As we enter 2017 we look upon a world scarred by tension and despair, where reason is too often discarded for demagoguery and life made meaningless by barrel bombs, drone strikes and rampaging lorries. Intolerance seems to spread among both people and nations; the threat of violence, never far off, lurks ever closer.
These factors are not new to our species. The equation has repeated itself often in human history, far too frequently with horrifying consequences. But our viciousness is not preordained. By reminding us of our past misdeeds, history can guide us to a better future. If we forget history, we will be doomed to repeat its mistakes. Pascal pledges not to forget history’s victims with this microscale version of Auschwitz.
Figures vary, but as many as one million people were killed in Auschwitz before Soviet troops liberated the death camp in January, 1945. Nazi Germany’s largest such facility, Auschwitz was the epicenter of what was perhaps mankind’s most barbaric moments. One could certainly praise the builder for this accurate and detailed recreation of Auschwitz’ infamous gates. But what is most striking is the message Pascal adds to it, hopefully lost on no one, that our darkest days may return if we fail to heed their lessons.
Classic Castle’s 14th Colossal Castle Contest comes to an end December 31st, and we’re seeing a ton of great builds as the competition winds down. Builders are vying for prizes and titles in a number of castle-related categories. Some of the best entries I’ve seen are in the Medieval Warship category. When I was a kid I dreamed of being a Viking, so longships are a particular favorite of mine. Mark of Falworth brings us a great ship with his Moravian Warknar:
Paul Trach built another good looking longship, complete with an icy base:
I’ve also entered my own, though my Viking sailors didn’t make it on board for photographs before a mishap resulted in the ship’s destruction.
What stands out about all three ships is the lack of the prefabricated hull pieces common in many designs. Brick-built hulls are time-consuming and can be challenging, but the flexibility in hull shape and design really pays off. If you haven’t seen the rest of the entries, make sure to take a look over on Classic Castle!
On June 6, 1944, over 160,000 Allied soldiers – supported by hundreds of warships and aircraft – poured onto the beaches at Normandy in what was the largest amphibious assault in human history. The successful invasion eventually liberated Western Europe and helped seal the fate of the Third Reich. Lego Admiral reminds us just how big this invasion was with his awesome and expansive recreation of the landing at Omaha Beach.
Drawing inspiration in part from the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, the builder has done an impressive job recreating the ferociousness of combat during those first few hours on Omaha – the offloading Sherman tank hit by artillery fire, the barbed wire torn to shreds by bangalore torpedoes, the dead and dying soldiers, the exploding shells, and the imposing blockhouse pockmarked by gunfire are big highlights here.
The monumental task facing the Allied invasion is illustrated by the well-situated German defenses, complete with a searchlight, anti-aircraft cannon, trenches and machine gun nests, all cleverly built. The beach itself is protected by Czech hedgehogs, Hochpfähle, and some clever concertina wire. Yet despite these obstacles, and as this build demonstrates, Allied soldiers slowly but surely made their way up the beach and on to victory. With the beachheads in hand, there was no stopping the liberation of France and the eventual collapse of the Third Reich. And while those events occurred several generations ago, builders like this help keep these momentous events in our minds – not just to recognize the best and worst traits of mankind, but also to remind us of where we should hope to not find ourselves again.
LEGO Certified Professional Ryan McNaught and his team recently created several Wonders of the World in LEGO, ranging from Himeji Castle in Japan to the Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt.
Ryan and his team member Troy Walker built a huge minifig-scale Himeji Castle, one of the last remaining feudal fortresses in Japan. I lived in Himeji for three years growing up, and my family visited the “White Egret Castle” frequently, including the year it celebrated its 650th anniversary. Ryan and Troy’s Himeji Castle includes the distinctive curved stone slope at the base of the castle, built by pressing LEGO bricks in sideways. The whole castle is built from over 71,000 bricks.
Climbing the many flights of stairs to the top floor and looking over the modern city was always the highlight of each visit, unless a samurai movie was being filmed on the sprawling castle grounds. Not only is this LEGO castle impressive from the front, it also has a full interior — even a deep well that extends through the castle’s base.
