In many parts of the world, if you’ve been following COVID safety protocols correctly, you may be itching to get out of the house right about now. Thankfully there is such a thing as contact-free check-in and this cottage may have the cure for what ails us. Is it called cabin fever when you want to leave the house to stay in a cabin? Whatever it’s called, Andrea Lattanzio’s stunning blue LEGO cottage is a sight for sore eyes. The round door and windows, the woodpile under the eave, and the weathered ramshackle texture make this a cottage I’d love to stay at for a weekend or even a month. The fall leaves, the skylights, the birdhouse, and even the mushrooms out front make for a picturesque vacation setting.
I can even forgive the skunk for paying a visit. They don’t spray when you treat them with respect and I’m willing to respect the skunk and all the other woodland creatures for a stay in this cottage. Andrea was The Brothers Brick Builder of the Year in 2019 for good reason. Check out our archives to see what else Andrea Lattanzio has been up to.
We featured Andrea Lattanzio’s cozy LEGO A-frame home a while ago. It seems however that the A-frame building went through a little bit of a makeover — the autumn theme has been changed to match the current winter season. It looks like the beautiful wooden tiles outside have gotten a fresh coat of red paint. Where the autumn edition of this creation featured minifigure hammers for a cobblestone base wall, the winter edition uses ingot bars for the brick-built wall. The use of the ingots look a bit better-maintained compared to the minifigure hammers, which matches the fresh paint job. One of the small details from the autumn build that I appreciated dearly was the use of mushroom radar dishes. I am glad those got featured in this creation too.
This month’s cover photo from Andrea Lattanzio takes us back to the wild. The Magic Bus we’ve been treated with before has now been treated with snow, which makes for a lovely winter scene.
The bus remains familiar, but there have been some added details to give depth and texture to the snow. Additionally, trees that were once leaf-filled are now barren and covered with snow, the firs have been replaced with white branches, and the clever touch of icicles added to the bus windows complete the scene.
Be sure to visit Norton74’s flickr page for a bit of history on this bus that no longer resides in Alaska’s wilderness. It’s an interesting story that makes for a great scene.
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We are mid-way through October, and autumn, as well as spooky season, is in full effect, Andrea Lattanzio’s cozy LEGO A-Frame home located amongst some beautiful fall-colored conifers is the perfect build to capture the moment we are in.
The key to the main architectural build here is definitely in the tiling – we’ve got plenty of tiling on the roof, tiling for the deck, and more tiling to cover the house’s base structure. Printed tiles also help render the lumber packed away in the left, maybe for firewood. I love Lattanzio’s use of tree limb elements arranged in such a way to create pointed evergreen trees – different colors are also utilized for that autumn color-changing aesthetic. Perhaps the most interesting example of parts used in this work would be the hammer minifigure utensil which is applied in multiples to compose the foundation of the home. Many small details in this build are eye-catching, including the broken stairs leading up to this shack-like a-frame dwelling. Even if some home-improvement is needed on this little getaway house, it still looks like a great place to escape to on an autumn weekend.
Some LEGO builders find a niche in the community and spend most of their time building there, churning out beautiful creations that all fit a similar genre. For some that’s castle, for others that’s space, for others it’s Bionicle, and for others it’s some licensed theme or other. For TBB 2019 Builder of the Year Andrea Lattanzio, that niche would be shacks and automobiles. Few builders out there can equal the clean lines and perfect textures of his buildings; just look at the uneven tiles for the siding, and the perfection of sideways masonry bricks for the adjacent shed. The build is nearly studless, which helps those clean lines, and the photography is pristine, which helps too.
But don’t let that expert photography fool you; this is not a simple build. You don’t get a studless look by accident, not without plenty of SNOT (studs not on top) techniques. Plus there are myriad clever parts usages. For example, there’s a hockey stick and a harpoon holding lamps; there are pirate hooks on the truck’s bumper; and those sideview mirrors are mighty cleaver, I mean, clever. And speaking of the truck, Andrea’s vehicle designs are as clean and elegant as his shacks; no studs, crisp color blocking, and perfect shaping and scaling.
This month’s cover photo, from Andrea Lattanzio, brings us this blast from the past with an incredibly detailed LEGO general store. The diorama is littered with items you might find at a remote general store, and luckily Andrea provides a close up look at the details (see below). Candy machines, phone booths, tools, and gas, this general store has you covered no matter your needs.
