Two for Tuesday: Kyle Vrieze


Good evening constant reader, its happy hour and our bartender Lloyd is setting them up neat, just the way you like it. Tonight’s V.I.P. in the Manifesto lounge checks in from exotic Bermuda, where the triangles will wreck you and so will the Goslings Black Seal Rum.  I’m speaking, of course, of the indomitable Kyle Vrieze, whose remarkable builds you’ve been enjoying since 2004 when he made his first post on LUGNET.  If you’ve ever been to the BrickWorld convention in the last decade, the chances are good that you’ve seen one of his signature mecha and assorted Sci-Fi boilerplate in person.  You would remember Kyle because he looks like an action figure and stands out in stark contrast to his fellow Lego nerds because we tend to run pudgy or gangly, without much in between.  I’m not saying all Lego nerds are fat, that would be a cruel stereotype.  Many of us are in shape so don’t start yelling about how much you can bench in the comment section or how you run marathons.  Or maybe you should?  In my experience there are a lot of fatties in the hobby (myself included) and my point is that Kyle makes us look good when he poses in our group photos.  And dude loves to pose.  He’s got tickets to the gun-show and he’s not above firing off those guns in public.  More about the raging biceps and fashion later, let’s stick to the brick for now.

Kyle hasn’t posted anything yet this year so I had to reach back to December of 2015 to find his most recent model, the simply titled “Fighter 14“.  The silhouette is one that Kyle has revisited over the years, but each version get more refined and interesting.  There are almost too many angles to count but he somehow wrangles them into a cohesive and striking design.  Kyle manages to reign in the chaos just enough without taking off the edge and the result is a very aggressive looking war machine.  Naturally, it also sports some ‘roided out missile-pods, which is Kyle’s signature feature whether the platform is a spaceship or mecha.  In fact, the more I think about it, the missile-pods are just an extension of his ripped biceps.  This is the point in every Two for Tuesday posting when I urge you to take a trip through Kyle’s back catalogue if you’re not familiar with his work.


For tonight’s second shot I’m inserting myself into the mix, as usual.  I met Kyle at the 2010 edition of BrickWorld Chicago, where he was generous enough to contribute a kick-ass Vic Vic Viper to the nnenn memorial formation.  He is definitely one of the nicest people you can meet in the hobby and I don’t mean “nice” in that Disney-cult, Landru, early days of LUGNET sort of way.  Kyle is always ready to talk Lego or talk smack, he’s equally skilled at both and he’s always ready to grab a sandwich if you are.  If you need any more convincing, you should know that Kyle is also endorsed by the righteous bros of Bro-LUG.  Those talented but feral youths don’t typically accept bro’s over the age of 25 or so but even they couldn’t deny Kyle membership, especially after his performance at an arm-wrestling initiation ritual that I’m not at liberty to speak of.  So if you find yourself at BrickWorld Chicago, seek out Mr. Vrieze and tell him “Keith sent me for a sandwich“.

I had the pleasure of dining with Kyle at the Mirage Hotel and Casino here in Vegas some time later and we hatched a plan for a collaboration, which brings us at last to the second shot.  The photo you see below is nothing like the idea I pitched to him over steaks and beer, I had some vague notion of an underground launch-base in mind and I asked him to build a VTOL fighter or three as the focal point.  In the end I had to shit-can the entire concept, I just couldn’t translate the idea into the brick.  So instead, I said something like “just send me what you can and I’ll figure it out”.  Four months later I finished this diorama, which features three of Kyle’s designs, including the epic mecha you see below along with a robot and a futuristic scout car.


For this particular feature on the Manifesto I like to conclude the proceedings with a photo of the builder in question. I do this to help you put a face to the name and sometimes with the express intent to take the piss out of the builder. This is one of those times.  The photo is entitled “Sandwich Buddies” and let me tell you brother, you have not lived the BrickWorld convention experience until you’ve had a sandwich with Kyle. Traditions matter, people, they matter.  You can’t just have lunch with any random AFOL, or you may get stuck with an Aspy paste-eater or Rutherford, so choose your dining companions carefully. Meals are the rarely spoken about highlight of spending a weekend with your fellow Lego nerds.  Booze, good eats, shit-talking, shenanigans…meal time really is fun time.  Whether it’s Thai food in Seattle or Sandwiches in Chicago, it’s important to make the right choice when dining out.14715664850_cddf63e5aa_o.jpg

Please note that Simon is wearing Chairman Zhang’s brick-badge in the photo…did he just give up trying to correct people calling him Nannan?  Did he murder Nannan and abscond with his badge?  Was it a mundane trade or some kind of friendship bracelet kind of thing?  All I know is that the Chairman used to be Kyle’s official Sandwich Buddy and now it’s Simon.

