As the year winds down to a close, so does the long running Colossal Castle Contest. There have been a pile of amazing entries this year, and it seemed to me that the “Medieval Manor” category in particular had some serious build potential.
First, we have TBB favorite Isaac Snyder and his “Mitgardian Manor.”
The outside is impressive enough, but the builder has included a fully furnished interior as well, which is mind-blowing considering the plethora of facades these days.
Isaac has constructed this massive wintery edifice with his own distinct flair as well. I think it’s fascinating when talented builders develop their own LEGO building style. Both of these guys have made a bunch of creations recently so be sure to check them out!
Next, Henry F took to the contest’s challenge in his usual classic castle style with his Chevalier’s Manor.
If I wasn’t looking at it right now, I would not believe how good a bright yellow building with a bold red roof looks. This is like a perfect blend of the 80’s castle lines with a modern twist.
Time for another list; the top ten of fan-built models, based on how popular they were on TBB’s Facebook page and right here on Brothers-Brick.com. We may write about news and set-reviews, but the custom creations from builders around the world are the bread and butter of this blog. If you are sick to death of Star Wars, it’s best for you to ignore this list, as it is rather heavy on models based on the movie franchise. In fact, perhaps you are better off ignoring this blog altogether for the next few weeks, as I suspect there will be many more Star Wars models to come.
It happens to be the newest model in our Top Ten, but the Millenium Falcon from The Force Awakens built by flickr user marshal banana shot to the top of the list even faster than it could make the Kessel run. It ticks multiple boxes: it’s from Star Wars, large, immaculately detailed and has working lights to boot. It was also nicely photographed and came out just after the movie. Well played Mr. Banana, well played. Look for an interview with the builder in the new year.
The builder describes the scene as ‘Graham leading his men down the mountainside start the fight‘ (I am paraphrasing somewhat). The unusual proportions caught my eye initially as the build is high but of narrow depth and depicts a sloped mountain descent that would be perfect for a spot of single-track mountain biking.
I have favourite and not-so favourite parts in this creation. I will start with my no-so favourite as I don’t want to sound overly negative about this great build. While I like the technique of light/dark blueish-grey slopes and tiles ‘jumbled’ to create the mountainside, it suffers slightly from being very flat and smooth on the facing side. Maybe a little more ‘cragginess‘ next time…
Moving swiftly on to my favourites, the red feathered bird in the nest is great; I think the nest may be Bilbo Baggins hair. I also like the skilfully created sloped tracks — a lot has been achieved without making the terrain look too contrived. Finally, the little collection of overgrown greenery in the middle left area is a nice touch.
This year’s Colossal Castle Contest has been brimming with great entries, you can see others blogged by TBB.
The divisive Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is nearly upon us, and it brings a new wave of LEGO Superhero sets. You can see the full collection in LEGO’s Spring Catalog. Today we’re reviewing 76046 Heroes of Justice: Sky High Battle. (Yes, that’s really its name.) It will retail for $59.99 USD and includes 517 pieces. Those pieces build a Batwing and Lex Luthor’s helicoptor, and you’ll get five minifigs: Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman.
I think we can all agree that BB-8 is pretty darn adorable and an excellent addition to the Star Wars universe. Don’t you just want to cuddle him? Marketing ploy or not, his fiery thumbs-up made me giggle. Everybody needs a little droid in their life, and Irwan Prabowo gives us the perfect pocket-sized LEGO version.
If you’re tired of building your weapons and armor in Fallout 4, take a break and do what Jonas Obermaier did: build your Fallout 4 weapons and armor in LEGO. This super cool minifig-scale scene of the Red Rocket truck stop, which can serve as a makeshift homebase for players, comes loaded with a suit of power armor, weapons, collectibles, loads of desk gadgets, and myriad other components surely destined to be broken down and reused.
Brothers Brick daily covers cool fan-built models and LEGO news, but sometimes we get a chance to highlight a story from the human side of our favorite hobby. This touching story by the State Journal Register, an Illinois newspaper, shows how sometimes LEGO can be more than just a toy or a fun hobby. Sometimes it can be a means for healing.
After his wife, Tricia, died in the spring of 2011, Ray Hofman was having a hard, hard time. They had been married 39 years and, understandably, Ray felt lost.
“It was two years of long, long days,” he says.
The Christmas before Tricia died, Ray’s nephew, Jason Stokes, gave him a present. It was a replica of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater home, made out of Legos.
It is on such small things life sometimes turns.
