Whatever your take on their purpose, it has to be said that religious buildings like churches or cathedrals can be quite amazing places. There’s the spiritual aspect of course, but even on a purely material level, often they’re just downright pretty. That’s definitely the case with Casey McCoy‘s vignette. It’s a captivating scene depicting a priest in a moment of quiet contemplation. The whole thing is beautiful, but so are some of the building techniques! The cheese-slope stained glass windows are what draw the eye, and what give this scene its distinctive atmosphere. But cheese slopes are also used in the floor tiling to great effect. The candles are also great, made of Technic pins and lever handles.
You may be wondering how the Casey has managed to manipulate the figure into that quite un-minifigure like pose. The answer is with rubberbands, care and a lot of patience! A white rubberband also doubles as his clerical collar, which is a nice touch. There’s a good view of it here – a gorgeous snapshot that almost makes you hear the echoing silence of an empty church.
I used to live down the road from a cathedral, and the one thing I have noticed about them and churches is that more often than not, they seem to always have scaffolding up somewhere for restoration work. This is based purely on anecdotal evidence of course, but I will use Margrabia Mokotowski‘s beautiful LEGO church as another datapoint to support this dubious claim! Inspired by a real church in Margrabia’s native Poland, it wouldn’t look out of place as the centerpiece of a medieval township, even with the heavy weathering in evidence with some nice texturing. The ever-present scaffolding, though, belies its true setting in a modern-day LEGO city. It’s funny how a few minifigures and safety barriers can change the context of a whole build by a few hundred years!
LEGO love doesn’t always last. This creation by Kit Nugent is proof that sometimes even in LEGOland love ends prematurely. Kit created a massive church. I wouldn’t dare to guess how many bricks high it is. In the middle of the shot we can spot a woman mourning the loss of her lover who perished at the battlefront. Kit used not one, but two types of boats to create details in this creation. It is weird that something as big as a boat can be considered a detail. There is a ‘wooden’ rowing boat hidden in the altar piece. The boat is used to frame a wooden statue, which works perfectly. The other boat is a rubber boat that is used to frame a doorway. Best thing about this shot is the amount of light that appears to come through the enormous window and puts the scene with the lovers in the spotlight.
Oddly coloured LEGO foliage always catches my eyes. So this creation by Joe hits the sweet spot. Not only is the trees foliage purple and violet, the grass is lime coloured. The path leading towards the monastery is earth orange. So all of the secondary colours are accounted for, which creates a very pleasing aesthetic. You wouldn’t want to roll down these grassy hills, because the high grass is made using lots of sharp katanas. You can see this is not the living-in-poverty type of monastery as they somehow were able to afford a goat.
Next to LEGO I am a huge board game nerd, and I love it when hobbies collide. Isaac and John Snyder drew inspiration from one of my favourite board games. Everdell is a worker placement game in which you build the homes of the many forest critters that inhabit the forest of Everdell. The artwork was done by Andrew Bosley and Dann May. The playing cards depict forest locations but also its inhabitants. The illustrations on the cards look truly as if they came straight out of a fairy tale. I can surely see why Isaac and John would draw inspiration from it. In this creation we see the Everdell chapel which is built on a rock in a foggy lake. A grey Belville tower roof has been incorporated in the landscaping and to me it is mind boggling that this large piece blends in with the scenery so well.
The resemblance to the source material is really amazing. The Tudor style is done exceptionally well, and including yellowed and damaged white bricks to depict the decay of the building is really clever. On the playing card there are no animals included but it is nice to get some forest critters in there to make the scene appear more alive. They even get cute custom outfits made out of capes and rubber bands. I am curious to see if these two will keep drawing inspiration from this lovely board game. One thing is for sure, I wouldn’t mind!
LEGO creations by Jonas Kramm never cease to amaze us here at The Brothers Brick. For Jonas’ latest creation, inspiration was drawn from the San Juan level of the ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’ game featuring Lara Croft. Jonas’ eye for detail is exquisite as usual. We get lots of architectural details including several brick built bells. The smaller bells feature the Scala round brick with flower edges. The bun slope gets used as roof top shingles and there is an intricate iron framework placed in the bell tower created out of droid arms and burnt sausages. The ingot bar is used to create some urban decay and if you look closely at the church door, you’ll notice the ingot bar is used there in combination with the pyramid tile to represent the detailed woodwork of the door. On the left we see a grave that gives access to a beach cave where we can spot a small nod to the LEGO Islanders from the nineties. Somehow I feel like booking a vacation to San Juan now…
I really enjoy it when a builder thinks outside the box. Nathan Hake shows us that he is very capable of doing so. For his micro-scale LEGO church, he used wheel cover with y shaped spikes for the main round window in the church tower. There are ice scates on the roof and the entrance is a plate with tooth which is brilliant in its simplicity. My guess is that this church is gothic inspired because it matches the 5 key architectural elements: large stained glass windows, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses, and ornate decoration. The ribbed vaults are a bit hard to spot from the outside, but we can all imagine them there, right?
