A Little T&A (NSFW)

I have mixed feelings about mixing Lego and erotic themes, which is nothing new under the sun, people have been combining the two since the phallic space-ships of Bonktron debuted over eleven years ago.   It probably goes back even further but that’s the first ‘adult’ series of models I can remember.  Even MOCpages, went through a prolonged stretch in the mid 2000’s when the height of humor was sig-figs sodomizing each other with hotdogs…I’m sure you can imagine the sheer hilarity of it all…  It’s not just the guys who get in on the erotic action, Janey Gunning showed us some in whips and chains back in 2006.  As long as adults have been building with Lego, there have been sexual themes.

I don’t object to the adult stuff based on any moral objections or hand-wringing over what the “children” might see.  I admit that I get a little squeamish when I see minifigs engaging in sexual situations, because of the stigma attached to us by the outside world about  men (primarily) who play with a children’s toy.  Showing minifigs boning just throws fuel on that fire and more often than not it doesn’t serve any larger scene or idea, it exists purely to be provocative. This is one of the worst examples, I can’t endorse this image in any way, it’s skeevy, and barely qualifies as a build.  In a stereotypically American way, I don’t have a problem with minifig violence, but showing little dolls having sex is not something I’m want to see. To me, minifig-sex works best when the action is more suggestive than overt.

Once you get away from the minifigs though, I don’t have any reservations at all.  I enjoy watching builders struggle with the human form and the challenge of turning plastic parts into something sexy.  My final objection is that most erotically themed builds are terrible, there is often little thought put into their construction because the builder is too busy giggling about boners or trying to decide which porno to watch next.  I’ve never seen a Bonktron ship that wasn’t absolute crap and all that sausage humor on MOCpages was mediocre at best, it was the same basic idea repeated over and over. For every Letranger Absurde, Ian Heath or Bricks Noir, there are a hundred hacks who don’t really try to make something compelling, just provocative.

All that is a long-winded way to work my way around to a builder who should be familiar to most of you, Bricks Noir.  What separates the builder from the crowd who indulge in erotica is the skill level.  This kind of SNOT work has a high degree of difficulty whether it’s built in the brick or in this case, digitally.  In Bricks Noir’s latest impressive work, “Classic Curves“, it isn’t the anatomy that interests me so much as the Mustang badge on the grill and the subtle curves of the fenders and mirrors.  Sure the lady is attractive, the legs are extremely well done, but everywhere you look in the image you’ll find some delightful detail.   If you slapped a frame on this one and hung it in a coffee joint people wouldn’t know it was Lego, even when they got up close. Sexy and scary are two of the most difficult themes to capture in the brick I can’t commend the builder enough for capturing sexy like no other.29345890883_4c3d0467fc_o

Bricks Noir is one of those rare builders who seemed to spring to life fully formed (like a Greek god) with advanced skills and no awkward initial builds.  Such instant success tends breed suspicion, especially when the builder in question is relatively quiet and provides no information in their profile.  The most clever blogger on TBB, Ian Heath, speculated last year that  Bricks Noir is a pseudonym for an “established builder” but as usual, the big blog would rather play coy about it than make a statement or even an educated guess.  I’m a conspiracy theory guy, so that makes me think it’s probably the clever blogger himself.  Heath certainly has the skill-level to pull it off, and he likes mixing butt cheeks and Lego, so until proven otherwise, I’ll go with Mr. clever.  I would love to hear your take on the true identity of Bricks Noir in the comments, or if you think there is no conspiracy at all.

I can’t help but wonder how far Bricks Noir  will push the envelope in a genre he basically owns.  Will we be looking at blow-jobs and golden showers by this time next year?  Is uncensored erotica something you want to see more of, constant reader?  Is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed?  I kind of hope he or she goes in that direction because the pearl-clutching and moral outrage by the true-believer Lego cultists and the general public would be a wonderful spectacle to behold.

