Oh deer! I absolutely adore this latest LEGO construction by builder Stefan Johansson, from the top of the antlers down to its cheese-sloped hooves. The shaping is excellent, as are the textures created by the use of various tiles along the neck and haunches. Working in dark orange can be difficult, but Stefan navigates the part limitations with ease. And no place is this better emphasized than the head of this beast. The ears and antlers are in perfect proportion to the rest of the head, and the contrast with the tan coloration around the eyes and chin is excellent. Add on the nice bit of flora that our woodland creature is placed in, and this is a terrifically well-balanced creation.
If you see this hovering out your window chances are you’re in some deep trouble. It has a capacity for eight troops so you know things are about to get hairy. Thankfully for the rest of us, we can enjoy this LEGO replica built by Stefan Johannson from the relative comfort of our homes. Even as a LEGO model, this thing oozes menace! I particularly like the sag of the rotor blades. Initially introduced by the Soviet Airforce in 1972, this timeless gunship is currently being used by fifty-eight countries and has served in dozens of skirmishes, including the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.
This particular model is sporting Ukrainian colors so there is a high probability its real-life counterpart is defending its people and giving those invaders the business. Serious attack helicopter business! News reports cite that the resilient Ukrainian people have been successful in taking down Russian forces with pickled vegetable jars and farm equipment. I can only imagine what they can do with this.
I was in Brussels Zaventem airport the other day, where I came across an enormous red and white rocket in the departure lounge, standing an impressive 6 metres tall. Stefan Johansson must have been through the same airport, as he has built the very same spaceship at an equally impressive scale! Of course, this isn’t just any old rocket. This is the craft that Belgium’s most famous son — at least in comic book form — used to travel to and explore the moon. The rocket is one of the most recognisable pieces of Tintin iconography, and as such has seen a fair few LEGO versions, but at 1.4m (4 feet, 7 inches) tall, Stefan’s is easily the biggest brick-built one I’ve seen!
Spring has sprung, and farmers all across the northern hemisphere are headed back into the fields to prepare for harvest season. For example, Stefan Johansson has depicted a LEGO Ukrainian couple getting ready to test out their newly-acquired 40-ton harrow. But all joking aside, this creation speaks volumes on a universal truth: war doesn’t spare anyone. Whether it’s a soldier on the front lines or a farmer just trying to bring in their crop, the brutal attack on Ukraine has hit everyone in some way. And in times like these, when grandmas are taking out Russian drones with jars of pickled tomatoes, I’m reminded of a line from the video game Portal 2: “…when life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade! Make life take the lemons back!”
But I’m sure you didn’t come here for Cave Johnson quotes, so we should probably talk about the build. The color and style of the ground is exquisite, reminding me of walks through mint fields in northern Indiana. The sunflowers are simple, but extremely effective! I love the angles and texturing on the tank, but I think the tractor is the real star of the show here. You can see from the picture below, this machine has the look of a real LEGO set coming out of Billund. I can’t imagine it being built any better!
The wild ride that was Harry Potter’s experience at Hogwarts was surely extremely traumatic. Ron was obviously afraid of spiders but even Harry was jarred by this encounter from the Chamber of Secrets built by Stefan Johansson. The trusty, rusty Ford Anglia may have abandoned Harry and Ron after they crashed it into a tree but its loyalty never faded, as it proved by saving them from being eaten. Whether it has a mind of its own from Arthur Weasley’s tinkering or from all that time in the Forbidden Forest, it’s not going to let some giant creepy-crawlies munch on some kids.
I love, love, love the big LEGO 75978 Diagon Alley. It got me through the first part of the pandemic. I do however have to admit that there is a big void in this set created by the missing Gringotts bank. The predecessor 10217 Diagon Alley did come with a Gringotts bank, but this one is of a much smaller scale compared to the buildings of the newer set. Stefan Johansson solved this problem for us. They created a larger-than-life Gringotts bank complete with a white marble facade, imposing columns, bronze doors, a track with little carts, underground vaults, and of course a dragon to protect all that gold. This build is ginormous. For the white facade, Stefan used a lot of white plates, instead of bricks, to create different patterns in the wall. You can hardly notice this from afar but this build is worthy of a quick zoom. There are a few parts that deserve a quick mention. The use of the hemisphere is quite clever. I’ll have to dig through my collection to see if I own it in that colour. Using the party hat in gold as a lightning rod is a very nice little touch that I might have to reuse at some point. This creation is filled with details and action features like the tracks. The carts actually work and the Goblins are just waiting to take you to your personal vault. Overall I love this build but I wouldn’t deposit my money there. It looks like they have a serious Niffler problem!
After years of rereading, rewatching, and relistening to the series, Dumbledore’s Office evokes a certain brand of nostalgia for me. It’s an emotion somewhere between being in the Principle’s office and sitting down for tea with my quirky grandmother. Seeing it built with such detail at this scale makes me think of how I felt at twelve years old when the Chamber of Secrets was released, and I watched Harry enter the office for the first time. Even as an adult, rewatching the series on repeat with my brother during quarantine, the stories told and secrets shared in this office are plastered on the walls of my mind. Builder Stefan Johansson uses some magical techniques to create this massive model of Dumbledore’s office.