Builder Eero Okkonen is no stranger to The Brothers Brick. His large-scale figures are something of a legend around here, often featuring warriors, wizards, and sci-fi women. Today, he brings us a samurai warrior, joined by a maiko, or apprentice geisha sharing tea. He beautifully captures both the modest down-turned visage of the maiko and the tired pride of the old warrior. What makes this build unusual for Eero is that the stunning figures are set in a lush landscape, which features a blooming garden complete with Zen Buddhist shrines and a reflection pool.
I love the way he has used the texture of the undersides of 1×2 plates for the samurai’s armor, along with the decorative flowers stuck to them. The elbow brick in light bluish grey is used to good effect in both the facial hair of the samurai and the three legged shrine in the corner. You also don’t want to miss the golden chainsaw blade used as a hair ornament on the maiko! The whole scene is so tranquil that I wish I could go there and take part. Now where did I put my tea cup?
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is to Chinese literature what the works of William Shakespeare are to English literature. A semi-historical story set in the time period of the Three Kingdoms (A.D. 169-280), the novel was perhaps written in the 14th century, though specific dates are hard to come by. It tells the story of how the Han dynasty gradually fell apart and became three independent kingdoms and all of the bitter rivalries and infighting that led to that point. Among all of the hundreds of characters in the novel, LEGO builder Jae Won Lee has chosen the main protagonist, Liu Bei, his chief strategist, Zhuge Lian, and the Five Tiger Generals who fought for them. The five generals are depicted in stunning fashion astride charging stallions, manes and tails flowing with the speed of their charge, and the other two men are nobly standing.
The appearances of the generals are inspired by Chinese artwork, complete with the unique coloration of each. The dynamic posing of many of the models puts this a step above most similar builds. There might be more studs showing than some builders would prefer, but it works well with this style. They deserve a closer look!
click here to see each of the generals up close
Connect with your inner self in this blissful build by Rollon Smith. A combination of red minifigure head pieces and Technic ball joints form the cylindrical columns so prevalent in historic East Asian architecture. It wouldn’t be complete without the bamboo, allowing nature to be a part of achieving a state of zen. I also enjoy the addition of incense burning at the foot of the build, helping the minifigure to meditate better.
Be calm. Be relaxed. Build LEGO.
For a Western audience, this collection of buildings by 磊 耿 is a striking break from the more familiar architecture usually seen in a LEGO street scene, with a wonderful variety of styles. But regardless of where you’re from, you’re bound to be impressed by the sheer quality of the building work on display. Pagoda roofs vie with castle spires for attention, and “big” certainly doesn’t mean bland, with an impressive depth of texture and interesting colour schemes across all the structures.
See more images of these beautiful buildings
What is serenity? One definition — perfection of form, coupled with a strong and simple colour scheme. That’s exactly what we’ve got in this temple building by jaapxaap. The standout feature is the purple and gold roof, adorned with beautifully shaped corners and nicely offset tiling. Don’t miss how the shaping flows perfectly around the golden decorative elements, almost as if they were designed to fit the spaces, rather than the other way around. The stark grey structure is striking and forms a robust backdrop to the ornate roofing. There’s nice landscaping and foliage, along with some minifigures, placed around the model, but the colour choices are perfect — complementing, never distracting, from the model’s central subject.
For December’s TBB social media cover image, alanboar is taking us back to the turn of the last century in Hong Kong, where the Taikoo Ropeway spans the mountainside in Hong Kong. In use from 1891-1932, the aerial ropeway (also called the Mount Parker Cable Car) provided quick transportation from the docks and sugar refinery to apartments on the mountain’s slopes. Alanboar’s rendition is an artistic representation all decked out in the white of snow, backed by the apartments and elegant steep-pinnacled peaks with clouds punctuating the sky.
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In modern times, “eating good food” has become a hobby of sorts around the world. There are hotspots for foodies to relish in simple and local food sold on the streets or pushcarts, just like this huge LEGO scene from Malaysia depicting such a location, where food lovers hang out and where a few dollars can go a long long way.
This build is a collaborative effort by members of SynergyLUG Malaysia, led by Bruce Lee, along with a large team which includes Junious Tan, Chua Chee Yan, Marco Gan, Tommy Tong, Michael Choy, Zi Quan, Foo Wen Yao, Leroy Pang, Vincent Kiew, Cheng Heng Ching, Wong Chee Keong, Zac Wong, Daphne Gan, Jack Tan and Terry Lai.
Click to see more of the Avenue 4 Street scene
I’ve explained elsewhere why sumo (traditional Japanese wrestling) is the greatest sport on earth — it’s fast, complex, and incredibly exciting. I won an apple in my first sumo bout at age three, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Cindy Su apparently agrees with me, because she built this wonderful rikishi (or wrestler — sumo is the name of the sport, not the name of the wrestlers). She layers various round tiles to bulk up the underlying BrickHeadz form, and gives this mountain of a man a stand complete with a Japanese flag to pose on. He has huge arms to shove opponents out of the ring, with an expressive face that seems to say he’s relieved to have just finished a winning bout.
Interestingly, many of the top wrestlers these days are foreign-born, from countries like Mongolia and Georgia. As someone who spent 15 years getting called gaijin (foreigner, with connotations of “outsider”) in my own home country, I’ve taken a perverse pleasure in rooting for the foreigners in recent sumo tournaments. Of course, sumo wrestlers aren’t born quite so big. They bulk up by eating a special stew called chankonabe, which Cindy has also faithfully created for this rikishi to enjoy.
Many people use LEGO building as a form of meditation, but not quite as many use LEGO to literally build meditation. Andreas Lenander definitely uses it at least for the latter — that we can be sure of. The build is very atmospheric, but secretly, it is also quite technical in its construction.
The Journey represents an old traveler crossing a bridge amongst blooming trees. The surrounding landscape is not bad, but the bridge is really the impressive part. The railing uses Elves fence pieces with a well-known curve technique. The bridge itself is just stacked plates carefully curved to follow the railing’s curvature – a construction that seems very unstable, but Andreas says that it actually holds together quite well. The trees should be noted too, densely packed with flowers, nicely designed trunks, and lanterns hanging off the branches.
This elaborate architectural beauty is the gate to Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. André Pinto is the architect of this faithful LEGO version, which captures the ornate decorations and the vibrant colors of the gate.
It’s worth noticing that the builder incorporated the intricate lattice in the underside of the roof, which is a huge undertaking but also one with huge payoffs.
There’s always a splash of grandeur in detail with buildings from ages long ago. Perhaps inspired by a flashback of an oriental abode, this build by Jennifer Lee has transported us to ancient times. The home is adorned and detailed with red and gold. Red, in Chinese culture, is a symbol of good luck, joy, and happiness, while yellow or gold, in this case, is considered the most beautiful and prestigious colour.
See more details and photos of this Asian home
The Great Wall of China requires no special introduction, and neither does Forlorn Empire. As the great wall can bee seen from space, so can mr. Forlorn’s building skills. While this segment of the Great Wall may not be the largest we have seen in LEGO, it is surely one of the best (and frankly, keeping up this level of detail and texture on an excessively large scale would turn out to be too much for pretty much any builder) in the terms of construction quality.
As I have mentioned, it boasts a high level of details and some nice angles, but what I like best is the roofed hut on the top of the tower – the roof technique is a stroke of genius. To top it all off, the builder has added a minifig on guard duty to fill the scene with life.