With the forthcoming LEGO Ninjago Movie and it’s accompanying sets, we’re fully expecting a wave of fabulous Eastern-themed creations. Ming Jin gets in on the action early with this lovely little fishing boat. The brick-built hull is well-shaped, and the black awning lends this an obvious Oriental flavour. But my favourite touches are hanging lantern and the trailing net — subtle additions which create a sense of a working boat.
Taiwanese builder LEGO 7 is at it again with another incredible dynamic build. This time, a White Dragon Mech is ripping off the starboard propeller of the Sky Pirates’ flying ship. Lightning ripples out from the dark thundery clouds as the pirates scramble on deck. I love the colors and design of the boat, and the gold railing trim looks great. Have you noticed Monkey Wrench throwing a spanner in the works from atop the crow’s nest? Will Lloyd continue to evade the dragon’s clutches and save the day? Or will the flying clipper plummet earthward and suffer the dreadful fate of rapid deceleration syndrome?
Master LEGO shipwright Arjan Oude Kotte continues to impress with his latest watercraft, a highly detailed American harbor tug that would look at home on Elliot Bay here in Seattle or on the Hudson River in New York. A sliding door opens into the detailed wheelhouse, with an engine under the stack.
Arjan’s tugboat looks beautiful as a model displayed on a stand, but the lower hull is removable for inclusion in a display like this lovely harbor scene full of maritime charm.
Check out Arjan’s photoset on Flickr for more interior and breakdown shots.
Not content with crafting beautifully curved brick-built hulls, Felipe Avalar has clearly spent ages getting the rigging and sails perfect on these two boats — the Amberle and the Eritria. Felipe says the below-decks areas on each vessel are stuffed full of Technic gears keeping all the lines at appropriate levels of tension. Such painstaking attention to detail is the hallmark of the best LEGO scale modelling — and these craft are great examples. I marvel at the skills of builders who create brick versions of real-world vehicles and buildings. Personally, I tend to build made-up fantastical things, because then nobody can tell me they’re not accurate!
This sexy sky-fi creation by perig perig, inspired by concept artist Ian McQue, is incredibly detailed, with beautiful vibrant colors and red striping that presumably serve to avoid mid-air collisions. This simple yet elegant beauty looks like it could be sailing between high rise buildings in the not too distant future.
It is very reminiscent of Mr. Kim’s flying food cart in the Fifth Element. The Chinese lanterns strung across the rigging and the tendrils hanging from the hull are quite ingenious. But my favorite detail is that quirky roof on the small aft cabin.
Built in transparent blue over white and grey, the sparkling azure water in this scene by Sergeant Chipmunk looks incredibly inviting. The three watchtowers use fantastic color schemes and a not quite “legal” technique to create wonderful shapes, standing on rocks with nary a stud to be seen and dabs of color that bring life to the vibrant scene. But the stand-out feature for me is the organically curved sail made out of leaves.
Being unfamiliar with LEGO Ninjago universe, I had no idea that besides some majestic dragons the main characters also use traditional sailboats to travel around. Teen builder Robert4168 decided to recreate one from the Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu television show, and in my opinion it looks even more impressive than the dragons featured in the official sets.
Unlike most of the builds by designers from Billund, this ship looks truly solid, huge enough to fit a whole squadron of ninjas, and features some cool authentic sails. But the best part is the perfect use of long golden blades along its boards marking off the blue and brown areas. Topped off with an excellent red dragon head, this boat fits in with both the modern Ninjago adventures and the good old Ninja sets of late 90’s.
I’ll admit it: despite all the sci-fi that I build, my secret loves are castle and historical builds. Today Gabriel Thompson takes us out of medieval Europe, and heads north to Scandinavia and the land of the Vikings. The snow and ice in this scene are excellent, with undisturbed curves on the rocks, and studs in front of the hut to make it look a little more slushy after being stepped on. I’m also a fan of the marshy path left by the boat as it cuts through the thin ice. The only thing I don’t envy in this build are the minifigures’ short sleeves in such cold conditions.
Daniel Church takes a slick approach to future sea travel with this cool little skiff. My favorite part is how the wedge plates angling with one another make a striking visual motif that really brings this model together. The addition of the dock and particularly the style of the lamppost lend a bit of context to the craft and the world it inhabits.
The Volvo Ocean Race is a yacht race around the entire world. It is held every three years and generally takes approximately 9 months to complete. Each boat has a crew of 9, who race 24 hours a day for up to 20 days at a time, living off of freeze-dried food and raw courage. It isn’t a race for the weak or faint of heart.
This incredible LEGO model was built by Johan Sahlstrom, who works for Volvo, and Anders Christensen, who works for LEGO. After deciding to build a model of the Volvo Ocean Race boats, they chose Team SCA, the first all-female crew in over 10 years, because “Team SCA is definitely the coolest looking”, according to Sahlstrom.
The SCA boat is 2 1/2 meters long and 3 1/2 meters tall, using over 100,000 pieces. It includes fully functional halyards, winches, grinding pedestals and a canting keel. It is completely to scale, took over 1200 man-hours to build and uses no glue. Creating it was a quite the feat in and of itself!
The unexpected star of the show is this twistedly twee whaling ship, chasing the last of the pygmy whales across the cold ocean.
On the other end of the grey spectrum is this sleek mech, a study in clean design and smooth lines, every inch exuding brutal intent.
It does seem like we’re obsessed with spacecraft today, so here’s a very different kind of vessel. Hoang Dang built this Vietnamese fishing boat to raise awareness of the complex political situation happening today in what westerners typically call the “East China Sea” (even the name of the geographic area is fraught with tension, thus my quotation marks). For a change, I’ll stay out of the politics, but Hoang’s LEGO model certainly deserves plenty of attention.
Hoang has built his model at the scale of the classic Technic figure, which gives him a bit more room to play with shapes and details than if he’d built it at the typical minifig scale. He captures the curves of the hull wonderfully, and details like the sea star on the Vietnamese flag, nets, fish in barrels, and lights all add realism. But my favorite aspect of this model is the color — it’s not often you see a bright blue boat built from LEGO!