LEGO and National Geographic have announced they are partnering on a new line of LEGO City and Friends sets meant to inspire kids to be more environmentally conscious. The new sets (which have been available in most countries since June 1st–available in the Americas starting August 1st) feature ocean exploration and animal rescue themes. The sets include a menagerie of new LEGO animals including a hammerhead shark, anglerfish, manta ray, baby pandas, sloths, alpacas, and multiple elephants.
The sets feature the National Geographic Explorers logo, and LEGO announced it is also donating to the National Geographic Society to fund grants in ocean exploration and species conservation. As part of the campaign, LEGO has also launched an “Explore the World” website and video series to help kids develop creative ideas to address real-life environmental issues.
Strange creatures have been infiltrating our LEGO posts here at The Brothers Brick lately and I couldn’t be more pleased. My case in point; this cleverly built sea serpent by Ivan Martynov. Call me weird but its many eyes and multiple shrimp-like appendages already tick boxes of things I’d totally be into. Add to this the fact that it was inspired by the ghosts of weirdo monster artist Trevor Henderson and you have yourselves one happy Brothers Brick writer. The depth indicator and other details around the border offer the illusion that this creature was captured on camera. Plugging the coordinates found in the lower-left into Google places this encounter at a precise location in the Atlantic north of Puerto Rico. I don’t know about you but I am smitten. We’ve been smitten by Ivan’s work a few times before.
This gorgeous LEGO diorama by Stephan Gofers shows us the ocean’s full depth, from the vivid coral reefs below the waves, to the sleek 3-master sailing on its surface. The pirate crew has captured a hapless guard, forcing him to walk the plank. In no short order, he’ll be admiring the fantastic marine life from a much closer vantage point, and since he’s not wearing handcuffs, we can assume he’ll swim safely to shore to become a new castaway.
While the colorful reef draws the eye first, the ship itself is a lovely model, eschewing LEGO’s pre-made ship hull elements and instead opting for a planked-look made of brown tiles and curved slopes. The furled sails made of curved white slopes also look excellent. Continue reading →
Did you know that some people hypothesize the name “walrus” originated from the Danish word “hvalros” meaning sea horse or cow? So naturally, walruses and Denmark-based LEGO would go hand in hand! (Or flipper in brick, I suppose.) And this lovely brick-built pinniped created by Andreas Lenander is as adorable as they come. Look at those little tusks!
For the past year, Peter Carmichael has been texting me updates about an Aquazone base he was building. We both grew up in the 90s, so the classic LEGO themes from that era are full of nostalgia for us, and I’m always excited to see old favorites get a new makeover. But Peter said his update to the 1995 set Neptune Discovery Lab wasn’t going to be a simple redux with modern elements, but something grander. At nearly 6 feet long and using more than 50,000 pieces, I think he delivered.
The highlight of the base is the working Aquazone monorail track, an idea LEGO contemplated in the 90s but never ultimately released. The track makes a large figure eight, winding through the central base before looping around the edges.
I was just researching bobbit worms for reasons having nothing to do with LEGO when I saw this LEGO version by Aaron Van Cleave turn up (for reasons having everything to do with LEGO) and I thought; what serendipity! Although serendipity usually involves a chance meeting with a good friend or discovering someone else likes burnt orange as much as you do. It rarely involves bobbit worms. Yet here we are. The bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois) is a creature ranging from about 4 inches (10cm) to 9.81 ft (299cm) long and inhabits burrows that it creates on the ocean floor. It bursts out of the sand to hunt its prey with terrifying speed. As if that’s not scary enough, Aaron’s version is much bigger and robotic because apparently that is what the world needs now. There is excellent part usage here and the roiling, explosive sand effect he created is accurate. I know this already because…serendipity.
Recently I wrote an article that mentioned there are a few names that spring to mind when considering LEGO-built characters. Another one of these prolific builders is Anthony Wilson. His newest creation is Aquasaurus, an impeccable display of form and function working so well together, that it hurts my head.
His incredible use of colour is always refreshing to see. This build harks back to the colour palate exclusively used for the Arctic City and Town sets, which I have always enjoyed. Relatedly, one thing that separates this from the pack, are those excellent gill fins, set in the ever-elusive teal. Though not made of many pieces in this elegant creature, the contrast it creates is brilliant. In a creation of such scale, articulation can also be a challenge to hide and keep functional. Wilsons subtle use of colour specific Bionicle parts, achieves this flawlessly, giving the limbs of this creature an exceptional pose. I find myself wondering how much this beast would weigh, as his use of balance on that black pillar is great, leaving only a tiny footprint of a base below.
