It’s a matter of record that George Lucas used World War II combat footage as a placeholder for the starship battles in early cuts of the original Star Wars. LEGO builder Jordan Fridal has built on this fact by creating an inspired series of digital mash-ups; Star Wars vehicles combined with the WWII-era planes that might have stood in for them before the special effects were done. Here we see an X-Wing/P-51 Mustang trying to outrun a Tie Intercepter/Messerschmitt ME BF-109. And just like groundbreaking special effects need a team to complete them, sometimes a LEGO creation takes more than one person to bring it to life. With that in mind, Jordan credits brick_squadron and Inthert for a bit of help on the X-51.
Sometimes it pays to read the builder’s comments. When I first saw this build by Tom Loftus, I zeroed in on those amazing blinds and spent probably fifteen minutes trying to figure out how they were made. Some new panel I hadn’t come across, yet? Maybe a vent from some Star Wars UCS set? Nope. Turns out the Iron Builder April Fool’s challenge was to create a build using paper cut outs of the letters in “Iron Builder,” and I’d been staring at a bunch of the letter “I” in that window. The letters have been put to great use all around the room. “B” for the chair backs, “O” for the table, “D” for the desk against the wall, and almost a whole game of Wordle in that art piece on the wall. When the result looks this good, I don’t mind being played for a fool.
That’s why I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) along with my friend Tom Loftus decided to take a break from our usual spaceships and build something fantastical. Our usual greys became pinks and lavenders, our usual mechanical greebling became wild, organic foliage. Tom wanted to build a tree, I wanted to replicate some of Scotland’s coastal cliffs. Combined with recent plants in wild colours and the release of the Acorn Boy and Night Protector in the recent Collectable Minifigure Series, our collab build became an homage to LEGO Elves.
We are fans of the bygone LEGO Elves theme which ran from 2015 to 2018. Its signature look was bright colours, cute dragons, and wonderful characters with elemental powers and matching outfits, albeit they were the less favourable minidolls. In short, it was a Tolkien-esque fantasy version of LEGO Friends. Despite there being an established lore (which I admit I’m unfamiliar with), Tom and I decided to make something original, but with a similar aesthetic.
As much as I like a more fantastical spaceship design, like those seen in Star Wars or the Foundation series, the practical, near-future designs found in The Expanse, Interstellar, and Alien really thrill me, as they seem to offer a glimpse of what humanity might use to journey beyond our little spinning world. When I saw this spacecraft by Tom Loftus (Inthert) I was reminded of the command module and lunar landing craft used in many Apollo missions. There is something intimately believable about the construction of the main module, as well as the small detachable tug that would not look at all out of place in a museum of Space vehicles from some not-too-distant future.
Every once in a while we get a build that is out of this world. Not only because of techniques or parts usage, but because it is a work of art made with LEGO pieces. Ring-Rise by Tom Loftus (Inthert) is exactly that. A colourful painting. A cinematic shot with perfect framing. Just an astronaut and his cat, all alone on a monochrome alien world, looking out on the colourful rings of a planet. A simple idea, flawless execution.
Tom knew he wanted to incorporate the famous basalt columns of Iceland into a build. The Alien Landscape category of the yearly Space Jam contest was the perfect opportunity. Layering them in shades of grey (black to dark grey to light grey) give the impression of light coming in from the space-scape beyond. The planetary ring uses Simon Pickard’s intricate curving surface technique that few have mastered. Tom spiced it up by making it as colourful as he could, evoking the psychedelic hues of nebulae and other heavenly bodies.
Check out more builds by Tom here!
This isn’t the first time Tom Loftus (Inthert) was inspired by the art of Spacegoose to create an adorable Cat-stronaut figure. While the previous feline (The aptly named Space Cat) was all about journeying into mystery, Astra is already there. The amazing part usage of metallic black beehives for limbs is a standout feature, but it’s the eyes that really do it for me. Those Mixel 1×1 round eye tiles give this critter the same Crazy-Zoom look that I remember seeing just before a pet tore through the house at Warp 10.
From the rear, you can see that Tom paid equal attention to the stylish and functional-looking backpack. There’s a joke here about “the cat’s pajamas” but I can’t quite make it work. Let’s just pretend it did and share a brief chuckle.
