If your desk needs a bit of life, a tiny fantasy castle might help. Peter Ilmrud was faced with a similar dilema recently and came to the obvious solution. Inspired by the work of Yang Wang and armed with an IKEA HÄRLIGA glass case and a handful of bricks, Peter has created a cute little fairy tale castle.
The build has lots of brilliant details like the round tower’s windows and the tree growing on the side of the rocks, but most importantly, the composition of the castle is what connects it all into a very coherent creation. I sincerely hope more builders pick up the concept, as there is lots of potential in glass-encased LEGO creations.
In the depths of the Medina, behind the bazaar, the Sultan sneaks incognito through the arcade. Andrew JN evokes the architecture of the Middle East, and creates a nice sense of mystery and intrigue, in a LEGO diorama with a tiny 8×8 footprint. I love the restrained use of colour and the clean building style on display here. The use of turntable bases around the bottom is particularly effective, the layered archways are excellent, and the mosaic floor inside the arcade is nice touch.
It’s a long-standing policy that LEGO will not develop any models containing religious elements. I’ve always thought that’s a shame for the Castle theme in particular, where churches and cathedrals would have been some of the most important buildings. Thankfully LEGO fans have stepped in to fill the void, and this hilltop church by Simon NH is a great example.
The landscaping is done well, with a nice mix of earthy colours, a few trees, and a couple of gravestones to break things up. But the main attraction is clearly the church itself. It’s well-shaped, with diverse colours that still hang together as a cohesive whole, and the roof and steeple are excellent. The steeple also has some nice parts usage going on — don’t miss the boat hulls creating arched windows, and the lovely little cross on top.
British builder Spencer Stone has cunningly repurposed the portal beast from 76060 Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum (which we reviewed here last year) as the focus of this neat little dungeon scene. By placing the beast in a corner and shooting the build up close from the warrior’s level, Spencer creates an almost expressionist image that puts the viewer right inside the action. A few carefully placed dungeon accoutrements and wall features beautfully round out the scene.
All that remains now is for the Dungeon Master to figure out whether our cowardly protagonist earned any experience points from this encounter. But suffice to say that he’s probably in the market for a new +1 battle axe.
Did you ever design your own “dream room” when your were a child? I did, and it looked something like this boy’s room by John Snyder. Built for the final round of the ABS builder challenge and largely inspired by César Soares‘ amazing kid’s room, John says of his latest creation “it was really enjoyable to build a modern interior for a change, something outside of minifigure scale”. The scene is stocked to the gills with toys including (but not limited to) LEGO, action figures, costumes, planes, trains and even a castle! The stand out features for me are the working bi-fold door, fish tank, and brilliant red telescope.
The world of everyone’s favorite thief is expertly brought to life in this breathtaking and expansive LEGO creation by Ben Pitchford. Robin Hood would be proud to call this land home, with its depiction of Nottingham Castle, Sherwood Forest, and everything in between.
Built over the course of nine months and using more than 100,000 parts, this magnificent creation spares no details from the classic tales of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. You could easily get lost exploring Sherwood Forest with its towering trees and treetop hideouts…
Click to see more photos of this brilliant scene
Adding to his streak of amazing creations, Grant Davis creates this whimsical interpretation of the classic fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk. The focus of the build is the cloud tops, made mostly out of the curved panels that are the focus of the current round of the Iron Builder contest. The field of white clouds is complemented by Jack’s beanstalk, built using some interesting green pieces. But the real icing on the cake? The elegant curved path leading up to a microscale castle, in forced perspective. Grant manages to fill the image with just enough detail to be interesting, while keeping it simple and straightforward — a hard balance to achieve.
Our cover photo for the month of June is this scene by Ben Tritschler depicting a medieval version of a counting coup challenge. Eye catching textures abound in this nicely staged build which is just a little reminiscent of that memorable moment from Mission Impossible. Now all our brave thief has to do is decide which of those shiny objects to take!
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A wide mouthful of sharp dragon teeth is probably the last thing any LEGO knight wants to see. But this dragon bust by Aaron Newman looks pretty cool all the same. Personally I love a good LEGO dragon, and this one delivers on all fronts. The “generic” dragon head shape is hard to achieve in bricks, but is created perfectly here. I’d normally advise builders to avoid giving their dragons teeth — it’s tough to get them looking good. But Aaron has pulled it off nicely. In addition, the colour scheme works well, with pastel shades complementing the main white, giving a “realistic” Frost Drake look.
The bust is a scaled-up version of Aaron’s older minifig scale dragon, Fyaska the Unladylike. Here’s a comparison between the minifig and large versions…
It never ceases to amaze me how builders like Simon NH invent ingenious uses for unique LEGO elements. Spy the new pyramid piece cresting a pair of Thor’s Hammers as the half-toothed Technic bush crowns the crenels of the tallest towers. Did you notice the minifig arms as the rocky foundation or how Simon has used a broom as the little wooden bridge? The two swords as the path and the rippling surface of the water both also look brilliant. My favorite part usage has to be the new ‘tooth’ piece as the stone entranceway to this inspired little build.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the swamps and bayous of the southern United States fishing, hunting, photographing wildlife and generally avoiding venomous snakes and hungry alligators. The bottoms – as we affectionally call them down here – are also one of my favorite sources of inspiration for LEGO building. I recently completed this bayou-related build, my dream house set in the swamps:
Perhaps the scene feels a little lifeless but I purposefully chose not to include minifigs in this creation as I thought they would detract from the overall aesthetics. Using a fog machine and some LED lights I was able to create a creepy though strangely alluring atmosphere in this shot:
A fog machine can be a lot of fun to create mood in a LEGO scene, as can well-placed lighting. For outdoor scenes like this, I find it helpful to shoot outside at dusk with a single artificial light angled above the build to mimic moonlight. A tripod, fresh memory card and a lot of patience are also musts!
The Roman war machine was an impressive force in its time and to this day inspires many people, for better or for worse. This time it is for the better, as the Russian LEGO building duo Dmitriy and Anna have created an extremely expressive legionnaire using a relatively limited selection of bricks. There are many simple solutions for complex shapes, like exposed studs as the kneecaps and chin, as well as curved slopes that capture the shape of lorica segmentata perfectly.
The warrior’s weapons should not go unnoticed either: while the gladius in its scabbard is not quite perfect, I do not see how it could be done much better, but the pilum and scutum are basically flawless.