Jongno Tower in Seoul, South Korea

Jongno Tower is a unique office building in Seoul designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and completed in 1999. bigcrown85 has faithfully recreated the structure in LEGO, with extensive use of transparent blue bricks. Similarly, the outer structural elements of the building use numerous LEGO struts, demonstrating that repetition is often a key element of achieving a real-world look in a LEGO creation.

Jongno Tower

Even the trees at ground level use some interesting techniques.

Jongno Tower

Rhosgobel: The home of Radagast the Brown from The Hobbit & LOTR

One of my favorite minor characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books is Radagast, a wizard like Gandalf and Saruman who cares for the plants and animals of Middle-earth. I really kind of hated how Peter Jackson blew up The Hobbit into a bloated monstrosity of a movie trilogy, but I did deeply enjoy the extended screen time that Radagast had. Who can fault a sled towed by a team of enormous rabbits, handled by a man with birds’ nests in his hair? Real-life Middle-earth resident David Hensel recently built this enormous version of Rhosgobel, the house in Mirkwood where Radagast lives, for the Christchurch Brick Show this weekend.

Rhosgobel (Radagasts house)

The largest LEGO creation he has ever built, David says that the build includes twenty to twenty-five thousand LEGO bricks, and measures 77 cm (30 inches) on each side.

 

This bird’s eye view shows just how huge the build really is, with Radagast walking along the path on the left side of the scene. This photo also shows off David’s skill at incredibly detailed landscaping, from the varied flora at ground level to the trees around and into which the house is built.

Rhosgobel (Radagasts house)

The roof of Radagast’s house is built from the arms of Star Wars battle droids, and the whole thing includes David’s signature level of detail. Just look at the stonework around the brick-built front door, which has hinges made from minifig hands.

Rhosgobel (Radagasts house)

The whole build is modular so that David can take it to LEGO shows, and he plans to display it around New Zealand over the next year, since it’s too big to fit in his own house! You can see more pictures in David’s thread about his creation on Eurobricks, and see it in person 16th & 17th July at Horncastle Arena.

Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto built from LEGO, with special appearance by Kumamon

Talented Hong Kong LEGO builder Alanboar Cheung honeymooned with his wife in Kyoto, where the newlyweds visited Kiyomizu-dera, an early Buddhist temple founded in 778 AD, with the current buildings dating to the 17th century. Alanboar has commemorated their trip as a gift for his wife with this beautiful LEGO creation. Chock full of details depicting elements of Japanese culture, the whole creation sits on a brick-built scroll, complete with a calligraphy brush in front.

LEGO Culture of Japan - Kyoto Kiyomizu

The model features the main temple building on its hill, the accompanying pagoda, and the waterfall that gives the temple its name. In addition, Alanboar included LEGO recreations of his favorite memories, from Kumamon (the mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, which is nowhere near Kyoto) waving Japanese flags beneath cherry blossoms and a trio of Children’s Day carp flying above to a beautiful princess on a bridge overlooking a couple basking in a hot spring (sadly without any snow monkeys).

There’s a lot going on here, so be sure to check out more photos on Alanboar’s blog. And if you enjoy this, you’ll also appreciate Alanboar’s LEGO mosaic of Hokusai’s “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa” we featured here a few months ago.

Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto built from LEGO, with special appearance by Kumamon

Talented Hong Kong LEGO builder Alanboar Cheung honeymooned with his wife in Kyoto, where the newlyweds visited Kiyomizu-dera, an early Buddhist temple founded in 778 AD, with the current buildings dating to the 17th century. Alanboar has commemorated their trip as a gift for his wife with this beautiful LEGO creation. Chock full of details depicting elements of Japanese culture, the whole creation sits on a brick-built scroll, complete with a calligraphy brush in front.

LEGO Culture of Japan - Kyoto Kiyomizu

The model features the main temple building on its hill, the accompanying pagoda, and the waterfall that gives the temple its name. In addition, Alanboar included LEGO recreations of his favorite memories, from Kumamon (the mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, which is nowhere near Kyoto) waving Japanese flags beneath cherry blossoms and a trio of Children’s Day carp flying above to a beautiful princess on a bridge overlooking a couple basking in a hot spring (sadly without any snow monkeys).

