I feel like a little technical backstory will give you a deeper understanding and hopefully respect for Jonathan Walker‘s huge red spaceship. LEGO bricks are moulded with an accuracy in the range of micrometers, but they do not fit together air-tight – that would make construction and deconstruction difficult and even impossible at hot summer temperatures. At a very close look, two basic bricks have a little seam between them when connected to adjacent studs. Many readers may ask themselves what this has to do with this article, and the answer is – everything! This seam between bricks allows for a chain of 1×2 bricks connected in a staggered line to bend and form a very smooth and large circle – a technique quite popular among space builders for large creations.
A few years ago the LEGO part of the internet was flooded with angular spaceships built in gray with a line of colour here and there, and even though the theme of space is more diverse now, ships with this many curves still surprise. And about the gray with strips of colour – Jonathan has completely inverted this, creating a dark red beauty that will make an impression on everyone. Obviously this ship is not the first Jonathan has made. Seeing his latest build made me explore his Flickr photostream and you should do so too. Nearly all of his creations are humongous spaceships with beautiful designs, often including rounded shapes like the Instrument of Sgorbulon featured here. Sadly the builder only shared one clean photo of the build, but zooming into the image might still have you hooked for quite a while.
This charming scene of interplanetary science is brought to us by Sad Brick. It’s a simple LEGO scene of an astronaut placing a sensor on a newly discovered world, but it’s charming as can be. The greebly goodness of the sensor encased in a clear canister, with a wire strung to an outboard relay is perfect brick-built technobabble, while the arrays of flora in three colors makes the scene come to life. The use of the Collectible Minifigure Plant Monster helmet for large leaves is something I actually haven’t seen often.
In the TV show Firefly, the ASREV (Alliance Short Range Enforcement Vessel) is the preferred spacecraft of the Federal Marshals. This LEGO version by Stefan Johansson manages to beautifully capture the starfighter’s sleek lines and angles with a combination of sloped bricks, wedges, and hinged connections. The model is reminiscent of a futuristic jet fighter — the overall shape looks familiar, and its deadly purpose is immediately clear despite its sci-fi styling. The colour scheme is functional and realistic-looking, with enough variation and texture to stop the model being a big lump of grey. Nice to see a starfighter like this built at minifigure scale too — that double-cockpit up-front is class. I’d love to swoosh this thing around making engine noises and pew-pew blaster sounds.
This month for TBB’s social media cover image, we’re going way out of bounds with this sweet team van by Frost. Who knew that space orcs were footballers? (We’re not talking about those orcs or that football, you Blood Bowl fans.) These friendly orcs hail from Mars, and their Martian Minivan just might be cool enough to make us stop buying SUVs and go back to sliding doors and tank treads.
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With the recent release of the 70841 Benny’s Space Squad set from The LEGO Movie 2 and the upcoming 40th anniversary of Classic Space, there is bound to be a spike in popularity for what is already one of the most popular LEGO themes. Contributing to this spike is this creation by Miro Dudas, a rover that is heavily inspired by a classic car most of us are probably familiar with… The Flintstones‘ car!
The build captures the angular and minimalist style of Classic Space sets, but its simplicity has an added bonus – why not make your own with the instructions provided by the builder? Miro has built the rover in a few alternative themes himself, both digitally and physically, as seen below.
In the future world of Boris Schneider, the moon’s got a colony and it’s pretty rad. This mash-up of real-world-inspired design and LEGO’s famous Classic Space aesthetic makes for a fantastic extra-terrestrial outpost. The moon’s surface is made from a jumbled mix of grey plates and slopes with exposed studs, a combo that works well to recreate the scattered regolith on the impact-dotted lunar fields.
The Apollo-era lunar lander has received a serious upgrade in the form of this moon-earth transport vehicle. The printed flag and USA elements from the official Saturn V set work excellently both here and on the base to give a bit of real-world tie-in to this Classic Space scene. Continue reading
Six months ago, we featured an incredibly unique spacecraft by Dwalin Forkbeard, but now he is back with a new installment in the series. This virus-inspired LEGO spaceship called Heavy Transport M11 Phage expands on his previous build both from a technical and design point of view. He’s also given it an even more molecular twist with a double strand of DNA in the cargo compartment, built out of two tipper beds he had lying around trying to find a use for. Most builders, myself included, will surely relate to the feeling of having a unique piece they desperately want to find a use for, and this is a great showcase of how to perfectly integrate them.
