Spring has sprung and we’re seeing vibrant colors outside suddenly. And also bunnies; lots and lots of bunnies. LEGO builder Tom Loftus is surely feeling Spring in the air as evidenced by this delightfully bright mech. It makes use of a plethora of purple pirate hats which come from the 10313 Wildflowers Bouquet set from the Botanical line. If you haven’t picked up any of these sets just yet I strongly advise that you do. It is probably my favorite line nowadays and this is coming from a guy who is totally gaga for cars and monsters and stuff. Amazing non-flowery things can be built using the parts from these sets. Give the Botanical archives a gander to see what I mean.
This latest LEGO creation by Tom Loftus has instant appeal for me. I mean, it looks like it’s going super-fast while sitting still. That is partly due to the genius use of the dusty roostertail behind this Desert Speedster. The position of that minifig driver makes it look like he’s really leaning into that turn. I’d be impressed enough with that but there is some brilliant parts usage with the bucket scoops as front fenders and it appears the body of the car is an upside-down boat. Incidentally, this is not the first time Tom has been using parts in clever ways. Not by a long shot! Check out our Tom Loftus archives to see what I mean.
It’s been a while since we covered the fourth of 8 builds from the second round of the Starfighter Telephone Game, or STG, so lets do a recap as we highlight the final build in the series. The STG-2 Beyonder, built by Simon Liu, the spaceship legend himself, made for a super strong finish for the whole game. For those not in the know, the game includes eight builders, passing along a spaceship design that they reimagine and redesign with each subsequent build. As such, the form and function can shift and change in dramatic ways from the first ship to the last. The bright green canopy surrounded by white angular canopy pieces smooth out the cockpit and compliment the triangular shaping achieved with the left and right roof tiles that Simon pulled from the Bone Demon set. Dark grey mock-wings stretch out from the green, white, and blue fuselage while gold tiling on the engines can be seen peeking out from behind the craft. Unfortunately Simon hasn’t provided much of a look at the back. Thankfully, the front is so beautifully built it’s worth appreciating on its own. The greebly, detailed interior of the cockpit feature’s many LEGO fans’ favorite frog piece as this sleek ship’s pilot.
The best feeling after finally beating that tough level is to bask in the peaceful tranquility of the save location. Tom Loftus recreates this feeling with this wonderful LEGO game checkpoint. Some great techniques going on here — the fluffy floating clouds and the little three wheeled companion rover are superb. The gems scattered around are a great touch and I admire the dedication it must have taken to balance all of those around the build. The inspiration for this build is a brand new 5×5 curved plate, used here upside down around the central tower.
Check out more interesting uses of this new part from our friends over at New Elementary. Now onto the next challenge!
Sometimes it pays to read the builder’s comments. When I first saw this build by Tom Loftus, I zeroed in on those amazing blinds and spent probably fifteen minutes trying to figure out how they were made. Some new panel I hadn’t come across, yet? Maybe a vent from some Star Wars UCS set? Nope. Turns out the Iron Builder April Fool’s challenge was to create a build using paper cut outs of the letters in “Iron Builder,” and I’d been staring at a bunch of the letter “I” in that window. The letters have been put to great use all around the room. “B” for the chair backs, “O” for the table, “D” for the desk against the wall, and almost a whole game of Wordle in that art piece on the wall. When the result looks this good, I don’t mind being played for a fool.
That’s why I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) along with my friend Tom Loftus decided to take a break from our usual spaceships and build something fantastical. Our usual greys became pinks and lavenders, our usual mechanical greebling became wild, organic foliage. Tom wanted to build a tree, I wanted to replicate some of Scotland’s coastal cliffs. Combined with recent plants in wild colours and the release of the Acorn Boy and Night Protector in the recent Collectable Minifigure Series, our collab build became an homage to LEGO Elves.
We are fans of the bygone LEGO Elves theme which ran from 2015 to 2018. Its signature look was bright colours, cute dragons, and wonderful characters with elemental powers and matching outfits, albeit they were the less favourable minidolls. In short, it was a Tolkien-esque fantasy version of LEGO Friends. Despite there being an established lore (which I admit I’m unfamiliar with), Tom and I decided to make something original, but with a similar aesthetic.
