I love winning. Nothing quite compares to the thrill of victory, whether that is beating your friends at a casual game of Scrabble or annihilating your four-year-old son in an epic basketball throwdown where you channel prime Wilt on a six-foot net. John Snyder loves winning, too, and also loves seeing the bad guys lose. In his latest massive diorama, John depicts the forces of the wicked Desert King, a resurrected mummy-wizard, being routed by the armies of good Queen Ylspeth. I haven’t seen this many mummies running away since Brendan Fraser was a major Hollywood star, and it looks great. Everywhere you look, there are highly detailed buildings, ornate arches, intricate domes, meticulously-laid streets, and more.
The use of white turntable bases over light aqua on one of the gates is beautiful, lending just the right amount of detail without being overwhelming. The dimpled hemispheres work well for domes, too, on the same gate. I think John might have used every shade in the brownish family, and the walls and buildings look appropriately earthy as a result. The build is meant to be viewed from every side, which is itself incredible with such a large build, with fully detailed and perfectly polished buildings and minifigure poses everywhere you look. My favorite detail is the vines growing on some of the buildings, made from the new three-leaved plant stems inserted into headlight bricks.
A closer look down one of the streets reveals the cobblestones comprised of about a billion rounded 1×2 plates with open studs laid on their sides; I can only imagine how long that took to assemble, but it looks fantastic. No space is wasted in the build, with rooftops filled with merchandise and minifigures, and the streets are packed. At least there will be fewer mummies about crowding the place up now, with the victory of the queen’s forces.