If you were growing up as a kid in the 90’s, without a doubt you had to be a fan of the Chicago Bulls, at least I felt that way during the time. Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, and Scottie Pippen weren’t just great basketball players, they were icons of the sport and the era. Takamichi Irie brings back some of the vibes of those days through his figural LEGO builds of the dream team.
Irie shapes the bodies of the big three completely out of bricks, with musculature utilizing sloped pieces. Smooth pieces such as tiling, slopes, and 2×2 round bottom plates also help in rendering the legs and arms of the figures while articulation is provided by 1×1 modified plates with clips. The Nike swoosh on a couple of the players’ shoes are portrayed by claw pieces. The heads of the players are given some definition with 1×1 tiles and cheese slope pieces. While the bodies are blocky, human figures are extraordinarily difficult to render using bricks, especially at this scale. I believe Irie’s combination and configuration of elements really produced the closest one can get to recreating these figures in LEGO at such a size. Looking at the build as a whole, I remember the glory days of the Bulls’ past, but I am also reminded that I need to check out the Netflix docuseries on the Chi-town bulls – The Last Dance, which may have inspired these awesome models
Fixed gears, no brakes, and eye-watering speeds – what more could an adrenaline junkie want? If you’ve never watched the sport of track cycling, I’d highly recommend visiting a velodrome (or at least watching it on TV during the Olympics this summer). It’s not just biking in circles. These insane athletes zip around the bowl-shaped track, vying for position like gravity-defying daredevils. Being aerodynamic is key, as demonstrated by this LEGO kinetic sculpture, built by George Panteleon.
Though the mechanism is simple, it’s so satisfying to see the rider’s legs “pedal” the bike. My favorite elements of this build (other than the fact that it actually moves) are the paint-roller handlebars and the shoulder armor turned helmet!
Here come the Hawks, the mighty Blackhawks! I am not a sports guy, but I respect athletes who have brought a semblance of glory to their hometowns. Especially when I have lived in that town for over a decade, and exceptional athletes become the local heroes. Teacher and LEGO artist Dave Kaleta has built a large sculpture of a Chicago Blackhawks player Jonathan Toews. Being a Chicago native, Kaleta chose the Blackhawks team captain as the subject to commemorate the new hockey season. This build not only serves as cultural imagery for hockey fans and Chicagoans but as just a realistic and detailed representation of a talented sportsman. In addition to the dynamic posing of the skating Toews, this massive sculpture is packed to the brim with interesting building techniques.
One can examine the photo for at length to see how he has assembled the details like the numbers and the Blackhawks logo. Since I don’t have much to say about hockey, I can talk about the build itself!
Welcome to a sporting goods store that sells itself before you even walk in! The look is inspired by a real store in Japan, but in LEGO it can’t be more gorgeous. What’s even better is that this render, created by Aukbricks, is actually completely buildable, with all the parts existing in their appropriate colors.
But if the outside isn’t beautiful enough, the inside is incredible. The zoom-worthy photos will make you fall in love even more. Every detail is perfectly placed, and essentially covers every bit of minifigure sports equipment LEGO has ever made. Even the brick-built equipment is perfect, from the treadmill to the ping-pong table. And I’m a big fan of the frogs used to create a rock wall on the third floor.
“Dashing through the snow, on a rocket powered board. O’er the slopes he’ll go, with his elven horde. Jingle build! Jingle build! Jingle all the way! LEGO 7‘s clever Santa makes us shout ‘Hooray!'”
With the singing out of the way, I love this unconventional portrayal of old Saint Nick. Santa’s pose captures the spirit of snowboarding, right down to the jumper plate representing his mouth shouting “woo!” His white beard flowing in the wind conveys a sense of speed.
I’ve explained elsewhere why sumo (traditional Japanese wrestling) is the greatest sport on earth — it’s fast, complex, and incredibly exciting. I won an apple in my first sumo bout at age three, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Cindy Su apparently agrees with me, because she built this wonderful rikishi (or wrestler — sumo is the name of the sport, not the name of the wrestlers). She layers various round tiles to bulk up the underlying BrickHeadz form, and gives this mountain of a man a stand complete with a Japanese flag to pose on. He has huge arms to shove opponents out of the ring, with an expressive face that seems to say he’s relieved to have just finished a winning bout.
Interestingly, many of the top wrestlers these days are foreign-born, from countries like Mongolia and Georgia. As someone who spent 15 years getting called gaijin (foreigner, with connotations of “outsider”) in my own home country, I’ve taken a perverse pleasure in rooting for the foreigners in recent sumo tournaments. Of course, sumo wrestlers aren’t born quite so big. They bulk up by eating a special stew called chankonabe, which Cindy has also faithfully created for this rikishi to enjoy.
The Mesoamerican ballgame is an ancient sport played throughout Central America starting more than three thousand years ago. While some games may have been played purely for exercise or entertainment, there is strong archaeological and historical evidence for highly ritualized games that could even end in human sacrifice for some or all of the losers. W. Navarre has captured the action of a ballgame from the Aztec era, when ballcourts included rings through which players tried to bounce the rubber ball. The builder uses forced perspective to achieve a backdrop with a stepped pyramid temple — even the blazing blue sky is built with bricks.
The microscale pyramid includes decorative elements made from cut stickers — only official LEGO stickers, of course! The cheese slopes work wonderfully for the pyramid’s steps.
This bowling alley vignette by David Zambito captures all the vibes of a classic pastime. There’s just the right amount of details to draw your attention to key features such as the bowling pins and the players. Even the gutters are there to remind some of us how much more practice is needed. Here’s hoping our minifig bowler scores a strike!
This LEGO skateboard by French builder Jimmy Fortel reminds me of my middle school days of skating and playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. The detailing in the trucks and the bends in the nose and tail look realistic, and the skull deck graphic ties the whole build together visually.
LEGO just announced a partnership with ESPN to cross-promote the upcoming College Football Playoffs. LEGO has created brick-built helmets for each of the four playoff teams, as well as some smaller football-related models for which they’ve released instructions to build your own.
The LEGO® team and ESPN are teaming up to build even more excitement and family fun for this season’s College Football Playoff!
To help get you ready, check back for more exciting updates through January 11th to see:
Cool college football models – tiny and life-sized! – built using LEGO bricks
Awesome videos about the four semifinal teams and the LEGO
models that have been built to celebrate the playoff season
Mini-models that you can build to decorate your New Year’s Eve game viewing party
A chance to win the LEGO version of the National Championship
Trophy signed by the ESPN College GameDay crew to show off to your friends!
Click the helmets to watch a time-lapse video of them being constructed.
Unless you happen to live here in Seattle, where we had a major cable TV outage last night – or you just happen to have something useful to do with your time, money and brain cells – then you might have watched last night’s stunt (sorry, “sporting event”) where two overpaid thugs (sorry, “athletes”) danced around the ring with no more incentive than who would go home with 60% rather than 40% of a staggering 9-digit prize pot. And now this truly historic event has been suitably ridiculed (sorry, “immortalized”) in LEGO by Swedish character building duo SuckMyBrick!