Tag Archives: Henjin Quilones

Always remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle

As a LEGO fan, reusing seems like second nature, but reducing can be hard; instead, the desire is always for more, more, more, right? Recycling is something that LEGO fans do, too, taking the same ideas and making them again and again, in slightly different forms, or else taking parts from one build and using them in another. In my case, I took parts from a Star Wars Eta-2 Actis-class Jedi Interceptor and turned it into a Vic Viper-style racing ship. The central cockpit stays, the sloping side wings stay, but the engines get an upgrade (and it needed a hyperdrive, of course) and of course a giant fin gets put on the back. It looks faster than the basic Interceptor, ready for some serious space racing. I added a large space gate, too, so that it had something to fly through, marking the space race course.

Veena's Viper

This was built for the Space Jam racing team collaboration category, as well as for the Iron Forge. So many contests. But while you are here, you should check out our collection of LEGO spaceship builds and make Benny proud.

Cooking up something special with bananas

The LEGO banana element is not necessarily the most useful piece, right? It has only one connection point, at one end, and no matter what you do with it, it still looks like a banana. That has not stopped LEGO from using it all over the place, whether that be gold bananas in Ninjago sets, grey ones in Mixels, or white, teal, and dark blue from various Chinese festival sets; but it still looks like a banana. But when I was taking my almost-two-year-old to the bathroom the other day, I realized that the handles on the faucet looked remarkably banana-like, with the same curve and general shape. So that got me thinking: could I make a kitchen that used a banana sink? In my own collection, I have only yellow and gold bananas, so it had to be a gold sink, but brass is coming back in, right? Or was it in, and now it’s back out again?

The Nocturnal Kitchen

The rest of the kitchen came together around the sink, scaled to that. It’s loosely based off of the kitchens from my last two houses in layout, though the dishwasher should be to the right of the sink for better accuracy. It ended up using almost all my dark brown tiles and bricks and plates (as well as slopes!) for the cabinets, so I’m glad I did not go bigger, and if you look closely at the sand green walls, you’ll see that they are largely made of 1×2 plates. I am not looking forward to taking this one apart. The ceiling came last, but I knew I needed one, since I wanted an immersive shot, and those always look more convincing with the ceiling and a controlled light source. So I made it studded, to replicate the horrible textured ceilings that so many houses have (including my own), and made the light for the photograph come through the ceiling fixture, with a little reflecting in from the window and the banana moon (which would have been better in white, admittedly). I’m fairly pleased with the build, though I do think the floor is ugly, and so does my wife, but that’s the tiles I had in abundance, so that’s what I used. Maybe we’ll remodel it someday.

If you like this build, you’ll probably like this collection of LEGO kitchen builds. And don’t forget to tune in to the Iron Forge competition, where the banana is the seed part.

Not all bounty hunters are Mandalorians

I’m one of those annoying Star Wars fanboys who liked Boba Fett for no good reason. What did he do to deserve the adulation poured down upon him? Nothing. Ok, he had some menacing lines, and cool looking gear, and an awesome spaceship that flew the wrong way (or maybe landed the wrong way), but beyond that all he did was get embarrassingly knocked into a Sarlacc mouth by a blind guy with a spear. But as we all know by now, bounty hunting is a complicated profession, and the popular love for Mandalorians and their ilk has only grown, getting featured in The Attack of the Clones, The Clone Wars, Rebels, and even getting their own eponymous show. My love has grown correspondingly, too. So when one of the categories for this year’s Space Jam was to build a LEGO bounty hunting ship, I was all about that, and started making something inspired by the Razor Crest.

Harvester II

Click to read more about my design process

This cow doesn’t fear the reaper, nor do the wind, the sun, or the rain

It’s a tribute to the enduring power of certain images that I cannot hear the word “cowbell” without thinking of Blue Öyster Cult and fevers. And the LEGO minifgure torso looks remarkably like a cowbell, if one ignores the holes where the arms should go; so when I faced the challenge of coming up with creative uses for the part, I just had to build a cow with a cowbell around her neck. The whole time I was building it, I had to resist the idea of scrapping the build and trying to craft a hairy Will Ferrell holding the cowbell instead, and “The Reaper” was playing on repeat in my head. Ever try to build LEGO while dancing around playing air cowbell? It ain’t easy. I snuck in another torso in the barn, and added some of my dad’s old bushes and trees around it for some microscale detail in the background. LEGO is truly a multi-generational toy!

I've got a fever

While you’re feeling rustic, here are some more LEGO builds of barns and LEGO farms. And don’t forget to check out the Iron Forge, and even get a few entries in yourself!

I’d give my left arm for houses like these

Ordinarily at The Brothers Brick, we writers try not to re-use the title a builder gives to a build as the title for our article; however, sometimes it is just too perfect, and I cannot resist. Now, in this case, it is also true that I wrote the title for the build, since I built it. And when the centerpiece of the build is armless LEGO minifigure torsos, it is in fact true that three minifigures gave both their left and right arms for these houses. The build might be simple, with an uncomplicated fence and vegetation, but combined together it looks pleasant, a delightful little home for birds. And those books do an excellent job keeping out the rain.

