LEGO began releasing official Lord of the Rings sets in 2012, followed quickly by LEGO Hobbit sets, but LEGO builders have been recreating the people and places of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth for just as long as there have been books and bricks. Relax in the Shire or battle Saruman and his Uruk-hai army at Helm’s Deep and the Tower of Orthanc, but wherever your LEGO journey takes you, beware the watchful eye of Sauron!
The Balrog is a difficult creature to create with LEGO as it’s a being of fire, smoke and shadow. And none of those elements lend themselves to the perfectly engineered plastic brick. Luckily Aaron Newman was up to the task and has created not only an impressive rendition of the Balrog, but a striking LEGO creature in its own right.
While I almost always suggest checking out the builder’s photostream for more angles, it’s even more important here so you can see more of the beast. We previously featured another Balrog, and while it did do the fire and flames better than this one, it’s visually more noisey and complex.
One of my favorite minor characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books is Radagast, a wizard like Gandalf and Saruman who cares for the plants and animals of Middle-earth. I really kind of hated how Peter Jackson blew up The Hobbit into a bloated monstrosity of a movie trilogy, but I did deeply enjoy the extended screen time that Radagast had. Who can fault a sled towed by a team of enormous rabbits, handled by a man with birds’ nests in his hair? Real-life Middle-earth resident David Hensel recently built this enormous version of Rhosgobel, the house in Mirkwood where Radagast lives, for the Christchurch Brick Show this weekend.
The largest LEGO creation he has ever built, David says that the build includes twenty to twenty-five thousand LEGO bricks, and measures 77 cm (30 inches) on each side.
Remember the Golden Hall scene from The Lord of the Rings movie? Well kingdomviewbricks built it. Look closely and you’ll see that this build doesn’t use any traditional “studs up” building techniques. Instead, the walls and floors are built “studs not on top” (SNOT) and the columns are built upside-down. By using these unusual building styles, the builder was able to seamlessly incorporate two impressive mosaics into the scene: a rider of Rohan tapestry and a cobblestone floor with a hidden message.
I love the various textures in this build. Also, I particularly like the close up photograph below showing Gandalf revealing himself as Gandalf the White to Saruman and Grima Wormtongue. That lighting is phenomenal and the image perfectly captures an iconic moment in the Lord of the Rings storyline.
Tolkien’s fantastical cities and landscapes have always fascinated me, perhaps none more so than Hobbiton. I’ve seen several LEGO versions of Bag End over the years, but Wookieeawarrior‘s most recent build, refreshingly, isn’t the iconic home of Bilbo Baggins. Instead, this cozy Hobbit hole belongs to one of his lucky neighbors.
The overall shaping of the hill and exposed brick walls make for a very lovely composition. I particularly like the small, dark tan bricks that stick out just a bit more than the rest of the bricks, the cobbled-looking chimney, and the beautiful, round front door.
This diorama by TBB’s own contributor Jen Spencer depicts the scene from The Fellowship of the Ring at the Prancing Pony Inn just after the wraiths swoop in and stab the beds that the Hobbits are supposed to be sleeping in. The windswept atmosphere and dishevelled room is beautifully illustrated by the thrown-open window with curtains blowing, the overturned stool, pictures awry and—my own favourite part—the mattress that is askew.
This diorama really captures the imagination. Even if you have not seen this scene in the movie, it is clear that someone has left the room in a hurry and something sinister is going on. Jen’s diorama is actually an entry into the 2016 Middle Earth Lego Olympics over on MOC pages. Good luck to all the competitors currently flexing their Middle Earth muscles!
Although LEGO has been making officially licenced Lord of the Rings sets for some years now, there’s been a noticeable gap in the product line: Durin’s Bane, the infamous terror of Moria and slayer of Gandalf, the Balrog. While we did get a digital version in the LEGO Lord of the Rings videogame, it’s been up to fans to create it in the brick. Chak hei Mok is happy to oblige with this rendition which is decidedly menacing.
