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
- CAD-like controls to allow for building in any direction (including illegal connections)
- Ability to import your current projects from LDraw and LDD
- Integration with BrickLink to export a digital model to a wanted list
The Stud.io software is an open beta test right now, so you can expect a few bumps and more updates to come, but we’re always excited to see a new tool for the building community.
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.
As this unfortunate little French chef has discovered, a female behind the wheel can be a scary experience especially when she is after your croissant! Gabriele Zannotti is skilled at bringing virtual LEGO creations to life and this time he has worked his digital rendering magic on a Citroën 2CV Mecabricks project by actioncharles. This Citroën 2CV is a lovely little build, but the rendering really raises it up a level with lights, action, movement and… glass refraction!
Gabriele has been featured here before for his rendering work. We covered his excellent M.C. Escher’s “Hand with Reflecting Sphere” last year. How do you feel about TBB featuring rendered work as well as ‘in the brick’ creations?
LEGO has released an update for LEGO Digital Designer (LDD), the company’s proprietary virtual building program. Update 4.3.9 is available for free on both OSX and Windows operating platforms. If you already have LDD, the latest update will install automatically when connected to the internet. The update is approximately 275MB in size and includes over 300 new parts such as CMF Series 15 minifigure parts, Speed Champions, Elves, Jurassic Park, Nexo Knights and so on. The new parts are available by opening a project using LDD’s Extended tab.
After bringing you the news that LEGO Digital Designer was officially defunded and unsupported back in January, it’s safe to say that this latest update was unexpected. It is hard not to believe that the huge backlash in response to that sudden announcement of LDD’s demise
Since the LDD community has waited over 2 years since the previous update, there is no doubt that the new one will be well received. Enjoy the update, there’s no knowing when/if another update will be released in the future. Flickr user Nachapon S. has put together an image showing all the new pieces.
Thirteen years ago, we met Marlin and Dory as they searched everywhere to find Nemo, befriending sea turtles, sharks (fish are friends, not food!), and learned to speak whale. This year, we’ll join familiar fishes once again to find Dory.
To help us out, BuildFiend has partnered with Nunki-psi bringing us these fantastic digital sculptures of Nemo, Marlin, and Dory.
While I share a certain ambivalence about LEGO renders with the Grumpy Old Man contingent of TBB contributors, I have to admit that I’m increasingly impressed with the high quality we’ve begun seeing from “virtual” builders. One of my recent favorites is this LEGO-ized version of M.C. Escher’s print “Hand with Reflecting Sphere” by Gabriele Zannotti. Gabriele used Mecabricks to build the scene, and Blender for the final 3D rendering. Spend some time looking at all the details reflected in that sphere…
I’ve been following the recent builds of Thomas of Tortuga with interest and expressing little yelps of delight whenever a new creation pops up. He’s embroiled in a Flickr-based LEGO wargame called Divide And Conquer which I’m not even going to pretend to understand. However, the creations he’s putting together to represent his fictional nation’s military are fantastic. I particularly liked these armored tractor tank things…
I must admit to a certain ambivalence about rendered LEGO creations – I generally like to see builders put bits of plastic together in the real world. And I’m a firm believer that restrictions on quantity and color drive creativity, pushing builders to develop new techniques. However, these vehicles are absolute class, and I figured I’d let the handful of “impossibly colored” parts slide this time. (Those are pieces which LEGO has never produced in that particular color. But digital parts, of course, can be any color.)
The rest of Thomas’ photostream is stuffed with similarly cool and slightly steampunk military creations – well worth checking out. I’m loving his series of naval vessels (especially this dreadnought), although again some of the “impossible part” use does make me twitchy.
I know some people say rendering isn’t “LEGO building” at all. I’m not sure I’d go that far, and builders like Thomas are making me pay more attention to rendered works. I reckon LEGO creativity shines through, regardless of medium. What do you think?