Please recall that a precedent has been set in this ongoing series that we will be reviewing the fashion choices of each builder.  Kyle, as I pointed out earlier, looks like a generic action figure…of a wrestler, or a commando, or a biker.  Since you can’t go wrong with a basic black T, the verdict is an easy one.


And Simon is here because he’s Simon and he’s ubiquitous.  At least he’s got Fry on his chest this time as opposed to that horrible Tie-Fighter tuxedo shirt.

A Modern Cure for Insomnia

Can’t stop tossing and turning?  Big day tomorrow at work and you need your precious sleep?  Well have no fear, constant reader, because Italian Builder Gabriele Zannotti has just the tonic for what ails you.  Simply press the play button below and you’ll be nodding off in no time at all.  Instead of counting sheep or pounding the hard stuff, why not drift away to the soothing sound of this minimalist printer?  David’s animation is as flawless as the build itself and I hope he continues to explore in this relatively uncharted territory.

In his Flickr profile Gabriele also offers his considerable rendering services to his fellow digital building AFOLs.  I’m not sure if it’s free or there is a charge involved, but if you’re in the market for that kind of thing you might reach out to Mr. Zannotti for more info.

Gundam Style

I was very surprised to find out none of the big LEGO blogs picked up the next featured model on the Manifesto.  I didn’t bother to cover it when it was posted because I figured you’d be seeing this model everywhere and it would rack-up hits like Ichiro Suzuki.  While the number of views are respectable, the rest of the metrics simply do not reflect the greatness of the model.  The builder responsible for this mighty “GUNDAM RX-78-2” is JAN LEGO, it is a name that should be familiar to both hardcore and casual mecha enthusiasts.  Gundam style robots don’t typically do it for me, but this one is so perfectly constructed that I could not resist blogging it.  There are enough Lego versions of this “mobile suit” design out there to easily fill an Omnibus posting, but I don’t think many of them can match this Gundam.  Like so many of the best models our hobby has to offer, this one crosses that glorious threshold where it ceases to look like a Lego construct at all.

For many mecha builders it is the flexibility of a model that separates the good from the great, they value poseability as much as form.  This Gundam checks that box too, it can hold a rifle and strike a pose with the best of them.  Normally I would throw something in here about specific details that stand out, but I wouldn’t know where to start on this one.  From head to toe this mech is packed with impressive technique and detail, I am at a loss for even a nitpick.  Perhaps if I was more familiar with the subject matter I could provide some suggestion for improvement but I somehow doubt it.  As a constant reader you know that I judge all mecha by their feet and although they look surprisingly feminine from the back, the feet are great.  They look like big metal boots.  Giant robot is GO!



Omnibus: The Floatplane Notebook

The powerful engine you hear in the distance means that the Omnibus has returned to your town.  We’ll be going down to the shore so we can watch the seabirds land and maybe get a crappy tattoo on the boardwalk to commemorate the event.  Seaplanes, floatplanes, flying boats, whatever term you prefer just get up to the tower and ring the bell already, because we’re in for a very long drive and our bus driver is all jacked up on No-Doze and coffee.  Without further delay, let’s explore the wonderful world of floatplanes.  It should be noted that this robust posing could easily be twice as long if I included all the mundane attempts, so as usual, we’ll focus on the best stuff.  If you notice a glaring omission from this extensive list, please give me a link in the comments and if it’s any good, I’ll update the post. Now ring the bell already!

To my great shock I was not able to locate a Fantasy Island inspired Lego model, so I went with the floatplane that inspired this latest edition of the Omnibus.   Norweasel brings you a super-clean rendition of the “Piper Super Cub“, which features the only use of minfig swords in this diverse group of planes.  I also dig the two-toned rubber spikes on the back-end of the pontoons and the use of dark orange, a color that too often gets a bad rap.


