What would LEGO Avatar’s creatures look like with brick-built wings?

LEGO Avatar’s Pandoran creatures use large sheet vinyl for their wings – but what would they look like with brick-built wings?

Avatar as a franchise relies heavily on its visuals, and that extends to the various colourful creatures that inhabit the world of Pandora. The challenge in turning those animals into LEGO bricks, for sets like 75572 Jake & Neytiri’s First Banshee Flight, is authentically capturing all the colour and detail they pack in – and it’s one the LEGO design team overcame by using large plastic wings for banshees, the great leonopteryx and so on.

“Recreating the artistry of these creatures onscreen was very important,” LEGO designer Atticus Tsai-McCarthy told Brickset. “We thought it would be really nice to translate the wing shape and patterning as accurately as possible, which meant using the decorated vinyl.”

LEGO Avatar 75772 Jake Neytiris First Banshee Flight lifestyle featured

With those wings come certain compromises, though: namely in the Technic pin-with-ball pieces used to hold them in place, but also in the fact that they could technically be considered a shortcut to achieving the authenticity demanded by licensed sets. The question remains: is there an effective way to build their wings using LEGO bricks?

It’s the question YouTuber José María (also known as hachiroku24) has sought to answer in his latest build, which recreates the banshees from the first Avatar movie – released in LEGO bricks in 75572 Jake & Neytiri’s First Banshee Flight – completely out of LEGO pieces. The result is a much more LEGO-like approximation of the patterns across the beasts’ wings, constructed from layers of plates in various shades of blue and purple.

The build reuses techniques from María’s LEGO butterfly, which is part of his successful LEGO Ideas Insects project, and achieves its flexible angles through clever use of rounded 1×2 plates with hollow studs. Next to the official LEGO set, the differences are stark, but clear – and both approaches carry their share of advantages and disadvantages.

The vinyl wings are obviously more authentic to the patterns of the banshees we see on screen in Avatar, but lack much in the way of articulation or flexibility (and suffer aesthetically for those Technic pins holding them in place). On the other hand, the brick-built wings offer much more articulation, and are wedded more closely to that classic LEGO aesthetic. They’re more an approximation of the patterned wings than an accurate recreation, though.

Neither design is perfect, then, but they both have something to offer – and the alternative option here perhaps proves the LEGO Group could have found success with whichever approach it picked. María says he’s planning to tackle the leonopteryx in 75574 Toruk Makto & Tree of Souls next, and its increased wingspan may allow for more detailed and accurate brick-built wings.

If you want to recreate this brick-built banshee for yourself, click here to see it come together over on María’s YouTube channel. You’ll still need a copy of 75572 Jake & Neytiri’s First Banshee Flight for the animal’s head, body and tail, and it’s available now at LEGO.com and through other third-party retailers – check out the list below for prices from across the web.

Featured image: José María

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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