About Benjamin Stenlund

Benjamin started building he was three, when his father gave him a small Futuron set (6810), and has not stopped since then. Castle and space are nearest and dearest to his heart, but other themes occasionally get built, too; there are quite a few super heroes and Star Wars sets in his collection, at least. He builds as Henjin_Quilones on Flickr, and under the same name is the leader of one of the guilds on Eurobrick's Guilds of Historica role building game. When he is not building, he is busy being a stay-at-home dad to three kids and trophy househusband to one wife.

Posts by Benjamin Stenlund

I’m just trying to appreciate the gravity of the anti-gravity situation

I’m something of a sucker for sleek, futuristic racers. Whether the physics of the blazing fast machines checks out is another matter, but I’m no scientist, so who cares? As long as it looks cool, I’m happy. Tino Poutiainen knows how to build something with LEGO that’s just up my alley, inspired by the videogame Wipeout, which is all about anti-gravity racers. How does it work? Umm, well, shoot, where’s one of those scientists now when I need them? Er, it works, you see, by utilizing the power of superb color blocking (the Blacktron fan in me is loving the black and yellow, especially the thin stripe in the back using hinge bricks) along with a perfect amount of greebling, together with a simple yet crisp base in a contrasting color. Does it look fast? Yes. Is it sleek? Yes. Is it just about perfect? Yes.

Radon VII

This isn’t the first time we’ve featured LEGO builds by Tino Poutiainen, nor is it the first time we’ve featured some LEGO Wipeout anti-gravity racers. You should do yourself a favor and check them out.

It takes a village to raise up good builders

Back when I was first exploring the world of online LEGO fandom, years ago now, one of the first places I landed was the Guilds of Historica, a medieval fantasy-based role building forum on Eurobricks. It was an eye-opening experience for me, then just a novice builder fairly fresh out of my dark ages, seeing all the incredible castles and villages that talented builders the world over had contributed. I quickly joined up and contributed my own creations, getting invaluable building and photography feedback along the way, and Mathijs Dubbeldam was one of those helpful folks giving me feedback and support. His latest build feels like a medieval piece of Ninjago City, with the blue water and grey walkway along with the tower and colorful buildings. The varied roofline and angled walkways give it a wonderfully organic feel, like a real city. Fancy a visit?

Merodaquinas - Trout's Crossing

Don’t forget to browse other LEGO fantasy builds while you are here! Perhaps you’ll be inspired to build your own, especially with the new LEGO Ideas 21325 Medieval Blacksmith shop out now.

Always remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle

As a LEGO fan, reusing seems like second nature, but reducing can be hard; instead, the desire is always for more, more, more, right? Recycling is something that LEGO fans do, too, taking the same ideas and making them again and again, in slightly different forms, or else taking parts from one build and using them in another. In my case, I took parts from a Star Wars Eta-2 Actis-class Jedi Interceptor and turned it into a Vic Viper-style racing ship. The central cockpit stays, the sloping side wings stay, but the engines get an upgrade (and it needed a hyperdrive, of course) and of course a giant fin gets put on the back. It looks faster than the basic Interceptor, ready for some serious space racing. I added a large space gate, too, so that it had something to fly through, marking the space race course.

Veena's Viper

This was built for the Space Jam racing team collaboration category, as well as for the Iron Forge. So many contests. But while you are here, you should check out our collection of LEGO spaceship builds and make Benny proud.

Cooking up something special with bananas

The LEGO banana element is not necessarily the most useful piece, right? It has only one connection point, at one end, and no matter what you do with it, it still looks like a banana. That has not stopped LEGO from using it all over the place, whether that be gold bananas in Ninjago sets, grey ones in Mixels, or white, teal, and dark blue from various Chinese festival sets; but it still looks like a banana. But when I was taking my almost-two-year-old to the bathroom the other day, I realized that the handles on the faucet looked remarkably banana-like, with the same curve and general shape. So that got me thinking: could I make a kitchen that used a banana sink? In my own collection, I have only yellow and gold bananas, so it had to be a gold sink, but brass is coming back in, right? Or was it in, and now it’s back out again?

