Thursday, October 30

Letʻs Talk About System Hybrids.

Thereʻs some very strange arguments within the community about purism (not cutting bricks, painting, or modifying them in any way), and then thereʻs the Bionicle community.

I've heard rumors that Bionicle MOCs that don't have 75% or more of Bionicle parts aren't considered "actual" Bionicles by certain portions of the community. While I can respect that standpoint for it's loyalty to the Bionicle system of building, Bio-system hybrids are so much more interesting to look at than a purely Bionicle MOC.

Introducing Brickthing.

The man behind the series of Bio-System MOCs that make me wish I had the patience/skill to build with the two types of parts.

The first example below would make Purists, Bionicle or not, shudder with a sort of disgusted delight.

Onuta features a mask hand-painted by Modalt Masks, a ton of Teal, and a cape/skirt thingy that a vampire would be jealous of.
Looking at this MOC, my brain immediately goes to the conclusion that it's a Bionicle MOC, since it makes use of Bionicle parts for the frame, and as a face, and that's the first part that pops out.

Onuta - Master of Claw

On second look, this MOC has very few Bionicle parts, so I guess it can be fairly placed in the Bio-System category.

The second model in the series is Kulgai, a creature that appears to be made partially of living plant life.

This MOC I can confidently say is a Bionicle creation, as it seems to have few actual System parts. I do know that the line between Bionicle and Hero Factory parts is also hotly debated, so I'm sure I'll get a tongue lashing by someone more versed in the lore and standards of Bionicle than myself.

Kulgai - Master of Vine

The series goes on beyond these two builds, but I'm going to stick to these, since they're the first to be posted online.

Go check out the other two MOCs on Brickthing's photostream!
What are your thoughts on the whole Bio-System debate?
Can a MOC made out of primarily System parts be called a Bionicle? 

Tuesday, October 28

Tutorial Tuesdays: Stickering Tutorial Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the BLaB Stickering Tutorial! Be sure to check out Part 1 first, if you haven't already.

Let's get started!

Sunday, October 26

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Red Spacecat's new build, the F7000 Typhoon is terrifyingly simple. Clean lines, well differentiated colors and some nice stickering come together to make something striking and memorable. I'd like to point out the awesome use of the blue trapezoid flags on the front airfoil, the only way to get that shape without the exposed studs of a wedge plate.

Saturday, October 25

Form + Function = Boss

The LEGO building duo known as JK Brickworks, well known for their beautiful and highly functional creations, are at it again with this sculpture of a human head.

But there is more to this than meets the eye... Watch the video to find out why! 

Friday, October 24


In the spirit of Ma.Ktober, and our own Ma.K Like a Boss contest, here is a helping of tasty Ma.K goodness by VolumeX that should get your creative juices flowing.

I know I just blogged this guy a couple weeks ago, but I feel like I could blog just about everything he builds!

Thursday, October 23

The Line Between Lego and Art.

The majority of AFOLs, TFOLs, and KFOLs in the online community are familiar with the work of Nathan Sawaya, which ranges from tiny, to utterly massive.

Nathan's work is impressive for a couple reasons, one being the skillful way that he fits the bricks into shapes and forms that we as fleshy meatbags can connect to, and the other being the media coverage that he's garnered for Lego building as an art medium.

That being said, this post isn't about Mr. Sawaya.

It's about this piece.
Fistful of Bricks

This piece was uploaded by Ryan H/Eldeeem yesterday, and I'm blown away by it.

It's fairly simple, but the message it conveys can't be denied either.

Using the time worn method of casting random body-parts, and fusing it with a little bit of mental and physical creativity, this piece of Lego (dare I say it?) ART, is an example of how the hobby can be twisted into something even more interesting.

Sounds off in the comments below with your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 22

Ma.K SAFS Suit Breakdown: Tutorial Tuesday

Pictures courtesy of Simon Liu! He partly stole the design from Tromas who partly stole it from Tim. Similar to the Lego Tardis, the SAFS has been passed around a lot and the design has evolved a lot.

Let's start from the broken down version and go from there.

Sunday, October 19

Collaboration at its best.

Tyler Clites and Nannan Zhang are well known for their massive collaborations such as;




And last but not least,

Earlier today, both gentlemen released a small vignette similar to the kind that preceded all of those beautiful builds.

01 02
I'm looking forward to seeing what the guys have put together this year!

Friday, October 17

Ma.K Like a Boss Livestream Recap

Jacob's model

If you missed the livestream and are interested in seeing us build these, you can watch the replay here. If you want to enter the Ma.K Like a Boss contest, here it is.

It was a blast, and really good building experience. I'm hoping to do another livestream fairly soon. Next time we're going to be better about responding to questions, as this time Jacob and I were too busy building to answer them all.

If you have any feedback on the livestream or suggestions for future streams, I'd love to here it! You can comment here or contact us more privately with the Hot Tips form on the right. Or shoot me a message on Flickr. Thanks to everyone who watched!

Thursday, October 16

Ma.K Like a Boss; Contest & Livestream

Yes! We're having a contest. And a livestream! Don't know what Ma.K is? Check this out.

