I’ve been fascinated by the shoebill lately. I mean, that’s not unusual, I’ve always had a love for animals both odd and familiar but there has been an uptick in my shoebill YouTube searches lately. They’re such weird and majestic creatures who seem to know things beyond our understanding. Do you agree? I guess you just need to see the same YouTube videos I’ve been watching to know what I mean. So with that said, you can imagine my delight to see that Mitsuru Nikaido has built a lovely LEGO shoebill mech. Of course he has! With his distinct style and love for animals, he has consistently been among my favorite builders. Here’s why.
Currently, our study of the nautilus suggests their shells are traditionally white and dark orange. But then again, we understand less about our ocean depths than we do about the moon’s surface. For all we know, there are beautiful black nautiluses residing in the murky depths beyond our reach. If there are, I hope they look like this one built in LEGO form by Moko. Sleek and mysterious. The unique curvature is made using the crane jaw element from recent space-themed sets. Not only does the swirl look cool, but the design made by the axles in the Technic brick holes does as well.
Curious where the baseplate came from? This particular base only came in the 2009 Pirates set, 6241 Loot Island. While you’re here, stick around for some more animal builds, as well as other creations made by Moko.
One of the most famous frogs in the world is the red-eyed tree frog. This gloriously rainbow-colored amphibian has graced many a poster. In fact, I had the one with them stacked on top of each other hanging on my own wall growing up. What I didn’t realize at the time was that those cute little ones definitely aren’t babies… Anyway, Joffre Zheng continues the admiration with this roughly-lifesize LEGO sculpture. Simple but adorable. Fun fact: their vibrant colors are mostly for attracting mates, but also safety. They try to keep the colorful parts of their body hidden while they rest on leaves. Then when a predator comes, they open their eyes and flash those legs to startle the would-be killer.
Another fun fact: the scientific name for this rainforest creature is Agalychnis callidryas, and the species part of that name derives from Greek words meaning “beautiful tree nymph”. Fitting, right?
If you’ve been reading the Brothers Bricks for a few years, no doubt you’ll recognize the distinct style of LEGO characters created by Patrick Biggs. I always tend to come across them online in the same way: I’m browsing some social media platform and this fantastic LEGO model scrolls onto my screen. I think to myself, “this is amazing, who built it?” And then I read the caption and realize “Of course, it’s Patrick!”
While I’m sure he agonizes over parts selection and placement, his models have an effortless look to them; the organic feel makes me believe they naturally grew, rather than being pieced together by an intelligent designer. With this Elk, there are so many things to love about how it’s sculpted, but my favourite is the legs. The 1×1 round plates stuck in the sides of the technic connectors – while not an uncommon technique – perfectly imitates how joints are thicker than other parts of the leg. And the armor plates on the front of the hooves so perfectly represents that layer of overhanging thick fur, really bringing this woodland creature to life. I’ve long been a fan of Patrick’s work as a LEGO artist and his ability to adeptly mix system and Bionicle elements, and this is one sculpture, in particular, I’d love to find a place for on my mantle.
Of course, an enchanted forest is filled with strange mushrooms of varying sorts, maybe even some mushrooms that get up and take a hike. Steven Erickson builds up a magical little LEGO mushroom guy he lovingly named “Shroomkin,” and he is as he should be, hanging out in a mystical little forest that is partially brick-built.
Shroomkin’s brilliant blue cap is composed of many 1×1 blue plates with some white 1×1 round tiles rendering spots. This fun guy’s stalk is a whole-body sporting a neat red and yellow brick-built tunic made up of tiles, bricks, and cheese slopes. One arm with a 1×1 tile with clip piece can hold a staff, while the other arm sports a 1×1 round tile printed as a compass – useful for excursions in the woods. Shroomkin stands tall and looks out at his station – a brick-built patch of greenery comprised of many small green elements along with some different flower pieces in popping colors. What a wonderful build for the spring season.
As a kid, I developed a mild obsession with prehistoric creatures, especially dinosaurs, and loved looking for fossils along limestone bluffs. I found a tiny trilobite or two, and a few segments of worms, but never anything cool like a chambered nautilus. That would have been awesome, since all the pictures of plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs had nautiloids, too. And then one day I discovered that animals of that sort still exist, and look almost the exact same as they did 200 million years ago. Mind blown! And then I see that Jonas Kramm built one out of LEGO bricks, and, as is usual for Jonas, the build is amazing. But he also did it with only 101 pieces. Mind blown again.
It’s a study in concise use of LEGO elements since there is no wiggle room to get complex and piece heavy; every element has to be carefully considered, like a DUPLO plant and a pearl of great price in the oyster. The colors are spot-on, and the cephalopod eye staring at me is perfect. My only complaint is that the shell of Jonas’ model does not exhibit a precise logarithmic growth spiral. Come on, Jonas! Why can’t you do the impossible with just 101 LEGO bricks?