I went down some nasty rabbit-holes while exploring the topic for this article and it almost turned into a long-form Omnibus post because there is so much content.  In the end though, as I complained above, very little of the content was quality building and I thought it would be better to leave the focus on the incredible work of Bricks Noir.  I will leave you with two links, the first is a group (NSFW) on Flickr that specializes in all things erotica, and the second link is to perhaps the strangest thing I found in my research, a customizable Lego butt-plug (very NSFW) which may be the strangest Lego related aftermarket product that I’ve seen.

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.

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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.

 

 

 

“I’m every bourgeois nightmare – a Cockney with intelligence and a million dollars.”

Right or wrong I judge LEGO mosaics based on a single question: would I hang it on my Legoratory wall?  In the case of our next featured model here on the Manifesto, the answer is unquestionably yes.  The builder is David Hughes and the subject is the great Michael Caine as he appeared in this 1965 image by acclaimed photographer and fellow proud Cockney, David Bailey.  Bailey’s impressive catalogue of celebrity photos helped create the image of “swinging London” in the sixties and this photo became so famous that it’s now in a special collection at London’s National Portrait Gallery.  It’s interesting that Bailey’s most popular photograph was an actor because he has said more than once that “Actors are a severe pain to photograph because they never want to reveal who they are.

David Hughes does a great job duplicating the photograph, I’m not sure if he used a program or free-handed the model or some combination of both but the results are remarkable. Caine wears the black horn-rimmed glasses he donned to play secret agent Harry Palmer in three films that began with “The Ipcress File” and an unlit Gaulois dangles as if he paused to unfavorably appraise your idiotic small talk.  You’re boring Michael Caine, constant reader, its time to move along.

If you’re looking for a movie recommendation for the weekend, you could do a lot worse than the The Ipcress File, released the same year as the photo.   It’s like a grittier version of the early James Bond entries, albeit with less exotic locales and less fabulous babes.  So if you’re a fan of espionage films, Michael Caine and swinging 60’s action, you should give it a shot.  If you’re under the age of 25 or you have a short attention span,  you can just watch the trailer below, it pretty much gives you the whole story.

Shout out to constant reader Mike M. for the suggestion and be sure to check out the rest of David’s work on Flickr.

Omnibus: “Not a bird, not a plane, I’m just a mean old night owl”

The always plush Omnibus is leaving the station, constant reader and you’ve got a window seat for all the action.  There is a snow owl airbrushed on the side of the bus, refreshments have been provided and “Fly By Night” is blasting from the speakers.  So grab the last empty seat next to Rutherford and we’ll take a short tour of Owl country.  We will discover together what our warm and embracing community can do with the beloved nocturnal bird of prey, in its many inspiring forms.

Our first stop is in Canada, to view the rarely seen owl in flight.  One look at the the photo and you can tell you’re not in the company of the average paste-eating mankinder.  This is the work of renown Montreal LEGO artist Ekow Nimako.  You can read a pretty informative  interview with Ekow here, which profiles not only this “Silent Knight” commission from 2015 but also his earlier work and background. I dove into his catalogue of pictures and didn’t come out of the trance for about 20  minutes.  You can expect an article on more of Mr. Nimako’s work somewhere down the line, for there is indeed much to explore.  For now enjoy two of Ekow’s investigations of the common barn owl, which are anything but common, including a construction video of Silent Knight.

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Let’s stay off the perch and in flight with good friend of the Manifesto, Jordan Schwartz and his “Owlet” from 2010.  At the time of posting, the use of non ABS LEGO products like cloth capes and Ewok glider-wings was very unorthodox and drew many exclamations of N.P.U. from  appreciative viewers.  The eyes and banana-beak are very striking and somehow the build still looks fresh 6 years and 10,000 hits later.

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Now let’s switch gears entirely and examine some mechano-owls like this eye-catching “Cyber Owl” from the ever reliable and always original, Mihai Marius Mihu.  I love the builder but I hate the name, it’s just too difficult to say and impossible to type from memory.  In my head I call him “Miti Mata Mulu”, which isn’t too cool.  The build is very cool though, the trans-clear plates on the chest were a brilliant choice.

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