See more of these LEGO Wonders of the World
Did you know that LEGO finally stopped making wooden toys in 1960 when the wooden toy warehouse burned down? What year did LEGO release its first minifigure? When did From Bricks to Bothans start? What in the sacred name of Ole Kirk Christiansen was Galidor? If you’ve ever wanted answers to these and other key questions of 20th-century and early 21st-century world history, you need look no further than The Brothers Brick’s new history of LEGO & the LEGO fan community page.
The page starts in 1932 and is up to date through the end of 2016, though we’re confident that there are a lot of important dates and events we’ve missed along the way. We’ll be adding more information based on your feedback and as we uncover more sources like Dave Eaton‘s “AFOL History Project.”
We’ve also updated and expanded our LEGO dictionary of AFOL jargon, with double the entries of the previous version, including entries for the commonly used names for lots of parts and building techniques.
Brick To The Past is a collective of British builders who specialize in large-scale historical dioramas in LEGO. We’ve covered some of their previous masterpieces, including a huge Roman camp and section of Hadrian’s Wall, and their recreation of the streets of Victorian London. We recently interviewed leading member James Pegrum about BttP’s impressive Battle of Hastings display. As if that wasn’t enough for 2016, the gang’s latest effort is this enormous diorama depicting a section of Anglo Saxon Britain in 793AD.
As you’d expect from such a large model, there are numerous areas worthy of your attention. An obvious highlight is the monastery under attack by Viking raiders…
Click here for closeups of this incredible diorama
There’s an election going on — but you don’t want to hear about that. Instead, how about some famous Presidents from the past? Better yet, how about making them out of LEGO? The faces of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt are carved in stone on Mount Rushmore, and this sculpture by Dave Guedes captures remarkable likenesses in brick form of the heads of state.
legopthalmos has a strong eye for historic scenes, as he demonstrates with this excellent LEGO recreation of the iconic “Alexander Mosaic” in the Naples National Archaeological Museum. In the Battle of Issus in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), Alexander the Great personally led his Macedonian army against Darius III and his Persian army. Alexander defeated Darius, further enabling Alexander’s conquest of Asia. This LEGO scene includes all the details of the historic mosaic, from Alexander astride his war horse to Darius in his chariot. Both the horses and minifigs are posed well, with artistic angling of the Persian lances balanced by the denuded tree on the Macedonian side.
Here’s a closeup of some of the great action in this diorama.
The late summer and fall of 1888 was a rough time for women in the Whitechapel district in London. The ever evasive Jack the Ripper slowly but surely made his way into history and headlines, culminating in what is believed to be the last attack on Mary Kelly, who was discovered the morning of November 9, 1888.
Mark Hodgson has illustrated the room she rented with stunning detail of how it looked prior to the first week of November that year.
The alley way, building front, and room are full of detail of the cramped quarters where she lived. Her life, up until her tragic death, is illustrated in one tiny room. Her murderer was never found, and the legends surrounding Jack the Ripper endure to this day.
This month’s cover photo comes to us from teen builder K.Kreations, and is a depiction of Scottish hero William Wallace. This scene and more of his work were featured in the book Medieval LEGO, which we reviewed here last year.
Want to see your own LEGO creation featured across TBB social media for a month? Then acquaint yourself with the submission GUIDELINES (no, seriously, read them) and submit your photo today.
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Toltomeja captures the evolution of art and architecture through iconic scenes pictured along the face of a mountain. From the paintings in the Lascaux Caves to abstract modern art, the builder captures 10 historical eras and their signature styles. You can discover each scene by checking out more photos and descriptions on Flickr.
The City Hall of Vianen sits within the small historical city of Vianen in the province Utrecht in the Netherlands. Sebastian Arts has managed to capture so many details of this beautiful old building that we simply had to share it. The ancient stonework is very well done and the whole design is accurate to the actual building in Vianen, right down to the position of the bench.
The turret at the rear of the hall is equally impressive, the builder’s use of different bricks and earthy tones has really brought the old stonework to life in LEGO. The windows are cleverly crafted from fences rotated 90°. The rear view also show a nice contrast between the old and new buildings side by side.