Games can provide inspiration for LEGO builders, although its often videogames rather than their more old-school cousin, the board game. Simon NH, however, has taken Settlers of Catan as his muse, and it has prompted a wonderful island scene, which ironically wouldn’t look out of place in a medieval real-time strategy game on PC! The landscaping grabs the initial attention, with a lovely colour gradient around the shoreline and excellent rockwork. But it’s the buildings which hold the eye, rewarding a closer look at some of the fabulous building techniques on display.
Don’t miss the use of (many) minifig hands as an effective straw roof on the monastery, and the smartly-built little cross on the spire…
And the Town Hall has a wonderful Nordic feel to it, with effective use of boat hulls in the roof, and brilliant wall texturing. Those columns at the front door — beautiful!
One last thing, Simon says (!) this scene contains every current LEGO colour. See if you can spot them all!
Continuing our on-site coverage of the New York Toy Fair, LEGO has revealed 19 new Nexo Knights sets for August 2017, including Clay’s Falcon Fighter Blaster and Jestro’s Headquarters. The Nexo Knights story continues in two new seasons of episodic content on Cartoon Network and a free digital gaming app, Merlok 2.0, that enhances the building fun. Sets range from $9.99 to $129.99. Check out our earlier coverage of some of the sets that we already knew were on the way.
70357 Knighton Castle $129.99, 1426 pieces
70356 The Stone Colossus of Ultimate Destruction $69.99, 785 pieces
Whilst collaborative building is often all about massive displays for LEGO shows, sometimes it can result in something smaller, but no less cool. Eli Willsea and Grant Davis follow up on their impressive tropical island megabuild with this microscale scene of two cities separated by a river of fire. This would be an impressive little creation anyway, but knowing it was put together by two different builders somehow only adds to it. There’s a real sense of two different cultures and architectural styles confronting one another from either end of the bridge.
By The Power Of Whiteskull! Grantmasters has the Power! Or he certainly appears to, based on his latest piece of LEGO microscale building. The skull sword hilt is put to excellent use here, and its textured elements give an impressive sense of depth and scale to the tiny castle’s entrance. However, don’t miss the use of skeleton legs, wheels, and a good old-fashioned LEGO maxifigure’s arm in the creation of the rest of the keep’s towers.
Built in transparent blue over white and grey, the sparkling azure water in this scene by Sergeant Chipmunk looks incredibly inviting. The three watchtowers use fantastic color schemes and a not quite “legal” technique to create wonderful shapes, standing on rocks with nary a stud to be seen and dabs of color that bring life to the vibrant scene. But the stand-out feature for me is the organically curved sail made out of leaves.
If the builder of these ancient ruins seems similar, you would be right, because Mark Erickson is one of the best castle builders out there, and very active to boot. There are a bunch of details to see in this with architectural texture being the most important one. I am fascinated how well the builder managed to make all the buildings look similar, even with different techniques used throughout. The palm trees also deserve a closer look, as they get thinner towards the top, an effect achieved by transitioning from palm trunk pieces through brown fez pieces to 1×1 cones.
One of the coolest scenes from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was the memorable battle of Helm’s Deep. German builder KevFett2011 has created a beautiful rendition of this in micro-scale, using only a monochromatic palette. Kevin captures the essence of the fortress of Aglarond nestled into brick-built mountains perfectly, and I love how he has used levers to represent the attacking Uruk-hai pikemen. If you squint a little and look really close you can almost see Gimli and Legolas arguing over who has the highest body count.
It has been a while since the last part of the Hobbit film trilogy hit the cinemas, so the trend of LEGO Hobbit and Lord of the Rings creations is slowly declining. But that does not mean we do not get amazing builds like this one every now and again. This diorama of Halls of Thranduil by German builder Jonas Kramm was made for the 2016 Comic Con in Stuttgart in June. and I really envy everyone who had the privilege to see it in person. On the pictures, it seems like a digital render at first, and even a close look at the main picture did not really convince me. I had to look at some detail shots to be sure this was real.
The details are superb and Jonas has really captured the balance and combination of natural landscaping and Elven architecture perfectly. A carefully set amount of clean surfaces contrasting rough terrain makes for a very interesting build to explore. The use of bars and tubing for architectural detail is inspiring. And while the foresty exterior with simple yet effective large trees is a stand-out build in its own right, it pales in comparison with the complex architecture of the cavern and the giant root path and throne. The cave floor is also nice to look at with the clear streams, nice subtle colours and a natural subtle slope.
Even though this medieval store by Isaac Snyder uses textures and techniques we see very often in medieval builds lately, it still manages to look unique; first by its complex layout and secondly by its use of dark gray as the stone bricks, which is for some reason rather uncommon. While the model is called Sigurd’s General Goods and is not a direct recreation, it is obviously inspired by the Bits and Pieces general store in Solitude, from Skyrim.
Isaac’s shop even has a full interior.
See more of this delightful Skyrim building
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Pacurar Andrei, also known as Vitreolum (Letranger Absurde). Pacurar lives in Romania and builds in a wide range of styles and genres. His work is highly regarded and his build, Room with a View, made our short-list of the year’s best creations. Please walk with us as we explore the mind of a builder!
TBB: How did you get into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Pacurar Andrei: I got into the hobby when I decided to sell my childhood collection. They were all mixed together in two large bags, so I had to sort and build everything… by the time I was done with this I ended up buying sets instead of selling. Everything inspires me, from someone else’s build to things that surround me. Sometimes just looking at a certain part will be enough. Or just an idea that suddenly pops in my head. Although my biggest source of inspiration has always been movies, games and literature. The challenge is whether I can translate it into bricks.
This little castle might look a bit run-of-the-mill at first glance, but don’t be hasty to judge a book (or castle) by its cover. Michael Kalkwarf has created a modular castle creation system allowing this castle to be reconfigured to create endlessly different types of castles for hours of fun.
Michael’s design is based on series of modules that can be arranged and re-arranged very simply to create a wide variety of castles.
By simply expanding the number of modules you can make one of many different castles or even this enormous super castle. Continue reading
This lovely little chapel comes to us from Lego_fan. Don’t let the small size fool you; there is a lot to love about the build. Many chapels we feature tend to skew more toward the cathedral end of things, so it’s refreshing to see a smaller build that’s so effective.
The main stained glass window stands out for me, with the great texture and use of the Technic pulley piece. The building’s sides avoid the “big grey wall” syndrome easily with tiles, profile bricks, and nice shaping.
The back is equally pretty, continuing the patterns that make this a striking little building. I like the way the lines draw the eye up and really make this little chapel look bigger than it really is.