I can’t believe I’ve missed the coverage of Nantes Utopiales, a pretty amazing French Sci-fi convention that apparently had an impressive LEGO exhibit. Chances are I’m the only one and this is all old news to other AFOLs but, when I first came across the show’s MOCs on Clemaul’s Utopiales 2012 Flickr Set, I was quickly impressed by how unique the models were. Some remind me of retro ships inspired by the old Buck Rogers serials, while others seem to be more aligned with something from a classic Ridley Scott film or Moebius comic. And there’s tons of more common pop cultural references in there as well, including an amazing mech from the video game “Killzone” and a pretty impressive Hoth display. So forgive me if I’m late to the party, but, in my humble opinion, this stuff is so good that it’s worth seeing even if it’s a repeat viewing.

Armour Like Tenfold Shields

With The Hobbit films on the rise and the Lord of the Rings LEGO license in full effect, it’s no wonder we’re inundated with so many fantastic Tolkien MOCs. I’m so glad Fat Tony 1138 has taken the time to create this fantastic replica of the scourge of Lonely Mountain, the Dragon Smaug, aka Smaug the Tremendous. I’d say this MOC goes a long way in fitting Smaug’s self description: “My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!” I’ve never seen a brick dragon in repose that still had such personality. It’s all about the eyes and smirky grin that you really need to click through the image above to see for yourself. Good look to Bilbo with this guy…doesn’t look like he’s in a riddlin’ mood.

Honing One’s Craft

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It can be said that AFOLs in general are craftspeople, especially those who actively build MOCs and share their work publicly on sites like Flickr, MOCpages, or Brickshelf. I’d say there’s a bit of the old “maker” culture in all of us, including a drive to constantly improve our skills and engage in a process of sharing our work with others, getting feedback, and pushing ourselves to improve what we do in one way or another. But there are also those in the AFOL community who have managed to take their love for LEGO to a whole other level, using their overall enthusiasm for the hobby as fuel to move the game in truly bold, new directions. It’s with this in mind that I was particularly struck by the image above when I saw it on the Brickarms Flickr photostream. It seems that the next level in custom minifig accessories has arrived, specifically with the growing accessibility of overmolding techniques which, for those of us who geek out and consume the stuff, means we’ll be seeing some even more amazingly detailed pieces to make our minifigs look that much “cooler”. “So what’s the image and what’s the big deal?” What you see above is a bunch of appetite-whetting prototype railguns that will be available at BrickFair, many of which are overmolded to create multi-colored guns that look as if they’re made with different colored parts. In the end, it means some truly amazing possibilities. I have to commend Will and Brickarms for the demonstrated drive to bring us new and exciting options through a willingness to experiment and broaden their design and manufacturing skills. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing other custom minifig accessory houses following suit shortly, which only means great things for the fans and enthusiasts. Onward.

“In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.”

Check out Bruce Lowell‘s tribute to Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one of the most popular children’s books of all time. Carle’s original artwork was all done with collage, but this LEGO rendition is both a great tribute and a profoundly creative achievement in its own right. This book definitely has a special place in my heart, and now the LEGO version is right there enjoying the warm fuzziness alongside the original. Good stuff.

With Enemies Like These…

Tuminio has a certain movie on the brain, and we minifig enthusiasts are the winners. This amazing Lego Bane captures Tom Hardy’s rendition of the man who broke the bat incredibly well. As usual, Tuminio pushes the boundaries of what can be done with minifigs with some stand-out sculpting and modeling. The coat is a fantastic piece of craftsmanship as is the overall presentation of this fig. But wait…there’s more…

…Batman Could Use Some Good Friends!!!

Once again, Tuminio is ready to step to the plate and produce a minfig to help Bruce Wayne challenge this customizer’s bulky brute of a Bane. Enter his Lego Catwoman constructed using a Friends fig as a starting point. The cosmetic enhancement is a bit much for me—I mean, it was Anne Hathaway, not that girl from Baywatch (can’t remember the name and it’s not worth the Google time…ha!)—but the overall design is stunning. I love the cowl/hair combo. I wonder if this fig can learn how to use a Batpod as quickly as Catwoman did in the film…ahem. I can’t wait to see which character Tuminio tackles next.

BRANIAC’s Prize Possession

It’s an age-old question: What do you get a sentient computer who has everything? How about a miniaturized Kryptonian capital city…complete with shrunken Kryptonians? This MOC of The Bottled City of Kandor by davekaleta caught my eye, not just because I’m a big geeky nerd, but, really, because of the really cool construction. At first, I saw this thing amongst a ton of thumbnails, so I didn’t really know what it was supposed to be. I was intrigued by the shape and the transparent dome. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Superman connection. Click through the image above to check it out from multiple angles and all lit up. Oh yes, it’s a good time to be a comic-book-reading LEGO fan.

Look Who’s Throwing a Post-Apoc Bash

Who doesn’t love a good custom minifig? Who doesn’t love one that’s complete with amazingly cool accessories that take us beyond the limits of official pieces? Finally, who doesn’t love such accessories that one can easily incorporate into one’s own collection? Whoever that person is, it’s not me. I’m loving this Post Apoc Shaman by Thrashq4g, purveyor of really cool minifig shtuff care of BrickWarriors. The helmet and armor are pretty mean and, coupled with the “Apoc Basher”, that chain-laden melee weapon in his possession, it’d take a stupid minifig to cross this guy. Oh, and those gauntlets are muy macho. Oh the possibilities.