If you’re a Ninjago fan, this vehicle may look familiar. After all, it was inspired by the official set 70654 Dieselnaut, which we covered in our news roundup of summer wave Ninjago sets. But there is a lot more to this steampunk behemoth by Mishima than a black paint job. Every detail from the official set has been re-built to fit the steampunk aesthetic, from brass and steel pipes throughout the tank, to the side and top mounted turrets. Even the crew have been custom fitted to the steampunk theme. Two smokestacks in front of the top turret look like they might have come straight off an old steam locomotive, along with the curved side panels that lift up to reveal more guns.
We at TBB always take pleasure in seeing builders take their creations to new heights. Here we have Marcel V. execute on that quite literally, with these structures dubbed “Giap-Towers,” where minifigures and their humble abodes float amongst the clouds. After featuring this floating steampunk cityscape just a few days ago, we loved their simplistic charm and have chosen this to be TBB’s cover photo for October 2018.
Want to see your own LEGO creation featured across TBB social media for a month? Then read the submission guidelines and send us your photo today. Photos that do not meet the submission guidelines will not be considered, and will be removed from the group.
With all the clamour online surrounding LEGO’s new Betrayal at Cloud City set, it’s great to see a builder with a very different take on life in the sky. Marcel V has taken inspiration from the super-talented anime illustrator Chong Fei Giap, famed for his sprawling cityscapes. Wonderfully photographed with the nimbus mist swirling around the towers’ stilts and only a cable car system to get around, the model really captures an other-worldly quality. Still, the mind boggles as to how the inhabitants pin their clothes to the precariously hung washing line–I hope they have a good pulley system! Marcel plans to take the model to the Skaerbaek LEGO fan weekend in Denmark next month; for those of us who are not lucky enough to attend, you can still check out detailed images of each of the balanced abodes on his Flickr stream.
We recently featured some terrific turn-of-the-century LEGO steam cars by Krzysztof Pusz. He’s back again, this time with some excellent steampunk vehicles. My absolute favorite is the monowheel, which puts the otherwise bulky Ninjago Airjitzu Flyer propeller blades to excellent use. I love how the internal mechanics are visible within the blades, and the side-mounted periscope solves the problem of “driving blind.” I’m not sure what the significance of the baby bunny is, but I like it.
Krzysztof has supplemented his steampunk universe with two other delightful models, one of which is his plane named the Golden Arrow. Incorporating Bionicle elements into the front end of the body looks appropriate for the subject matter. It also looks like the pilot has a hamster friend….I’m starting to notice a theme here.
Last but not least is the Bulbulator. It’s bulky form almost reminds me of military transport, which is probably why we can’t find any cute animals with this one. The risk is far too great and the antithesis of all that is cute.
One of the most gorgeous airships to grace the skies has finally emerged from the distant clouds. This is the long-awaited Skytanic, built by Markus Ronge and alluded to in his equally epic-looking Maersk Pier, featured on The Brothers Brick last week. In Markus’ steampunk universe, the airship’s massive size was made possible thanks in part to the ultra-light steel used in its construction. When it comes to the characters involved in the ship’s construction, Markus once again gives them clever names. Hiram Lever is the designer behind Skytanic, which is in turn piloted by Captain Ulysses Wheeler.
From bow to stern, Skytantic looks phenomenal. The red, black and white hull is reminiscent of the ill-fated Titanic, while the gold trim helps give the finished model that steampunk vibe. According to Markus, the ship stands a whopping five stories tall, and each level looks distinct. The top level features a lively looking bar, and the royal cabin is directly below that. If you look carefully enough, you will also find what appears to be a tribute to the Jack and Rose “flying” scene from James Cameron’s hit film, Titanic (1997).
LEGO and storytelling are a match made in heaven. As much as I enjoy building for the sake of building, I also enjoy LEGO as a medium for producing a narrative. Markus Ronge had me hooked last month when he shared a teaser poster for an upcoming series of story-driven steampunk builds. A few days ago, Marcus revealed the first part of his conceptualized world in the form of Maersk Pier, owned and operated by fourth-generation shipping mogul, Herman van de Maersk.
Bored with the shipping industry, Herman decided to build this majestic port to serve luxury airships and their wealthy clientele. As a steampunk model, Maersk Pier is breathtakingly beautiful and does a great job of blending Victorian-style architecture with steampunk fantasy. The extensive use of white works well and reminds me of marble, which witnessed a resurgence in use as a building material during the 19th Century Greek Revival period. Speaking of history, the model’s name is a clever nod to LEGO’s lengthy relationship with the Maersk shipping company, which has included a number of Maersk co-branded LEGO sets over the years.
Board games have provided inspiration for a few creations, notably this impressive LEGO Settlers of Catan model from last year, but it’s always great when a builder takes on the challenge of putting together an entire chess set. Mishima has had a crack at a steampunk-themed set, and the whole thing has worked out brilliantly. The board is smoothly tiled with some nice clanky touches, but it’s the playing pieces which steal the show.
Like all great cities, Castor Troy’s steampunk Paris continues to grow. Previously we’ve featured Casotor’s models of the Colonial Office and the Louvre, both of which feature in the layout. This time around we’ve been treated to a new row of buildings running alongside Notre Dame.
Each contains the kind of beautiful architectural details we’ve come to expect, from the Egyptian Art Deco building with its innovative use of ornamental fencing for doors and gold claw elements to represent two opposing sphinxes, to the new maritime office with its wall mounted ship’s wheel. Let’s hope that Castor’s passion for development continues to see new wonders being added to this splendid city.
Flying ships are certainly not uncommon among LEGO builds, going back to the heyday of LEGO steampunk and floating rocks eight or ten years ago. Mark Erickson has incorporated large LEGO boat hull pieces into a rather amazing flagship for his fictional Vermillion Empire.
Mark’s ship uses custom-printed sails cut to standard LEGO size, but the most impressive part of the ship is all the gold detail, both surrounding the cannon ports and at the prow of the ship, where a mighty ram is ready to impale enemy ships.
Hot on the heels of one LEGO vehicle inspired by The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, along comes another brick rendition of Captain Nemo’s steampunk automobile. Lego Fjotten‘s version comes in screen-accurate white, and features the trademark six wheels and beefy split bonnet. A surfboard piece provides some smart curves up-front, and the rear tapers nicely. The presentation of the model is excellent — the cobbled street and the black ironwork of fence and lamp-post add a suitable Victorian-era feel.
Thanks to builders like Roland Skof-Peschetz, the age of steam is alive and well. According to Roland, this the K&K Luftpost uses this flying postal vehicle to deliver mail to the most remote locations of Austria. Upon seeing his quadcopter, the positioning of the four blades instantly reminded me of commercially available drones. Amazon, take note…We would like to see this quadcopter used for your Prime Air delivery service!
This inventor’s workshop building by Pieter Dennison has a wonderful “realistic steampunk” feel. There are enough quirky and clanky touches on display to inject a touch of the fantastic, but it’s all grounded in a grubby Victorian-era earthiness — the dark tones of the base, the subtle patches of faded colour set into the walls, the haphazard tiling on the roof. There’s a nice sense of activity and everyday life amongst the surrounding figures, but the winning detail for me is the wonky telescope poking out from the attic.