Looking for a Friend at the End of the (Cyberpunk) World

Today’s guest article comes from Casey McCoy, an AFOL from the Chicago-land area and an active MOC builder. You can find him online on Flickr and Instagram. BrickNerd sent him 42639 Andrea’s Modern Mansion to review and remix.

In part one, Casey looked into the past of LEGO Friends and discovered what they are doing in the present by building Andrea’s Modern Mansion. Now we’re going to extrapolate the cyberpunk future of Friends by revisiting New Hashima.

The Cyberpunk Future of LEGO Friends


So here at BrickNerd, we’re no strangers to remixing sets. Like the alternate designs on the back of the boxes of classic sets of yore, the best part about LEGO is getting inspired and making something your own. So when offered Andrea’s Modern Mansion, BrickNerd’s Nerd-in-Chief Dave Schecik approached me with an idea: Doesn’t 42639 look like it’s near-future? Could it be New Hashima Cyberpunk?

He drives a hard bargain…

Needless to say, it’s hard for me to say no to fun! Remixing 42639 seems like the perfect challenge in set remixing. Call me Aldrich Killian, because it’s time to blow this Malibu Mansion up!


If you’re not familiar with New Hashima, let me bring you up to speed so this remix makes sense:

With its origins tracing back to a 2013 BroLUG collaborative that was given new life by Castlebro turned Cyberpunk King, Stefan Formentano, New Hashima is a LEGO cyberpunk standard that has exploded in the last few years with huge displays at BrickFair, Brickworld, and Bricking Bavaria, among others. And with no sign of stopping and new sectors popping up, New Hashima will be coming to Brick Fan Fests, Atlanta Brick Con, and even a UK show in the near future!

A core part of the New Hashima standard is “The Cube,” a 32×32 module that can be hot-swapped in or out of any display. As my last contribution for Brickworld 2023 was a little too big to fit in a suitcase and Atlanta Brick Con just a few weeks away, this seems to like the perfect opportunity to bring the refreshing, warm atmosphere of the LEGO Friends line into the cold, dark and miserable dystopic future of cyberpunk!

Unfortunately, minidolls are not allowed in the standard, so our colorful cast of old and new Friends will have to sit this one out. I decided to make the mansion into a cube, but I’ll also be tackling the car included in 42639 as well. So let’s take a look at the car process first, as that’s what I started with.


Building LEGO cars does not come naturally to me at all—I don’t care about real-life cars, racing, or anything related. I can’t say that I’ve honestly attempted any kind of car at this scale before, so this was the most daunting part of this challenge.

The “before” shot.

While there’s no explicit standard for cars in New Hashima (I think), I knew I wanted to take this car from a 6-stud-wide vehicle to the 8-stud-wide vehicle that we see as the standard for most Speed Champion sets. So I broke out a chassis, some reference instructions from a Speed Champion set, and got moving.

The first step was to strip the set’s car of all its key features – the windscreen, the 2×3 slopes on the front, the headlight assembly, and the iconic coral rims. Any other interesting slopes and curved elements would sit close at hand. I really liked the coral that was on the original model, but it was so buried, so I decided to bring it to prominence as an accent color (for what is possibly the most obnoxious color scheme to Cyberpunk citizens).

As you can hopefully see in the background of some of these progress shots, I have my collection sorted by color for the more obscure and rare colors like Teal and Coral. Having the full breadth of these dedicated bags was really convenient to have on hand as the two dominant colors in the car here.

After a lot of experimentation on gentle angles, SNOT, and stability, I’m really happy with the final result:

I know nothing about cars—spoilers are cool, right…?

My MOC’d-out version pays large homage to the original while diverging in its own unique direction. My favorite feature is probably being able to work in the side mirrors with the swivel SNOT pieces and Hose Nozzle in Coral from set 76155. There’s also an entire gigantic hinge plate (part 65133) in Coral used in the back.

My model certainly diverges in large swathes with a different profile in front and back but retains some of those iconic pieces and overall feel from the Modern Mansion. And most importantly, it can still fit a minifigurge. Point being, stay off the cyber streets while this roadster is around!

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Now, while the car may have been more daunting, the cube would certainly be more time-consuming. The process started out in a similar fashion as the car: by isolating the key components in the mansion that felt the most cyberpunk congruent—the color gradient protruding second story, the palm trees, the koi pond, and the open balcony areas. Atlanta Brick Con is going to have three sectors (four as a stretch goal): Corporate Plaza, The Slums, and The Inner City.

The bright and colorful scheme of 42639 seems like it could translate to a high-end boutique in the inner city, so that’s what I was aiming for. One last caveat: since I’m flying to Atlanta from Chicago, my cube must either be collapsable or modular enough to break down. Thankfully, New Hashima member Barrie published redesigned instructions for a collapsible cube just a few weeks ago.

I’ve been trying to incorporate sketching into my LEGO projects more, so I started with a sketch to help visualize the what and where of how the model will take shape. You’ll see notations on where I’d want those key elements to show up:

Don’t worry, I build LEGO because I can’t actually draw!

Once the first sketch was done, stripping the mansion down for parts began. The set is now an absolute pile of rubble, but the reddish-orange parts and the gradient were the first to get sacrificed. With building proper, I started with assembling the New Hashima cube frame from instructions and then plotted out vague borderlines to align the paths I wanted to cut through the model. Similar to the car, I started breaking down 42639 and stripping it for parts with reckless abandon.

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Immediately I realized my sketch was too ambitious for the limited 32×32 footprint and the front entrance of the building would have to be rearranged. That and many other happy accidents happened, which is just part of the creative process and trying to solve creative problems. For me, it’s important that the model sketch acts as a guide and not a rulebook. Here’s how it took shape:

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Each floor of the building takes after a different part of Andrea’s Mansion. The first floor takes after the elevator wall, the second after the open air seating, and the third after the bedroom level of the mansion.

All in all, it was fun to turn back to Andrea’s Modern Mansion set when I would get stuck and need inspiration and further parts to drive the MOC forward. The biggest divergence I took from the set is extending the color gradient in both directions. Pushing past magenta, I added dark purple. Pushing past bright light orange, I used yellow and bright light yellow. I’m hoping this adds just a bit more dynamism in the color spectrum.

Here are some more details:

I would describe the model as ~80% done as I still have a laundry list of tasks to do: detail interiors, add lighting, reinforce the structure for integrity, make it modular, add minifigs, add signs, and general polish. Y’know, small stuff! New Hashima really emphasizes rich complexity in every nuanced nook and cranny of the model, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. (After Atlanta Brick Con, I’ll come back and add another photo of how it turned out.)

But at this point, dear viewer, we’ve gotten close enough and it should convey the point: anything can be a jumping-off point to springboard your creativity, whether that’s a set, someone else’s MOC, a piece of art from 1,000 years ago, or even Barbie’s Malibu Mansion. If you want to see the 100% done model first, come to Atlanta Brick Con Feb. 10-11 to see the next big assembly of New Hashima!


At the end of this, I hope we all have learned a thing or two about the LEGO Friends line turnaround, 42639 Andrea’s Modern Mansion, and the limitless potential there is in building cyber-futurism with a children’s toy. If that’s the case, the future of LEGO Friends is bright indeed.

Oh, and if you want to learn more about New Hashima, BrickNerd hosted a New Hashima takeover week where you can learn all about the origins, music, lighting, and much more!

DISCLAIMER: This set was provided to BrickNerd by The LEGO Group. Any opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

What else should be transformed into a New Hashima cube? Let us know in the comments below.

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