2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the LEGO minifigure, and its chunky proportions are beloved the world over. However, as excellent as the minifigure is, it remains stiff and able to strike only a handful of poses. Some builders like √erde’ have turned to sculpting their own characters out of small elements, employing minifigure headgear to give them a lifelike appearance. This pair of warriors, representing brute force on the left, and speed and agility on the right, are magnificent examples. Plus, the photography makes them really seem like they’re on a battlefield.
One of the defining subjects of the Maschinen Krieger sci-fi world is the hardsuit, an environmental suit that is meant to help the wearer survive in hostile environments like outer space or in radiation-heavy post-apocalyptic locations. While mini-fig scale LEGO hardsuits may be more common, this one by Marco Marozzi is built to a much larger scale, and as such, is packed with details. Like many of Marco’s mechs, this one has plenty of poseability. I especially like the ball-socket shoulder attached through a wheel rim.
The white engine cowl found on many space shuttle sets provides the hardsuit with the pod-like look that seems to take some inspiration from early deep-sea diving suits, and an abundance of tubes and canisters come together to lend an industrial feel to the model.
In the year 2018, Aquasharks is not a word that would turn many heads apart from the occasional hardcore adult LEGO fan. For the younger crowd, Aquasharks is an underwater LEGO theme from the 90’s that had some imaginative set designs and play features like magnets (which, admittedly, were everywhere back then). As opposed to some other themes from the same years, this particular one doesn’t seem to get much love from the online LEGO community, but luckily Jonas Obermaier is here to give it five minutes of glory… perhaps this time we won’t forget about it again?
The build is technically a hardsuit, but the heavy use of minifig parts (the core of the top half is based on the Aquasharks SCUBA gear) blurs the line between a heavily modified minifig and a compact mecha. With the builder’s skills in minifig design, this is hardly surprising. All sorts of small colourful parts capture the motif of the Aquasharks prints, and with enough imagination, the dark blue minifig hand in the center of the torso could look like a shark symbol!
There’s a lot to love about this hardsuit by Christopher Hoffmann, from the spot of yellow on the long arm (a camera?) to the random “50” road sign and excellent color blocking between the white torso and dark gray arms and legs. Christopher says that the AC Research, Inc. suit is “For all of your topographical and biological surveillance needs, from Titan to Ganymede.” Sounds about right.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the models I built for Ma.Ktober a couple years ago was building the discrete bases to showcase each model. Christopher gives the base itself substantial attention and detail, with organic landscaping to contrast with the hard mechanical detail of the suit.
This pair of hard-bitten space warriors are sporting hard-suits common to their species. √erde’ has this long backstory about how the wolves are all mean and everything. Don’t you believe it. That bird looks like it deserves everything it gets.
Surprisingly, many LEGO fans have never heard of the Ooni or of Galidor, LEGO’s failed action figure line and TV series from 2002. In my ongoing attempt to make Galidor cool, I give you the Ooni Brute. I envision him as a foot soldier of an invading alien army. His helmet assembly isn’t for breathing air, but for regulating internal body temperature because the Ooni are cold blooded.
Last time we highlighted the awesome hardsuit designed by Peter Reid, his LEGO CUUSOO project had just over 6,500 supporters and we were rooting for it to hit 10,000 for the Fall Review Cycle starting last September 3rd. It’s taken a little while longer, but I’m overjoyed to see this highly original, truly creative project hit 10K!
This just happened today, so no official comment from LEGO yet, and based on what we’ve seen over the last several months, it’ll probably be quite a while before we learn whether we’ll all be able to buy a copy of Pete’s suit (well into the next review cycle), but congratulations to Pete for this important first step!
A new super-ship by Pierre is a tough act to follow, but here goes anyway!
