LEGO has explored underwater themes a few times over the years. In particular, I have a fondness for the mid-1990’s Aquazone line. It featured bright yellow colors, exploration-based vehicles, and some pretty cool builds. Finnish builder Tino Poutiainen has also taken the yellow submarine concept to heart with Expedition into the kelp forest. This classy undersea build features a vessel with some very good natural camouflage. That is, assuming fish don’t have a particularly good sense of scale. Based on the image description, the divers are looking for the “incredibly rare yellow-finned bladderwrack fish.” It doesn’t seem like they’re looking too carefully, though, as I think I spotted a couple on my own.
I like how the sub isn’t the usual short-and-flat glider style you often see in craft like this. Instead we have a tall and narrow vessel, complete with impressive vertical fins sloped at interesting angles. The mimicry between the sub and the sea-life makes this little scene one you can quickly tell your own fish stories around. (You should hear about the one that got away.)
For the past year, Peter Carmichael has been texting me updates about an Aquazone base he was building. We both grew up in the 90s, so the classic LEGO themes from that era are full of nostalgia for us, and I’m always excited to see old favorites get a new makeover. But Peter said his update to the 1995 set Neptune Discovery Lab wasn’t going to be a simple redux with modern elements, but something grander. At nearly 6 feet long and using more than 50,000 pieces, I think he delivered.
The highlight of the base is the working Aquazone monorail track, an idea LEGO contemplated in the 90s but never ultimately released. The track makes a large figure eight, winding through the central base before looping around the edges.
LEGO fan Tim Goddard is perhaps best known for his space-themed builds, such as this microscale space station we shared in February. Building off of his intergalactic experience, Tim is now diving below the seas to revisit the classic mid-1990s Aquazone theme. The centerpiece here is a large submersible, cleverly designed to look like a lobster. Instead of building the sub in lobster red, Tim went with the iconic yellow, black, and neon orange livery of the Aquanauts. By combining a mix of period-correct parts and more modern elements, Tim has created a submarine that feels both modern and true to the original source material. Meanwhile, an adorable fishy “drone” makes for a fine finishing touch.
When it comes to building a great LEGO narrative, the right signature element can really set the scene. Take this delightful flying submarine scene by Yang Wang for example. The tall, skinny, chibi-style fuselage with that perfectly rounded canopy creates a unique and fun vehicle. The working tilt rotors make this airship/submersible complete.
See more detailed pics of this submersible after the jump
The destruction of Allied shipping by German U-boats was a spectacular and tragic feature of both World Wars I and II. Luis Peña has recreated the much-dreaded underwater menace and scourge of Allied sailors at 1:50 scale with U-Boat VIIc, the most common class of German submarine.
See more photos of this incredible U-boat model in LEGO
This month I am taking part in the ABS Builder Challenge against Legofin, Julien Andries, and Aaron Newman, all of which have already built more than two creations using the minifigure handheld fan seed part. I am a little behind, as this submarine is only my first entry to the contest. However, I think the extra time was well spent, as I am very happy with how the build turned out. It uses the fan part a total of 12 times, 16 including those used on the fish as fins. Four of these are used as an intake, barely visible on the bottom of the cockpit.
Eight are used on the back as the fins on the propellers:
I probably should have saved the fish for a separate entry, since this is such a hard part to find uses for, but they fit so well here and added a lot to the photo, I just couldn’t resist.
Welcome aboard Daniel Siskind‘s X-Craft Mini Sub for adventure under the high seas. The captain salutes from the forward top hatch, grabbing a breath of fresh air after months of stale air tinged with the sweet smell of submariner sweat. Waves crash over the bow as the submarine slices through the turbulent seas (a large trove of translucent white and blue studs). With the British Naval Ensign flying proudly astern, the silent hunter of the deep will slip back into the depths and continue to patrol the oceans.
Inside, the belly of the beast also features working hatches in the bulkheads, periscope and various crew stations.
Like most of Dan’s work, copies of this model are for sale through his company Brickmania, which recently produced our own Senior Contributor Ralph’s Antarctic LC-130 aircraft. The X-Craft Submarine will set you back $445, and new kits often sell out quickly.