One thing legendary LEGO builder Bart De Dobbelaer is quite good at is taking us to unique alien worlds. Take Neptune’s Garden, for instance. Whether it be the eerily luminescent jellyfish or the shale-like rocky structures, I can easily get lost in all these amazing details right up until I run out of oxygen, which wouldn’t be very long. Bart tells us that ocean exploration is dangerous (well, duh!) but when Blue Mystery manufactured their OFE (Ocean Floor Exploration) units, a new world opened up. It turns out there’s big money in ocean exploration as Blue Mystery emerged as a Fortune 500 company. But many of their autonomous units were lost to the depths, never to be seen again. The company went under both figuratively and literally. What happened? Did they find something that would best be kept hidden?
With the 90 Years Of Play thing going on, LEGO nostalgia has been running high lately. That’s why I was so chuffed to see this great Auquazone tribute by Jason Head (Xccj). Built for this year’s Bio-Cup competition, it features a superbly upgraded monstrous shark getting ready to chow down on mini versions of 1995’s 6195 Neptune Discovery Lab and 6175 Crystal Explorer Sub. Standout features are the textured approach to the sea floor, the integrated transparent blue Bionicle mask serving as the Lab’s front gates, and that cute little mini sub.
If you’re looking for more under the sea goodness, there’s plenty in our archives!
LEGO’s iconic Classic Space style has been reinterpreted in many forms over the years, typically rounded up in what fans call Neo-Classic Space (NCS) and we’ve seen everything from spaceships to tanks wearing that beloved blue, grey, and transparent-yellow color scheme. But there’s always room for breaking the mold a bit more while still adhering to the basic style. Enter Rubblemaker and the Manta Ray, an NCS vessel that can go places no Classic Spaceship has gone before: underwater! Bearing a strikingly unique shape and just the perfect amount of greebles, this cool design now has me wanting to do a crossover mashup with Aquazone.
Of course, it can’t really be Classic “Space” unless there’s some space involved, and the Manta Ray is only too happy to oblige, as it’s versatile enough to traverse the cold depths of outer space as easily as the ocean.
LEGO expert Jake Hansen dives deep into the his Iron Builder duel with this Ponyo inspired submarine! His signature color mastery and clean lines abound in this build. The teal tentacle parts create a sense of motion as seaweed waving in the currents over the brick built sea floor. The seed part for Iron Builder this round is the red cockpit part used here as fins. Keep an eye out for more builds using this seed part in the coming weeks as the Iron Builder round progresses!
LEGO Masters winners, Steven Erickson and Mark Erickson, have created this fascinating aquatic display. We have had a look at the golden speeders before, which fit in perfectly with this diorama. Bursting with colour, the build features a variety of characters and sea life, surrounding a grand-looking throne room. The use of flexible green tubes as seagrass is one clever technique and makes a great addition to the collection of sea vegetation. Minifigure legs represent the curl at the end of the seahorse’s tail and one of the jellyfish even uses hero blast pieces as its tentacles.
Whenever Steven Erickson and Mark Erickson get together you know it is going to be LEGO magic—underwater magic, in this case. But maybe that’s my undying urge to live my life as the mermaid I know that I am—or at least was in a past life. Or maybe it’s the amazing underwater creatures that these builders created.
Using the jellyfish mask for a jellyfish isn’t groundbreaking, but it is nice to see these odd parts pop up in creations. The true brilliance is the use of the trans pink umbrella to create an even bigger jellyfish. The leaf parts work great representing the tentacles. The Bionicle Olmak mask works great as an underwater vehicle. The only thing I am not sure about is the faucet used as a steering wheel.
This Subnautic™ Research Drone by Alex_Mocs finds new uses for Galidor, DUPLO, and Scala elements in a brilliant underwater vessel. The Galidor upper legs (and sweet looking Technic and System-built lower legs) slot through the portholes of a DUPLO submarine hull. On the underside is a collection pot that made from (I think) a Scala water cooler. Add to that with a seabed full of twisting organic shapes and a wealth of aquatic life, and you have the makings of a very grim and gritty “Finding Nemo” reboot.
Is everything better under the sea? Is that a joke that we’ve relied on once too often? Check out our submarine tag and start counting the callbacks!
Ninjago is known for two main things (outside of Ninjas, anyway) – giant mechs and sweet, sweet dragons. The Seabound theme introduces another majestic beast into the mix with LEGO Ninjago 71754 Water Dragon. This 737 piece set is available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $69.99 | CAN $99.99 | UK £59.99. In addition to the dragon there’s also a mini-sub, five minifigures, and a display pedestal. Sounds like a good mix, but is it really? We picked up a copy to find out – come along as we take our own deep dive!
There’s been a lot of focus lately on the massive 10294 Titanic, but did you know LEGO has also released a lot of things that also deal with nautical themes? Why, there’s even a whole season of LEGO Ninjago shows and sets devoted to that sort of thing! The flagship of the Seabound sub-theme is LEGO Ninjago 71756 Hydro Bounty – a 1159 piece set available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $129.99 | CAN $169.99 | UK £119.99. It has a whopping ten minifigures, a giant submarine packed with surprises, and even a fun twist on a Stingray muscle car. Sound too good to be true? Read on and judge for yourself!
The LEGO fan community goes in deep with giant space vehicles in SHIPtember. Adam Dodge, however, has taken a couple of interesting twists on the theme by going with a ship that’s not only super-wide rather than super-long, but also super-underwater. Based on the adorable animated adventures of the Octonauts, this is one studly tribute to the Octoray craft. The lines are crisp and clean, the wing-based turbines are spot-on, and the transparent cylinders used for the front windows are a really nifty solution. Even better, this Adam build this vehicle as treat for his son. That adds a big dollop of “awww” on top of the “wow”.
Are you looking for more undersea adventures? Check out other featured submarines!
One of my favorite movie trope mashups is when giant mechs do their fighting underwater. That’s why I was so excited when the latest wave of Ninjago sets, Seabound, came out. The first one I purchased was 71750 Lloyd’s Hydro Mech, a low-cost way to scratch that Pacific Rim itch while I contemplated the more expensive offerings. And, because I’m apparently addicted to writing LEGO set reviews, I waited to build it until I could share it here with you. This 228-piece set is available now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99. Come along as we take a deep dive into the shallow end of the pool!
Working with a new part can be a challenge. Finding how they fit into the system can lead to surprises and disappointments. Ultimately, dedicated builders like Tom Loftus find a way. Armed with tons of teal from the Ninjago Jungle Dragon and challenged to examine the functionality of the transparent VIDIYO Canopy (as he calls it), Tom found himself under the sea at this Reef Station. He gave me some insight into some of the extra pieces he worked into the model, including finally making use of the drone elements introduced last year.