Tag Archives: Japan

From samurai and ninjas to giant mecha like Gundam or the beautiful films of Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese history and culture inspire LEGO builders all over the world. With contributors fluent in Japanese, The Brothers Brick also brings you coverage of the people and events in the large LEGO fan community in Japan itself.

TBB Weekly Brick Report: LEGO news roundup for April 22, 2018 [News]

In addition to the amazing LEGO models created by builders all over the world, The Brothers Brick brings you the best of LEGO news and reviews. This is our weekly Brick Report for the fourth week of April 2018.

Real Porsche 911 & scaled-up LEGO Porsche 911 Turbo


TBB NEWS & INSTRUCTIONS: As spring 2018 LEGO sets continue to be revealed and we begin looking ahead to the summer wave of LEGO sets, it’s been another busy week of LEGO news here at TBB!

See the rest of our LEGO news roundup after the jump

How I built a 20,000-piece LEGO rice plantation inspired by The LEGO Ninjago Movie [Guest Feature]

Today we’re pleased to welcome Anu Pehrson as a guest contributor to give a special introduction to her latest creation. We spoke with Anu last year about her amazing models, which range from a monastery in Bhutan to the Iron Islands from A Game of Thrones. Her newest model, Master Wu’s Rice Plantation, is just as amazing. She worked on the 20,000-piece model over 3 months, and she’s documented for us the process of how a creation like this goes from idea to completion.

The diorama is enormous, at nearly four feet on each side, and includes multiple buildings, a river, beautiful trees, and lots of incredible landscaping up the staggered terraces of rice paddies.

The Building of Master Wu’s Rice Plantation

By Anu Pehrson

I wanted to build something in the Japanese architectural style, perhaps some smaller cottages where I could try different building techniques for the windows, wall patterns, roofs, and porch railings. I thought a village-like setting for these cottages would be the ideal layout. The second thing I was interested in trying was terraced agricultural fields, and rounded terraces that are used for rice farming in East Asia seemed like an interesting challenge. So bringing these two ideas together formed the basis of this MOC (My Own Creation). I also wanted to build a working gondola from a lower level to a higher level (but that hasn’t happened yet).

The LEGO Ninjago Movie was just being released as I was building this MOC, therefore, it seemed like perfect timing for to create a place for Master Wu to teach and practice with his disciples.

The starting point was a body of water. For any MOC with landscaping, I think a water body adds color and texture. The important part is to make the water interesting. There are a great many methods of doing this, but I began with using blue in the center and different shades of blue on the edges. At this point, I didn’t know how I was going to add to it, but I later added transparent 1×1 plates in a few shades over top of the blue plates.

The next step was to build stone curved walls for the terraced rice fields. However, it turned out that curved walls were very difficult to build upon as terraces.
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Japanese sushi that looks great and tastes blockish

Fresh from winning the ABS challenge in spectacular fashion, Didier Burtin has created a delicious Ikura maki roll. At sushi restaurants ikura (salmon roe) is always served gunkan-style (battleship.) Besides the rice and the nori (edible seaweed), there are no other embellishments and it is not served with any sauce, although you may brush a little soy sauce (shoyu) on top of the eggs with a small slice of gari (sweet pickled ginger) and the all-important wasabi.

Ikura maki roll

Gateway to tranquility

This elaborate architectural beauty is the gate to Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. André Pinto is the architect of this faithful LEGO version, which captures the ornate decorations and the vibrant colors of the gate.

KIYOMIZU-DERA, NIOMON

It’s worth noticing that the builder incorporated the intricate lattice in the underside of the roof, which is a huge undertaking but also one with huge payoffs.

KIYOMIZU-DERA, NIOMON

LEGO lion dances into the New Year

What better way to welcome in 2018 than with a LEGO model of a traditional Japanese shishimai mask, used for a lion dance at New Year? keiichi kamei has built a fantastic bust of the lion mask — the shaping of the face and mane are brilliant, and the restrained colour palette lends the image a real vibrancy. I particularly like the eyebrows and nose, and adding those fan pieces as a pattern on the coat is a lovely touch. But the masterstroke is the slight angle of the head, immediately injecting an air of fun and a sense of character.

shishimai_01

Shogun from the 16th century

This build of a seemingly cute warrior by John Cheng is so much more than it seems. Imagawa Yoshimoto was a feudal lord during the 16th century in Japan who was very good at not only battling but also at diplomacy and securing key alliances during his reign. His black steed and the accompanying base is quite a unique complement to the usual BrickHeadz builds that we’ve seen quite a lot of lately. Aside from being brick built, Pokémon Conquest fans may recognize him as a playable character.

