Echinoidea lacuna

Classification: Bio-mechanical space probe
Purpose: Exploration
Armament: Light
Designer/engineer: Kahan Dare

Space Urchin

This little “space urchin” by tadashistate incorporates two missile launchers under its gorgeous green skin. The minifig hands form two rows of formidable spines.

airport

LEGO drops paper from Indonesian rainforests, reduces box sizes [News]

As LEGO spreads various parts of its supply chain and manufacturing process beyond Billund, Denmark and Enfield, Connecticut, the number of countries listed on the box after “Components made in…” has increased dramatically, making it unclear exactly where specific LEGO elements and aspects of the product packaging come from. Some LEGO fans have been concerned about the fact that the country list now includes China. After all, the PRC is not particularly well known for its positive environmental record, nor for hitting the high quality bar set traditionally by LEGO.

Although LEGO has not yet confirmed — despite general consensus among fans — that products like the Collectible Minifigures and magnet sets are manufactured in China, LEGO has recently come clean about its packaging.

Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace reports that LEGO has agreed to stop sourcing paper and pulp products from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), a company based in Singapore notorious for harvesting Indonesian rainforests in an unsustainable manner. LEGO packaging I’ve reviewed does not list either Singapore or Indonesia — though APP does operate plants in China. LEGO’s original response to Greenpeace identifies the offending item as a licensed product actually manufactured by Dorling Kindersley (most likely a book) and therefore not part of LEGO’s core product lines. Nevertheless, Greenpeace has complimented LEGO on its responsiveness to the issue and leadership among toy companies. (Packaging news via Environmental Leader.)

Meanwhile, LEGO is further improving its environmental record by making its boxes smaller. Astute readers will already have noticed that the latest line of LEGO Star Wars battle packs are in smaller boxes, reducing the amount of paper needed to produce the packaging. This is apparently a general trend across all product lines.

Our sources tell us that the move toward smaller packaging was entirely business-driven — that the smaller boxes allow more product to be placed on shelves, while simultaneously giving consumers the impression that they’re getting more LEGO by increasing the “perceived density” of the product (a counter-intuitive result from consumer research). Whatever the reasons, LEGO will be using less paper in its packaging going forward, and that’s a good thing.

Next time you call LEGO, let them know that you’re thankful that they’ve taken these steps to improve sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Space Battleship Yamato by Mark Rodrigues

I grew up watching bits and pieces of 「宇宙戦艦ヤマト」(Space Battleship Yamato) at friends’ houses back in Japan, but I have to admit that my fascination with the series today is largely due to the fleet of ships rather than for any sense of personal nostalgia. I’m a sucker for LEGO renditions of the titular ship, and this version by Mark Rodrigues doesn’t disappoint.

LEGO Space Battleship Yamato

Mark’s 1/250 scale Yamato took 4 months to build and represents his return to the LEGO hobby after a 4-year hiatus. I’d say the result was well worth the wait. The vessel is 45″ long and includes rotating turrets and opening wings.

Via Legobloggen.

Smoke signals

Croatian LEGO fan Matija Grguric has been on a Wild West building spree lately. His most recent diorama captured the look of the American West better than any American builder has (to my knowledge), complete with the banded colors of the Badlands.

Western Countyside

Matija is building all of his Western creations — from the Black Cat Saloon to Market Street — for an upcoming Club Kockice exhibit.

That little mesa is worth a closer look:

Western Countyside

Petra’s Al Khazneh in LEGO

One of my dearest memories of the summer in 1994 that I spent working on an archaeological dig in Jordan was a weekend trip to Petra. We arrived from Amman late in the evening, but several of my fellow archaeology students couldn’t wait until morning to see the amazing structures carved from the sandstone 2000 years ago, so we snuck across wadi after wadi, avoiding the main paths. Once past the guard posts, we walked through the narrow gorge known as al-Siq — pitch black at night — until the passage opened in front of us to reveal Al Kazhneh, lit only by starlight.

ArzLan built his LEGO version of the Treasury for the Hong Kong Animation Festival, and features Indiana Jones in his Last Crusade visit to this UNESCO Heritage site.

Al Khazneh

V-30 Warhawk “Spirit of Freedom” fighter by JonHall18

We really could blog pretty much every impossible plane that Jon Hall builds, but some of them do fall through the cracks. Thankfully, I didn’t miss this lovely fighter in red.

V-30 Warhawk 01

It’s also interesting to see what kind of process builders use to develop their ideas. Jon sketches many of his designs beforehand, and he’s shared some of those sketches on Flickr.

concepts3 concepts4