When it comes to Japanese art, one of the most iconic pieces produced during the late Edo period was Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” This masterpiece helped to inspire the character of Hatsusika Hokusai, found in the free-to-play role-playing-game (RPG) Fate/Grand Order. Mike Dung has made two versions of this character, including a cute chibi figure. In the chibi-build, Mike’s brick-built wave is instantly recognizable and beautiful representation of Hokusai’s artwork. The wave in the other model is cleverly built with several trans-light blue garage door pieces.
Say hello to Aggretsuko (アグレッシブ烈子), the latest character from the creators of Hello Kitty. By day, this red panda is a gentle and kind accountant, doing the best she can in a job she loathes. But by night, she blows off steam by shedding the cutesy look for that of a raging death-metal karaoke enthusiast!
Originally aired as a series of shorts on Japanese television, the adventures of Retsuko have finally arrived on Western shores in the form of a Netflix original series. Taking inspiration from this unexpectedly kawaii take on the modern condition, I decided to try and capture Retsuko’s struggle using LEGO bricks:
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.
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!
- LEGO Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom sets now available – The wave of LEGO sets supporting the next installment in the long-running Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies has hit store shelves. Check out our hands-on reviews as well!
- Claas Xerion tractor instructions by Cole Blaq – We feature plenty of creatures, characters, and spaceships in our instructions, so it’s nice to also be able to build a lovely green tractor for your LEGO city.
- Build your own cutie doggie desk buddy – It’s the Year of the Dog, and we’ve put together a step-by-step instructional video so you can build your own LEGO dog with a design by CK HO.
- First six LEGO Unikitty sets revealed – Unikitty was one of the great new characters introduced by The LEGO Movie back in 2014, with a follow-on TV show confirmed last year. This is our first look at the LEGO sets supporting the new TV show.
- LEGO City summer 2018 sets revealed – We’re finally getting a good look at the rumored mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers in the upcoming Arctic-themed LEGO City sets scheduled for release this summer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.