I find it incredibly challenging both to build on a deadline and to build within someone else’s aesthetic — I’ve managed to avoid both over the years. I’d admired LEGO creations inspired by Maschinen Krieger for a long time, and I’m reasonably sure I ran across the original Kow Yokoyama kits in hobby shops back in Japan in the 80’s, but I’d never tried my hand at the theme.
At the end of September, I decided it was time to seek my fortune in greener pastures (yup, I’m available!), taking a few weeks off to look for a new gig. Thus, with more “LEGO time” than I normally have, the Ma.Ktoberfest build challenge organized by TR and Pascal seemed like the perfect opportunity to participate.
Faced with a big pile of curvy bricks, I got into the Ma.K spirit by pumping out a few variations on TR’s wonderful SAFS (Super Armored Fighting Suit) design. As much as I love all the hyper-detailed suits at larger scales, I think TR’s design is absolutely perfect for minifig-scale.
But building a few small hardsuits wasn’t what I set out to do; reproducing one of Maschinen Krieger originator Kow Yokoyama’s designs was high on my list of Ma.Ktoberfest priorities. Perhaps a big curvy hovertank might’ve been simpler than the fiddly bits in this automated reconnaissance robot, but I’m fairly pleased with my “Neuspotter”.
Ultimately though, I wanted to create an original design of my own that still felt like it could be from the Maschinen Krieger universe. My “Kookaburra” incorporates pneumatic tanks underneath a sand-green cowling. Oddly, I’m proudest of the detailed base and crew…
Here’s the Kookaburra on patrol with another variation on TR’s SAFS design, a space-based electronic warfare version I’m calling the Growler.
You can see all of my Ma.Ktoberfest contributions in my photoset on Flickr.
So, having overcome two of my building blocks — deadlines & others’ aesthetics — I think it’s time to treat myself to that Ma.Ktoberfest T-shirt that TR designed!
As Ma.Ktober has progressed, the most wonderous thing has happened…builders from all over have been creating Maschinen Krieger hardsuits of all shapes, sizes and colours. Considering that the hardsuits are the most prominent piece of hardware within the universe, it really isn’t surprising that there have been so many this month. But the quality and creative twists taken is certainly a nice surprise. Here are some of my favourites.
Will Page uses the Rebel Vanguard helmets to brilliant effect on his space-based suit.
_Tiler’s Fatboy is wonderfully adorable, I just want to rub it’s little belly. The fact that it is so shiny helps too :)
Tim Zarki goes to a larger scale to achieve a fantastically accurate representation of the bad to the bone SAFS Snake Eye.
D-Town Cracka also utilizes the Vanguard helmets, as well as, one of my favourite elements (the Bionicle mask/visor thingamajig) to create this AFS Skinhead…wouldn’t want to face this guy in a snowball fight!
Vincent also goes to a larger scale to build one of my favourite Ma.K suits, the Kauz. The slightly odd colourscheme looks fantastic…and I can’t get enough of hearts!!
And last but not least, Nate Decastro produced an awesomely creative design in his SAFS Shogun…and presented it in a very Maschinen Kriegery way…
I really wish I could feature all the fantastic creations being submitted, but that would possibly be the longest blog post ever. So I will instead urge you all to peruse the brilliance in the Ma.K Bricks pool
I am very happy to announce that the month of Ma.Ktober is upon us, and as a result Ma.Ktoberfest has begun! I would like to invite all LEGO maniacs out there to partake in what I like to call, the Ma.Ktoberfestivities. Come on over to the Ma.K Bricks group to peruse the goings on. This year we are hoping to get a bunch of participation of all sorts. There are no requirements or rules, except to have fun and build something based on, or inspired by, the Maschinen Krieger Universe. For those that aren’t 100% sure what exactly that is, there is some good links and background info in the group. So whether you feel like building a small vehicle, hardsuit, or even a large diorama…we would absolutely love to see what you come up with. This isn’t a contest, but a month long build challenge with the hope of inspiring a tonne of fantastic builds!
