In the non-LEGO “real” world, I work in innovation, developing ideas for new products, mostly in the world of drinks. Doing work like this, you come across multiple techniques for enhancing creativity and improving idea generation. In my experience, one of the most effective is the setting of constraints and rules around what you’re trying to do. Although it seems counterintuitive, the narrowing of possibility, the scaling-back of the intimidating blank canvas, gives more permission and opportunity for creativity. That’s where my recent Hover Car Racer models came from. In a bid to get past a bout of “builders’ block,” I set myself some constraints — a handful of key elements which would be common across the models, but beyond those, each racer could vary in design. The “rules” I set myself: bold color styling, a whiff of a muscle car, elements of asymmetry, and an enclosed cockpit. I’m really pleased with the variety which arose from sticking within these constraints and was pleasantly surprised at the creative flow of the building process…
The next time you’re struggling through a bout of the creative block (regardless of your creative medium of choice), I’d recommend setting yourself some constraints. Give yourself an unreasonable time limit, drastically limit the materials you can use, or set size and/or color restrictions — paradoxically, you’ll find such limitations will set you free.
Once I had a few models, it seemed natural to expand the world of Hover Car Racing. I imagined a future where the drivers are rockstar celebrities, with wall-to-wall coverage of races on every channel. I love taking a model and presenting it in a way that implies a broader universe around it…
Just when we thought we had LEGO builder Mitsuru Nikaido all figured out he comes along with something outside of his usual comfort zones. Frankly, seeing a techno-goo monster emerge from withing a cube would be outside the comfort zones of many people. This whole concept has an eerie, otherworldly feel, like the stuff of our strangest nightmares. Even the low placement of the cube in the composition feels a bit unsettling. While he may have shifted his palate, Mitsuru is still experimenting with bold and stark color contrasts. The end result is stunning. I am fascinated by Object 5-D and will surely remain intrigued by what this builder comes up with next.
I love vehicles with big, knobby tires. Just love ’em. My dream ride is a tricked out, super-lifted Jeep Rubicon, ready to crawl the ruggedest rocks on the planet. But that’s not all big wheels are good for. They are also useful for getting your massive military machine from point A to point B, through all weather and terrain. Brick Ninja demonstrates this ably with this LEGO artillery truck. The olive green looks appropriately military, and the splash of orange gives a nice pop of contrast, adding some sci-fi flair. It says, “Camouflage? We don’t need no stinking camouflage!” The greebles are not overdone, which makes sense since it is an armored vehicle (who would leave a bunch of important stuff on the outside to get blasted off?). And I love the crew, complementing the colors of the vehicle while giving life to the scene.
LEGO builders Timofey Tkachev and Sheo have put together a tragic band that somehow has nothing to do with Radiohead or Joy Division. That is a total bummer because I really wanted to lay on the references for either band pretty thick but that’ll have to wait for another post now. Instead the members of this sad band are rooted with a much more highbrow notion; each bears the name of great Greek tragedians.
Click to delve deeper, you know you want to!
We all know that aliens built the great pyramids, which we learned by watching Stargate. And while the sight of a golden pyramid slowly drifting down to earth to land amidst thousands of worshipers is something to remember, seeing one in orbit, surrounded by a massive black lattice is even more memorable. Kevin J. Walter is a true believer and has recreated a Goa’uld mothership and its outer frame with surprising details at this small-ish scale. The outer structure is covered in a variety of tiles and curves of all shapes and sizes, and the pyramid itself is very accurate to its source materials.
One of my favorite builders, Sheo, is back again, this time giving us a custom motorcycle a unique twist. The futuristic Infinity bypasses the usual wheels, and even forgoes sci-fi hover technology. Instead, a Möbius strip winds its way through the body, providing a drive train that, by definition, just doesn’t quit. This infinite drive is backed with infinite power from the on-board fusion cell, letting this bike go, in the words of the builder, “where no one has gone before!” (We may have seen a similar quote somewhere else before.)
