A couple of months back I volunteered to coordinate the Steampunk theme at Bricks Cascade 2017. Mostly it is an organizational position, helping make sure that everyone has a place for their models and that the displays look good for the public. On the attendee side of things, I’ll be responsible for judging models and awarding trophies. That also means that I had to build trophies to give away.
I really like the one-of-a-kind trophies that come from LEGO conventions. Not every convention does it, but Bricks Cascade takes pride in having impressive trophies and it makes winning them all that much sweeter. I’ve managed to win at least one trophy every year and they are some of my most prized LEGO possessions. I even have a cabinet to show them off.
With that in mind, I felt that the bar was set high. I wanted my trophies to be steampunk creations in their own right.
First up was Steamiest Steamer, the trophy for the best steampunk vehicle. My original concept was a dragster mono-wheel, but couldn’t make it work. I probably could have built something with a static wheel or I could have settled for a less-than-stable design, but neither of those options would work for me.
I was back to the drawing board when I saw a lovely drone by Shannon Sproule with a leg design that I had to use. Using that technique, I added four more legs and built something that is more of a cross between a crustacean and a tachikoma. Not too many fancy techniques, but a happy little walker that I am quite pleased with.
With the walker done, I build a base/platform for it. Since the legs ended with 1×1 cones, I used donut plates as attachment points (the whole thing stands on just two of its legs). Expanding on that, I made a cobbled road surface. The standard for trophies is a 8×8 base, with a 1×8 brick at the front engraved with the award and event. I used reddish-brown and layers of 2×2 round plates to give the feel of fluted woodwork.
The finishing touch was the driver. I managed to pull a Burt Ward from a recent minifig pack and his hair (with oversized glasses) was perfect. Now I have a boyish driver with comically oversized goggles.
My next trophy was Key to the Burg, for the street scene collaboration that we’ve been building, Streets of Brass. Builders will be bringing small, mini-fig scale buildings and assembling a steampunk town. For this one, I took inspiration from a trophy I won a couple of years ago in another theme.
This trophy is a tiny keymaker’s shop that will fit into the layout if the winner would like it to. I started with a tiny 8×8 building, a shuttered service window in the front and a back door. Inside there is just enough room for a rack of keys (I was lucky enough to own three different colors of the element), a grinder (for cutting key blanks), and a Sikh proprietor. The whole think is just a tad taller than the door and topped by a removable black roof with a red key sign.
Again, no fancy techniques here, just some bricks stacking and a bit of snot where it was needed, but I think the results are great. I also build a pedestal for the building to sit on so that it would look more trophy-like.
Even if the building is never used for my intended purpose, it looks like a fitting trophy.
The final trophy in the trio would be for the best in theme and I’d dubbed it Most Fantabulous. For this, I wanted something iconically steampunk and I chose an airship. I knew that I wanted to elevate it on classical columns. At the time, I’d been having trouble sleeping, and one night, as I lay awake, I designed all the major elements in my head.
The first challenge was building the gas-bag. I didn’t have many color choices and the curves didn’t fit together as nicely as I’d hoped. After a bit of fussing, I went with this design, with black elements disguising the minor mismatches. Brackets built the snot core and 6×6 round plates held the rounded ends together. A donut tile on the bottom gave me a way to attach the gondola and a flag on the top gives the only pop of color.
The gondola is industrial and rakish with a pair of oversized engine pods that down to give the propellers clearance. The columns were a simple build, but the capitals took a bit of trial and error. I was originally going to use lamp-holders and 1×1 round plates, but I just didn’t have enough lamp-holders in white. My plan b was 1×2 plates with bars and 1×1 round plates with holes on the ends of the bars. I think the result has an even better look.
For the clouds, I started with a more complicated plan of using snot bricks and white domes to make something that was fluffy in every which way. That didn’t work out well and I didn’t like any of my attempts. In the end I went with a more stylized look, and array of domed columns of varying height. In the center, I used a 2×2 round jumper to give the airship a bit more balance.
Then I mounted this at an angle to break up the lines just a tad.
The finished trophy turned out beautifully, with a rakish blackship floating on the clouds.
A fine trio of trophies if I do say so myself. I look forward to handing them out at Bricks Cascade next month!
Keep building and enjoy.