There is something beautiful in simplicity. How few parts can be used to still capture the essence of a thing? For Grant Masters, the answer is approximately twelve. It is an eclectic collection, from Belville doll feet to a white phone receiver, to a bandana and scarf. Capping it all off is the face from the new Chinese New Year set printed on the BB-8/porg head piece. The bamboo in the background, the dynamic pose, and the hat perfect it, making it a true work of art.
It’s not often we see a Sigourney Weaver inspired LEGO creation which isn’t something to do with the Alien movie franchise. Well here’s a cracking build from Ian Hoy inspired by the 1988 Dian Fossey biopic Gorillas in the Mist. Oh, hang on…My mistake. Seems this is actually inspired by PANDAS in the mist, more specifically Chen Stormstout — brewer, monk, and warrior — a character in the 2012 Mists Of Pandaria expansion to World Of Warcraft.
Regardless of its inspiration, this is excellent LEGO character modelling. The clothing is great — particularly the toggle fastenings, the white strip edging, and the way the pyjama-top hangs beneath the belt. The face has the brilliant combination of cute-yet-scary which the Panda warriors carried in the game, and all the details are present and correct, including the ponytail and the sandals on those clawed feet. Nice bearclaw emblems on the knees too.
Salmon swimming upstream brings all the bears to the yard…er river. It also inspired Simon NH‘s latest LEGO build, depicting a brown grizzly fishing for dinner. What makes this bear unique is the diverse range of parts and colors used to sculpt its body and represent how things in nature are more complex than meets the eye. Simon’s bear features ears comprised of a minifigure hood on the left and female hair on the right, while a minifigure shooter and snowshoes form its iconic muzzle. The scene is also set with some fantastic landscaping, from the rippling waterfall to the rocky terrain with splashes of greenery. It’s truly a GRRiffic build!
If you’d like to see Simon’s build in person and happen to be passing through Denmark, it will be on display in the Masterpiece Gallery at the LEGO House.
Builder Ian Hoy turns our attention to the center ring with this beautifully built circus scene. Heed the carnival barker in his jaunty top hat as he calls to you — “Step right up folks and stare in awe and amazement at this action-packed quintuple of animal performers, each one with its own special talents on display! Hurry, hurry! Take a peek, you won’t be disappointed!”
Each of the animals in this scene could stand on its own, but the combination of all of them together makes for a truly marvelous show. If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be the leaping tiger. Hou manages to imbue it with action, movement and just a touch of danger.
The scooter-riding bear is a close second with his whimsical expression. The dog as the carnival barker is a brilliant touch, and the magician’s rabbit also provide a nice dose of humor and expression. Taking center stage is everyone’s favorite big-eared elephant Dumbo, although Hou doesn’t reference him as such in his descriptions of the piece.
Every performer has a level of detail and building creativity that is a joy to look at up close and leaves me wanting to figure out how the builder did it all.
The setting of the scene is equally rich in detail, from the bejeweled stage lights to the speakers and rounded stage. The use of flags on the sides also adds to the festive atmosphere and the font on the word “circus” is particularly impressive and creative. I’m also particularly fond of the use of the backside of the pieces to create the curtained backdrop. Many builders go to great pains to not show the back, but Hou does a terrific job in this case and it all blends together perfectly. As an added bit of humor, in the corner behind the tiger there looks to be a crate full of food, including a cooked turkey, to make sure the performers are well fed and ready to play.
Luckily, the fun doesn’t stop with the front of the model! The back and outside are equally impressive, utilizing a second lettering style and a simple but effective representation of a circus tent.
Like any good traveling spectacular, at the end of the day the whole shebang can be folded up and moved on to the next city, ready to thrill audiences with the greatest show on earth!