If you’ve read The Brothers Brick for awhile, you may have seen us reference the word “greebling” or “greebles”. The term was first used by special effects artists working on Star Wars and it describes all of the doodads and doohickeys on the surface of an object to help things like spaceships look more…well, spaceshipy. This effect is used heavily by LEGO builders, in fact, if you search Wikipedia for “greeble” you’ll find a photo of a LEGO creation. (Heck yeah!) Ethen T uses this effect, not for spaceships, but rather in a clever mosaic render of a LEGO skull. Subtle light gray, then dark gray parts rounds out the effect nicely and adds dimension to an otherwise flat-ish surface. This piece acts as a stark reminder that inside each of us is a disgusting skeleton hell-bent on scaring neighborhood kids! This is why I can’t wait for Halloween.
And be sure to check out our LEGO glossary for explanations of greebling and many other bits of LEGO terminology!
There’s a lot to get excited about with regards to Star Wars these days. I admit I was feeling pretty burnt out on the franchise, but then I watched the trailer for the upcoming Mandalorian series. The visuals are nice, but I’ve come to expect that from Disney. The story concept sounds interesting, but I’ve been fooled by story promises before. No, what really gets my blood pumping is hearing my favorite filmmaker, Werner Herzog, utter the line “Bounty hunting is a complicated profession.” Builder Ethen T is also pretty excited for the series, as evidenced by their latest digital mosaic.
Using 4675 pieces, Ethen has managed to capture the dusty, gun-slinging feel of the trailer. A dark tan background grid is the platform for a replica of the Mandalorian’s helmet. The helmet itself is a mixture of tiles and plates, making use of the various shades of grey LEGO has released over the years. There’s even a single piece in white, adding a tiny pop of contrast. It’s the little touches, though, that make this an outstanding build for me. The use of rounded tiles keeps the build from looking boxy, and the orientation of the grille tiles in the center of the helmet convey a sense of motion, drawing the eye to other areas of the build. Bounty hunting may be complicated, but I think Ethen’s mosaic is up there, too.
I’m always impressed when someone builds something with LEGO bricks that doesn’t have a strong tie to an established theme or building style. It takes a special kind of eye to look beyond the mundane, and builder why.not? has that vision. Or they had a vision. Or maybe just a very bad dream. Whatever the source, they have brought to us an unsettling image indeed.
The central eye is built from 1×2 and 1×4 plates, using subtle color variation in light blue, tan, and blue grey to create a convincing iris against a white brick background.
Eyelashes are constructed from minifigure hands clipped to the modified plates and tiles that create a smooth curve to the eyelid. There’s even a curved brick to represent the tear duct.
Additional creepy details include an abundance of Technic (eye)ball joints, a floating maw made of teeth and quarter-round tiles, and dangling red tentacles. The heart uses exotic elements like a sand blue dinosaur tail and medium lavender flexible hose. There’s even a dragon wing hidden in the blood(?) in the upper right.
I’m not sure what this piece says to me. But I’m kind of glad it can’t talk. I doubt I’d want to hear the messsage it brings.
LEGO mosaics are near and dear to my heart, as is the character of Captain America. Bluesecrets brings both together in a stunning creation featuring Cap in his bearded “Nomad” phase. This mosaic is 45 inches wide by 35 inches tall (about 114 x 89 centimeters) and is comprised of nearly 40,000 plates. Many brick mosaics use a “studs out” approach where the top of the brick is visible. In contrast, Bluesecrets uses a “studs up” technique where the plates are stacked on top of each other. This allows a higher level of detail in the image, but requires different (and, in my experience, trickier) craftsmanship as the “pixels” that make up the image are rectangular instead of square.
With the resurgent interest in the Classic Space theme thanks to The LEGO Movie 2’s new range of retro sets, it only seems fitting that we celebrate these intrepid astronauts’ achievements. Builder Frost’s luminous mosaic is the perfect tribute, capturing the moment the LEGO flag is planted on alien soil.
However, there’s another side to this build. Take a look at the image from the side and it reveals another world. Continue reading
Route 66 is the mother of all highways in the USA, cutting across the nation from coast to coast through small towns and scenic vistas. Though it’s since been eclipsed by the interstate highway system, it’s captured a special place in history for making the trans-American highway a reality. LEGO builder hachiroku24 brings us back to Route 66’s glory days with an awesome rendition of the highway marker sign, part mosaic and part sculpture. The excellent use of the 4×4 quarter-circle macaroni tiles lends both the numbers and shield outline just the perfect curves.
These mosaic sculptures by ZiO Chao have so much depth, they’re bordering on bas-relief. We’ve shared ZiO Chao’s landmark sculptures before, and he is back at it again and is ready to take us on a trip around the world with a series of 3D mosaics.
Click to continue touring the world with the rest of the mosaics
Here’s a pretty LEGO view — a daisy-strewn meadow with a brick-built backdrop. Hans Demol built this mosaic for a display with his local LEGO group. Mosaics are not usually my favourite kind of LEGO building, but the addition of the strip at the front with the daisies elevated this into something more interesting than a simple rendition of a pixelated image. It would be even better if some of the varied green shades in the backdrop’s “grass” had continued forward over the base, but that’s nitpicking at an otherwise lovely design.
The oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo is Sensō-ji, founded in 645 AD and dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. Taiwanese builder ZiO Chao, whose massive SHIELD Helicarrier we featured last year, has been building travel themed LEGO mosaics over the last few months, and his latest is the iconic “Thunder Gate” at Sensō-ji. Beyond the gate, a street of shops leads up to the temple itself, and ZiO has captured the roofs of the shops using forced perspective.
While not quite as intricate a LEGO build, ZiO has also built the Hall of Supreme Harmony in Beijing. I love the beautiful simplicity of the yellow roof and red columns against a clear, blue sky.
Not content with recreating his parent’s wedding photograph as a conventional LEGO wall mosaic, Caleb I decided to commemorate their 25th wedding anniversary in this ambitious two-and-a-half-dimensional non-rectangular format. After spending 100 hours digitally designing the piece, Caleb then set about the arduous task of not only acquiring the 2400 odd bricks needed to build it, but also addressing physical demands on the model that aren’t apparent until a design actually gets assembled “in the flesh”.
I hope this is still hanging on their wall when they get to commemorate their 50th! At which time, Caleb can no doubt recreate it using 5-dimensional LEGO holocubes.
When I visited, I never got to see the top half of the Golden Gate Bridge due to the ever-present San Francisco fog. But now I feel like I don’t need to because Zio Chao has created an excellent “photograph” of the beautiful bridge. The builder uses forced perspective to his advantage to create a striking 2D image that really looks three dimensional. And let’s not overlook the little sailboat in the corner, which only adds to the effect as it sails into the bay.
What really makes the illusion work is that only one of the supports on each gate is connected, while the other one just floats a bit further back. This gives the effect that the road is actually going through the supports and not across them.
I was born within walking distance of Ogikubo Station in Tokyo, and by the age of ten or eleven, I was using the subway system to get around the city to take foreign tourists to see the sights, earning myself a bit of extra LEGO money. Australian LEGO Certified Professional Ryan McNaught and his team of builders spent more than two hundred hours building this complete Tokyo subway system map from 31,000 LEGO bricks, showing all thirteen lines in their distinctive colors (my favorite line is the Chuo line in orange). The mosaic measures 4.6 meters (over 15 feet) wide and 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) tall, dwarfing the rather tall bloke standing nearby.