If you were a medieval peasant, would you prefer a cozy hut in the village, or a windmill in the countryside? Though it may be a bit drafty, I think I’d pick the windmill. At least, I’d pick this one, built by Sandro Damiano! With its quaint cabin and cobblestone path, it’s a peasant’s castle!
Sandro does a great job of capturing all the little dimensions and levels. It keeps your eyes wandering around the scene. This garden is full of tasty veggies to take to the market!
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.
Most of us are familiar with princesses kissing frogs in fairytales to save their beloved from a curse, but this build by Revan New introduced me to a different, unique story, in which the girl is tasked by a sorcerer to guess her lover amongst four of the sorcerer’s apprentices, turned into ravens.
The creation is not a perfectly “realistic” recreation of the fairytale scene, as Revan adds expressive, artistic accents to the build. The snow on the edges of the beautifully constructed walls seems to have little logical relation to the scene itself, instead capturing the atmosphere and emotional aspects of the story. A few splashes of brown help to break up the build colour-wise without making it inapropriately cheerful, and the window is especially well integrated into the wall. The figures are well built too, with great details like the sorcerer’s boots and belt buckle, but most importantly, they are very expressive.
The Lord of the Rings is constantly present as a theme in LEGO fan creations, although less so in the past year or two. As an extension, other stories of Tolkien’s universe find their way into bricks, notably and in this example by Carter Witz, the Silmarillion. The build represents the gates of Menegroth, the thousand caverns, which is one of the most beautiful motives in the Silmarillion in my opinion.
As the obvious centerpiece of the diorama the stone door is beautifully crafted with carefully and effectively placed sand blue pieces to break up the gray, as well as some neat part uses, from the shields and a ribbed hose above the gates to the moustaches used as door rings. I should point out the landscaping, which has a good mixture of greens for a realistic grass effect and a neat tree with simple yet effective roots extending beyond the base.
The German online roleplaying game Nine Kingdoms (Neun Reiche) consistently provides high quality castle-themed creations of all sorts, from standard to quite unique. This build by Patrick B. is somewhere in between, containing basic village life elements, but in the shape of an orc settlement, which is not your everyday castle creation.
Somehow, Patrick has managed to make lime green look like grass, which is nearly impossible. Combined with light green, it gives a very unique look to the diorama. There are a lot of clever uses of parts like large figure and minifigure hair pieces as stones and gears as flowers. The hut has some exotic elements as well, most notably some scala parts and a DUPLO bearskin. It looks perfect and I think I would not need orcs strolling around it to know they lived there.
… for this night and all the nights to come. Even if they haven’t taken the oath themselves, it’s clear that at least three members of the Vancouver LEGO Club (Keith Reed, David Guedes, and David Gagnon), have a soft place in their hearts for the men of the Night’s Watch. Back in 2016, the three Canadian builders constructed this massive version of the Wall from Game of Thrones.
Although it’s mostly monochromatic, this gigantic LEGO creation is anything but boring. The wall itself has an excellent ice-like texture (a result of the SNOT building technique using plates) and appears thick enough to withstand a serious siege. In addition to being huge, this build also features a ton of details and action. At the base of the wall sits a fully-fortified Castle Black, while Tyrion Lannister relieves himself at the top the wall. Beyond, Jon and Samwell take their vows and a wildling army swarms the woods with brick-built mammoths.
Click to see more images of this huge build along with some close ups to show the action
The latest trend for castle creations have focused on organic and colorful shapes, showcasing complex building techniques and intensive parts usage. A leading pioneer of this style is Derfel Cadarn, who created a guide in 2011 showcasing some detailed techniques that many builders have referenced. Before then castles used to be square, which you can see in examples from prolific builders from the previous decade such as Rocko, Darkspawn, and even hachi from the early 2000’s.
This brings me to the latest creation by Brother Steven, which purposely features simpler building techniques reminiscent of the old style of castles. The white walls and the staggered towers are strikingly solid features, an effect that is best achieved with the bread and butter technique of stacking one brick on top of another.
Where do the nobles of Mesopotamia gather to discuss politics or who owns the most camels? Sam Malmberg will show you the way to his desert retreat where drinks are served and the dancers are divine.
This build features prominent Arabian-themed architectural elements, and the use of colored paneling adds character to the predominantly gray structure. The slanted stone railing and the angled brown awnings are great techniques that have broad architectural applications.
The Faraam character/armour set that was used extensively in the marketing of Dark Souls II has now found its way to LEGO thanks to this build by robbadopdop. It’s a very heavy, layered brick build that could easily pass as a stone monument piece if you switch out all the colours for grey. The fine detailing on the shield is particularly impressive, and the shaping of the cloth and fur elements should be commended too.
Another interesting point on this build is that the picture above isn’t a Photoshop of a single build. Instead, the builder made two (one as a commission and one to keep) so we get a rare double-sided view.
Whether in person or through the tubes and pipes of the internet, looking at a LEGO castle diorama has always been somewhat akin to viewing a renaissance painting in an art gallery for me. Like many great medieval artworks, there’s always so many things happening, and so many visually foreign and intriguing things occuring all at once — so much to take in. Brickwielder‘s latest build is filled to the brim with fun details and nifty building techniques. From the waterfall to the winding staircase, the bridge, or even all the foliage, there’s enough here to get lost.
This row of colorfully crooked medieval houses by Ralf Langer depicts his first attempt at building a custom LEGO creation. While it’s hard to believe a new builder’s first LEGO creation can be a masterpiece, it’s certainly possible but usually requires lots of studying other creations and experimenting with building techniques. Ralf has probably done plenty of both, and the result paid off beautifully. I like the style of using detached landscape elements to enhance the setting, which adds a lot of depth to the scene.
Here’s a great example of how effective composition can turn a LEGO scene into something special. This slice of landscaping from Sergeant Chipmunk is a nice model of two warriors meeting on a smartly-constructed bridge. The surrounding scenery is nicely-done — the layers creating the gradients around the small stream are fantastic, and I like the amount of detail going on with the campsite and animal life. However, what really catches the eye is the way the bridge cuts across the diorama in a dramatic diagonal, and how the framing walls follow the contours making it feel like a slice of terrain cut from a genuine fantasy world. Wonderful stuff.