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”.
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.
Maybe it’s just the bourbon talking, but baseplates can be hit or miss with us LEGO builders. I have boxes full of them, but they reside in the most inaccessible corners of my LEGO room because (again, this might be the bourbon) I perceive them as “greasy kid stuff.” However Walter Whiteside Jr. just might have me digging out my old plates and rethinking my greasy kid strategy. Everything about this particular shot, from the bright yellow submersible to the way he uses the pattern on the baseplates, is phenomenal. The round bits come from this Fabuland set from 1985. In fact, most of these parts take us to about the mid-eighties to the early nineties.
We may have other things to look forward to from this builder. While this shot is remarkable enough to warrant its own write-up, the bit of monorail track clues us in that this may be part of a larger layout. In fact, here’s another denizen of Walter’s amazing underwater world!
Simon Liu has created this wonderful LEGO interpretation of the classic neighbourhood from SpongeBob SquarePants. The individual houses have been cleverly constructed, each with their own unique features and techniques. Starting from the left, Patrick’s rock house is represented by a domed part from the Star Wars planet series. The house in the middle belongs to everyone’s favourite grouch, Squidward, and has shaping accurate to the original design, thanks to the application of the large wedges which are sunken into the sand. Spongebob’s pineapple house uses small wedges to represent the segments of the fruit with blue rubber bands imitating foliage surrounding the home. There are even microscale versions of the characters outside of their respective houses. All these details result in a display which is easily recognisable and accurate to the original source material.
It’s such a simple technique, but I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever seen anyone mix dark bluish gray and light bluish gray to produce the illusion of wet and dry stone before. I certainly haven’t seen it done as well as Hubba Blöoba accomplishes it here. The details of this ancient pillar are replicated as perfect mirrors of each other above and below the surface of the water. It makes it easy to imagine how hot to the touch the light bluish gray stone is, after baking in the coastal sunshine. Or how slippery the dark bluish gray stone would prove to be for any treasure hunters exploring these ruins on the search for lost swords or rings of power.
This LEGO creation from Brickleas is deceptively simple and colorful, to say the least. The bright colors play off each other beautifully without taking over the scene, and the variety of underwater vegetation is well done, especially with the implied, yet peaceful, movement. This build was a submission for an Iron Builder contest, where the builder had to use this odd shield holder part, and Brickleas did a great job incorporating it into a well-textured fish.
I’m thinking of adorning my home with aquarium decor even though I don’t have any fish. I mean, think about it; tikis, skulls, mermaids, pirate ships. It’s pretty much the decor I already have minus the DayGlo paint. Or better yet, I can move all my stuff into this awesome LEGO Coral Castle by Jake Hansen. With bright coral, various lifeforms, and seaweed made of flex tubes there is a lot to love here. But my favorite detail is the fish made from beehives. I mean, come on, that’s just brilliant! Jake is competing in Iron Builder and, as brilliant as the beehive fish are, that is not even the seed part. This one is. He tells us twenty-four were used in this undersea diorama. This Iron Builder competition is just firing up so I get a feeling we’ll be seeing plenty more great builds from Jake soon.
Let’s go on an undersea adventure with this great octopus by Didier Burtin. You don’t normally associate great greebling with aquatic creatures, but if you look close there are lots of fun details here. Sure, the LEGO tires are easy to locate, but what about the hot dog? There’s also a generous helping of hinged articulation, making this one poseable critter. It looks like the octopus has claimed a treasure chest as a perch, and the brown of the chest (and the bright orange leaves festooning it) really make the red and black colors of the octopus stand out.
It’s great to see a creation that’s based so firmly on an accurate depiction of a real-life animal. That’s not to say there isn’t also benefit from a more mechanized approach. What sort of octopus do you want to build?
Batman’s watercraft mostly played second fiddle to his main vehicles in The LEGO Batman Movie. It would have been great to see a submarine from his fleet explore the deep seas of Gotham City. Stevenpavan created the BATSUB, modeled after the Yellow Submarine, with some major upgrades, and of course in black. The BATSUB’s specs are imagined with the type of realism you’d expect from some tinkering by Lucius Fox. According to the builder, it’s armed with electromagnetic harpoons (on its sides) and EMP blasts (not visible). We’re just happy to see that it has dualpropellers and a removable roof to place a few minifigures in the cabin.
We’ve already featured one dynamite LEGO build from Cecilie Fritzvold, but this one is a blast, too. (Sorry/not sorry.) This time the bundles of TNT were used for an engine mount, SCUBA tank, and a ring of coral. The great part usage doesn’t stop there, though. Check out those adorable clown fish with rubber band accents, Technic tubing and lightsaber blades as tall plants, and the variety of Clikits beads forming the colorful sea bed. All in all, it’s a soothing image that’s more rewarding the longer you look at it.
Have you ever had that dream where you’re a shirtless ginger merman riding a seahorse into Atlantean battle? You haven’t? Then I feel sorry for you because you have not lived. That is probably my second most recurring dream beside the one where I’m thrown out a casino for winning too much…and for also being a shirtless merman. Builder MS Industries surely knows what I’m talking about as they have recreated my dream in LEGO. I’m seeing some excellent use of Samurai swords in the seahorse’s fins and lime green flippers gives a bright little fish some great personality. Your inciteful interpretations of my dreams are most welcome in the comments.