Last weekend, Timofey Tkachev went to see his babushka. There is no place like a countryside cottage to spend long summer evenings, sipping hot tea, and enjoying a slice of a berry pie. But one doesn’t simply go to babushka empty-handed. Being a very talented LEGO builder, Timofey designed something exceptional: a full-sized replica of a traditional balalaika, a Russian stringed instrument. The brick-built design looks wonderful in its simplicity. The iconic triangular shape became possible thanks to the clever use of regular slope pieces. And thanks to the hues of LEGO colors, this balalaika looks almost exactly like a real one.
Kudos to Vera Senyuta for joining the tea party and taking her camera with her. We always love to see custom LEGO creations shot in beautiful settings. For a musical instrument like this one, there is no better background than a couple of birches in the evening sun.
Gifted LEGO wizard Timofey Tkachev is a master of character work both large and small. If you’re not familiar, we interviewed him a couple years back. Last summer he shared an 80th anniversary Batman bust and now he’s the delivered the Caped Crusader’s most famous archnemesis, Joker. He even left a calling card.
It’s an arresting model, clearly modeled after Heath Ledger’s take from 2008’s The Dark Knight complete with smudged makeup and that oh-so-striking smile. This particular wicked grin is made up of crowbars and horns. The shocks of hair are, of course, a bounty of olive-colored limb elements.
Need more of the Clown Prince of Crime in your life? Be sure to check out Vincent’s recent Joker film take and George Paneteleon’s animated series-inspired rendition.
René Magritte had something to say about the treachery of images. And the Matrix film series had a lot to say about the nature of reality. It looks like Timofey Tkachev has some thoughts on this matter, too. I mean, a picture of a LEGO sculpture of a scene from an imaginary world played by a real person? That’s some mind-bending stuff if you think about it enough. (Or maybe this self-isolation is just getting to me.) Regardless, this is one stunning bit of sculptural work. In The Choice, Timofey has once again built with an enviable level of photo-realism. I mean, just look at the shaping in those hands!
My favorite detail is the choice to replace the traditional red and blue pills with appropriately colored 2×4 LEGO bricks. Part of me wishes that one of them was a knock-off brand, though. Just for that added bit of snark.
You may have heard of the Green Fairy associated with Absinthe, but did you know that Guinness has a fairy, too? Perched atop a foamy brew, this red-headed sprite is ready to promote all sorts of questionable decision making.
Okay, maybe I made all that up. And maybe that’s just root beer. But something makes me think this drink is higher octane than that. Only LEGO builder Timofey Tkachev knows for sure.
Built for the Fairybruary contest on DoubleBrick, Timofey has used garage door panels and ice cream scoops to bring the beverage to life. The fairy has some interesting part usage, too, including more of those garage door panels and even Unikitty tails.
My only concern really, is that she’s decided to sit directly in the beer. That can’t be sanitary.
Look who’s laughing now… It’s Shenzi, Banzai, and the cackling Ed — the trio of villainous hyenas from Disney’s 1994 animated classic The Lion King, created in LEGO bricks by Timofey Tkachev. The sculpting here is excellent — each beast well-posed, and their different faces captured perfectly through a variety of building techniques and parts. The key to success lies in the choice of scale — these shady characters are surprisingly large, giving Timofey space to nail all the details. And while simple, the surrounding landscaping enhances the presentation of the central figures, suggesting the bleak elephant’s graveyard, which surely stretches to the horizons around them.
The Lion King‘s characterization of these hyenas received a mixed reception back in 1994, with some critics accusing Disney of racist caricature in the voice acting and dialogue. Disney never acknowledged any of this criticism, but Scar’s hyena lieutenants were quietly rewritten, and mostly renamed, in the 2019 live-action remake. Whatever you might think of the original movie’s depiction of this trio, it doesn’t affect the quality of the LEGO building on display here.
From what I remember of evolutionary biology, the closest living relative to the unfortunately extinct Tyrannosaurus rex is the chicken. It’s admittedly disappointing. To go from a towering beast of muscle and razor-sharp 8-inch teeth to a small, rather stupid bird (with no teeth!) is a crushing downgrade. Surely the dinosaurs are rolling in their fossil graves somewhere in disgust. What would old grandpa Rex have to say about chicks these days? Timofey Tkachev brings us that moment of encounter in LEGO form, showing the T. rex confronting its pathetic descendant about its shortcomings.
