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.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Don't go there!

According to Jason Allemann (aka True Dimensions), Canada has hockey-playing beavers that are as big as the CN tower!! Like I said, just don't go there, dude (...the thought, not the place!)



Jason actually made these as entries for a contest to design the commemorative kit for the BrickfĂȘte Lego convention in Toronto this July. He's even posted instuctions for the beaver, the tower and also this excellent polar bear (who appears to share a few genes with the beaver).

Wait, they have Lego up North now? I thought it was all MegaBlok up there. What ever happened to buying local, eh? Ok, I expect that probably just earned me a Canadian lynch mob outside my door in the morning! In which case...

Mine's a pain au chocolat - just leave it on the doorstep and don't make any fucking noise on your way out, thx. ;-)
 

Monday, January 30, 2012

The devil's in the details

Pate-keetongu is one of those talented character builders who's work I'm just destined to blog on a regular basis. I've featured some of this young Finn's awesome Bionicle-based fantasy figures before, but he just continues to churn them out!

Below we Karmenna the dragon warrior mistress. I think she's the perfect match for Gortrund the evil field commander (below left), although the Samurai (below right) might have something to say about that!


 


Under this blog's original charter, I typically avoid featuring characters posed using ball-and-socket joints. And while I have come to appreciate the amazing sculptures that Bionicle fans bring to Lego conventions, often the way they are constructed makes them essentially static.

But when I consider that Karmenna here is both finely sculpted and fully poseable, it leads me to ask myself this really basic question...

Why can't Lego manage to design Bionicle sets of this quality?

Let's face it, while creative fans make really good use of all those wacky Bionicle pieces, the official sets that they are scavenged from are, let's face it, ugly as all heck. This is one area where Lego really ought to be looking to the fans to inject some inspiration into their product line. Not that I'd ever want to endorse more Bionicle you understand. ;-)
 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Living Brick turns 3 today!

Ahh yes, another year in the bag. It's still hard to believe I've really been at it this long now. And I still haven't sold out! Ok, that may be due to a lack of anyone to actually sell out to. But at least that means this blog is still not brought to you by the awesome minty taste of online car insurance.

So what treats are in store for 2012? Well hopefully you can look forward to a few contests, give-aways, sponsorships, custom sets, theme weeks, reviews, trip reports, interviews, new contributors, and a few other "special surprises". Plus a regular dose of the best character-based Lego fan creations on the planet, now with 20% more humor!

But don't leave me to make all the decisions around here! Got a great idea? Then drop me a line, so I can steal it and take the credit. And remember that The Living Brick has a Flickr group featuring many of the creations featured here over the years, and a Facebook page to help you stay current and show your support.

Peace out.


 

Slow and steady wins the race

Running on and off over the course of almost six months, the 2011 MOCOlympics contest over at MOCPages.com seemed like the longest one yet. For those not familiar with the contest, builders engage in a series of one-on-one knockout rounds, each with a specific building theme, overseen by a panel of judges. And some 250+ creations later, a single builder emerges victorious.

The final round was between Leda Kat and Jason Corlett, and the theme was Aesop's Fables. For her wonderful interpretation of The Tortoise and the Hare, the crown was ultimately awarded to Leda (aka Millie from New Zealand).

Click HERE for the full story and images.

Mr Fox oversees the proceedings


The hare tears off, seemingly assured of his victory


And promptly takes a nap (on someone's house!)


Meanwhile, a mouse goes fishing


The hare eventually realizes his mistake, but it's too late!


What impressed me about this creation was that it was Leda's first non minifig based MOC, yet the characters in it are really well constructed and full of personality! The scene was also full of interesting little details. I really hope she explores this kind of building again in the future.
 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'll be brick...

Hey, inferior biological scum! Look, it's everyone's favorite civilization-destroying Austrian robotic nightmare from the future! No, I'm not talking about Cyber Hitler, I'm talking about the T-800 series Terminator unit from Cyberdyne Systems. Brought to you from a scary parallel time line we like to call "The Eighties", here's the all new playable action figure version, courtesy of Kevin Ryhal (aka M<O><O>DSWIM)...


He comes packed with loads of great time-travelling post-apocalytic features including: big shooty gun with infinite ammo, neural net with artifical intelligence, hilarious resemblence to certain political figures, glowing red eyes (caution, may cause blindness), fire resistant hyperalloy combat chassis, 10mm explosive tip caseless standard light armor piercing round (...oh wait, wrong movie), 100 thousand play-skulls, and another big shooty gun with infinite ammo.

Get yours now!

Do not immerse in molten steel. Skin optional. May cause near extinction
of the human race. SkyNet not included. You-ar paarents are deead.

 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year, Again!

The great thing about Japan and China using the same zodiacal chart but celebrating the New Year on different dates is that I get to do this twice! Except this time you're gonna be totally blown away by Schneider Cheung's version of the Dragon...


They're gonna be talking about this one for a long time! Yet another one of those MOCs that makes you wanna just hock all your Lego on eBay and buy a dirt bike. :-)
 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Topic. Must. Be. EXTERMINATED!

