When you think about pandas, what characteristics come to mind? Cute, cuddly, fuzzy, playful, sleepy, chubby? If they could talk, what do think they would say? Seeing as they spend most of their waking hours eating, I’d say it’d involve food. And if a panda was able to operate a phone, he/she would almost certainly order vegetarian takeout ASAP. Ian Hou must feel the same because he built this adorable snacking panda out of LEGO for the world to enjoy. How could you not love that big round belly, sweet face, and adorable bow tie?
Chinese New Year is little more than a week away and, according to the Chinese zodiac, we are entering the Year of the Rat. When it comes to heavenly rodents, Ian Hoy has another cute critter in mind. Of course, I’m talking about the guinea pig! This little guy is beautifully sculpted with angled and curved slopes to capture the adorable chunkiness of domestic itty-bitty piggies. The facial expression is priceless. As for that bit of yellow in his hands, if you thought it might be a morsel of cheese, you would be sadly mistaken. It’s actually yuanbao, a gold ingot that was used as a form of currency in China from the Qin Dynasty through the Qing Dynasty. I wouldn’t mind dropping a few yuanbao myself if it meant this little fellow could join the colorful cast of zodiac animals.
It’s not often we see a Sigourney Weaver inspired LEGO creation which isn’t something to do with the Alien movie franchise. Well here’s a cracking build from Ian Hoy inspired by the 1988 Dian Fossey biopic Gorillas in the Mist. Oh, hang on…My mistake. Seems this is actually inspired by PANDAS in the mist, more specifically Chen Stormstout — brewer, monk, and warrior — a character in the 2012 Mists Of Pandaria expansion to World Of Warcraft.
Regardless of its inspiration, this is excellent LEGO character modelling. The clothing is great — particularly the toggle fastenings, the white strip edging, and the way the pyjama-top hangs beneath the belt. The face has the brilliant combination of cute-yet-scary which the Panda warriors carried in the game, and all the details are present and correct, including the ponytail and the sandals on those clawed feet. Nice bearclaw emblems on the knees too.
After wowing us with his circus model, Ian Hoy is back with another incredible scene. This time he’s trading in performing animals for some fun times at a beach fun fair. The scene is filled with little details and it features, among other things, a brick mosaic backdrop and a drop ride with a shark theme. Having spent a lot of time at boardwalk carnivals as a kid, this piece really speaks to me, bringing back fond memories of haunted house rides, rollercoasters and boardwalk french fries cooked in peanut oil. Just looking at it, I can almost smell the salty air and hear the funnel cakes sizzling away in the deep fryer. There is so much great stuff packed in here, it’s hard to know where to begin, so let’s start at the bottom and work our way up, shall we?
The beach area is populated by a variety of beach goers engaged in the many activities. I love that the word “ocean” not only tells you where we are, but is incorporated into the overall design by having it being created as a sand sculpture by a bathing suit-clad minifigure. I also enjoyed checking out some of the smaller details like the treasure chest buried underground and the baby sea turtle and mini sandcastle by the shore. Continue reading
Builder Ian Hoy turns our attention to the center ring with this beautifully built circus scene. Heed the carnival barker in his jaunty top hat as he calls to you — “Step right up folks and stare in awe and amazement at this action-packed quintuple of animal performers, each one with its own special talents on display! Hurry, hurry! Take a peek, you won’t be disappointed!”
Each of the animals in this scene could stand on its own, but the combination of all of them together makes for a truly marvelous show. If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be the leaping tiger. Hou manages to imbue it with action, movement and just a touch of danger.
The scooter-riding bear is a close second with his whimsical expression. The dog as the carnival barker is a brilliant touch, and the magician’s rabbit also provide a nice dose of humor and expression. Taking center stage is everyone’s favorite big-eared elephant Dumbo, although Hou doesn’t reference him as such in his descriptions of the piece.
Every performer has a level of detail and building creativity that is a joy to look at up close and leaves me wanting to figure out how the builder did it all.
The setting of the scene is equally rich in detail, from the bejeweled stage lights to the speakers and rounded stage. The use of flags on the sides also adds to the festive atmosphere and the font on the word “circus” is particularly impressive and creative. I’m also particularly fond of the use of the backside of the pieces to create the curtained backdrop. Many builders go to great pains to not show the back, but Hou does a terrific job in this case and it all blends together perfectly. As an added bit of humor, in the corner behind the tiger there looks to be a crate full of food, including a cooked turkey, to make sure the performers are well fed and ready to play.
Luckily, the fun doesn’t stop with the front of the model! The back and outside are equally impressive, utilizing a second lettering style and a simple but effective representation of a circus tent.
Like any good traveling spectacular, at the end of the day the whole shebang can be folded up and moved on to the next city, ready to thrill audiences with the greatest show on earth!
Opportunity knocks this Christmas for Mr. Wolf. The last little pig had no boiling pot on his range — will the fireplace be enough to prevent this bad Santa from delivering his present? DOGOD Brick Design follows up last year’s seasonal LEGO build with a charming mixed-up fable. The expression on the surprised pig’s face and splayed trotter pose is wonderful, and Mr. Wolf’s sneaky smirk and Santa hat provides the perfect counterpoint. It’s another fantastic festive creation from one of the LEGO community’s best builders
This lovely model of Harry Potter’s famous owl, Hedwig, is the work of DOGOD Brick Design. He does an exceptional job producing streamlined, organic shapes with LEGO. One of my favorite aspects of this model is the use of the automobile hoods to resemble chest feathers. I also love that she is posable, and that the handlebar used for the wink is easily replaced with a matching eye.