Just as clean and just as cool is this floatplane by Russian builder Сергей Антохин.  Unlike many of the models featured on this list, I think this untitled masterpiece would make a perfect official set, it’s too bad it didn’t catch on with LEGO Ideas.  The presentation is really enhanced by the in-flight camera angle.  I’d pay 30 bucks for this one.


Unfortunately, Klaus “Eastpole77” Dobisch, the creator of this magnificent “Dornier Flying Boat” hasn’t posted anything in the last four years and even worse, he’s deleted much of his work from the internet entirely.  It’s a real shame because the guy was ahead of his time in terms of technique and always selected really interesting subject matter.   When you consider the fact that the Dornier was built eight years ago, before many of the parts and colors we take for granted, it seems even more impressive.


Continue reading “Omnibus: The Floatplane Notebook”

Friday Night Fights [Round 6]

Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another curb-stomping edition of Friday Night Fights!    This week’s match up featured two veteran engineers on a collision course with destiny.  Without further preamble, let’s go to the tale of the tape.

Fighting out of the red corner, from the wrong side of the tracks, its Monstrophonic and his “DB steamer“.


And fighting out of the blue corner, by way of Caprica, it’s Omega3108 and his “Steam locomotive type BR23


As usual, constant reader, you are tasked with deciding the outcome of this pugilistic endeavor and determine who will receive a week’s worth of bragging rights.  Simply leave a comment below and vote for the MOC that best suits your individual taste. I will tally up the votes next Friday and declare a winner before announcing the next bout.

Last Week, on Friday Night Fights….

Evil held sway as two figbarf armies fought until one was left rotting on the battlefield.  Slovenia’s “Murderous” Magma Guy and his “Evil magicians figbarf“scored a 10-3 victory over Philly’s Carter “Bone-Crusher” Baldwin and his “Evildoers“.  Magma records his first win and improves his record to (1-0) while Carter falls to (0-1).



The Life Modular, with Huib Versteeg

In today’s installment of The Life Modular, we will be investigating a modular turret system developed by Dutchman Huib Verteeg, who you may remember from such famous models as: HA-1 field recycler, Restituens, and Obnoxiously Yellow Landship.  In 2014 the builder experimented all too briefly with a generic turret platform designed for a Sci-Fi setting.  I stumbled upon these when searching for something else entirely on Flickr and I dig them so much that I want to share them with you, constant reader.  Huib only built two modules to go with his platform but both of them kick substantial ass. Of course, this is the Manifesto so I’ve found something to complain about, in this case it’s the 1×1 clip on the single-barrel gun.  It looks like the clip it would get blown off the first time the gun fired, it makes my brain itch every time I look at it.  That’s as bad as it gets though, I’m quite taken with the design.  Sure, I would make changes to fit my complex lifestyle, but these things make me want to build turrets!  I can envision them looking great in a number of contexts: on boats, flatbed train cars, truck beds, space stations, being assembled by a crew of minifigs…the list goes on and on.  It also occurs to me that they would make great artillery pieces for table-top Lego games like Mobile Frame Zero.

The models were inspired by the concept art of SC4V3NG3R, whose impressive catalogue of images can be seen at Deviant Art.  The weapon systems look like units from a computer strategy game that I’d love to play.  After checking out the source material, I was suddenly disappointed that Mr. Versteeg stopped with just two variants.  Given his considerable skill, I would love to see his take on the Hive or the Missile modules.  I also appreciate his decision not to build precise copies SC4V3NG3R’s designs because there are elements of Huib’s work that I actually prefer, like the black steering wheel, the gray details on the sides and the 2×2 round tiles.  The round tiles suggest that there might be wheels behind them, to aid in moving the platform into place, which is kind of cool.  The only thing I like better about the source material is the color scheme, I happen to prefer orange and dark gray to yellow and light gray.  The designs are so strong though, they would probably look good in any decent color scheme.  Mostly what I want to see is more of these things, they rock and so does Mr. Verteeg, whose name is fun to say out loud.


I also want to take moment to praise the builder’s visual effects. I prefer that kind of subtle lighting effect that doesn’t obscure the parts or look too unnatural when used on Lego.  It’s just the right amount of effect in proportion to the rest of the model.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our examination of the Life Modular, with Huib Versteeg, tune in again next time, when we will examine the work of a modular castle builder.