Let's wrap up this Doctor Who themed week with a look at the Time Lord's eternal enemy, the Daleks. Despite being born from the earliest era of the TV show, when lumbering tin robots were the bread and butter of most on-screen science fiction, the Daleks had a certain something that made them particularly terrifying at the time, and which still gives them a little cache today. Ok, I guess it's the manic shouty voice and the single roving eye on a stalk, isn't it?! Because it's certainly not their abilities in the pursuit department (...until the 90's, they couldn't even make it up a flight of stairs).

As with the TARDIS, Lego Dalek models tend to fall into two groups: the large accurate tabletop sculptures, and the small minifig-scale approximations. Only the brave few can attempt the big ones. And here are the winners in my book...

Jason Wolfson (who's TARDIS and Doctor I featured the other day)


Steve Locke (who actually did two different scales!)


Over in the minifig scale corner there have been way more contenders, and consequently way more disasters! Given the subject matter, getting anything to be recognizable at this scale with also looking comical is a bit of a challenge. But here are the ones that I think make the cut. I'll let you decide for yourselves which one is best. Hopefully these will inspire some of you to build a squad of shouty little cyclopian foes to terrorize your minifig heros!

"capnbootle"


Pascal (pasukaru76)


Mark Stafford


Ok, this is The Weeping Brick signing off, reversing the polarity, and releasing this blog from quantuum lock! And remember, whatever you do... DON'T BLINK.


 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bigger on the inside

No retrospective of great Doctor Who MOCs could be considered complete (or even in progress, for that matter) without a look at a couple of creations by Mr Xenomurphy.

One of the most beloved episodes among Who fans is Blink. It is significant in many ways. Firstly, it was one of the few episodes penned by Steven Moffat before he became head writer for the show. It even won him a BAFTA and a Hugo award! Secondly, it hardly features the character of the Doctor at all. Thirdly, and oddly for a show about a timer traveller, it was the first Who episode to really delve into the kind of mind-bending non-linear plotting common in nearly all time travel movies. But fourthy and most importantly, this episode introduced viewers to one of the scariest - and cleverest - foes in Who history, the weeping angels! Angels now almost outweigh the Daleks and Cybermen in terms of fan popularity.

Mr Xenomurphy moodfully recreated a couple of key scenes from this episode (and even provided instructions for creating minifig scale angels)...




More impressively, Mr. Xenomurphy eschewed the well-trodden path of building the mere exterior of the TARDIS in Lego, and opted to recreate the interior instead! And what a splendid job he did...




 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Brief History of Time And Relative Dimension In Space

The singular most recognizable motif of Doctor Who is probably the TARDIS, the Doctor's temperamental temporal transportation tub.

Over the years a lot of people have crafted the TARDIS in Lego, to the point where it was almost becoming tiresome (...well, to anyone like me, that has to pore over hundreds of Lego images on a daily basis!). Many of them were not great, to be honest. But while the idea of building a blue box sounds easy, this one has some important but subtle details that are hard to capture. Especially that whole part about it being bigger on the inside! (...have you seen the price of five-dimensional bricks on Bricklink?). But some folks got it right. So let's look at their work, in an appropriately non-chronological order.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Who related creations are in minifig scale. But one of Lego's own set designers, Mark Stafford, managed to capture the roofing and panelling really well, albeit with the help of a little blue paint!



This whimsical and deliberately simplified design by Andrew Summersgill (aka Doctor Sinister) was the basis for a great series of vignettes depicting the adventures of an imagined 83rd incarnation of the Doctor.



But top marks for accuracy and attention to detail at this scale go to capnbootle, who even managed to create an illuminatable interior...



Taking it up a scale, Doctor Sinister snapped this photo of a miniland scale TARDIS that appeared at Legoland Windsor. And while it seems a little squat for my liking, their model of Davros (creator of the Daleks) is just to die for!



But even greater things can be achieved at larger scales. This monster by Jason Wolfson not only utilizes custom engraved bricks but also comes with model of the Doctor and a rather splendid Dalek! (photo by billb♥Lego)


Whereas my PortLUG chum Jason Ruff (aka Doctor Mobius and official Bricks of Character puppeteer) went for a more 'purist' approach with his mega-TARDIS. Plus, his version comes with it's own Rose Tyler, although admittedly not to scale or made of Lego (sorry Heather!).



So there you have it, just about every Lego version of the TARDIS you'd ever want to see. Let us never speak of this again. Well, until I make one. In the proper color! :-)
 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Rubric on Whobricks

There's been a lot of hysteria recently around Lego's licensing deals with comic makers to produce sets featuring everyone's favorite American superheros (read "bunch of largely homogenous, pants-on-the-outside-wearing pieces of intellectual property looking for a final resting place"). Not to mention the endless hand-wringing of Vitamin-D starved fanboys as MegaBlok went and land-rushed the Halo license (ok, I'll stop the vitriol right there!).

