Hi there! After five glorious years, I have decided to retire this blog.
Feel free to visit my Flickr or YouTube channels instead.
Or follow my latest blogging exploits over at the Brothers Brick.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

They walk slither among us

This disturbing and inexplicable creation by Hans Dendauw is called "Monster Under The Bed", and is described as a "green tentacled, hermaphrodite, dominatrix cyclops". Although "menopausal Mike Kazowski" might work just as well!


 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Would you like flies with that?

Well, what a week it's been! On Monday I returned from the double convention whammy of Bricks by the Bay and Nova Albion in rain-drenched San Jose, California. Look for a full writeup here very soon.

Meanwhile, please to enjoy this entry in the 2011 Podracer Challenge over at From Bricks To Bothans by my Bricks of Character co-conspirator Tommy Williamson. Presenting, the McPod™!



...it looks almost good enough to eat! So in that respect its very similar to the real thing.

And talking of all things Lucas, the Star Wars Miniland display at Legoland California opens TOMORROW (March 31st)! You can guarantee that FBTB will be giving by-the-nanosecond coverage of the event. And the park has even set up a webcam so you can monitor the preparations. Several of our beloved Legoland builders were unable to make it to Bricks by the Bay because of this, so the display had better be worth it! And from what I've seen, it will be.

Security has been very tight...



(Nerds!)
 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cor blimey string a light apples and pears how's your father

Apparently the laziness of your average British laborer - 2nd only to the French, of course - is so legendary that Barney Main (aka SlyOwl) figured it should be summed up in Lego form.



It's certainly true that to keep your typical chain smoking ass-crack-showing Cockney layabout working at the maximum 20% capacity, you will have to feed a "cuppa" into him roughly every 15 minutes. Kind of like those electricity meter boxes of old. And he will almost certainly bring along an even more useless teenage oik to stand there and watch. And a dog will probably be involved too at some point. But none of this is unreasonable. Just don't ask them to actually do anything useful like turn on your cable TV for example (Tommy!), or they'll be rubbing their chins and talking about "not having the parts" or "come back a week next Thursday".

However, not everyone of the English persuasion is that bone idle - for in my tireless dedication to the Lego cause, I have this evening arrived in sunny soggy San Jose for the Bricks by the Bay convention (yes, that white box on the right). The LIVING BRICK base camp has been set up in my hotel room, and my outfit for the simultaneous Steampunk convention appears to have arrived unscathed. Prepare for a weekend of geeky wonderfulness, dear readers! I'll be providing as much daily coverage of both events as the brief periods of sobriety will allow.


 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bloody kids, muckin' about

Star Trek, the font of all knowledge (at least to you nerds) teaches us that omnipotent aliens are often so far beyond meagre human comprehension, that even their children / pets / household appliances would seem as gods to us.

...as illustrated in this scene depicting how stonehenge was built (or vandalized, I'm not quite sure) by darling of the Texas news scene, the goodly Brother Nannan.


"Playtime's over Timmy, we're going home!"

 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Catch 22

I'm a sucker for a good Nam movie, and therefore a sucker for a good Nam MOC, like this wonderfully busy jungle patrol diorama by Chris Beckett (aka Becheman). But take a close look at this scene. A very close look...



I'm not trying to draw your attention to the hidden enemy soliders in the foreground, or the fact that I'm actually featuring something involving mini-figs (shock horror!). No, what's unusual about this MOC is that it's actually computer generated.

Chris is one of a very special group of Lego builders who do all their work using Lego-tuned CAD tools like LDraw, and then run the results through ray-tracing software to create realistic lighting effects and surface textures.



Now this isn't a particularly new phenomenon, and right about now a bunch of purists are all crowing about how this is 'cheating' or not 'real Lego' or how they don't each quiche. And as someone who appreciates the physical art of Lego building and who's blog follows a very specific charter, I probably won't be featuring this kind of stuff very often.

...except when it's exceptionally well done, and demonstrates the kind of attention to detail and creativity that even 'real' builders aspire to. After all, it's not like doing it in the virtual world is any easier - probably quite the reverse. I'd probably be throwing the keyboard through the screen after the first 10 minutes.


After all, do people scoff at the amazing CGI effects in blockbuster movies like Avatar because they weren't filmed on actual alien planets with actual spaceships (or at the very least, very fiddly plastic models of spaceships)? Or scoff at David Hockney for creating art on fax paper? (...ok, maybe that wasn't such a good example)

I just think it's important, from time to time, that we peer over the tops of our respective hedgerows and appreciate the breadth and depth of the AFOL movement.



