Of Monorails and Mosaics

While seeking out likely candidates for an upcoming article featuring Lego models inspired by the band, Rush, I came across the work of Marion, a.k.a. Brixe63. After grabbing a couple of photos I was looking for, I decided to wander down her Flickrstream to see what else she had done. I found some very interesting models and table-scraps, but what really caught my eye, even more than the excellent Rush album covers, was a series of four mosaics from 2013 that seemed destined for a larger project that was not completed, or at least not posted.  They are four sides to a  brick-built box that might have been meant for a structure of some kind.  Marion doesn’t have much to say on any of her photos (beyond a title and some keywords) and the work I’m about to spotlight is no exception.  To call the intricate mosaics outstanding is an understatement, each one is a study in shape and form using cheese-slopes to wonderful effect.  Three of the four sides of the box feature a micro-monorail, the most impressive of which is entitled “Schienen” which is the German word for “rails“.  I especially dig the way color and pattern are used to draw the eye to the red monorail in the center.  The mosaic model looks to replicate the classic set#6399-1 Airport Shuttle and does so with an amazing economy of parts.8891377031_b112a00ef3_oThe second mosaic is a slightly larger version of the same train, which allows for greater detail. To me it’s not quite as effective as it’s smaller companion but mostly because I prefer the darker background and the diagonal lines to the blank-white background.  The version in the top photo is labeled “Rot” which is the German word for “red“.  As I mentioned, Marion’s approach to posting and presenting her models favors brevity to an extreme. The next version down is labeled…as  you might suspect…”Weib“, the German word for “white” and features some minor changes.  The final side of the box  features the word “MoRaSt“, which could mean “bog or moor” or it could be a reference to the German death-metal band of the same name.  More likely, MoRaSt is simply an abbreviation for Mono Rail Station. I’m not sure what the intended purpose of the box is, Only Marion knows for sure and she ain’t talkin’.  Certainly these mosaics would make for an ideal background or floor of a monorail station, or some kind of signage.

Any discussion of the builder’s skill at mosaic design would be incomplete without referencing one of the best pieces of Lego-related graffiti I’ve seen to date.  When I first saw the thumbnail I assumed the lettering was done with a Sharpie and I was delighted to discover it is quite legitimately 100% Lego.  The cheese-slope style really mixes well with the standard issue masonry bricks.  The tag is a relatively small detail inside a larger monorail layout Marion created for the Laneoog 2014 Lego gathering in Germany.  Langeoog is one of the seven inhabited East Frisian Islands, which seems like a really cool and exotic place to display a Lego diorama.  Although the rest of the accompanying structure isn’t nearly as interesting or well-built as the mosaic, it’s still worth a look if you have the time.  I was not able to find any connection between the mosaics at the beginning of this article and the larger diorama depicted in this photo, however.  It seems like there should indeed be some link but after exhausting Marion’s photostream and some casual perusal of 1000steine.de with the help of Google Translate, I was unable to establish said link.  I have reached out to the buidler and I’ll update this post if she is responds.


Since we’re on the subject of monorail action, we’ll take a look at one more model before we shut off the spotlight.  Marion has a neat little collection of Volkswagen monorail vans that are functional and compatible with the old track system. I’m sure they were a big hit with the residents of Langeoog, and it probably won’t be too long until we see them copied in the States.  The builder really crams the motor into a tight space and the design itself is immediatley recognizable.




25 thoughts on “Of Monorails and Mosaics

    1. “Further questions” is an understatement! What the blazes… who would… why did they… Huh. Must be Art!

      That tag wall is simply excellent. I think the dio aspect would be better served if the painter had a brush on a pole, or a lot more spray cans… because I’m pretty sure that solid red, over gray brick would take buckets of paint to accomplish! But that is a pretty trivial nit pick in the face of those beautiful curving letters! Just so clear! So easy to read! Looks more like a commercial billboard or a store front than a tag. I do love it though!

      And that tiny VW monorail pod… impossibly cool!

      Way to go Brixe63!


      1. Good call, it must be art, otherwise it has to be madness. Perhaps both?

        Yeah, it doesn’t really look like a tag at all, but the spray-cans threw me off. You’re right, it does look like advertisement more than graffiti, but it’s no less impressive.


    2. Good catch! What the hell is that thing? I’m not sure an answer from the builder could possibly be more interesting than the speculation. What a strange totem!


  1. Having grown up in L.A., I have a certain appreciation for graffiti done well. This is done very well. Most of the stuff I see is really great but is done with a sharpie, Terez-trz (I think that’s his name) is a great sampling although purists may cringe slightly.

