LEGO Friends (and by extension, Elves) is a theme that had great success both with its target audience and beyond. Many builders love the themes for the exotic colours they brought to the palette, but some, like Isaac Snyder, take inspiration for builds from the Elves theme itself.
This little village has just enough buildings to look busy, and all of them have their own aesthetic while still looking very much like they belong together. My favourite techniques are the roofs, especially the purple windscreen used as an arch on the leftmost cottage. The clean lime grass broken up by printed tiles along with crystals and strange plants give the scene an otherworldly and profoundly magical feeling, just right for the Elves theme.
Builder Corvus Auriac takes us to a magical place with this amazing render of a microscale castle. The towers are exquisitely detailed with just enough randomness to look real, while still feeling like an absolutely massive structure perched atop a rock. The dragon, named Beowulf, is one of the better microscale designs I’ve seen, actually have four legs like a proper dragon (and not a wyvern, which only has two). The frog for a head is perfect. As with all great microscale models, you’ll be rewarded by spending some time poring over the minuscule details to see what parts have been cleverly repurposed.
Whether made out of real-life bricks or LEGO bricks, castle walls can be as simple as bricks stacked one on top of the other. However, some real castles have detailed walls, as does this LEGO castle by amenk sachio. The combination of sloped and arched grey bricks make the giant stone walls appear as if they were designed to be part of the finest renaissance château.
Particularly cunning is the use of socket joints to create arches: the wider end makes them naturally curve when stacked – an effect utilized here to great success. On top of the fine masonry, this castle is adroitly adorned with golden embellishments, with plant, animal, and weapon pieces used to create architectural details. My favourite detail of all is the repeated use of Witch-King crowns throughout, tying the entire fortress together.
The two things that stood out first in this build by XBrickmonster were the imperfect walls and the intricate windows made of LEGO elements ranging from claws and minfigure hands to tails and even Technic pins. That aside, the scene itself is a grand mystery waiting to be solved by our two detectives. While I leave the hard part to the experienced folks, I’m still trying to solve how that yellow frog got up there on the beams of the roof.
Seeing one of your national icons made in LEGO always gives a wholesome sense of civic pride, like the Mount Rushmore build we shared recently surely did for our American readers. However, living in a small country like Slovenia as I do can make such events scarce at best. Luckily for me, Isaac Snyder has given me this satisfaction and luckily for you, he has informed you about the largest cave castle in the world. Predjama Castle was first mentioned in 1274 as a small defensive fortress built inside a cavern with 6,5 kilometres of cave systems and a vertical 130-meter high cliff behind it. In 1570 it was expanded in the Renaissance style and remains this way to the present day.
The microscale build captures the real castle perfectly, as you can see from the reference used by Isaac. The build looks simple at first glance, until you start looking at the seams between bricks and notice how many difficult half-plate offsets and angles are scattered throughout the build. The landscaping is spot-on too, from the slanted cliff extending over the castle to the grass-covered hillside below. My favourite part is the staggered bricks on the side of the rightmost tower
Click to see the castle recreated in LEGO by local builders
The smells of a medieval city must have made it a nightmare to live in one. On the other hand, if you lived in a house built on the wall, you could enjoy the fresh countryside air as well as the city’s protection. This handy situation is captured in this creation by Mountain Hobbit.
All the various heights of the roofs and the complicated angles really give an impression of homes built on the wall and then new houses built on top of the old. The mixing of colours is done carefully to create a weathered impression that is not overwhelming. For a diorama with only a handful of minifigs, almost all grouped at the gate in the center, it seems to be teeming with life.
It can be surprising how far a little camera angle and a good idea can go. Sometimes creations that are amazing from a technical standpoint can turn out overwhelming or chaotic, when simplicity is all you need. This creation by Martin Harris is one of the examples where less is more.
