Tag Archives: Iron Builder

The mysterious black nautilus

Currently, our study of the nautilus suggests their shells are traditionally white and dark orange. But then again, we understand less about our ocean depths than we do about the moon’s surface. For all we know, there are beautiful black nautiluses residing in the murky depths beyond our reach. If there are, I hope they look like this one built in LEGO form by Moko. Sleek and mysterious. The unique curvature is made using the crane jaw element from recent space-themed sets. Not only does the swirl look cool, but the design made by the axles in the Technic brick holes does as well.

Nautilus

Curious where the baseplate came from? This particular base only came in the 2009 Pirates set, 6241 Loot Island. While you’re here, stick around for some more animal builds, as well as other creations made by Moko.

Somewhere under the sea, somewhere waiting for me

I’m thinking of adorning my home with aquarium decor even though I don’t have any fish. I mean, think about it; tikis, skulls, mermaids, pirate ships. It’s pretty much the decor I already have minus the DayGlo paint. Or better yet, I can move all my stuff into this awesome LEGO Coral Castle by Jake Hansen. With bright coral, various lifeforms, and seaweed made of flex tubes there is a lot to love here. But my favorite detail is the fish made from beehives. I mean, come on, that’s just brilliant! Jake is competing in Iron Builder and, as brilliant as the beehive fish are, that is not even the seed part. This one is. He tells us twenty-four were used in this undersea diorama. This Iron Builder competition is just firing up so I get a feeling we’ll be seeing plenty more great builds from Jake soon.

The Coral Castle

Some perspectives don’t feel forced at all

What’s that off in the distance? Cecilie Fritzvold has created a beautiful view of a distant bridge, or maybe a nearby view of a model train set. It’s hard to say for sure, but this stellar mix of textures and techniques is certainly satisfying to look at. I love how the fence along the left side of the scene, and that second lamp post, drop down to create the illusion of a hill leading down to the bay. The bridge itself also merits a closer look, being constructed from the rather unusual Large Figure Part Shield Holder with Axle.  (That choice of part was no accident, as this is one of Cecile’s entries into the latest Iron Builder contest, which focuses on creative use of that very element.)

With a view

Making bridges out LEGO can be a challenging task. Check our our archives to see how other builders solved that problem.  

Asteroids dead ahead! Shields up!

Creative part usage crosses over with retro-gaming nostalgia in Classic Space Arcade by brickleas. This entry into the Iron Builder contest takes uncommon Large Figure Part Shield Holder with Axle LEGO elements and mashes them up with side-scrolling in a way that’s sure to earn a high score. The use of the shield as both a part of the spaceship and the scoring counters is brilliant, but I also like the other creative touches. The smallest white stars are made from headlight bricks with white bars inserted into them, for example. And check out the similar-but-not-identical builds on the asteroids. It looks like classic Atari graphics to me!

Classic Space Arcade

Over the years, we’ve featured a lot of creative builds resulting from Iron Builder challenges. Why not check our archives and see what you’ve missed?

C is for Seed Part. You know, phonetically.

The Iron Builder competition is based around taking an unusual LEGO “seed part” and incorporating in into amazing creations. brickleas is an expert at this craft, taking a huge pile of 100 blue  Large Figure Part Shield Holder with Axle pieces and transforming them into Sesame Street’s own Cookie Monster. The texture of the shield elements does an amazing job of standing in for Cookie’s fur, but the techniques that create the black puppet-mouth and googly eyes are just as impressive. Even that chocolate chip cookie manages to look delicious somehow.

Seed Part Monster

When I reviewed 21324 LEGO Ideas Sesame Street, I had a few reservations about the look of the Cookie Monster minifigure, and it does my heart good to see him done justice here. If you’re a fan of Sesame Street, too, then check out some of our other featured creations starring more Muppet friends!

Sittin’ on the porch, enjoyin’ the view

Just this evening, after we finished our dinners, my kids, wife, and I sat out on our front porch enjoying the warm, sunny weather while eating our popsicles for dessert. It was quite the treat to sit there, watching the world go by, barefoot on a rocking chair. The way I felt while sitting there is the same way I feel looking at this LEGO scene by Elias Hübner. There’s the warm light of the setting sun, the verdant green of the lawn and garden, and reminders of yard work that still needs to be done. Sure, my own garden is not as green as this one, and none of my flowers have bloomed, and I haven’t had to mow yet. But the mood is there. And it is pure summer bliss.

