A peek behind the Wall: building a 200,000-piece LEGO Game of Thrones diorama [Guest Feature]

LEGO builder extraordinaire Anu Pehrson joins us to give an inside perspective on how she built this enormous 200,000-piece minifigure-scale diorama of the Wall from Game of Thrones. If you’re not familiar with Anu, she likes to build big. If you happen to be in Denmark soon, check out her huge model of the Greyjoy Stronghold, which has been showcased in the LEGO House for the past year. She previously gave us a behind-the-scenes look at her 20,000-piece rice plantation diorama from The LEGO Ninjago Movie, but now she’s gone ten times bigger. So read on as Anu walks us through the entire process of building the Wall from early concepts to finished model.

Building the Wall

As builders, most of us are inspired by things we encounter in our everyday lives, travels, and other interests such as books, music, etc. I immensely enjoyed reading Game of Thrones and was inspired with several ideas for building. The Wall was an obvious choice but a very daunting task and would require me to get several tens of thousands of white parts. I started the process of collecting parts specifically for this project in 2012. Nine years later, I finally started building in 2021, and it has taken me over two years to finish it. The model is 5 x 5 feet and approximately 4.5 feet tall, and in the end, I used close to 200,000 pieces.

My thought process here was that the Wall would be the central grounding factor, with several structures added to both the south side of the Wall and the area beyond the wall to the north as described in the books/show.

Ultimately, I created a diorama consisting of several models presented as one. A few of the iconic scenes are depicted, but please look at every scene or castle as self-contained vignettes of key moments around the wall. The lack of space and resources made it impossible to build everything to scale, even with a model as large as this. When I display the build, I will position it so the viewer sees both sides at once.

First things first, clean the room and table. ????

I started building The Wall itself first since everything else revolved around it. My choices for building it were limited to slope and brick since I had collected those parts over the years. I experimented with direction and style, trying to get an interesting texture for a large area—let’s say a wall. ????I definitely didn’t want a monotonous boring white wall. These are some of the first iterations.

In my experience setting up large models for display takes a long time. And if they incur damage during transport, the setup process takes much longer because of repairs, making the whole experience pretty stressful. So to avoid breakage, I try to make the models as stable as possible.
This was my final choice. It’s the traditional method of brick and slope, but it could be made texturally interesting and very strong internally.

Each side of the module has its own internal structure, and then both sides are connected so the entire module is pretty strong. The downside of this is each section is quite heavy.


This is a single module. I added a few trans-blue bricks and plates to the lower sections of the wall to break the monotony of white and add an effect of melted snow.

Here I’ve got a second module stacked over the first.

Each module is connected to the one on top with Technic axles. Hopefully no one builds a dragon to destroy or melt it away.

My initial plan was to build 4 columns side by side connected with Technic pins on both sides. Each column had 3 modules. Each module is 13 inches high and 15 inches wide. This plan had to change quickly because it became clear that I would need to build taller columns ????(I’ll explain this in a bit).
These are part of the two initial central columns, with a minifigure for scale.

Once I had these two central columns done (kind of) I started with the two outer ones. First up was the end by the Bay of Ice. Here the bay met the Wall and I wanted to transition as smoothly as possible, depicting real nature. Here’s the process.

Next I decided to build the south side of the Wall, the side with Castle Black and other dilapidated castles. The question was; how many and which of the castles should I build, since space and bricks are always a constraint? I decided to build part of Westwatch and The Shadow Towers followed by Castle Black.

In the show, Westwatch is mentioned as a dilapidated structure, so this is how I imagined it to be.

Next I started with the Shadow Towers. This design is also largely based on my imagination, with the entrance gate mostly destroyed and two base towers.


And then the two main towers. These are the different iterations for the shape, brickwork and size of the towers.

These towers felt correct in size and details that would depict a dilapidated but still in-use fortification, but they were too high for the current Wall. I had to build the towers large enough to get the details right, but after building them, I realized this size wouldn’t work. So a couple of things changed. First, the towers were shortened keeping with the original idea and then the Wall increased by another section. This seemed to look better.


The towers have an overall dilapidated look but my favorite is the broken bridge between the two towers, thanks to the Plate 4X4, W/ Arch on each side of the gap.