Brickheadz Samurai Imagawa Yoshimoto

Brickheadz Samurai Imagawa Yoshimoto

This maneki-neko is the cat’s meow

Maneki-neko are Japanese figurines of cats that businesses all over the world have adopted to beckon customers and the money burning holes in their pockets. The cats often hold large, old-style Japanese gold coins in enormous denominations, as this lovely white cat by Taiwanese builder DOGOD Brick Design does — this maneki-neko holds a coin worth ten million yen! This lovely feline was recently installed at the Masterpiece Gallery in the LEGO House.

nEO_IMG_Dogod_ManekiNeko_01

Maneki-neko hold their paws up in the gesture that Japanese people use to ask someone to come over — palm facing out while “scooping” the fingers toward yourself, rather than palm up as many Westerners do.

A demonic Bionicle straight from feudal Japan

The 2017 Bio-cup Bionicle contest is a great source of outstanding creations in the titular theme, with Tengu by the Belarussian builder Vlad Lisin as a prime example. Vlad’s theme for this round was feudal Japan and this samurai- and oni-inspired character has Japanese style to spare.

The menacing and muscular body gives a strong first impression, and details like the bead necklace and sandals reward closer inspection. In the end, all that is overshadowed by the masterfully sculpted face with a glorious white beard and the yellow eyes standing out in contrast with the dark red skin.

The sound of a thunderous charge in the dark forest

The prolific teenaged builder William Navarre is no stranger to realistic historical Japanese themes, but this latest creation of a company of samurai ambushing a camp of the emperor’s ashigaru is one of his best addditions to the series.

From the Depths of the Forest

There is much to see in this full LEGO scene, from the minifig action that seems to express motion much better than one would expect of the somewhat motorically limited minifig, to the flags and the realistic ground texture. The background deserves discussion too; while the opinions on the trees’ textures may be variable, the textures do work for what they are supposed to. More importantly, you should not miss the most subtle, but also the most ingeniously simple part of the build: the angled black background with dark blue rays of light penetrating the treetops.

Tokyo’s Sensō-ji Thunder Gate and Beijing’s Hall of Supreme Harmony in LEGO

The oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo is Sensō-ji, founded in 645 AD and dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. Taiwanese builder ZiO Chao, whose massive SHIELD Helicarrier we featured last year, has been building travel themed LEGO mosaics over the last few months, and his latest is the iconic “Thunder Gate” at Sensō-ji. Beyond the gate, a street of shops leads up to the temple itself, and ZiO has captured the roofs of the shops using forced perspective.

Thunder Gate(雷門), Senso-ji(淺草寺), Tokyo, Japan

While not quite as intricate a LEGO build, ZiO has also built the Hall of Supreme Harmony in Beijing. I love the beautiful simplicity of the yellow roof and red columns against a clear, blue sky.

The Hall of Supreme Harmony (太和殿), Forbidden City(紫禁城), Beijing, China

Nya, the dragon slaying warrior

In the world of LEGO Ninjago, Nya is the current Elemental Master and Ninja of Water, as well as Kai’s younger sister. Daniel Huang has crafted a large figure version of her using a mixture of Bionicle, System and Technic elements. Daniel has posed Nya slaying the Green Dragon, with her samurai sword plunged deep into the head. The clever use of tyres and tracks within her leg structure contrasts with cloth robes and some ample CCBS assets for a unique blend of styles.NYA the Samurai Girl

Contrasting with her dragon-slaying pose, Nya also has a clear feminine side, albeit with a few weapons in tow. I particularly like her head, as it’s well constructed with her helmet, and she gives off a ton of attitude in ABS.NYA the Samurai Girl

 

Traditional Japanese machiya is beautifully simple

Machiya are traditional wooden townhouses found throughout Japan and typified in the historical capital of Kyoto. This LEGO version of a machiya by Dan Blom is a great example of a seemingly simple build that really looks the part. The key architectural details like the barred window, known as mushiko mado [literal translation is ‘insect cage window’] and the wooden lattice façade are accurately represented. These days most roofs are covered with clay tiles called kawara, and Dan has left the LEGO studs exposed to give the impression of neatly arranged, rough tiles.

hus japan C4

The addition of some extra little details such as the cart, the various items outside the front of the house and the ancient-looking tree complete the scene perfectly.