…Almost.
I’ve been a fan of LEGO’s Bionicle for a long time. I came out of my dark age just as the theme was launching in the US back in 2001, and they were some of the first sets I bought. When the line came to an end a decade later, LEGO fans kept the theme going strong with tons of unique creations. Anthony Wilson is among those builders, and their latest offering, Valkyrie: Toa of Lightning, is breathtaking. The base figure has a strong color theme in white and purple, with a brick-built mask. Quality building techniques are at play throughout the model, my favorite being the small offsets created in the armor on the thighs. (The unique shaping of headlight bricks allows for the gap.) There is also a lot of great part usage, including tricycle frames in the hips, worm gears on the legs and forearms, and even a zip-line handle in the chest. As impressive as the base figure is, what made me want to write about this model are the lightning effects. A couple of minifigure-accessory magic sparks hint at the awesome discharge happening on the Toa’s right arm. Made up of layers of hero factory armor and weapons, the angular electric effects have an almost liquid quality to them.
The build on the Valkyrie is probably several levels above what LEGO would have released for a kid-friendly set had the line continued. So maybe, just maybe, Bionicle is better off left in the hands of the fans. Oh, who am I kidding. They need to bring this theme back, and soon.
If you are preparing your castle for a siege, you need to stock up on lumber, not just to keep out the cold, but to deprive your enemies of building material for siege engines. You could do this with manual labor, but why bother with that when you have a wizard who can bring the ultimate lumberjack to life? In this case, the wizard is Anthony Wilson who has built a mighty golem he calls the Tree Feller. And judging from the sparsely wooded scene, he has been earning his moniker. Anthony’s model is a perfect blend of castle building techniques and constraction figure sculpting. I especially like the arrowslit/visor, and the patches of moss throughout the towering hulk. Of further note is the great use of partial minifigs wading through the swamp water.
I’m afraid I missed out on Bionicle almost entirely, as it started getting big right as I faded into my dark ages, and was mostly gone when I came back out of them. It’s a shame, really, since they had some incredible parts and a wide range of colors for those parts. That being said, I have always been a classic LEGO System guy, largely eschewing Technic and the ball-joint-based Constraction style for the old-fashioned stud connections. I usually scroll through photos of LEGO creations and skip past anything Bionicle-related, in fact. But sometimes a creation of that sort is so good, so perfectly balanced and detailed, that I cannot help but admire it. Such is this Toa by Anthony Wilson. The colors pop with the trans-pink in both the crystalline base and the accents of the figure, and the pose as she strides across the base exudes confidence and swagger.
Sweet Mayhem’s starship’s windscreen makes for an excellent shield, ready to deflect any attacks from an enemy. The glinting pink eyes shine out from behind the Matatu mask in a menacing manner that befits her name, Tuyet the Tyrant. The textures of the base, with the spaced-out 2×2 tiles and the greebles beneath, complements the presentation perfectly, but the highlight of the whole build for me is the midriff, so sleekly captured with the shoulder armor piece. It evokes the exposed stomach of so many heroines of nerdy fantasy games and comic books, yet in a way that still says that she’d kill you without a second thought, and easily, too.
Large spaceships get the geeky type quite excited, and we LEGO builders are some of the geekiest. Over the decades, this has lead to a standardized criteria of what qualifies as a large space ship – 100 studs in length. While I do love every large spaceship out there (as the especially geeky type of person I am), I wonder if this criteria has started to impede creativity. With an annual celebration of large LEGO spaceships (also known as SHIPs) every September, the bricks of the world have been concentrated to bring us many elongated spacecraft that quite often measure exactly or just over 100 LEGO studs long. What about bulkier 90 or 80-stud spaceships that so rarely get made? On the other side of the coin, this cultural phenomenon has been a great source of inspiration to builders who may not have otherwise built a big hunk of space metal, not even a medium sized one! Another point is that this common perception of what qualifies as “large” is a uniting factor in the community.
The third side of this (apparently three-sided) coin are builds that are basically the definition of an elongated spaceship, but still manage to impress immensely! Anthony Wilson brings us a creation that has some amazing textures, negative space and colour blocking. What I love most about Anthony’s Pelicon-3 is the bridge area, with windows on either side, revealing a busy interior filled with trophy minifigures.
