While stuck at home in quarantine or self-isolation, people need fun activities to pass the time. One popular activity is building LEGO sets and designing new creations. If you don’t have LEGO to build with, you can still appreciate other people’s creations online, like Mihai Marius Mihu’s wise owl. And once you’re done appreciating it, this LEGO owl has a new activity for you, read a book! Well, assuming you can get it out from under his sharp talons. I absolutely love the use of 1×2 slopes as the plumage. The waves they’re arranged in makes the owls chest look especially fluffy.
I’m always stoked to see how much can be represented with so little. Micro builds always seem easy and gives me feeling of “Why didn’t I think of that??” but in fact, they’re a lot harder to pull off than you’d think, in getting something represented appropriately with the limited number of bricks on hand. The Lesser Adjutant is a species of the stork family found mostly in the regions of Southeast Asia, and Malaysian builder Marco Gan captures the likeness of these birds eloquently, with each made up of just ten LEGO elements.
Need a pet? Build one out of LEGO. That’s what Oliver Becker did. Meet Fluffy. He’s Oliver’s new home companion. I imagine adoption fees and vet bills would be quite minimal and cleanup is as easy as tossing a few extra pieces into the unsorted bin. His expression is quite endearing and the grass blade plume on his head is some good parts use right there. I’m loving the old elbow hinges as feet. And the best part is this bird won’t rat you out to the cops like other birds I’ve known. Allegedly. I’m speaking on behalf of a friend, that is. Nevermind that, just check out some of Oliver’s other builds that have tickled our funny bone.
Guys, have you ever seen a Eurasian Pygmy Owl? If you haven’t, you need to look it up because they are one of the most adorable animals on the planet. Between their tiny stature and sweet expressions, these little predators swoop in and snatch your heart. This LEGO version is built by none other than the incredible Eero Okkonen. It’s a slight departure from some of the characters he’s known for, but this bird is just as lovely. How can you resist that little face?
A LEGO builder who goes by the name Cezium has built something that gives new meaning to the term “angry birds”. He tells us the H-301 Autonomous Reconnaissance Units are designed for scouting missions and are often deployed on the battlefield acting as forward observers that relay information to units stationed at the rear. Thermal imaging and night vision also ensures consistent efficacy in locating enemy troops. While he makes no mention of it in his write-up, I’m going to go ahead and assume it has some bombing capabilities as well. Like when you wear a nice new shirt or when you have just washed the car. Consider your picnic ruined!
I love the sets in the Unikitty! LEGO theme, but I don’t know much of anything about the show. I do know there are some distinctive looking characters in there…and that lead to the existence of some “hard to find another use for” pieces. For example, there’s this piece from the Hawkodile figure. It’s often lumped in with other “modified plate”, but that doesn’t really do it justice. I guess you can’t expect a whole new classification for “beak and sunglasses combo plate.” What you can expect, thankfully, is that a builder like Koala Yummies will take that oddball part and make something new and fun with it.
I’m old, so this build reminds me a lot of Mr. Owl from the 1980’s Tootsie Pop commercials. But, clearly, this bird has no time for idle questions about the longevity of candy.
LEGO element 2417, the 6×5 plant leaf, is a part that lends itself well to multiple uses. Many go the traditional route and use it as part of a tree. Sometimes it winds up as part of an alien creature. My favorite uses, though, are when a builder takes a bunch of them and creates complex patterns. Azurekingfisher is a builder who has shown great skill in this area before. But today, they take that skill-set and apply it at an entirely new level. In White Bird the geometric shapes have been joined with sculptural elements to create a bird that is simply stunning.
The bird’s body has some nice part usage as well, bringing in textures from parts like open-stud 1×1 round plates for the eyes, and a turntable base on the chest. The touch of gold from the tooth plates as claws adds just a touch of opulence to the build. If this is just a step in Azurekingfisher’s building career, I can’t wait to see where they head next.
Are you here for massive castles, mechs and spaceships? Well hang on there, Sonny Jim, you’ll still get plenty of that. But sometimes you have to stop to appreciate the smaller things, like this iBird built by Dicky Laban. This tiny fellow is comprised of under 30 pieces and is a robotic bird inspired by the cassowary, which is a dinosaur-like bird that lives in the tropical forests of New Guinea, East Nusa Tenggara, the Maluku Islands, and Northeastern Australia. See, we have robots, dinosaurs and birds in one post; all three can be just as cool as castles, mechs, and spaceships any day. Aren’t you glad you stopped in? We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.
There is an ancient manner of hunting that involves the use of a trained hawk to catch the prey. Few now practice such an art, but LEGO builder Hongjun Youn has created one such hunter, who is perhaps one of the two left in Korea, the builder’s home country. Shown with his hawk perched on his shoulder, the pose is regal, the sort of thing you might see in an old National Geographic magazine. What sets this build apart from the crowd is the level of texture, something difficult to do with hard plastic bricks. While the hawk is one of the better ones I have seen at this scale, the best feature is the deeply lined and weathered face of the hawker, implying that he has spent most of his time outside exposed to the elements.
Speaking of the face and the elements, it took me a while to figure out what pieces the builder used. A deep dive into Bricklink revealed them to be a hockey mask from the 2003 Sports theme and another hockey mask flipped upside down; together they make for an impressive and expressive visage. The glorious fur texture around the neck and boot cuffs, as well as the neck feathers of the bird, is accomplished by the use of this armor piece, and the layering of various tattered cloth elements completes the look. All in all, this pair of hunters looks ready to set out into the wilderness and bring back some game.
It never fails, someone builds an animal or another and it always makes me smile. What I like is beginning to become predictable. I hope you can be as enthralled by Marco Gan’s rhinoceros hornbill as I am. The rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) is the state bird of the Malaysia state of Sarawak as well as the country’s National Bird. This particular cutey is a charming female as her eye is white with red rims made from a small wheel and tire assembly and a radar dish (males would have red with black rims). My favorite part is the tongue made from a snowboard. The hanging spider acts as a reminder that in the jungle, there is always something alive needing to eat. It is clear that Marco cares deeply about the animals of Southeast Asia, as this isn’t the first time he’s delighted us with jungle creatures. Check out these tapirs of his we featured previously.
Here’s a little something different courtesy of aukbricks. This piece of art was created using just twenty elements, ten each in yellow and black. Compared to most LEGO models, there’s not much physical cohesion to this build. In fact, it looks like there are only two pieces actually connected to each other. The image of the bird comes from careful part placement and alignment.
This is a digital render, but it could be replicated in the real world as it uses only existing part/color combinations. I particularly like the use of tentacles for the tail feathers. The bananas that do double duty as claws and as detail in the head are a close second.
There are no limits when it comes to the fantastical creations that can be created from the wide range of LEGO elements. A recent favourite of mine is Jayfa’s model of Rygas the Basilisk. The colour palette is visually striking, and the part selection is outstanding. While it might seem obvious to use a 4×7 wing piece on a bird, it’s rather ingenious to use it as the side of the belly rather that actually on the wing! When it comes to plumage being recreated, other techniques include the connection of a dinosaur tail piece to a small horn and the cacophonic positioning of Hero Factory flame elements.
However, my absolute favourite aspect of this creation is its posture, especially the feet. Not satisfied to duplicate a single design of a foot, Jayfa has designed two separate positions for the feet in a way that really brings the beast to life. It’s not just standing there, but what is it doing? Is it dancing or ready to pounce? Couple that with the look on its face, and I think anyone challenging this monster is in for a bad time.