There has been a recent increase in the number of microscale city blocks in the world of LEGO creations, which could be partly a result of our 2017 Creation of the year by Jeff Friesen. Wherever the inspiration is coming from, I am thrilled to see so many builders stepping up to build in this challenging and fun scale. Here we see the 4th micro city district by Marco De Bon which is dominated by a central plaza with a massive three-tower building which would look right at home in any major city. The three separate buildings in the back have the look of luxury apartments, while the skinny shorter buildings on all four sides look like they might be low-income tenements.
Hong Kong’s bustling urban atmosphere is exciting, but sometimes it’s nice to take some time out to relax and enjoy nature. It’s worth hopping on the MTR bound for Lantau Island, where you can visit the quaint fishing village of Tai O. Alanboar Cheung has captured the spirit of Tai O in LEGO-form, right down to the green mountainous landscape behind it. He has included the town’s famous stilted homes, a dragon boat, and the squat-looking sampan boats. One of the sampan even features a traditional Tai O water wedding.
This head-on shot of the display is great for honing in on all the tiny details. Techniques like forced perspective and layering also help maintain the illusion of depth. Take me to Tai O!
For about the past decade, LEGO castle builders have trended towards what I like to call a ramshackle aesthetic, with precariously towering walls and gravity-defying roofs attached with a song and a prayer. It’s natural that builders would flex their chops in that manner, as that painterly style requires a great deal more skill than the simple, studs-up brick walls of classic castle sets and many early castle builders. However, equally difficult is building more traditional, real-world castles and avoiding the dreaded “grey wall syndrome” of thoroughly boring architecture. Isaac Snyder‘s walls of Carcassonne accomplishes this excellently, featuring a short segment of the French city’s fortifications. The walls and even roofs are no less detailed than any you’d find in the more ramshackle style, yet are thoroughly grounded in authentic style.
Perhaps next time Isaac can include a road though, as I’ve been needing a straight wall segment with a road to complete my city for ages!
The Interlace is an exquisite, award-winning design of a residential apartment in Singapore. The seemingly disarrayed yet artistic placements of the apartments makes it stand out. The layout resembles layers of blocks stacked on top of each other at odd angles, forming a maze-like arrangement. This LEGO Architecture styled custom build by Daniel Stoeffler captures the real-life buildings elegantly in LEGO, with 2×1 grille parts for the windows.
If you haven’t blown your holiday LEGO budget on the Black Friday deals from the LEGO shop (which go through Cyber Monday tomorrow), Amazon.com is spinning up its “Cyber Monday Week” sales, with a number of great deals on LEGO sets.
We’ve picked a few highlights, but you can see everything on sale the Amazon.com LEGO deals page.
LEGO Star Wars 75218 X-Wing Starfighter
LEGO Star Wars BrickHeadz 41629 Boba Fett
The Great Wall is often cited as one of the wonders of the medieval world, at its peak stretching more than 5,500 miles across China. In LEGO form, 21041 Great Wall of China represents the oldest structure in the Architecture line and the first to include significant landscaping. It is also the first LEGO Architecture set designed to be modular, creatively constructed to connect multiple copies. The Great Wall includes 552 pieces and retails from LEGO for $49.99 USD. (EDIT: The set is currently on sale at Amazon.com for $39.99, making it easier to buy multiple copies.)
The Great Wall is a departure from the Architecture sets of modern buildings and significant landmarks we have come to know and love, though it feels at home with its dark green and tan styling as well as its black tiled base. While similar in size to the 21006 White House, the Great Wall is hefty and designed to be viewed from all directions. The set was released earlier this year, but with the holidays coming up, we wanted to take a closer look.
One of the things I love about Alan Boar’s LEGO creations is the amount of time he takes to research his subjects. In this case it’s the Taikoo Ropeway, an early cable car system built in 1891 to link Hong Kong’s Taikoo Dockyard to the Taikoo Sugar Refinery. The finished diorama, built in collaboration with his wife and son, is rendered in an aesthetic reminiscent of Chinese landscape painting. Designed in monochrome, the Mount Parker setting is wonderfully accented with stylised brick clouds. In front of the clouds, a grey building frames the predominately white ropeway scene, helping to highlight a host of fascinating features.
In the online LEGO fan community, Mattila Heikki is well known for his realistic miniland-scale interior designs. While his recent creation is technically still an interior design, it is markedly different from his usual style. Mattila has built in classic styles before, but we’ve never seen a creepy haunted house before.
Mattila’s latest scene is all about perspective, achieved by the stairway and its railing–what would often be a small part of a scene, but is frame to take up nearly half the picture here. The lights on the wall give a sense of the hallway continuing on to the left and right for an unsettlingly long time and the colours set a moody and mysterious tone. If you’re staying here and have to use the toilet at night, it might be a better idea to wait until morning.
The LEGO Group has committed itself to making LEGO plant elements out of plants. Thanks to Sarah Beyer, there is now a LEGO house to compliment them. Sarah’s eco house, named Lilium after the lily flower, has been designed with self-sustainability in mind. Electricity is supplied by roof-mounted solar panels, while large windows on the south and west walls capture warm rays of sunshine. The house looks fresh and modern, enhanced by the surrounding colorful landscaping.
Sarah’s house has been constructed so LEGO minifigures can immerse themselves in the outdoors. The second-floor porch and vine-laced patio offer an excellent view of the garden. Click to see more, including the interior
The phrase chocolate box cottage is a peculiar British saying that dates back to a time when biscuits, toffees and other treats were sold in packaging depicting country idylls. Builder Emil Lidé has run with the idea, creating an archetypical black and white timber-framed cottage. From the bowed roof that meets at a pleasingly crooked LEGO chimney, to the authentic thatch made from an array of tan bars and clips, he’s captured the essence of the English countryside. I can just imagine taking tea in the garden with a slice of Victoria sponge cake, and in spirit, I’m in England.
This microscale LEGO rendition of Istanbul’s most famous landmark has been masterfully created by George Panteleon. The tan and dark tan elements blend seamlessly together to create the sweeping curves and rounded roofs of the 1,500-year-old building. The huge dome, which encloses a ceiling height of 182 feet, is created from the planet hemisphere element for Bespin. George has rigged the interior with lights, allowing the model to glow warmly, and added a lovely wood base. It all comes together as a wonderful display piece.
A chance encounter at a crossroad tavern often leads to adventure. This LEGO inn built by Sebastian Bachórzewski taps into this spirit, looking every bit as if it could have been drawn straight from the pages of a fantasy epic. Rough and ready in appearance, with great building techniques used to offset the stone structured base from its wattle and daub upper floors; it’s the sort of spot you’d expect to meet a shadowy stranger. Who are those drunken soldiers looking for? Who might be hidden under those inventively built technic pin wheat sheafs? It’s one of those great builds that segues seamlessly into the art of storytelling.