Our friends at LEGO HQ are kind enough to send us each month’s freebies, but it’s not every month that we’re impressed enough with the giveaway set that we review it. This month’s giveaway is 40254 Nutcracker, which you can get for free with orders over $99. It’s available early to LEGO VIP Program members through today, and available more widely with purchases on Black Friday. We think it’s cool enough to take a closer look.
The set includes 230 pieces and LEGO says it has a $20 value, but again it’s free with a purchase over $99.
See more of this rather interesting freebie after the jump
This digital build by Bert Van Raemdonck uses many pieces in colors that LEGO doesn’t actually produce, but does anyone even care? This recreation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl captures all the emotions of the fairytale, as deep as they are. It reminds us not to take the good in our lives for granted, and also gives us hope even in the most hopeless times.
The build focuses on presentation and composition to carry its message, rather than complicated techniques. The combination of light and shadows in a snowy setting work in harmony with the emotions of the original story.
With global population growth is seems obvious that Santa Claus has had to introduce automated processes to the North Pole workshops. How else could he and his team cope with the sheer volume of gifts needing wrapped? However, at some point the Elves will surely begin to question the introduction of new machinery — it’s putting Elvish jobs at risk. What’s next in Santa’s never-ending quest for efficiency and cost-reduction? Outsourcing to cheap Penguin labour at the South Pole?
Every year I build a small LEGO display model as part of our decorations. This is 2016’s effort. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you have a very happy Christmas.
Merry Christmas, dear readers! Here at the Brothers Brick compound, all the little doors on our three LEGO Advent calendars have now been opened, their bricky contents sit resplendent upon the mantelpiece, while the empty boxes burn in the fireplace, creating a warm glow upon our faces …or maybe that’s just the eggnog.
Before the Lemur began distributing our Secret Santa gifts (they’re all socks, they’re always socks) he reminded us to vote on the 46 entries in our Create-a-calendar building contest. As always, we were blown away by your ingenuity and skill. But there can only be three winners, and here they are…
Indiana Jones by Charis Stella
Futurama by Sam Beattie
Classic Space by Andreas Lenander
Thank you again to everyone who took part. And to the winners, congratulations! We’ll be sending you your holiday-themed prize sets soon. We’re just sorry they can’t be sitting there under your tree already. And happy holidays to you all. (…bah, humbug!)
This festive microscale build all came from finding a white LEGO lever loose in a drawer and thinking the round end would make a nice bobble on a Santa hat. It snowballed from there, so to speak — once I got Mr Claus built he really needed some Elves. And then they needed some surrounding scenery. Next year, I think there might be a whole North Pole village at this scale…
This is obviously a stripped-back, simple build, but I think it’s interesting that it would have been impossible to do until relatively recently without cutting bricks. The white lever sits inside Santa’s hat, but it would be too long to dangle fully in there if it weren’t for the availability of the “Apollo stud” (1×1 round plates with holes) in yellow and white which make up Santa’s head.
I have no idea if Mitsuru Nikaido‘s mechanoid LEGO reindeer is really atomic-powered, but it would seem appropriate. How else would a robotic ungulate have the sort of power and endurance to traverse the world with heavy sacks of gifts in tow?
The posing of the reindeer robot (reinbot?) is excellent, as is the level of greebly detail suggesting working gubbins and machinery. Don’t miss the use of minifig gun parts to create the antlers. It’s easy to overlook the sleigh alongside the mechanical beast — but that would be a shame, as it’s a great little build, managing to look futuristic, functional, and festive all at the same time.
“What is this? There’s children throwing snowballs, instead of throwing heads, they’re busy building toys and absolutely no one’s dead.” Now that you’ve got one of the catchiest Christmas songs ever stuck in your head, take a look at Cesar Soares‘s amazing Nightmare Before Christmas LEGO sled, helmed by none other than Jack Skellington and his faithful ghost-dog, Zero.
This Halloween, we featured Cesar’s incredible Nightmare Mayor-mobile and now that it’s nearly Christmas there’s no better way to celebrate than by kidnapping the Sandy Claws, taking over his job, and delivering gruesome toys to all the children of the world. Like Cesar’s prior Nightmare build, this one is incredibly accurate to the movie. In addition to Cesar’s great characters, I love the rickety-ness of the launch ramp and that each skelly-reindeer is unique.
When the Christmas presents absolutely positively definitely need to get there on time, you need Chak hei Mok‘s Festive LEGO Tumbler. No blizzard or broken bridge, or Joker ambush or GCPD roadblock is going to stop Batman delivering the Yuletide cheer. However, I doubt DC’s greatest hero is going to be hugely impressed with whichever kid asked for a Captain America shield…
Famous a capella group Pentatonix gets LEGO-ified in their new music video for the Christmas classic “Up on the Housetop.” The video uses YouTube’s new 360° functionality, meaning you can pan around in the video to see in every direction. While the graphic fidelity won’t be winning any awards, being able to see what’s “behind” the camera is pretty cool even without VR, and will look even better if you have Google Cardboard or another VR device.
German builder Robert Heim has recreated the classic king nutcracker in LEGO, complete with gold crown, upturned mustache, and a mouth that opens with a lever on his back. But my favorite detail in Robert’s creation is the trio of pieces lying next to the tall nutcracker — perfect use of a LEGO globe and brown minifig head.
UK retailer John Lewis have teamed up with the UK’s only LEGO Certified Professional Bright Bricks to recreate 5 years of classic John Lewis Christmas adverts. Something of a UK Christmas tradition for the past 10 years, the John Lewis’ adverts are eagerly awaited at the beginning of each festive season, ready to tug on heart-strings, bring a smile, and generally start the festive snowball rolling. The brick-built creations took a team of seven expert LEGO builders 116 hours to construct and comprise a staggering 9,400 bricks in total.
The 5 John Lewis adverts were shown between 2012 – 2016 and Bright Bricks captures the iconic moment from each advert. In 2012, the advert depicted a snowman’s epic journey across mountain, highway and manic shoppers to return to his waiting ‘snow-woman’ on Christmas morning. The Journey has 1,800 bricks and took 18 hours to build.
Canadian brick artist Chris McVeigh is one of our favorite builders, and No Starch Press is one of our favorite LEGO-friendly book publishers, so their new book The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book: 15 Designs to Spread Holiday Cheer is a match made in holiday heaven.
No Starch released the book back in September, but between a lengthy overseas trip for work followed by BrickCon, I simply dropped the ball — my sincerest apologies to Chris and our friends at No Starch for the delay. But the good news is that it’s now officially the Christmas season, so I guess this is even more timely? Enough excuses. On to the interview!
The Brothers Brick: We first featured you here on The Brothers Brick way back in 2008, when you were taking pictures of chipmunks with action figures. When did you start focusing more exclusively on LEGO?
Chris McVeigh: It happened rather quickly! Pairing Star Wars action figures and chipmunks was a fun challenge, and it motivated me to do more photography of action figures and other toys. Unfortunately, Hasbro wasn’t producing any play sets (aside from large ships), so it fell to me to create my own sets and backdrops for action figure photos. This was a rather time-consuming task that ultimately prevented me from getting on with toy photography.
Click through for our full interview with Chris McVeigh