LEGO provides the perfect medium for recreating the buildings and landmarks of the world — LEGO has even released a line of official LEGO Architecture sets. Check out our coverage of the official sets, and don’t miss all the gorgeous architectural models created by LEGO fans from around the world.
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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Summer 2020 has arrived, and LEGO has launched 130 new sets and items available today. Fans of Technic, Creator 3-in-1, City, Friends, Architecture, Hidden Side and more have a lot to choose from. The new Technic Lamborghini is also available today as well as a slew of exclusive polybags not previously available from LEGO’s online store and a Hogwarts Students booster pack. Nearly every LEGO theme has some new sets–it can be a lot to process!– so we have your complete guide right here detailing each and every new set and item.
Because LEGO releases summer waves at different times across the globe, the majority of these sets are available now in the UK. You can see the complete list of all 130 sets and items after the jump. Sets with a Red Indicator are currently available in the US and Canada as well (61 in total). The Americas will get access to the rest of the sets later this summer.
LEGO is also offering a free gift-with-purchase of 40409 Hot Rod with purchases more than US $85 | CAN $85 | UK £85 through June 21st or while supplies last. You can check out our review of 40409 Hot Rod to see if you want to add it to your collection.
Do you ever find yourself looking at a shop and wondering how it’s still standing? How is it that among all the fancy branded stores, these little guys continue chugging along? It has to be the people like Hoang H Dang‘s grandfather who keep these small businesses alive. No matter what country, it’s little shops like these that are the lifeblood of communities. Even if the walls are cracked and the electricty is sketchy, the magic is in the connections shopkeepers share with their patrons. This LEGO build is a lovely tribute to the nostagia of that little Vietnamese store. And this article goes out to all the small businesses that are still chugging along, even through these rough times.
You’ve heard of treehouses. Now Aukbricks presents something that is a tree…in a house. This LEGO creation is like a childhood dream, a four-story modern home that surrounds a tree. The inspiration is a concept by A. Masow Architects. Incidentally, this LEGO creation and its real-life counterpart are both renders that don’t exist in real form but AuKbricks tells us he used about 4500 bricks, all of them utilizing real colors and legal connections.
I love immersive builds, where everywhere you look there is LEGO, except the sky (I don’t like brick-built skies, due to the brick pattern). It’s like I’m one of the minifigures, standing in the scene, seeing the sights. It is my preferred building style, at least when buildings and rooms are involved, and one that I (Benjamin Stenlund) used in my latest creation. Set in the Guilds of Historica’s fifth guild, Varlyrio, in the Venice-like capital of Illaryian, it depicts a slice of daily life, with gondoliers poling, shopkeepers selling, families visiting, soldiers guarding, sailors lounging, and rogues prowling.
I tried to vary up the action of the figs to make it lively without being cluttered, and to vary the patterns of the houses to make it homogeneous without being monotonous. All of the buildings have the same roof style, with tiles pressed down on just one end, but three colors are used (you can barely see the lone dark grey roof on the right) to mix it up. Varying the patterns and heights of the buildings helps to make it visually interesting, but basic patterns get repeated. It’s like a block of modular buildings, if LEGO made modular buildings that were just rickety facades with no interiors. I don’t build interiors, unless it’s going to be visible in the shot, since it won’t be seen. That’s just wasted effort for my purposes. Another secret is that the water ends just around the corner under the bridge, where it stops being visible. It’s all about the camera shot, for me. And yet, it looks so nice, I’d like to visit the place myself. If only I were about 1.5 inches tall…
ARK.builds’ 1:125 scale model of the Jubilee Church in Rome is a stunning facsimile with its accurately recreated curved walls, a supremely technical feat.
I’m just blown away by this model; there’s complexity in representing a very organic real-world building and ARK.builds made it look easy. With such a complicated exterior I didn’t expect to see was any kind of interior, but he’s done it up complete with pews, organ, altar, and cross.
I asked the builder how these stunning curved walls were achieved and he shared the photo below. It looks incredibly fiddly with multiple hinges but it certainly got the job done.
Perhaps it has been all this time indoors. Maybe it’s the fact that it has been raining a bunch, and I have small children who cannot be kept out of the mud by anything short of shock collars (which I have not tried, for the record). But when I see this build by why.not?, I get the feels. It’s sad and grey, with only dark and dingy colors, just like an afternoon of re-runs of Clifford the Big Red Dog with toddlers with rain pouring down outside. While I love the rocks made from the huge pieces, and the decrepit shrine is well done, too, it’s the rain that strikes me most with this build. The brick-built sky, with the slanting dark grey raindrops against the light grey clouds, is melancholy enough, but the dark tan water, with tiles inserted at differing depths to simulate raindrops plunking onto the surface, really brings the effect home. Golly. Are those really raindrops, or just my tears?
