Tag Archives: Frank Herbert

This dimunitive Dune ‘thopter is thoroughly thrilling

With an impressive minifigure complement and plenty of wing-flapping, landing gear-extending action, this year’s 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter was an early contender for my favorite LEGO set of 2024. Still, for some, its higher-than-average price per element might be as hard to swallow as the Water of Life, so we’re fortunate we have GolPlaysWithLego to create this iconic aircraft at a smaller scale.

Dune Ornithopter LEGO MOC

One of the biggest challenges in rendering the ornithopter at any scale is making those long, spindly wings. Heck, the official set had to create a whole new piece to solve that problem. In this case (in an inspired choice worthy of the Kwisatz Haderach) the wings are ingeniously made from garage door panels. Here’s a rear view, where you can see the boarding ramp and landing gear recreated with beautiful fidelity. It just goes to show that when it comes to desert power, bigger isn’t always better.

Dune Ornithopter LEGO MOC

Shai-Hulud? More like Shai-hello there!

Few sci-fi creatures have presented a perennial challenge to LEGO builders like Dune‘s sandworm. We’ve already covered a few LEGO sandworms over the years, but given the number of techniques that can be used to represent these otherworldly lifeforms, we’ll probably be covering them well into the year 10,191. In hachiroku24‘s version, the worm’s body is mostly overlapping 1×2 rectangular and round tiles, a simple yet effective solution. It’s a scene that probably just got cut from the recent movie — lovers Paul Atreides and Chani enjoy the ultimate date night: Preparing to ride the mighty Shai-Hulud together. We’re sure nothing could ever drive them apart, right?

LEGO reveals LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter, available for preorder now [News]

LEGO today revealed a large-scale tie-in set for the upcoming Dune: Part Two directed by Denis Villeneuve, based on the classic sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert. The movie — starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and a cast of thousands — is currently scheduled for release in theaters on March 15, 2024, but LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter will launch on February 1st, 2024. The set includes 1,369 pieces with 8 minifigures, and is already available for preorder from the LEGO Shop online now at US $164.99 | CAN $214.99 | UK £149.99.

Read on for the full details, including play features and minifigure selection. Make sure to check out the full gallery at the end of the article.

Click through to see the full details about LEGO Icons 10327 Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter

The bricks must flow...

I first read Dune in the deserts of Egypt, on the night train from Cairo to Luxor, and since then I’ve loved every rendition of the Dune saga I’ve ever consumed, starting with the full book series by Frank Herbert, of course, but also every adaptation, from David Lynch’s weird 1984 film and the 2000s Syfy TV series to the recent Denis Villeneuve masterpiece, but even the concept designs by Chris Ross for the aborted Alejandro Jodorowsky version in the 1970s. It’s almost like there’s a Dune multiverse in which every incarnation is awesome. Angus MacLane seems to share my passion, with this Classic Space homage featuring a Spicing Guild navigator floating in his tank accompanied by his entourage.

Classic Space Guild Navigator

Using black Classic Space minifigures and a giant classic smiley head inside the tank is so freakin’ weird that it fits perfectly into that hypothetical Dune multiverse. Especially for minifigs wearing uniforms, many LEGO builders choose to vary their minifigs’ faces. But it’s the very uniformity of these minifigs that makes the whole scene weirder, magnified by the massive head in the tank.

Our road leads into the desert of Arrakis

From Arrakis comes spice and these LEGO vignettes by builder Bryan Firks, whom you may know from the second season of LEGO Masters. I had the good fortune to chat with Bryan about these scenes and the inspiration behind them. He became a fan of the “Duniverse” after watching the 2021 film Dune, sparking an interest in the original book and the richly detailed world. Soon, the idea to create a series of microscale scenes developed in his mind. He drew inspiration from 2021’s TBB creation of the year, Jan Woźnica’s Tales from the Space Age, for providing atmosphere and color. Equipped with new color palettes, he employs similar techniques with his vignettes. On the left, transparent neon orange antennae represent orbital strikes on the old city of Arrakeen. A spice refinery explodes in the foreground. In the center, we see an ornithopter hovers above a spice harvester with levers as its wings. On the right, there’s one of the legendary sandworms of Arrakis! The worm is captured brilliantly with round bricks interlinked by flex tubing for poseable segments. The sand dunes give a sense of scale to the worm, showing just how massive it really is!

Bryan faced a few challenges rendering these scenes on this scale. Being a Lord of the Rings fan, he wanted to use Uruk-hai swords for the ornithopter wings. Alas, they were too big for this size. The sandworm presented a fun challenge, and using an inverted 2×2 dome for the gaping maw is very cool! The flow of direction, from left to right following the lines of the orbital strike through to the worm’s mouth, is intentional to give the build a sense of motion. Another clever choice is the night-day-night pattern of the backgrounds, giving the vignettes a lovely balance. The mirroring of the dual moons in the night scenes helps to frame and hold the day scene in your attention as you take in the whole. My favorite part of the build, besides the sandworm? It demonstrates how inspiring the LEGO community can be. Anyone can become inspired by another builder’s creation, leading to more beautiful homages and builds!