There are very few things that are more “Classic 80’s” than the WALKMAN. When it came out, it was the birth of compact tech that allowed you to easily bring your music with you anywhere. We take it for granted today, but it was fairly novel at the time. Along with it came a new era of music. Digital recording allowed for electronic effects, which has shaped the majority of popular music today. LEGO builder Jarek Książczyk (Jerac) pays homage to one of the icons that started it all, with this excellent scale model of the Sony WALKMAN.
What makes this retro build most awesome is the fact that the player opens up to hold a “cassette.” Additionally, he snuck in some electronics to make it seem like it actually is functional.
While I am known for having a dark sense of humor, I can assure you this title was provided by the builder himself. PaulvilleMOCs graces us with this fabulously retro LEGO bowling sign. The colors, the fonts and the shapes are all indicative of signs seen outside of bowling alleys across America. When you’re a bit out of shape a round of bowling can feel like you’ve bowled your arms off. However, this double entendre refers to the arm-less minifig torsos used throughout. There are two in the bowling pin, one in the exclamation point and a third comprising the back end of the red arrow. Clever parts usage like that makes us wonder what other tricks Paul may have up his non-existent sleeve. Non-existent because; no arms. OK, you got it then? Good! Seriously, these jokes just write themselves. I don’t even have to try anymore.
A little while ago, Alyse Middleton and I (Chris Doyle) shared the process behind our Wonder Woman LEGO Art mosaic. We didn’t have the time (or parts) to finish our vision then, but as promised we’ve returned to share the completed project – a 48 x 144 stud tribute to Lynda Carter. Consuming over 7000 pieces, (6,912 of them 1×1 round plate/tile), this has the same form-factor as the giant Darth Vader and Iron Man “Ultimate” builds.
Doctor Who is a British sci-fi television series about the titular character who travels through space and time. Since it first aired in 1963, it has been a staple of pop-culture and has even gotten an official Doctor Who LEGO set. Fan builders also built many iterations of the time-traveling spaceship TARDIS, many large and complex on the inside. However, Librarian-Bot created a console room of a different TARDIS operated by a different Time Lord. This one is not unlike the hero’s TARDIS from the late 1970s, still recognisable and iconic. While more recent console rooms are grey and greebly, Librarian-Bot adds a splash of colour with white and blues. But my favourite section has to be the usage of computer and button tiles in the middle. Despite being LEGO’s generic decorative elements from old space and town sets, they fit right into this scene.
Street Fighter II in an arcade cabinet is the ultimate trap. Once you get your hands on it, you’re hooked. Now, Capcom’s iconic fighter video game from 1991, known for attracting crowds from pizzerias to amusement parks, now exists in miniature LEGO form thanks to _pixeljunkie_. The cabinet looks close to the height of the 8-bit mini arcades by Basic Fun, but _pixeljunkie_ recreated Street Fighter II‘s key gameplay through minifigures of Ryu and Ken.
At first glance, you might think you’re looking at Optimus Prime sporting Rodimus Prime’s maroon color scheme and pinstripes from the original Transformers. Think again. This semi-truck is way more than meets the eye because it is a LEGO Creation of Rhino from M.A.S.K., the signature shape-shifting tractor rig/mobile defense unit from the 1985 Kenner toy line and animated series. Builder Hobbestimus actually made this his third version of Rhino, now complete with almost all the specs of its retro counterpart: battering ram, smokestack cannons, missile launcher (doesn’t actually launch), mobile computer command center, and detachable all-terrain vehicle, according to his Flickr page.
Today’s tough times have a lot of us thinking that the past was a soooo much nicer place to live in. That’s probably true in some cases. But things were tough in ye olden days of the early 1970s, too. I mean, what if you were a couple of single parents who found themselves facing complex family dynamics? Like where are you supposed to fit six kids and a maid in a small California home? Yes, dear reader, I’m talking about the troubles faced by the The Brady Bunch. Aaron Newman has built a super-accurate rendition of the famous TV dwelling out of LEGO brick, and brought all those sitcom troubles back into the forefront of my mind.
