One of the coolest things about LEGO building is how it can cross over with other art forms. This stunning mosaic by Deep Shen was inspired by a cross-stitch pattern. Translated into LEGO, it uses about 6,700 pieces to cover 160×104 studs (that’s about 50 inches x 32 inches) and took two weeks to build. The end result was definitely worth the investment in time and parts, as it really captures the majesty of the peacock.
The LEGO Company is well-known for its excellent customer service. The products are generally high quality, and when errors occur they are quick to issue replacements. However, we recently encountered an unfortunate scenario that left a bad impression. While many of the products we review are provided for us by LEGO itself (which doesn’t mean, of course, that we always give them positive coverage), just like most of you, we also buy a lot of LEGO through regular retail avenues. That’s where I come in. My name is Chris Doyle, and I’m a contributor here at The Brothers Brick. Frequent readers may also recognize my name from the LEGO Art super hero mosaics I’ve been building lately. It’s fair to say I’ve spent a lot (a lot a lot a lot) of money on LEGO mosaic kits and related parts over the past year. When LEGO announced their new 40179 Personalized Mosaic Portrait kit, I quickly found an excuse to buy it. But what do you do when the 6,002-piece set you order arrives and it only has 4,502 pieces? Somewhere along the way, LEGO substantially changed the number of pieces included in this set. Here’s my experience.
Brothers Brick contributor Chris Doyle is back with another heroic pop-culture mosaic in the LEGO art style. Completing his “Trinity” of retro DC superheroes is Batman as portrayed by Adam West. Because of course that’s the version he’d build.
The 1960’s Batman was a far cry from the grim and gritty versions on the screen these days. This was a Batman who was always looking for the best in people, who was always quick to lend a helping hand, and who’s level of violence was limited to “Biff!” and “Pow!” and the occasional “Splatt!” This is the Batman who I’d want to see in my dream Justice League, along with the Lynda Carter version Wonder Woman and Christopher Reeve’s Superman.
Thanks to the LEGO Art sets, I’ve been on a real mosaic building kick lately. My last two (Wonder Woman and Kinga Forrester) were collaborative builds, but for my next effort I wanted to do one that was just by me. For a subject I decided on Christopher Reeve’s unforgettable role as Superman. Why? Because this is the sort of superhero the world really needs these days. The total build is around 5,400 parts (5,376 1×1 plates/tiles in the 48×112 stud image).
Once again I made use of the LEGO Art Remix web site to generate several different sets of instructions. My first attempt was…well, let’s be charitable and just say “it didn’t quite work out as planned.” But once I settled on a better alternate image things went together pretty quickly. (It took the same time to build as it takes to watch Superman, Superman II, Superman II: The Donner Cut, and Superman III. I was worried it might stretch into Superman IV territory, but not quite.).
One of my favorite escapes from reality is Mystery Science Theater 3000. People riffing on bad movies just makes the world seem less bleak, somehow. The best part, though, is that my wife Jennifer is also a big fan. She’s usually more of a “build a LEGO set” person than a “make something new out of LEGO” person, but I was able to tempt her into collaborating on a LEGO Art style mosaic of the latest MST3k head-honcho: Kinga Forrester. (As portrayed by a Felicia Day.)
The techniques we used were very similar to the ones I helped develop for my Wonder Woman collaboration. We bought a couple of LEGO art sets (Beatles and Warhol this time.) We used the LEGO Art Remix site to create several prototype images. We threw away our first few attempts, and combined at least three different versions of instructions for the final image. And then hand-built all the fine details anyway.
When we reviewed 31199 Marvel Studios Iron Man from the first wave of the new LEGO Art mosaic sets a few months ago, we talked about LEGO’s long history with mosaics, going all the way back to 1955. Despite being a considerably different build experience from the typical LEGO set, mosaics have enduring popularity, and LEGO is determined to keep up with that market, as the second wave of Art mosaic sets has already been revealed. Two new sets are launching January 1, 2021, from the Wizarding World and Disney franchises. Today we’re looking at the first of those sets, 31201 Harry Potter Hogwarts Crests, which will retail for US $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £114.99 and includes 4,249 pieces. The set includes pieces to build the crests for any one of the four Hogwarts houses, and four copies of the set can be combined to build a giant Hogwarts School crest.
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.
