Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy

Vesa Lehtimäki is known for his realistic LEGO photography and I think he is one of the best around. Besides building what I love the most is when I took a shot of my build and Vesa’s awesome work is one of the thing that really aspires me to try to take my shot the best that I can, though it still no where near from his work…hahaha.

He just release a wonderful book called Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy and these beautiful shots are some of the shots that are on the book which is a MUST have book! 🙂 You can also visit his photostream to be amazed on all the works he did! 🙂

The Jawa Who Found Trouble


Rough Tatooine Landings


The Millennium Falcon


Rancor’s Sandpit

DIY Photo Lightbox Tutorial

Before I have all the fancy photography equipment, back then when I was still studying at a design school, we as a broke students have to find ways and more creative to get at least the similar result like the pros for our photography class.

One of the the simple little secret we found back then was to use a lightbox to shot object to look like pros, and here is a video tutorial I made to make a simple basic DIY (Do-It-Yourself) lightbox tips. I hope it can inspires or can helps your photography result in someway 🙂

Practical Effect

I always appreciate and prefer using practical effect than digital…well just look what they’ve done with the Star Wars prequel XD

This awesome shot by Shobrick is an example of what practical effect can do, not just as an awesome picture but it can gives you reality to some degree which you almost can feel that you are there.

The best thing of it, he is kindly enough to take an effort making a video to share how this shot was setup and how he did it. Lots of extra mile he went just to take this shot, but as you can see, the result is outstanding! Thanks for sharing this Shobrick! 🙂

"Everything is going to be fine honey"


Here is the timelapse vid of how he did it:

The making-of Jurassic

Police Lineup

What I like most about LEGO that it could act as a media for expression and creativity in countless way, and one of the thing that we can create using LEGO is comic strip. I found this comic strip a while ago made by Dark Alamez which I think is really funny.

As for myself, I found it difficult to think and create a funny or an interesting story for a comic strip or maybe just a simple scene. I tried several times and it’s tough T_T

Other than that, I also found that it’s quite rare to find a good funny scene or comic strip using LEGO, don’t believe it? Just google it and what you saw there mostly were made a long time ago and the good one is very few. That’s why I always respect those who can made one which I really enjoy it 🙂

Police lineup


One other thing that caught my interest here was that police line back there, I’m curious which I thought it was stickers at first, it turns out those are threads. Luckily he’s not just sharing his trick but also his photo setup which I think it’s very creative by using simple things to setup the lighting! Awesome job man! 🙂

BTS - Police lineup


My Ride


Again, this is one of those build that I have doubt what best should I present it besides The Airplane Cockpit and The Train Station Gate for this Iron Builder round, in fact though this might look just a simple speeder built, it is the most difficult and time consumed in this Iron Builder round for me to present it the way I want to.

It took me 4 different photosession in 3 different days. I actually got this idea and build the speeder in week 2 and took the first photosession using all brick built background.

Here is the setup:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_31-10


Here is the result:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_31-09


But after I look at it again somehow I felt its a bit too boring and I think a real sand will looks better and I always want to try my hands on using real sands. The sand that I’ll need should be a small grain sand which I can’t use those construction kind of sand, therefore what option I can think of are using hamster bathing sand or play sand for kids. Play sand is cheaper since I need quite a lot, which then I bought 10 kg play sand on the weekend for this setup, and on week 3 I took another photosession, this time I tried outdoor.

Just as I expected from outdoor shooting that it will be unpredictable, all the sunny bright sky suddenly went cloudy all day, and this was the disappointing result.

Here is the setup:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_31-08


Here is the result:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_31-07


Then at the same day, I took it to indoor shooting and here is the result:

Here is the setup:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_31-06


Here is the result:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_31-05


Again…after all wrapped and finish, I look at it again…I’m not quite satisfied enough with the result, the surface of what it should be a dessert it kind a bit too smooth, I think I arrange the sand to neat and subtle, which take off the realism of a dessert. Then on week 4, again I try to take another photosession but now with a more natural arrangement of the sand, and I’m quite happy with the result, more than happy and satisfied from the 3 previous photosession result.

Actually this kind of thing happened a lot whenever I took a shot for anything, not just LEGO. I think it’s my way of trial and error to learning new thing, because when I felt that I got this new thing right usually I only replicate it when I meet another similar case, that’s why I always excited to get things right because it will makes the future case easier. Enough with my long story, so here is the final result that I’m most satisfied.

Here is the final model:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_31-02


Iron Builder 2016_Setup_31-03


Iron Builder 2016_Setup_31-04


Here is the photo setup:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_31-01


And finally here is the final result, which I most satisfied:


Abandoned Beauty

I blame Calin and W. Navarre on this one!…hahaha. Well, I can’t separate LEGO and Hot Rod without mentioning Calin, to be honest I never like the actual hot rod car until Calin frequently posted his hot rod car builds that are just too beautiful not to love which in a way he had successfully brainwashed my head and now I have to admit that I do like hot rod cars! Yes Calin! You’re responsible for that!…hahaha.

Having said that, there are lots of Calin’s influenced in this build and this is my second hot rod car after this Tony’s Stark Hot Rod car that I build.