As much as I like a more fantastical spaceship design, like those seen in Star Wars or the Foundation series, the practical, near-future designs found in The Expanse, Interstellar, and Alien really thrill me, as they seem to offer a glimpse of what humanity might use to journey beyond our little spinning world. When I saw this spacecraft by Tom Loftus (Inthert) I was reminded of the command module and lunar landing craft used in many Apollo missions. There is something intimately believable about the construction of the main module, as well as the small detachable tug that would not look at all out of place in a museum of Space vehicles from some not-too-distant future.
Every once in a while we get a build that is out of this world. Not only because of techniques or parts usage, but because it is a work of art made with LEGO pieces. Ring-Rise by Tom Loftus (Inthert) is exactly that. A colourful painting. A cinematic shot with perfect framing. Just an astronaut and his cat, all alone on a monochrome alien world, looking out on the colourful rings of a planet. A simple idea, flawless execution.
Tom knew he wanted to incorporate the famous basalt columns of Iceland into a build. The Alien Landscape category of the yearly Space Jam contest was the perfect opportunity. Layering them in shades of grey (black to dark grey to light grey) give the impression of light coming in from the space-scape beyond. The planetary ring uses Simon Pickard’s intricate curving surface technique that few have mastered. Tom spiced it up by making it as colourful as he could, evoking the psychedelic hues of nebulae and other heavenly bodies.
Check out more builds by Tom here!
This isn’t the first time Tom Loftus (Inthert) was inspired by the art of Spacegoose to create an adorable Cat-stronaut figure. While the previous feline (The aptly named Space Cat) was all about journeying into mystery, Astra is already there. The amazing part usage of metallic black beehives for limbs is a standout feature, but it’s the eyes that really do it for me. Those Mixel 1×1 round eye tiles give this critter the same Crazy-Zoom look that I remember seeing just before a pet tore through the house at Warp 10.
From the rear, you can see that Tom paid equal attention to the stylish and functional-looking backpack. There’s a joke here about “the cat’s pajamas” but I can’t quite make it work. Let’s just pretend it did and share a brief chuckle.
There are a lot of things that can happen in the world of LEGO space. Why not check out our archives for more of them?
At a quick glance, you might see this as a charming little fantasy LEGO microscale scene. And you’d be right in that assumption. But upon closer look, that is when you realized Tom Loftus has done quite the clever thing. He has used plastic dragon trim from the Raya and Sisu Dragon set to emulate swirls on the water. The two pieces are supposed to be removed from the foil along their perforated edges, but he has left the part intact in order to create the swirling river effect. I entirely overlooked the set for having pieces seemingly useless to my needs but Tom’s clever use of interesting parts has me rethinking that strategy. It just goes to show that even the most seemingly undesirable piece can be put to clever use in just the right hands. Check out all the other times Tom has dazzled us in one way or another in our archives.
The new LEGO Vidiyo theme may not be the most popular among adult builders, but it has certainly introduced builders to some unusual large but potentially versatile parts. In Tom Loftus’s own words, every part is a spaceship part, which he set out to prove, and did quite a top-notch job. This fighter is built around the lime-green base from the pods that serve as the central element of each set.
The grooves designed to fit extra tiles make great cooling vents, and just to show that this chunky fighter can also pour on the speed, there are plenty of thrusters squeezed on to the backs of each engine pod.
The release of new LEGO themes often means new parts to play with, and the new VIDIYO theme has offered up some especially interesting new pieces for builders to find uses for. One of my favorite examples of this is the 4-D1 Heavy Cargo Lifter – ‘The Ant’ by Tom Loftus (Inthert). This tiny little ship makes use of two of the new VIDIYO box back pieces to create a flatbed for large cargo.
The box back is equal parts plate, bracket, and hinge, which makes it an ideal framework for a unique spacecraft like this. Below the flatbed, the rest of the ship is just barely larger than its single pilot cockpit, which really gives the impression that this craft lives up to its namesake – a tiny critter capable of lugging several times its own weight around.