Considering how successful LEGO’s Ninjago line is – with sets, cartoons and soon even a feature film – there is a surprising lack of fan creations under this theme. James Zhan defies this stereotype with his latest build of a roadside battle. The temple walker is a very interesting build, with great technical, robotic details at the bottom, and just as carefully chosen pieces for the temple’s architectural decoration. But this is so much more than just a walker on a road, the excellent minifig action makes the scene look alive.
Despite spending the first fifteen years of my life in Japan and living in the same city as one of the largest Go clubs in North America, I’ve really only admired the ancient game of Go from afar. I’ll need to correct that someday, perhaps by building one of my own Go boards from LEGO, as Kadigan did. The 17×17 board takes advantage of the tiny gaps between LEGO tiles, with 1×1 round tiles as the black and white playing pieces. He’s even created realistic wooden bowls from ball turret bases.
If you liked this, you might also appreciate the 9×9 LEGO Go board built by Joe Miller a couple years ago.
Some creations, even if simple, just look perfect. As is the case with this table tennis build by David FNJ (Fire-Ninja Jedi). There is nothing I could think of to make this scene any better. The table with the characteristic gap, the net – everything is just as you would expect it, and I mean that in the best way. But atop of that, David presents his creation with a beautiful photo, where even the reflections look good.
If you want pictures of the full table though, you might be disappointed. The builder informs us that what you see is literally all of his dark green pieces! But I would take that as a good thing; this is a creation that pushes his collection to the limit, which is the best way for a builder to grow.
India’s most famous piece of architecture is also the world’s most famous mausoleum and the final resting place of Mumtaz Mahal, a 17th-century empress consort. Builder Brick Point brings us a lovely microscale LEGO rendition complete with the tomb and its surrounding grounds, including the long reflecting pool in front.
And if you want to see how the builder created this, they’ve made an excellent 55-second time-lapse video of the construction showing the process layer by layer.
Sometimes all you need to relax is to contemplate a beautifully-built LEGO model. This wonderful bonsai by ZiO Chao deserves your attention — chill out and soak up the serenity. The gnarled and twisted tree itself is nicely-done — with an interesting technique of inserting flower stalks into larger leaf pieces — but it’s the little rock and the display stands which elevate this into brick-built art. I want one of these for my house.
This lovely modular bar, created by Chinese builder Tony Toy, has a great deal of colour and style. Tony manages to pull the dark blue, red, green and gold together into an attractive modular-style building with some lovely architectural details. I especially like the red and orange lanterns hanging on the post outside the front of the building. The little white bridge over a pond is a nice touch and love the effect created by using transparent plates overlying green plates for the water.
Interestingly, it seems that Tony designed his creation digitally first using the free Lego Digital Designer application and then built it in ‘the brick’.
2017 is the year of the Rooster in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The Rooster is one of 12 animals represented in the Chinese Zodiac calendar, but what is less known is that besides the Zodiac’s 12 rotation cycle, there is also an elemental cycle of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood — and this year is Fire.
Creator ZiO Chao brings us an exquisite LEGO version of the Fire Rooster. What’s unique about this brick-built rooster is the terrific shaping that gives volume to the bird, not only in its breast and wings, but also its feathered tail.
The last cycle of the Fire Rooster was 1957 and the next won’t be until 2077. The five elements, also known as Wu Xing, are used in many other practices such as geomancy (Feng Shui), astrology, and even traditional medicinal practices to describe synergy and affinity between the other phenomena.
Turtle Tower sits upon an island on Hoàn Kiếm Lake in the historical centre of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. This temple is a famous landmark in Hanoi and has been built in LEGO by Vietnamese builder Hoang H Dang. Given the time of year, some festive artistic license has been applied and the tower is now giving off some serious ‘Gingerbread House’ vibes. The actual architectural features of the temple have been nicely captured, especially the decorative stonework on the roof. The gingerbread decoration is cute with candy canes, a nice colour selection of ‘candy’, and Santa rowing over the island to deliver some gifts.
Hoang Dang tells us that the lake was actually home to a very rare species of turtle which is now close to extinction. The last turtle that used to live in the lake sadly passed away this year leaving his cousins as the only two left on Earth, hence the small turtle on the left of the build.
Indonesian builder Anton Budiono‘s latest two builds are both Chinese-style creations in the shape of a seafood restaurant and temple, presumably for quiet postprandial contemplation. Both builds utilise the addition of the same bridge over to a smaller shrine that rests upon wooden decking. There are many details to admire in these builds but the roofs with their decorative ridges and fascia are a particular favourite of mine. There are so many nice little touches to be discovered, such as the telephone handsets forming the beams within the large red front doors or the Mixel ball joints used as structural decorations across the façade.
The seafood restaurant cleverly uses the dark red octopus as decoration in one corner of the building, but Anton’s brick built lobster on the first floor corner is even better and worth a closer look!
While the temple is a little more demure in colour, it also benefits from lots of nice details such as the cascading water feature on the left-hand side or the use of black palm tree tops as the lanterns at the front. There’s more to see around the back on Anton’s Flickr album.
The world of Ninjago is rife with opportunities for exceptional fan-built LEGO creations, but oddly we don’t see them too often. One gorgeous exception, however, is this vignette of a small village by jaapxaap. The red oriental structures are highlighted with strands of gold, and the curved roofs are admirably done.
This would look right at home next to the terrific Temple of Airjitzu set, which is currently $25 off on Amazon.
There aren’t many things more brutal or impersonal than a 41-story public housing tower. Seen from afar, they almost look like prisons from the future. Sau Mau Ping was one of the first tower projects in the Hong Kong area. Construction began in the 60s, and even though most of the buildings have been torn down, the towers still house over 38,000 people. But this LEGO model inspired by the towers from Yan and Vincent is not brutal or impersonal at all. Each window decoration offers a glimpse into the personality of the person who calls this place home. And the brightly colored lamps in the courtyard are a reminder that this is a place of history and culture, not a prison. Being made of concrete blocks doesn’t prevent a house from becoming a home.
This rendition might not be 41 stories like the real towers, but it is definitely a massive model that is interesting from many different perspectives. I challenge you to find two windows the same.