I told myself today was going to be the day I get stuff done. This was going to be the day I didn’t procrastinate with silliness online. But then I took one of those “what kind of dog are you?” quizzes and they cited me as a basset hound when I fancy myself as more of a golden retriever and now I have that to deal with. Among all this important online research, I stumbled upon this serene LEGO scene by Carter Witz. I like the golden leaves, the haphazard texture of the roof, and the fact that the trail and river interrupt the base structure. Now I pretty much don’t want to get any work done anymore. I just want to relax in Carter’s world for a while. You can also go down the rabbit hole of unproductivity and check out Carter’s other fantastic layouts. Basset hounds enjoy rabbit holes, don’t they?
There’s a lot to like in Carter Witz‘s atmospheric LEGO model of a sunken ruin. Above the waters, we’ve got twisting vines and an excellent selection of parts to create the impression of aged, decaying stonework. And then plunging below the surface, we have a clever change in tone from light grey to dark, with fish flitting between the columns, and weeds choking the lake bottom. This is a well-put-together model, but as with many of the best LEGO creations, it’s the sense of story, the questions it prompts in the mind of the beholder which elevate it into something special. What was this ruined structure? Which ancient civilization built these broken arches? And what terrible cataclysm saw it flooded? Who is the man in the canoe? Where is he going? And what sauce will he cook that chicken in?
LEGO creations often make me want to experience what’s built but in the real world. Carter Witz’s Mountain Cabin really makes me want to get out into the wilderness and go hiking. Sure, you can’t really feel the temperature of what’s depicted in a photo, but the hue of the green grass and the orange leaves on the trees peg this as an autumn scene. The trees tell me there’s a slight breeze too. And for some reason, I think it’s an overcast day. If I slip and fall into the cold mountain runoff in that stream, I’ll have no problem warming up in the snug little cabin. Aside from all the wilderness feels I’m getting, I need to also take a moment to appreciate the quality of these birch trees. The technic pins take them to a whole new level, making it look like the bark is falling off along with the leaves.
Big isn’t always better, as this small LEGO castle by Carter Witz proves. An outpost for a troop of wolf-riding soldiers, the fortification sits on a ridge of rock, accessed by stairway. The texturing on both castle and stairway is excellent, with a wide variety of bricks creating the feel of weathered stonework. I like the little details like the arch above the door and the fence around what I’m going to call “the wolf enclosure”. I think the rockwork might have benefited from a scattering of a contrasting colour, but other than that the forest scenery is well done. I am, however, concerned for the comfort of the soldiers stationed at this outpost. With five troopers already in residence in the tiny castle, I really hope the two new arrivals are not intending to stay for long.
Builder Carter Witz has a strong back catalog of interesting LEGO dioramas that we’ve always found notable for their natural elements competing with the man-made creations for the eye’s attention. Whether it’s the gates of Menegroth or a steam-powered mechanical walker prowling the landscape there’s always a pleasing contrast throughline that continues with his newest creation, the Forgotten Door.
This creation also shows Carter’s growth as a LEGO builder with rock formations significantly more complex than his prior work. This time-consuming texturing perfectly complements the finely-chiseled stone doorway, and the entire diorama is framed with lush vegetation.
Steam-driven military walkers are a staple of the LEGO Steampunk building genre, and this one, by Carter Witz, is a great addition to the corps — a spindly tripod affair with touches of dark red in amongst the grey greebles. The functional-looking joints on the legs support a nicely detailed body packed with texture (and armaments).
I particularly liked the evocation of a classic Prussian-esque “pickelhaube” spiked helmet. This is one of those LEGO creations where the presentation adds immensely to the overall effect. The base is simple but well done, and the addition of the figures advancing beneath their mechanical companion gives an impression of scale the central model alone might lack. And dropping in that wolf is a masterstroke — immediately creating a sense of mystery, danger, and otherworldliness. Steampunk needs more wolves.
Every journey comes to an end sometime, and for this weary traveler, his journey ends with a warm welcome from a loving father in this lovely scene by Carter Witz. One of the first details that caught my eye was the gently angled wall along the riverside.
The same style of stacked plates and tiles is carried through to the back yard, which also features simple but interesting trees and other vegetation.
Carter has included a fully detailed interior, which suggests, along with the letter in the father’s hand, that this homecoming was expected, and a yet another treasure of home is waiting. A good meal.
Every year for the past few summers, right around now talented castle builders start coming out of the woodwork and displaying their creations for the Summer Joust. One such talented castle builder is Carter Witz, who has built the ruins of some ancient civilization on the edge of a tropical island. Unlike most such builds, however, Carter has set most of the building beneath the waves, implying either that the level of the sea has risen or that the level of the land has sunk. Or were the original inhabitants merfolk? Our only clue is that the builder has titled the work “Flooded…”. Whatever the events were that befell the now-ruined tower, it is an impressive build.
Large sections of rocks often get to be tedious, but Carter has kept the rocks looking interesting by varying the pieces and techniques on the way up. Minifigure arms on the submerged trees make for effective branches, and the tan gears look like nice corals. There are even ball joint pieces used as some sort of sponge, perhaps. The nicest detail, though, is the fish hiding in the hole in the tower. They don’t mind at all that the place is flooded.
When recreating a movie scene, a LEGO creation done right will make you feel like you’re in the scene yourself. That’s exactly what Carter Witz has done with his Dual on Takodana. Star Wars fans will remember the moment when FN-2199 (nicknamed TR-8R by the fans) confronts Finn in the remains of Maz Kanata’s castle.
The mix of different dark grey pieces recall the look of the castle, both before it was destroyed – as seen in the structures left standing – and after. The destroyed stone of the castle is highlighted by fallen trees, bent metal, and small fires dotting the scene. One of the fires even features a trans-orange snake element to give it a unique shape. In addition to looking cool, there are even play features with the figures weapons clashing and rubble exploding.