For another look at Anthony Wilson’s beautiful use of colour, check out his Western Woods.
If you have ever visited a LEGO store you probably would have noticed the formidable floor-to-ceiling Pick-a-Brick wall. One bin may contain thousands of flower stems and another may have a crap-ton of these pointy bits (metric crap-ton if you’re Canadian). There’s no telling what you’ll find there and you can take this stuff home by the cup loads. For me, I’m like a kid in…some kind of store. While loading cups full of LEGO bricks can be exciting, building something cohesive exclusively with what you found at the Pick-a-Brick wall can be a tricky endeavor, but Mansur Soeleman clearly saw…a whale of an opportunity.
I see plenty of white 2×2 corner plates, lots of 2×2 plates in light bluish gray and plenty of clips make up the baleen. The end result is a pretty good facsimile of a blue whale. You can say Mansur had…a whale of a good time with this. You see, brilliant puns like that is why I am the highest paid Brothers Brick contributor ever. At least that’s what they told me…or at least that’s what I understood when they said “voluntary”. Wait, what does “conditional trial period” mean?
And if you liked this cetacean built from a limited palette of bricks as much as you enjoyed my puns, we’re sure you’ll also enjoy André Pinto’s bonsai tree, also built from nothing but Pick-a-Brick parts.
Across the world’s oceans, tiny changes in the water temperature have massive effects on the organisms living there, especially the tiniest. Coral reefs, in particular, show in spectacularly tragic fashion the impact of rising ocean temperatures. When the water gets too warm, the algae that live symbiotically within the cells of coral polyps get expelled violently from the little animals. Though the coral polyps are still alive, they are no longer colorful and bright; they are left a cold, dull white, deprived of the photosynthesis-derived energy from the algae and fully dependent on catching little bits of passing debris in their tentacles. Slowly but surely, the vibrant and rich ecosystem that once thrived around the rocky haven of the coral reef dies away, leaving nothing but coral skeletons. Builder Emil Lidé brings this oceanic phenomenon to life in LEGO form beautifully yet tragically.
Emil presents to us the reef on the one hand in full splendor, with diverse forms of coral and plant life along with little fish hiding in the crevices, wandering crustaceans, and starfish; and on the other hand, the reef bleached white, with skeleton arms appropriately front and center, with no animals or plants still living there. This build will be spending the next year at the LEGO House in Billund, if you can make the trip.
Beware shark fin soup enthusiasts. It’s not so much my thing but in China shark fin soup is considered a delicacy served at traditional weddings and banquets.The practice has been condemned by the Humane Society International as millions of sharks are killed each year for their fins and it sort of upsets the order and sustainability of other things in the ocean. Enter James Zhan and his toothy Nightmare Amalgam-Z. This creature can walk up on land, politely tap you on the shoulder with this Bionicle part while you’re dining, then maybe proceed to chomp on your face. You don’t want that, do you? We all gotta eat, I know, but driving a certain species to near extinction isn’t cool. So let’s be cool, otherwise you get this guy and we’ve already established what he does. So are we cool? Good!
The Penaeus monodon, otherwise known as the Tiger Prawn, is native to the Indo-Pacific region. It’s also cultivated for food consumption all over the world. Jason Cichon has done an excellent job at bringing these LEGO marine crustacea to life….Well, one of them at least. Seafood connoisseurs will recognise the orange prawn on the bottom, largely due to their understanding of what they look like after having been cooked.
His mix of modified plates and 2×1 Wedge’s in the abdomen creates smooth articulation within the build. This combination allows the pleura to sit snugly against each other. A flexible spike minifig weapon has been used for the rostrum while, further down, the leg assemblies have been topped off with small red horns. In the end, the part that brings this model into the realm of realism is the flexible hose with connection ends as the antenna. The colours employed throughout are so incredibly fitting, I’m sure Jason stood around a barbeque in the summer quite a few times.
The year is 1859, and the British Navy is looking for Atlantis! Builder Paddy Bricksplitter has captured this historic moment of discovery in a detail-rich LEGO scene. Based on the columns and statue, our diver may have indeed found Atlantis. Let’s hope he’s also enjoying the rest of the view while he’s down there.
The Octonaut delivers a solid steampunk aesthetic without resorting to unnecessary embellishments. The tubing along the suit’s arms suggests a very real-world pneumatic solution for grip-strength at the ocean floor. Providing a nice contrast to the gold and brown, black rubber tires do double duty as weights and gaskets.