From a LEGO perspective, the larger scale to this build gives us some really nice detailing. The “Fusion” logo on the central body is brick-built, making good use of tiles and cheese slopes. The handlebars have some interesting part usage like minifigure sports helmets and rubber tires on the end of the grips. The headlight covering made of 6 x 6 x 2 windscreens provides a very aerodynamic shape to the front, matching the rest of the sleek styling.
When you need to defend your outpost from aerial attack, you need an anti-aircraft Ballista. Like this one built by Douglas Hughes, which features not one, but two substantially armed turrets; one sporting rocket launchers, the other, twin machine guns. The cab is very well sculpted with angled panels, and that blue striped detail is a nice touch.
The vehicle is based on the Anvil Ballista from the multiplayer sci-fi game Star Citizen. But Douglas didn’t just build an amazing vehicle, he motorized it (maybe you noticed the cleverly integrated control box on the side) and lit the cab as well.
We’ve featured a few large LEGO spaceships for SHIPtember already this month, and with September over, there is sure to be more to come. But I think my favorite entry so far would have to be this lunar transport ship by Finn Roberts which — thanks to a beautifully staged photo — looks like a clear glimpse into our not-so-distant future, where cargo payloads and crew make regular round-trip journeys between the earth and the moon. The model makes great use of structural support like this scaffold part to ground it in current aerospace manufacturing. The heat-shielded crew capsules and the large solar arrays provide the perfect additions.
Bringing a bit of far-future tech to the exploration of Mars, this Red Morn One drop shuttle by Rat Dude is a gorgeous take on a LEGO microscale spaceship. Alternating with smooth curves and intricate details, the carrier hauls a huge habitat to the Martian surface.
The ship is loaded with great textures, but one of my favorites is the old-school Bionicle feet, which actually made their first appearances on the first generation of Bionicle characters back in 2001. Appearing here in tan, they frame the engine thrusters and make a great repeating pattern with the landspeeder engines on top.
Visions of the future have been promising hovering cars since the 1960s and we are still waiting. But with LEGO creations like this hovercar by GolPlaysWithLego we can imagine ourselves whooshing down the floating freeways of tomorrow in style. Rather than build a flashy, bright-colored hovercar inspired by the video game franchise Wipeout, this one is made using monochrome shades of spaceship gray, and it looks great. The way the windshield part fits so smoothly into that arch, it’s like it was made just for that purpose.
Fascinating builder Kobalt brings his latest LEGO creation to the table, and it seems to jump straight from the cover of a 1960s sci-fi novel. The slim, lightly curved legs of the Atomic Bug support a large bulbous body constructed predominantly in olive green. This speaks to me of treading over rubble in some alternate universe’s cold war. Red highlights and pinstripes adorn this strider, while the touches of yellow bring out some rather clean greebling towards the rear. This craft has been well looked after. A series of snug searchlights are found under the cockpit canopy as well as some nifty aerials, made from a couple of varied lengths of flex cable. I couldn’t personally think of a better part for those large transmitter-receivers.
On turning this craft around, we are presented with what I can only assume is a power source. Built primarily in white, it stands out nicely from the rest of the body. The white 4×4 multifaceted cylinder hemisphere as the cap on the end allows the continuity to be smoothly ended. This reminds me of a futuristic energy core containment system, presumably for its atomic fuel. From this reversed angle we can also see more of the yellow hints, peeking out from the top. The girder piece gives such a great industrial feel and though it’s almost all hidden, the glimpses you get from the varied angles is all it needs.
Mecha seem to be coming out of the woodwork left, right, and centre at the moment, and the warrior mech Howlite by GolPlaysWithLego instills a sense of gladness in me. This slim line bipedal mech holds all the familiarity and function of a humanoid hardsuit, only this time, driven by a Trandoshan (aka Bossk from Star Wars). The chest has been ingeniously constructed with a curved windshield forming a smooth collar for the transparent canopy to sit.
The balance between greebling and practicality within this mech is admirable. Not one section of this build is over done, yet it holds some impeccable parts use. The combined use of the new truncated cone piece, alongside a couple robot arms, ice cream cones, and a phone handset makes this pelvis section stunning. Its somewhat skeletal design and colour scheme gives utilitarianism a well needed facelift.