Take a medieval castle, mash it up with a pirate ship, and then give the whole thing impulse engines, the ability to fly, and advanced weaponry. That’s W.Navarre‘s recipe for a truly original LEGO creation. This could have turned out a hot mess of a build, but there’s enough colour and texture continuity across the model to pull off the ambitious intent. The test of an unusual creative idea is “Does it make sense without having to be explained?” This model accomplishes exactly that — it’s immediately apparent you’re looking at a flying pirate castle ship. What more explanation do you need?
The rear portion is excellent. I love the integration of the engines and missile bay beneath the hull…
Builder James Zhan calls this a Steampunk Airship, but it’s unlike others we’ve seen before. The steampunk style can sometimes be little more than an overlay of anachronistic technology, but this creation is stronger than that. It feels like a realistic flying pirate ship — if that’s possible!
James has a crew of Dwarven engineers for this craft, which perhaps explains the chunky solid feel of the machinery on display. A side view reveals the interesting cutaway section at the ship’s centre, giving a good view of the technical gubbins which serves to keep the vessel aloft.
Airships are one of the hardest types of aircraft to model accurately in LEGO. As a result, a good steampunk dirigible is a creation to be treasured. This fabulous sky pirates model by Thomas van Urk is a classic — a collection of steampunk staples (chequered envelope, boat-styled gondola, unlikely cannon-based armament) that soars effortlessly, somehow avoiding the risk of being grounded by genre tropes.
Whilst a sepia-tinted image is de rigeur for a steampunk vessel, this baby looks excellent in new-fangled colour. That red and black gas envelope is a stunner — the result of careful shaping using Mixel ball-and-socket joints, according to Thomas. The integration of the boat-hull gondola and domed pilot’s station is really nice too.
Lastly, don’t miss the elaborate rigging which runs all over the model. It’s touches like this which really elevate (!) this creation above its peers…
John Donne wrote that “no man is an island”, but when it comes to LEGO creations, famous poets do not restrict your imagination. Ben Fitzsimmons has turned that saying around with his huge LEGO diorama depicting a multitude of islands each inhabited by wandering travellers. Each unique little island is a place for rest and trade above the expanse of dark azure ocean. This is a beautiful, fantastical build with a touch of steampunk. The islands are all full of creative buildings like the tall lighthouse on the far right, and nice landscaping such as the waterfall spilling back into the ocean and the colourful trees.
A closer look at one part of the diorama shows some of the fun details. I love the propeller-powered pack that one traveller is wearing to cruise between islands, while the use of the ‘hot air balloon part’ as a sail works well at this scale.
Ben’s diorama won the Steampunk category at Brickfair Virginia this year and I imagine the build was even more impressive to see in person.
Of all modes of aerial transport, zeppelins are almost certainly the coolest (possibly because they are the least common). And while using one for raiding other aircraft may literally be the worst possible idea, that just adds to the fantasy. The sky pirates of The Travesty seem twice as crazy and intimidating for daring to raid aircraft in something as fragile as a zeppelin. The build is somewhat simple, using many large and specialized pieces, but Ted Andes manages to bring it all together quite well.
I may be biased by nostalgia for the Adventurers zeppelin piece, but I am sure the creation has something to offer for almost everybody. The deck looks like it was just slapped together and hardly supports the clutter it carries, which is exactly what one would expect from pirates. The light use of stickers breathes just that little extra life into the creation to make it quite memorable and recognizable.
We’ve seen excellent LEGO versions of the Blade Runner Police Spinner in the past, but as soon as I saw the title of the new movie I’ve been waiting for an 1849 steampunk remix. Jonas Kramm is happy to oblige with this clanky update (back-date?) of the classic sci-fi vehicle. The black piping makes for a pleasant change from the grey or gold steampunk builders tend to use for greebly details, and those brown whips uncurled against the dark blue panelling look excellent. The lanterns are a nice touch too.
Now to properly combine cyber and steam, what this really needs is a massive Neo-Victorian Neo-Tokyo diorama setting. Come on Jonas, what’s stopping you?
We have spoken about the LEGO steampunk genre many times before, but for the uninitiated it is a genre of science fiction that has a historical, normally Victorian, setting and features steam-powered machinery. Castor Troy‘s latest creation adds to his growing Paris Steampunk 1889 display with the world’s largest museum, the Louvre. The architecture has been brilliantly captured using a host of smaller parts to add decorative features, ranging from Technic gears and monochrome tan minifigures to studs, slopes and droid body parts.
The larger glass pyramid has been replaced with an altogether different type of pyramid, worthy of a place in steampunk history.
We’ve covered our fair share of LEGO hot rods, but here’s a refreshing steampunk take on the style from Martin Redfern. The scale used allows Martin to pack loads of smart touches into this delightful dark red automobile. I particularly like the front grille, the horn, and the driver himself — his pith helmet and monocle fixed firmly in place.
The vehicle’s engine is an obvious highlight, so I was delighted at this view which allows us to take a closer look at all the details Martin has lavished on the model…
We see plenty of well-built LEGO recreations of weapons from videogames, and I’m full of admiration for the scale modelling skills on display. But I also love when builders produce something which doesn’t rely on existing sources for inspiration. This steampunk machine gun by Martin Redfern is a lovely model — full of chunky cartoony detail and classic ray gun styling. The bullets on the belt are excellent, and the flared muzzle and touches of gold give this a wonderful Flash Gordon feel. And don’t miss the use of a gold elephant trunk part for the trigger.
The placing of a LEGO model in a natural environment generally makes for poor photos which ruin the illusion of scale. However, this bejewelled clockwork dragonfly by Duncan Lindbo is the exception to the rule. The parts and colour choices here are perfect, creating a wonderful impression of functional mechanical elements and a smart clockpunk aesthetic. Displaying the dragonfly on a real lily-pad turns out to be a stroke of genius, highlighting the model’s non-biological nature, and perhaps prompting musings amongst more philosophical viewers on the contrast and blurred boundaries between artifice and life.
Dwalin Forkbeard continues his line of LEGO Steampunk builds and floating vehicles with this odd stagecoach. Gone are the wheels, replaced with a hot-air balloon to keep it afloat — creating a really interesting little build. The simple base serves to make the whole thing more substantive, and there’s some minimal Photoshop trickery to make it look like the coach is flying. I particularly like the use of the gold sprue section as a door handle — most people throw that part away once they’ve snapped the Ninjago shuriken pieces off it!
What better way to explore the see the sights of Victorian London than aboard the latest in steam-driven LEGO transportation? This contraption, cobbled together by Revan New, has room for only one passenger, but makes up for its limited capacity with speed. Capable of reaching the dizzying speed of 6 miles per hour, gentlefolk of a nervous disposition are advised to ride with caution.
The model has a nice level of texture and detail, as does the base. The woven basket and streetlamp are relatively simple, but add a sense of place and period. The only bit I’m unconvinced by is the use of a white droid arm as a plume of steam — I think it would look better with round white plates or stacked ice cream pieces. However, that’s a minor nitpick at a smart little steampunk vignette.