Yes, over 800 hours! That’s a long time, for sure, but not as long as the Vatican has been around, and less time than Michelangelo spent painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, too; yet this is no less a piece of art. This huge and detailed build by Rocco Buttliere is the first to depict an entire country in a single LEGO build, which is quite the accomplishment. It helps that Vatican City is the world’s smallest country, but still, everything is here, from the enormous St. Peter’s to the Vatican Gardens, along with every other building inside Vatican City, like the local supermarket and post office.
Now, I’ve seen Rocco’s huge and detailed version of Ancient Rome (huge and detailed seems to be a running theme with Rocco, like his Forbidden City and even a shopping mall), but I’ve never been to Rome. However, I have seen many pictures of St. Peter’s Basilica and the famous square in front of it, and everyone has seen pictures of the Sistine Chapel’s interior. But this LEGO version includes so much detail, it’s like I’ve been there now. In his typical style, Rocco also gives copious information with each picture, evidence of the amount of time spent meticulously researching his subject matter.
Is Katja and Ryan’s LEGO creation a finished work or a work in progress? Well the creation itself is finished, but the church is far from finished and it is nice to see how the structure is being created from the ground up. From the flooring to the pillars to the stained glass windows, the roofing, and the gargoyles. There is also a lot going on around the church on the ground. Among the activity is a small model of what the church will look like when finished. There is a cart delivering a Madonna and Child statue and an artist creating a painting of the church to be. There are a lot of small details to behold. Can you find the poor guy getting sprayed by a skunk in the background?
Saxon churches are surely a familiar site in England, but this is also true of the United States as well. This LEGO church built by Pieter Dennison certainly reminds me of some churches I have seen in New England.
Pieter utilizes a pretty simple color palette in this build – two shades of grey for the structure itself and then browns for the ground and what would be wooden components of the building. Much of the ground the building rests on is constructed using the SNOT (studs not on top) technique. The church itself is composed mainly of the usual bricks, slopes, and tiles – this is perfect as these churches were pretty simple brick structures. Some medieval minifigures oversee the reconstruction efforts of the church in this scene, which is fitting as this particular style of church was constructed between 597 AD – 1066 AD. Dennison’s build makes me imagine what “Sunday Best” would look like back in the Middle Ages.
ARK.builds’ 1:125 scale model of the Jubilee Church in Rome is a stunning facsimile with its accurately recreated curved walls, a supremely technical feat.
I’m just blown away by this model; there’s complexity in representing a very organic real-world building and ARK.builds made it look easy. With such a complicated exterior I didn’t expect to see was any kind of interior, but he’s done it up complete with pews, organ, altar, and cross.
I asked the builder how these stunning curved walls were achieved and he shared the photo below. It looks incredibly fiddly with multiple hinges but it certainly got the job done.
With all that is going on in the world today, it makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able to travel again. Will I get to see Italy, with all of its beautiful architecture, from the Roman ruins to the Catholic cathedrals, in person? Maybe not; although, if airfare stays cheap, I might be able to afford it for once! But just in case I can’t make the trip myself, talented LEGO builders like Giacinto Consiglio bring a taste of Italy to me. In this case, it is St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. The architectural beauty is lovingly crafted for us in microscale, perfect for tiny statuette tourists and worshipers.
These days, I find it increasingly difficult to differentiate between good renders and photos of real bricks, but does it really matter when the building is done so well? The tower is fantastic, especially the windows. The winged lion representing St. Mark over the entrance is also lovely, as are all of the other saint statues with One Ring golden halos. But my favorite detail has to be that rose window on the south facade, with excellent use of the newer arch piece. It’s the best rose window I have seen in LEGO, at any scale. Now to go buy my plane tickets to pay a visit to the real thing!