Today we’re getting our first look at the second wave of LEGO Art sets, thanks to European toy retailer Van Der Meulen. Expected to debut in January 2021, the pair of new sets are 31201 Harry Potter Hogwarts Crests and 31202 Disney’s Mickey Mouse. The sets follow on the heels of the first wave of LEGO Art sets which were released in September featuring Star Wars, The Beatles, Andy Warhol, and Iron Man (which we reviewed). Like those sets, the two new mosaics include the pieces for multiple designs. The Harry Potter set has 4,249 pieces and can build each of the four Hogwarts house crests, though only one at a time. Brickset reports that four copies of the set can also be combined to create the Hogwarts crest, though we don’t have any images of that at this time. Similarly, the Mickey Mouse set has two options for either building Mickey or Minnie and we presume they can also be combined in some way. This set contains 2,658 pieces.
There’s no word on the price yet. The previous four sets each cost $120 USD and contained around 3,250 pieces, so we’ll have to see if the new sets keep the same price point with the Hogwarts one having considerably more pieces and the Disney one a lot fewer.
Don’t miss the other new sets for 2021:
- LEGO Art Mosaics 31201 Harry Potter Hogwarts & 31202 Disney’s Mickey Mouse
- LEGO Botanical Collection Bonsai Tree and Flower Bouquet
- LEGO City 2021
- LEGO Creator 2021
- LEGO Dots 2021
- LEGO Friends 2021
- LEGO Harry Potter 2021
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2021
- LEGO Ninjago 2021
- LEGO Technic 2021
- LEGO Technic 42123 McLaren Senna GTR
- LEGO Star Wars 2021
- LEGO Star Wars The Mandalorian 75299 Trouble on Tatooine
- LEGO Super Mario 2021
Check out more details of the new mosaics below.
Sure, 1×1 studs or square plates certainly can get a mosaic job done, the fairly recent LEGO Art sets are case in point, but there is always more than one approach to an art form. In this recent LEGO model built by Andreas Lenander, he admittedly takes a crack at a different way to mosaic with some inspiration from Katie Walker.
The approach here is primarily utilizing the 1×1 cheese slope in the creation of the mosaic. Lenander not only does a beautiful floor with this process of mosaic-work, but he also creates an amazing brick-built wall that has the aesthetic of a stained glass window using translucent clear 1×1 cheese slopes in popping complimentary colors. Of course, the structures formed by this technique are not stable as there aren’t any stud connections made here, but as long nobody is turning this model upside-down or giving it a good shake, we have an amazing build to look at. Pictured below is a closer look at the painstaking process.
Season two of the Mandalorian is right around the corner, and fabulous LEGO creations inspired by the show keep on coming. Neil and Joanne Snowball return with their mosaic of the titular character to accompany their previous mosaic of the true star of the show.
Depicting our hero from the first half of season 1, this recreation of Mando gives off a real comic book or 8-bit videogame aesthetic. And even with that simple static style, an incredible sense of motion is conveyed: it’s obvious that he’s walking towards you, his cape blowing in the wind. Perhaps you have something he wants. Perhaps you should let that precious baby Yoda go. Perhaps you should listen up, so you don’t get disintegrated by that Amban phase-pulse blaster on Mando’s back. Could this be a scene from season 2? Only time will tell.
Sometimes a LEGO creation enables you to smell, feel and imagine a whole slew of things that aren’t even there. Take this render by Douglas Hughes, for example. It is called Sunset in the Gulf and it depicts a helicopter and oil rig silhouetted against the sunset. I can imagine wearing ear plugs to squelch out the noise and a hard hat that barely contains the sweat and grime. I can envision wrenching on an uncooperative bolt with all my strength, filthy coveralls and a squeal of machinery. Do I have an overactive imagination? perhaps I do, but an imagination fueled by life experiences. While not quite an oil rig I have been in the boiler rooms and engine rooms of ships and there is a certain taste and smell to an environment like this.
While your experiences and feeling for this piece may vary, at least for my ol’ reptile brain this conjures up rusted memories of now ages gone by. And for that, Douglas, you have my kudos.
A little while ago, Alyse Middleton and I (Chris Doyle) shared the process behind our Wonder Woman LEGO Art mosaic. We didn’t have the time (or parts) to finish our vision then, but as promised we’ve returned to share the completed project – a 48 x 144 stud tribute to Lynda Carter. Consuming over 7000 pieces, (6,912 of them 1×1 round plate/tile), this has the same form-factor as the giant Darth Vader and Iron Man “Ultimate” builds.
Recently TBB’s Chris Doyle shared with us his journey of creating a custom LEGO Art mosaic. One of the tools Chris used, LEGO Art Remix, was an essential step towards getting to the finished product. We took some time to talk to Creator Deb Banerji about the project. With his background in Computer Science, Deb coded the foundation of the LEGO Art Remix tool in about 5 hours, though he’s spent a bit more time refining it since then. I’ve had some hands-on time with it from the first release and to its current final form, and it’s only gotten better. The latest results output close to a finished mosaic design that you can immediately start building within minutes if you had the parts on hand.