One of the biggest dilemmas that LEGO builders face is choosing between impressive appearance and complex functionality of their creations. LEGO pieces, although offering an enormous number of combinations, still place huge limits on the functionality and mobility of models. That’s why hitting on a sweet build complete with a video of functions in action excites me like nothing else. One of the best Latvian builders, de-marco, whose works are always especially neat and aesthetically beautiful, has shared a small diorama of an old rusty rail-road crane by the loading area.
Current Iron Builder competitor Tim Schwalfenberg is chugging through the competition, having already completed seven builds. His most recent creation is this delightful microscale train scene. That pin connector looks great as a tank car. But I wonder what that tiny village needs two full tanks of. Gasoline? Milk? Mountain Dew Code Red? Tim’s packed a lot of detail into this small build — my favorites, other than the train itself, include the railroad crossing sign and that glorious gorge-spanning bridge.
I know lots of people who are constantly nagging about disproportional 6-studs-wide trains from official LEGO City sets. Now I have a solid argument: a mind-blowing 1:16 scale copy of the Union Pacific EMD SD70 ACe Locomotive. When Dennis G (bricksonwheels) finally posted pictures of the finished model, I mistook them for photos of a real locomotive. Just look at this beauty!
This EMD SD70 is just the second brick-built train by Dennis, who is much more famous as the author of alluring scaled copies of trucks. This time the locomotive is more than 56 inches long (140 cm) and consists of more than 27,000 pieces.
According to Polish builder Mateusz Waldowski, the Newag 15D/16D is a broad-guauge diesel locomotive that’s a heavily modernized Polish version of the Soviet-era TEM2. With excellent color blocking and a couple of custom stickers, Mateusz has built a stunning LEGO version in PKP Cargo livery. I especially like Mateusz’s use of corner panels for the steps, and the angled cab windows.
See more photos of Mateusz’s locomotive in his album on Flickr.
Seattle builder Dave Sterling has built a LEGO version of London’s Charing Cross Railway Station as it appeared in the late-Victorian period. Dave’s creation formed part of an international collaboration entitled Around the World in 80 days which was displayed at Brickworld Chigaco. Dave has really captured the intricate details and elaborate exterior features representative of Victorian architecture.
A replica of the 70ft high Eleanor Cross was built in the forecourt of the station in 1865, and this is very nicely depicted in Dave’s build by the ornate tall ‘cross’ complete with tan microfigs, masonry bricks and arches.
Talented multi-theme builder Joshua Brooks isn’t just about giant Waterloo dioramas and beautiful castle gardens, he’s also a solid train builder. His latest engine is an EMD SD40-2 locomotive in Burlington Northern livery that would look great as TBB livery as well. The railings and brick-built “BN” lettering on the engine are excellent details, while the setting gives the impression of the train speeding through the great American West.
As a life-long fan of artists such as Escher and Dali, this bizarrely warped train by Korean builder Amida Na really tickled my fancy. It’s entitled Folded Space Syndrome #1 so I’m really hoping this is the first in a series (even though it is just a digital render).
Antique trams scurry along the streets of Porto, carrying visitors to Portugal’s second-largest city hither and yon. rupilego has built one in Coca-Cola livery, complete with a cobblestone street for a base. The rounded cab and little windows on top of the roof are lovely details.
See more photos in the photoset on Flickr.
Tim Schwalfenberg has just come back from the subjugated provinces and hung up his Roman Legionnaire’s battle gear, which looks stunning displayed in all its glory.
Tim’s been busy in his Iron Builder competition against Matt De Lanoy, and has been rolling out top-notch models left and right. Here are a few of my favorites, but be sure to check his flickr stream for the rest.
This is Cale Leiphart and he likes trains, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and enjoying his builds for many years now. His latest culmination of train-awesomeness is the Red Lion Station, and is a model of the Maryland & Pennsylvania RR train station and surrounding areas.
At over 3.5 x 17 feet (that’s 5 meters), this requires adjectives which I do not posses to describe the incredible feat. That’s not to say there haven’t been larger builds, but I have a hard time recalling a build of this size that has this much detail packed in. Not only does each of the buildings have a beautiful facade, but each building has a fully decked out interior. It’s so large it’s incredibly hard to even photograph, and is one of those builds that are best enjoyed in person at a display:
I really liked how Cale has gone against the grain and built buildings and streets at non-right angles, a non-trivial feat, to build off-axis roads and buildings:
Not only are the roads difficult to build at an angle, most people would have simply laid the train track on top of the road to avoid complicated brickwork, but Mr. Leiphart, true to form, built it inside the road with some really clever brick work.
As I mentioned before, I had seen earlier versions of this layout last year and it really caught my eye. By catch my eye, I mean I did a double take and went OH-MY-G-O-S-H. Again the size is impressive, but I’m a detail guy, and this nondescript grey building blew my mind. Take a closer look at the sides, it’s not just nicely stacked brick, it’s made up of panels, hundreds of panels attached in some seemingly magical way. Despite being very late on the first setup night, Cale – who was still setting up this magnificent display – noticed our fevered interest and stopped everything and came over to us and showed us the secret of the grey building. This became my number 1 cool must-see thing at BrickFair that year.
I’m not the train expert here on TBB, but I do know a few things about micro and setting up small scale micro dioramas, and this build by Galaktek is simply divine:
I love the use of the raised track and the nice 45 degree angle. But what really steals the show for me is the amazing train. The engine is what microscale is all about – using existing pieces in completely different fashion. In this case using the familiar spring loaded cannon base for the little blue engine that could.
According to Lino Martins, he combined hot rod and steam engine in equal parts and sprinkled in a dash of black magic. When the thunder and lightning stopped and the earth ceased to shake, this wicked beast rolled out of the smoke and up to the curb.
I really dig this one. The locomotive motif, the color scheme and the steam-punk detailing all combine in a most excellent and cohesive way. One of my favorite touches is the open rib-work on the hood, showing off the spinning turbine. This is definitely another masterpiece from the Master.
The top of the coach also opens to display the crushed red velvet interior.