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.
Over the course of the last six months, we’ve featured literally hundreds of excellent LEGO creations. While all of them are already the best we’ve found, there are a handful that stand out above the rest. Usually these creations feature the coolest techniques and exceptional NPU (Nice Parts Usage), and have us talking about them more than the average build behind the scenes. We’ve seen everything, but occasionally we’re extra impressed by something new and unique. Although we do feature our overall favorite builds (using several criteria) in the running for the TBB Creation of the Year in December, we’ve decided it would be fun to honor some ace parts usage right here, right now. Join us as we count down the best of the first half of 2023!
The music scene is filled with countless artists, so deep cuts that overlap LEGO and eclectic artists can be rare. Builder Eero Okkonen recently completed this model of singer-songwriter Richard Dawson to update his past display of the band Circle. It’s no surprise Eero says he had an easy time going about this build, as the black uniform allowed for a great piece selection to maintain uniformity. The main issues he faced were building Richard’s face and hair, which come across delightfully in the final product. Dawson often works his voice from the top to bottom of his range in songs, so it’s wonderful that the models mouth seems to be caught mid-lyric. Other details such as the microphone, guitar, and speaker all add to the immersion of the scene. The only thing I can’t get passed are the skeleton arms as fingers because they just make me think Richard has more little hands at the fingertips. I’m disturbed but curious as to how it would help his guitar playing.
As a personal fan of Richard Dawson myself, this was a delightfully unexpected model to see. Plenty of builders have been covering famous musical artists over the last year, mostly mainstream or rock. This model has me curious about Circle, and pleased at how the process of discovering new music can be just as odd as your taste in tunes.
Making its way through the canopy, this enormous piece of LEGO equipment keeps a steady grip on the weaving branches of the rainforest canopy. Builder Charlie Jonesbrings us his second ambling piece of construction equipment with a CAT-themed color scheme. Perhaps suited for traversing the jungles of Pandora from James Cameron’s Avatar, the Sloth Walker’s crew clambers about its hanging body, making their way up its legs to the thick branches to survey the unique biomes and the territory below. The builder spent almost 200 hours working on this beast, along with the branches above, and it surely paid off with an impressive final product. First off, the branches of the tree are ingenious, if not a bit laborious. Time consuming as they may be, their repetition and semi-woven pattern provide a convincing effect on the overall build.
The Walker, if you can really even call it that when its making its way upside down like this, is its own masterpiece though. At just under a meter long, every centimeter of this build is detailed and intentional. Using droid bodies and arms on the claws gives a delightful industrial texture, while the pneumatic-like structures in the front arms compliment a convincing design. Of course, I can’t go without mentioning that awesome domed canopy for the pilot, providing a full view around them. Using the frames of Harry Potter’s glasses from the Hogwarts Icons set as the framing for the cockpit was an ingenious move, honestly.
I commend those workers on the outside of the craft. Making my way over the exposed engines, hanging on as the arms and legs move above me, I’d hope to at least be tethered somewhere safe. I wouldn’t want to fall and get caught by the tether only to get crushed by some mechanical components. I leave this part of exploration to this brave crew, I guess, and just move on to commending Mr. Jones for a magnificent build. Keep up the good work, mate!
Is your quadrant overrun with insect infestations? Ask for the Insectoid Incinerator by builder WyndGekko. The latest craft by an talented designer, this ship features a twin prong weapon system straddling each side of the pilot’s canopy. The massive heat output from the weapon discharge is managed by the large vent systems next to the pilot. Angular plating covers the engine and fuselage while giving the ship a sleek but aggressive presence. Simple landing craft can be seen below the ship, allowing for easy traverse throughout the universe, as long you have enough uranium in your engines!
Speaking of engines, check out the ones that the Insectoid Incinerator is sporting. Twin boosters on each side compliment the weapons in the front while providing a boost to your pulse engine while you make your way through a system. You never know when you’ll need to engage your warp or close in on an opponent in the skies of an alien world but with engines like these, you’ll never have to worry. The builder chose a sleek, tapered nozzle for the boosters featuring barrels in light bluish gray. The Rock Raiders drill piece makes for great bulky design for the main engine and WyndGekko’s choices for the larger, stubbed nozzle were wise. I also love this better angle of the white and red plating over the ship’s body. From above and at this angle I can’t help but think of Kill la Kill or Gurren Lagan. Not too shabby of a way to dig to the heavens if you ask me.
Throwing a Classic Space twist onto a concept design from Alien: Covenant sure is one way to do SHIPtember. Flickr Builder Space Kook brought their A-game this September with at least five different ships over 100-studs, either in length, width, or height. Jumping around between scales, Space Kook drew inspiration for their fourth build, the LSS Covenant. Taking design cues from early concept art of the USCSS Covenant Colony ship from the Alien movie, large solar panels flare out at the rear of the ship. Progressing further up the body, past the cargo holds, you’ll see a little fighter or drop ship peaking over the main hull of the colony vessel. Decked out in blue and yellow with white and black accents, the choice to craft this ship in Classic Space regalia allowed Space Kook a plethora of parts and design cues. Between the two references, it’s no wonder this creation has such a satisfying bow. The bumble bee stripes and yellow view screen complete the Classic Space homage while sensor arrays and directional boosters grab the eyes as satisfyingly accurate greebling.
