Haunted houses are a well-worn trope of scary stories, but if we’re talking buildings with ghosts in them, surely castles are more likely to be haunted? They’re older, have often seen their fair share of battles, and are sometimes spooky enough in their own right. Chi Hsin Wei gets it. Now, if you presented this castle to me in a brochure, I’d probably think it was some exhilarating ride at a theme park. Spooky, sure, but not full of real ghosts. Probably. But those adventurers in the boat don’t look like they’re here for a thrill ride. Going to a castle that looks like it wants to eat you is probably a bit far to go for an adrenaline rush. The teacup rides are scary enough for me, thank you very much.
Fresh from its appearance at the Christchurch Brick Show in New Zealand earlier this month, this LEGO-made island-bound tower by Nathan Hake is simply astounding! Created over the better part of seven months, this mammoth medieval masterpiece sprawls out over a pair of islands and includes several noteworthy features like a shipwreck, black dragon, stone bridge, abandoned docks, magical portal, and a detailed tower interior. Details like the underside of its overhang and the tendrils of smoke rising out of its chimney stand out brilliantly on the tower. While more experienced builders will marvel at Nathan’s stud reversal on the rocks of the big island halfway up the side. Building at this scale, such techniques can become unwieldy, but it’s handled here quite adeptly.
“Man the gumdrop cannons! We’re on General Kringle’s naughty list this year!” Builder Mike Sinclair gives us a LEGO scene that has the Christmas season fighting against itself. Maybe you’re rooting for St. Nick and his elven troops, armed with a present catapult and cannon. But if you’re like me, you’re on the side of the Gingerbread Kingdom. With their cookie castle surrounded by a chocolate moat, these confectionary combatants aren’t about to crumble under pressure. The fortress is a beautiful mish-mash of classic castle shapes laced with bits of icing and other sweet treats. It’s an extremely well-executed fusion of themes. And, much like the smell of gingerbread, it’s got me hungry for more!
If you couldn’t tell from the title, this LEGO castle masterpiece by Ben Hauger has got angles going every which way! The rockwork is terrific – a base of dark gray slopes conveying all kinds of craggy goodness. Yet the twisty vines laid out atop all those slopes are the real treat. Using chains of dark brown droid arms and assorted verdant bits in olive green, Ben laces his build’s foundation with a glorious bit of greenery. But for a more man-made angle, check out the beams supporting the right jetty. Those thick logs of LEGO lumber add a level of architectural realism to the creation, while showcasing a brilliant technique that I’m going to have to try myself.
Finally, taking a look at the build from a different angle, the full design of the main tower comes into view. Instead of relying on the simple, 45° look common to brick built turrets, Ben has bent his walls in a more custom fashion, relying on the rounded 1×2 plate and cheese slopes to marry the pieces together. Continuing the walls’ cobbling over those corners obscures the seam, but also creates a wonderful texture on the façade.
Check out this wonderful sandstone stronghold by LEGO builder Carter Witz! The crenellations here are beautiful, creating that classic castle shape with plenty of texture embedded in the walls to break up all the flat surfaces and the occasional slab of dark tan. I also appreciate the occasional curve in this boxy fortress design, be it the arched window insets or the perfect use of the 1×1 quarter round tile under the projected battlements throughout the build. Thoughout the build, you can findthe occasional inventive use of a loose minifigure hand to recreate a tree branch, an architectural detail, or a ribbon. All that said, Carter’s use of color steals the show! Azure doors, leafy lime trees, and the blue outfits of its inhabitants stand in glorious contrast to the sandy walls of this fortress.
The Black Falcons have proven to be the most popular of the 80s LEGO castle factions, but despite having a few small castles, one thing they never got was a proper large castle of their own. Enter Steven Erickson with a redux of the iconic 6074 Black Falcon’s Fortress from 1986, a set so beloved that LEGO re-released it in 2001. Steven’s version is a significant upgrade from the original 404-piece set, bringing the tiny fortress up to a respectable size and adorning it with modern techniques while still retaining the old-school feel.
