I’ve been fascinated by the shoebill lately. I mean, that’s not unusual, I’ve always had a love for animals both odd and familiar but there has been an uptick in my shoebill YouTube searches lately. They’re such weird and majestic creatures who seem to know things beyond our understanding. Do you agree? I guess you just need to see the same YouTube videos I’ve been watching to know what I mean. So with that said, you can imagine my delight to see that Mitsuru Nikaido has built a lovely LEGO shoebill mech. Of course he has! With his distinct style and love for animals, he has consistently been among my favorite builders. Here’s why.
I don’t know how many sleepless nights I’ve had while anxiously wishing someone would build a LEGO Mecha Heterocephalus-glaber. I know what you’re thinking; we’ve all been there, right? Thankfully, Mitsuru Nikaido answered our prayers and maybe now we can get some sleep for once. For those uninitiated with this creature’s scientific name, it is commonly called a naked mole-rat. (Tee-hee!) Mitsuru is no stranger to building weird mecha creatures of all kinds. Of all of youse, he’s probably the most qualified to build an awesome mech mole-rat, to be honest. Now, if I can’t sleep, it’ll be for other worrisome reasons like; do algorithms dream of electric murder? Why is my mom using the eggplant emoji? Is that Matt Gaetz behind the hamper?
When I first heard about Mitsuru Nikaido‘s LEGO mecha walrus, I pictured a cyberpunk Beatles nightmare. But when I looked at how well-built and detailed it was, I was only impressed.
What really sells this as a mecha walrus are the green eyes. They give off a ghostly computer-like glow that is creepy and makes the rest of the build look metallic. The tubing also helps, but without the eyes, I would have thought it was just a LEGO Technic-style sea mammal.
The skin even looks like armor plating! Well done, Mitsuru!
Some spacecraft are friendly, full of friendly space explorers and friendly scientists. And then there’s this craft by Mitsuru Nikaido, which might be friendly, but I don’t trust it. Anything with more than 2 arms can’t be trusted. But I do like a good set of organic-looking lander arms. And that twisted central structure is pretty sweet.
Less is more when Mitsuru Nikaido takes on a build. The few shades of light and dark grey, or the use of white elements are a minimal approach that yield some very complex projects. Mitsuru’s latest LEGO Mech Hermit Crab Mk2-17 adds to his robot menagerie that still has us stunned by the centipede, a nautilus, and a skeleton fish. The hermit crab, like the other creatures, is what one would have expected in 2020 — an advanced machine built to mirror its natural life form.
The movement capabilities of the Mech Hermit Crab Mk2-17 extend the imagination. Its legs bend in and stretch out using an intricate system of joints for its six legs. The grey underbelly highlights the Technic link tread wide, one of Mitsuru’s often-used elements. On its back is the real kicker, a shell that opens and closes to reveal what could be a blast cannon. Hermit crabs can make a home out of LEGO bricks, as long as they can carry it on their back. In this case, this crab is fully equipped for any challenge.
The nautilus is one of those amazing creatures both strange and beautiful. With a spiral shell that seems to be a natural manifestation of the golden mean. And when interpreted by Mitsuru Nikaido, this cephalopod takes on an even more usual form, as Mitsuru builds mechanical versions of living creatures. Aside from the many curved sections, and the sprouting tentacles, my favorite detail would have to be the Hero Factory chest piece for eyes.
LEGO builder Mitsuru Nikaido is back with another one of his animal mechs and this time he’s left off the protective exoskeleton. Instead, you have a fish that has a…regular skeleton. This fishy mech follows the same white and gray color scheme that his other animal mechs have so it makes for a great new addition to the line. As always, Mitsuru has demonstrated some very nice parts usage. I’m particularly fond of the repeated use of these handlebars along its backbone. I advise you clear your schedule, settle in, and check out these mechs by Mitsuru and others.
The line between art and craftsmanship is a tricky one to walk. I know I’ve gotten into a few deep (and sometimes tense) conversions with my friends about the distinction. Things get even trickier when you apply that sort of judgment call to LEGO creations. I think, though, that most would agree that Mitsuru Nikiado‘s works fall on the side of “art.” Not only is Object-8 titled like something you’d see in a gallery show, it looks like it’s right at home in a sculpture garden. In contrasting red and grey, Mitsuru has created a dynamic image of destruction.
That said, there’s still a lot of craftsmanship to appreciate. As you can see from this alternate angle, every bit of the exploding wall is connected. Building on the techniques in Object-5, modified 1×1 round plates and open-stud connectors combine to allow for some pretty crazy angles.
Just when we thought we had LEGO builder Mitsuru Nikaido all figured out he comes along with something outside of his usual comfort zones. Frankly, seeing a techno-goo monster emerge from withing a cube would be outside the comfort zones of many people. This whole concept has an eerie, otherworldly feel, like the stuff of our strangest nightmares. Even the low placement of the cube in the composition feels a bit unsettling. While he may have shifted his palate, Mitsuru is still experimenting with bold and stark color contrasts. The end result is stunning. I am fascinated by Object 5-D and will surely remain intrigued by what this builder comes up with next.
How’s your day going? Nevermind, don’t answer that because it’s about to become a bit more creepy-crawly thanks to this LEGO centipede from Mitsuru Nikaido. “Regular” centipedes are creepy enough, but this one is a mech because apparently this is what the world needs now. I kid because I am as fascinated by real-life centipedes as I am this mecha one, but with that said, I still don’t want either one turning up in my sock drawer. Perhaps it can find a home in a very distant mecha woodpile somewhere. Be sure to also check out Mitsuru’s other awesome mechs.
But before you go, this photo demonstrates that this mecha centipede is just as flexible as the real thing. Sleep tight, readers. Sleep tight.
Now, what have we here? Far from its habitat in Mecha Antarctica, Mitsuru Nikaido’s Mecha Penguin is here. But why is it here? Well, from a distance we can’t really tell now can we? Is it here to destroy its enemies? Or perhaps it wants to endear us for treats of little robotic pilchards. The way I see it, all evidence seems to indicate the former. Observe the creature’s razor-sharp beak and wings. Not something you’d quite want to cuddle up with. The glowing eyes may also be a clue to his intentions. Whatever the case, I think it best to keep our distance and hope he doesn’t see us.
I don’t know precisely what the Martian tripods in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds looked like, but I can easily imagine this three-legged walker by Mitsuru Nikaido being cast in the next Hollywood version. Towering over the battlefield and filled with mechanical intricacy, this monster tripod evokes overwhelming technology. All the exposed wiring made from minifigure whips, though a common technique, is particularly effective here. The gunmetal-colored egg container on the upper housing enhances the sense of alienness.