The Nocturnal Kitchen

The rest of the kitchen came together around the sink, scaled to that. It’s loosely based off of the kitchens from my last two houses in layout, though the dishwasher should be to the right of the sink for better accuracy. It ended up using almost all my dark brown tiles and bricks and plates (as well as slopes!) for the cabinets, so I’m glad I did not go bigger, and if you look closely at the sand green walls, you’ll see that they are largely made of 1×2 plates. I am not looking forward to taking this one apart. The ceiling came last, but I knew I needed one, since I wanted an immersive shot, and those always look more convincing with the ceiling and a controlled light source. So I made it studded, to replicate the horrible textured ceilings that so many houses have (including my own), and made the light for the photograph come through the ceiling fixture, with a little reflecting in from the window and the banana moon (which would have been better in white, admittedly). I’m fairly pleased with the build, though I do think the floor is ugly, and so does my wife, but that’s the tiles I had in abundance, so that’s what I used. Maybe we’ll remodel it someday.

If you like this build, you’ll probably like this collection of LEGO kitchen builds. And don’t forget to tune in to the Iron Forge competition, where the banana is the seed part.

Not all bounty hunters are Mandalorians

I’m one of those annoying Star Wars fanboys who liked Boba Fett for no good reason. What did he do to deserve the adulation poured down upon him? Nothing. Ok, he had some menacing lines, and cool looking gear, and an awesome spaceship that flew the wrong way (or maybe landed the wrong way), but beyond that all he did was get embarrassingly knocked into a Sarlacc mouth by a blind guy with a spear. But as we all know by now, bounty hunting is a complicated profession, and the popular love for Mandalorians and their ilk has only grown, getting featured in The Attack of the Clones, The Clone Wars, Rebels, and even getting their own eponymous show. My love has grown correspondingly, too. So when one of the categories for this year’s Space Jam was to build a LEGO bounty hunting ship, I was all about that, and started making something inspired by the Razor Crest.

Harvester II

Click to read more about my design process

This cow doesn’t fear the reaper, nor do the wind, the sun, or the rain

It’s a tribute to the enduring power of certain images that I cannot hear the word “cowbell” without thinking of Blue Öyster Cult and fevers. And the LEGO minifgure torso looks remarkably like a cowbell, if one ignores the holes where the arms should go; so when I faced the challenge of coming up with creative uses for the part, I just had to build a cow with a cowbell around her neck. The whole time I was building it, I had to resist the idea of scrapping the build and trying to craft a hairy Will Ferrell holding the cowbell instead, and “The Reaper” was playing on repeat in my head. Ever try to build LEGO while dancing around playing air cowbell? It ain’t easy. I snuck in another torso in the barn, and added some of my dad’s old bushes and trees around it for some microscale detail in the background. LEGO is truly a multi-generational toy!

I've got a fever

While you’re feeling rustic, here are some more LEGO builds of barns and LEGO farms. And don’t forget to check out the Iron Forge, and even get a few entries in yourself!

Teeny-tiny castles for teeny-tiny knights

I loved chivalrous romances and fairy tales as a kid, and as a teen, I delved deep into epic fantasy novels, so it should be no surprise that as an adult, my primary building interest in LEGO has been the castle theme. It seems that Aaron Newman‘s primary interest has also been castle, as his earliest builds are castle builds (and he designed his own unofficial castle theme). Now, he’s a top-notch builder, and he’s branched out into every other theme over the years, but it’s always nice to see someone returning to their roots in an impressive way. These miniature castle scenes are just that. I can’t decide if I like the floating village with a windmill or the picturesque watermill the best, but they’re all stunning.

Realm of Whimsy

Don’t miss more of Aaron Newman’s LEGO builds, and be sure to browse the LEGO castle builds archives while you’re here. You are sure to be inspired. And if you just absolutely love these tiny scenes, Aaron has provided free building instructions for them so you can put them on your desk at work or home.

I’d give my left arm for houses like these

Ordinarily at The Brothers Brick, we writers try not to re-use the title a builder gives to a build as the title for our article; however, sometimes it is just too perfect, and I cannot resist. Now, in this case, it is also true that I wrote the title for the build, since I built it. And when the centerpiece of the build is armless LEGO minifigure torsos, it is in fact true that three minifigures gave both their left and right arms for these houses. The build might be simple, with an uncomplicated fence and vegetation, but combined together it looks pleasant, a delightful little home for birds. And those books do an excellent job keeping out the rain.

