Master LEGO architect Rocco Buttliere is no stranger to recreating massive landmarks in LEGO form. In the past he’s built Mount Rushmore, Vatican City, and even ancient Rome. But now he’s managed to top himself with what may be his largest project to date, a 1:650 scale city of Jerusalem as it appeared in the first century. Consisting of 114,000 pieces, this massive LEGO build is the result of over 500 hours of design time and 400 hours of build time.
This is a work you could truly get lost in, so let’s dive right into the details, starting with the Second Temple on Temple Mount in the center of the city.
Click through for a guided tour of some of the city’s highlights
This LEGO build from Sebastian Arts (Aliencat!) was inspired by the artwork of Gabriele Pala, “but of course completely in Aliencat-style.” Right away we’re drawn to the enormity of the build, with the main focus being the blue, watery portal through which tiny flying ships pass. The blue contrasts beautifully with the otherwise muted color scheme. There’s a lot happening in this otherworldly city, with lots of traffic coming and going, reminding me of the Mos Eisley spaceport in Star Wars: A New Hope. (I’m sure there’s some scum and villainy afoot in this city as well.)
In ancient times, humans domesticated dogs to help them hunt, and they became our best friends. But what if we’d chosen cats instead, as this LEGO huntress, depicted by Letranger Absurde has? While the one-piece sabretooth tigers are considered big cats to minifigures, to this brick-built character, they’re positively darling little killing machines.
The huntress herself is no slouch either – this Paleolithic predator is built to survive. I mean, just look at those palisade brick abs! Hopefully it was warm back then, because those bucket handles and ingots don’t look like that warm of an outfit. Maybe she’s just a Stone Age cat lady? She even has tangled hair, expertly crafted out of LEGO chain, to match the stereotype.
I love a good micro-build and General 尓àvarre brings on the details in this tiny temple. There is some great parts use here with the upside down picket fences being used for the temple walls. The color variation of the roof is nice and adds to the aged feeling of the building. The photos depth of field with the slightly blurry statue in the background helps give a sense of grand scale to a model that is really only 12 x 12 studs square. Like all of the models I tend to favor, this one has a story although it may not be obvious to the casual viewer. In this case, it’s a story best told by its creator.
In the heights there lies a massive temple complex, with a giant statue of the god Terrus in his four armed form above, and a large temple built as a shrine to him below. The priests continually keep the beacon on the heights burning to let Terrus know that they are still honoring him.
The good old backyard wriggler seems like a toddler in comparison to Tino Poutiainen’s mighty “Ancient Earthworm.” Its resemblance to both the famed Jurassic-era predator and a Tremors Graboid is quite striking. Even still, this leaves me to wonder what scale is it built in? Is it in minifig scale or actually closer to life-size? Whatever the case, this LEGO beast gives me the feeling that it would be an unrelenting foe, whether chasing me down a main road or a garden path.
Poutiainen’s use of the long cattle horn and spiky appendage piece, both in reddish-brown give this build some sensory perception when deep underground. It’s crowning part use though, is the large figure forearm with fist for the head. This piece was only produced in one set almost a decade ago, so it is good to see it making such a purposeful appearance here.
If you’ve studied antiquity or maybe just seen the film 300, you are familiar with the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, where a small collection of highly trained Spartans defended the “Gates of Hell” against an overwhelming Persian force. Letranger Absurde has created a cute little vignette featuring the shields of at least 50 battle hardened Spartans forming a protective dome or tortoise formation. I love how the simplicity of the colours juxtaposes the textures of the shields and rocks. A cracking little build.
I have no idea wether the tiny ship in this microscale scene by Andreas Lenander sails for these imposing cliffs out of religious, archaeological, or other reasons, but it sure looks like an adventure I would love to be a part of. The question is not only how the ship’s crew will reach the temples, but how exactly they were built! Realism and practicality aside, this scene is simply gorgeous, and very atmospheric too.
I love the minimalist temples made out of lightsabre handle pieces and the clouds surrounding the rocky island, as well as the well-placed fire at the top of a spike, which stands out in the best of ways. The water is done with a common technique of loose translucent pieces, of which the jewel pieces used by Andreas work the best, in my opinion – as far as the border goes, I am not sure wether I like it or not, but it does look unique and interesting, plus I will never say no to sand blue – and neither should you!
Ok, I have to admit when I first saw this I immediately thought it was supposed to be from Monument Valley, the addicting puzzle game from ustwo. But alas, Bangoo H was actually building the Hanging Gardens of Babylon – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. However, my misinterpretation of the source material most certainly did not take away from the fact that this is a serene little model that is wonderfully built.
The cascading water, terraces and steps all come together to perfectly represent some of the funnest levels of the…oh sorry…I mean, the ancient Babylonians’ amazing feat of engineering.
I betcha if you spun the base those two staircases would line-up perfectly, and a few stacked 1×1 yellow bricks couldn’t hurt either…
Simon Pickard (brick.spartan) has made a minifig scale model of the ancient Hebrew mobile tent-temple known as the Tabernacle. Working from the Bible’s detailed descriptions of the temple dimensions and contents, Simon makes great use of LEGO’s limited palette of gold pieces to create the Ark of the Covenant, altars, and other accoutrements used in the temple.