Before the internet was blessed with our Lord and Savior Baby Yoda, we were something of a cat worshiping culture. And though we’ve perhaps mostly moved on, there are still adherents to the old ways out there, paying tribute to the former deities of the web, like this Tiger by Herbert Lee (Tigers are the best kind of cats too). I’ve always thought that tiger paws looked big and blocky, and now I get to see them made out of plastic blocks. The use of black horn/tail pieces used here is impressive, both in obvious places, like the tigers claws, and less obvious, like the stripes transversing the white and orange pieces that sculpt the body. Two other impressive details are the minifigure hands as eyes and tooth plates to form an unmistakable cat snout. It makes me believe those pieces were designed for this model.
Builder Ian Hoy turns our attention to the center ring with this beautifully built circus scene. Heed the carnival barker in his jaunty top hat as he calls to you — “Step right up folks and stare in awe and amazement at this action-packed quintuple of animal performers, each one with its own special talents on display! Hurry, hurry! Take a peek, you won’t be disappointed!”
Each of the animals in this scene could stand on its own, but the combination of all of them together makes for a truly marvelous show. If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be the leaping tiger. Hou manages to imbue it with action, movement and just a touch of danger.
The scooter-riding bear is a close second with his whimsical expression. The dog as the carnival barker is a brilliant touch, and the magician’s rabbit also provide a nice dose of humor and expression. Taking center stage is everyone’s favorite big-eared elephant Dumbo, although Hou doesn’t reference him as such in his descriptions of the piece.
Every performer has a level of detail and building creativity that is a joy to look at up close and leaves me wanting to figure out how the builder did it all.
The setting of the scene is equally rich in detail, from the bejeweled stage lights to the speakers and rounded stage. The use of flags on the sides also adds to the festive atmosphere and the font on the word “circus” is particularly impressive and creative. I’m also particularly fond of the use of the backside of the pieces to create the curtained backdrop. Many builders go to great pains to not show the back, but Hou does a terrific job in this case and it all blends together perfectly. As an added bit of humor, in the corner behind the tiger there looks to be a crate full of food, including a cooked turkey, to make sure the performers are well fed and ready to play.
Luckily, the fun doesn’t stop with the front of the model! The back and outside are equally impressive, utilizing a second lettering style and a simple but effective representation of a circus tent.
Like any good traveling spectacular, at the end of the day the whole shebang can be folded up and moved on to the next city, ready to thrill audiences with the greatest show on earth!
Possessed by the fever to follow the call of the wild, this magnificent tiger stops by the water to drink, or possibly to bathe as one of the few cats who actually likes water. Tigers are actually often portrayed in LEGO and we have even featured some in the past. There is something about the tiger that makes it ideal for a great builder to show off their skills — the shape itself is somewhat difficult to capture, but getting the colours right is a whole new level of difficulty. Simon NH did not let that discourage him and has created one of the best LEGO tigers I have seen so far.
The shape is achieved with plates and wedges set up at different angles and some exotic parts rounding off the edges. The fur on the chin and the rounding on the back are especially good. The cat itself is great, but Simon did not stop there. Any good tiger needs a good jungle to go along with it — and what a good jungle Simon has made! The plant life is unique and the ground colours and textures flow very nicely. But my favourite part, except for the build’s focal point — the tiger, obviously — is the water, which uses many colours we do not associate immediately with water in LEGO, but somehow it looks distinctly like it.
Do they dream of mauling zebras, or Halle Berry in her Catwoman suit?
I had the good fortune of running into Tim Inman (rabidnovaracer) at LEGOLand California a few years ago where we did our best to constrain ourselves from pilfering parts from master model builder Gary McIntire’s shop. All those rare parts…shudders… At any rate, Tim hails from the O.C. and as his screen-name suggests he has a fascination with all things fast and or furious. This particular car is an entry for LUGnuts 63rd Build Challenge entitled “Designing The Ralston Tiger!”. Thanks Tim, for keeping me out of LEGOLand jail, I’ve heard its far more intense than Disneyland jail.