When LEGO released the 43181 Raya and the Heart Palace I knew it was only a matter of time until someone used the dome panel for a hot air balloon, mainly because the part had been released a year sooner in 41252 Poppy’s Hot Air Balloon Adventure as part of the balloon. Thanks to Ilya Zubashev the wait is over. The presentation of this creation is just sublime! The background matches with the colours of the base of the build and contrasts with the main focus of the creation. It makes me want to get over my fear of heights and hop into an air balloon to discover some undiscovered part of this big planet while watching the sunset from your own little basket.
The latest LEGO build by Ilya Zubashev appears to be a theme of its own. We get a train station which would qualify this build as a train-themed build. But then again there is a model of the moon on top of the train station. The ground is rocky, grey, and filled with craters, just like the moon. So this is either a train station to the moon or a train station on the moon. Which would qualify this as a space build. When we take a closer look at one of the figures, we find a dwarf. The architecture of the station looks Victorian or older and quite castle-like, which would make this a castle-themed build. Could it be steampunk?
I don’t know, but I do know that I really like it. One of the things that stand out the most to me is the use of the raised snake as an architectural detail near the door. The combination of the viking wheel and the Big Ben clock dish. And last but not least, the design of the lamp posts using the fishbowl helmet.
LEGO wearables are always an interesting challenge to create. But this set of Steampunk goggles by Dwalin Forkbeard would feel right at home on a full cosplay outfit, even if the rest weren’t made of bricks. This 1:1 scale creation is the perfect use for those super cool trans blue and pearl gold Ninjago windscreens, and I can’t get over how awesome the two pearl gold animal tails look when combined to make the swooping frames. And of course, don’t miss the strap, which is made of brown chainlinks.
I tend to shy away from integrating DUPLO into my LEGO collection as I perceive it as being cute, clunky, usually covered in toddler puke, and just not for the likes of serious builders like me. But then again in the hands of a talented builder such as Dwalin Forkbeard he can turn something cute and clunky into a masterful work of art. Take this currier vehicle, for instance. It uses a couple of clunky DUPLO parts and mixes “regular Legos” into it for a cohesive feel. The end result is like something out of The Fifth Element or Blade Runner. Check out the other times we’ve been totally smitten by this builder’s work. And if you’re inclined to build with DUPLO yourselves, then you’re in good company.
Though I’ve never dabbled in the Warhammer universe, I’ve appreciated the art, figurines, and inspiration that it’s provided to its fanbase. This render of a Gyrobomber built by Dwalin Forkbeard was inspired by the Dwarven flying machines in Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Piloted by only one dwarf, the dual-rotor machine features plenty of artillery to lay waste to the battlefield. The curves of the cockpit are wonderfully modeled with brick-built sections and angled plates. Golden and brass details embellish the body and contrast the light and dark bluish-grey pieces of the mechanical sections. The different-sized doors used for rotor blades are an inventive element of the model, as well as the golden crown used as an exhaust port.
The view of the tail reveals the main engine behind the cockpit. I appreciate the variety of pieces that Dwalin used to model this steam-powered design. The attention to detail is fantastic and the form of the model is alluring. The information he provides really shows you how formidable this bomber could be with just one brave pilot.
I have never been enthralled with steampunk. Maybe it’s because I’m not the biggest fan of the Victorian Era in general, let alone a fantastic version of it filled with steam-driven automatons. Despite that, I can recognize a cool LEGO build when I see it, no matter what era it is from. And that is what this steam-church by Dwalin Forkbeard is. Inspired by a church in Ukraine, this particular one lacks a second tower (due to lack of parts) and the square in front (also due to a shortage of parts), but it looks great just as it is. I love how the smaller chunks of city life are connected to the central build by pipes, linking them together without needing to make a giant plaza. And I do like pipes. I also like seeing the planet half-spheres used for domes. Add in some handcuff ornaments and one amazing gas lamppost, and you have something special. Isn’t that right, old chap?
As contributors for TBB, we see a lot of very interesting LEGO creations, and their sources of inspiration are as diverse as the parts used to build them. If you were to ask what the most unusual source was, I would have to say that real-life viruses would be near the top of the list. Take this model by Dwalin Forkbeard which depicts the AP32 Phage, of the Tectiviridae family. You don’t have to know what this means to appreciate Dwalin’s masterful construction using a bunch of the Nexo Knights hexagonal panels to craft a near-perfect sphere. But if you are curious, a phage is a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria. Sounds like the stuff of nightmares.
The pod also features several manipulators in three different designs to help the pilot complete its assigned tasks. The interior is surprisingly roomy, despite the use of more panels loaded with instruments.
If you like Dwalin’s Phage model, check out another virus-inspired creation we featured previously on TBB.
Merging naval and space ship aesthetics has always been my soft spot, and Dwalin Forkbeard hit the nail on the head. I would make a point how a nickname taken from The Hobbit does not suit a space builder, but the ship is actually run by dwarves!
The ship has a wonderfully Brutalist aesthetic, with smoke stacks, tubes, grills and a large gray hull broken up by round windows and gunports. I particularly like the “colour” blocking on the middle bottom section, where a light gray and more textured section is exposed from underneath the armour. The builder also provides a handy image of the spacecraft viewed from multiple angles.
I’m not quite sure how the mechanics of a steam-based industry work on the moon, or how exactly a lighter-than-air vehicle like a zeppelin would float above an airless surface, but Dwalin Forkbeard certainly makes such a fantastical idea believable with this steampunk city on the moon.