Once upon a time way back in the 1990s, in the far-away kingdom of Denmark, the LEGO Model Team theme was born — a theme so brilliant, none of the sets was ever called disappointing or failed. But one day the theme was violently discontinued with no hope that it would be brought back. For many years, both young and adult LEGO builders cherished their dreams about seeing those sets in toy stores again. And it looks like the much-needed flash of hope is finally here: LEGO Technic 42078 Mack Anthem seems to be an example of a nearly flawless toy and display model.
The set is the fifth biggest in the history of the LEGO Technic theme, counting 2,595 pieces. The Mack Anthem features no costly Power Functions or pneumatics elements, so its retail price of £139.99 / $179.99 / 149.99€ makes it the most reasonable choice for pure brick volume among LEGO Technic sets of the first half of 2018.
Click here to read the full review of 42078 Mack Anthem
For people well immersed in the online LEGO community, Mark Erickson is one of the best and most influential castle builders out there. In recent times, he has branched out into other themes more often and one such occasion is with this apocalyptic roadster. It is not a direct recreation of a vehicle from a Mad Max movie, but the inspiration is all over it.
Getting the obvious part out of the way, the huge back wheels are amazing and by far the best part of the build, but there is so much more to see, so here are some more points of interest: the flames bursting from the engine give an incredible sense of movement and the engine itself is very well built. There are some more subtle segments as well, but I feel like they add a lot to bring the build together – the colour choice for the black windscreen is important, many people would have tried to make it clear, which would just not look as good. The most subtle, yet most characteristic part in my opinion, is the little golden spike amongst silver ones at the front. Like a gold tooth in a postapocalyptic survivor’s grin.
Before there was Bionicle, there were the Throwbots, or Slizers, as they were marketed in some parts of the world. While not as popular as their successors from Metru Nui, the theme introduced many elements that would later find use in Bionicle. Many people still remember them fondly, and now a few of those nostalgic fans have teamed up to give them a modern facelift.
We highlighted Turbo a few days ago, but now eight of the original sets have been taken on by as many builders (with four more slated to come soon), and each of them brings their own style to the table, as well as their ideas for what the original could have been. Some stray wildly from the source material, and others are more faithful.
The microscale style has reached one of my personal favourite LEGO Ideas sets, 21307 Caterham Seven 620R. Builder Victor has managed to cram the important features of that build into a handful of pieces, complete with a simple base that uses one of the printed pieces from the official set. The rear section is where most of the interesting stuff is happening: the use of two fender pieces to make the back fenders is smart, but the minifig headphones as the roll cage is even smarter, while the batarang as the windscreen detail makes me want to invert these colours to make a proper open top batmobile.
Details are one thing, but Jeremy Williams takes it to astronomical levels with the Krait Single-Seat Escort. There are so many intense details all around that it’s hard for me to even recognize the pieces or techniques used. It is not just about the intensity, colours help too. We’re so used to seeing gray textures on mecha and spaceships that even black, let alone blue versions of it come out as a total surprise.
I shouldn’t just emphasize the textures and details though, even if they are the build’s highlight. The colour blocking is excellent and the shape of the spacecraft is believably blocky with no redundancy. A genius addition is the microscale space station in the background, which is a solid build in its own right. The post-production on the picture is very attractive too, making it look almost like box art for an official LEGO set.
This bulky spaceship by Nick Trotta, called Ataraxis has caught me completely off guard. I am used to seeing unique LEGO spaceships with a handful of unique ideas and shapes associated with them, but this one is in a completely different class. Of course Nick is one of the best space builders out there, but even so his latest work is incredible. No wonder, as the builder has spent the past four months worth of weekends on it.
There are countless angles and lines all around the spaceship that just a list of them would be too long to be read in a reasonable time. Nick seems to be able to capture any shape and detail that would cross his mind, to a degree that it looks as if he was designing LEGO bricks specifically for this creation. This effect might also originate from the disproportionate amount of newer elements, of which most builders only have a handful and can not use in ways Nick did. My all-around favourite part is the most subtle detail in the build though; on a few spots, you can see jagged edges of grill 1×2 bricks showing, which just seems to make sense.
For an even greater appreciation of the build, you can see the pictures that inspired it.
Let Anthony Wilson guide you on a trip back to the late ’90s with an inspiring take on the City Slizer (also known in North America as Turbo Throwbot). Turbo was my favorite in this brief precursor series to Bionicle, and to see a beautifully stylish upgrade makes me nostalgic. It’s the retrowave presentation, however, that completes Anthony’s radical remake.
The addition of magenta accents and silver detailing is a bold choice for a remake. The risk pays off, as the model has the feel of the original set while emphasizing Anthony’s unique building style.
Now here’s a technique we haven’t seen before… using chalk on your bricks. Stephan Niehoff‘s armoured personnel carrier has a wonderful dusty and stained feel. The added weathering pulls all the grey together into a cohesive whole and ensures the brighter-coloured elements fit in by muting their tones. It looks great, but at first glance I thought the bricks had been drybrush-painted like a scale model kit. However, working with chalk means the bricks can be dusted down and re-used. I’m still not sure it counts as a “LEGO-purist” technique, but it certainly adds a level of realism and visual interest to the model.
There are some other nice details on display here beyond the use of chalk. Don’t miss the cut tubing around the hatches at the front, and those Technic “half-pipe” connectors poking up along the sides at the rear. I’m also a fan of the functional-looking hatches, and the rear lights — too many builders don’t consider the practicalities of regular driving when they build things like this. After all, even the most rugged-looking rover needs to obey the rules of the road on its way to the battlefield.
While we so anxiously wait for the official Ideas release of the Tron Legacy Light Cycle later this year, this might be the next best thing to hold us over. Even though Grantmasters makes this tiny creation with only about 10 elements (not counting the base), the transparent orange and blue ‘jetwall’ makes this classic instantly recognisable. While it may look simple, Grantmasters says that it took over 100 photo shots to get the right lighting and effect he wanted. Talk about dedication to the art!
Star Wars saga is all about two things – machines and locations. Of course, some may say it’s also about the Force, family relationship and friendship, but none of this would work without iconic spacecrafts and mesmerizing sceneries. Chris McVeigh reveals a very special collection of three vignettes featuring our favourite pieces of machinery. But what is absolutely cool about these builds is that each of them has a motion feature, which brings an AT-ST, the Millenium Falcon and an AT-AT to life with a simple turn of the crank.
Click here to see this adorable collection of moving models!
This Technic Silo Truck by Designer-Han shows that sometimes boxy is sooo good. The design elements of the model are pretty simple, with beam-built body panels and a SYSTEM brick-built “silo” as cargo. The roof of the cab shows some thoughtful details, including a rack of lights, top air dam, and CB antenna.
Click here to see the play functions and a video of the truck in action
JamesJTechnic on YouTube brings us this classy 1961 Corvette C1, powered by a BuWizz motor and remote control.
This model demonstrates an excellent use of Technic panels for the body side panels, hood, and trunk lids. It also features a detailed front bumper. The removable hard top provides a nostalgic touch. I like how the model uses flexible hoses on the hood to add contoured ridges to the model’s hood.
Powered by the BuWizz motor and remote control, the Corvette drives and turns thanks to a Power Functions M-Motor and Servo Motor.
If you want to build this classic yourself, the building instructions begin at 2:28 in the video.