This builder really went the extra mile during SHIPtember to accomplish the Herculean task of building not just one, but five massive 100-stud vessels. The techniques and parts used show off Space Kook’s ingenuity with the process across all five and it’s definitely worth checking out the other four ships that they created this year.
This model hit the feed and gripped the mind of every Bionicle fan that saw it. Builder Sandro Quattrini took brick-built figures to the next level with this fresh take on that iconic Toa face, sans Kanohi. The builder’s take on this warrior’s body varies slightly in their recreation of classic figure-building pieces but pays proper homage to the original nonetheless. Nice parts usage abounds throughout the design as Sandro adorns a brick-built Bionicle with the remains of the Jungle Dragon. Surviving the Ninjago apocalypse can be pretty brutal but not so much for the Toa.
Employing some delightful designs within the overall model, Builder Alexandre Bigeard has crafted a sleek spacecraft full of detail. Fans of ships such as this know well the similarities and slight differences that pop up as designer after designer tries their hand in this style. Panels made of stacked brick and laden with details attach at varying angles to a greebly central frame. Technically intricate pieces line every visible surface to really sell the spacey them. Industrial colors of gray, black, and tan are augmented with lines of red and yellow, lining this up to be quite the lurker within the dark void of space.
It’s not everyday that you can trace the evolution of a LEGO design by a builder through their photos. But Bartosz Sasiński has the development of his four M-Series mechs well-documented. Their first addition, the M-1, was posted over a year ago. And it features chunky armor and stable click-joints. As a result, the build looks sturdy, with some interesting textures running up the torso and around the cockpit’s exterior. But more than anything, that striking color scheme of greens, white, and dark gray make this chunky boi pop.
Part of a larger LEGO concept by the builder, this model of the docks at Fort Stockton, Wullham features some lovely architecture, delightful parts usage, and realistic rock formations. Flickr Builder Evancelt enjoys historical era models full of red jackets and muskets set against natural scenery with old buildings. Here they used some simplistic parts as crenellations and molding along the top of the fort, while cleverly employing letters with a red seal as diamond-leaded windows. Well-molded sea grasses and foliage compliment the sharp change to rock as we move down to the dock. Basalt formations are a delightful bit of geology that we don’t see enough of in LEGO builds or real life. Using dark grey at the base to illustrate the spray and waves of the sea on the rocks is a great decision that adds to the realism of the build.
Of course, the multilayered dock is also wonderfully detailed. Multiple shades of brown make up the boards, while reddish brown and dark brown in the supports mirror the water effect used on the rocks. The lamp piece is a good period setting element that matches well with the flat-topped chest. I love seeing historical models that aren’t focused on war. Sure, these are soldiers at a Fort but still, this is more about daily life than about a battle and I’m all about that. Not to mention how soothingly executed that blue sea is on the eyes. Well done, Evancelt, well done.
This cyborg version of an old Fabuland figure is pretty torn up about your food choices. Flickr Builder Moko has been making mechs for a long time and, after creating some cyborg versions of LEGO animals, they’ve moved on to some LEGO legends. For the unfamiliar, Fabuland sets were introduced at the end of the 70s and went out of production at the end of the 80s. As Moko puts it in his blog, Fabuland offered a more “picture-book-like world view” with anthropomorphized animal citizens. Think of them as the middle sibling between Duplo and LEGO with a twist of Richard Scarry’s Busytown. Though these figures and sets aren’t produced by LEGO anymore, they still have a core fan group among some collectors due to their rarity and obscurity. Here Moko has created a mercenary cyborg soldier with an edgy appetite. The plethora of detailed, hinged elements that Moko uses combine in the arms, legs and bodies provide a thick, responsive frame to protect the rider within. Fully armed and prepared for combat, this mech only has one week spot but its a necessary one. After all, how else are you supposed to keep eating during battle? Can’t have crumbs in the cockpit either.
Aside from all of the amazing details and angles that Moko has created, the solid yellow crystal piece with a red brick as French fries is a stand out detail here. The color-blocking and range of motion that Moko employs always renders a satisfying product that reads well and strikes envy in LEGO mech fans everywhere. Either that or fear, given its intense arsenal and bulk.
Don’t let the weapons sticking out of the creature’s side, Hercules really is trying to take him in alive. This June seems ripe with Kaiju-inspired creations and Builder MySnailEatsPizza has added their own to the mix. Based on the fourth of Hercules’ twelve labors, this massive boar terrorizes the villages and forests surrounding Mount Erymanthos. A brick-built snout and face blends in with Technic and Bionicle pieces in the body. A smattering of bones of those that have fallen before it compliment its numerous, massive tusks.