The spaceship has some killer colour blocking and oozes with intense technical detail like hoses, gears and pistons. I love the custom sticker saying PHAGE and the extra effort in the presentation, but the best detail is probably everyone’s favourite, the double helix.
A long time ago, in a toy box far, far away…there were Classic Space LEGO sets. Blacktron followed in 1987 and was characterized by its black, yellow, and transparent yellow color scheme. They were a thriving intergalactic crime syndicate until the Space Police tracked them down in 1989. Many LEGO fans have created custom Blacktron-themed models over the years, including Jme Wheeler, who built this imposing dropship as a tribute. The model does a great job of capturing Blacktron’s distinctive aesthetic.
The dropship features retractable landing gear, a bomb bay in the belly that drops, and a substantial missile rack that unfolds from the tail. I think it might even be packing more firepower than the U.S.S. Sulaco’s dropship from Aliens.
For the past several years LEGO space enthusiasts have been getting together on Flickr each February to showcase planetary exploration rovers of all shapes and sizes. While it’s not a contest, as the month draws down one builder, in particular, is standing out as the unmistakable leader of this year’s Febrovery event. US-based builder Frost has certainly been no slouch with one new eye-catching rover after another each day so far. We’ve already featured his glamorous P6R, but now is a great time to highlight some of the other fantastic rovers he’s added to the current lineup. Here’s one which looks as if it was made specifically for a space-faring Clark Griswold:
This thing is ugly, but in a really good way. The lime-green body, wood paneling and gold trim grants a rather funky, 70’s vibe. I wouldn’t be surprised to find an eight-track player and shag carpet inside this futuristic station wagon. Further down the line, Frost’s two-wheeled rover is ready to cover some ground with its single axle, Segway-esque design: Continue reading
Fifteen years of unprecedented discovery came to an official end last week when NASA bid a final and touching farewell to its Opportunity rover. The announcement was marked by profound, even personal, loss for those who followed the rover’s journey across the Martian landscape. Outpourings of sorrow for the fallen explorer prevailed as at any funeral. I’ve seen few remembrances, however, as expressive or poignant as one shared in LEGO form by Stefan Schindler.
With her mission over, Opportunity appears to be guided by Curiosity, who alone remains to carry on the mission. Awaiting Opportunity is her departed twin, Spirit, and Sojourner, the first to land and travel on the red planet. There is a subtle, almost heartbreaking glance between Opportunity and Spirit. As if a few more discoveries would have made her inevitable end a little easier. It’s a small but incredibly eloquent scene, both honoring the history of the Mars program while conveying its current hope.
Since it’s first flight in 1966, the Russian Soyuz rocket system has become the world’s most frequently used launch vehicle. With over 1,700 flights in 50 years, this Russian stalwart has hauled cosmonauts, satellites, and cargo aloft, with its relatively simple design creating an enviable reliability record. However, this LEGO version of the latest Fregat version of the Soyuz is anything but simple — Jussi Koskinen has pulled out all the stops to capture every last feature of the spacecraft’s detailing. The scale of the effort involved is impressive — the model took 18 months to put together, and measures over 1.25m.
The overall structure of this massive model is excellent, and the shaping and angles on the lower boosters are particularly good. The smaller details are worth a look too — don’t miss the texturing around the base of the boosters, the scaffold-style connection between stages, and the nice integration of the Russian flag into the upper stage’s colour scheme. This formidable model wouldn’t look out of place on display beside the LEGO Ideas Saturn 5 set, and that’s high praise indeed.
When it debuted in 1999, Rock Raiders was LEGO’s first theme dedicated entirely to mining, and this year marks its 20th anniversary. Set in a futuristic world, the teal highlights and yellow caution stripes now evoke a particular kind of nostalgia for those of us who had the line as kids. Purple-Wolf has put together a series of creations set in that grungy, dark underworld. First up is a sort of convoy truck called the Rubble Shovel, and it’s armed with the biggest plow possible. That plow is actually from Duplo, but it fits the aesthetic perfectly here.
See the rest of the Rock Raiders creations