I'd give my left arm for houses like these

I built this for the Iron Forge building competition, where anyone can compete to get a shot at dethroning one of the reigning Iron Builders. There’s still time to get some entries in if you fancy wearing an iron crown yourself!

Meaner than a junkyard...er...dog?

When I think of a junkyard dog, I think of something big and terrifying, like a mastiff, Doberman, or pit bull, one of the dogs with big teeth and a nasty (if mostly undeserved) reputation. But Joe here keeps something even scarier on hand at his scrapyard: a Chihuahua. You might think I’m joking, but I’d rather face down a raging pit bull than a feisty bug-eyed ankle-biter. That’s why I’m quite content to view Faber Mandragore‘s latest LEGO creation from a safe distance, behind a screen with a keyboard in between. I love the depth of field created with the massive heap of tires and rusted junk behind the fence, with a blurry excavator ready to pick stuff up with its claw; it gives the picture a sense of realism, allowing it to fill the frame. Then, of course, there are the piles of rusted cars in the yard, perfectly aged in a difficult medium to show weathering. I just hope those workers have had their tetanus boosters!

Joe's scrapyard

This is not Faber’s first attempt at classic cars; check out our articles on others of Faber Mandragore’s LEGO builds.

This epic 5000-piece Razor Crest from the Mandalorian is the perfect tribute to the trendiest spaceship out there

By this point, I’m pretty sure everyone and their mother has watched The Mandalorian (except my own mother, who only watches PBS). It’s a popular show, and for a good reason: it takes the western-cowboy movie vibes of A New Hope and runs with it, letting us see a grittier side of everybody’s favorite space fairy tale kingdom. It’s got a cute little Yoda-species kid, a more fleshed-out version of the mysterious Mandalorian Boba Fett, and plenty of epic gunfights. As a result, the spaceship that hauls around Mando (a.k.a. Din Djarin), the Razor Crest, has become almost as recognizable as the TIE Fighter or the X-Wing. And just like those venerable ships, the Razor Crest has received the epic treatment from Jarek Książczyk (Jerac), a master Star Wars LEGO builder.

The Razor Crest

Click to see more of this beautiful bounty hunting craft

We came from the land of ice and snow

While I’m boringly American in culture, I do have a significant amount of Scandinavian ancestry, as attested by my Swedish surname. Though I’m sure my ancestors were the same lowly farmers in Sweden that they were when they arrived in the United States several generations back, I like to imagine that somewhere among my forebears were some axe-swinging Vikings pillaging Irish fields so green with Led Zeppelin playing in the background, rowing longships like this LEGO one designed by Jonas Kramm across the North Sea. On they sweep with the threshing oar, seeking that rich western shore, crewed by a small army of CMF Series 20 Viking warriors. The serpent prow of the ship is lovely, as is the simplicity of the whole construction. Valhalla, I am coming!

Viking Longship - Ideas Project

Love Viking builds? Then check out the TBB archives here. And see more of Jonas’ builds here, too.

Holy St. Peter! This insanely detailed LEGO version of Vatican City took over 800 hours to design and build.

Yes, over 800 hours! That’s a long time, for sure, but not as long as the Vatican has been around, and less time than Michelangelo spent painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, too; yet this is no less a piece of art. This huge and detailed build by Rocco Buttliere is the first to depict an entire country in a single LEGO build, which is quite the accomplishment. It helps that Vatican City is the world’s smallest country, but still, everything is here, from the enormous St. Peter’s to the Vatican Gardens, along with every other building inside Vatican City, like the local supermarket and post office.

Vatican City

Now, I’ve seen Rocco’s huge and detailed version of Ancient Rome (huge and detailed seems to be a running theme with Rocco, like his Forbidden City and even a shopping mall), but I’ve never been to Rome. However, I have seen many pictures of St. Peter’s Basilica and the famous square in front of it, and everyone has seen pictures of the Sistine Chapel’s interior. But this LEGO version includes so much detail, it’s like I’ve been there now. In his typical style, Rocco also gives copious information with each picture, evidence of the amount of time spent meticulously researching his subject matter.

Click to see more details of the world’s smallest country in small plastic bricks