Following up his creation of a decaying wall, Jonathan Svenning brings us a medieval sawmill in a beautiful natural setting. The style is quite different from the previous build, with the fewer textures and a larger piece of scenery, and there is a lot to look at throughout the build. The main building utilizes many colours to mix into a realistic weathered texture.
What sells it for me though, is the landscaping. Jonathan has used a unique technique of angled plates for meandering water, as well as some interesting solutions for trees, particularly the sand green ones in front of the buildings.
Usually when writing about my own creation, I would take the opportunity to share some insights into my building process and what it takes to build something as large as this mountaintop abbey. Instead, I feel this creation is an example of how color, texture and composition can be combined to maximize the aesthetics of a build, especially one of this size. Like almost all of my builds, there are no crazy new techniques, and no unusually nice parts usages (NPU) to highlight. Besides building the interior supports and the two round roofs, there was nothing exceptionally challenging about the construction of this creation. However, I think its straightforwardness enhances rather than detracts from its beauty. My inspiration came mostly from ancient Eastern European churches I visited while briefly living in Budapest.
But that’s not the main point I want to talk about here. Instead, I wish to dedicate this creation to all the non-AFOL significant others out there who support us in enjoying this crazy hobby. After what I’ve put my wife through the last month, it’s the least I can do. Continue reading
Modern LEGO castle building trends call for intensely textured walls, with the texture achieved with use of many small tiles and plates. While it is quite impressive, it makes me wonder why all LEGO castles look like nobody is caring for them. This wall segment by Jonatan Svenning does not have this awkward situation, as it is meant to look decreipt and abandoned. It does the job incredibly well, with wall segments tilting and breaking apart.
While I wonder if a chain could hold a cobblestone tower, it certainly looks nice. But what sets this old wall from the rest is the overgrowth on and around the wall – from moss growing everywhere to the flowers and trees (including one utilizing large figure armor parts as a tree trunk) around the wall. The best plantal element however, has to be the tree growing straight out of the wall, crumbling it in the process.
Gatehouses are quite a popular theme in LEGO castle builds, but this port village gatehouse by Titus Verelst still manages to bring something new to the table, surrounding the gatehouse with a village suspended on logs. It makes a nice composition with the rooftops and curved path, adding just enough minifig action to bring the scene to life, despite the bleak colour scheme. I do wish the builder had added water around the village, or at least used some clever digital tricks or blue paper as a stand in.
Summer is a wonderful time of no obligations and worries for a school-age young adult such as myself. The past two years it has also meant entering the Summer Joust contest, which has just concluded. Last year I went small and built a microscale castle being attacked by a dragon, but with the addition of the “Immersive LEGO Scene” category this year (possibly my favorite type of LEGO creation) I knew I had give it a go. My first idea was to build a knight returning from battle, like we see in so many medieval movies and books, so I went with it, and this was the result:
Click through to see a behind the scenes shot (no pun intended)
Who’s that trip-trapping over my LEGO bridge? Well, according to Andreas Lenander, it’s the King and his Knights — one of whom has taken a tumble into the stream. The hapless swimmer injects some fun detail into the scene, but the undoubted highlight must be the arches on the bridge — fashioned from partly-connected 1×2 plates.
There is something about this mountaintop temple by David Zambito that just makes me want to be there. Climbing the mountain for days to reach it, and then meditating for just as long. The serene environment is achieved by soft, earth-tone colours and a warm background. There are many great techniques used throughout, like jet engines as bells, and hair pieces and convex tiles as cobblestone walls. I am not sure whether I am supposed to imagine a larger temple behind the scene or not, but it works either way.
It’s obvious that jaapxaap likes to incorporate unusual colors into his LEGO castles. Based on his previous creations (remember his walking cottage and witchy fortress?), it seems like purple is jaapxaap’s go-to color. And in spite of the fact that this temple has a staggering amount of texture, curves, and details, it still has an overall clean design that’s very pleasing. There are also tons of great details. My favorite is the swirling rock legs which jaapxaap incorporated into the columns!
BobDeQuatre says he doesn’t have the skills for castle building, but his recent entry in the Summer Joust 2017 build challenge’s 8×8 vignette category is one of the best entries I’ve seen yet. The story behind the build is that the castle was built by northern men, enslaved by the black queen. After the castle was completed she summoned a magical storm which lifted the castle up to make it impenetrable to her enemies. The builder has represented the storm perfectly by using a NEXO Knights whirlwind part, along with other dark purple bricks that bleed into the base of the castle.
However, the lighting is what really sets this vignette apart from the crowd — it adds an epic effect to the storm by shining through the transparent portion of the NEXO Knights piece, adding a sinister red glow fitting of the castles backstory.
Despite its harsh nature, I would love visiting the Orange Fern Gorge, as built by W. Navarre. The jewel merchant minifigs in the scene probably do not share my sentiment, however, as their intrepid expedition might be born more of necessity than love for the scenery. And what a gorgeous scenery it is! The layers of rock are a beautiful balance of rough but clean, while the ground’s texture compliments the rocks well. A careful combination of olive and sand green accented by a few pink flowers adds just enough life to the scene to still look barren and dead, but not boring.
The bridge is quite interesting on its own – while it’s possible the model builder may have run out of string while making the bridge and added a short chain as the support on one posts, it’s also probably what the bridge’s makers would do if they had run out of rope. Finally, having the two rocky pillars presented on separate base plates adds a lot to the composition as well.
Of all the fantasy movie scenes out there, the Amon Hen conflict from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring may be among the most commonly recreated in LEGO. This version by John Snyder has some of the best landscaping I have seen in a while, with subtle slopes and realistic trees, but most importantly a beautiful gravel riverbank. The landscape is so effective because of how simple and relatable it is—there are no grand rock formations or majestic trees, just a normal forest, but built perfectly.
The Second Annual Summer Joust castle competition is well underway, and with just over two weeks left to enter, the contest has prompted some amazing entries. ReeseEH built a small diorama featuring a beautiful gatehouse and castle gate built into tree. The build is full of wonderful details like the textured castle wall, the string vines hanging from the tree, and the gatehouse roof made from various bars and droid arms, giving it a rough thatched look. Although, I do spy a strange-looking character on the banks of the pond—is that Bossk doing some fishing?
This build was an entry for the castle collaboration category with Cab~, Micah Beideman , and Michael the juggler, be sure to keep a lookout for the other builders contributions!