Tag Archives: NPU

MPU: mammoth parts usage...

We like builds with NPU. They showcase the limitless creativity of people when it comes to utilising a weird LEGO element in a unique way. Character builder Eero Okkonen is no stranger to odd but innovative parts in his wonderful builds. And he is no stranger to Bionicle either, from which his myriad of character builds originate. This time he takes this opportunity to include a part many had difficulty integrating into their creations: the Rahkshi back. And it works so well that I will now think of that part as “Mammoth forehead.” Thanks Eero!

Woolly Mammoth

And also thank you for planting the idea of Bionicle x Ice Age crossover in my head.
It was Scrat who awakened the Bohrok swarms…

A good crust makes the pie

As any baker knows, a good pie starts with the crust. Now, what a good crust is can be debated, but the creator of this culinary confection definitely did something right. Aside from the masterful latticework overlayed on the filling of translucent reds, builder Timofey Tkachev kneaded out a crispy crust of baguettes. This nice parts usage was made possible by wedging the baguettes onto flags built into the structure of the filling. A little friction helped place the rest, achieving a nicely textured outer edge to the pie.

Pie

Keyed into culinary display techniques, Timofey gave us wonderful details like sprigs of herbs, a dragon wing as filling oozing out onto the table, and stray bits of the crust where the slice of pie was cut.

Pie

If this has your mouth watering, check out some of the other desserts hanging out in the bakery. Just remember that, like the food in commercials, brick-built food is strictly inedible.

So, head or no head?

Guys only want one thing and it’s disgusting. However, in the world of praying mantises, that doesn’t always work out. It’s the lady who gets the head — literally. Expert builder Djokson sets the table for a romantic candlelit dinner, with fancy tablecloth and a glass of wine. Lady mantis appears to have been stood up by her suitor, until her meal is served on a big platter.

Date Night

While this is a fun scene, we have to talk about NPU when we write about Djokson’s many ingenious creations. For example, Lady mantis wears pieces of cloth that can only be from either Scala or Belville — two old LEGO themes full of large dolls. It’s just hard for me to pinpoint which cloth piece is from which. However, the eye sockets of each mantis are the shoes of said dolls, with the good old minifigure arms wedged inside them. Other pieces include the rubbery Krana and Kraata from Bionicle, which Djokson uses in the head and stomach respectively. I also enjoy the use of the fantastical key element from LEGO Elves, which gives the elbows a spindly look.

I guess you could say Djokson’s builds make me… lose my head.

Thinking outside the box with a friendly landspeeder

My friends and I buy each other small LEGO sets that do not compute with the space-y things we build. We buy LEGO Friends, Trolls World Tour, DOTS, and the like. It’s all a joke of course, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t try to build from them. I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) received LEGO Friends: Andrea’s Bunny Cube from fellow builder Gubi, and I knew I had to use the big cube pods in a build. Previously I used a Ninjago arcade pod in a Classic Space build, and the medium blue of this bunny cube wasn’t going to be that off-putting. I just had to hide the bunny face…

PD-102 Landspeeder

The Friends cube offers plenty of connection points both inside and out. Having one facing up and one facing down provided a good start, as one of them would be the cockpit. Hiding the hinges at the side is always a challenge, but it was nothing that greebling couldn’t fix. The addition of side engines also hid the irregularities of the cubes. One thing that seemed cooler in my head was the inclusion of the cloth pieces representing the “bunny’s ears”. They add more colour despite their texture and shape clashing with the mechanical nature of the landspeeder. After the struggle of attaching the engines from the top section which hides the printed bunny face, I could finally relax and go all out with the underside greebling…

TL:DR; Even the strangest of LEGO pieces can serve as the foundation for a good build. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

In space, no one can hear crickets chirping

As a builder, I always strive to push the limits of LEGO building, with techniques and parts usage. Combined with my arts and design training, I’ve spent years studying elements and how they fit together. Despite my self-declared expertise, there will always be creations that just stump me. Especially small ones. Especially small ones built by my friend Tom Loftus (Inthert).

Aerosprite Stunt Craft (1)

I first saw this spindly teal-and-white spaceship in person when we displayed creations together at the last English LEGO exhibitions before the COVID shit hit the fan. He explained to me in great detail how he built this small ship. He even took it apart and showed me an in-depth breakdown of how he built it. I didn’t understand a single thing. It’s like his builds have an IQ-lowering effect on me. Even two years later, after more and more breakdowns via calls and messages, I still don’t understand it. Do you though? I’m not sure, your mind may be just as blown as mine.

Aerosprite Stunt Craft (2)

Check out more mind-blowing builds by Tom here!

Felt cute, might bring down a Super Star Destroyer later

I love it when LEGO builders use unexpected pieces in their creations. There’s even contests revolving around using a seed part in a variety of builds. After all, LEGO is all about creativity, and thinking outside the box. I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) grew up with Technic and Bionicle, which both contain strange LEGO parts that you don’t see mixed with the usual building system. However, I am a firm believer that even the most unconventional LEGO parts can fit perfectly with the common ones. That was partly my inspiration in building a perfectly minifigure-scale RZ-1 A-wing Starfighter from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

RZ-1 A-wing Starfighter

Find out about the build process and the weird parts Waffles used to build his A-wing!

I spy with my little eye... some clever parts usage

This one might be worth zooming in for a second. There’s a lot of fun stuff packed into this little LEGO build by Roanoke Handybuck. Where should we start? We’ve got chain links for the water wheel, bridge, and windmill. There are also hands, horns, and wands galore used for a variety of things. We even have full arms (minifigure and tauntaun) here as part of the cobblestone pathway. Let us not forget the reddish brown crown in the tower. That part only came in the 71040 Disney Castle in that color. Finally, can you find the paintbrush and frog?

