This month’s and this year’s first cover photo comes from Faber Mandragore. “Joe’s Scrapyard” is a fun little diorama, and as a fan of all the different types of LEGO wheels and tires, I’m very excited to hunt through to examine all the different tires.
I’ve said this before, but my favorite builds for cover photos are those that tell a story and let you dig in, creating a scene that’s playing out. Here, I imagine Joe uses parts from these old busted cars (especially love the variety and variation of destruction to each vehicle) to upgrade his yellow hot rod. I imagine he’ll find enough new parts over time to build a new car. Thanks for taking care of the scrapyard Joe, someone’s gotta find use for all these old vehicles.
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When I think of a junkyard dog, I think of something big and terrifying, like a mastiff, Doberman, or pit bull, one of the dogs with big teeth and a nasty (if mostly undeserved) reputation. But Joe here keeps something even scarier on hand at his scrapyard: a Chihuahua. You might think I’m joking, but I’d rather face down a raging pit bull than a feisty bug-eyed ankle-biter. That’s why I’m quite content to view Faber Mandragore‘s latest LEGO creation from a safe distance, behind a screen with a keyboard in between. I love the depth of field created with the massive heap of tires and rusted junk behind the fence, with a blurry excavator ready to pick stuff up with its claw; it gives the picture a sense of realism, allowing it to fill the frame. Then, of course, there are the piles of rusted cars in the yard, perfectly aged in a difficult medium to show weathering. I just hope those workers have had their tetanus boosters!
This is not Faber’s first attempt at classic cars; check out our articles on others of Faber Mandragore’s LEGO builds.
Living near a school that hasn’t housed actual kids in several months, I am sometimes subject to seeing or hearing vehicles doing burnouts in the school parking lot. It’s a bummer because usually, the vehicle in question is a big honkin’ pickup truck with flags supporting a certain recently ousted public figure. I’d be slightly more thrilled if the neighborhood nuisance had a vehicle that looked a bit more like this LEGO chopped drag rod by Faber Mandragore. I love the use of Modulex bricks in the building in the background. The plate-built smoke plume is so convincing, I can just about hear the squeal of burning rubber on asphalt. No, wait, that’s actual burning rubber outside. It seems our neighborhood nuisance is back! While I deal with that, go ahead and take a gander at this builder’s archives.
Mobile hardsuits are very popular with LEGO builders, especially during the month of October, which for many fans around the world, means Ma.Ktober, the month-long building challenge inspired by the Maschinen Kreiger sub-cultural phenomenon. This mech-armored model by Faber Mandragore has plenty of charm; from a distinctly insect-like body, stompy feet, and a gun-hand connected to its back, this hardsuit looks ready to take on an entire squad of enemies. The new lantern part found in many Harry Potter sets gives the face an extra menacing look.
Like most hobbies, once you start to learn about LEGO you find that there can be a shocking amount of complexity behind just about every aspect. Sure, you can just sit back and enjoy the great photography and clever building that Faber Mandragore accomplished with Roadster Hot Rod. But let’s dig a little and peer into those murky depths. We can start out easy; the air filter in the car is a neck ruffle. An unusual choice, in that the element originated in the Collectible minifigure theme. Those sure look like steering wheels repurposed as the front wheel rims, inside tires introduced in 1959 and not produced since 1977. And is that a bucket handle forming the steering wheel? Each of these parts has a history in other sets and contexts that’s there if you want to go looking for it.
But the deepest cut of LEGO history? Those exposed orange-ish bricks in the background are Modulex. Those are tiny architectural planning bricks that LEGO spun off as a side line back in the 1960s. Incorporating them into a standard LEGO creation is never easy, but it’s done here in a seamless fashion. Well, neglecting that the seams between the bricks are what helps unify the whole wall, anyway. *sigh* You know what I mean.
What is the point in climbing into a cramped and odorous mech if you can’t swing a big spiked club like you were swatting flies? No point at all, according to Faber Mandragore. This mech suit for an Orc warboss packs a lot of punch in a compact frame. One of my favorite parts used in this stompy, spiky mech is the metal beard from, well, Metalbeard.