From my childhood days spent playing Pokémon Red and my countless hours in front of the TV watching Ash Ketchum fulfill his quest to be a Pokémon master, there has been nothing more indicative of that great video game franchise than the electric-type pocket monster known as Pikachu. And here LEGO builder Zane Houston has captured the little, yellow ‘mon using its signature move, thunderbolt. The powerful blast of electricity emitting from Pikachu’s red cheeks is captured with an interesting studs-out technique, layering white plates vertically on a column of medium azure bricks. Pikachu’s body is similarly built with studs facing outward, away from the center of the character. It helps to give the Pokémon almost a fuzzy, static-y kind of look, quite befitting given its current attack.
Sometimes LEGO can be educational in the most unexpected ways. For instance, I had no idea that chert was a type of sedimentary rock until I espied the aptly-named Chert Chewer by builder Zane Houston. And, boy, does this Rock Raiders mech know how to chew! Equipped with 6 chrome drill bits, there’s no stopping this beast from taking down it’s quarry. The whole thing is a beautiful balance of color, occasionally allowing bits of turquoise and yellow to pop out from behind its gray skin. And I appreciate the inferred articulation with joints and pistons all over the hulk, frozen in place as it scoops out another handful of rubble. But the base it stands upon is by far the highlight for me! Those clean striations in the brown rock set the perfect scene for when the chert needs to be chewed.
Seemingly inanimate objects coming to life – we’ve seen it before in movies like Toy Story or Transformers; now we’re seeing this notion come alive in LEGO form with this Nintendo “Switch Imp” model by Zane Houston.
My favorite part of this build are the imp’s Switch controller arms in their iconic blue and red color scheme. These brick-built arms mainly utilize common elements such as bricks and slopes in various sizes constructed by way of the SNOT (studs not on top) technique. The buttons on the controller arms are rendered by black 1×1 round tiles while the joy sticks are cleverly composed of black round 1x1s with bar and pin holders, 2×2 round plates with an open stud, and 2×2 plates with round bottoms. The rest of this mythological mashup is comprised of a menagerie of black slopes, bricks, and tiles with a couple white cheese slope pieces serving as teeth thrown in. Better watch where you put your things, judging by this build you can never really know what your household items are up to when you’re away – they really could have a life of their own.
We’ve been seeing a lot of unique LEGO bonsai creations since the introduction of the official LEGO Botanical Collection 10281 Bonsai Tree set, thanks no doubt to the awesome variations displayed in the back of that set’s instruction manual. But this one by Zane Houston still stands apart from the crowd, as it’s not really even a tree. It’s a weeping stone gargoyle* with spouting wings that form the leafy branches of a bonsai tree. The gargoyle’s body is made of a fascinating hodge-podge of plates–mostly wedge plates–that give it a unique, knobbly, rough-hewn look. My favorite part, however, is the basalt base upon which it stands. Now I want to add basalt bases to all my creations.
*technically, gargoyles have drain spouts, or else it’s simply a grotesque–but that’s for architecture. The dictionary is oddly silent on how they’re defined for bonsai.
While big things often come in small packages, sometimes they come in big 2-person demolition mechs, like this hulking mass of de-construction by Zane Houston, which sports some very clever details. At first glance, many of the pieces look a lot like some smaller LEGO elements but are actually larger, brick built versions. For instance, check out the curved vents on each forearm that resemble the black spoiler element. Between the vice-like pincer hands, piston-driven cutters and the chain coiled around the base of the chassis, the Termite Demolition Mech is ready to break it down and break it down again.
This bulky mech by Zane Houston is called a brawler, and it could not match its name any better. From the large wheels built into the legs to massive shoulder and hip joints, this is one heavy mech. However, this is more than a simple brute of a model, as there are plenty of details worth mentioning. In particular, the mech has several pistons and other mechanisms that ground it in practical construction. Throughout the model, the builder has also added simple repeating details like cheese slopes in the thighs, and canisters in the forearms.
In addition to some fantastic angled structures that would look quite at home in any massive LEGO spaceship, the color blocking is also well-executed. However, I think my favorite detail would have to be the 2×2 round bricks with grooves tucked into several joints, playing off of the more noticeable gears.