I have reason to suspect our very own Mansur Soeleman must be a wizard. Why? Well, look at his latest LEGO creation. Not only is it a super rendition of Spike Siegel’s Swordfish II from Cowboy Bebop, it looks to be held together with magic. I’d be worried about breathing near this for fear of something falling off. There are so many pieces that look like they’re barely hanging on to each other, but it works so well! And what pieces they are, all in such a tiny package. Wheel arches, the venerable sausage piece, a rubber ring and of course, the sword at the front. Well, it is known canonically as the Swordfish II, so there had to be one in there somewhere, right?
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 The Book of Boba Fett continues to shell out the hits, it’s also managing to throw us all for a loop. Dank Farrik, has it been fun! Chapter 5 had plenty of LEGO fans excited for the Razor Crest’s replacement and it was exactly the inspiration that fellow TBB contributor Mansur Soeleman needed to bust out a quick ship. Not one to take all the credit, he’ll have you know that his version of the Mandalorian’s new N-1 Starfighter is “a severe de-modification” of his dear friend Tom Loftus’ original yellow and grey model, which the curious can find images of only on Brick Vault. It just happened to be sitting on his desk while he watched the episode so it was a natural process. While the bones are there, I’d say Mansur’s efforts moved this far from the original. After all, there are only so many ways to skin a Womp rat. Known by most as Lamborghiniwafflesauce, or Waffles, he’s somewhat of a Greeble King amongst the LEGO fan base. Employing these skills, he opened up the design to show off the interior of the two modded J-type engines, along with the additional rear engine added by Peli Motto.
My friends and I buy each other small LEGO sets that do not compute with the space-y things we build. We buy LEGO Friends, Trolls World Tour, DOTS, and the like. It’s all a joke of course, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t try to build from them. I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) received LEGO Friends: Andrea’s Bunny Cube from fellow builder Gubi, and I knew I had to use the big cube pods in a build. Previously I used a Ninjago arcade pod in a Classic Space build, and the medium blue of this bunny cube wasn’t going to be that off-putting. I just had to hide the bunny face…
The Friends cube offers plenty of connection points both inside and out. Having one facing up and one facing down provided a good start, as one of them would be the cockpit. Hiding the hinges at the side is always a challenge, but it was nothing that greebling couldn’t fix. The addition of side engines also hid the irregularities of the cubes. One thing that seemed cooler in my head was the inclusion of the cloth pieces representing the “bunny’s ears”. They add more colour despite their texture and shape clashing with the mechanical nature of the landspeeder. After the struggle of attaching the engines from the top section which hides the printed bunny face, I could finally relax and go all out with the underside greebling…
TL:DR; Even the strangest of LEGO pieces can serve as the foundation for a good build. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
Sometimes you and your buddies see something nice that you want to build in LEGO. It could be anything, inspiration is all around us. I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) have a close circle of fellow builders that we like to call “vehicle dudes” and “teal squadron.” Consisting of Caleb Ricks, Gubi, Thomas Jenkins, Pande (Malen Garek), Tim Goddard, Tom Loftus (Inthert) and more, we get on a group call on Friday evenings and build. During this time, we discuss things that happen in the world of LEGO, Star Wars, and everything in between. It is during one of these remote group build sessions that we discovered artist Spacegooose and their colourful starfighter drawings.
It was their similarity to Star Wars ships that drew us into building them. Their varying styles and functions have enough similarity to belong to one group, and so our builds became a small collaboration. With blessings from the artist who eagerly awaits their designs in LEGO form, we decided to include our own artistic spin as well as matching the original artwork.
I love it when LEGO builders use unexpected pieces in their creations. There’s even contests revolving around using a seed part in a variety of builds. After all, LEGO is all about creativity, and thinking outside the box. I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) grew up with Technic and Bionicle, which both contain strange LEGO parts that you don’t see mixed with the usual building system. However, I am a firm believer that even the most unconventional LEGO parts can fit perfectly with the common ones. That was partly my inspiration in building a perfectly minifigure-scale RZ-1 A-wing Starfighter from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Febrovery – the annual event where people build space rovers from LEGO. I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) couldn’t say no to building a wheeled space vehicle this month. However, I decided to take a different approach: make it move, make it work, and make it Technical. The result is the Horizon Chariot – a massive, greebly shuttle transporter in a LEGO Classic Space livery. On the outside, it looks like a jumble of layers and pipes, but it’s merely a shell for a complex Technic frame with a working four-wheel drive with a double V8 piston engine, working steering, and soft pendular suspension. My favourite feature turned out to be a working tipping flatbed which launches the small LL-64 Arcade Hopper.