So it was kind of interesting, nay satisfying, to see that small UK-based toy maker The Character Group flew under the radar of all this to clinch the licensing deal for Doctor Who based construction toys!



Now, the Living Brick is not beholden in any way to The Lego Company, and you've probably seen my past coverage of the Japanese invasion of Nanoblock. Then again, this is not a fig-centric blog either, so what follows may be a little "out of character" (pun intended). Please forgive this and understand that a lot of Whovian endorphins have been kicking in recently. Not least in part due to my recent visit to The Doctor Who Experience in London!



When I first got wind of this product line I feared the worst, especially since some of the smaller sets seemed to be rather MegaBlok-ish in the predominance of BURPs. But after getting a chance to pick up some of this stuff in the UK, I was pleasantly surprised.



Above is our haul. The sets are part of the company's larger Character Building product line, and focus on the most recent seasons of the show featuring the 11th Doctor. They are a mix of traditional building sets (depicting various iconic scenes) and a very broad array of minifigs. The latter follow very much in the footsteps of Lego's own collectible minifigs, presented in individual mystery packs spanning multiple series, but with the nice addition of battle packs of the Doctor's more well-known foes! And for the real Whovians among you, there is also a collectors set featuring all 11 Doctors!



Obviously Daleks are a vital component of any Doctor Who merchandise, and you'll be pleased to hear they are available in six colors. And rather than being single-piece elements, they are composed of nine bricks that could certainly be put to some imaginative uses. Especially when you consider that this stuff is plug-compatible with Lego!



Brick quality is very high - these are no MegaBloks! Even the TARDIS is fully brick-built, and the quality of the materials, the colors and the tightness of the fit is indistinguishable from Lego. Even though this company has not been around that long, I feel that it certainly could give Lego a run for its money, assuming they continue developing the idea of construction based toys. It's hard to imagine MegaBloks being around for much longer if this is the standard that Lego's other competitors are capable of. And let's face it, as much as we all love and adore The Lego Company, they need a little fresh blood in the game, to keep them honest. Competition is ultimately a win-win for the consumer.



More info.
 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fish fingers and custard

Well the weather outside isn't exactly frightful, but it's probably about to bugger up my whole week. Meaning I get to substitute the refined company of adults for an endless cycle of teen anime, snowball fights and me shouting myself hoarse with my new catchphrase "Just how many hours have you been on Minecraft, exactly?".

But speaking of Doctor Who...

(ok, worst segway evaaar)

My very "Doctor Who filled" trip to the UK this Christmas was topped off very nicely when I returned to find a gift from Lego chum Micah Berkoff sitting in my mailbox ...a Lego weeping angel, no less! The only appropriate response was to build the angel some prey...



This one was a bit of a challenge since Micah built his angel to strict Miniland scale, so I couldn't cheat and work to Miniland+ scale. But I managed to just about pull off the 11th Doctor and his companion Amy Pond (in kissogram police woman costume, no less). Given more time I might have housed them in a Cyber Forest diorama. And given more dark blue I might have even built more than this sham of a TARDIS. Apologies for that.

So for no particular reason, I'm declaring this DOCTOR WHO WEEK on The Living Brick. I've even renamed the blog accordingly (look up, but remember not to blink!). I'll be featuring a bit of a trip report that may be of interest to Lego and Who fans alike. Plus I'll be doing a retrospective of the greatest Who-themed fan Lego creations.

JERONIMO!
 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tentacular!

The "Clinger" from LEGO's Alien Conquest sets is certainly one of their more fanciful and imaginative minifig head pieces. But Gabriel (aka Lego.Skrytsson) creates a possible back-story to this piece by introducing us to the mommy Clinger...



It is funny because the minifigs get dead.

And if the style of the tentacles looks familiar, that's because Gabriel used the same technique very effectively in his recently uber-viral Kraken (which has to be seen to be believed!).
 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cotton picking varmint

Here is an adorable and very nicely constructed little racoon by Brittney (aka Brick Britt)...



And here it is again, running away with your half-eaten sandwich, half-eaten pet, or whatever...

 

Belated.ly

Darn it, a surfeit of household chores meant I failed to congratulate a certain Professor Hawking on his 70th birthday yesterday!

LSH sends best wishes to his fleshy facsimile, and was very excited by the amount of Twitter interest he recieved as a side-effect of this glorious event!

LSH would also like to take this opportunity to reveal that I plan to make him available to you all as an actual physical set in 2012!
 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Moko Loco

When it comes to Lego-based character modelling, the work of Japanese builder Moko is as extensive as it is legendary.

And his latest chibi-esque style, which he calls LEGOBLOID, is starting to develop in some really interesting directions. Here we see his rendition of Saber from the manga series and videogame Fate/stay night.



Who is presented in a rich array of adorably attitudy action poses...



And since we're on the subject of recent work by Moko, Brother Andrew already touched on this creation celebrating 2012 as the Year of the Dragon, but I feel the face really warrants a closer look...



Talk about nice parts usage!