Here’s that closer look at some of the items you’ll see surrounding the general store. The water tower is a clear standout, but some of the other details like the power pole, the cable holding up the chimney pipe, and the cat going after that bird nest. This entire scene is a delight to take in.
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Having enough space to head out for an adventure to the LEGO store (gasp!) has always been a dream of mine. I like to calculate precisely the number of UCS Millennium Falcons, I could fit into any given area, measuring the exact width, height and depth and doing the math and volunteer that in my conversation as much as possible even when it’s wasn’t asked for. I don’t know how many of them I could fit here, but thanks to Andrea Lattanzio aka Norton74, I could at least calculate the number of LEGO miniature Millennium Falcons versions that could fit back there. You can now go an build one if you like, while I do the arithmetic.
Click to see the build guide and parts list
Two brightly-coloured wagons are home to a band of travelling folk in Andrea Lattanzio‘s latest LEGO model. Life on the road has never looked so inviting, with the bold colors of the mobile homes enhanced with bursts of flowers, and the scene stuffed with functional-looking details. I love the hanging tassels, the little chimney stacks, and the clutter of bags and lanterns and buckets. Don’t miss the use of minifigure hats as flower-pots, and the catapults used for the legs on the fortune teller’s table.
In honour of Chris McCandless’ 52nd birthday earlier this week, 2019 TBB LEGO Builder of the Year Andrea Lattanzio build a stunning recreation of the “Magic Bus” from the end of McCandless’ life, as documented in the book and film Into the Wild. This creation is a fitting tribute. The landscape looks like the clearing on the rugged Stampede Trail, featuring various elements representing rocks, plants, and mushrooms. My favourites are the tree built out of brown stud shooters and the grey homemaker hairpiece as a large rock. Framed inside its wild Alaskan surroundings, is the bus itself. The design is spot on and includes clever use of a dish with a spider web pattern as old and aged headlights and a stack of 3×3 dishes as the bus’s grill.
Every day the team here at The Brothers Brick brings you the best LEGO models from the global community of LEGO builders. We love how each of their creations make us smile and prompt us to reach for our own bricks. However, there are a handful of builders whose work offers genuine inspiration — displaying mastery of technique and creativity across different building styles.
The Brothers Brick is delighted to name Andrea Lattanzio as our LEGO Builder of the Year 2019.
Click to see a selection of Andrea’s models from 2019
Santa Claus, despite his media persona and the products he is implied to endorse, is not the consumerist type. Sure, he brings presents on Christmas to children, but not the max-out-the-credit-cards-and-refinance-the-house pile of presents that parents are somehow expected to provide. He lives a life of humble solitude, somewhere up in the frozen north (though not the North Pole; what responsible person would build a house on seasonally variant ice?), where he prepares for his annual journey of beneficence. At least, that is what this build by Andrea Lattanzio (Norton74) seems to imply. A delightful cabin, similar to Walden but much redder, rests in a peaceful snow-covered clearing, with deep snow on the roof and a sled ready to go (even though the sled is pulled by huskies, rather than reindeer).
The most impressive part of the display might be the collection of parts used to create the snow-covered foliage, from levers and megaphones to minifig hands and everything else white. However, I love the cannon as a chimney — topped by pots, even more. Unicorn horns make for lovely icicles on the eaves (if only they were available in transparent colors!). My one quibble is that the woodpile looks far too sparse to make it through the winter in conditions like that. Santa will freeze to death. Unless he isn’t watching out for the polar bear lurking behind the cabin, in which case he’ll be devoured before freezing. And before bringing me LEGO for my stocking.
Inspired by the book Walden; or Life in the Woods, Andrea Lattanzio escapes from the fast food restaurants and gas stations (and futuristic rovers!) of the modern world into the wilds through his latest build. I wonder if Thoreau, the main character of the aforementioned book, would choose LEGO as his outlet instead of escaping to the wild if he had lived in modern time?
The diorama captures everything a self-sufficient cabin in the woods would have (including a bit of the woods). The textures and little imperfections on the cabin capture the hand-crafted appearance very well, most notably the tiles on the roof pressed down only half way and the window with a half-plate offset in its top and bottom halves. The pine trees are done quite well, with leaf elements placed at convincing angles on the central axis. The use of the old tree stump piece adds a lot to the atmosphere, as do the inspired choices of gray homemaker hair part as a stone and brown stud shooters in the dead tree on the right side of the diorama.