I'd give my left arm for houses like these

I built this for the Iron Forge building competition, where anyone can compete to get a shot at dethroning one of the reigning Iron Builders. There’s still time to get some entries in if you fancy wearing an iron crown yourself!

Big machines for little critters

Did you ever feel bad for the cute baby dragons that kept being harassed by Ragana back in the LEGO Elves theme? I did. So I built some mechs to let them defend themselves, and then (since I only had three dragons) I built an evil cat mech in the same style (I know, I know, “evil cat” is redundant…). I’ve already written about one of these mechs, but I think they look even better all together. When I started building for the fan challenge Mechtober, I half-heartedly built the small black mech. But then, as usual for me, I got excited and invested and built a larger dark grey one, followed by an equally large light grey one, and finally a white one. I have a hard time going halfway on projects, it seems.

Dragonsuits: Group Shot

The minimalist style I started with, relying on lots of bar-and-clip connections, was carried throughout, but it was interesting to find what parts were color-limited for me. For example, I do not have any bars with clip in white, which was one of the key connection points on the black and grey mechs; that meant I needed to get creative, and ended up using most of my white skeleton arms to compensate. I was especially happy with the light grey one’s cockpit, since I have always wanted to use that canopy for something besides a Ninjago spinner. Will they keep the dragons safe? I don’t know, but they’ve at least got a fighting chance now.

Cute or terrifying? You decide.

Adult male fans of LEGO were probably not the target audience for the erstwhile Elves theme, but I loved it. A major part of that was the plethora of recolors of existing pieces, finally released in bright purples, pinks, and blues, as well as the hairpieces, which are great for fantasy-inspired builds. But often overlooked in my own collection are the cute little animals. Fortunately I have a three-year-old daughter, who does everything except overlook the cute little animals, so they are strewn about and squirreled away throughout my LEGO room. And when it came time to build a series of mechs for Mechtober (I know, eyeroll, another sci-fi-themed LEGO month), I could not help but be drawn to incorporating the little baby dragons in some heavy-duty mechanical suits.

Dragonsuits: The Heavy Lifter

I had a lot of fun building this “Heavy Lifter” suit, using as many greebles as possible while still maintaining a coherent look. I wanted thick arms and sturdy legs to convey the sense that this thing could so some serious lifting, like peak Arnold in the gym. I feel like I succeeded, and the whole thing is remarkably sturdy, especially for being largely bar-in-hole and clip-on-bar connections. It might not be the best mech out there, but it is the best mech I have ever made, and that cute, colorful little dragon juxtaposed with the drab grey industrial atmosphere is fun. But maybe you disagree, and think cute animals piloting heavy machinery is the scariest thing this side of stepping on LEGO bricks in the middle of the night…

Moves like Jaeger

One thing that always bothers me about movies about giant metal things, be they spaceships in Star Wars or Jaegers in Pacific Rim, is how they get all that material in one place and assembled. I mean, where did Palpatine get the materials to build that giant fleet? That’s some serious mining operations! Jaegers aren’t as large as Star Destroyers, but the question remains; what factories are churning out those parts? Are they all built in one place, or are different components assembled in different factories and then shipped across the country for full assembly? To answer the question, I built a LEGO scene depicting a giant arm on a giant trailer, ready to be shipped to a shatterdome to be joined with the rest of the Jaeger body.

Jaeger Arm Transport

It was my first foray into building this sort of thing, as I typically consider myself more of a castle builder, but I was reasonably pleased with the arm itself (other builders are designing the rest of the mech, and we’ll assemble the whole thing digitally once it’s finished). It looks the part of a large robot arm, at very least. Harder was making a scene to give it scale, especially since I wanted to include a flying helicopter (and my bricks don’t fly on their own, sadly). I added an arch from a previous build, made up the truck and trailer, and included a previously built helicopter, after making some modifications to it to improve the proportions. But how to get it all in one shot? Maybe other builders are better at photo editing than I am, but it takes a long time for me to splice different photographs into one coherent picture. Four different camera shots went into the final image, in fact, making it kind of like the Jaeger, comprised of many different parts assembled at the end.

Going, going, gondola!

I love immersive builds, where everywhere you look there is LEGO, except the sky (I don’t like brick-built skies, due to the brick pattern). It’s like I’m one of the minifigures, standing in the scene, seeing the sights. It is my preferred building style, at least when buildings and rooms are involved, and one that I (Benjamin Stenlund) used in my latest creation. Set in the Guilds of Historica’s fifth guild, Varlyrio, in the Venice-like capital of Illaryian, it depicts a slice of daily life, with gondoliers poling, shopkeepers selling, families visiting, soldiers guarding, sailors lounging, and rogues prowling.

