11 May 2023

Flowerfest: Thomas Jenkins

Posted by Thomas Jenkins

For our FlowerFest, we're analyzing and building with elements found in the 2023 LEGO® Botanical Collection sets: 40646 Daffodils, 10313 Wildflower Bouquet, and 10314 Dried Flower Centerpiece. Eero Okkonen and Tom Loftus have already treated us to some blooming wonderful creations; now it's my turn. 

Products in this article were provided by LEGO®; the author's opinions are their own. 

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Of all the delightful elements in the new LEGO Botanical Collection sets, it was the Large Figure Shoulder Cover, Armor, Round, Smooth with Bar (1686) that appealed to me the most. I have a penchant for these kinds of curvy, organically shaped parts: I looked at a similar element, Slope Curved 4 x 5 x 1 2/3 (85834) way back in my LEGO® Marvel 76206 Iron Man Figure review

I say similar, but they are actually quite different: the element that appears in the Iron Man set (85834, above right in Dark Red) is very brick-like with its anti-studs on the underside. The new part, in contrast, simply has a small portion of 3.18mm bar to facilitate a connection. It's more akin to the even older Large Figure Shoulder Cover, Armor, Round, Smooth (21560, above center in Orange).

These two elements are almost identical save for the connections on their underside. There is a slight difference in the overall curve of the elements to account for the new arm that bears the 3.18 bar.

It may not seem like much to work with, but this bar makes it easy to daisy-chain the elements together; something which is much harder to do with other elements in this family of parts, including the Iron Man shoulder plate. 

LEGO ammonite 

The shoulder armour chain idea evolved into this ammonite/nautilus inspired build. I made the chain into a ring and put a dish in the centre: et voila, a shell! 

Both the Nougat colour from Dried Flower Centerpiece and the Yellow from the Wildflowers were difficult to match with other parts to complete the shell, but I did my best with my collection. The short-lived series of LEGO® Star Wars Constraction figures was a bit weird but it did give us some wonderful elements that are great for recreating organic lines on brick built creatures: the Dark Brown shin armour element I used above the ammonite’s eye, for example. 

LEGO bird and branch 

The shoulder armour element inspired another brick-built creature: this time, a bird. 

I had intended to use it to represent part of the wing, but it turned out that the older buildable figure armour was ultimately a better match, having much better synergy with the other elements I wanted to use on that area of the model. Instead, the seed element instead found its way onto the underside of the bird, which worked out for the best as it quite closely matched the plumage of a Great Tit: a yellow breast divided by a black band down the middle. 

Having built two models with the same elements, it was about time to branch out. And I did just that: I perched my avian creation on a tree branch embellished with leaves made with Dark Red Equipment Oar / Paddle End (31990) from the Dried Flower Centerpiece. I think they provide a nice contrast to the colours of the bird. 

Frequent readers of New E. may recall last year’s Space Tools series of articles, in which I used spades to create a roof for an Asian inspired fishmonger and jetpacks to create roof tiles for a Japanese shrine. I also built a forest lodge with elements from the Stuntz City sub-theme in my review of 60338 Chimpanzee Stunt Smash

The parts included in Dried Flower Centerpiece inspired yet another novel roof technique. 

Lining up the oars brought to mind the image of a red tiled roof: maybe something a bit olde worlde? I used a simple trick to eliminate the large gap between the layers of roof tiles caused by the bulky area above the oar blade. I now needed to design a building that would allow me to conceal the assembly behind my nicely manicured roof. 

LEGO Hobbit Hole 

All Hobbits share a love for things that grow, so the Hobbit hole idea was partly inspired from wanting to use the steering wheel element in a MOC, and partly by the Botanical sets themselves. 

You can’t see the steering wheel from the outside, but it is used to create the ring of bricks around the door. 

It’s a very useful element for creating cylinders and circular shapes with LEGO. The guts of the roof assembly are hidden under the grassy turf atop the house. Flowers from flower elements isn’t a particularly innovative technique, but the various hues of 1x1 round plates included in the Botanical sets certainly helped to fill the front porch with colour.

Closing thoughts 

Our inventory analysis of the 2023 LEGO Botanical Collection sets featured hundreds of fantastic elements yet I only used a handful in my creations. And I didn't even touch my daffodils! 
Some of the elements like the bicorn hat seemed impossible to include in a build so I was most impressed with Tom's efforts to include them last week. Nevertheless, I hope I rose to the occasion with my MOCs.

We'll see you next week as our FlowerFest draws to a close with Caz Mockett's creations.

READ MORE: See Tom Loftus' FlowerFest creations now

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  1. Lovely builds! Your little bird is utterly charming!

    It's interesting how much the altered attachment points on those new pauldron pieces compared to the old CCBS ones affect it. I'm a huge CCBS-liker but I have to admit that the "two-pin" attachments of the old pieces weren't necessarily perfect for System integration (attaching pieces flat was easy but trying to hinge them could require some unwanted bulk). The new attachment points allow for easier hinging so are perfect for things like these flowers. It looks like both are continuing to find use, though, since I think I still see the old ones in some Dreamzzz sets.

    1. Hadn't heard of Dreamzzz yet but those sets look wild, and I'm glad to see the fate of the old armor mold has at least been pushed back another year. I'm also a fan of the more curved and organic pieces so it's a piece I've wanted to see have a wide variety of colors to choose from.

  2. The bird is such a lovely build Tom! Is there any chance you'll share a quick instruction photo series? I'd love to build a few of that bird for myself!

    1. Thank you! While it looks nice, it's VERY fragile. To be honest, I'd be a bit embarassed to share instructions! But I think it's something I should consider in the future: a proper breakdown of the builds featured in my articles.

    2. I am blown away by your Ammonite. Any chance you could show a photo of the internals? I've just ordered two of set 10314 just because of your post.. I had no interest in it until I came here!