Tag Archives: History

There is no force in the world that can rival the Roman war machine

The Roman war machine was an impressive force in its time and to this day inspires many people, for better or for worse. This time it is for the better, as the Russian LEGO building duo Dmitriy and Anna have created an extremely expressive legionnaire using a relatively limited selection of bricks. There are many simple solutions for complex shapes, like exposed studs as the kneecaps and chin, as well as curved slopes that capture the shape of lorica segmentata perfectly.

Veni, vidi, vici

The warrior’s weapons should not go unnoticed either: while the gladius in its scabbard is not quite perfect, I do not see how it could be done much better, but the pilum and scutum are basically flawless.

But where are Princess Ida & the Totem?

Ok, I have to admit when I first saw this I immediately thought it was supposed to be from Monument Valley, the addicting puzzle game from ustwo. But alas, Bangoo H was actually building the Hanging Gardens of Babylon – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. However, my misinterpretation of the source material most certainly did not take away from the fact that this is a serene little model that is wonderfully built.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon LEGO

The cascading water, terraces and steps all come together to perfectly represent some of the funnest levels of the…oh sorry…I mean, the ancient Babylonians’ amazing feat of engineering.

I betcha if you spun the base those two staircases would line-up perfectly, and a few stacked 1×1 yellow bricks couldn’t hurt either…

Beware the Barqan Fire

Looking like a cross between napalm and chili sauce, Barqan Fire appears to be nasty stuff with a lingering afterburn. Jonas Wide showcases the weapon’s devastating potential in this explosive vignette. Everything about the build is pure class: the tiled roof is simple yet grand, the hints of woodwork and sand green give subtle highlights throughout, and the style of architecture is excellently done. The centerpiece, though, is the fire-breathing beast spewing hell itself at the nearby wall, which Jonah has enhanced with a light brick behind the explosion for extra effect.

Siege Workshop in Barqa

Jonas notes that “the soldier doing the final adjustments to the pumping mechanism has however unknowingly built up way too much pressure in the cylinder…” Let’s hope a bigger explosion isn’t imminent!

Siege Workshop in Barqa Siege Workshop in Barqa

Et tu, Brute?

Beware the Ides of March – so warned the soothsayer in Julius Caesar of the traitorous act committed on the 15th of March, 44 B.C.E. Performed by Marcus Brutus, made infamous by William Shakespeare, the betrayal is now immortalized in LEGO by legophthalmos. The builder has chosen the perfect expressions to represent the characters: Caesar appears regal and pensive while Brutus looks devious and cunning. With Senators looking grim as they rush towards them with swords drawn and the Roman guard running towards the fracas in very soft focus, there’s no mistaking the inevitable conclusion.

Ides of March - 44 B.C.

Paving the future of personal computers, 128 kilobytes at a time

This retro computer work station by Ryan is a real blast from the past considering how far technology has come since those early and wild days of personal computers. This particular model is the Macintosh 128k – originally released as the Apple Macintosh – the company’s original personal computer. With some 4,500 bricks in its construction, this LEGO recreation must be as hefty as the real thing. But don’t let the computer steal the show, however. The 80s vibe is enhanced by the addition of a rolodex and clunky calculator which, alongside the 128k, won’t be found on any work station in the 21st Century – today’s bargain-level smartphone can do all this and so much more.

LEGO Macintosh and 80s workdesk

For younger readers who don’t remember such things, the slot on the front of the computer accepts 3.5-inch floppy disks (which, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, are still used to coordinate the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces. Doesn’t that make you feel comfortable?). The Apple logo and the friendly icon on the warming-up screen are great touches as well. Overall, a very accurate and rather nostalgic take on the 80s workdesk. The only thing missing is a can of Tab and the sweet, soothing sounds of Duran Duran.

Some people run from problems, others run to them

Engine Company 10 and Ladder Company 10 of the New York Fire Department were among the first units to respond to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Located across the street from the World Trade Center, its firefighters rushed to rescue survivors during those first few terrible and confusing moments. By the end of the day, several of the station’s firefighters were dead and many others wounded. Builder sponki25 memorializes these brave men and women in LEGO form with this recreation of a truck from Engine Company 10:

FDNY ENGINE 10

There’s a lot to appreciate in this model besides its significance to one of the United State’s darkest days. The accurately detailed pump panel and the shaping of the canopy are particular highlights here. The stickers do a nice job of bringing the model to life, though the side yellow and white stripping could have been done just as well with LEGO plates. That aside, this is a wonderful model and does well to remember those who gave their lives saving others.

Lest we forget that life is precious and no human is surplus...

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.

Lest we forget

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.

These longships sail the icy north wind

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:

(CCC14) Moravian Warknarr

Paul Trach built another good looking longship, complete with an icy base:

Viking Perils

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.

Viking Longship CCC XIV

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!

Largest amphibious invasion in history recreated in LEGO

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.

D-Day Omaha Beach, Normandy

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.

D-Day Omaha Beach, Normandy

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.

Himeji Castle, Lighthouse of Alexandria, and other Wonders in LEGO

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.

LEGO Himeji Castle

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.

Himeji Castle cutaway

See more of these LEGO Wonders of the World

Announcing TBB’s history of LEGO + updated glossary [News]

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.

375 Yellow Castle

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.

Vikings menace a huge LEGO display of Anglo Saxon Britain

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.

England 793

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…

The Holy Island

Click here for closeups of this incredible diorama