Builder -soccerkid6 goes to the drawing board with this new vision of the classic LEGO Castle set 6078 Royal Drawbridge. The original set is from year 1995 and features a bridge that’s less draw and more sneaky. It could drop anyone on it into the water around it–it’s a trap! Of course, being a set from 1995, the details are rather sparse with limited parts in existence at the time. This redesign, on the other hand, is rich with details and parts. First, the drawbridge is the spitting image of what we expect a drawbridge to look like, complete with the chains. The towering battlements are fuller now, featuring lovely detailing in the exposed brick textures of the walls. The spires are stronger with the blue drill pieces for the points, but my favorite little touch in the whole build is the inclusion of flowers with the greenery.
Humans aren’t the only ones who like to build castles out of LEGO! Sometimes dragons do too, like this cute little red one from Dan Ko. This nerdy dragon, Nurdley, comes to us for the BrickNerd Nerdvember contest. This year’s theme is High Fantasy, which means this dragon will feel right at home with his custom castle. I just love this build! It’s a small build, but that just means there’s got to be all sorts of clever parts usage. It’s easy for things to take on a blocky design with LEGO, but there are some really cool parts that can add curves and shape to a build. Take for example the minifigure phone pieces for Nurdley’s arms. Or the excellent usage of car seats for his wings. Even the castle uses some cool parts for further texture and definition, like the pieces making up the tower.
A long time ago, in a LEGO theme far, far away…. NikiFilik gives us a wonderful mashup of Star Wars and LEGO Castles in this cute vignette! Luke Skywalker crashes his knightly cart in the Dagobah swamps where lives Majisto the wizard. Majisto, much like Yoda, finds Luke to be lacking in confidence and belief in the Force–ahem, pardon–Magic of the land. Majisto must raise the cart from the murky waters lest it be claimed for all time. The bright colors in use here lend a cute and fairytale-like feel to the overall scene. The lovely sculpting of the grass and water also helps with this lively feeling, showing that Star Wars pairs nicely with other fairytale themes! I also love the door, with the different layers standing out. And shoutout to the horse watching over Luke’s shoulder–I can only assume its name is Artoo after that spunky little Astromech droid we all love.
Two LEGO themes come together in this cool vignette from CheeseyStudios. Steve seems to have a love for the explosive lure of TNT–maybe he’s found the secret joy of creepers… The knight seems unsuspecting of the danger waiting outside the castle gate, but his horse is vigilant. This vignette is built for the day 2 Vignweek prompt of ‘Theme Mix’, and CheeseyStudios’s has a great love for the awesome themes of Castles and Minecraft. The two blend together wonderfully with their blocks and bricks, most obvious in the rocks, land, and wall near Steve. I also admire the castle banners with their dual blue and the clever use of the Friends theme horse saddle. Another great use of the horse saddle is for the underside of the brick-built horse and its raiment. The horse towers over all with its long legs, ideal for catching Steve before he lights any TNT!
This little LEGO creation by KitKat1414 may sit on a tiny base but it packs a huge amount of skill. KitKat says this fantasy build is based on the ruins of St Andrew’s Cathedral, and the mottled stonework is excellently sculpted to portray the decaying Gothic architecture using a wide variety of grey elements. The green basilisk is wonderfully articulated circling the spire, and the face is a masterwork of brick techniques, of which the best might be the two baby dragons that combine to form the nose.
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro is a Studio Ghibli film which is often overlooked, so it’s great to see this fantastic build of the main structure in the film by Sandro Damiano. Created in microscale, the castle rests upon a beautifully formed lake with different shades of colour placed underneath transparent blue tiles, representing the variety of depths in the water. A long walkway links the castle to a clock tower which is placed upon a crumbling wall. The castle has been lovingly built with accurate tall blue spires and roofing details. Headlight pieces are heavily featured across the castle, portraying large windows.
Round the back you can really get a sense of how the castle is built upon a rocky surface with the use of dark grey bricks. There are also some clever uses of parts, such as the ends of grille pieces as tiny windows, and some of the arches are represented by rounded plates with bar handles. It’s a fantastic build that really captures the sense of awe and mystery surrounding the castle.