Anyone that would like to see their creation on the month-end poster, please submit a single clear photo to the entry thread. (You must join the group to do so). Once again, Official AFOL Poster creator, Pascal has offered to do the poster…so please go easy on the poor guy and don’t put too many antennas and dangly bits on your models ;)
Huge thanks, high fives, and hugs to my other buddy Stijn for designing the rockin’ announcement poster…I highly suggest that everyone surround themselves with awesome graphic designers like I have done :D
I love mechas and hardsuits. Gregory St’s Ride Armor X4 is a real standout hardsuit. Evolved from his previous version “Fatboy,” the current version has wonderful proportions. Gregory St packs in a lot of great design into a small creation, which, trust me, isn’t easy to do. Maybe it’s just me but this creations screams “Buzz Lightyear Mech” to me. To infinity and beyond.
We’re just a few days away from September 3rd, the date that kicks off the autumn review period on LEGO CUUSOO. It’s not really a deadline, as such — projects that don’t hit 10,000 supporters can continue earning supporters and get into a future review cycle — but there are a handful of projects that have enough supporters that we want to give them an extra nudge to see if they can hit 10K within the next week.
At the top of my personal list (and currently the most supported project in this post at 6,552 supporters) stands Peter Reid‘s hardsuit. It’s every kind of awesome, and deserves a chance to be made into an awesome LEGO set.
Since we first posted about his British bird series back in May, DeTomaso Pantera has not only created a project for them on CUUSOO, earning 3,213 supporters as of today, but also delved into tropical birds. They’re lovely, and deserve even more love from each and every one of you.
Any list with gorgeous LEGO birds wouldn’t be complete without this adorable red squirrel by Arjen Vuurzoon. This excellent and naturalistic model deserves many more than the 1,226 supporters it has today.
Chris blogged Jason‘s customizable labyrinth maze game back in April, but like DeTomaso’s birds above, Jason created the LEGO CUUSOO project soon afterward, and he’s earned 2,205 supporters since then. This is an excellent, well-planned design with a lot of play possibilities, and deserves 7,795 more supporters.
My admiration of Masao Hidaka‘s pianos goes back to the very earliest days of this blog. Masao’s LEGO CUUSOO project, currently with 2,725 supporters, proposes famous composers with appropriate keyboard instruments — and that’s music to my ears!
If you’re still here and not off clicking the big green Support button over on CUUSOO, I may as well explain a bit more how I see The Brothers Brick supporting LEGO CUUSOO projects in the future.
As I explained in our anniversary post last month, I’m really only interested in seeing The Brothers Brick support CUUSOO projects that have a realistic likelihood that LEGO will approve. Everything else is a waste of energy.
Just for a bit of additional clarity, here are the kinds of projects that we won’t be supporting here on the blog (so, seriously, please don’t ask):
- Sets that LEGO already has a license for, like Star Wars and Batman
- Ideas based on M-rated video games, R-rated movies, or “TV-MA” shows
- Pointlessly obscure pop culture references
- Set and theme ideas for which one of LEGO’s competitors already has the building toy license (K’Nex has Nintendo, Mega Bloks has Halo & World of WarCraft, and so on)
- For that matter, pretty much any set or theme that would require a new license, whether it’s a specific make of car, the mascot of a mobile phone operating system, or a fruit-themed computer company…
- Projects without global appeal (pretty much everything in the bullets above)
- Gargantuan ideas — sorry, Nannan! :-P
Even though we’re going to be a bit less stringent about this next guideline here at TBB, LEGO has said that CUUSOO is about proposing specific sets, not broad themes. Proposed themes with great primary models (or many to choose from, like the birds) may indeed have something from among the project’s models made into a set, and we’re happy to highlight the idea, but we’ll be doing so with the clear understanding that we’re supporting (and asking our readers to support) a model/set, not a theme idea.
Again, what are you still doing here?! Head on over to LEGO CUUSOO to support these — and many other — deserving projects.