Exceptional arthropod builder Takamichi Irie probably could’ve engineered a crab completely out of LEGO. He didn’t need to make a paper shell – but that wasn’t the point. Combining his love for LEGO creatures with his uncle’s passion for papercraft, he has formed an adorable crab.
Under that paper shell is the unique parts usage we’re used to. The hotdogs work well as legs, and the bulb elements (Bionicle eye) are perfect for the eyes. In addition and as usual, the arrangement of the pieces makes it look organic.
This artistry and attention to detail must run in the family because Takamichi has also gained inspiration from his late grandfather. The last time we featured one of his pieces, it was a mixed media bull also using papercraft. Check out it and his other work in our archives.
This little dragon designed by Marcel V looks like the kind of pet kids would beg and whine to get. The kind of pet who gets dropped of at the shelter after they are no longer cute and turn out to be not suitable as a pet. Nevertheless, it is cute as a button. The use of the ninja turtle shell as the mouth is very creative, and the eye tiles remind me of the wobbly eyes you would use as a kid in an arts and crafts creation. Somehow this entire creation reminds me of Calimero (must be the eggshell on the head). However, something tells me that this little Nepomuk transforms into something less cute after it hits puberty.
This group of life-sized koi fish by Ian Hou of DOGOD Brick Design has awed us before, but we had to return to it for this month’s cover photo. Not only is this model lifelike from looks alone, it also evokes a feeling of zen associated with koi ponds. Looking at Ian’s photography, these look so good on display, like true sculptures. I would love to have these adorn my home to put me at ease when I’m stressing about building. Hopefully, this cover photo will offer the same feeling of calm for our readers. Once you’ve taken in this work of art, check more of Ian’s creations here.
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LEGO has come up with a series of tenth anniversary Ninjago Legacy sets and we’re all pretty thrilled, by golly. Here at The Brothers Brick we’ve done extensive review after review for these sets and it would seem Ninjago fever isn’t going away anytime soon. A builder who goes by the name of Woomy World has done a neat thing, though. They managed to pay homage to the Ninjago Legacy without flooding the build with Minifigures or spinners. This is a reimagining of the Oni and the Dragon, creatures that inhabit the first realm and play a central role in the lineage of the Green Ninja.
Each is quite impressive on its own. Here is the ferocious dragon sculpture with its many golden blades used as wings.
Followed by the fearsome Oni sculpture in black and trans-purple.
While the identity of this builder is a mystery, they have been on our radar at least a couple of times now. With build techniques and parts usage this good, we’ll surely be on the lookout for whatever else they may do in the future.
Shingeki no Kyojin (or Attack on Titan) is regarded as one of the best and most popular manga and anime series. But for some reason, there seems to be a serious lack of LEGO builds of it. Luckily, Funnystuffs built the Attack Titan in great detail, accompanied by custom minifigures of some of the main characters. On the surface, Attack on Titan may appear to be just another kaiju series about cool kids fighting giant monsters, as the original premise has led us to believe. It gradually progressed into “the Game of Thrones of anime,” a dark and heartwrenching series about human nature, war, politics, and so much more. Now that its popularity is at its peak, there is hope for more Attack on Titan creations down the line.
Primarily a mech builder, Funnystuffs did a great job with the organic look of the Attack Titan. Covered with tan LEGO elements to represent its skin tone, it is completely accurate and to scale with the minifigures. The only gray bits peeking through are the necessary joints to give the titan full poseability. Funnystuffs gave special attention to the head – its iconic green eyes, grinning jaw, and long hair.
See more pictures of the Attack Titan in this gallery here. (Includes spoilers for those who may care.)
One of the main appeals of Star Wars is its homage to classic genres like serialised westerns, samurai movies, and Arthurian legends. The Mandalorian presents that very well, with the titular character being a rugged gunslinger with a heart of gold helping various people in each episode. Thomas Jenkins captures one instance during one of his visits to Tatooine where he helps defeat a massive Krayt Dragon. Presented in a simple way: the Dragon bursting out of the sand, and the Mandalorian escaping its jaws.
The Krayt Dragon is complex in its angles and techniques, but captures the organic shape of a reptilian head. The floating sand and rubble is a nice addition and conveys a sense of motion from the rising beast. But the way Thomas got the Mandalorian to float is just ingenious. Using skeleton and droid arms to create columns of smoke from the minifig that is firmly attached to the rest of the build. Just like that, these few elements capture a simple moment. In a way, it is quite minimalistic, with very little need for anything else.
See more amazing Star Wars themed builds by Thomas Jenkins here.