Sunset View

This is Elias’s latest build for the Iron Builder competition. The seed part this round is the obscure “Large Figure Part Shield Holder with Axle” in blue, used in many ways throughout the build, from chair cushions to a birdhouse, as well as lawn mower bits and flowers and exterior lamps. But my favorite use is definitely that watering can. Just perfect!

Who needs a hawk or falcon when you have a dragon?

Falconry – the practice of training birds of prey to hunt with/for humans – is an ancient tradition. For centuries, we’ve revered raptors. And in popular culture, movies captivate us with images of both medieval and tribal figures sharing relationships with these fierce birds. But perhaps in another, more magical world, dragons fill the role. Ever-talented LEGO builder Joss Woodyard has brought the chief of some distant culture to life, along with his small, fiery beast. Who said dragons have to be giant?

Chief Ironscale

As always, with Jayfa’s builds, the character is clad in awesome elements (love those dark red spikes!) and stands in a commanding pose. Of course, the best part is the ode to the original LEGO Castle dragons with the red and green motif. While you’re here, check out more of Jayfa’s recent builds, and see if you can find the common element between them.

Headdress of an Aztec king

The famous Aztec ruler Montezuma was fierce and massively successful at expanding his empire by conquering opponents – until he wasn’t. After reigning for over 17 years, he was killed during the Spanish conquest. His purported headdress (likely not actually his) was stolen by Hernán Cortés and currently sits in an Austrian museum. It and the slightly less flamboyant headdresses of Maya and Aztec warriors are now a big part of popular culture. They’ve even been regularly depicted in LEGO, both officially (recent and old), and through custom models like this one, by John Snyder.

An Element of Discovery

Of course, what makes this build so cool is not necessarily the history of the subject matter. What makes it awesome is the excellent use of parts. The green feather elements are naturally perfect, but can you see how they’re attached? The use of green cable clips is genius! Other things to look for are the alternating modified plates for the feathers in the back, hands for accents, and the interesting use of a Technic differential gear for the pedestal.

As you likely know, John is a prolific builder, and we’ve featured his work many times. I’m sure we can expect more great things very soon. And while you wait, check out some other Aztec-Inspired builds.

Wow, this sled is bananas!

If you happen to wonder why so many recently featured LEGO models are using the banana part, it is the seed part in this year’s Iron Builder competition, where LEGO fans who participate are required to use it in their models. In this winter scene by KitKat1414, the banana makes a great tuft of wind-blown hair, but it also gives the sled runners the perfect curve. Bonus points for that stylish lens flair.

05 The Only Way is Down

Mix that funky music

I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about music, but I’m sure many are familiar with what an audio mixer looks like – lots of switches and lights, the functions of with I’m personally not familiar with at all. However, as a person who gravitates towards gadgets, these switchboards certainly do look cool to me, or maybe John Snyder’s LEGO model of one makes them look cooler than they are.

Heavy Metal Soundboard

The switchboard body uses some standard bricks, tiles, and slopes in black assembled via the SNOT (studs not on top) technique. This build is part of an Iron Builder challenge, the seed part is the modified 2×3 plate with bar in dark red, but there are many other interesting small elements utilized here such as the broad-brimmed castle helmets which serve as dials and the technic piston cups in yellow. Of course, I am a fan of trans-clear elements, and Snyder has thrown in a few of those like the minifigure heads at the far left and some light pieces that look exactly like LED lights. Snyder’s model certainly makes me want to learn more about these cool pieces of tech and how exactly they work.

Wonder what the tide will wash up today

One benefit of setting up your post-apocalyptic outpost on the beach, aside from the abundant food source of the ocean’s bounty, is the wondrous things that wash up in the surf. In this scene by Tom Loftus a lone soldier stands watch as the low tide washes in. The outpost is built from shipping containers, which are plentiful if you live near a major shipping hub. The model is part of an iron builder challenge using a dark red Minifig shield part, which you can see in the timbers of the bunker half-buried in the sand.

04 - Low Tide

Dystopian novels are so 1984.

Can you judge a book by its cover? Conventional wisdom says “no,” but John Snyder may have a different opinion. The elegant book binding here is complemented by some slice-of-life details that are every bit as charming. This creation is part of the Iron Builder contest, and this round focused on the challenge of incorporating modified 2×3 plates into the build. We can see them in action in the book bindings on the cover, and in the dark red flowers. The golden carriage wheel on the cover matches the yellow centers to the flowers as well as the gold coins, but did you know that the black cloth bag there is (probably) also a LEGO element? It looks to me to be a Wolfpack Pouch. Now there’s a part you don’t see every day.

Treasured Tome

If you’re in a literary mood, why not check out our book archives? You just might learn something new!