Set 64044 Ardun Observatory is part of the new wave called Mythic Machines in the Dragon Lands theme, and features a semi-circle three-tiered castle with astronomical equipment in the tower. Arrayed around it are the forces of evil, orc-like creatures with a battering ram, small catapult, and a fearsome red dragon. Play features include hidden passageways, spring-loaded catapults, a working drawbridge and portcullis, and breakaway walls.
Not familiar with LEGO set 64044? That’s because you can’t buy this set from the LEGO company, or anywhere else — it comes from the mind of Aaron Newman.
64044 Ardun Observatory by Aaron Newman
Aaron Newman doesn’t simply look at his LEGO collection and wonder what he can create; instead he looks at his bricks and asks, “What if LEGO sold different sets?” A 21-year-old UCLA theater student, Aaron’s got a knack for designing LEGO creations to fill his own alternate universe where LEGO produces the sets he’d like to see. And he’s got a fantastic sense of style. Aaron’s models center around a castle theme called Dragon Lands, which is a hybrid of LEGO’s official Vikings and Fantasy-Era Castle lines. He creates sub-themes to mimic LEGO’s habit of releasing sets in waves, and includes a set designed for each price point. His latest sub-theme, titled Dragon Lands: Mythic Machines, features crude orc siege machinery pitted against dwarven and elven strongholds. And, of course, there are lots of dragons, because no Castle theme is complete without them.
I recently had the opportunity speak with Aaron about his unique style and learn a bit about how he designs fan creations that look like sets.
Click to read the full interview
The great thing about art (of which LEGO is a medium) is the ability to put something together with the greatest of care and effort, sit back, and whisper to yourself… what the hell did I just make?.
Builder Brian Kescenovitz did that here. Despite the creation having the stately name “Guardian II”, it’s description reads: “Some sort of serpent mecha guardian thingy.” And, well, that’s just what it is.
Notice anything familiar about Simon Schweyer‘s most recent build? You should because this lush landscape was featured on our blog last month. At that time, however, this two-toned rocky shoreline was home to a thriving Greek Polis. Simon ingeniously (and quite literally) razed his Greek city to the ground and started building anew on the existing bedrock. His resulting medieval scene is so different from the original build that I didn’t recognized the recycled landscape at first. Both builds are jaw dropping, but I prefer the Red Shield Inn. Simon truly hit his stride the second time around.
Apparently, experienced builders are known to repurpose parts of their builds from time to time. And why not? Recycling saves time and tests the limits of your creativity. It forces you to step back and really think about your build. Then transform it into something completely different. I’ve never recycled a build of my own, but I’m eager to give it a try now that I’ve seen Simon’s success with the technique. One note of caution for those of you who also plan to give this a try: Be cautious when repurposing an old build into an entry for a contest. Many LEGO competitions have rules specifically prohibiting this kind of thing. Be sure to check first.
I’m curious to know what other transformation have taken place. Have you repurposed part of a build before? And if so, were you able to recycle anything other than the landscape?
Strange technological contraptions? Weird magical equipment? Portals to another dimension? Dusty books of arcana? A cage full of—cough—volunteers? An evil wizard’s basement always holds a mystery—just pray you’re not one of them. I’m not sure precisely what’s going on in this scene by Pistash, but it’s certainly fascinating and maybe a little horrifying.
Isn’t this stern-looking fellow by Wookieewarrior extraordinary? I’m not sure what it is that makes him seem so formidable. Perhaps it’s his shapely and spiky battle armor or his lace-up, butt-kicking boots. Maybe it’s the way he so casually holds his axe or his relaxed posture while sitting on his Erebor-esque throne. Most likely though, it’s his impressively bushy, yet perfectly manicured beard and his downward-tilted eyebrows that makes me want to avoid his gaze.
Be sure to check out all of Wookieewarrior’s creations on Flickr. Also, if you’re curious, you can see how Wookieewarrior cleverly attached the Duke’s eyebrows here.
Only the baddest of the bad could go up against the might of Rome and come out on top. That’s what infamous Gaelic chieftain Vercingetorix did at the hilly battle of Gerogvia (to none other than Julius Caesar) in 52 BC; and now in 2016, we see his pyrrhic victory come to life in the latest creation by legophthalmos. Clearly this is one barbarian you don’t want to mess with.
This lovely castle gate from Isaac S. is a smart piece of Castle building. There’s a good amount of texture and detail in the wall, but refreshingly, the effect doesn’t end up looking like a dog’s dinner of parts and colors. The woodwork around the roof, the thatched effect from offset slopes, and the rockwork at the base of the walls are all nice touches.
Isaac is certainly taking a tour of the classic LEGO themes at the moment. We recently featured his excellent pirate port layout.
German AFOL team The Brick Time has been working on a large project which features the medieval city of Dunhalm, and their latest addition to this collection is this amazing barracks built by their fellow member BoB who spent 50 hours and over 2,000 parts to achieve this result.
Even though the outer view of the creation is amazing, it also includes a completely modular interior with lots of furniture and small details. You should see the rest of the images and other Dunhalm buildings on their Flickr page.
There aren’t many places more picturesque for a castle than on a cliff by the sea, so that’s precisely where Alex Jones has placed his new fortress. Giant walls encircle this palatial castle, and the king even gets a strip of beach to relax on, as well as his own ship anchored in the harbor. You can see more of the diorama on Alex’s website.
The great Orc stronghold of Orsinium is a key location in the sprawling world of The Elder Scrolls Online, and there are few to do it more justice as a model than Thorsten Bonsch. Thorsten has previously brought us into Tamriel through his stunning depictions of a Dolmen and Stonefalls (and he’s also shown his diorama-building mastery by creating possibly the coolest Tardis model we’ve seen).
The technique Thorsten employs for cobblestone here — accomplished by using white tiles turned on edge, then filling all the gaps with grey tiles and slopes — has been around for awhile. But rarely is it so expertly done, with minimal gaps and perfect integration into the landscape. Be sure to take a close look at the stonework on the structures, too; it’s a great example of skillfully combining flat planes with textured details.
Some LEGO pieces seem destined for a particular use, though often it takes a keen eye and a clever mind to discover that perfect use. One such piece is the Bionicle Crystal Armor piece, which has found its perfect application as a dwarven beard on this fantastic character by Djordje. That piece will now always look like a golden beard to me.
IGU from Japan has created the cutest garden ever! But it’s not the sort of garden you would expect. Look closely, and you’ll see that this garden is atop an old and huge turtle. He may look a little bit exhausted, but don’t let it mislead you. He is so full of happiness that all sorts of flowers keep popping off his back. All the animals rush to his shelter. Hayao Miyazaki would totally approve this creation!
Make sure you check out the flickr album for more close-up photos which reveal lovely details.