Sky islands have been a favorite subject for many a LEGO creation. And it follows from logic that when all the rocks are floating up in the air, then so, too, are all the precious metals and minerals contained therein. Builder John Snyder shows us what a mining operation might look like suspended amongst the clouds with this glorious bit of steampunk-ery. The outpost is abuzz with gears, vents, winches, and pipes. And located right at the center of the whole shebang is the furnace, about to smelt another load of aerially-harvested lode. It was no-doubt uncovered in one of the neighboring rocks using that hot air balloon/drill combo. It’s one of the most ingenious uses of the LEGO ornament bulb I’ve ever seen!
The fun of science fiction is to imagine how things could be, and LEGO is a great medium to realize these ideas. Take for example this bright build from Bart De Dobbelaer and its fantastic mining machines. These devices can mine the ore and resources of delicate planets with minimal destruction to the environment. This is the best hope for extracting resources from other worlds should we travel the stars. LEGO is wonderful for this build, given the fun shapes and colors of the bricks and pieces. The purple and transparent blues give the planet a unique presence, while the machines themselves look almost insect-like with their rounded edges and curved backs holding all the extracted minerals.
Much like Aquazone, I’ve always viewed Rock Raiders as “even more LEGO Space.” And there was never anything wrong with more sci-fi sets, in the opinion of 12-year-old Kyle. These are the kinds of fond memories triggered by this wonderful recreation of 4950 The Loader-Dozer by Bob DeQuatre. Without using any parts that are distinctly from either of the mining-heavy themes, Bob captures the essence of this powerful equipment perfectly. The choice of scoop at this scale is dead-on, and the move from black to dark gray feels more in keeping with the rest of the design. I just can’t get over the stellar use of spinner bases from this Ninjago set for the hubcaps of its mighty wheels. It’s as if that was their intended purpose all along!
And please take a minute to admire the craftsmanship that went into an accurate rendition of the accompanying Rock Raiders’ antagonist: the fearsome rock monster. This posable version feels so much more play-friendly than the single-molded version from ’99.
Sometimes a LEGO piece is so iconic that it reminds you of only one specific theme. I am talking about the Roll Cage part from Rock Raiders. As far as I know, it has only been used in the Rock Raiders theme. Seb71 recreated this iconic part on a much bigger scale for their 4980 revival. Because their rendition of the part looks so spot on, you might get confused about the sheer size of this creation. But let me tell you, it is big! All this creation needs is a couple more minifigures and it could hit the shelves. I’d dare to bet that this would sell like hotcakes.
LEGO builder Bart De Dobbelaer has a particular style, and that style is full dioramas set in science fiction spaces. Thankfully for us, Bart’s very, very good at it. This latest diorama takes place on an unnamed asteroid, though it reminds me a bit of Hoxxes IV’s radioactive zone from Deep Rock Galactic. But whatever the location, it’s not going to be around long enough for it to matter, as it’s currently in the process of disintegrating, spurting great jets of yellowish flame from a fissure, which is lit from below. The mining rigs with their dark blue highlights all have a jagged aesthetic bristling with antennas.
TBB alumn Simon Liu definitely knows the drill, as this nifty LEGO bot shows. In a striking yellow and dark blue industrial color scheme, this bot looks like what I always hoped LEGO’s various mining themes would be (first Rock Raiders in 1999, then Power Miners a decade later). It does sport that huge chrome drill that only ever came in a pair of Rock Raiders sets, and subsequently doesn’t get used in fan creations nearly as much as I’d like.
Oh, and did I mention the bot is modular? And that Simon has built more than one?
If you’re here, chances are you’re a big fan of the LEGO brand, so you already know that it’s the toy of endless possibilities. Even on more expensive sets, you’re most likely always going to get a good bang for your buck. And in terms of creative potential, Creator sets are some of the best at encouraging it, particularly 3-in-1’s which provide a great combination of inspiration and versatile parts. The latest addition to the line is finally here, and we’re eager to see if this space-themed kit is out of this world! Come along as we explore what LEGO Creator 3-in-1 31115 Space Mining Mech has to offer. The set will be available March 1st, and will retail for US $24.99 | CAN $34.99 | UK £24.99.
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
When you’re an up-and-coming builder someone along the way makes it clear that you’re supposed to say and type it as “LEGO” and not “Legos”. It was a LEGO designer who initially made it clear to me. As a seasoned builder and writer for The Brothers Brick, I’m pretty much by now contractually obligated to use the word correctly. However, in a fit of rebellion, I’ll sometimes misuse it for humor’s sake. Legos! See, it’s funny, right? That’s why it’s so refreshing to discover an up-and-coming entity (debuting a few months ago) who goes by the name of LEGOZ ;). The winky face means that he (we think his name is Sean) gets the joke too and what an amazing builder he seems to be! To be clear, this WEGENER Mining Dump Truck is a render created with Bricklink Studio 2.0, and the image was enhanced and edited in Photoshop. However existing parts were used and, as far as I can tell, can be constructed legitimately. I am just enamored with this thing!
Some LEGO creations are great at telling a story. Take “Clunker” by Inthert, for example. The story here is: “Mining asteroids is a sucky, sucky job.” This scene of futuristic yet questionably maintained drilling equipment is full of great details and part usage. In particular, I’m enjoying the Minecraft-esque blocks that are being removed from the surface. I’m all for hyper-realism in LEGO creations, but when you can keep things “blocky” for a reason…well, it’s a nice treat.
A stand-out technique is the texture of the rock, created by layering lots of ball-socket plates. A more subtle, yet impressive, trick is the use of the firing pins from stud shooters braced diagonally in the underside of 1×1 plates. I hadn’t seen that one before. I shouldn’t be too shocked about that, though, as this build is part of the MOC Wars 2020 competition. You have to be as tough and skilled as these miners to survive that.
When it debuted in 1999, Rock Raiders was LEGO’s first theme dedicated entirely to mining, and this year marks its 20th anniversary. Set in a futuristic world, the teal highlights and yellow caution stripes now evoke a particular kind of nostalgia for those of us who had the line as kids. Purple-Wolf has put together a series of creations set in that grungy, dark underworld. First up is a sort of convoy truck called the Rubble Shovel, and it’s armed with the biggest plow possible. That plow is actually from Duplo, but it fits the aesthetic perfectly here.