When you’re building a floating castle, space is limited. The City of Alaylon designed by the legendary architect Sir Alberto Mauriccio (according to the LEGO builder, Brother Steven) is a wonderful example of making the most of limited land. The island in the sky that this fortification and village are perched on is actually made up of two pieces of land connected by a sky bridge.
There is nothing boring or plain about this castle in the sky. The many wall and tower fortification are built using some common elements of various sizes, like radar dishes and 1×1 round plates, and the inclusion of sloped elements at regular intervals along the walls ties the different structures together. The outer walls are gently curved to reinforce the crescent shape of the landscape.
The many upper towers, all in white, are also built to different dimensions using a wide variety of arches and other architectural elements that compliment each other quite nicely.
The smaller shops and building inside the castle walls are the perfect addition to the scene, providing a glimpse into the day to day life of its residents and visitors. I really love the mason perched on a small platform to do some delicate repair work.
It’s one of the contradictions at the heart of LEGO building, that we love to see the rectilinear brick subverted. Bravo to jaapxaap, who has centred his latest model on some seriously wonky geometry. There’s no doubt that Falcon Castle is suffering from years of subsidence, its central tower quaintly leaning at the most acute of angles.
Of course it takes real talent to do this, which you pick up again in the embellishments that have been added: the ingot bricks used to simulate wear, or the golden tower painstakingly formed form telescope pieces. In the end though, you just have to marvel at the way the imperfections of the ramshackle fortress have been so perfectly built.
We see lots of impressive LEGO castles, often huge models festooned with towers and crenellations. Detailed medieval interiors prove a little less common, but here is an excellent example from O Wingård, and one which shows you don’t have to build big to build good. Although not put together with complex building techniques, this scene is packed full of detail — a hallmark of the best LEGO creations. The walls use a good selection of different brick types to add realistic texture to the backdrop. There’s a fine assortment of armour and weaponry on display, and the ceiling beams are nicely done. However, the highlight for me is the brick-built door with silver “tooth plates” providing hinges — nothing particularly complex in its construction, but a perfectly proportioned portal all the same.
We’ve seen a lot of LEGO castles built deep in forests, hidden among tall spreading trees. But John Klapheke takes an absolutely different approach to the idea of the landscape in and around his latest micro-castle. Instead of surprising us with enormous amount of greenery around the castle, he plants only one tree, but right behind the castle walls. I must admit I love how this scheme makes my imagination work: is it an old gigantic oak towering over the castle, or is it a regular forest tree occupied by a tribe of small mythical creatures? And it is simply stunning how a small sail boat leaving the pier adds a whole new storyline to this charming creation.
Microscale offers LEGO builders an opportunity to create epic layouts within a reasonable footprint and parts budget. Peter Ilmrud takes full advantage of these benefits to create a sizeable slice of a fantasy kingdom, complete with an impressive mountaintop city guarded by a dragon. The city itself is nicely done, with clever combination of bricks to make windows from the little gaps. Aside from the towers of the citadel, the scenery is packed full of all the fantasy details you’d expect — sprawling forests, riverfront villages, guard towers in the hills, and a cave entrance which doubtless leads into a dungeon complex overflowing with goblins.
I particularly like the river winding its way through the landscape, the banks smoothed with a nice selection of curved plates. It also offers a setting for some smart parts usage — check out that ship made from golden epaulettes mounted upside-down on a jumper plate. Sweet.
LEGO’s fantasy RPG-lite board game series Heroica may not have seen all much success with adult gamers or builders, but I’d be willing to bet if the boards had looked more like this upgraded version by Kale Frost, there would have been a great deal more interest. With some lovely sculpting, Kale has created an interactive map that retains the checkerboard movement squares for the players, while adding fun micro-builds for the various locations. For details, the scattered trans light blue cheese slopes in the water add a nice bit of motion to the seas, while the robot arms make great bridge railings.
Kale notes that he’s planning to expand the game board to make an even bigger playing area, so we can’t wait to see else is in store for these tiny adventurers!
The TBB Cover Photo for September 2018 is this beautiful triptych (a fancy word for a picture or carving featuring three panels side by side), which shows the journey of wood during medieval times, from logging through cutting and use in a large building. The photo is a collaboration between three builders: Travis Brickle, who built the forest, Simon NH, who built the sawmill, and Ralph Langer, who built the medieval construction scene. While each of the builds is stunning in its own right, the builders did an excellent job coordinating their photography and build styles to create a trifecta of creations that tells a simple yet charming story.
Want to see your own LEGO creation featured across TBB social media for a month? Then read the submission guidelines and submit your photo today. Photos that do not meet the submission guidelines will not be considered, and will be removed from the group.
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Taylor, of the Brandon and Taylor Walker building duo, has put out another entry in his Dungeons & Dragons series. As a newly-minted D&D player in the middle of his first adventure (I’m a half-elf Ranger with a sailor background who always follows orders, even if they’re wrong), I’m probably paying more attention to this one than I normally would have! There are five unique figures representing a range of the official character classes all facing off against a monstrous mimic treasure chest. The standout figure for me is the demonic tiefling with his mustache-for-horns. The floor and walls are also extremely well done, adding a patterned texture to offset the chaotic battle.
And if you’re as hungry for more D&D LEGO content as I currently am, check out our archives for cool models featured previously!
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Sierra was one of the biggest names in PC gaming, and high-quality adventure games were one of their specialties. One of their most beloved franchises was the Quest for Glory series, developed by Lori Ann and Corey Cole. Of the five games in the series, Letranger Absurde chose to recreate the opening scene of Quest for Glory I: So You Want to be a Hero. As the hero enters the picturesque town of Spielberg for the first time, he is greeted by Sheriff Schultz Meistersson and his massive right-hand-man, Otto Von Goon. Going by the colors used, Letranger appears to have based his representation on the VGA remake. He makes a great use of various angles to form the buildings in front of the town square, and forced perspective is cleverly used to suggest there is another area to explore. The characters are instantly recognizable, including a brick-built version of Otto pulling off a yo-yo trick like he often does in the game.
This innovative building technique for windmill sails is simply magic! Magic wands that is. Andreas Lenander leaves some of the new wand pieces from the Harry Potter Collectible Minifigures attached to their plastic sprue and takes full advantage of their interesting shape. Beyond the smart parts-usage for the sails, the mill itself has a decent level of texture for such a small model, and is set within a nice little landscape — suggestive of a wider world around the building. This wouldn’t look out of place in a medieval real-time strategy game. And anything which reminds me of The Settlers is a good thing in my book.
Diablo 2 is a game that is almost two decades old now, yet still holds a sizable following, including myself and, judging by some of his creations, Tammo S. Taking the game’s age into consideration, the photography angle of the creation makes much more sense, as it reflects the top-down view of the game. If you’re familiar with the game, you’ll love this creation for all its accurate details like the Paladin character in the middle sporting a Holy Fire aura and a Bone Shield. But even if this is the first time you’ve heard of this game, there is a lot to see.
Combinations of different tan colours to create an impression of stone bricks and all the textures and architectural elements really facilitate the Egyptian style of this part of the game. The creation was undoubtedly built for the top-down view characteristic for the Diablo videogame series, but this alternate angle still shows a some details that would otherwise remain hidden.
This pastoral farm scene by Jonatan Svenning packs a lot of great details into a small space. One of my favorite features is the simple roof, which uses 2×4 tiles connected on the underside and resting on the sloped wall with no apparent stud connection.
The narrow door and the textured walls provide a cozy vibe, while the low rock wall looks sturdy and weather-worn. I also love the multiple colors for both the landscaping and the path, that go so well together.