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In case you weren’t already aware of it, the so-called “Adult Fans of Lego” (AFoL) have a pretty remarkable online community. This week, that community has been deeply saddened by the news of the sudden death earlier this month, in an automobile accident, of Tekoa, Washington resident Nate Nielsen, known among his online friends as nnenn. Nate was a father, husband, artist, and a professor specializing in graphic design. Inspired in large part by his relationship with his two sons, he was also one of the most prolific and innovative designers the AFoL community has seen in a long time.


My favorite Lego blog, The Brothers Brick, is running an extended series of posts eulogizing nnenn, and this line jumped out at me: “You know a builder is big-time when he not only gets an entire scale named after him, but an element as well.” Nate also pioneered the iconic Vic Viper design (based on the video game Gradius), a classic example of which is shown above. Entire contests have been dedicated to Vic Vipers, and hundreds, probably thousands, of variants on the theme exist. Plans are in place for a “missing man formation” of Vic Vipers to be arranged in memory of nnenn at the Brickworld 2010 fan convention in Chicago.

I’ve included just a few more favorite nnenn creations below.


PX4-320b Ittadyma

deep sapce The passing of a Lego legend

LL-414 Deep Space Perimeter Patrol Ship



Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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