Builder Eero Okkonen is no stranger to The Brothers Brick. His large-scale figures are something of a legend around here, often featuring warriors, wizards, and sci-fi women. Today, he brings us a samurai warrior, joined by a maiko, or apprentice geisha sharing tea. He beautifully captures both the modest down-turned visage of the maiko and the tired pride of the old warrior. What makes this build unusual for Eero is that the stunning figures are set in a lush landscape, which features a blooming garden complete with Zen Buddhist shrines and a reflection pool.
I love the way he has used the texture of the undersides of 1×2 plates for the samurai’s armor, along with the decorative flowers stuck to them. The elbow brick in light bluish grey is used to good effect in both the facial hair of the samurai and the three legged shrine in the corner. You also don’t want to miss the golden chainsaw blade used as a hair ornament on the maiko! The whole scene is so tranquil that I wish I could go there and take part. Now where did I put my tea cup?
There are a handful of builders who consistently produce spectacular creations; Eero Okkonen is one of them. This time out he’s turned his attention to a reimagining of the classic 2012 Ninjago set 9448 Samurai Mech. It’s quite the upgrade! The official LEGO set is a little clunky and disproportioned, but in contrast Eero has designed a tough giant of a mech, which cleverly integrates the key aesthetic elements of the original, such as the gold stomach ring and katana blade. It’s however in the detailed building of the mech’s head, which utilises an array of black macaroni tubes and specialised elements to create its demonic features, that we see a master-builder lift his model out of the ordinary.
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the LEGO minifigure, and its chunky proportions are beloved the world over. However, as excellent as the minifigure is, it remains stiff and able to strike only a handful of poses. Some builders like √erde’ have turned to sculpting their own characters out of small elements, employing minifigure headgear to give them a lifelike appearance. This pair of warriors, representing brute force on the left, and speed and agility on the right, are magnificent examples. Plus, the photography makes them really seem like they’re on a battlefield.
Two or three carefully selected elements are all it takes to create something truly elegant from LEGO and ItouN’s samurai girl Suika makes this a case in point. Combining inverted wedge and red ball joint elements to create flared britches is inspired building at its best. It’s a trend that continues throughout, from the clip plates that double as braided hair through to the pointed red boots; everything here works towards a coherent aesthetic vision. Simplicity in this instance is the very essence of beauty.
The flower-laden gardens and open paddy fields that surround Rollon Smith’s Snake Samouraï Temple create a beautifully secluded retreat for the noble Japanese warrior. What I find really appealing about this scene is the way the well-selected decorative details, such as the serpent reliefs and the various printed tiles, are balanced against an obviously tended natural landscape.
Zooming in you find the minifigure inhabitants of the temple caught in the acts of harvesting rice, pruning plants and raking gravel; and it’s this little nod to Zen aesthetic practice that ultimately makes for such a satisfying build.
You can tell that Nathaniel is a fan of Star Wars just by looking at the way he has lovingly upgraded the recent Boba Fett buildable figure set. Everyone’s favourite Mandalorian looks noticeably filled-out with new anatomical details added in the form of cleverly integrated brick built thighs. A number of other neat touches to his armour provide detail and a samurai twist. I suspect Nathaniel knows his Star Wars lore, specifically George Lucas’s debt to Akira Kurosawa’s epic The Seven Samurai, referencing the connection in the theming of his creation. I have to agree, that the bounty hunter reimagined as samurai warrior, banners flying, Katana in hand, striding across a flower-laden Shogun era meadow, looks amazing.
Nothing says “Japan!” more than mechs and samurai. Japanese builder Moko fuses both concepts into a figure of a dignified warrior. A stunning combination of shiny chrome-gold rings on dark-red armour contributes a lot to the model’s calm but awe-inspiring character. Despite his origin, this samurai is armed not with a long thin katana, but with a heavy sword with a nice-looking chrome hand guard. And there’s definitely some great story behind this weapon…
Seen at any angle, this moment in time captured by Eero Okkonen is astonishing! Eero is known for his character builds, but takes it a step further by embodying them in a scene where tension between two swordsmen is captured in time.
See more of these remarkable LEGO characters
Since it’s just the two of us, constant reader, let’s jump into the way-back machine again and set the dial for 2011. Even though the build can’t be considered new, the builder (LEGO Suzuki) is new to me and perhaps to many of you too. The reason for all this fussy time-travel is to show you Suzuki’s outstanding Samurai battle gear display set, which is detailed enough to make Miyamoto Musashi proud.
I think it’s high-time we offered another custom minifigure. NickGreat previously offered some gorgeous customs a few years back, and has posted the newest edition–his Golden Samurai.