At the (literal) center of the build is the printed chest piece which completed the monster from the set 70316 Jestro’s Evil Mobile. While everyone seems to be buying Nexo Knights sets for the new pieces accompanying the knights, it’s great to see the parts from team bad guy getting some love too.
I vividly remember sitting in the theater watching the second part of The Hobbit and seeing Peter Jackson’s cinematic version of the hidden stairs to Erebor for the first time. His stairs were so much cooler than what I had imagined reading the book and I instantly knew I wanted to build them out of LEGO. It took a couple of years, but I finally got around to it.
What finally motivated me you? The Middle Earth LEGO Olympics on MOCpages! For those of you who haven’t heard of this contest, it’s an annual challenge that puts builders in head-to-head, single-elimination rounds to find an ultimate champion. The first round (the qualifier) runs through April 3rd, so there’s still plenty of time for you to build a Hobbit-themed entry of your own!
Hot on the heels of Jonas’s pinball machine comes another amazing Lord of the Rings themed game. But this time it’s tabletop football! (Or as we call it in my house, foosball). Balbo, a long-time builder of Lord of the Rings themed LEGO creations, says that he was inspired by the Iron Builder to make a tabletop game of his own. If you look closely, you’ll see that each player is a different character from the film and that the “turf” has mosaics of Bag End, the Black Gate, and the Eye of Sauron.
My only concerns with this awesome build would be its durability (foosball games can get pretty heated and I’d hate to see LEGO pieces flying across the room) and the amount of space between characters (especially over the Eye) which could lead to frequent dead balls. But still, I’d love nothing more than seeing Lord Elrond slip a soccer ball past Saruman to end the War of the Ring.
You can check out the rest of Balbo’s awesome LEGO creations on Flickr.
We’ve posted several impressive LEGO-built games over the years (including LEGO versions of Settlers of Catan, Trench, Go, and even a LEGO Star Wars pinball machine), but Jonas‘s Lord of the Rings-themed game is truly jaw-dropping. This one hundred percent LEGO, fully functioning pinball machine includes microscale scenes from all your favorite Middle Earth locations, including Hobbiton (the ball shooter lane), Helms Deep, Ortanc, Weathertop (a bumper), Fangorn, Minas Tirith, and even the Black Gates of Mordor (each gate is a flipper!)
The machine is over two feet long and a foot wide and tall (or 62cm x 32cm x 36cm to be precise) and Jonas says it took him twelve straight hours of work and more than 2000 pieces to create this arcade masterpiece.
Watch the video below to check out the game in action and remember, no shaking or nudging allowed!
It’s ironic that Mar Vei built Rivendell as an entry into the Colossal Castle Contest as the whole of his creation fits into a 16×16 stud footprint. It’s an entry for the “micro castle” category and, as many of you will know, building in microscale is often more tricky than having a full range of parts and building techniques at your disposal.
Rivendell is an Elven retreat within a hidden valley in Middle-earth, a fictional world created by J. R. R. Tolkien. It was seen as a place of beauty, tranquillity and a place of refuge for the weary. Mar Vei captures so much, despite the limits of microscale, with inspired use of parts.
The Elven architecture is represented by minifigure legs, headgear and hands to give detail and structure. My favourite part usage is a minifigure hard hat, normally worn by a construction worker, that forms the White Council Chambers’ domed roof. Cheese slope and 1×1 plate trees grow on the sloped rocky wall of the gorge with trans-clear waterfalls cascading into a river. This creation is instantly recognisable as Rivendell.
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a MEGA Tower of Orthanc. The last one, by OneLUG, stood at a staggering seven feet tall. But records are made to be broken, and in this case in style.
Brendan M (LegoRyu42) has done the unbelievable making his 1/65th scale version almost two feet taller:
But what’s impressive isn’t simply the wonderful details and immense height, it’s that it has AN INSIDE (and here’s another picture for scale):
The tower is made from 9 individual stack-able section, plus towery penthouse. All of which are wired for lighting. This tower was on display at Brickworld and of course took home the best Mega Creation award.
Check out the amazing gallery of all the little details in this MEGA creation.