I love single-use LEGO elements, those pieces that are so specialized that they can only be used to make the one thing they were designed to build. Take, for example the head of a dewback from Star Wars. It’s very useful for building, well, a dewback, but not much else in the hands of an average builder. But in the hands of a master, like Simon Hundsbichler, that same piece becomes a mossy hill in a microscale creation. Add in one of the hip assemblies from the same creature, a video camera as a tower, a Bionicle leg as a coniferous tree, a werewolf head as a cliff, and about thirty other pieces, and you have a miniature masterpiece.
They say all snowflakes are unique, and that seems to also apply to microscale castles in the snow. This excellent creation by Simon Liu is rich in clever part usage. Orange unicorn horns, tread attachments, and 1×1 roof tiles add just the right splash of color to the grey stone. In the castle there are plenty of clever angles and building techniques to explore. I like the use of rail plate to form the walls, and that inverted bucket at part of the main tower. For the snow, various tooth plates in white add texture and context for the scene. It’s a tiny winter wonderland!
When I first saw this I thought it captured “cold” perfectly. Cool colors and just the right amount of snow and ice in the right places. But this LEGO castle, built by Jonas Kramm, goes beyond that. What’s impressive to me are the angles, shaping, and use of so many different elements to achieve the look. For example, he fit a Technic pulley wheel into the new Minions eye element to create a unique window, and dark brown scabbards are used for trim detail. Additionally, there are a number of pieces making up the icicles and snowdrifts. Most notable are the minifigure accessories used on top of the lamp posts and under the eaves of the front door. A couple of my favorite parts are the fiber optic cable for icy flowing water and the hidden parrot. Find them? Zoom in to take a closer look!
Jonas has been very busy lately! Take a look at more of his work in our archives.
Sophie welcomes you to her LEGO study where you can not only find all sorts of books but also all sorts of parts being used in a very unusual and inspiring manner. Eli Willsea uses all kinds of bricks, plates, and tiles in dark grey to add texture to the castle walls. At first I was drawn to the creation because of it’s brilliant use of book covers and windows for the staircase. Both parts have a very distinctive purpose but are used for something completely different in a really creative way.
It took me a little while to notice that the book covers and windows weren’t the only parts used in a very original manner. The bookcase was made by using a boat. Adding some small bricks and bars made it blend in so nicely with the rest of the creation that you would almost not notice it at all.
Designing castles on a limited footprint is a fun challenge and this 12×12 castle by Roanoke Handybuck packs a lot of detail into a small space. From the rocky outcropping above a sheltered cove, three tall towers keep watch. Dark red rooftops are picked up in the small wooden buildings at the water’s edge. A tiny boat with a brave captain risks the rocky shore, and minifig hands for flags are a nice finishing touch.
I simply adore microscale castles, and microscale LEGO creations in general, too. There’s something about it, where even the slightest wrong choice in elements can ruin the whole composition, but the perfect usage of that one clever piece can make a masterpiece. Enter Markus Rollbühler, one of the world’s best LEGO master builders (seriously, check out his TBB rap sheet). His microscale fairytale castle and village are chock full of amazing and clever parts usages (and color, too; do I spy some sand red in there?).
While he’s used the party hats for tower roofs before, pairing them with cupcake liners is new. And there’s a mug in the tallest tower, Elves keys for the keep, wand sprues supporting book covers for the village houses, a katana holder for windmill blades, a roller skate as a cart being pulled by what looks like a non-production brown lever arm, a cupcake top as a haystack, and the list goes on. And don’t forget the unicorn horns balancing as trees. Even blinking near this thing must have the tiny denizens crying “Timber!”
The 1×1 plate with a printed black square showed up in 2017 as an architectural element in a few different LEGO sets. It has become a popular detailing element, especially in micro builds. This castle by Luka (First Order LEGO) has used it here to give this lovely little castle windows and contrast. He also used air tanks for the gate and seep, as well as white wands on the spires. I’m not sure if it’s intended, but the icy white and grey-blue look gives me a wintery vibe. Even more so with the nifty use of the medium blue Exo-Force hair on the lone tree near the base of the castle.
While you’re here, check out more of Luka’s excellent builds in our First Order LEGO archives.
What do you do when you’re under five feet tall and your voluminous tresses are getting wild and wooly? Why you would pay a visit to Per Wilkinsson’s Dwarven Barber Shop, of course. LEGO builder Aurore presents this amazing little shop complete with Celtic ornamentation, colorful awning, Viking-style roof and a sign adorned with scissors. Plenty of animals perch on or near the shop while a patron outside haggles for a beard trim. If it turns out Per was just a bit too feisty with the trimmers, you can cover your new botched hairdo with an assortment of bronze and silver helmets at the stand outside.
The whole shebang was inspired by the Friends Heartlake City Hair Salon set. Brilliant!
Just when I think Letranger Absurde can’t surprise me further, they do! This micro build of a Dwarven Mine is spectacular and just dripping with NPU (nice parts use). There’s so much to look at in this small build, but the two things that catch my eye the most are the graveyard up top and the absolutely genius use of minifigure purses as minecarts down below.
I love the combination of sideways and studs-up building and the limited color palette. The large amount of gray tones really makes the other elements stand out. The building detailing is beautiful and the dark tan ground level draws your attention to the middle of the photo, allowing the viewer to take in the upper and lower parts at the same time. The cluster of sand green trees is a nice addition that adds a little more color. The final touch is the wagon, perfectly realized in only three pieces and drawn by a brown frog posing as a dray horse.
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?
LEGO builder Jonathan Snyder has built a little something he calls “Solitude.” It’s part of a fortress wall using only two shades of tan and olive green. It proves you don’t need a lot of colors to build something charming. Varied textures created by masonry bricks, hinge plates, jumper plates and door rail plates all help create visually interesting surfaces. Goats also help make things interesting. Whether you’re building cars, spaceships, architecture or airplanes always incorporate goats to make things more interesting. Goats are both the cause and the solution to all our problems. Goats are always the answer. Goats!
If tiny LEGO castles are your jam, then Patrick B. has a treat for you. This 12 x 12 stud microscale masterpiece is full of so many cool parts that you’ll wonder why anyone bothers using standard bricks. The tops of Scala milk cartons make tiny blue tents, a minifigure microphone and tank linkage combine in the cannon, and dark green minifigure epaulets and tooth plates provide some vegetation. The castle itself is also a tiny work of art. If you look close you can spot bucket handles, minifigure hands, neck brackets, and even a basket as the interior of the front gate. And check out the construction on those towers! Quarter circle tiles are wedged into a 2×2 round plate to for the turrets. It’s a connection some might call “illegal” but I call “sweet.”
If you’d like to see how Patrick achieved all this, check out the Instagram post highlighting the build. And if that still isn’t enough great part usage to satisfy you, I should mention this isn’t the first creation of Patrick’s that we’ve featured.