My first foray into LEGO space began with M-Tron way back in the late 80’s, so the theme has always held a special place in my heart. Builder Okay Yaramanoglu brings back the nostalgia in a big way with his MagnePulse Xcelerator. With far more curves than the original sets, this starship/rover duo showcases some excellent parts usage. I love the use of X-Pods for the two cockpits, the thrusters made from those space-y rover wheels, and the pair of canoes on the front of the wings. But the best design bit is one that seamlessly blends into the ship: the three-piece M-Tron logo made from a round plate, a wedge plate, and a white rubber band. Simply beautiful!
Okay Yaramanoglu turns the idea of a floating island upside down with this Inventor’s House in the sky. Constructed on an inverted raised baseplate, this house has an eclectic mix of visible gears and propellors that call to mind LEGO’s old Time Cruiser’s theme. Inside the home is a variety of gadgets and gizmos, work spaces and living quarters. There’s even a basement inside the baseplate. It’s a high-altitude home with attitude.
In the steampunk-esque LEGO world of Wandering Skies, floating rocks make up the land… sorry, sky-scape. And Okay Yaramanoglu shows us how one inventor makes a home amid the levitating boulders. I adore the cartoon quality of Okay’s creation here. The tudor-inspired walls of the inventor’s abode contrast well with the golden shades of its roof. And the green highlights from the surrounding vegetation and window shutters add brilliant pops of color against the blue background of the sky. There is some fantastic parts usage throughout, including the cloud sculpting using 1×1 curved slopes and all the mechanical contraptions coming out of the building’s roof. But the best by far is the rock on which this “church” is built. The large rocky baseplate and craggy wheel from Nexo Knights for the two islands fit perfectly into this scene.
Ever wonder what your cats do while you’re away? If this fun LEGO diorama built by Okay Yaramanoglu is to be believed then they’re out plundering the neighborhood for catnip in a box hideout. I had my suspicions that was the case! In Okay’s words; “PlunderCats are a band of ferocious feline pirates lead by the fearsome Captain Fluffybeard. Their ship is basically just a box with sails since the cats are usually more interested in the crate that the pirate ship parts arrive in than the actual ship itself. Their hideout is located in the middle of the Catribbean on Cat Skull Island (which used to be inhabited by Mouselanders) and is essentially a big cat tree. This is where they are keeping their enemy, the scurvy dog Admiral Barkington, hostage and where they are hiding their most prized treasure, the Golden Cheezburger.”
That explains much of the tomfoolery going on around here, actually. In case your tuna supply has run low in your neighborhood as well here are a lineup of the usual suspects.
The Star Wars Prequel trilogy is old enough now that the original target audience’s nostalgia has begun a full-scale reevaluation of how those films are perceived in the culture. And Okay Yaramanoglu has taken full advantage of that to give us this microscale rendition of Otoh Gunga, the underwater city that is home to Jar Jar Binks and his fellow Gungans. While my own perception of Episode 1 hasn’t changed much in the last couple of decades, I’m in love with this build in part because it’s a refreshing change of pace for Star Wars builds. Don’t get us wrong, we here at The Brother’s Brick will never tire of Star Wars content. But, that said, sometimes all the shades of gray in the spaceships or the hues of tan in yet another desert landscape can start to feel a little monotonous. Here, Okay has broken that pattern to capture the unique bubble design of the city and even paired it with the departing Bongo sub, taking a couple of Jedi to Theed to see the queen.
A long time ago, knights would sometimes ride into battle on a trusty steed. I’m not talking about horses of course – that’s so this galaxy. I’m talking about Jedi knights, and Okay Yaramanoglu is clearly on my wavelength. They’ve reconstructed Jedi knight (okay, he was a master at the time) Obi-Wan Kenobi’s varactyl mount from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, named Boga. It’s quite a unique ride, and with its bright colours it certainly stands out a bit more than the traditional equine mount. Okay’s build is no different, cleverly using palm leaf elements for the beast’s headdress. (Is it a headdress? Maybe it’s a mane. I don’t know, I’m no varactologist.) The coloured feathers contrast nicely with the dark green of Boga’s body, with a couple of boomerangs used for her tail feathers. More leaf elements are used as an excellent match for the feet – perfect for chasing after fleeing cyborg separatist leaders.
Can you believe Marvel’s The Avengers just turned 10 years-old? To celebrate the momentous occasion, Okay Yaramanoglu has crafted a vignette replicating the Battle of New York from the film’s third act. Everyone’s here, from Cap to Hulk, keeping the city safe from the Chitauri. (And if you look closely, you’ll even spot a cameo by a certain scribe of super heroic shenanigans, True Believer!)
But my favorite detail is the pavement that’s been cratered in by a good ol’ fashioned Hulk-stomping.
When I was a kid I was a sucker for toys, t-shirts, candy or books with a lenticular printing. Lenticular printing is a technology in which lenticular lenses are used to produce printed images with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles. Back in the 90’s it was everywhere! Okay Yaramanoglu used a whole lot of LEGO cheese slopes in their latest creation to achieve this effect.
From one side we can see everyone’s favorite neighborhood hero, Spider-Man. But shift it a bit and his nemesis Venom is pictured. This pairing of good vs evil makes a perfect subject to use the lenticular technique on. And best yet, the build is not made to look like a framed picture or a poster, but rather it’s built to look like an actual comic book, complete with binding, book cover, differently colored pages on the inside and a barcode on the cover.
Useful or not, some folks have a special talent, a gift, if you will, that is unique to them. Maybe they were even born with it and don’t know of their uncanny abilities until it happens. Some folks can wiggle their ears, some have really bendy thumbs. My talent; I write sensitive poetry about the man from Nantucket. I should recite some for you sometime. Okay Yaramanoglu built this stylized Admiral Akbar and his talent is to alert anyone within earshot that something is a trap. Whether it be a mousetrap, bear trap, or in this case, a deadly game of cat and mouse sprung by a ruling Empire against a Rebel Alliance, Admiral Ackbar is the gravelly voice of authority. Identifying traps probably earned him the admiral position. In every case so far, however, he’s been quite adept at identifying traps after they have sprung, not before. Some foreknowledge could prove helpful in many cases, Admiral.
With the recent release of The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars builds have been multiplying faster than Star Wars spin-offs and sequels. For me, none of the sequels/prequels/spin-offs comes close to the magic that is the original trilogy, though I am always happy to see more of the galaxy far, far away; yet the builds inspired by it all are getting better and better. Take this microscale build of Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge from The Return of the Jedi by Okay Yaramanoglu. It captures all of the essential details, from the sarlacc to the bantha and the smaller skiffs, all within a 16×16 stud footprint. Some true fans may object to the beak on the sarlacc, but it is still well done. Perhaps we can edit it out later, when the special edition is released.
The rowboat is an inspired touch for the sail barge, recreating the hull shape so effectively I am shocked to have never seen it done before (or perhaps I’ve just been living under a Krayt dragon skeleton for too long, and it has been done before). The red sails could use some dust or sand on them, since everything on Tatooine is dusty and sandy, but the simple pieces imitate the shape perfectly for this scale. The old Technic toothed plates give some clever connections for the skiffs, and the hair for the bantha is amazing. All in all, I think this is a great Pit of Carkoon.