“I didn’t know much about Legos,” Ray says. “When I grew up, it was Lincoln Logs.”
But something about that gift resonated with him.
Ray discovered the joy of receiving a LEGO set as a gift, and set out to bring that delight to others. First he built and donated a Taj Mahal to a cancer treatment center charity auction, but soon fell in love with the idea of building LEGO sets and giving them as gifts to everyone around him, including those who least expected it. His postman received sets for his grandchildren, and a local restaurant owner received a Space Shuttle because Hofman knew he was a space enthusiast. His favorite though, is giving gifts to children, and Hofman’s fridge is covered with heart-felt thank-you cards from children.
Hofman has spent the last two years building LEGO sets and giving them away to friends, family, and charities. “It filled a void,” he says.
History is rarely accurate when written at the time. The first comprehensive History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire wasn’t published until 1776, and William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich wasn’t published until 15 years after the end of World War II. And so it goes with the great Battle of Bricksburg, which took place October 1-4 at BrickCon in Seattle this year. Now, nearly three months later, thanks to the intrepid battlefield photography of Sean Edmison, we have an unprecedented view of this historic engagement between the Union and the Confederacy.
The idea for the Battle of Bricksburg was conceived during BrickCon 2014. We envisioned a realistic, historical contrast to our many years of sci-fi displays such as the original Zombie Apocafest 2008 and Numereji 2421.
In the end, about a dozen TBB readers and staff members participated in building a cohesive display that was assembled from individual segments as well as loose brick in the two days before the public exhibition hours on Saturday and Sunday. The display featured about a thousand troops, including cavalry, sharpshooters, supply trains, medical corps, and even a pair of ironclads on the nearby river.
Union troops charge forward in front of an 1800’s farmhouse built by Caylin. Another group of Union soldiers has captured some Rebels.
Our friends over at Beyond the Brick produced a video overview of the display, in which I describe some of the display’s highlights and show off details like the BrickArms stackable cannon balls that are hard to see in photos.
Particular thanks go to Will Chapman of BrickArms, who supplied huge quantities of stackable cannonballs, cannon muzzles, caplock muskets (by the thousand, in gallon bags), bayonets, cavalry sabers, and pistols. We would not have been able to achieve the level of historical realism in the display without these accessories, many of which Will custom-designed and injection molded in small batches by hand just for this display. Similarly, we relied on historical flags and unit banners printed and donated by Dave Ingraham of Cape Madness.
Apologies if you were hoping to avoid a Star Wars related post but there is a tenuous link to castles and towers, I promise. TBB regular Simply Bricking It, has built our favourite Star Wars droid, R2-D2.
The builder uses a mix of round and regular parts to allow a slight offset position, resulting in the curved shape. The use of alternate round and regular bricks is a technique that has been used frequently in the past for curved ‘tower’ structures (eg. castles, windmills, lighthouses and even spaceships). But I believe this is the first droid I have seen built using this particular technique.
I can’t finish this post without mentioning the vintage tap parts used for R2D2’s leg detailing — a ‘splash’ of inspiration there.
These Star Wars-themed minifig costumes by solscud are impressive. Most impressive. With just a handful of pieces, each “outfit” is packed with enough tiny details to produce an instantly recognizable Star Wars vehicle. I’ll admit I giggled when I first saw these. They are certainly cute enough to give the microfighters series a run for their money. I especially love that red sleeve on the First Order TIE Fighter. Solscud selected vehicles from all three original-trilogy films, Attack of the Clones, and The Force Awakens.
Check out even more of solscud’s costumes on Flickr.
It’s nice to see a middle eastern creation pop up in the Flickr feed now and then. Like many other genres, I think this theme in general has a lot of creative potential yet to be explored. So when an up-and-coming castle enthusiast like Joseph Z gives eastern-style architecture a go, it’s rather exciting to see!
The studs-outs wall texture and the nifty palm trees are certainly worth noting. But I think the unique use of minifigs make this stand-out most to me. I see what looks like a victorian lady carrying her longsword across town, and even those alien musicians from Star Wars. The builder gives us a brief description about the locale but I want to know more about this cool and wacky place!
I’m not sure whether WhiteBrix is good at surfing, but he does know how to handle a surfboard – or, better to say, 19 of them at a time. Stacked together, these surfboards create a rather winsome skyscraper shape and, moreover, define each floor, which allows you to see the structure of the whole building clearly. And I especially like how that single-story section completes the complex – what a lovely architectural masterpiece!