Do you know what I love? LEGO builds with a real atmosphere. Builds a bit like Markus Ronge‘s here, in fact. There’s loads of action and dynamism conveyed through the bricks. The trans-clear rods used for streaks of rain combine with the curved slopes of the churning river to make it very clear we’re in the middle of a big old rainstorm. Possibly in a city like Paris in the early 20th century, if I had to guess. Stylistically it reminds me of a combination of anime and Franco-Belgian bande dessinee comics, framed in a very Wes Anderson way. The rat riding out of the sewers even reminds of Ratatouille a bit. There’s something for everyone here!
Here, Markus Ronge presents a brilliant LEGO series of microscale Steampunk-inspired flying ships based on minifig scale versions he’d previously made. Each one brings something different, but what brought this to my attention was how each build is nearly two-dimensional in design. That can bring its own challenges, but Markus has afforded each build remarkable detail, and the brick-built clouds against the sky blue background really accentuate these builds.
Above we have the Skytanic on a majestic voyage. The gold highlights on this royal yacht add that extravagance you’d expect to see in a luxury liner, as do the white, red and black colours.
There’s something pleasing about the angled smoke stack, too, as the vessel gently charts its journey across the seven skies…
LEGO builder Markus Ronge has quite the green thumb! Check out his incredible Jungle Explorer Tree creation. Most LEGO trees I’ve seen go straight up from the ground, but this one curves up convincingly from the rock face. The surrounding vegetation is highly varied and shows the skill Markus has in knowing exactly where each brick should go. Both I and the kayaking minifigure are very impressed.
Ninjago has done a lot of settings over its decade-long run, but for me, by far the coolest wave was the Skybound storyline from 2016, which was basically a Ninjago mashup of steampunk and pirates. It’s the LEGO theme we never not from Disney’s Treasure Planet. So this fan redux of some of the sets by Markus Ronge just ticks all the right boxes for me. Markus has taken the already-fantastic idea from Ninjago of sky pirates and turned the dial up to eleven, with slightly more “realistic” designs (you can call a flying pirate ship realistic, right?). The color scheme is on point with the browns and oranges, and check out that bone dragon figurehead on the revised Misfortune’s Keep. I reviewed the original 70605 Misfortune’s Keep back in 2016, and as cool as I thought that set was, this would have blown me away.
But what really blows me away about Markus’ model is that it’s not just a redux of the Skybound sets, but it’s also a mashup with the LEGO Ideas 21322 Barracuda Bay Pirates set, another set I loved. The Misfortune’s Keep ship breaks down into a sky pirates wrecked base!
And let’s not overlook the splendidly simple yet beautifully stylized way Markus has chosen to display the models, with a simple graphic and brick-built stands.
While I know the quote I used for the title is from the wrong movie, I do love this build of the Jenny Haniver from Mortal Engines like I love my peas and carrots. Built by Markus Ronge, it’s a gloriously red airship from that post-apocalyptic movie by Peter Jackson that most people didn’t see (including me) judging from the box office results. But just because the movie was a flop doesn’t mean the LEGO build is. In fact, with the many angles of the cockpit, the custom wing sails, and the full interior, not only does it look true to its on-screen counterpart, but it also looks awesome in its own right.
I love seeing really old pieces in builds, so the tiny windows that are part of the forward cockpit are a treat to behold. The sliding doors on the side actually work, and the whole thing comes apart to access the interior. Because an airship home needs an interior, right? A place to eat some peas and carrots before starting an attack run on London…
You can binge-watch your favorite shows on Nexflix, or any other streaming service, all while skipping the intro. Because…who needs that nonsense, right? Or you can tune in to Markus Ronge’s flickr page for his faux “Netbrix” series entitled “Full Steam,” which revolves around a pleasure cruise turned catastrophic. The Royal Brixton Fire Brigade has rescued most of the passengers, including the Queen herself, but two remain unaccounted for. Will they be rescued in time? Airships and adventure abounds in this imaginative LEGO-built drama!
No matter which panel you click on, you are treated with intricate settings and stunning photography. My favorite is this one featuring the Queen losing her otherwise dignified composure at the sight of Van de Maersk. The microscale model ship on the desk to the right is also a nice touch.
I am caught up all the way through Season 1, Episode 10. I suggest you do the same so that we can talk about it around the water cooler at work. We have featured other models from the series, including Maersk Pier and the ill-fated Skytanic.
One of the most gorgeous airships to grace the skies has finally emerged from the distant clouds. This is the long-awaited Skytanic, built by Markus Ronge and alluded to in his equally epic-looking Maersk Pier, featured on The Brothers Brick last week. In Markus’ steampunk universe, the airship’s massive size was made possible thanks in part to the ultra-light steel used in its construction. When it comes to the characters involved in the ship’s construction, Markus once again gives them clever names. Hiram Lever is the designer behind Skytanic, which is in turn piloted by Captain Ulysses Wheeler.
From bow to stern, Skytantic looks phenomenal. The red, black and white hull is reminiscent of the ill-fated Titanic, while the gold trim helps give the finished model that steampunk vibe. According to Markus, the ship stands a whopping five stories tall, and each level looks distinct. The top level features a lively looking bar, and the royal cabin is directly below that. If you look carefully enough, you will also find what appears to be a tribute to the Jack and Rose “flying” scene from James Cameron’s hit film, Titanic (1997).
LEGO and storytelling are a match made in heaven. As much as I enjoy building for the sake of building, I also enjoy LEGO as a medium for producing a narrative. Markus Ronge had me hooked last month when he shared a teaser poster for an upcoming series of story-driven steampunk builds. A few days ago, Marcus revealed the first part of his conceptualized world in the form of Maersk Pier, owned and operated by fourth-generation shipping mogul, Herman van de Maersk.
Bored with the shipping industry, Herman decided to build this majestic port to serve luxury airships and their wealthy clientele. As a steampunk model, Maersk Pier is breathtakingly beautiful and does a great job of blending Victorian-style architecture with steampunk fantasy. The extensive use of white works well and reminds me of marble, which witnessed a resurgence in use as a building material during the 19th Century Greek Revival period. Speaking of history, the model’s name is a clever nod to LEGO’s lengthy relationship with the Maersk shipping company, which has included a number of Maersk co-branded LEGO sets over the years.