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.
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When it comes to Disney’s theme parks, there’s nothing more iconic than the fairytale castle that sits at the center of each magical land. In 2016 LEGO released its biggest Disney set ever, 71040 Disney Castle, which portrayed Cinderella’s white and dark blue castle that sits at the heart of Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. But in 2020 Disney repainted the castle to celebrate the park’s 50th anniversary (or 70th anniversary of the release of Cinderella, depending on which Disney source you reference), updating the fairytale fixture with peach-colored walls, darker stonework, and more gold accents. LEGO retired the 2016 castle last year, but won’t leave Disney fans without a flagship set for long, as they’re now releasing a new version with an updated design and colors that match the real-world landmark. 43222 The Disney Castle has 4,837 pieces (about 750 more than the original) and eight minifigures. It will retail for US $399.99 | CAN $519.99 | UK £344.99 and will release globally on July 4th, 2023.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
Let’s dive in and see how this updated castle fares compared to the original.
The Pirates line was a seminal theme for LEGO, introducing hoards of new elements and many things we take for granted now, such as unique faces beyond the classic smiley head. One of the largest and most sought-after sets from the original theme was 6276 Eldorado Fortress, a colonial-style base of operations for the blue-coated Imperial Guards. 10320 Eldorado Fortress is a remake of that iconic set taking advantage of 34 years of advancement in parts and techniques since the original. LEGO has avoided straight re-releases in recent years (with some notable exceptions), opting instead to tribute classics for the company’s 90th anniversary in 2022, with 10497 Galaxy Explorer as a modern upgrade to the original set, while 10305 Lion Knights’ Castle pays homage to a whole generation of Castle. Although the anniversary has passed, I am excited that LEGO has continued that nostalgia trend, turning its eye now to my personal favorite theme, Pirates. With 2,509 pieces, the new Eldorado Fortress nearly quintuples the original set’s 506 parts, though thankfully the price increases by a lesser margin, as the original was $66 in 1989 (about $161 in today’s dollars). The new set will retail for US $214.99 | CAN $279.99 | UK £189.99 when it’s available starting July 4 for VIP members (general availability will follow on July 7).
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
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Today LEGO has finally revealed the next upcoming Ideas set will be 21341 Hocus Pocus. Last August LEGO revealed that Belgian Fan Designer Amber Veyt‘s Hocus Pocus – Sanderson Sisters’ Cottage submission would become an official set after reaching the requisite 10k votes to be considered in October 2021. The new set will feature the Sanderson Sister’s Cottage, which opens to show the museum and witches’ home inside. Six minifigures will be included: the three Sanderson Sisters, Max, Danni, and Allison, along with Thackery Binx as a black cat. The set will contain 2,316 pieces and is slated to be available for LEGO VIP members starting July 1, with general availability following on July 4. It will retail for US $229.99 | CAN $299.99 | UK £229.99.
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I still recall getting my first LEGO Star Wars sets in 1999, and I think back to how simple Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced was in 7150 TIE Fighter & Y-wing with just 409 pieces between the two ships. So I’m in awe when I see incredible versions like this TIE-D by Sy Lyphics, which packs a whopping 1,573 pieces into a minifigure-scale recreation of one of the more awesome TIE variants. The sculpting on the bubble fuselage is particularly adept, with those triangular grey roadsigns looking purpose-made for the job.
This one isn’t just a looker on the outside, though. Sy has created a fully functional cockpit, an incredible achievement considering the difficulty of creating a brick-built sphere that’s hollow.
Castles are nice, but there’s something I love about a tranquil domestic scene of medieval life, and what encapsulates that better than a stone mill and miller’s cottage? This lovely little diorama is the work of ZCerberus, and although the stonework is nice, and the round mill is great, some of favorite techniques here are more subtle. First, there’s the mixing of brown and dark red for the roof tiles, a subtle swap that helps give a lived-in nature. Similarly, the mixed olive green and dark tan for the ground makes a wonderfully earthy tone. And secondly is something so foundational it took me a minute to even realize it: this diorama has two bases, thanks to a black slab beneath the sculpted landscape. Usually, LEGO dioramas have one or the other, but I really love the presentation here.
Thanks to retailer Rakuten.jp, a new LEGO set featuring female soccer superstars has been revealed. 40634 Icons of Play includes 15 minifigures and a variety of soccer stadium elements and features famed footballers Megan Rapinoe, Yuki Nagasato, Asisat Oshoala, and Sam Kerr. According to the retailer, the set has 899 pieces and will be available June 6. The pricing has yet to be confirmed but it is expected to retail for US $99.99 | CAN $TBD | UK £89.99.
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Today LEGO has officially revealed the latest set based on real-life spacecraft with the LEGO Technic 42158 NASA Mars Rover Perseverance, a 1,132-piece model of the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab’s newest red planet vehicle, including its flying companion, the Ingenuity Helicopter. The 12.5-inch long model (32cm) features all-new wheel elements with working steering and articulated suspension, as well as with a moveable arm. Although the model is not motorized, there is a companion augmented reality (AR) app that can show the model on a Mars-like surface and allow users to check the weather on Mars or learn other facts about the fourth planet from the sun. The set will be available starting June 1 for US $99.99 | CAN $129.99 | UK £84.99.
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LEGO has been leaning hard into video game nostalgia with the brick-built NES and Super Mario Mighty Bowser, but Nintendo isn’t the only 80s video game getting the brick treatment. Today marks the 43rd anniversary of Pac-Man’s very first reveal, and so LEGO is also revealing 10323 Pac-Man Arcade as the latest Icons set. The 12.5 inch tall (32cm) arcade cabinet mimics the original machine and is made of 2,650 pieces and features a light-up coin slot. The set includes a pedestal with larger-scale versions of Pac-Man, Blinky, and Clyde that can be displayed separately or on top of the cabinet. There’s also a minifigure-scale arcade vignette that slides into the back of the arcade. Pac-Man and the ghosts move around the maze thanks to a hand-crank on the side. The set will retail for US $269.99 | CAN $349.99 | UK £229.99 when it’s available starting June 1 for VIP members, with general availability following June 4.
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If you’ve been eyeballing the new 4,000-piece LEGO Batcave but don’t have a spare $400 to drop on a superhero shadowbox, you could take a cue from Ids de Jong and go small. This awesome microscale recreation riffs on one of LEGO’s official lifestyle images of the Batcave displayed on a mantle, but this tiny version is 100% brick-built, including the background. The whole Batcave is only a handful of pieces but still has an instantly recognizable bat emblem.
I’ve built a lot of LEGO creations over the years, but I rarely build recreations of contemporary, real-world vehicles. However, I have tremendous respect for those who do, because it’s a daunting task, especially if you want to get all the little details right, like this amazing minifigure-scale New York City Fire Department firetruck by Oshi. There are no stickers used to create the stripes and numbers on the truck’s livery, just clever engineering via SNOT. Check out that half-plate white stripe, or the way the number 2 is made with a pair of white brackets!
Usually, black and white images are just a camera effect, but this LEGO billiards table by Naomi Farr is photographed in full color, but the build itself is grayscale. That’s a neat way to dodge the lack of voodoo balls (the official name of those Bionicle ball joint elements) in all the necessary colors for a proper pool table. Color aside, though, this pool table looks just about good enough to play.