Of course, as a build, the chicken has no shortcomings; it is the best LEGO chicken I’ve ever seen, from the head, with a Bionicle claw as a comb, minifig hands holding claws for a beak, and blankly staring eyes made with 1×1 round plates with a hole wrapped in a rubber band, all the way to the tail, and all the layered feathers in between. The dinosaur is equally impressive, with plates angled every which way and left studded to create a scaly, organic texture and lots and lots of teeth (though not quite 8-inch razor-sharp ones). The part I love best about the beast is the eye, with the 2×2 round boat slider in trans-yellow gleaming at me in a most lifelike way.
Like this build? Don’t miss other recent builds by Timofey, like Tom Waits and Iggy Pop talking or a sci-fi rover.
Back in 1993, Jim Jarmusch directed a short black and white film, Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere in California. In it, musicians Iggy Pop and Tom Waits meet at a coffee shop. Then they talk about stuff. It’s worth a watch. There’s just something inherently cool about seeing these two icons having a conversation. What’s even cooler, though, is seeing that conversation recreated in LEGO. Builder Timofey Tkachev has somehow managed to convert Iggy and Tom into perfect brick-built likenesses.
There’s a lot to love about this build. There are dozens of great techniques in play, from the use of 2×2 macaroni tile in the ears to the expert combination of wedge plates in Iggy’s jacket. The relaxed poses are full of complex angles and joins, and Tom’s hair…unf. Just so good.
And the background is just as impressive. Check out the use of transparent tile in the coffee urn, the 90 degree elbows in the coffee cup rims. There’s even a tiny “LEGO News” newspaper 2×2 tile used as small print on the cigarette pack.
Like the film itself, this is a build that rewards the viewer the closer they’re willing to look. I don’t know if I’m inspired or just intimidated.
LEGO builders Timofey Tkachev and Sheo have put together a tragic band that somehow has nothing to do with Radiohead or Joy Division. That is a total bummer because I really wanted to lay on the references for either band pretty thick but that’ll have to wait for another post now. Instead the members of this sad band are rooted with a much more highbrow notion; each bears the name of great Greek tragedians.
Click to delve deeper, you know you want to!
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Maybe what Jack needs is to take a break and play with some LEGO. Then again…maybe not. Timofey Tkachev brings us a twist on an iconic image from The Shining with “Here’s Johnny!” An instantly recognizable Jack Nicholson breaks through a door…but since the door is made of LEGO, he’s using a brick separator. Because of course he is.
There’s a lot to love about the build here. Elephant trunks have just the right shaping for Jack’s eyebrows, and an energy effect wave makes for a great bit of unkempt hair. Tiles are used to great effect, with quarter circle round tiles shaping the nose, and white half circles forming his insane grin. The really scary part of this build, though, is that somehow it just took a single evening to put together. That’s spooky fast!
In this, the Caped Crusader’s 80th birthday year, what better way to celebrate the influence and impact of Bob Kane’s creation than with Timofey Tkachev‘s large-scale LEGO sculpture? The Batman has rarely looked better in the brick — the model’s shaping is spot-on, perfectly capturing those to-die-for Bat-Abs, and making a nice job of the comic world’s Second-Most-Iconic-Chin (Judge Dredd is clearly No. 1, in case you were wondering). The sculpting of the bat sigil on the chest is worth a good look, and I dread to think about the tricky connections which were required underneath all that armour to get the angles right.
Is it harder to build something purely from scratch, or based off of something already in existence? Having done both myself, I honestly can’t decide. Sometimes making LEGO resemble life-size objects is really tough. But it doesn’t seem to have been much of a challenge for Timofey Tkachev! This beautiful LEGO kitchen is based off a real one that is virtually identical. Of course, the real one does not include a human-sized penguin and a few other hidden gems.
Timofey is an incredible artist. We’ve featured many of his builds, but one of my favorites is the terrifying and thought-provoking representation of our oil consumption. Another, much lighter favorite, is his adorable and clever cockatoo. You can also learn more about him by reading more in our interview with him.