Theme: non-Ma.K things in Ma.K style.
Deadline: October 31st at 11:59 PM(ish) EST
Entry Thread: Flickr
1st & 2nd Place Prizes: Custom MaK model by 4est Feller or Five Fives, a Ma.K brick & a BLaB brick
Livestream: On Google+ and YouTube today, Thursday October 16th, 8 PM EST

For example, a Ma.K firetruck or mobile crane. A Ma.K house or a Ma.K lawnmower. A Ma.K smartphone or motorcycle. Essentially, build something in Ma.K style that no one has ever built in that style before. Hardsuits and starfighters are great; but they've been done. Let's see something new!

As a promotional event for the contest, Jacob (4est Feller) and I (John (Five Fives)) will be hosting a live building event via Google+ and YouTube. The livestream starts today (Thursday October 16th) at 8 PM EST, and should last about two hours. We'll be building Maschinen Krieger, and the two models that we build will be the first and second place prizes for the contest! We'll be answering questions, taking suggestions and generally talking through our process as we build. I'm looking forward to it, and I hope everyone stops by!

Here are the links to where the livestream will be on Google+ and YouTube. If you want to ask questions it looks like Google+ will work better for that. See you there!

Wednesday, October 15

Favorite MaKtober Builds So far

[MIXBRIX] has given us something new in the way of MaK hardsuits, which have, frankly, become a little stale. I love the seemingly random collection of round white elements that work together so well. He even threw a bunny head on the front, and it fits perfectly. The dynamic pose is great too. I'd like to see a darker background considering the nearly all-white color scheme.

 m_o_n_k_e_y, one of my all time favorite mech builders, gave us his take on MaK. I love how clean and geometric the helmet area is, it's an amazing look. The small legs combined with the bulky torso and long arms give it the MaK vibe. The back of the suit is even prettier than the front, with well integrated printed tiles, jets and tubing.

SuperHardcoreDave has really become one of my favorite prolific builders on Flickr, he's always got something new to show. I really like how consistent his part usage is here, besides the cheese slopes on the lower torso all the piece are round and clean. The inclusion of the compass as a gauge and the little ID number sticker are great touches. The color scheme is a little bland, but it is supposed to be an industrial fighting machine so it is more realistic this way.
Rancorbait is a great builder, working primarily digitally. This quirky drone is deceptively brilliant, it seems really complicated but from the side-view you can see how well defined the shapes are. The range of colors seems kind of random which helps with the practical look, and I think they work together well. Again, a dark (even black) background would help make the cockpit pop. There are some really nice assemblies here.

Brick Vader has gone a little NPU crazy here, he's got everything from springs to a horse helmet. And somehow it all works. Putting cut flex tube on the bagpipes is a nice technique that nicely transforms them into a lethal weapon. The mix of grays and metallic colors is weird, and it's possible a cleaner color scheme would make it more striking, but I like the mix here. It looks like whatever dark corporation produced it was more concerned with making it cheap and fucntional than making it attractive.

Tuesday, October 14

Tutorial Tuesdays: Stickering Tutorial Part 1

Welcome to this week's Tutorial Tuesday! This is the first part of a tutorial series where I will demonstrate how to use stickers to jazz up your MOCs. 
This week we are going to look two things: (1) the tools used for stickering, and (2) the different types of stickers. Next week I will walk you through the actual process of stickering a model; in this case, a blank version of one of Simon's Zero GARCs. (Thanks Simon!) This tutorial is going to be pretty in-depth, so strap in, set your spaceship to autopilot, and let's get started!

Monday, October 13

This Old Watermill Is New to Me

The Old Watermill 1
César Soares just built this awesome watermill. It's very much in the modern castle style pioneered by Derfel Cadarn and Legonardo DaViddy. I really like the color used, from the mottled dark blue of the roof to the sand green grass and dark tan base. The builder has really taken advantage of Lego's great palette. The photography is beautiful which is impressive considering the size of the creation. If I had to improve on all this, I would make the little river larger and more prominent, as is it seems a little small to justify a water wheel.

 Always glad to find a new builder, I wasn't aware of Cesar until today. (Thanks for the tip, Amos!)


As a Middle-Earth nut I couldn't resist posting this fantastic micro Barad-dûr by builder Ian Spacek. The chains for rocks is a particularly eye catching technique for micro-scale, and the fortress itself is incredibly detailed and accurate (and black, a particularly annoying colour to build something good looking out of). Obviously the thing that makes this thing pop though is the lighting of the lava and the great eye itself, It brings a new level of realism and awesomeness to the already awesome build, super effective!
If you havn't already, check out Ian's photostream here!

Sunday, October 12

Digital Architecture

Some say digital building is "cheating" since you have access to an unlimited number of bricks in any color you want. But it's hard to argue with some of the amazing results that digital-only builders are able to produce.

Take Yo-Sub Joo for example. His latest creation, the Ocean Platform Prison, is an amazing testament to what can be accomplished when a builder's imagination is allowed to run free, unbound by a limited parts selection or color palette.

This detail shot really shows the sheer size and level of detail of this creation.

