Last year, we shared an article on vintage LEGO holiday greeting cards. The LEGO Group has established a tradition of giving their employees exclusive Christmas themed sets like the X-Mas X-Wing for the holiday season. Even longer than that, since at least the 1970s, the LEGO Group has produced special Christmas cards for employees (and, occasionally, the UK LEGO Club). Each year brings a new card, with artwork ranging from carefully staged minifigures to elaborate brick-built designs. You can find blank examples that were used to send personalized messages, as well as cards with printed holiday greetings from LEGO’s leadership, such as owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen.
Too much sci-fi is brooding and dark and grey. If we develop the technology to travel amongst the stars, surely we’ll carry a sense of optimism towards those infinite horizons? What better way to signal our positive attitude than to bedeck our spaceships in bright cheerful livery? Scott Willhelm‘s bright blue LEGO starfighter fairly bursts off the screen — a neat little model, with a striking colour scheme, in a nicely-presented image. Beneath the bright plating, there’s a dark grey chassis, festooned with functional-looking greebly details, but it’s the blue, and the purple and white striping, which captures the eye.
(Okay, maybe the overall message of hope in our interstellar future is undermined by us having single-seater weapons platforms flying around. But at least they’ll LOOK friendly.)
Females make up half of the world’s population and many of all ages tell us they love building with LEGO. Yet why is it so rare that they are featured on The Brothers Brick? It’s not like we’re putting blinders on to their work, we purposefully seek out anyone building cool things with LEGO and yet the lady builder is somewhat of a rarity, even among our own staff. Rarer still is the lady builder who has designed spaceships. We see plenty of guys build spaceships, a casual perusal through our articles will confirm that, and some build with a single-minded devotion, like this dude here. Usually a spaceship builder’s write-up highlights payload capacity, armament, weaponry, and thrust and we follow suit with our articles; they build them, we write about them, the world spins and life goes on. But when someone like Malin Kylinger builds a spaceship we sit up and take notice. The reasons go far beyond the usual nice parts usage and visually pleasing aesthetics.
From 1994-1996 various factions and organisations throughout space fell victim to Spyrius — villainous thieves whose vessels sported a distinctive red and black livery. Spaceruner has taken inspiration from some classic LEGO sci-fi sets to build an impressive new flagship for this sinister bunch of space-bandits. The iconic colours are in place, including the signature trans-blue windows and canopies, but the size of this craft is on a whole different scale from the official Spyrius sets.
This beast of a model is 155 studs long — that’s 1.25m. The size is put to great use, allowing the builder space to develop a detailed interior. The vessel has all the facilities you’d expect of a flagship craft, including hangar bays, control bridge, canteen and galley, offices, and even a pool. The ship’s upper surfaces can be lifted clear to allow access to the internal sections…
However, despite the quality of the interior, it’s the colours and external shaping which marks this out as a striking addition to the villainous fleet. Take a look at these views from different angles which give a good look at the impressive engines and, my favourite part, the asymmetric domed section mounted on the craft’s left flank…
If you’ve been hankering to hit the stars in a stylish Vic Viper, Kirby Warden has you covered with his blazing yellow Kigiku. In Japanese, Kigiku means yellow chrysanthemum but don’t let the name fool you; if you think you can outrun this starfighter, it’s time to wake up and smell the roses! You’re not going to get away when the pilot has maximum visibility in the cockpit mounted high above the fuselage.
If the subtle angles of the body formed using hinges are any indication, this is also one speedy vessel. Even the most formidable opponents may find themselves distracted by Kigiku’s lively yellow, dark pink, white and dark bluish gray color scheme.
For most of us, tricycles were what we rode as kids, before we graduated to big-kid bicycles. Two wheels were cooler, faster, and just all-around better than three. And we all know how awkward it is to be the third wheel on a date; two wheels are always preferable in relationships and transportation (four wheels are fine, too; both double dates and cars can be lots of fun). After seeing this build by Michael Kanemoto, however, I am thinking that perhaps I threw away that third wheel too soon. That beefy back tire looks like it can get some serious traction, ready to rip up the surface of some alien planet in the quest for more speed, akin to a souped up Polaris Slingshot on steroids.
The frame is made of clips and bars, creating a technical-looking structure that is light and sturdy. Technic panels are placed on the outside to give it clean lines and a definite space-y vibe. I love the greebling of the underside of the cockpit area, including the old classic space flashlight and the ski. The massive transparent light blue canopy adds flair, comprised of several different elements that work well together. The trans-light blue is picked up in the hubcaps of that enormous drive wheel, explicitly in the knob at the center and hinted at by the layered printed dishes stolen from General Grievous and Isla Nublar visitors. I just hope those big wheels keep on turning, carrying the driver home to see his kin.
