What do you get if you cross the Giant’s Causeway with Doctor Strange? That’s the vibe I’m getting from Daniel Church‘s kinetic LEGO vignette here. The geography looks quite otherworldly – I love the look of the hexagonal columns. But the meditating chap in the middle adds an extra layer of mysticism. This has to be some temple or shrine at the top of the tallest mountain, where only those seeking true enlightenment will dare to venture. And if you do make it to the top, and you achieve the inner peace you’ve been craving, you may get to see the stones dance thanks to Daniel’s clever mechanics.
Official LEGO sets are often playsets, but Lego_nuts has a new take on things with a set of a play. This visually dense scene of a stage play in the plaza of a crowded urban center evokes Ninjago City and its fellow theme Monkey Kid, which in turn is a retelling of the famous 16th-century Chinese tale Journey to the West. There are details everywhere you look in this bustling theater, with all the various signs and crowded balconies bringing the scene to life.
The builder has taken things a step further though, and the characters on stage are animated as they trek along their journey, plus giving us a cool behind-the-scenes peek at the build process of this model.
With the exception of the past couple of years, I’ve been a staple at BrickCon in Seattle since 2005 or so. This year, I wasn’t a registrant but snuck in unnoticed (almost). While there, I was treated to this wonderous LEGO stage show put on by Douglas Hughes. The table presence of this massive creation was quite impressive, even with the curtains closed. But as the curtains parted, the intro music started and the real show began! As described by the builder, “As the curtains part you can see biplanes circling both above and below the zeppelin which maneuvers up and down.The soundtrack transitions to biplane maneuver and machine gun noises, and a red biplane swoops to the center stage from behind a cloud, gently rocking back and forth. Soon enough the red plane sidles back behind cloud cover and the finale begins to unfold – a little biplane corkscrews down in an uncontrolled dive until it hits the zeppelin.” He goes on to say; “Red lights flash, explosions rock the air, and the zeppelin slowly breaks apart revealing smoke and fire rising from within. The curtains begin to close and the finale fanfare plays – the show is over!”
I guess you had to have been there. No, seriously, you had to have been there! The builder hasn’t provided a video of this beast on motion just yet but I can attest that this was an amazing work of art. I didn’t stick around long enough to find out, but this had to have won one of the top prizes, I’m sure. Chime in in the comments to let us know what awards this won or just to tell us what you think.
At this point, nothing from LEGO builder extraordinaire Paul Hetherington should really surprise me, and yet I was still blown away when I saw this recreation of Casa Madrigal from Disney’s Encanto. But not because it’s wonderfully detailed—although it is—but because unlike any of the other beautiful LEGO versions that I’ve seen, this one really dances along, just like the magical house in the movie.
Paul has packed the interior of the house with motors and mechanisms that cause the roof tiles to pulse in rhythm, the shutters and doors to open and close, and even the rain cloud to rock back and forth.
Be sure to check out more of Paul’s amazing work that we’ve featured: Paul Hetherington on TBB
The spring equinox has just been and gone, so the days are getting longer and summer is on its way. To get us in the mood, Grant Davis has crafted an idyllic-looking bit of LEGO coastline. The still pictures on their own are already making me long for a bit more sunshine (especially having just been through the Finnish winter!), but these only tell half the story…
Everyone knows that an Archelon is a species of marine turtle that went extinct during the Late Cretaceous period. What this LEGO build supposes is, maybe they didn’t and then a hermit community built a castle on one’s back. Archelon Castle by Fraser Ratzlaff is a fanciful, Mindstorms-powered, articulated creature with 4 independently swaying appendages, an anatomically correct mouth masticating a lobster, and oh yes—the entire beast (and affixed castle) slowly rotates 360 degrees. Hitch a ride as we explore the intense environmental storytelling of this build that took almost two years to create.
Great Ball Contraptions (GBCs) are one of the most fascinating and mesmerizing pieces of LEGO art out there. GBC layouts at any convention will always enjoy an onslaught of wonderstruck fans. But what those fans may not know is that many LEGO GBC modules were inspired by one person. Of course, not all of them – there’s tons of originality in the hobby. That said, a household name amongst GBC enthusiasts is Akiyuki. His incredible designs have been the inspiration for hundreds of builds. Now he’s back with an incredible new creation, his “Five Tilted Rings” module.
Jason Allemann typically builds kinetic sculptures without minifigures in mind. But this time, he’s decided to come at it from the little guys’ perspective! The most recent addition to the JK Brickworks collection is a cute little LEGO ski chalet. Now it’s time to hit the slopes, so come with us as we take a tour!
In general, it has lots of character and fun details, but the most prominent feature is, of course, the lift. When the skier is placed at the bottom, the mechanism effortlessly carries the figure to the top of the slope. It’s a slick mechanism, and the only thing that would make it better would be if the skier came back around on his own to be picked up again.
In 1878, Eadweard Muybridge studied animal locomotion and took a series of pictures of a trotting horse to see every phase in a stride. How? He placed 24 cameras around a racetrack, each 27 inches apart. As the horse trotted past, a tripwire each shutter was snapped. Combined, those pictures became a precursor to motion pictures, and technically, the first GIF. In honor of this, Tobias Munzert has built a mechanical LEGO version that gallops in stride with the original animation.
The mechanics are timed really well to get that genuine look of a horse in motion. If you look closely, you can see that even the head pushes forward slightly. You should also take a closer look at the excellent parts usage on the neck, head, and feet!
Fixed gears, no brakes, and eye-watering speeds – what more could an adrenaline junkie want? If you’ve never watched the sport of track cycling, I’d highly recommend visiting a velodrome (or at least watching it on TV during the Olympics this summer). It’s not just biking in circles. These insane athletes zip around the bowl-shaped track, vying for position like gravity-defying daredevils. Being aerodynamic is key, as demonstrated by this LEGO kinetic sculpture, built by George Panteleon.
Though the mechanism is simple, it’s so satisfying to see the rider’s legs “pedal” the bike. My favorite elements of this build (other than the fact that it actually moves) are the paint-roller handlebars and the shoulder armor turned helmet!
We’ve also featured several of George’s vehicles, a giant watch, and some outstanding character sculptures!
Or as RJ BrickBuilds likes to call it: a Brickshaw! This has to be one of the most adorable automata RC builds I’ve ever seen. It’s powered by a large LEGO Power Functions motor, IR receiver, and battery box. I love how the elements are hidden in plain sight, as the seat and the little guy’s torso.
I’m not sure what it is about a cartooney character with giant eyes, but you can’t help but smile when you see one. And that’s not the only thing that makes it cute – the waddle-run gives it extra character. He’s working so hard, he deserves a tip! The colorful cart itself is also instantly recognizable, with the Technic panels covering the battery doubling perfectly as a seat blanket.
Alex Trebek was a TV staple and gameshow icon until his passing in November of 2020. We were all saddened by this and that is why it is such a treat to see this touching LEGO tribute built by Douglas Hughes. He tells us he and his wife would watch Jeopardy daily and so Alex Trebek was an important part of their lives. The clean, swooping set design, the figures and the sticker work are all quite impressive in their own right. Douglas, however, wins the bonus round with the inclusion of lights, Power Functions and Mindstorm EV3 components.
Check out this impressive video to see and hear Alex and these legendary contestants in action.
Douglas is a diversely talented LEGO builder who has been featured several times here on The Brothers Brick before.