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)

LIfe’s a beach!

LIfe’s a beach!

It’s that time of the year when we all want to be on the beach possibly with a windsurfing board and a cold beer.
And that’s what’s happening to the bearded hypster/hippy in my latest creation.
I can’t explain why, but it seems to me like a scene from the eighties: a classic van with a vivid livery, the Hawaiian shirt of the guy, a pink windsurfing from Paradisa series, the boombox…

The little Chevy van has been used before with different livery and in different creations. Top to bottom, left to right: Life’s a beach; Stranger Things; Andy’s Haburger Stand; Santa needs a bigger van.

Enjoy the summer guys!

Moon Landing 50th Anniversary

Moon Landing 50th Anniversary

This July marks half a century since the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander touched down on the moon when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took man’s first steps on to its surface.
To celebrate the anniversary I go back to 1975 when LEGO released the first Lunar Lander, the “Moon Landing”set No. 367.
Despite its simplicity, this set has something special and I’m happy to have it in my collection.
The set does not represent the Apollo 11 program because there is the Moon Rover. It probably depicts the scene on the moon during one of the last three missions of the Apollo program (15, 16, and 17) during 1971 and 1972 when the Moon Rover was actually used to move acroos the surface of the moon.
“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”