Plus, consider all the advantages that folks like Chris enjoy by pursuing the hobby digitally...

- No waiting impatiently for that next Bricklink order to arrive.
- Unlimited quantities of every brick type in non-production color combinations.
- And non-production colors!
- No dropping of small parts down the heating vent
- No consumption of small parts by children, animals, appliances, etc
- No dusting
- *AND NO SORTING*

Of course, we purist snobs will always have the satisfaction of being able to lug our physical creations to a convention for the entertainment of the general populace. Plus we get to enjoy the unique and God-like satisfaction of destruction!
 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Unitron-opus

Taylor Baggs (aka Stormbringer, aka Unitronus Galaxy, aka oh make your mind up will you, man!) appears to be a bit of a fan of the book series, slash movie, slash soon-to-be-a-movie-trilogy, slash-soon-to-be-a-TV-show franchise that is How To Train Your Dragon...



Actually correction, he's not a HTTYD fan. He's an obsessed HTTYD manic! Because for the majority of the past year, Taylor has been creating Lego versions of nearly every dragon that appears in the movie, as well as entire action dioramas based on scenes from said movie!



Having spent most of my building time last year on a single multi-part Lego project, I can kind of appreciate the dedication required to make progress on something that is so potentially infinitely open-ended as this. I can also appreciate the kind of mania that sets in too! One day you look out of your little Lego workshop window and realize you've missed the entire summer. Or your daughter's graduation. Or to eat.
 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Head over heels

It seems like not a week goes by that I don't feature some excellent creation or other from one of my favorite Hong Kong builders. This week, it's tkh (again) with his rendition of the villain-ess Doronjo from the Yatterman series.



Those are some heels! My own complaint would be that her blonde hair isn't really prominent enough from the front. Nevertheless this creation is full of win! And as you might expect, this figure comes in a few different poses and even comes with props...

    

 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The United States of NANOmerica

Whether you are already a follower of the Japanese building system nanoblock, or are just a bi-curious Lego fan, I have some great news...

nanoblock is coming to America!

Not only has nanoblock added a whole new bunch of fantastic sets recently, but you won't have to go to incredible pains to lay your hands on them any more. As I write this, you should be able to find nanoblock products on the shelves at Toys R Us and also online via Amazon.com.

I've showcased some nanoblock sets in the past (here and here) but below is a sneek peak at some of the new directions they are taking it...

Firstly the "Sites To See" line is getting ever more ambitious, as illustrated by the Mont St Michael and Easter Island sets...



The already extensive range of animals gets ever more extensive, with additions such as an all-pink pig and this Koala and Reindeer (but no sign of an Amobea or Lung Fish as yet)...



Then there are some totally original and rad' ideas such as these rock star sets...



Whether or not Japan actually slides any further into the Pacific ocean, it's likely that the entire line of sets won't make it over here all at once. But to start with Ohio Art (the US distributor for nanoblock) has very kindly sent me samples of the initial US offering...


...so you can expect a full review of these sets (featuring a couple of young 'guest reviewers' that happen to live in my house) in the coming weeks!








 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Finally, a Disney character I can respect!

Tabloid sensation Alex Eylar presents the forgotten Disney assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald the Lucky Rabbit...



Now I'm hoping he follows this up with a "Mickey & Mini" remake of the Zapruder film. Back, and to the left. Back. And to the left. Actually, with that firepower it'd be more like: Back, and hey where's Mickey's upper torso?!
 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pleasure you want, protection you trust

The 2011 MOCathalon talent-fest rages on, as exemplified by this scene from ancient Troy, courtesy of Sven Junga...



(alternate viewpoint here)
 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Girl Power

Here are a couple more very tidy little figures from Living Brick regular rongYIREN, entitled Queen and Little Sister bot respectively...

    

 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Do you feel lucky, punk?

What happens when two awesome Lego building styles get combined? No, not Neo Classic Belville you blithering idiot! Guess again. Ok, I'll tell you... you get Microscale Steampunk. And Rod Gillies (aka 2 Much Caffeine) has just provided us with some canonical examples of this mashup (which I understand can be referred to as simply "Micro Steam")...




But even cooler than that, you won't have to go order a bunch of reddish brown and random pearl gold parts off of Bricklink to emulate this, because Rod is offering this as a custom set on his own Bricklink store...



Order yours while stocks last - because some mad Brit has already snagged the first two! Oh, that would be me. ;-)

And continuing his run on Microscale versions of themes that (for some reason I never undertstood) include the word 'punk', Rod has just churned out this cute little Cyberpunk mecha scene too...