But first, let’s take a moment to admire this LEGO recreation. The layout and shaping are painstakingly accurate to the house as it appeared on the show. I like the use of angled plates and tiles to minimize the seams between the three segments of the roof. The choice of mixing in just a few exposed studs adds a nice bit of texture there without overpowering the eye. The real highlights for me, though, are plants and trees that decorate the lot. The three palm trees on the right are particularly nice, using clip-ended bar holders to allow for a gentle sway away from rigid angles. I also want to call out the spiky pant base in dark orange in the shrubbery.
If you want more information about the build, including a look at the back yard, I suggest swinging by Aaron’s own write up of the build. And if you want to learn more about Aaron? Well, then you can check out the relevant Brothers Brick builder spotlight. But let me also leave you with one thought to ponder. The dad on the show, Mike Brady, was an architect, right? That job pulls down pretty decent pay. Why the heck didn’t he just buy a bigger house? I guess that really does show times were tough back then, too.
At first glance, you’d think this was just a cool LEGO creation of a dinosaur playing a guitar. And you’d be right. But as Pistash could tell you, this is also a bit of retro history in the form of a late 80’s icon. Because this is no mere musical reptile. This is Denver, the Last Dinosaur. He starred in his own animated TV series back in 1989.
Sadly, I never saw the show, but I can comment on this LEGO version. I have to admire the use of curved mudguards in the mouth, in a light-aqua color only seen in a LEGO Friends set from 2013. That same light-aqua fills in the face and the chest, contrasting nicely with the green of the main body. The organic curves of the arms are from arched and curved brick.
I may not know who Denver is, but he still looks like he’d be fun to hang out with.
The spaceship’s colour scheme would have been enough, but Mansur Soeleman takes it one step further with his latest LEGO model and produces some retro-styled box art to really get the nostalgia pipes flowing. The ship is a greeble-lover’s delight, festooned with a wealth of light grey pipes and grilles, intakes and rockets. I particularly like how tight the blue cabin section is around the trans-yellow canopy, leaving most of the model grey, but enough to make it abundantly clear which LEGO theme has provided the inspiration.
In a brilliant touch, Mansur also built a retro version of his retro-throwback, delivering the same distinctive shaping, but using a more limited old-fashioned brick palette. I admire the building skills in these two models, but also love the extra effort of producing box art and two versions. Fantastic nostalgic fun.
If you like retro wind-up toy robots then set your phasers to Positively Delighted. It turns out Lino Martins (hey, that’s me!) has built one out of LEGO and the result is…pretty OK. It would probably be weird to label my own work as totally awesome, stupendous or earth-shattering so I’ll just go with pretty OK. He’s adorned in fabulously fifties black and sea-foam green with gray and just a touch of flashy silver. Through a series of gears, his chest plates open simultaneously and when you turn his wind-up key his head, heart and arms will rotate. Yes, he has a heart! I think it takes eight or ten or so rotations of the wind-up key to get his head, heart and arms to all settle back into their rightful positions. If I were a real engineer I’d know that for sure but… What am I, Elon Musk?
Check out this video of the wind-up action. This cheery bot is programmed to love you all very much. I’m programmed to be rather indifferent on the matter but I can create a swell playlist for any occasion so there’s that.
The average person now carries more computing power in their pocket than what it took to put the Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon. However, Johan Alexanderson takes us back to a time when ties were wide, comb-overs were a thing, ashtrays were piled high with cigarette butts, and data was stored on reel-to-reel. This is the kind of vintage computer room my dad worked at in the 70s. A vehicle door makes an excellent spool of continuous feed computer paper. The green screen, the big cabinets, the data reels, even the color aesthetic and the utilitarian swivel chair all seem clunky and outdated to us, but at the time it all went together like swingers and fondue.
It should come as no surprise that Johan is a computer programmer who also seems quite inspired by a retro aesthetic. This wouldn’t be the first time he had delighted us with computing nostalgia. Check out this free-to-play “Classic Space Adventure” LEGO-inspired computer game he created utilizing over 400 pages of programming.
Builder Mel Finelli is back on the saddle with another amazing bicycle creation, and this time it’s of a 1960s Schwinn Stingray. The construct itself looks like it defies all logic and gravity even up to the handlebars floating. I can attest they do all fit together and hold well, having seen her earlier creation of the LaFrance Super-Streamline in person. What enables this magic to happen is LEGO flex-tubes threaded through the colored parts. What may look simple in the end is the result of whole lot of patience and planning. It was definitely worth it.