For W. Navarre, he jokes about how I hated dust and scratches in my article here, which he said he prefer to have dust on his build to adds more realism which instantly gave me an idea to deliberately adding dust and dirt on a build. I got this hot rod exhaust idea quite a while actually and it went cold and planned to drop it but his jokes is what makes this idea finally good to go, I think it will fit with an abandoned garage idea, with dust, dirt and all. So thank you mate for the idea…do jokes more often 😉 …okay, now help me wash this up man!…hahahaha

Well here is the Hot Rod car model:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_22-05


Iron Builder 2016_Setup_22-06


Iron Builder 2016_Setup_22-07


Here is the photo setup:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_22-08


Here is the result before I add dust and dirt:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_22-01


Here is the photo setup after I added the dust and dirt:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_22-04


One other thing that I hope you guys find it interesting was that I have to gathered those dust and dirt by cleaning up some room by myself…hahaha, and those spider web you saw there are all actual spider web I’d found at my porch…hahahaha, but the great thing from this build was I don’t have to bothered to clean up all the dust and scratches in Photoshop…hahaha 😀

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_22-03


Iron Builder 2016_Setup_22-02


And here is the final result after I added dust and dirt. I’m quite happy and satisfied with the result and excited during the process since I never done this photo treatment before 😀

Hot Rod Exhaust

Up To Another Level

I always want to try making a space corridor like this, and I think this ladder idea fits well with space theme. Another thing that I always want to try my hands on is using external light as the main light to lightup an interior and I think it’s possible to do that with this build.

It turns out this build took longer to build than I expected before, it’s quite difficult for me to choose what parts will fits for the wall, it should look complex and technical but it shouldn’t be too clutter. I change a lot the look of the wall and what you see now it’s the best I can do…oh…well..:(.

Another challenge was to make the light entrance for the external light to pass through, not to mention the difficulties when I try to shoot it which it turns out there are lots of holes and gap that passing through and I have to revised the model here an there.

For the external light, I use two of my tracing table (that I used here) which I put on each side of the model, then I experimented using slow shutter speed until I get the right lighting.

Here is the actual build:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_19-01


Here are for the light entrance to pass through:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_19-03


Iron Builder 2016_Setup_19-02


Here is the end result, though it was far from perfect but I’m quite satisfied as my first trial using this external light technique:



Behind this build, actually I’d plan to drop this idea since I think nothing special using the seed part for this kind of classy door handle, but it came another idea as a door of hope which will fits with the shape of the seed part, the handle should look classy which make this difficult to replace it with other part. You can use Tap, Hose Nozzle Elaborate,  or Hose Nozzle Simple as the door handle but it will looks too modern and minimalist, not the kind of “Door of Hope” should be.

Another thing was, I always want to try and experiment with my Tracing Table that I have, this kind of table usually use in design or architecture industry for tracing or making a copy of a drawing or image. I think this idea would fit and finally I can use my tracing table for photo experiment since I want a bright light coming from the open door. Well I’m very satisfied with the end result and now I have another photo technique in my sleeve and I hope you guys like the technique and the end result too 🙂

Here is the photo setup using my tracing table:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_17-01


Here is when the tracing table was lit on:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_17-01


Here is the end result:

Twin Door Handle

Take Off

When I was a kid there are times when I wanna be a pilot, and just by looking at the cool cockpit just gives me another reason for that and here is my interpretation of an airplane cockpit.

Airplane Cockpit


Behind this build, actually I wanna make the background using LEGO, but the thing was I can’t figure it how to make a short airplane runaway that will looks like a runaway, therefore I choose another way that I often use, which is using an image as the background.

Sometimes I took a job for advertising industry to do some digital imaging (composing, retouching) with photohop, that’s why I always try to avoid adding background in photoshop since it’s too difficult and will took times to make it perfect. It’s because of a shot object always have a dimension that in result have a different blur depth all over it edge, and to replicate those different blur depth would takes too much time to do it.

Therefore I prefer to use this technique that I use quite often like in here:

New Virus!


Pencil Sharpener


Vintage Baby Stroller


Vintage Cassette Player


Which was using printed image as a background, I prefer this way because I wouldn’t need to bother taking care of the different blur depth edge and the best of it, it would give me a good reflection of the background on the object itself which adds to a more believable background.

Here is the setup and the printed image for the background:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_16-01


Here is another example, my Micro Chibi AT-ST I build back then using the same technique, here is the final result:

AT-ST Micro Fighter


And here is the photo setup:

AT-ST Chibi Micro Contest


After I took that shot, edited and ready to upload it, suddenly I have an idea on how to make the runaway in LEGO, and sometimes I hate this kind of moment since I have to do it all over again. So the solution was to use forced perspective by making the runaway with 1x2x3 slopes like what you can see in this setup:

Iron Builder 2016_Setup_16-02


Iron Builder 2016_Setup_16-03


And here is the final result after editing and etc:

Iron Builder 2016_Alternative_16-04


Somehow I can’t make the runaway lighting looks right, it’s too bright. It needed 2 different lighting intensity, one for the interior and another for the runaway and I can’t figure out how to trick it. At the end, I still choose the one with printed image background than using the LEGO background, it’s personal preference though which I know that some will not agree on that 🙂