A Varlyrian Vacation

I tried to vary up the action of the figs to make it lively without being cluttered, and to vary the patterns of the houses to make it homogeneous without being monotonous. All of the buildings have the same roof style, with tiles pressed down on just one end, but three colors are used (you can barely see the lone dark grey roof on the right) to mix it up. Varying the patterns and heights of the buildings helps to make it visually interesting, but basic patterns get repeated. It’s like a block of modular buildings, if LEGO made modular buildings that were just rickety facades with no interiors. I don’t build interiors, unless it’s going to be visible in the shot, since it won’t be seen. That’s just wasted effort for my purposes. Another secret is that the water ends just around the corner under the bridge, where it stops being visible. It’s all about the camera shot, for me. And yet, it looks so nice, I’d like to visit the place myself. If only I were about 1.5 inches tall…

She called me a steed

Contests bring out a different side in builders. I cut my teeth in the LEGO world making fantasy-based castles and the like over in the Guilds of Historica on Eurobricks, but for contests I have been building out of my comfort zone. First there was some Star Wars builds last May, then more recently a Neo-Classic spaceship, a pirate ship, a butterfly, and a bird. They’re quite different from what I got used to building, and they required different approaches. Most recently, I (Benjamin Stenlund) built an American Mustang, and no, I’m not talking about the muscle car, but about the horse that roams some parts of the Western USA. Though maybe I’ll build some cars soon, too, just for kicks.

The Stud

Building him (and he is a male, if you look closely, a stud stallion) required patience in shaping like grey castle walls don’t. A plate or two of difference in the legs, the angle of the head, the girth of the chest, all these things required fine tuning and frequent adjustments. I built the head first, because if you start with the body, scaling the head to it becomes a nightmare (or is it a night stallion?), but even so I had to redesign the body multiple times. And pulling apart reddish brown pieces is a harrowing experience, never knowing when one could snap. And then supporting the weight of the whole horse with the tail required some Technic structure; I admit I fudged it a bit, and things did not quite line up, but it’s a custom creation and not an official set, so who cares? It was built for the studless category of the Style it Up contest (hence I made a stud) but I threw in some gratuitous minifigure-leg cacti to enter it into the Iron Forge, too. Now hopefully I can go back to building castles for a while…

The early bird gets the worm

In the northern United States, at least, one of the first signs of spring is when the robins return. It is a day much beloved, a turning point when the cold and snow is gone and flowers are about to bloom. Of course, in many places the robins never actually leave, and snow never really comes, so it is less exciting, but I know as a kid growing up in Minnesota I loved to see that first robin. So, since it is spring where I live, and needing an idea for a contest entry, I (Benjamin Stenlund) built a robin coming back to the newly-hatched chicks in her nest. I am quite pleased with how it turned out, with the adult bird poised in mid-air with her flight feathers extended, feet ready to grasp the edge of the nest; and I think the nest itself turned out well, too.

The First Robin of Spring

The adult robin was fun to make, even if it is awful fiddling with those wings; they stay together just fine unless you jostle them, but moving the model from my building table to my photography station required some rebuilding. A round plate with bar built into her tail fits into a dinosaur neck twig to hold her in the air, just off the nest. The hardest part was the face and trying different solutions for the beak; I wanted to be able to put a worm in her mouth, but it would not look right with the parts I had, so I left it out and just used the spike. Lots of flex tubing went into the nest, but it was worth it for the un-LEGOy, organic shape of it. And when I ran out of flex tube, I used oars and blunderbusses and a variety of spikes and whips. To maximize the spring feeling, I added some flowers; perhaps cherry blossoms, maybe apple, or whatever pink flower you like to see on trees! I know it makes me want to get out of the basement where I build and go take a walk, at least.

Like bird builds? Here’s a sparrow and an owl for your viewing pleasure.

The delicate, dappled wings of spring

In the northern hemisphere, spring is underway. It might not feel that way for some, as snow is still falling in parts, but it is indeed springtime. And what says springtime better than a butterfly? Maybe flowers, but flowers need pollinators like butterflies, and so the two go hand in hand. Or proboscis in nectar pit, as the case may be. So when the Style it Up contest gave the prompt to build something with LEGO that is perfectly symmetrical across a line, I (Benjamin Stenlund) eventually settled on a Monarch butterfly, one of the most recognizable insects in North America. Ok, I admit, my wife told me to make a butterfly.

Monarch Butterfly

The challenge, of course, is trying to replicate the complicated patterns on the wings, with their many angles and colors, all while using a mostly rectangular system of interlocking bricks. I found that the old fingered hinges were better than the newer clip hinges, as they are flat, so I was thankful to have my childhood LEGO laying about. An even greater challenge than the building was photographing it without glare, as the flat surfaces reflected everything. But the end result, in my not-so-humble opinion, is delicately beautiful.