There are a lot of things that can happen in the world of LEGO space. Why not check out our archives for more of them?
Just how tiny a vehicle can you make that completely contains a minifigure and still looks sleek and sci-fi? This little beauty by Inthert has got to be near the limit, and it’s wonderfully slick. The main part of the body is formed by two of those new curved slopes that debuted in the 10295 Creator Expert Porsche 911, and when set at a 90-degree angle to each other they perfectly nestle a bubble canopy—trans dark blue, of course, for Space Police. And don’t miss the fantastic pod-engines with bucket handles on the intakes!
The new LEGO Vidiyo theme may not be the most popular among adult builders, but it has certainly introduced builders to some unusual large but potentially versatile parts. In Tom Loftus’s own words, every part is a spaceship part, which he set out to prove, and did quite a top-notch job. This fighter is built around the lime-green base from the pods that serve as the central element of each set.
The grooves designed to fit extra tiles make great cooling vents, and just to show that this chunky fighter can also pour on the speed, there are plenty of thrusters squeezed on to the backs of each engine pod.
The release of new LEGO themes often means new parts to play with, and the new VIDIYO theme has offered up some especially interesting new pieces for builders to find uses for. One of my favorite examples of this is the 4-D1 Heavy Cargo Lifter – ‘The Ant’ by Tom Loftus (Inthert). This tiny little ship makes use of two of the new VIDIYO box back pieces to create a flatbed for large cargo.
The box back is equal parts plate, bracket, and hinge, which makes it an ideal framework for a unique spacecraft like this. Below the flatbed, the rest of the ship is just barely larger than its single pilot cockpit, which really gives the impression that this craft lives up to its namesake – a tiny critter capable of lugging several times its own weight around.
Working with a new part can be a challenge. Finding how they fit into the system can lead to surprises and disappointments. Ultimately, dedicated builders like Tom Loftus find a way. Armed with tons of teal from the Ninjago Jungle Dragon and challenged to examine the functionality of the transparent VIDIYO Canopy (as he calls it), Tom found himself under the sea at this Reef Station. He gave me some insight into some of the extra pieces he worked into the model, including finally making use of the drone elements introduced last year.
When invasive celestial bodies threaten the galaxy, a swarm of Antibody Intercept Craft is the perfect antidote. Duel auto-targeting laser batteries help these speedy ships clear infected skies with ease. Builder Inthert has spent two years slowly refining and perfecting this build, and the effort really shows.
Not only does the ship makes use of some impressive angling, but the overall design strikes a great balance between looking clean and sleek while still having tons of small details to take in.
There are the obvious big punches that catch your eye, like the swiveling laser cannons or the front tech detail above and below the cockpit. (Which reminds me a bit of the Ghostbuster’s Proton Packs.) But what I really get lost in are details like the asymmetrical set of three red lines about halfway up on each “arm” of the ship, or the yellow dots that pop against the black on the sides of the rear engines (made by sliding bars into backward-facing headlight bricks). It’s these kinds of choices that make the model feel like something that’s been really thought through and refined. Like the best starships of pop culture, this feels like a craft that belongs in a world with deep lore. And I’d love to visit it sometime.
LEGO builder Tom Loftus had a mission that was almost as exciting as destroying the Death Star. That mission was to build a compact design T-65 X-Wing Fighter with engines that were three studs wide. A LEGO X-Wing is nothing new, but I think the look of the iconic ship was achieved nicely here. What sets it apart from some of the scores of X-Wings we’ve already seen is the use of sand blue for the canopy, which is pretty vital for that ship but alas is a difficult color to obtain in quantity or various shapes.
While iconic, building the X-Wing accurately is no easy feat but Tom does a great job of it as evidenced by these many views.
Tom is one of those builders that seek help and advice from his friends then uses it accordingly. In his write up he names and thanks a slew of friends who had helped out which is a class act, in my opinion. It makes sense because while Luke ultimately destroyed the Death Star, it was really a team effort and everyone got awarded for it at the end of the movie, except Chewbacca. hey, wait a minute! Doesn’t Chewie deserve some love? While you’re mulling that over, check out the other times we gave Tom Loftus some well-deserved love.