The spaceship belonging to the Horizon Chariot was more of a distraction than an afterthought. I wanted to incorporate a NinjaGo arcade pod into the build as the blue airtight section of Classic Space vehicles. I found it was too small for a big vehicle so why not make a smaller vehicle as part of it? That’s how the aptly named LL-64 Arcade Hopper was born. I just couldn’t stop myself from building a spaceship! With swing-down wings and a smooth underside, it’s really a step away from my usually greebly builds, but it turned out to be a beautiful two-seater shuttle.
Check out the Flickr album to see more photos of the rover and the spaceship!
There are times when a LEGO fan starts building, gets into the groove of things, then finds it hard to stop. Especially when the build is a small street that keeps growing with each mini modular building placed on it. When I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) attended my LUG‘s (LondonAFOLs) monthly meet-up via Zoom, the theme was mini modular buildings. Every year since 2007, LEGO released a large modular building, each of which can be arranged into a street layout. As a fifth anniversary to the lineup, LEGO created a microscale version of the first few buildings. I started to build a micro modular for the meet-up, and then I couldn’t help but build more. A few days after the meet-up, I ended up with a whole street.
With the fleet of massive SHIPs we’ve seen lately it’s refreshing to know that someone still loves small, one-man spacecraft. This LEGO Blacktron attack craft was built by none other than The Brothers Brick’s own Mansur Soeleman. While he could have written a better post about it himself, once I’ve dedicated thirty seconds into a post, there’s really no stopping that engine. With that said, I’m smitten by Mansur’s use of these pieces from the Ninjago Arcade Pod sets. I also like that this diminutive yet deadly BT-145 Terribilis is named after the equally diminutive and deadly Golden Poison Frog. We’ve been smitten by Mansur’s creations before and while they refuse to give me the keys to our recruiting office, I’m guessing this is why he’s writing for us now.
Most builders love a good challenge, but everyone loves free LEGO. Such was my reaction when my LEGO user group, Brickish, selected me to represent them in a build challenge. In this friendly competition amongst UK and Ireland-based LUGs, the task was to build anything using the parts provided in 100 LEGO Star Wars magazine foil packs. These were provided by Fairy Bricks charity, and contained 10 each of 10 small sets. I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) challenged myself to take these small Star Wars models and… not build anything Star Wars related. There weren’t much of the usual grey bits anyway. So I had my next favourite thing in mind: microscale architecture.
I had no plan going into this build challenge. But the parts provided were surprisingly good – lots of small bits that I use in my building style. I knew I was going to surprised myself with the finished results, and I did, for such is the nature of any challenge. It definitely produced a beautiful build I am most proud of: The Voyage to Cirrus Palace.
The spaceship’s colour scheme would have been enough, but Mansur Soeleman takes it one step further with his latest LEGO model and produces some retro-styled box art to really get the nostalgia pipes flowing. The ship is a greeble-lover’s delight, festooned with a wealth of light grey pipes and grilles, intakes and rockets. I particularly like how tight the blue cabin section is around the trans-yellow canopy, leaving most of the model grey, but enough to make it abundantly clear which LEGO theme has provided the inspiration.
In a brilliant touch, Mansur also built a retro version of his retro-throwback, delivering the same distinctive shaping, but using a more limited old-fashioned brick palette. I admire the building skills in these two models, but also love the extra effort of producing box art and two versions. Fantastic nostalgic fun.
From movies to TV shows to LEGO models, we all love a bit of Star Wars action. But one of the persistent criticisms of the franchise is the peculiar need it appears to have to return to similar planetary environments over and again. In an entire galaxy of apparently habitable planets, it seems weird we keep ending up on desert or frozen worlds. Here’s a LEGO creation that decides instead to revel in the possibilities of alien environments, setting a battle between the Republic and the Trade Federation on the colourful world of Tealos Prime. I love the bright foliage and unusual tones in the scenery here — a brilliant contrast with the typical grey vehicles of the Star Wars universe.
The scene, a collaborative effort from Tim Goddard, Mansur Soeleman, and inthert is an absolute cracker — massive in scope despite the micro scale employed on the individual models. Check out this wider top-down view which reveals the full size of the layout, with scenery ranging from forest to cliff-side landing pad, and the impressive array of vehicles from both factions…