There’s a lot going on here, so be sure to check out more photos on Alanboar’s blog. And if you enjoy this, you’ll also appreciate Alanboar’s LEGO mosaic of Hokusai’s “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa” we featured here a few months ago.

New LEGO 10252 Volkswagen Beetle is totally radical, man! [Review]

Announced just last month and out on August 1st, The Brothers Brick is pleased to bring you a full review of the new 10252 Volkswagen Beetle, thanks to a special delivery from LEGO headquarters in Denmark. This new Beetle in stunning dark azure joins the dark green 10242 Mini Cooper and classic 10220 Volkswagen Camper Van in what I’m hoping is a permanent fixture in LEGO Creator sets. The set includes 1,167 pieces, and will retail for $99.99.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

The build

We’ve come to expect some solid techniques and clever tricks in the “Expert” LEGO Creator series sets, many of which are very obviously designed by the numerous builders who have disappeared from the face of the Internet only to turn up in Billund. And that’s the case here — the set was designed by the very talented Mike Psiaki, whose LEGO creations we’ve featured many, many times here on The Brothers Brick over the years — most notably one of the best LEGO X-wings ever made.

Mike’s Beetle doesn’t disappoint. The 211 steps span an instruction booklet 124 pages thick. I recently also built the new LEGO Ghostbusters (2016) Ecto 1, and it had far more complicated techniques than this larger vehicle does, but the Beetle is still full of half-stud-offset, SNOT, complex headlight and bracket geometry, and other techniques you’ll rarely if ever see in a LEGO City set.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

 

The set comes in three batches of numbered bags, though each set of bags includes a lot more parts than your average, highly modular LEGO Star Wars set. The first set of polybags take you through step 67 as you build the chassis and some of the rear body, the second bags get you to step 119 and the front fenders.

The stickers are noteworthy for several reasons. First, they’re only placed on “common” parts (none of the dark azure pieces). Second, there’s a complete extra set of bumper stickers on the decal sheet — something I’ve never seen in a LEGO set before. Finally, the set includes spare license plates — stickers on different-colored tiles — for Germany, the US, the UK, and presumably Denmark (I have no idea).

I placed the stickers on the window at a jaunty angle, because I’m a rebel.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

Parts & price

Oh, the azure! My God, it’s full of azure! I don’t even know where to start, so how about this brand new piece in dark azure?

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

While this 6x6x2 round brick appears to be the only totally new part (in other words, from a brand new mold), there are more parts in dark azure for the first time than I can list here. For example, the set includes 4 1×2 brackets in dark azure, plus 2 more of the “inverted” versions, typically only available in boring “internal” colors like light gray. Similarly, there are a whopping 30 1×2 tiles, 33 1×2 plates, 16 double-wide cheese slopes, and so on. The designers have even used the rare color in places where the bricks aren’t visible in the finished car (as long as the same bricks are also used elsewhere).

Also noteworthy is that several key pieces are printed. The VW logo on both the hood and gas cap under the hood is printed on a 1×1 round tile, and since they’re built from separate bags, you end up with two extra tiles. The top of the beer can in the red cooler (hey, it’s an “Expert” set geared toward nostalgic adults, right?) is also printed, and you end up with an extra of that tile as well.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

For over a thousand parts at a hundred bucks, including hundreds of rare dark azure pieces in a huge range of shapes, you can’t go wrong here.

The finished model

The set depicts a 1960’s Beetle kitted out for a day of fun in the sun at the beach. Like the charming little extras that came with the Mini Cooper, this set includes a surfboard, cooler, and even a striped beach towel. LEGO Scala Man is perfect for this set, complete with turtleneck and cargo pants.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle with Scala Figure

(Note: Slightly out-of-scale LEGO Scala Man not actually included. If you want your own LEGO Scala Man — his name is “Chris” — you can pick him up new for about $5, which is just over half of what he retailed for in 2000. Not all LEGO appreciates like gold. See also, Galidor.)

