Hop around! Hop around! Hop up and up, and get down! In devising solutions for building robots, it’s sometimes best to start with examples found in nature. When Moko set out to build his latest LEGO mech, he looked to the springy grasshopper. Moko’s model is both an excellent representation of the insect and has just enough metallic bits to make it feel mechanical. Hopping power is provided by the legs’ robust hydraulic system, while the black pistol feet likely give it the ability to stick to nearly any surface.
If I had to identify my favorite insect, I would easily respond “dragonfly.” Why? Because dragonflies eat mosquitoes. Simple as that. Now, they also have a cool name — I mean, who doesn’t like dragons, right? They also have fascinating eyes and neat wings, and they don’t sting, bite, or infest; really, what’s not to like? And indeed, what’s not to like about Grantmasters‘ dragonfly build? The insect is perfectly poised above a verdant leaf with eggs of some sort on it, ready to zoom about eating things that want to eat me.
The wings, so delicate and transparent, make brilliant use of some garage doors. Rancor fingers and paint brushes make for some crooked legs. Palm tree trunk sections create a wonderfully segmented tail, just like the real thing, and the mandibles are recreated by a fist. Then, of course, there is the banana bee, and the egg-eating snake worm, and a leaf made from a watering can and dragon wings (appropriate enough for a dragonfly, right?). Nice piece usages abound!
Surveillance technology gets a creepy boost with Marty McFly, Cole Blaq’s latest creation. I’m not sure if this steampunk drone is designed to extract information or blood. It looks like it could do either. Or both. Probably at the same time. Like I said: Creepy.
From a LEGO perspective there are lots of things to love about this build. The spear gun proboscis and minifigure whip antennae fit the insect shaping well. The plastic insect wings are effectively incorporated. My favorite details, though, are the Imperial astromech droid heads. Those transparent domes perfectly combine the suggestion of circuity and faceted eyes.
Cole provides more great views of this creation in his blog post. While you’re there, take some time to explore this builder’s other amazing creations.
Did you know that praying mantises are one of the fastest animals on the planet? They creep deceptively slow as they stalk their prey, but these stealthy strikers can snatch a meal twice as fast as the blink of an eye. Now, I don’t think this mantis, built by DanielBrickSon, is going to be making any sudden moves, but it sure looks good! The body-shaping is accurate, and the use of the Ninjago sword for the front legs is a perfect touch. I have to say, though, one of my most favorite parts is the use of the shin guards for the branch bark, a technique first seen on the cherry tree in Ninjago City.
Another fun fact: male mantises can continue to mate, even after the female decapitates them. She will eat him and any other would-be partners in order to give the eggs the best chance of survival. Romantic, huh? If you like LEGO animals, take a peek at some other (non-cannibalistic) creations, like a handsome boar or this colorful Bioni-frog.
It’s been a long and bitter winter for those of us in the northern hemisphere. But the official start of spring is just a month away and signs of this most rejuvenating of seasonal changes are already in the air. Dario Minisini has an idea of what awaits us with a colorful scene featuring two of spring’s dramatis personae, the butterfly and seeding dandelion. The windborne seedlings add a sense of movement to the creation, almost photo-like in its composition. For the spring people out there, there’s no doubt this bright image will have them hankering for more.
Mosquitos aren’t good for much, if you ask me. Except, perhaps, one thing–being turned into excellent LEGO models, like this one by Omar Ovalle. A rework of an old model, Omar has given it new life with giant ant wings and a proboscis fittingly made of a harpoon. The creature’s silver sheen makes me wonder if this is, in fact, a creature at all, or if it’s perhaps a drone-squito, AKA my newest nightmare.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a butterfly. Then again, I can’t remember the last time I saw a live chicken or cow. Living in the city does have its benefits, but sometimes we forget the beautiful living creatures on mother earth. These three butterflies remind us of how simple things can easily be forgotten in nature and how wonderful LEGO bricks are, how the simplest of things can bring color to remind us of life. Johan Alexanderson didn’t make these random-colored, but instead takes their shape and color from actual butterfly species. The green foliage, though made of seemingly random parts and elements trick my vision into thinking I can almost smell the morning dew.
Brothers Brick regular Alanboar explores the link between LEGO art and science in his latest Butterfly Mimicry creation; his exquisite case of mounted butterfly specimens being made in honour of pioneering naturalist Henry Walter Bates. The concept of Batesian mimicry argues that harmless species, such as these butterflies, evolve the markings of poisonous animals avoided by predators.
Tracing the subtle differences in pattern across these beautiful LEGO butterflies, each created from a limited set of elements, reminds me of our understanding of the malleability of genetic code and the way Bates’ work foreshadowed these discoveries.
Interestingly enough, Benjamin Cheh Ming Hann starts the description of this creation of a mosquito with a questionable choice of words, “Hate them or love them”. I am either oblivious to a huge mosquito fandom or perhaps I’m right that nobody can love an annoyingly high-pitched flying sound and the endless itching of their bites, not to mention the far more serious world health issues. I understand if many of you are turned away from this creation due to very well justified hatred towards mosquitoes, but you can just imagine it as a male mosquito, which does not suck blood, as the builder very informatively points out in the picture’s description.
All anatomical characteristics of Aedes aegypti are captured perfectly, of which the most difficult looks the subtle curve of the abdomen. Most notably though, the model can stand on its legs as a true insect would, which is hard to do at this scale and with legs as thin as these while still keeping them poseable.
The new beehive piece, which appeared this January in a couple of the new City police sets, was wholeheartedly approved by LEGO fans. Its simple shape is instantly recognizable, yet it has some great potential for truly creative applications. Grantmasters starts exploring the new piece with this amazing little bee — and the beehive piece looks just fantastic here. By the way, the fairy wings piece contributes a lot to the bee’s adorable character.
In spite of its delicate features, this mechanical LEGO moth by Mitsuru Nikaido looks sturdy enough to brave the sub-zero temperates of the Arctic. At least, that’s what its wings would lead me to believe. Mitsuru took what many might consider to be a pretty useless part and turned it into a beautiful (and surprisingly natural-looking) creature. Nicely done.
Ringo is mine. Wait, we’re not talking about the band? Jokes aside, while the stag beetle may not be amongst my favourites, this one by Grant Davis must be one of my favourite LEGO recreations. There is lots to like about this scaled-up insect, from the detailed legs to the realistic head and the Iron Builder competition’s seed part used as the wing covers – with the base placed just deep enough in the inverted tire for their curve to flow naturally.
The only gripe I have with it are the wings’ supports, the kind of which I have never seen in a real beetle before.