Meek Creek Village

Actually, those aren’t ALL the cool things. But I encourage you to see what else you can find on your own. Just the colors and shape of the base are fun by themselves. The only negative points for the purist in me are the cut-up pieces used for the grass. Added points, though, for the fact that apparently the water wheel and windmill spin! By crankshaft? We’ll have to stay tuned for a video! In the meantime, check out more of Roanoke’s work in our archives.

TRON: this racer oozes NPU

Yup, that’s an acronym inside an acronym. And I’m pretty sure TRON isn’t an acronym, but I know a song* that makes it an acronym. This slick cyberpunk bike by expert sci-fi builder Oscar Cederwall looks like a TRON Light Cycle, but without the light show. Instead, it’s packed with LEGO parts and techniques so futuristic that boggles our stone-age minds. The more I look at it, the more things I notice, and I become more and more impressed.

Cyberpunk Bike

Starting with the front wheel, Oscar has developed a hubless design using all the handcuffs LEGO City has to offer. They fit snugly inside the large motorcycle wheel, surprising me with how two pieces I never thought would go well together actually go well together. Oscar also turned a train canopy upside down, continuing the shape of a futuristic motorbike. Around the seat, large Technic panels continue the curved shapes that are common on modern vehicles, and I’m especially impressed with a Slizers visor covering those pesky pin holes. Oscar continued the unconventional parts usage with leg armour from the Star Wars buildable figures. I never would have thought that part would make an excellent saddle. Lastly, a Duplo train track action insert holds the rear wheel, which is covered with a X-pod lid.

Cyberpunk Bike

Oscar outdid himself to the point where either you can’t tell which parts are used, or if it’s even LEGO. Check out more of his creations here!

*The song in question is They.Resurrect.Over.New. by Lupe Fiasco, for those who are interested

It’s a bird! It’s a drone! It’s 100% real LEGO!

You heard that right. Everything in this SU-N8 “Iridosornis” Reconnaissance Drone by Marius Hermann is made of real, unaltered LEGO. Even the pants (from Scala.) Even those large wings with engines (from Galidor.) And yes, all of those are real, genuine LEGO products that existed. Marius has made a name for himself by mixing these unconventional elements into his sci-fi builds, and he does it so well. Whereas prefabricated elements like the Galidor wings might not fit into a build such as this, it works well here and wouldn’t look as good without it. They provide a good contrast and balance between the smooth blues and the greebly greys.

SU-N8 "Iridosornis" Reconnaissance Drone

Despite the angry voices of distant fanatics that gatekeep LEGO to only the brick-built system and minifigures, I find that real creativity is thinking outside the box and using unconventional elements. I have a soft spot for builders who use these weird parts and mix them with “normal” LEGO. Because at the end of the day, if it wasn’t real LEGO, then I wouldn’t be writing about it!

Check out more creations using parts from Galidor and Scala!

There’s no doubt a-boat it, that’s a fine house

Some LEGO elements really have only one use, at least, to most of us. But Nicolas Carlier has stepped up to the challenge and found a masterful way to use the LEGO boat part, used here as the frame for the front window of this precariously supported wizard’s house. I’m getting a bit of a Weasly’s Burrow vibe here, but that’s alright with me.

Wizard'S House

Swallows and Amazons

Fledgings look to expert builder Inthert and crane their necks to see what he builds next. Specialising in spaceships, he finds the right pieces to build intricate shapes that bring beauty to otherwise now-generic vehicles. He presents us with a pink-haired lady piloting a small and unique starfighter with an unusual shape. When taking a gander from different angles, we can see that this ship has the shape of a plump bird, with the elements of a fighter jet.

Spaceship Telephone Game - Part 12

Bird puns aside, this well put together craft checks all the boxes that satisfy a parts- and technique-oriented coot such as myself. A bulky body with downwards sloping wings that resemble a small bird gliding on a current is perfect. Aside from unique parts like a white Slizers visor in the front and two sizes of barrels, the use of inverted slopes for small intakes is ingenious. There is minimal greebling, but it works just as well, as less is more. Last but not least: the wing and landing gear function: the landing gear swings out as the wings fold in.
That’s it.

Spaceship Telephone Game - Part 12

Only Inthert can make it so simple and work so well. But my favourite part still remains the girl with the lavender coloured Elves hairpiece. Something about a pink-haired girl being the pilot makes an already perfect spaceship even cooler.

See more perfect builds by the talented Inthert here.

The deeper picture

LEGO builder MorlornEmpire shows us how to add structure to a build in his LEGO temple named Deeper. There are so many parts used in an unconventional way that my eyes do not know where to look first. So let’s start from the top. The build features some palm trees made with flex tubing to give it the organic, not so static look and a ‘temple’ entrance covered in sand. The entrance is made of plates with tiles stuck between the studs to create a pattern. It’s almost as if there is a message written on the facade of the building.

Deeper- Full Moc

Underneath the surface is the actual inside of the ‘temple’ and the walls are packed with intricate details. In the top we see cat tail elements, and the half round spoked window part filled with cheese slopes. Further down we come across the good old groove brick with a bar filling up the groove hole. To continue with 1×2 bricks filled with bucket handles. The columns have some stacked 1×2 panels to add texture and the tiled floor is made of inlaid cheese slopes.

I wonder how much of this creation is staying in place thanks to friction and gravity.