Tag Archives: captainsmog

The art and science of LEGO tensegrity builds

The recent trend in the LEGO-sphere community has all been about magical floating compression structures, better known as a tensegrity – a portmanteau of “tensional integrity”. The fad started with a very rudimentary build on a Reddit and soon spawned many more creative iterations. We pick a few of the more outstanding ones that we’ve seen that has impressed us. A couple of them come with build videos and instruction guides for you to build your very own.

Click to see some of the best we’ve spotted around

Don’t leave me hanging

One of the hottest LEGO fads right now is tensegrity sculptures. These builds use tricky physics to create models with sections suspended in mid-air with no obvious means of support. I’ve seen a lot of different approaches, but captainsmog has come up with one of the best. Invocation features a giant flying dragon, suspended in the air by taut lengths of LEGO chain. There’s no Photoshop trickery here. It’s just science. But I’m willing to admit there’s just a bit of magic, too.

Invocation

Even if there wasn’t mind-bending suspension going on, this would be a great build to look at. The dragon’s belly is constructed of minifigure arms, creating an eerie organic feel to that armor. And the invocation platform is pretty swanky, too. I like the use of minifigure beards to create different versions of drippy candle wax, and the use of glow-in-the-dark tile for lines of mystic power is inspired. There are even tiny little touches, like the candle flames all blowing outward from the downdraft from the dragon’s wings. I love that attention to detail.

Classic Space Pirates is a win/win

We love Classic Space. We also love Pirates. So captainsmog has pulled a brilliant maneuver by combining the two beloved LEGO genres and the end result is just as charming as you’d think. I like how it is shaped like a seagoing vessel but functions as a space rover. Those beefy tires can handle any terrain outer space may throw at it. And the skeleton/spaceman as a masthead figure; that’s just cool. It conjures childhood memories of exploring outer space with my Classic Space sets…and also pillaging seaport towns. Captainsmog just might be a builder to watch out for. It seems we were equally smitten by this.

Classic Space Pirates

For the next trick I need some bricks and tiles...Abracadabrick!

Building with LEGO is very much like performing a magic show; each time you need a particular slope or a suitable minifigure torso, they just disappear! Although, this beautiful vignette by captainsmog doesn’t include more sophisticated or rare LEGO pieces, it remains very eye-catching and funny. Thanks to captainsmog’s smart use of space, tall curtains help to significantly extend the scene’s vertical field of view. This in turn places the action in the center. We don’t know if the trick went well, but let’s hope there’s a spare pair of legs in the builder’s collection…

Abracadabra!