Sometimes it’s all about getting the right camera angle… And maybe some fantastic vaulted ceilings. This monochrome shrine, built by David Hensel, is an exceptional marriage of LEGO architecture and photography. The lighting gives the whole scene a sense of somber and noble peacefulness. And the way that the pieces mesh together provides an element of age. It’s bold yet austere. If you have never tried to build curves like this, take a crack at it. This style requires a patient hand!
Some people shave their heads and then shed a tear while gazing in the mirror because the option of having cool Johnny Depp hair has long since expired. Allegedly. Shut up, don’t judge. Other people, like Maxim Baybakov have better experiences with haircuts and visit the same barbershop for twenty years. He liked his local barbershop so much he has recreated it in LEGO. He tells us the balcony still haunts him to this day. Why? He doesn’t provide the answer but I can only presume it was an incident that involved a freshly coiffed haircut and someone dumping hot oil or a pot of soup or something. No matter why the balcony haunts him, admittedly, the build techniques are pretty stellar. The inset tan storefront, the roof, and the round window are also quite charming.
It’s not quite instructions, but this shot offers sort of an exploded view that illustrates some of the more clever techniques for this build. With a little time and patience, this balcony can haunt you as well.
With all that is going on in the world today, it makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able to travel again. Will I get to see Italy, with all of its beautiful architecture, from the Roman ruins to the Catholic cathedrals, in person? Maybe not; although, if airfare stays cheap, I might be able to afford it for once! But just in case I can’t make the trip myself, talented LEGO builders like Giacinto Consiglio bring a taste of Italy to me. In this case, it is St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. The architectural beauty is lovingly crafted for us in microscale, perfect for tiny statuette tourists and worshipers.
These days, I find it increasingly difficult to differentiate between good renders and photos of real bricks, but does it really matter when the building is done so well? The tower is fantastic, especially the windows. The winged lion representing St. Mark over the entrance is also lovely, as are all of the other saint statues with One Ring golden halos. But my favorite detail has to be that rose window on the south facade, with excellent use of the newer arch piece. It’s the best rose window I have seen in LEGO, at any scale. Now to go buy my plane tickets to pay a visit to the real thing!
I have never been enthralled with steampunk. Maybe it’s because I’m not the biggest fan of the Victorian Era in general, let alone a fantastic version of it filled with steam-driven automatons. Despite that, I can recognize a cool LEGO build when I see it, no matter what era it is from. And that is what this steam-church by Dwalin Forkbeard is. Inspired by a church in Ukraine, this particular one lacks a second tower (due to lack of parts) and the square in front (also due to a shortage of parts), but it looks great just as it is. I love how the smaller chunks of city life are connected to the central build by pipes, linking them together without needing to make a giant plaza. And I do like pipes. I also like seeing the planet half-spheres used for domes. Add in some handcuff ornaments and one amazing gas lamppost, and you have something special. Isn’t that right, old chap?
Of the two similar structures in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra in southern Jordan, Al Khazneh and El Deir, the iconic “Treasury” featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is much more famous than the larger (and arguably more spectacular) “Monastery” deeper in the Nabatean archaeological site. So it’s no surprise that we’ve seen Al Khazneh depicted in LEGO many times over the years, with nary a Monastery in sight (or brick). Nevertheless, I appreciate each new LEGO Petra, like this one by Inthert built only from tan pieces.
What’s especially notable about this build is less its monochrome color scheme than the variety of interesting “illegal” techniques Inthert uses to achieve shapes and angles at this scale. LEGO’s internal design team follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure that official LEGO sets are study in the hands of grubby little hands, while adult builders and other LEGO fans have no such restrictions (so it’s rather amusing when commenters decry the use of such techniques in fan-built models — stop it). Specifically, many plates and tiles are half-attached to studs or wedged in with friction, while a number of the Technic pins used as columns are connected using the gaps that allow the pins to flex for clipping into place. But my favorite detail is the Technic gear atop the “roof” of the central section.
Be sure to click through to the full-size photo and expand it to take in all the interesting details and techniques.