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!
When I saw this image I said to myself-there’s something vaguely hot rod-ish about that church. Then I said, maybe I’m just a crazy car-guy instilling my crazy car-guy values into everything I see. Quit being weird and move on with your day! Because that is the kind of dialogue I have with myself. Then I read the title “Mechanical Church” and thought, “the fact that it looks kinda-sorta like a hot rod was totally Alego Alego‘s intent!” Who is crazy and weird now? Still me, probably, but at least in this case I have been validated. By using two engine cylinders and a radiator grille for a door it looks like the builder could lift the church from the grounds and install it in a hot rod, and the results would look pretty cool. If you do this Alego Alego, I suggest you call it “Holy Roller” or “Holy Roadster”. Brilliant idea or no?
Good LEGO microscale buildings manage to capture the essence of their subject, but the very best also trick the eye into looking much bigger than they really are. Rocco Buttliere showcases his skills once more, this time tackling the UNESCO-listed Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.
The real thing took 140 years to complete and is a masterpiece of Italian Gothic. Rocco’s version is a masterpiece of microscale, standing maybe only 20 bricks high, but somehow feeling much larger. That’s a testament to the level of detail packed into the model, the result of studs-in and studs-out building, and a great selection of parts, including two types of turntable bases, grille tiles, tooth bricks, Technic pins, and lightsaber hilts. Match all that with a beautifully captured dome, and a smart colour scheme, and you end up with a LEGO church which is fully worth of your praise.
A good microscale model can be defined by innovative use of new LEGO elements re-purposed to create unexpected new forms. A great microscale model combines this with traditional parts and colors to form a symphony that sets the model apart. This roadside chapel by Jens Ohrndorf is a perfect example of this mix. Take the entry roof, made from this modified plate with a small raised tab. Or the windows, made from the underside of 1×1 plates. Lining the foundation is a row of light gray ingots. I also enjoy the trees, which are just the right size for the scene (a design inspired by the trees in 10253 Big Ben).
This gorgeous piece of Mediterranean architecture is brought to us by Italian builder Gabriele Rava. The church’s asymmetry works beautifully to highlight the bell tower, and the building is loaded with great details, from the mixture of white and tan for the peeling surfaces to the wonderfully simple dark orange textured roof over the nave. The small chapel sits atop a tall quay with a spacious courtyard, which is currently hosting a wedding attended by a wide variety of personages, up to and including Dumbledore officiating.
This microscale LEGO rendition of Istanbul’s most famous landmark has been masterfully created by George Panteleon. The tan and dark tan elements blend seamlessly together to create the sweeping curves and rounded roofs of the 1,500-year-old building. The huge dome, which encloses a ceiling height of 182 feet, is created from the planet hemisphere element for Bespin. George has rigged the interior with lights, allowing the model to glow warmly, and added a lovely wood base. It all comes together as a wonderful display piece.
With their towering stone walls, crenelated turrets, and ornate decoration, medieval churches could almost be seen as castles–an idea helped in no small part by the frequency of medieval clergy acting like their secular counterparts. So whether this structure by KevinyWu belongs to the church or the state, the Fortress of St. Jocosa certainly prepared for what the world may throw at it. The fortress’ foundations are a nice bit of rockwork, giving a great feeling of a tiny castle perched upon a lonely rock, and the winding path leading to it, while using simple techniques of stacked dark tan plates, cuts a striking line through the scenery.
Click to see inside the fortress
This baroque Church, created by builder Jellyeater, achieves the illusive feat of capturing an authentic sense of place. Numerous building techniques have been used to accurately capture the proportions, angles and curves of the baroque style, with the elegant dome being a stand out feature. However, when a creator gets me excited about the gradients of grey in a slate roof, I know I’m looking at something special.
This theme of exquisite detail is continued in the form of various modified plates, bricks and tiles used in the off-set courtyard tower; hinting at age, wear and centuries of repair. The oak doors, made from turntable bases layered over black bricks, completes the historical effect.
With microscale building, a simple part choice can make all the difference. This church by Jens Ohrndorf is a great example of just the right detail; from the gold pyramids at the edge of the roof, to the repeated dome designs of the belltower. The gray trim is made by offset tiles, and the lovely curved roof details are a nice touch. Speaking of the roof, the different slope parts used for shingles give the model a weathered look.
LEGO builders can sometimes overcomplicate things, perhaps ignoring simple techniques because they feel obvious, regardless of how effective they might be. However, this microscale Lego church by Jens Ohrndorf goes to show you don’t need a thousand pieces and complex techniques to create something excellent. We’ve seen it before, but the minifigure hairpieces make for perfect treetops, and then there’s the use of the 1×2 brick with groove as the side windows — a simple yet effective parts choice.
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