I’ve got to be honest, I never liked constraction figures from LEGO. Personally, I thought Bionicle was lame and more than a little cheesy, the Knights Kingdom, Ben 10, superheroes, and Legends of Chima big figures even worse, and the Star Wars ones at best mildly interesting. Better than Galidor, certainly, but not by much. I was a System builder, period. Perhaps my position is evolving, however, or else I just love great LEGO building when I see it, because this character from Matt Goldberg is amazing. The color blocking is on-point, with bold, crisp red contrasting with the grey, and that gold visor just pops. The whole head is just perfect, in fact. Add in some superhero power bursts, and you have a dynamic sci-fi hero ready to save me from my anti-constractionist bigotry.
Bionicle Day, 8/10 (810nicle), is behind us, and we’re catching up by celebrating some builds that incorporate the popular buildable figure elements from LEGO’s past. Blake Foster found inspiration to use Bionicle elements such as Macku‘s helmet and Hero Factory feet (ball and socket configuration) for the side of the hull. The standard blue LEGO Classic Space hue is an obvious homage to the 1986 LEGO Cosmic Fleet Voyager. Just don’t expect to see Benny fit into this space fighter, because it is micro-scale. After some quick research on novae, I get why Blake Foster named it “Nova Class.” It is akin to nova, the astronomical event where new stars form and explode, shining bright and slowly fading, just as Blake described how the build constantly came apart during its construction. For now, bask in its glow.
Waking up on a tropical island has become a familiar premise to many LEGO fans familiar with Bionicle. Awesomenessborn brings us an odd tribal figure on a small sandy landscape dominated by a stone head statue. It may not look like the colourful mechanical warriors of Bionicle, but instead it resembles the prototype figures from the theme’s development phase. Originally nicknamed Bone-Heads of Voodoo Island, the figures looked more innocent and less war-like, which the builder captures very well. The proportions of the figure’s body, with its thin waist and protruding stomach are reminiscent of earlier Bionicle sets.
The statue on the other hand, is terrifying compared to the figure. Overgrown with plants and vines, it resembles a weathered skull that contrasts the smooth raised baseplate from an old pirate set which is used as the small landscape. To complete the foreboding mystery of this world, there are also some spiders on top of the statue. One can even spot a nasty surprise crawling out its mouth…
Are you shopping for a rover that can handle rough terrain? (Aren’t we all?) Then Blake Foster has all the answers you seek with this LEGO All-Terrain Classic Space Tank or AT-CST. It makes excellent use of this bubble windscreen as well as this Bionicle shell. If that is giving you just a touch of deja vu, that is because Blake recently used the same parts with this Grumpy Gnat. Blake seems to specialize in spacecraft that tickle the ol’ LEGO nostalgia bone. Check out our archives to see what I mean.
One of my biggest gripes with a certain variety of religious art is the portrayal of angels. I know you’ve seen it, too. Angels are cute: either chubby naked kids or else delicate and fairy-ish. How could a super-human cosmic entity be cute? Aren’t there any sculptures or paintings of muscle-bound ones that could be played by Chris Hemsworth in a movie? Sure, I know, angels don’t have bodies, and thus no muscles, but still. When one of them is called Michael the Archangel, a warrior of God who fights Satan and casts that fallen angel into Hell, one would expect more than a mild mannered, almost dainty face and spindly limbs in any portrayal, at very least. Enter Tino Poutiainen.
His LEGO version of the archangel might be made of small plastic elements, but there’s some serious power in that torso. And the arms avoid being spindly, too, due to those tires. And that hair! Everyone knows you fight better with serious flow (and play hockey better, too). Coolest of all, though, is that circle of wings that also holds up the halo. Such an elegant touch! The arrows in the shield make good use of the feather element, though who launched them is a mystery; everyone else seems to be cowering away from this mighty protector.
Love LEGO angels? Then check out some more at this link to see ones we’ve featured before!
Francisco Goya’s disturbing Black Paintings — in particular “Witches’ Sabbath” or “The Great He-Goat” in the Prado Museum in Madrid today — have inspired Joss Woodyard‘s latest entry in the ongoing BioCup contest. The Satanic figure is surrounded by gloom, lit by a circle of candles, wearing a shaggy cloak made of black wings. The yellow lever base is terrifyingly perfect for the slit-eyed gaze of the Dark Lord, while minifig arms provide the split lip of the beast’s muzzle. In its left arm, the Devil carries what appears to be a swaddled child, perhaps a sacrificial victim.
