When LEGO car builders come to mind, Peter Blackert is probably one of the most prolific. Over the past few years, Peter has churned out dozens of high-quality LEGO cars, and it isn’t unusual to see him share four or five new builds in a given week. Peter is well-qualified to be making brick-built cars because he works as an engineer for Ford Motor Company. Last year also witnessed the publication of his book, How to Build Brick Cars. Peter renders his digital models using POV-Ray, and his portfolio of LEGO cars is rich and diverse, consisting of a wide range of makes spanning over 100 years of production. Having looked through his models, we have decided to pick a car for each decade spanning the early 1900s through the 1960s. They look nice individually but, when grouped together, they help tell a story of the motor industry.
1900s – Curved Dash Oldsmobile:
At the turn of the Century, automotive design was still heavily influenced by horse-drawn transportation. This period also represented a mechanical gold rush, with tons of individuals and organizations attempting to make their mark on the industry. One of the most important contributions to the industry during this period was the assembly line, which allowed for cost-cutting mass production. Credit for this development is often given to Henry Ford and the Model T, but the Curved Dash Oldsmobile was America’s first mass production car. Peter’s version of the Curved Dash looks faithful to the original and looks wonderful with its top up or down.
Builder spacehopper’s digital LEGO version of Hedwig finds Harry Potter’s snowy owl elegantly perched on what I hope is a copy of A History of Magic. Although relatively small in scale, the use of slopes in varied shades of grey and white effectively suggest feathers. This works well when contrasted with the more formal tiled technique used to create the magical tomes; I especially like the gold ingot elements added here to give textural detail to the book’s cover. Simple inset amber eyes, so often referred to by J.K. Rowling in her novels, complete the build, bringing Harry’s faithful companion to life.
Steam traction engines first appeared on farms in the 1850s, and they were massive vehicles used for everything from hauling implements to powering belt-driven equipment. Use of these vehicles declined with the rise of the internal combustion engine, but their legacy lives on in the form of modern farm tractors. Thanks to builders like Bricked1980, their legacy also lives on in LEGO form! Bricked1980 does a really good job of capturing the look and feel of the vehicle, along with providing a rendered background that feels like an agricultural field. The color scheme is pleasing to the eye, consisting of a black boiler, green body and brass accents. Bright red wheels add a splash excitement. It’s worth noting that Bricked1980’s model is a digital render and, as such, it features some parts in non-production colors. However, it presents a sharp looking image with an equally great looking model.
This piece of digital art was painted with LEGO elements that we’re familiar with — Technic gears and System tiles. Anthony Wilson provokes thought and makes one peek deep into the depths of the machine. What is the machine? Who is the machine? A still of a slender wanderer perhaps, navigating an endless journey. What is he searching for? The sharp and protruding edges give a sense of evil and danger ahead. Do the elements rearrange themselves to hinder the wanderer or do they give heed to his commands? Or are these the dreams of the toiling, tired and weary LEGO fan in preparation for tomorrow’s brick convention?
There is something mysterious about a build where you’re unable to immediately tell what inspired the builder to create such an enigmatic scene. It seems simple enough, but there’s always a hidden meaning. Even just the title of this build (“Vampires”) left me wondering and compelled me to reach out to the builder, WeNoGrayD to learn more.
Castle was one of the earliest themes introduced by LEGO back in 1978. The theme no longer continues, but fan builders have maintained a strong alliance with this favourite topic to display their creative talents. Sunder59 has built a microscale castle complete with gatehouse and stone fortifications surrounding the town. This is a digital model and has the advantage of using parts that are not officially LEGO parts at present. Despite this, I really like this model and it could easily be built in real bricks with a few small changes.
A closer look at the castle reveals some of the parts that are not currently part of LEGO’s inventory. I spotted three parts in colours that don’t exist yet; dark blue lipstick on the top of one tower, the reddish brown 1 x 1 bricks with studs on 2 adjacent sides and the Technic sprocket on the main tower.
How do you feel about us highlighting digital builds and renders? In a digital age, more and more people share their work online and the renders are improving all the time – is it cheating to use parts that don’t exist yet in those colours, or just part of the advantages of building this way?
When creating this digital LEGO model of three different buildings, Łukasz Libuszewski was inspired by the beautiful architecture of Prague. On the right, we have the pub on the ground floor and a museum showing the old town on the first floor. There is a handy cashpoint just outside the pub, so no excuses about running out of cash when it’s time to buy drinks. There is also a slightly abandoned looking tenement building on the left — it’s definitely in need of repair. Access to the lookout tower is via the central steps, but take care as those shadowy stairs look a little eerie to me.
A view from the rear shows some of the interior design with the old town layout in the museum and some cosy looking tables and chairs all set up in the pub below. I particularly like some of the architectural details such as the tan stonework around the window at the back of the pub and the use of the Elves keys in light blue grey within the look-out tower.
While this build is a digital build, it has been beautifully crafted and, although there a few elements that do not exist in LEGO’s official collection, it looks build-able ‘in the brick’
Modeled on the Messerschmitt BF 109, the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force in World War II, these digitally rendered beauties created by Lego Pilot would have given the P51 Mustang a run for it’s money. Beautifully rendered using the app Blender, it’s getting difficult to spot real models from computer generated ones. Either way, you wouldn’t want to have a pair of these on your six.
These poofy corgiballs are brimming with cuteness. They were digitally rendered by Steven Reid based on a design by actioncharles. If only the bricks existed in these colors then I’d build one myself, or two, or a dozen…
Those of you who build with digital bricks now have a new option. BrickLink launched a CAD-like digital LEGO building software earlier today called Stud.io to compete with current programs such as LEGO Digital Designer and LDraw. The software was demoed for builders at BrickCon 2016 and is now available for free on both PC and Mac computers.
We have a review of the software coming, but at first glance, there are quite a few features to get excited about.
Direct integration to BrickLink’s catalog to make finding LEGO parts easier
Color check as you build to see if a part even exits in the color you want
Continuous price estimates to see how a part affects the total estimated price of the model
Simultaneous real-time building with multiple people
Gabriele Zannotti is one of the most talented virtual LEGO builders creating non-physical LEGO models these days, using Mecabricks.com with Bluerender to create images essentially undistinguishable from the real thing. When I saw this gorgeous, rusty Fiat 500 wreck, I zoomed in as close as I could, trying to figure out if I just wasn’t aware of some of these bricks in the colors Gabriele used, and I was convinced by the sticker on the license plate as well as what I could swear are genuine pieces of dust on the bricks. But then I was heartbroken to see that Gabriele had included this image in his Lego renders album. From the composition to the lighting, along with the design of the vehicle itself, this is a stellar piece of LEGO art, even if there isn’t a single piece of physical LEGO in it.
You can see a shiny new red version of the Fiat 500 in this other render.
Before his work on more widely-known sci-fi movies such as Bladerunnner and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, legendary visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull directed the 1972 sci-fi movie Silent Running, a beautifully written, performed and photographed tale of one man’s fight to preserve the last remnants of Earth nature.
In creating a LEGO version of the Valley Forge (the ship where the movie’s action takes place) Cornish builder Louie Tommo clearly felt that only a larger scale would do it justice. The result is this very accurate digitally designed LEGO version that perfectly captures the ship’s functional looking design complete with its distinctive cluster of domed forest habitats.
Even though the movie has plenty of action and some first class visual effects for the era, the characters of astronaut Freeman Lowell and his robot companions Huey, Louie and Dewey are central to the story. So it’s a nice touch that Louie has created LEGO versions of them as well, and even portrayed them at work on the outer hull of the spacecraft.
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