A few years back I was taking measurements for a custom rug that was going to adorn my living room. It wasn’t a perfect rectangle as it needed an angled corner cut out to accommodate the fireplace. It occurred to me then, as I was trying to recall forgotten formulas, that I was using geometry and algebra outside of high school. They warned us to pay attention as we might need this someday. Unlike me, it seems Nathan Proudlove has a firm grasp on all the algebra and geometry the world has to offer as evidenced by this awe-inspiring space station. The inner rim of the hub boasts glass-enclosed habitat modules and green spaces. The spin of the wheel in space would create gravity, keeping the inhabitants within safe and comfortable.
Zooming in and taking a gander at some of the individual modules is the only way to really appreciate what a massive undertaking this must have been. Here is a particularly interesting shot that showcases the complex geometry that helped create the large round structure. Minifig legs in orange offers a clever bit of greebling.
A shot of the central hub shows two smaller craft exiting the space station. Another wheel stacked behind this one would have made a near perfect replica of the space station from 2001: A Space Odyssey. I can just hear Hal’s pompous not-quite-human voice now; “I’m sorry, Lino. Your grasp of geometry and algebra is insufficient. You’ll never figure that rug out.” Can it, Hal!
Ah, Novvember. The time of year when all the forked-front spaceships come out to play. It’s always a lot of fun to see what new takes on the Vic Viper builders will come up with. Sheo is among those who took a stab at it, and delivers a ship that really has that “wow” factor. Butterfly Racer is all about the curves.
White hot air balloon panels create an hourglass shape that is surrounded by undulating curves in red. There are dinosaur tails and inverted arches, along with a mixture of curved slopes. The curved shape is also emphasized by the repeated use of round tiles in white, red, and black. All in all, this is a lovely craft that pays tribute to the themes while still bringing a new and distinctive style to them.
I think Khan said it best: “Do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold in space.” Yes, in addition to being the final frontier, space is also pretty darn nippy. Builder Seb71 celebrates that icy perspective with the clean and crisp lines of Siberia. The subtle curves on the edges and wings keep things from feeling boxy, even with decoration that is very angular. And let’s talk about that deco work! The choice to keep things greyscale gives the stripes at the front great contrast to the white of the hull. The technique used to make the stripes is worth a closer look, too. Clever use of multi-directional building is used to align cheese slope tiles to get those sharp angles.
The real treat, though, is the blocky gradient on the rear wings. It’s a tiny mosaic that gives a lovely fade from black to white, blending the colors used elsewhere on the ship into a harmonious whole. And it just looks so swooshable…
Don’t get me wrong; I love LEGO space ships. The more swooshable a build, the happier I am. Sometimes though, it’s not about the ship, but the people who keep them flying. In Repair Yard, builder Inthert shows us a slice of life from the mechanics who keep things moving. (And, apparently, the cat that helps out, too.) This model was created for a contest focused on the creative use of grill tiles, and there’s certainly several great examples of that here. Note how they are used with crossbows in the radar array on the right, as texture for the crates, and the steps in the stairs on the gantry. Look even closer, and you’ll see them as part of the engine detailing (coupled via minifigure handcuffs, no less) and the work stations in the background.
The rest of the build is fun, too. I like the crack in the paved area created by keeping a slight gap between sloped elements, and the choice of lilac for the plant stems gives the whole thing a nice extraterrestrial vibe. I do wonder, however, if I’m reading the story of this vignette correctly. It sure looks like the mechanic on the ladder pushed that shiny red button, giving the other tech a face full of soot from the engine. Surely Inthert would be nicer to these characters, right?
There are many LEGO builders out there who are such strict purists that they would never, ever use an “illegal” connection, such as one that stresses a piece. I’m not one of those people, and it seems that official LEGO designer Chris Perron is not, either. Try to wrap your
mind arms around the way the wheels get a grip on the terrain, or do your best to get a handle on that gold accent near the front; something seems off, not quite orthodox, but I just can’t seem to put a hand on it. Besides the countless arm-less and hand-less minifigures walking around Chris’s workbench, I would be remiss if I did not point out something else that separates this build from the pack: the use of a teal brick separator on the hood, seamlessly integrated. I also love the bubble canopy and the bright colors of the rover and the landscape. It’s so pretty! It is like a Friends version of Neo-Classic Space.
If you’ve been following The Brothers Brick lately, you may have seen some sci-fi builds by ZCerberus. He had an awesome entry for SHIPtember, a cool spider walker and, most recently, a Classic Space vehicle. Now he’s back and bigger than ever. In my article on the SHIPtember build, I expressed hope that the fleet would continue to expand, and he has delivered in a delightfully orange way. The one on the far left is the previously-covered SHIP, but the rest are nearly as impressive size-wise and equally as detailed and heavily armed. I love the editing job with the cool space background and all of the ships flying together.