The build is indeed simple, but it has everything it needs. The water is essentially just thoughtfully placed curved slopes, and the ship looks like a ship with a nicely sculpted dragonhead and a viking-style sail. All this is photographed cleanly and at an immersive angle. The selling point is the ridiculous idea though. The fierce warriors on the ship are different LEGO baby minifigs, including sewer babies from the LEGO Movie 2, all wearing LEGO Heroica helmets.
I’m a sucker for the stories behind builds. I’m also one for nicely cut lines and color choice in architecture. This build by Brother Steven displays all of those traits. Although we’ve seen it done before, the journal of an adventurer chronicled in LEGO is a fascinating concept, and done well by Steven. This particular creation is part of a series of builds, all following “Zenas Abbington” as the hero. There are so many lovely aspects to the castle: the round base, the shape of the towers, the pearl gold carriage wheel in the windows, and the accents on the front door. Let’s not forget how adorable those sheep are too!
And the flip-side is just as pretty! That tree is magnificent, with its color and angled branches. I’m also a big fan of the underside of those mushrooms! It’s no wonder that this, coupled with a few other creations, won a “Brickee” at BrickFair Alabama 2019!
Some of the details of this build are reminiscent of other creations from Steven’s magical world, such as this floating castle we featured last year.
There’s nothing like coming home to your family after a long journey. Perhaps in this case, a long quest or crusade. You know that feeling you have when you see your house after having been gone a while? This scene of a warrior being welcomed by his family, built by Tom Breugelman, is reminiscent of that feeling.
Of course, the real hero of this build is that cottage. The angles and rockwork are superbly done. The architecture immediately catches the eye. And all of the colors throughout the scene come together perfectly, but especially in the cottage. Now, if you’re looking for something similar, how about a house with many faces?
Fantasy castle building often leans towards the creation of dark, gloomy and foreboding places in which one would not lightly tread. Master castle builder Jonas Wide usually takes a different route, however, using cheerful splashes of color to create incredibly warm and welcoming scenes. This style is definitely evident in his latest creation, the Houses of Barqa:
The buildings are elegantly designed and laid out, but the real star of this show is the use of color. If there’s been a better use of sand red, I haven’t seen it. The pastel palette blends so well with the more subtle tan/dark tan foundations and street. Taken together, it’s a gorgeous and eye-catching scene. Clever use of lighting also makes for some atmospheric and quite realistic looking images.
If Jonas’ city leaves you wishing for more, definitely check out his amazing Streets of Barqa from several years ago or last year’s Aslanic Temple in Barqa.
Those of us in the northwestern hemisphere have had a tough time lately, what with the polar vortex, record-shattering temperatures (as low as -63 degrees Celsius at my mom’s house in Winnipeg, Canada) and unrelenting snow and ice. Even here in southwestern Arkansas, where winter generally just means anything below 10 degrees Celsius, we were racing to buy wintry garments normally only seen in movies about Alaska. On the flip side, the nasty weather meant more time shamelessly spent in the LEGO room. I built this tropical scene while daydreaming about places where I don’t have to leave faucets running for fear of water pipes bursting inside my home.
This was a simple but fun build to throw together. There are no crazy techniques or excessively nice parts usages (NPU) to highlight here. But a dash of color, proper composition and a bit of photography know-how can just about always turn a bland build into something that really catches the eye. If you like the trees, they are easily recreated using the 4mm pneumatic hose and cylinder bricks. They can be twisted around each other and held in that position with the leaf elements. Simple and easy jungle tree!
Despite the inclusion of Classical or Greco-Roman characters in several waves of Collectible Minifigures, the ancient world just isn’t as popular with LEGO Castle builders as the big gray castles of the medieval era. As a result, it’s always refreshing to see great LEGO models from that earlier era. Talented TBB alum Mark Erickson has created a fictional battle between rivals the Pierian Empire and the great city of Tylis. Mark’s diorama is full of fantastic architectural detail — I particularly love the contrast between the tan city walls and the shining white temple with its gold details and green roof.
See more of Mark’s fantastic Greco-Roman city