Castle Black was the next build after the Shadow Towers. But unlike the towers, I couldn’t build Castle Black in isolation, because the elevator is a part of both the castle and the Wall. So the final, 4th column of the Wall and elevator were built together, and then I built Castle Black around the elevator. None of my previous models had a moving element, so building a functioning and aesthetically correct elevator was my challenge to myself for this model. My experience with Power Functions and Technic building was very limited, so I studied a couple of LEGO Technic books and consulted a few friends for this part of the build. To start, I built a single section and this kind of track, but soon realized that it wasn’t stable enough to work for the entire height of the column. Part of the problem is that it was only attached to the Wall with brackets.


For the next design, I anchored Technic bricks into the Wall and built a track system attached to it.

Then I built a simple elevator. A friend advised me to change out the longer 1×8 tiles on the sides of the elevator car for round 1×1 tiles for smother movement. With that done, I had the final functioning design for the car and track.


For the mechanism, after several experiments with gears, this configuration was the best one, providing a smooth movement at the right speed. It’s attached to the elevator via a simple pulley.

Once the elevator was done and working I started Castle Black. Plain black bricks for the walls would be pretty boring, so I added a little texture by using grill plates, tiles, modified grill bricks and the corrugated panel Wall 1X6X5 Container. The books said that the castle was built over several years, so to depict this I’ve used a variety of window designs throughout. A lot of the scenes in the show were done in the castle courtyard. To me as a builder, the interior was as interesting to build as the exterior, even though people would have to peer over the model to see the interior.

An iconic part of the castle is the gangway above the entrance. This was so interesting to get right using the BrickHeadz square glasses elements for the fence.

I tried to stay as true to the show’s filming set as possible, but of course there are areas of my imagination as well. What would be the fun of building otherwise? ????


The interior has stables, grain and hay storage, logs of wood, weapons etc.

After finishing Castle Black I was planning on building the north side of the Wall, the side that’s called Beyond the Wall. I had thought south of the Wall was mostly done except for adding details and finishing touches, but when I stepped back, the landscaping seemed to end abruptly. To remedy this, I added a few more plates of landscaping to give the model a more complete look.

Now with the south side truly finished, I began building the part called Beyond The Wall, the big trees, and few of the scenes from the series.

The trees are a little away from the Wall, because in the books, the area next to the wall was cleared of trees for visibility of attacks from the Wildlings, though of course the scale is still a bit constrained.

For the terrain throughout the model, the first layer is 16×16 white plates at different heights with a one or two brick structure underneath. Over the plate, there’s multiple layers of white plates in several shapes and sizes followed by several slope bricks, again of different sizes and shapes. Dark brown plates and slopes work for the bare earth not covered in snow.

Next came the trees. It was a fun experiment with so many possibilities.

I used dark green and olive to add a bit of extra color beneath the white snow-covered leaves.

But now, the Castle side didn’t have any trees, so even though I’d thought it was done, it looked a bit unbalanced to me again. ???? So I went back and added some trees to the south side. I’m very happy with this technique for those trees.

For the final finishing touches, I added shrubs and grass-like elements throughout the model.
“Perfection in details” is something I was taught very early in life. This is something I strive for in much of what I do.

Here are some of the scenes I added to the model.

Stanis’s army approaching.

Mance’s army and the Wildlings camped under the trees after a night of fighting.

Jon Snow walking out to meet Mance Rayder.

Tyrion Lannister doing his thing from the top of the Wall ????

The top of the Wall

Taking the Oath.

(I absolutely do not like this Godswood tree, but I’m burnt out right now. Sometime in the future, I’ll rebuild it.)

There are pictures of a few more details on my Flickr. I did build the giant mammoth but had to remove it in the end because Stanis’s army came after a night of fierce fighting where the mammoth was killed close to the tunnel, and I didn’t have space to have Jon Snow walk out to meet Mance and have a dead mammoth lying there too, so it had to go.

I hope this gives you some insight into my process for building a huge diorama and inspires you to build as well. Thank you for reading.

3 comments on “A peek behind the Wall: building a 200,000-piece LEGO Game of Thrones diorama [Guest Feature]

  1. James

    Wow, this is really cool! Though the broken bridge spanning the two towers could have just used a standard plate snapped in half instead of the ones with curves given that it’s a reddish brown piece (probably an illegal technique, now that I think about it …)

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