Turn on the lights, it's Christmas time!

Turn on the lights, it's Christmas time!

Few days ago I built the Santa’s Home, a red cabin located in a peaceful snow-covered clearing, with deep snow on the roof, white pines and a sled ready to go.
Last weekend I tested my skills as a photographer by taking a night photo of Santa’s house with the interior lights on. Also helped by photoshop I am satisfied with the result.
This is really my last photo of the year and I wish you all merry Christmas and happy new year!

It’s time for Santa Claus to go!

It’s time for Santa Claus to go!

Like every year at this time Santa Claus has to get to work, children all over the world are waiting for him.
In my latest diorama you can see Santa Claus leaving his red cabin at the North Pole to get on his sleigh pulled by two Huskys. He has a long way to go…

This is probably my last MOC for this year and I wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

“Santa Claus, despite his media persona and the products he is implied to endorse, is not the consumerist type. Sure, he brings presents on Christmas to children, but not the max-out-the-credit-cards-and-refinance-the-house pile of presents that parents are somehow expected to provide. He lives a life of humble solitude, somewhere up in the frozen north (though not the North Pole; what responsible person would build a house on seasonally variant ice?), where he prepares for his annual journey of beneficence. At least, that is what this build by Andrea Lattanzio (Norton74) seems to imply. A delightful cabin, similar to Walden but much redder, rests in a peaceful snow-covered clearing, with deep snow on the roof and a sled ready to go (even though the sled is pulled by huskies, rather than reindeer). The most impressive part of the display might be the collection of parts used to create the snow-covered foliage, from levers and megaphones to minifig hands and everything else white. However, I love the cannon as a chimney — topped by pots, even more. Unicorn horns make for lovely icicles on the eaves (if only they were available in transparent colors!). My one quibble is that the woodpile looks far too sparse to make it through the winter in conditions like that. Santa will freeze to death. Unless he isn’t watching out for the polar bear lurking behind the cabin, in which case he’ll be devoured before freezing. And before bringing me LEGO for my stocking.”

(“What happened to the reindeer?” The Brothers Brick – December 13, 2019)

Walden; or, Life in the Woods

Walden; or, Life in the Woods

A few months ago a friend of mine loaned me a book I had always heard of but never read. The book is the well-known “Walden; or life in the woods” written by Henry David Thoreau and published in 1854.
Walden details Thoreau’s experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days (1845–47) in a cabin he built near Walden Pond amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts.
By immersing himself in nature, Thoreau hoped to gain a more objective understanding of society through personal introspection. Simple living and self-sufficiency were Thoreau’s other goals, and the whole project was inspired by transcendentalist philosophy, a central theme of the American Romantic Period. It is considered Thoreau’s masterwork.

Struck by the history and inspired by the cover of the book, in the few past weeks I built Thoreau’s cabin in the wood. Its the first time that I made a woods-themed creation and I really had a lot fun building it.

Relatively neglected during Thoreau’s lifetime, Walden achieved tremendous popularity in the 20th century. Thoreau’s description of the physical act of living day by day at Walden Pond gave the book authority, while his command of a clear, straightforward, but elegant style helped raise it to the level of a literary classic. 

“Inspired by the book Walden; or Life in the Woods, Andrea Lattanzio escapes from the fast food restaurants and gas stations (and futuristic rovers!) of the modern world into the wilds through his latest build. I wonder if Thoreau, the main character of the aforementioned book, would choose LEGO as his outlet instead of escaping to the wild if he had lived in modern time? The diorama captures everything a self-sufficient cabin in the woods would have (including a bit of the woods). The textures and little imperfections on the cabin capture the hand-crafted appearance very well, most notably the tiles on the roof pressed down only half way and the window with a half-plate offset in its top and bottom halves. The pine trees are done quite well, with leaf elements placed at convincing angles on the central axis. The use of the old tree stump piece adds a lot to the atmosphere, as do the inspired choices of gray homemaker hair part as a stone and brown stud shooters in the dead tree on the right side of the diorama.

(“Escape the mecha and spaceships of our society and build a cabin in the woods” The Brothers Brick – December 2, 2019)

Build your own classic pick-up truck

Build your own classic pick-up truck

Pick-up truck | Instructions and part list

I used this pick-up truck in a few of my past creations and recently I enjoyed taking “step by step” instructions pictures. It’s the evolution of my previous Mooneyes pick-up. This one is lower and marked by a smoother design.

It appeared in my coffee stand and last December it was used by Santa while he was searching the right Christmas tree. And the same body but in white/green combo was used for the Big Foot Monster Truck.
Now you can build it following the “step by step” pics below. Enjoy!

Below, from top left to right:

  • Santa’s pick-up (2018);
  • Andy’s Coffee Stand pick-up (2019);
  • Mooneyes pick-up trucks and classic Hot Rod (2017);
  • Big Foot Monster Truck (2019) .
Paddy Wagon

Paddy Wagon

The “Paddy Wagon” is a Show Rod designed in 1968 by Tom Daniel, probably the most talented and popular fantasy-car designer of all time. Tom worked many years for GM and in his spare time he created new “Off the Sketchpad” articles for Rod & Custom magazine. This caught the attention of Monogram’s model shop supervisor, Roger Harney, who got approval to have Daniel create new model designs.
Then, from 1967 through 1975, Tom designed over 75 plastic model kit designs that Monogram manufactured, many of which enjoyed multi-million unit sales.
Among these the “Paddy Wagon” that I recreated via LEGO bricks. Old-time police wagons were called “Paddy Wagons”, probably because most cops in those days were Irish. “Paddy” is slang for “Irish”.

Main “Paddy Wagon” features:

  • “muscular” chromed blown small-block V-8;
  • a “C” cab;
  • double windshield (glass for Window 1x6x5);
  • chrome gold side horns;
  • Good Year drag slicks;
  • custom silver stickers;
  • older-style drum headlights;
  • oval side windows barred;
  • a Motometer radiator cap.

This is my third Show Rod, the first I built was the Beer Wagon (from the same designer) and then the Fire Truck (by Chuck Miller).

Mariachi wagon and Mexican house

Mariachi wagon and Mexican house

One of the most vivid traditions of Mexico is surely the Mariachi culture. I’ve been always intrigued by Mariachi musicians and when LEGO released the Mariachi in Series 16 Collectible Minifigures I thought it was really cute and perfect for a Mexican themed MOC.

My latest creation represents a classic Mexican scene: the Mariachi Wagon with the musicians on board ready to play the serenade to the beautiful girl on the terrace. On the right her father with his eyes well opened.
The house boasts a multi-level terrace structure, a couple of arbors covered by flowers and a large patio. Cactus and plants of all kind are all around.

In addition to the Mariachi, I also included in the diorama the Maraca Man (Series 2), Flamenco Dancer (Series 6) and the Taco Tuesday Guy (the LEGO Movie).

“Most Western-themed LEGO creations take their architectural inspiration from the single-street towns of the Gold Rush — clapperboard buildings, usually saloons and general stores. It makes for a pleasant change to see something a little more Southwestern in tone with Andrea Lattanzio‘s build of a classic whitewashed adobe flat-roofed house. And even better, there’s not a gunfighter in sight; instead, we’re treated to a mariachi band arriving in their wagon to serenade the farmer’s beautiful daughter. The house is a visual treat, covered with nice details, from the use of printed 1×1 round tiles on the protruding ends of the logs to the plant-covered arbors that provide shady spots on the flat roof. The use of woodgrain tiles above the windows and doors adds some welcome texture amongst the white. Bien hecho, Andrea!”

(“Jumping on board the Mexican bandwagonThe Brothers Brick – September 15, 2019)