Ever since the LEGO Group started producing sets, animals have been a recurring theme for models, probably because they are such a relatable and familiar source material. Some of the original buckets of bricks had ideas in the instructions for making blocky horses, or sheep, even a few bats. As the portfolio of LEGO pieces has expanded, these blocky designs have transformed into more and more sophisticated designs. Modern sets now depict animals in extremely life-like and dynamic ways.
From big cats to tiny garden birds, there are animals from every kingdom and continent throughout the LEGO themes, including Creator and Ideas. Blocks, the LEGO magazine for fans, is going on a safari to pick out the best so far…
An early Ideas model from 2015, when Thomas Poulsom’s design made it through, 21301 Birds was met with huge excitement, selling out multiple times on the official LEGO Store. It’s one of the first times that animals were represented in a biologically accurate way. 21301 captures some of the subtle details that define each of the species included, like the rod element for the hummingbird’s elongated beak or the the way different Technic elements recreate the different shaped feet for each bird. Only adding to this sense of realism are the Latin nameplates identifying each one, a system invented by Carl Linnaeus so that scientists all over the world could communicate more easily.
31133 White Rabbit
The perfect model to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit (which symbolises positivity and longevity), 31133 White Rabbit is probably the best version of a brick rabbit yet. LEGO clam shells imitate soft paws while multiple curved elements create floppy ears that rotate on ball-joints for ultimate cuteness. Adding to the rabbit’s personality are the mini carrot and dandelion side-builds, which are some of the best foods for pet bunnies. Due to it being a Creator 3-in-1 model, there are two extra animals to make, and the cockatoo and seal are equally realistic.
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31136 Exotic Parrot
Blue and yellow macaws have a range that extends all across South America, and these beautiful parrots can live over 60 years – some have been recorded at over 100. While layers of feathers can be difficult to achieve in bricks, 31136 uses various tiles to great effect, with SNOT techniques suggesting the iconic black lines around the eyes. Carrying on the exotic theme is the tree-frog that ingeniously uses foliage elements for its webbed feet. Rounding out the trio is a tropical fish, which could be a royal blue tang, also known as Dory if you’re a Disney fan.
31122 Fish Tank
Speaking of Dory, 31122 Fish Tank must be inspired by Finding Nemo. In the film there is a tank at the dentist’s office where Nemo makes friends with a gang of tropical fish species. Almost all of them are included, from the monochrome stripes of a moorish idol to the pointed yellow snout of a yellow tang. Perhaps most impressive of them all is the little combination of pink and purple bricks in one corner, which is a very unusual royal gramma. While the alternate builds aren’t animal related, the detailed fish tank is great for display and far less work than a real one.
31129 Majestic Tiger
With majestic in its name, 31129 Majestic Tiger has a lot to live up to, and it is a masterclass in realism. Hinged side builds attach to the main body, allowing plates and tiles to mimic the black stripes of a tiger in fluid shapes. Bread loaf tiles then imitate the stripes circling round the tail. Unusual white ball joints help to make the limbs pose-able without ruining its display value. Although the other red panda and koi carp are on the cuter side rather than realism, each of the unusual species will excite any animal lover.
That’s our picks from the animal LEGO kingdom, and the Creator theme especially seems to be delivering better and better. Do you have a favourite LEGO animal? Let us know on any of the Blocks social media channels!