This diorama by vincentkiew showcases the beauty of traditional Chinese architecture and landscaping. A quaint courtyard and miniature garden completes the peaceful setting, and the use of the new Ninjago fences as well as the wallpaper brick are fantastic details that add style to the creation.
What better way to relax than to rake through the brick bins and create an Oriental pavilion? At least that’s what David Hensel appears to have decided. David clearly felt the roof was the key element of this LEGO creation — and no surprise, it’s wonderfully detailed, and a nice mix of colours without appearing garish. That would explain the shallow depth of field in the photography, bringing the roof into sharp focus and rendering the rest of the scene with something of a haze. This, coupled with the lack of minifigures, creates a strange dreamlike atmosphere. I like it.
Maneki-neko are Japanese figurines of cats that businesses all over the world have adopted to beckon customers and the money burning holes in their pockets. The cats often hold large, old-style Japanese gold coins in enormous denominations, as this lovely white cat by Taiwanese builder DOGOD Brick Design does — this maneki-neko holds a coin worth ten million yen! This lovely feline was recently installed at the Masterpiece Gallery in the LEGO House.
Maneki-neko hold their paws up in the gesture that Japanese people use to ask someone to come over — palm facing out while “scooping” the fingers toward yourself, rather than palm up as many Westerners do.
The prolific teenaged builder William Navarre is no stranger to realistic historical Japanese themes, but this latest creation of a company of samurai ambushing a camp of the emperor’s ashigaru is one of his best addditions to the series.
There is much to see in this full LEGO scene, from the minifig action that seems to express motion much better than one would expect of the somewhat motorically limited minifig, to the flags and the realistic ground texture. The background deserves discussion too; while the opinions on the trees’ textures may be variable, the textures do work for what they are supposed to. More importantly, you should not miss the most subtle, but also the most ingeniously simple part of the build: the angled black background with dark blue rays of light penetrating the treetops.
Walking amongst the old residential buildings in certain parts of Hong Kong, one looks up to see hanging laundry, treasured rooftop garden space, and air-conditioning units attached to dusty windows. Chiukeung Tsang has captured the scene perfectly in LEGO, with loads of character packed into one model. The curved corner is typical of the architectural style, as are the rows of windows, and the commercial nature of the ground floor with residential housing above. I particularly like the use of colour on the right, it lifts the entire build and adds visual interest without looking too garish.
The view from the other side shows the typical ground floor shop, complete with awning, and the obligatory tourist posing for a selfie.
In conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence, Malaysian builder Brandon Wyc has created a LEGO build based on the multi-racial, colourful and unique culture of Malaysia. Brandon describes the concept of his build as “Jalan-jalan Cari Makan / Walk Around To Find Good Food“. At the centre there is a colourful, imaginative three storey building with local food stalls, and four scenes along the edges; two are small roadside towns, one is a small riverside village, and the final one is a seaside village. The first view shows the roadside and seaside scenes with lots of activity going on and busy food stalls.
This little Chinese LEGO village by Toltomeja is adorable. I love the irregular base and the squat buildings. There are some great details like the wavy patterns in the water and flippers-as-tiles roof design. But the real star of Toltomeja’s scene is that beautiful Chinese bridge and winding path.
The main photo doesn’t do nearly enough to show off the sweet curves of the sidewalk, so be sure to check the alternate angles.
Machiya are traditional wooden townhouses found throughout Japan and typified in the historical capital of Kyoto. This LEGO version of a machiya by Dan Blom is a great example of a seemingly simple build that really looks the part. The key architectural details like the barred window, known as mushiko mado [literal translation is ‘insect cage window’] and the wooden lattice façade are accurately represented. These days most roofs are covered with clay tiles called kawara, and Dan has left the LEGO studs exposed to give the impression of neatly arranged, rough tiles.
The addition of some extra little details such as the cart, the various items outside the front of the house and the ancient-looking tree complete the scene perfectly.
Love it or hate it, you can not deny that the second Indiana Jones film, The Temple of Doom, is memorable. I immediately recognized this scene by W. Navarre and I’m sure most of you did too.
The gruesome scene of a human sacrifice’s heart being ripped out is recreated nearly to perfection with cultists, statues, and rocky walls, but most importantly a fiery pit that appears seething hot – an effect achieved not by clever lighting tricks, but by building the “light” onto the lit-up wall itself. As expected of this builder, the diorama is packed full of experimental building techniques, and there is a lot to learn by inspecting Navarre’s work closely.
There is something about this mountaintop temple by David Zambito that just makes me want to be there. Climbing the mountain for days to reach it, and then meditating for just as long. The serene environment is achieved by soft, earth-tone colours and a warm background. There are many great techniques used throughout, like jet engines as bells, and hair pieces and convex tiles as cobblestone walls. I am not sure whether I am supposed to imagine a larger temple behind the scene or not, but it works either way.
The latest Chinese architectural wonder by qian yj depicts an old residential building in the city of Huizhou. The tall white walls enclose an intimate courtyard surrounded by ornate two-storey wooden houses. The scene is set amidst narrow canals interlaced with quaint sidewalks. Who wouldn’t want to take a vacation in such a poetic destination?
Considering how successful LEGO’s Ninjago line is – with sets, cartoons and soon even a feature film – there is a surprising lack of fan creations under this theme. James Zhan defies this stereotype with his latest build of a roadside battle. The temple walker is a very interesting build, with great technical, robotic details at the bottom, and just as carefully chosen pieces for the temple’s architectural decoration. But this is so much more than just a walker on a road, the excellent minifig action makes the scene look alive.