In addition to naturally organic shapes from Bionicle and Hero Factory, Joss softens the shapes further with tires and strings. All of this makes the He-Goat’s exposed rib-cage all the more horrifying, built from insect or spider legs. I can nearly hear the chitinous rustling as he lurches toward you in the dark…
At first glance, I’m not even sure how this was all put together, but this candelabra sculpture by builder Sergei Rahkmaninoff is definitely one of the most unique designs of LEGO creation that I’ve seen in a while. It’s made almost entirely of silver elements, which is a very limited palette, but you wouldn’t know that from looking at this beautifully delicate sculpture. And those eyes–oh those eyes–are created so wonderfully with a single 1×2 tile with two minifigure hands clipped to it. It’s not a technique that would typically be considered as a means to create a face, but it instantly lends character to this flowing figure. I also love that while the flames would have been easily represented by a ready-made LEGO flame element, the choice to have it brick-built is certainly the right one here fitting the theme of being extremely creative in bringing something unique to life.
LEGO’s Bionicle lore runs deep, encompassing a complex world history from its inception to the heroes we all recognize as the various Toa. Even the theme’s origin story is fascinating, as David Robertson recounts in Brick by Brick the Bionicle theme was originally envisioned as a metaphor for battling cancer, with the bio-heroes (cancer-fighting drugs) being delivered to the world (body) in pill-like canisters. Builder Anthony Wilson is participating in a fan-run challenge to create the Toa Helryx, which the lore names as the first Toa in the Bionicle world.
No sets or images were ever produced of this Toa, but Anthony has sculpted this regal figure from the few descriptions. The brick-built mask, so central to Bionicle characters, is crafted from multiple elements, most notably the silver Nexo Knights shield, whose ribbed edges look marvelously organic here. Another great detail is the giant mace Helryx wields, which is tipped with a Technic differential.
Meet Dalga, a new LEGO creation by Ron Folkers. He’s a highly armored specialist with dual blades and a pulse cannon. I’m pretty convinced he’s a great white killing machine and a schlub like we wouldn’t stand a chance. However, Ron tells us he’s a newly assembled inexperienced fighter who has not yet known the perils of combat. Still, I’m going to err on the side of assuming his whole head is a deadly weapon and I’ll just take my cookies elsewhere. If you’d like to risk it and stick around, you should check out some of Dalga’s friends.
The annual BioCup competition is producing a wonderful range of LEGO Bionicle creations in many themes, but my favorite so far is Latin American mythology, with fantastical gods like the Aztec god of death Mictlantecuhtli by Tino Poutiainen. But my favorite so far is the Aztec rain god Tlāloc by Vlad Lisin. Tlāloc has characteristic round eyes and fangs, and wears a verdant crown with clouds encircling his waist. I love how Vlad uses click-joints for Tlāloc’s necklace, and the Bionicle mask at the top of the water flowing from the barrel is a brilliant use of parts.
Way back in 2006, I built the Aztec pantheon as minifigures — strange enough to go mildly viral through the “blogosphere” in the era before social media — but these latest figures show the power of large-scale builds using organic pieces from Bionicle and Hero Factory.
As LEGO builders ourselves we are inherently already fond of the creations we write about here on The Brothers Brick. What makes me take special notice however is something like this Simurgh built by Joss Woodyard. According to Joss, the Simurgh is a unity between land and sky incarnate. According to Iranian legend, the mythical creature is so old that it has seen the world end three times over. Plus it will also rid your surrounding area of snakes, so there’s that. I’m seeing also a unity between System brick and Bionicle. This seems to be Joss’calling card as he has taken us through a menagerie of mythical beasts before.
We all remember the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, right? There’s a part where Little Red says to her wolf grandmother “my, what big eyes you have”. To which she retorts “the better to eat you with”. Wait, that didn’t turn out right. Anyway, the point is old people are scary! PaleoBricks mixes Bionicle with “regular” LEGO to build the wolf in grandma clothing quite nicely. The shawl is a great touch as well as the…um…grandma hat. Grandmas still wear those, right? The wolf’s expression looks like he really does want to eat you…with his eyes. It has been a while since I’ve read the story but I’m sure it also involved doilies and a dish of Werther’s Originals. And a ticking clock, a VCR, and one of those creepy pictures of Jesus that moves when you walk. Old people! Am I right?