I’m something of a failure when it comes to building spaceships. I have tried and failed for the past three SHIPtembers to build a massive spaceship, and even my smaller spaceships generally end up on the scrapheap due to a lack of vision for their execution. Balancing the greebles with the smooth parts is a challenge for me, and integrating the cockpit with the rest never seemed to work out well. But then Dave Kaleta announced an alphabet starfighter contest, and I had to give it a go. Finally, I had a coherent plan for the design, a letter of the alphabet. And what better letter to start with than B? After all, my name, Benjamin Stenlund, starts with B, and so does Benny from The LEGO Movie. And since Benny and I are both from the 1980s, I went with a Neo-Classic Space styling, to remove any further difficulty that might have arisen from complicated color choices. I had to start somewhere, you know?
I was quite pleased with the way the dual cockpits integrated with the overall shape, and indeed having two of those canopies was a major reason I went with this design, as the curves add to the B shape perfectly. I added as many Classic Space elements as I could, like the triple loudspeaker on the back and the computers in the cockpits, gleaned from the older part of my collection; and then I went greebled like crazy in the gaps. My favorite element in the greebles is the old exhaust pipes from my childhood Town sets. I’m not afraid to mix old and new greys together, so both can be seen in the build; I think it adds a sense of weathering appropriate for a spaceship. I’ve already been commissioned by my 4-year-old to build him a few spaceships, so hopefully, I’ll be able to add to the collection of finished craft soon and spread literacy across the galaxy!
If you were to create mechs based on your favorite LEGO minifigures, which would you chose? For Steven Howard, he’s picked three that would top the lists of many people, especially when they look this cool. And I’ve gotta say, the setting sun backdrop and shadows showcase them well. They look like they stomped straight out of the LEGO Movie. But they’re even better up close…
Recently LEGO builder Dave Kaleta completed his series of Alphabet-shaped ships. Many of us wondered “what’s next?” Well looks like Dave answered that question with a question of his own. Behold the ?-Wing. As impressive as that curved hull is, even more spectacular is that this ship is able to stand upright on it’s own. (Well, okay, partly thanks to two small landing gear strips.) It’s worth clicking through to Dave’s instagram post to see this beauty in action.
Like the rest of the fleet, this ship was built in collaboration with Dave’s 4 year old son, Elliot. Interested in joining in on the fun? Dave is running a contest for builders who want to make their own entries into the Alpha-fleet.
LEGO Spacer Blake Foster only just launched an impressive cargo hauler decked out in Classic Space livery, and now the cargo fleet sees a cute expansion with this smaller craft — a jump shuttle packed with oddball character. There’s an impressive depth of functional-looking greebling packed into the light grey sections of the ship, and I particularly like those front legs — obviously useful in helping push this little spaceship free from gravity’s tethers. The angles on the blue hull section are excellent, and the unusual design is all tied in nicely around the trans-yellow bubble cockpit. Blake calls this the Cargo Critter, because of its bug-like appearance — a perfect nickname for a perfectly-formed spacecraft.
Sometimes it feels like every spaceship I see out there in the LEGO building community is either a single-seat starfighter or a giant capital ship. Sometimes the fighters are tiny, sometimes they themselves are giant, and some of the capital ships are minifig scale and others are microscale. But wouldn’t it be nice to see something else with more frequency? Like, what about the civilian ships, or even the military support vessels? Someone has to move the supplies from Planet A to Planet B, right? Well, thankfully we have Blake Foster, who has made us a small, minifig scale Neo-Classic Space (NCS) cargo shuttle. Called the Blue Lobster because it grips two containers at a time in its mechanical claws and it’s blue, it is the ship you hire for small jobs, when you don’t want to spend an entire nation’s GDP to move a few crates.
The coherent color scheme is perhaps my favorite aspect of NCS ships, and the Blue Lobster does not disappoint, with the obligatory yellow canopy and the blue and grey body. The grey greebles are perfect, using my favorite greeble element, the piston bar, and the Nexo Knights droid torso to great effect around the engines. I also love those crates; each is a work of art in itself, with some fascinating geometry making them work. Now, I need to move in a month or two, and I think my family’s belongings could fit in those crates (if we were minifigures, that is); maybe I should ask Blake if this cosmic crustacean is up for hire.
Colonizing alien planets is the adventure of a lifetime, but things don’t always go as planned. This LEGO radar outpost by Douglas Hughes supports a group of colonists and space marines in their efforts to tame the wild unknown. The best part about a radar outpost with treads is you can make a not-so-quick getaway when the going gets rough.
…Next time won’t you sing with me? With several toddlers roaming the hardwood, I sing the alphabet song frequently around my house. It’s a classic. That also seems to be what Dave Kaleta is singing with this gorgeous poster shot of all of his alphabet starfighters, built out of LEGO in collaboration with his young son. We have featured several of them on their own, like B and C, among others, but all together they are gorgeous.
And while we usually don’t promote contests here at The Brothers Brick, I can’t resist pointing out that Dave really is inviting you to sing the space alphabet song with him by entering your own alphabet starfighter into his contest (clicking the image below will bring you to the rules). It ends May 9th, by the way, so you have time to get some entries in!
It’s been many many years since we’ve seen any LEGO creations in the fan-created “Tech West” theme. The theme mashes up LEGO space and western, with a dash of steampunk, with a heavy dose of Serenity and Wild Wild West. Although builder captainsmog may label this “Colonial Futurist” but I’m personally transported back to 2004 rather than an alternate 1874. What I love most about the stagecoach is how the detailed robotic legs move just like horse legs. This is no horseless carriage — the horse is just mechanical. Similarly, notice how the front of the speeder bikes ridden by the marauding bandits are shaped like horses’ heads.
It’s not clear whether LEGO builder Shannon Sproule‘s roving habitat is meant for use on a distant planet or the apocalyptic future of our own, but this repurposed APC looks like it’s seen it all. Shannon says it used to have a turret, but that’s now been replaced with a hab module and comms equipment. The vehicle is battered and worn, with Shannon doing a great job with the weathering thanks to introducing some brighter colors like dark orange and coral. The simple digital background also gives the presentation that sense of place, which goes a long way in telling the APC’s story.
Some LEGO creations are great at telling a story. Take “Clunker” by Inthert, for example. The story here is: “Mining asteroids is a sucky, sucky job.” This scene of futuristic yet questionably maintained drilling equipment is full of great details and part usage. In particular, I’m enjoying the Minecraft-esque blocks that are being removed from the surface. I’m all for hyper-realism in LEGO creations, but when you can keep things “blocky” for a reason…well, it’s a nice treat.
A stand-out technique is the texture of the rock, created by layering lots of ball-socket plates. A more subtle, yet impressive, trick is the use of the firing pins from stud shooters braced diagonally in the underside of 1×1 plates. I hadn’t seen that one before. I shouldn’t be too shocked about that, though, as this build is part of the MOC Wars 2020 competition. You have to be as tough and skilled as these miners to survive that.
Most spaceships I have seen are just machines, a tin can hurtling through the cosmos propelled by some rockets or thrusters. X-wings, Star Destroyers, the Enterprise, Discovery One, and so on, all fit this paradigm. Most LEGO space creations fit the same pattern, be they Classic Space, Galaxy Squad, or Star Wars. But do they have to be? Galaxy Squad offered a glimpse into what semi-organic spacecraft could be with the Buggoids, and Insectoids back in the day did too. Thankfully, to show us a true hybrid of machine and alien, Rubblemaker has brought us the BR4-1N, a fusion of Neo-Classic Space and some deep-space dwelling creature.
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.