    Her mosaics are impressive, I agree that the one with the rails is far more interesting and visually impacted. I am not really a train guy, or at least as fanatical as the garden variety train guy, but the monorail system was the shit back in the day! I have all but the triple level space one, can’t remember the set or even the theme. Only issue with them was the damn noise, they sounded like a In-sink-erator on Quaaludes. The real issue with the monorail system however was that you couldn’t create any great train wrecks. At least with the 9V and the RC ones you can get enough speed to kill minifigs properly at the cross track.

    Interesting builder with street cred. Love that VW bus, it’s just way too adorable.


    1. Until you’ve completed your first train layout you don’t know for sure if you’re a train guy. Rutherford is a crypto-train guy, he won’t really allow himself to embrace it but it’s there. Instead he masks it by proclaiming himself a ‘boat-guy’. I’ve dabbled in trains enough that even I could be accused of being a train guy. If you’re a monorail guy you’re certainly a kind of train-guy.


      The VW bus is somewhat adorable, it suggests a really wacky diorama to go along with it.


    1. I don’t really have a soft spot for classic Town, just a soft spot for that specific set. It was one of the first really big sets I had in my collection, it was completely rad and it was a gift from a girlfriend I still remember fondly. Town is fine, but I’m as sick of police stations as anyone else. We get it, Lego is a police-state, but what about hospitals, or courts or power plants, Town should be a little more diverse.


    1. One of my favorite tunes, I’ll keep it in mind for the post, I somehow missed this one. It’s definitely a departure from your usual work, I can see the influence of the song, it’s one of my favorites and it was my screen name for a couple of years on Flickr when they made me stop using my photo of Lee Van Cleef.

      So what do you think of the mosaics?


      1. (Thank you !! “La Villa…” is of course of one the great Rush tunes – I remember that cool Lee Van Cleef avatar ^^)
        For the mosaics… even the most simple ones seems way to complicated for my skills… so the one in your article are somewaht unbelievables ! As a monorail lover, I love the first ones because of the subject, but the last pic is even more impressive.
        Sorry for the pedestrian comment, but mosaics of cheese, usually, just makes me think things like “awesome”, and also sadden me a bit, as I feel like a 6-year old builder when compared to those wonders. I’m a big fan of Katie Walker ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/eilonwy77 ), too bad she seems too busy to build, these days…


      2. They made you take it down? What ever happened to Lee Van Cleef? Sorry, drifted into Primus there. And it’s a great song BTW.


      3. Yeah, I was really surprised but they said the photo was copy protected and my use was unauthorized, yadda yadda yadda. I figured some disgruntled Lego nerd dimed me out.


      4. I remember seeing that Van Cleef avatar everywhere during my MOCPages-lurking days. I never tied your name to it until now.


      5. That’s funny, yeah I don’t like to think about how many reviews and in-group commentary went up in smoke with my various MOCpages accounts, it had to be thousands.


  2. I know in art, once an actor has died then their image is protected by copyright. Stupid, but the law. You just need to pick a living actor like Jan-Michael… Oh wait, never mind.


    1. I’m good with being asked to take it down, my former avatar photo clearly violates the Flickr TOS so I didn’t complain or make a stink about it, rules are rules. However, at best, one could characterize their enforcement as spotty, so that leads me to believe that somebody I know in the hobby dimed me out. Maybe that’s paranoid thinking, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some butthurt paste-eater wrote an email complaining about it. I don’t think avatars should be set in stone anyway, change is good and my Samurai Jack avatar pic is much brighter and easier to recognize.


  3. The graffiti is fascinating, but I have to say my favorite bit is the o and a in morast, such a brilliant and simplistic way of making distinction between them.

    Also morast’s not bad at all, just what I needed after you made me listen to that kenny g(angsta) abomination.


    1. Good call, most times there is no difference between an o and an a when it comes to signage or any kind of lettering. Morast is fine, I didn’t think I disparaged them, and I agree that they are the perfect tonic to Kenny G.


  4. Having the pleasure of meeting Marion several times at German conventions I can state she is one really nice and lovely person. In addition she is member of the founding group of MoRaSt which stands for Mono Rail Standard. The rules give the the possibility to build up enormous modular mono rail layouts and run the trains inside one module and on a connected outside track over all modules. Several installations have been shown on conventions during the last years.

    The box was build as a module for the Bunte Turm (colored tower) which is another group build on German conventions. Each participant builds one or more floor(s) which are combined to a high tower and may be rearranged during the show.


    1. Sorry for the late reply, I just noticed your comment. Thanks very much for shedding light on the topic Marco, Marion never returned my Flickrmail so it’s nice to have an answer to the mystery of the spinning totem. Mono Rail Standard…that makes a lot more sense, their monorail project sounds really interesting.

      I wonder if the Bunte Turm would ever catch on in the states, it seems like a natural, with builders trying to outdo each other. Thanks again Marco!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s