Like many a good MOC, this absolutely gorgeous piece of conceptual architecture is based on a piece of concept art. Apparently the art was produced for an architecture competition where it got a honourable mention.

Looking back through his photostream, you will find that this guy is no stranger to building amazing digital LEGO architecture. Here is small sampling of his work:

Saturday, October 11

Not Halo at all.

Admittedly, my gaming set-up is a little outdated, so I'm not one to judge whether a game looks like another game or not.

One way or another, Nick Jensen's Ghost from Destiny is a piece of art.

I can't even fathom how some of the paneling is attached on this thing, and I'm SURE that I'd have a rough time of it if I tried to figure it out. Destiny Ghost

Wednesday, October 8


South African builder VolumeX, known for his unconventional and creative MOCs, is at it again with his latest offering of two starfighters than are pretty much the exact opposite of boilerplate.

The shaping here reminds me of a tribal mask or a bird's head, but it works wonderfully as a starfighter design.

What really caught my attention with this blue one is the greebling. Is there a single legal connection on this build? It's a LEGO set designer's worst nightmare!

Tuesday, October 7

Tutorial Tuesdays: Mindoll Tutorial Part 3.

Over the past month, we've covered quite a few things, from lighting tutorials, to how to build a simple but gorgeous baseplate.

We've also covered how to make the frame of a Minidoll, and how to make the outer shell of one. The one thing we haven't covered is how to build the most expressive and important part. The head.
Click though below to find out how to get this final product...


Monday, October 6

There Are Theme Months... And Then There Are THEME Months.

SHIPtember is in the near past, nothing but memories and boxes of unsorted parts remain of that stressful thirty day period.

This month is slightly lower key, but it's (if possible), even more cool.
It's been three years since Ma.Ktoberfest started on Flickr, and each year it just gets better and better.

Short description: Ma.Ktoberfest revolved around build MOCs based on the Maschinen Krieger universe. The aesthetic for builds from that universe is truly unique, a mix of bulbous alien shapes, and dieselpunk stylings thrown in with some crazy cool designs and inspirational content.

A favorite of mine during Ma.Ktoberfet is LEGOLIZE IT MAN.
Included below are a few MOCs of his from this month, even though October has only been with us for six days.


rika 2
spanarna 02

I have the feeling that it's gonna be an awesome months for Ma.K....

Sunday, October 5

Interstellar Outpost Contest 2014

Don Wilson, Simon LiuTyler ClitesChris Giddens, and Jeff Churill are running an awesome new contest called the Interstellar Outpost Contest.

You can read the full rules here, but gist of it is this: each contestant must build a space outpost containing these four elements: a small fighter, a ground support vehicle, a communications array, and a landing pad area. Now here's the cool part: "The Grand Prize will be a complete set built by the judges [Don, Simon, Tyler, and Chris], each building one of the four different parts of the overall outpost and combining them for the prize, along with some awesome new custom stickers from CooperWorks!"

Head over to the group page to find out more:

Saturday, October 4

Enter Alice Nautia

Pate Keetongu has built another stunning semi-realistic figure. I really love the way this genre has developed, and I hope to build more similar things myself. We used to call them Bionidolls, but that is beginning too look like a bit of a misnomer, considering the actual parts used. A huge part of this kind of thing is the costume design, as I learned when I built Virgo. It's really a strange perspective, to have to move past the anatomy and focus on the externals, and things like reference material and concept sketches are very useful. I'm really impressed at how successfully Pate pulls it off.

These two builds by Retinence and Brickthing are two of the most notable examples of the style. Arkov is also an old hand at semi-realistic figures, and may (along with Retinence?) have established the style.

Thursday, October 2

We Can Always Use More Good Star Wars.

Most of the time I'm not really all that impressed with small micro-scale models, because they lack the detail that we see in large Micro-scale builds.
Not the case with John Stephens' Incom T-47 Airspeeder from The Empire Strikes Back.
The amount of simple but effective detail that's crammed into this little craft is wonderful.
In addition to the lovely little details like the Exo-force claw as the speeder's grapple gun, and the 2x2 stacked dishes as the far distant shield generator, the black ring around the vignette really adds a kick to the MOC that it couldn't have achieved without.
Incom T-47 Airspeeder

I'm also a sucker for good presentation, and John manages to pull off some of the best presentation I've seen in a while.

I myself would be wary in using a background as bright as the one he chose, but with the MOC being relatively colorless besides the splashes of orange, the blue really brings the MOC to the front of the picture, and immediately makes you focus on what's important in the picture.


When I first saw this picture pop up in my Flickr feed, I assumed it was a render of a very large and impressive digital model.
As it turns out, this is actually a large diorama built (with real bricks!) by Michał Kaźmierczak, a builder who 
recently appeared online and has already made quite a name for himself with his large and impressive dioramas.

This behind-the-scenes picture really gives you a sense of the massive scale of this model.

Simply Stellar

In case anyone missed this...
Adrian Florea. Note the use of two similar colors together. Generally a bad idea, as similar colors tend to conflict, but Adrian has pulled it off beautifully. I think one reason it works so well here is the way he grouped the colors together, with brown and nougat always next to each other. It reminds me of this awesome MaK build by Cole Blaq.