A recent touch of insomnia prompted this latest LEGO model. I found myself lying awake, staring at the ceiling, caught up in concern as to how sentient robots would cope on long interstellar journeys when their human companions are all tucked up in cryosleep. Maybe they shut down for a decade or so, but maybe they just wander the silent corridors of the ship, lonely and cold? This melancholy scenario wouldn’t leave me alone, and so I built it to try and get it out of my head. The robot’s stooped posture was key to the feeling I was trying to create. I wanted him to look old and tired, and perhaps a little apprehensive, as he shuffled through the empty halls of his vessel. I’d originally planned to shoot the photo and then filter it to a black and white image. However, built in shades of grey, it turned out exactly how I wanted without much processing. I hope it captures the slight air of gloom, which prompted the build.
Ah, robots. Despite not being alive, somehow they manage to capture our hearts. Try hating WALL-E or R2-D2. Try it, I dare you. I knew you couldn’t. I suspect they’re just trying to soften us up for the impending AI overthrow of humanity, but in the meantime, it’s fun to think about helpful and friendly sentient robots. Take this one by Grant Masters; it’s inspired by the movie Elysium, and is here helping this child who broke his leg. Adorable, right? See the trust in that kid’s eyes? Any moment now the robot will rip his face off with those pincer hands and stomp on him with those grille and roller skate feet. The greebles and textures look perfect, and the contrast between the body plates in white and the technical stuff underneath in black makes for a sharp image. Almost as sharp as those pincer hands.
The one thing that JK Brickworks does well is to combine LEGO bricks and motion. Well, okay, there’s more to their builds than that. There’s also the stellar look to their creations. And the great photos they take of them. And…well, look, we’re dangerously close to just doing a Spanish Inquisition tribute here. Let’s just say they’re a master at their craft and move on. Because JK Brickworks has finally entered the realm of the GBC, and it’s a wonder to behold. (That’s a “Great Ball Contraption” for those of you who haven’t encountered them yet.)
In Robot Dreams a quartet of workers rhythmically and endlessly pass tiny LEGO basketballs to each other. Each one has unique coloring and characteristics, but otherwise they’re just extremely decorative cogs in a machine. There’s an old saying about sled dogs – unless you’re in the lead, the view never really changes. Kinda makes you feel bad for at least three of these robots.
But words don’t really do this one justice. You need to see it in action. And, thankfully, there’s a video that not only shows this one in motion, but also gives some great looks at the Technic gearing and methodology that brought these robots to life.
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.
A key concept of the Transformers line is for things to be “more than meets the eye.” Builder Moko has made something that really fits the brief. This LEGO storage crate is actually a fierce fighting robot.
First, let’s examine that outer shell. The decorations on the face of the cube are from printed 2×2 wedge tiles, a code tile from an EXO-FORCE set, and a number 7 tile from a 1991 Technic 8838 Shock Cycle set. Beyond that, it’s…just a box. I can easily imagine this being part of the background in some massive LEGO hanger diorama and never giving it a second thought. That’s some impressive camouflage.
But, with a few twists and turns (detailed in Moko’s blog post), this cube unfolds into a really cool robot. The necessary joints to cram the robot into a cube has the side effect of giving it a high level of articulation. It doesn’t feel like there was an inch of wasted space in this build. It may be a simple thing, but I also really like the choice of a transparent light-blue tile for the eyes. The color choices here really pop.
So the next time you see a bunch of boxes sort of shoved off to the side of a display, look again. You might just be in for a heck of a surprise.
Years before the Transformers came on the scene, Japanese cartoons already had a whole host of giant robots to choose from. America had some exposure to them, mainly via Marvel Comic’s Shogun Warriors and the related Mattel toy line. Those brief introductions really don’t do justice to the rich and creative mythology of the original series. But that doesn’t matter. To me, giant robots are always cool. And giant LEGO robots? Well, I bet you can guess my feelings about them.
Taking inspiration from the late 1970’s series, Marco De Bon‘s Grendizer stands an impressive 320mm (12.6″) tall, is fully articulated, and is armed for battle. Man, I wish I could have had this set when I was a kid!
A LEGO builder who goes by the name Cezium has built something that gives new meaning to the term “angry birds”. He tells us the H-301 Autonomous Reconnaissance Units are designed for scouting missions and are often deployed on the battlefield acting as forward observers that relay information to units stationed at the rear. Thermal imaging and night vision also ensures consistent efficacy in locating enemy troops. While he makes no mention of it in his write-up, I’m going to go ahead and assume it has some bombing capabilities as well. Like when you wear a nice new shirt or when you have just washed the car. Consider your picnic ruined!
As the future becomes ever more robotized and automated, I can only hope that human paramedics don’t get replaced with automated robotic doctors, conceptualized in this build by Djokson. With its syringe at the ready, held in one particularly well-constructed robotic hand, and its med-bag in the other, it looks ready to treat any injury or ailment you may have. However, I can’t help but look at that slightly smiling face and think how much I’d not want a robot making my life-or-death decisions.
With regards to the technicalities of the build itself, the builder has done an excellent job keeping a slim form on the robot, a welcome change in an age of increasingly bulky and utilitarian drones and mechs. The use of custom decals on the chest piece, and ever so small ones on the robots hips and med-bag complete the aesthetic of the build.
The MRGM 3 Multi Role Ground Machine by builder Marco Marozzi is a complex example of mechanical evolution. While the initial version felt sleek and light, this third generation is a much beefier model. Some core elements remain the same; a Bionicle Rahkshi back cover forms the spine, and Knights Kingdom armor protects the arms and legs. But you can see the shine of a new model in the shins and lower body. There, the armor has been updated to have a much more textured feel. And that giant gun is also a brand new accessory.
We’ve featured several of Marco’s other mechs in the past, and I’m confident we’ll see even more in the future. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Mark 4 has in store for us…
One great thing about Paddy Bricksplitter’s LEGO creations is that they always have a lot of character. Take Hobson, here, for example. Described as a faithful robotic butler to the idle rich, you still get the feeling that maybe this servant is a little disdainful of the beverage choices being made. Or maybe it’s just Hobson’s choice. Regardless of any pompous attitude, Hobson is all class, though. Check out the gold chain, pneumatic T cufflinks, and bucket handles as both eyebrows and shoe accents. Hobson’s outfit is also stylishly constructed, creatively using parts like the 4x4x16 tapered curve, Hero Factory armor, and vehicle tires.
With skull rings and a long pointed goatee, I wouldn’t be what you’d call a “square”, yet whether it be a Borg Cube or a transforming Rubik’s cube, I get a kick out of things designed with a cube shape. It should come to no surprise then that this White Cube Bot built by Anthony Séjourné fits squarely into the things I totally dig. A white object on a white background can be difficult to photograph but with good lighting, a great camera and just enough light gray details to make it pop, Anthony has done an excellent job here. I can just imagine it zipping around on its wheels doing whatever it is cube robots are assigned to do with their time.
A coffee delivery service is a great business idea. Especially if the mugs of boiling liquid come rushing towards you on servo-powered legs. Hmmm. Hang on. Perhaps that’s actually a rubbish business idea? Regardless, Markus Rollbühler‘s madcap vision of the Coffee Of The Future makes for a cracking LEGO creation. The legs and cup-holding limbs are gloriously detailed, packed full of functional-looking greebly bits, and the little splash of bright blue adds a lovely touch of colour amongst the light grey and silver. Brilliantly bonkers stuff.