The Enchanted Diamond by Maxim Baybakov is a LEGO ode to “studs not on top” construction. The entire front façade is based on a very clever inversion of arch bricks with lovely insets of 2×2 turntable bases. I’m also fond of the column that flank the lower windows. The unusual texture there is thanks to Technic gearshift connectors. The roof has a great technique as well, with layers of dark blue 2×2 and diagonal tiles forming an intricate pattern. The end result is very upscale, as befits a high-end shop.
Maxim also creates a nice little story with the minifigures – it looks like someone is busy casing the joint. It might be easier to just follow along behind the other folks and pick up their costly litter…
Maxim is well on the way to building the perfect downtown district. The Enchanted Diamond would look great nestled between the barber shop and bookshop.
Take a drive through any East Coast city in America, small or large, and you’ll find brownstone townhouses, their facades almost like familiar faces. Eli Willsea incorporates this sense of familiarity into his intricate brick-built brownstone doorway.
The building façade’s construction is cleverly composed of grey 1×1 jumpers with dark orange 1×1 and 1×2 tiles – this construction approach achieves a brick and mortar aesthetic. The door itself is comprised of mostly yellow tiling with some silver matte pieces to render the doorknob, mail slot, and door knocker. Willsea uses various white elements, including hinge pieces, 1×1 scroll bricks, cylinders, 1×2 slopes, and claw pieces to render a moderately decorated trim. Perhaps the most ornate part of this build is the lunette – the half-moon shaped window above the door, which is mostly composed of yellow 9V track switches – a pretty unusual element, along with some yellow tiles of various shapes and a minifigure head. I appreciate Willsea throwing in some urban foliage, including some vines climbing up the façade along with a few other LEGO plant elements sparsely populating the ground. This build, although simple in the subject, certainly gets my mind out of the suburbs and back into the city.
The Unimog — the multi-purpose utility truck produced by Mercedes Benz — has always been a favourite of mine. Something about the shaping of the cab and the big tractor wheels still fascinates me to this day. Since it is big and aggressive with a high ground clearance, it is something you would see in off-road races, churning up mud and climbing rocks. Yet in most cases, they are roadside repair and agricultural vehicles, sporting orange and green. Vehicle builder Jonathan Elliott reconfigured the Unimog into a logging truck — which is not so uncommon. Sporting a realistic yet simple crane hoisting some nice textured logs built up of column bricks and printed log tiles. The best part is — it’s teal!
September is here and LEGO has released a number of sets that you may have been eyeing. The Harry Potter 75978 Diagon Alley is one that we predict will be a favourite for the month and also includes the highly anticipated 75292 The Razor Crest that was first revealed back in February. The Advent Calendar sets for Star Wars, City and Friends are available. This is a good time to grab them, if you want to prepare early for Christmas, especially since the Advent Calendars tend to sell out early.
Do you watch LEGO City Adventures? Apparently it’s quite popular. And LEGO announced recently that they’re celebrating that success with an exclusive set: 60271 Main Square. This 1518 piece offering is based on the locations and characters from the show, and will be available September 1st. Featuring over a dozen minifigures, there are also builds ranging from limousines to tram cars to City Hall itself. That’s a whole lot of stuff packed into a US $199.99 | CAN $229.99 | UK £169.99 package. But is this City adventure worth the price of admission? Read on and judge for yourself!
The historical capital of Bohemia is scaled down in Jet Kwan’s LEGO micro-build of the Prague skyline. Composed of a total of six individual buildings, this brick-built skyline gives us a little taste of one of the largest cities in Europe. Accurate to its real-life counterpart, Kwan’s choice in buildings showcases Prague as the cultural center that it truly is and we will take a closer look at a couple of these structures.
A dominant feature of the old town of Prague is the Church of Our Lady Before Týn, whose spires are elegantly rendered here using black telescope elements in combination with palm tree tops and 1 x 1 cones to achieve the multi-point effect. The structures neighboring the church are minimally depicted by orange 1 x 1 slopes.
Kwan expertly reproduces Frank Gehry’s post-modern Dancing House using very small elements, mostly 1 x 1 slopes, tiles, and bricks.
The historic Charles Bridge which established Prague as an important trade route between Eastern and Western Europe is comprised of mostly 1 x 4 arches with various 1 x 1 decorative elements such as the grey minifigure statuettes.
Overall, these micro-models serve as a testament to LEGO’s creative potential even in its smallest pieces. For more close-up views of individual buildings please check out Jet Kwan’s Instagram page.
Come see the latest Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) additions on the New Century City Block III. Each unique in its color, flair, and technique, Eero Okkonen has spent two years working on the buildings, drawing inspiration from real-life buildings and researching how the Art Nouveau movement has found its way into Finnish architecture. I’d say it was two years well-spent!
August has arrived and that means new LEGO sets! LEGO has launched 108 new sets and items available today. In addition to new sets like the Nintendo NES and Super Mario lineup, Ideas Grand Piano, Star Wars 501st Battle Pack and LEGO Art, fans in the US and Canada can finally celebrate the summer arrival of Harry Potter, Creator 3-in-1, City, and Ninjago waves that you’ve waited so patiently for. Nearly every LEGO theme has some new sets–it can be a lot to process!– so we have your complete guide right here detailing each and every new set and item. [EDIT: It appears that LEGO may have delayed the US & Canada release of some of these sets until September. We’ve asked for clarification.]
LEGO is also offering two free gifts-with-purchases at the start of August. The first is 30385 Super Mushroom Surprise, free with purchases of LEGO Super Mario sets more than US $40 through August 16th or while supplies last.
We get a look at 3 new City police sets that are slated to be available in August as revealed by retailer Brickshop.nl. All three sets have pieces that range from 160-189 pieces. All three sets feature chase scenes, including a helicopter, a police car, and a boat. Each set comes with two minifigures, each featuring a single police officer and three cleverly named criminals. The prices are only listed in Eurodollars at the moment, and we’ll update them as soon as we get more information.
It seems like the old ways aren’t quite forgotten yet, and they’re not about to go quietly, either. In this diorama by Carter Witz, an alliance of Lion Knights, Royal Knights, and Forestmen are invading a modern City hamlet. It looks like the classic army has embraced some new tech, though, as one of the Forestmen rides a new-style horse, and both sides of the clash are built with excellent modern techniques.
In fact, don’t let the amusing storyline cause you to overlook the details in this build, which is rife with complex approaches to achieve its polished look. From the carrot tops embedded in the building’s wall to the upside-down teeth above the windows, Carter spared no expense to make the scene come to life.
I was really iffy on the whole LEGO Masters thing at first. Mostly this was fueled by a stubborn reaction to every single one of my friends and coworkers asking if I had heard about “that new LEGO show,” mixed with a just a touch of envy at not being on the show myself. After getting caught up on the episodes, though, I have different opinions. First, I now think it’s a really entertaining bit of fun. Second, I thank my lucky stars that I wasn’t a contestant. I would have washed out in the first fifteen minutes in weepy humiliation. Instead, I get to enjoy some amazing builds by actual masters of the craft like Amy and Tyler Clites. Last week, the challenge was mega city builds, and Amy and Tyler were up for it. Their building featured an interesting spiral of triangular levels, each housing a different City sub-theme.
After each episode airs, Tyler shares a cool micro-scale version of their larger creation. This week’s scaled-down build has the same twists as the original, including the “twist” of an attack by a fire-breathing monster.