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

All of the gear fits on a cool roof rack, with some rubber bumpers to hold everything in place.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

The roof itself comes off so you can check out the mostly tan interior.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

The Beetle has a surprising amount of functionality, including seats that fold forward so people relegated to the back seat can clamber in.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle 10252 Volkswagen Beetle

While the wheel doesn’t do anything (a lost opportunity for working steering, as Ralph pointed out in his review of the Mini Cooper), the Beetle includes a parking brake and manual gearshift so you can exert total control over that high-performance 40 horsepower engine.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

Speaking of the engine, the 1200 cc, 4-cylinder engine appears in the same place as the Porsche 911 GT3 RS — in the back.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

The hood opens to reveal the spare tire and gas tank (useful as a crumple zone in front collisions), whose cap has another printed VW logo.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

Finally, it’s worth comparing this Beetle with some of its LEGO forebears. Here it is with the Camper Van, proving how wonderfully they go together.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle with 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

This new Beetle is substantially smaller than 10187 Volkswagen Beetle from 2008, and has about 500 fewer parts. I know many LEGO collectors loved this older set, but I much prefer the smooth shaping and curves of the new version. Plus, DARK AZURE!!!

10252 Volkswagen Beetle with 10187 Volkswagen Beetle

You can also see a few more photos in our album on Flickr.

Recommendation

Even though this set doesn’t include a LEGO Scala Man named Chris wearing a turtleneck and cargo pants, it’s still a pretty groovy set. For $100, you get over 1,100 pieces, including a massive amount of dark azure. In addition to great parts, a fun build, and cool play features, this is a stellar display set.

As you can probably tell already from my writeup so far, this was a joyous build that had me grinning often as I built the set. I rarely recommend buying two of a set, but I’m doing so here — buy one for the parts (I expect to see plenty of azure spaceships at BrickCon in three months), and buy one to display proudly in your LEGO room or at work — mine is going on a shelf in my office next to my Mini Cooper.

LEGO sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set to review. Providing TBB with products for review does not guarantee coverage or a positive review.

The sea serpent leaves a mighty wake

Timothy Jones says that he hasn’t previously built water effects or large organic creatures from LEGO, but his first attempt is rather impressive. A monstrous creature rises from the sea right next to a castle on a rock, lifting a tiny boat in its enormous maw. I don’t have very much confidence that the ballistas aimed at the big blue beast will have much effect…

Sea Serpent's Wake

Vintage fire truck wails to the rescue

I love a good fire engine. While I cringe a bit at seeing a fire truck called “vintage” when it’s from an era I remember well — I clearly recall watching big fire engines go by during the 1979 4th of July parade in Freeport, Maine — this hook and ladder truck by Glaktek is gorgeous to behold. A new take on one of his earlier builds, both builds also fit within the scale, parts selection, and basic building techniques of official LEGO sets, which makes its unique shape all the more beautiful.

Vintage Open Cab Fire Truck

How the West was really won

Paddy Bricksplitter asserts, “Many historians state that the continued expansion of the western frontier was driven by two main factors . The Acquisition of land and the widespread domestication and utilization of Dinosaurs.” Who am I to question history? These gentlemen have tamed themselves a pair of velociraptors, hitched one to their buckboard, and are headed across the vast deserts for greener lands.

How The West Was Won

The minifigs look to be amusing fellows, the buckboard itself is quite well-built, but it’s the placement of the whole scene on a brick-built base that sets apart this pseudo-historical vignette.

Double-decker London Routemaster bus

Ralph (Mad Physicist) is assembling a fleet of British vehicles for displays he contributes to as part of the Brickish Association in the UK. His latest is a Miniland-scale Routemaster, better known as the double-decker London bus. Ralph captures the iconic curves wonderfully.

Routemaster (1)

I never got the opportunity to take a ride on one while I was in London a few years ago, but oddly, there’s one that a local garden center uses as a greenhouse up the road here in Seattle…