Builder John Snyder calls this creation “The Island of El Harraz,” and while I believe that this could be a part of an island, it is probably not the whole deal, considering where the camel and ostrich would go, why the denizens would have a market and what the structural integrity of medieval buildings would be on such a small sandy island. That aside, the creation is just sweet. Until a few years ago, Middle Eastern-inspired builds were rare, but lately, we’re seeing more of this established style of architecture (that is at least as deserving of attention as the classic European utilitarian military forts).
There is a nice composition to the whole scene, with buildings set up rising higher the further they are from the front. The colours used are simply perfect, and anyone who’s lived in or visited the areas that inspired John inspired would recognize them. This is all topped off by vivid minifigure action staged throughout the diorama, such as the ostrich looking on from the side with a surprising amount of character.
LEGO bricks and their interlocking system allows for certain architectural shapes stone or clay brick could never take, giving rise to many fantastical castle creations, much like this one by Zachary Milenius. The builder takes a unique turn with the choice of setting though; expected grays and earth tones give place to yellow and white with red brick showing through the cracks – a colour combination immediately recognizable to every LEGO pirates fan growing up in the 80s and 90s.
Click to discover more of the island’s secrets!
A fantastic piece of fantasy just popped up in the form of the home of the white lotus priestess by jaapxaap. Jaapxaap’s use of a wide variety of angles and bright colors help create a building that feels both wonderfully organic and magical. I wouldn’t have thought of doing a purple roof, but it works really well here and compliments the orange and brown hues of the surrounding terrain. A number of fun little details can be spotted in this build, including wild looking toadstools, a brilliant brick-built stork, and plenty examples of the priestess’ signature flower. You will even find a small porch with a telescope, perfect for any astrologer.
It seems strange that given how well-received LEGO creations of Mesoamerican architecture are, they are relatively rarely seen in the online LEGO building community, as if they were lost in a jungle. Hidden somewhere deep in the jungles of Flickr, an ancient temple built by Aaron Newman has been discovered, caught in the middle of a human sacrifice, which has angered Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent himself!
The temple serves as scenery for an engaging story hinted at by the builder in the photo’s description. The deity is beautifully sculpted and positioned, giving a convincing impression of graceful motion in the air. I love all the details across the temple, but the altar at the top is definetely the best part. A bit of greenery spilling around the temple and the excellent minifig action complete the scene, greatly aided by the very fitting and expressive background.
The Warhammer fantasy universe offers tricky inspiration for LEGO builders. When a fandom is founded on detailed models and painted miniatures, the thought of replicating those creations in another medium can be intimidating, and there’s also the question of how to make it interestingly different. Dwalin Forkbeard pulls this trick off admirably, with this LEGO diorama of Karak Kadrin, the mountain fortress home of a band of fearsome Dwarven warriors. The impressive stone face above the gate might grab all the initial attention, but don’t miss all the texture and the gold details in the construction — nice touches which prevent the walls becoming an unbroken mass of dark grey.
Aside from the looming fortress and the mountain, this creation impresses with the detailed activity and smart landscaping in front of the gate. I particularly liked this band of warriors heading out into the wintery wilderness past the statue…
This tiny castle by -soccerkid6 was built as a prize for a castle building contest but stands on its own merits as a great microscale model. Many different red elements make great roofs, and I love the ice-cream cones inverted under that long hall. The rockwork is also interesting, with lots of techniques normally found on much larger builds, such as the uneven base and sideways bricks.
And in case you are wondering what it looks like from the back–I know I was.
When it comes to building a great microscale castle, there is something beautiful in the simple choices, color, angled walls, round or square towers, a bridge. This lovely castle scene by Henjin_Quilones has many of these simple choices that add up to an enchanting build.
One of my favorite features is the use of inverted 2×2 round bricks, with windows at the top made with the gaps on the underside of the bricks and plates. A few well-placed gears are another nice detail. The grooved bricks used as stairs was a surprising feature. I also really love the smooth walls topped with slopes, and the very few windows placed very thoughtfully.
Besides the castle itself, there are other areas of the scene worth noticing, like the small village and docks, the watchtower on the far side of the bridge, and the detailed landscaping.
Group LEGO building projects are a great way to create something much more impressive than what an individual builder might accomplish, and this recent collaboration between a group of builders called The Brickstons and several friends from the LEGO club ALE is a great example. Considering that there were 14 builders involved, the scene is very well designed, with carefully laid out building standards and many unifying design elements helping everything fit together. This isn’t their first experience with large displays though, and we highlighted their 1930s Harlem display last month.
The diorama portrays a Viking raid on the coast of Spain in approximately the year 859, a real historic event. The villa shown here isn’t any specific port, but rather an amalgamation of what a typical village in the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba would have looked like at the time.
See all the amazing details in the images below.
Check out more details
Builder Perterz doesn’t give a backstory for this weathered cottage surrounded by nature, but it makes me think of Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods with its lonely and slightly exaggerated look. The wide-ranging color palette encompasses pretty much every earth tone in LEGO’s catalog, and the multitude of flowers make the setting teem with life.
While none of the major techniques on display here are new, Perterz employs them excellently, from the highly textured roof to the tall tree made with olive green cheese slopes. I particularly love the detailed wooden door, with black minifigure hands as iron bands.
The dragon is a common fantasy trope, but they’re hard to tire of because they come in so many wonderful varieties. This dragon, by Henjin_Quilones, is named Kijani the Earth Dragon. With a sand green color scheme similar to the Ninjago Green Ninja Mech Dragon, this beast has a totally different look. It even uses that set’s sculpted snout piece, but moves the eyes forward a bit, giving it a cute, stubby face befitting a dragon used to nosing about the earth.
Henjin says the dragon is fully articulated, from the toes to the wings. The double base is also a great effect here, with a big of earthy terrain and a more polished-looking smooth black rectangle beneath.
It took me a moment to recall a round printed LEGO piece that Sheo. used for the whirl in the centre of this portal in his latest creation. And then it hit me — it’s a very nice use of dinosaur tails and small claws! The final result is a wonderful example of negative space done right with LEGO pieces. And now it’s not the minifigure in front of the portal, but the builder who is the true wizard.
The devil’s in the details of this remarkable LEGO creation by Barthezz Brick. Pulled straight from season three of Game of Thrones, this ramshackle pile of stones is Harrenhal, the cursed fortress that was once the largest castle in all of Westeros. Barthezz captured the eerie atmosphere of this ruin through the use of crumbling, mossy stonework, dilapidated wooden structures, and a muted color palette. The overall effect is magnificent.
Barthezz used approximately 20,000 bricks to recreate the scene where Brienne of Tarth is forced to fight a bear using only a fake wooden sword. Look closely and you’ll find countless wonderful details, like realistic trees and vines, House Bolton banners (featuring the flayed man), and even a mud-spattered Jamie Lannister (with his severed hand tied around his neck).
This LEGO Harrenhal looks great from all angles and the custom minifigures (complete with adorable, tiny fur capes) really bring this scene to life. Check out all the great details for yourself below.
See more pictures of this incredible castle