Recently I wrote an article that mentioned there are a few names that spring to mind when considering LEGO-built characters. Another one of these prolific builders is Anthony Wilson. His newest creation is Aquasaurus, an impeccable display of form and function working so well together, that it hurts my head.
His incredible use of colour is always refreshing to see. This build harks back to the colour palate exclusively used for the Arctic City and Town sets, which I have always enjoyed. Relatedly, one thing that separates this from the pack, are those excellent gill fins, set in the ever-elusive teal. Though not made of many pieces in this elegant creature, the contrast it creates is brilliant. In a creation of such scale, articulation can also be a challenge to hide and keep functional. Wilsons subtle use of colour specific Bionicle parts, achieves this flawlessly, giving the limbs of this creature an exceptional pose. I find myself wondering how much this beast would weigh, as his use of balance on that black pillar is great, leaving only a tiny footprint of a base below.
For another look at Anthony Wilson’s beautiful use of colour, check out his Western Woods.
Certain core LEGO themes like castle and space seem to have very specific directions of experimentation and technical progress. We generally associate castle builds with unique textures, but having a colour palette usually limited to various earth tones. Colour experimentation is not unheard of in the theme though, but remains the rare exception that reminds us of specific builders like Luke Watkins or jaapxaap, among others. This time, Anthony Wilson goes to the extreme with what almost looks like a negative image of what would otherwise be a cute but quite ordinary castle scene.
There are so many tones of blue, yellow and orange in this build that even if I try to count them all, I would probably still miss one or two. The transitions between the different colours in the grass are especially smooth and really add up to a realistic effect (as realistic as yellow grass can be). The 1×2 tile-based wall is not a new technique, but the two rows look great overgrown by all sorts of dark brown plants. The yellow ninja minifig and its animal companion add that vitally important bit of life that complete the scene.
If you’re looking for a video game villain to rule all, look no further. Anthony Wilson’s centipede mech will leave you squirming in your seat. This thing is filled will all sorts of nasty, from its menacing claws to what can only be described as egg-filled hatchling pods. The overall color scheme is phenomenal and the parts usage is superb.
Every inch of the build is filled with cool techniques, from its numerous varying legs, up its spine, and to its terrifying head, complete with serrated swords for pinchers. The design truly brings it to life. Now, it’s important to realize how big this thing is. It would be scary enough small, but it’s over 50 studs tall, not including the upper arms. That’s 40+ centimeters, or nearly a foot and a half. Imagine if it was human scale compared to a minifig. Shudder.
Posing is everything when taking pictures of a build like this, and Anthony has nailed it here. While it’s a completely different kind of build, he also did a great job posing his coffee-loving dragon.
We know and love Anthony Wilson for his charismatic and vibrant brick-built characters. Some of them are utterly cute, while others are inspired by some very challenging video games. But this time Anthony draws inspiration from the very first generation of LEGO Bionicle sets, and in this particular case — from 8535 Lewa. His lumberjack Lewa scene is a stunning combination of smart building solutions and tiny references. The highlight of the scene is, of course, Lewa’s plaid shirt, which suits the hero surprisingly well! But can you spy the rest of symbols and smart use of pieces?
Who wouldn’t want a fantasy-themed coffee machine? To meet the demand, Anthony Wilson has built an adorable little fellow named Vay the coffee dragon. Vay is packed full of character, thanks to a pair of big eyes and the positioning of his body. His fistful of coffee beans is the essence of hospitality. This is in contrast to the hand tucked behind his back, seemingly saying, “what are you waiting for? Drink up!” Vay’s sleek curved body suggests he is fast in flight, which seems appropriate given his daily caffeine intake. Equally impressive is the coffee machine itself, which uses transparent colored pieces to show the water level in the reservoir. We dare you to drink this cup of joe. It’ll give you scales on your chest!
This adorable creation by Anthony Wilson is Ralsei, the monster prince who teams up with the player in the recently released game Deltarune. The stand-out design of his simple white-rimmed glasses is probably one of the best uses of Technic rubber bands usually reserved for providing tension in the moving play features of official sets. There is another great part used in the black boots, a car tire. The wind-swept scarf is also a very nice touch.