Small, and perfectly formed.
 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hit and myth

When Alex Schranz (aka Orion Pax) decided to learn more about the 'Orion' in his handle, he uncovered a classical Greek myth that could only be told in Lego...


Check out the entire scene which features not only the mythical figure of Orion, but also his insectoid tormentor, a great ruined Greek temple, and of course the full backstory!
 

Friday, March 11, 2011

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

The 2011 MOC-athalon continues to generate a lot of great creations!

The first two are by our favorite builder Tyler "At this point I'm basically doing this in my sleep" Clites...

Out To Lunch


Killing Time


Next, here's a closeup of the adorable little mice from Barney Main's diorama (which funnily enough also features knives and blood)...



And finally, Raphael Heusser brings us a uniquely 'simian' take on an old Escher favorite...


 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Army strong

For no particular reason, a couple of nice military MOCs today, centered of course around the ubiquitous Green Army Men.

First up, G.A.M. maniac La Griffe extends his already impressive green arsenal with what appears to be some rather non standard issue artillery. I always wondered where all that reverse-engineered Roswell technology ended up...



And next up, Cam M presents us with a forced-perspective Vietnam flashback that is totally made by the inclusion of a sweet little microscale Huey...


 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bricks by the Bay 2011: Two week countdown!

The blessed event is almost upon us: Bricks by the Bay is only a couple of weeks away now. Any of you that are attending the event should know what you're bringing and have registered it up on the Attendees Wiki.

And you're bringing something for the Bricks of Character table, right? Right?! Well, if you're still on the fence about that, I can give you several reasons why you might want to...

1. Because Bricks of Character is just so flippin' sweet.

2. Because we told you to.

3. Because you might win a coveted award and a prize (or at the very least, a bear hug from me) for your creations.

4. Because the first 30 people that do bring something to the BOC table will each get one of these precious MAERSK BLUE badge bricks...



...which are also flippin' sweet!

On the planning front, the great news is that the BBtB organizers have come up with a really cool exhibition layout, and we have oodles of space. Bricks of Character has about triple the capacity of last year, so there should be room for everything.
 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You know, for Knights Errant...

Upon finding himself saddled with the awesome responsibility of being his friend's best man, Peter Morris's first thought was to build him a Monty Python themed Lego wedding gift. And the result was this fine replica of The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch...



Peter's grenade design is based directly on an earlier design by Alex Eylar, but Peter went the extra 9 yards and also crafted the gorgeous chest that houses this Most Silly of Relics.

  

No idea if Peter plans to use the chest to present the groom with the ring on the big day, but I'm sure this creation will trigger an almost continous tirade of Monty Python quote-offs, that will start at stag party and not end until about half way into the honeymoon.

I'm sure the bride is thilled!
 

Monday, March 7, 2011

To boldly go, and come back again

Today was the day that the space shuttle Discovery left the International Space Station for the final time, bringing to a close the final mission for this venerable craft (wow, has it really been 27 years?!).

So what better time to spotlight a couple of new sets by nanoblock, our favorite super-miniature, super-Oriental, non-Lego building block product...



Yes, that's a shuttle on the launchpad and the space station floating over a chunk of earth. (...which, as far as I can tell from the base plate, suggests that nanoblock are adding transparent colors to their palette, yay!)

Check back here shortly for a look at some other great new nano-sets, plus some very exciting nano-news!
 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On a high tide high

My good chum and fellow Bricks of Character conspirator Tommy Williamson has spent the last nine months experiencing the joys and horrors of London living (and commuting).

But all this suffering is clearly now paying off... Being stereoscopic supervisor on the forthcoming Depp movie Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides has clearly given him a uniquely detailed perspective on the main characters. And being separated from his Lego collection has not prevented him from creating the following miniature masterpieces...



These are more scrumptious than a dozen Flake bars soaked in fish-n-chip shop curry sauce and dropped into a pint of scrumpy and then poured over a steak and kidney pie! (...ok, bad analogy if you're not into British soul food)

If you ask me, the variety and level of NPU (nice part usage) used to create all the little details puts Tommy in danger or setting a new standard in miniland scale design (Legoland designers take note!). And the subject matter allows for a really gorgious color scheme we don't often get to enjoy in Lego creations. Tommy is not paying me to say this. Nice one, mate! I raise my tankard to you!

And being a total 3D wonk, Tommy has also provided many stereoscopic images of these creations, for your total 3D viewing pleasure. Thankfully, you won't even need to "Put on your 3D glasses now".