Realism in LEGO sculpture is a difficult thing to achieve, and when it’s done right it can be amazing. Barbara Hoel has created a tiny slice of (plant) life that feels very real indeed with Small Planter on Books. The human-scaled books each have their own unique style and size. The variations in the spines make this feel like a real pile of tomes, and not just a repeated build in different colors.
The planter and greenery really are what really caught my eye, though. Seeing a plant that is, perhaps, not the perfect specimen of health is pretty unusual. One side of the plant looks like it’s been kept out of the sun a little too long, while other parts are thriving. Unicorn horns and transparent green ball joints represent new growth. Rare blue capes and technic gears make for some vibrant flowering bodies and buds.
There is a detail view of an alternate build of the planter in Barbara’s photostream. I recommend checking it out for even more great botanical creations.
This little LEGO beige box, by Thilo Schoen, is none other than the original 1984 Apple Macintosh. Over the years, I’ve seen quite a few builds of the Mac in question. But Thilo’s Hello Mac! is sporting something special. With the real one traditionally packing 128 KB of RAM, this sweet little recreation has been retrofitted with technology 25 years its junior: a 2009 iPod nano. Built tightly around this powerful futuristic processer, Thilo has kept its iconic shaping with some seamless SNOT work. The beveled edge framing the screen hasn’t been lost in the process either. I’m particularly fond of the modified 1×2 grille bricks used along the bottom as venting. Most impressive to me though, was that he has raised the front side up one plate thickness. This subtlety allows the whole unit to give it its classic tilted face.
André Pinto‘s build took me by surprise. I said to myself, “That’s a nice LEGO bonsai tree photographed on a nice piece of antique furniture.” Part of that is true; it is a nice LEGO bonsai tree. But part of it is false, too, because a closer look revealed that the table and the rug were also made entirely from LEGO. André says that there are 5,000 pieces in the build, but 85% of them are the limited selection that comes from the Pick-a-Brick walls in LEGO retail stores. The large amounts of somewhat odd pieces comes together for a stunning build.
The sand green telescopes form a lovely border around the edge of the table, and the copious yellow click hinges provide a surprisingly realistic rug texture beneath. The white flowers still attached to the sprue drape elegantly from the branches of the tree. The details that deceived me, however, are the reflective surface of the table with small petals on it, and the finely crafted legs, with cross supports, beneath it. What a clever use of bulk parts!
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is to Chinese literature what the works of William Shakespeare are to English literature. A semi-historical story set in the time period of the Three Kingdoms (A.D. 169-280), the novel was perhaps written in the 14th century, though specific dates are hard to come by. It tells the story of how the Han dynasty gradually fell apart and became three independent kingdoms and all of the bitter rivalries and infighting that led to that point. Among all of the hundreds of characters in the novel, LEGO builder Jae Won Lee has chosen the main protagonist, Liu Bei, his chief strategist, Zhuge Lian, and the Five Tiger Generals who fought for them. The five generals are depicted in stunning fashion astride charging stallions, manes and tails flowing with the speed of their charge, and the other two men are nobly standing.
The appearances of the generals are inspired by Chinese artwork, complete with the unique coloration of each. The dynamic posing of many of the models puts this a step above most similar builds. There might be more studs showing than some builders would prefer, but it works well with this style. They deserve a closer look!
click here to see each of the generals up close
We featured an emotionally packed creation by Malin Kylinger a few months ago, and the builder returns to the theme with another scene in a similar style.
The build has a very authentic LEGO style, using some prominent elements, like official dragons and an eagle, in their intended way. The same impression is facilitated by the brick and slope design of the translucent outer shell of the tear, reminiscent of brick sculptures one can see in Legoland parks, LEGO stores and other promotions around the world. Many LEGO artists choose serious themes for their creations, but Malin’s very loyal approach to the brick as a child’s toy makes the contrast between the message and the medium even more pronounced. The builder says the creation is open to interpretation, and mine is “contrasts everywhere!”
Located in South Dakota and finished in 1941, Mount Rushmore is one of the most iconic U.S. monuments. It depicts the busts of four famous American presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. It’s an excellent candidate for modeling in LEGO, such as this beautiful microscale layout built by Rocco Buttliere. Rocco has gone the extra mile by building the visitor center, rows of state flags, and the surrounding terrain. It’s a sight to behold, and I bet it looks even more impressive in person.
See more of this tiny monument
When builder Tomáš Kašpařík takes on a project, you can almost bet it’s going to be unpredictable and stunning. These two statues, an athletic woman and a child, are beautiful and have a feeling of piercing tranquility. Made mostly with 1×2 transparent LEGO bricks lit with LED strips from the inside, the sculptures contain about 20,000 bricks and 10,000 bricks respectively. For them to be stable for display and transportation, the pieces are glued using similar methods to those employed in the models at Legoland.
Click to see more
One of the most incredible things about LEGO is that you can truly build anything you set your mind to. A good builder can take a pile of squared-off pieces and create something that looks organic. Sometimes a LEGO artist (because that’s what they really are) has that extra stroke of genius that takes a build to the next level and gives it life. If you don’t know about Alex de Jong, you should, because he’s proven this point with his stunning tribute to Disney’s Tinker Bell. We were fortunate to communicate with Alex throughout the build process, and he has been kind enough to share with us exclusive details about the project.
Click to read the tale behind the fairy!
Builder keiichi kamei is no stranger when it comes to building phenomenal LEGO sculptures. Earlier this year, you might recall us sharing his New Year lion dance mask. With 2019 being the year of the pig, keiichi is back with a majestic-looking LEGO wild boar. His boar looks like the real deal, thanks to intricate sculpting of the animal’s body. A combination of curved and angled slopes form the overall shape of the body, which is nearly void of studs. Meanwhile, the positioning of the legs is reminiscent of how boars trot around while they forage for food. Better watch out for those tusks, though!
A couple weeks ago we started featuring curated LEGO auctions featured on Catawiki. Current auctions include some rather rare LEGO sets from the 70’s and 80’s, along with custom models by LEGO artists.
One of the most nostalgic LEGO sets from the Classic Space era is 928 Galaxy Explorer. A copy of the set complete with box and instructions in great condition is up for auction right now.
See more interesting LEGO auctions on Catawiki
An artist’s work is never done, but even when the stone block is still half rough from the quarry, there’s room to marvel. Gabriel Thomson‘s rugged craftsman may be working with a harder medium than Gabriel himself, but it’s nonetheless a reflection of the skill involved in art, be it made of marble or LEGO. And speaking of skill, the horse head is fantastically sculpted, but no less so than the workman with his thick beard and toned arms.
The cube is one of the most common shapes and one that is particularly well suited to LEGO models. But this clever construction by Didier Burtin takes cubic LEGO construction to a whole new level. The structure of 5 plates matching the width of 2 studs is the most basic form of LEGO math at the core of this model, but the use of sideways facing stud bricks, jumper plates, and brackets, as well as plates and tiles in alternate shades of gray, add up to way more than the sum of its parts.