Tag Archives: David Frank

Mourning the passing of David Frank [News]

There’s never an easy way to share the news of the loss of a friend. On June 2, David Frank passed away after an unexpected medical emergency, leaving us shocked and heartbroken. David was not only a marvelously talented LEGO builder whose work we’ve featured many times, but also a personal friend to several of us here at TBB here in the Seattle area. David leaves behind his wife and three children.

No words can ever do justice to someone’s life, but if there’s one word that anyone who met David would use to describe him, it’s “kind.” Although he had the physique of a bodybuilder, David was softspoken and had one of those personalities that sticks in your mind as modest, utterly sincere, and simply filled with the child-like joy of sharing a hobby. I first met David about 10 years ago in the BrickCon exhibition hall when he walked in to start setting up one of his castle creations. We struck up a conversation as he started to unpack his boxes, and he told me he was still new to building his own creations rather than sets, and not to expect much of his builds. He then proceeded to set up what was not only the biggest LEGO castle I’d ever seen in person, but also incredibly detailed, a sprawling layout filled with dragons and knights. David’s building skills only grew from there, and he frequently built massive dioramas of locations from his wife Claire’s novels along with other things he was passionate about, like Starcraft. Many LUG meetings and hangouts later we even discussed auditioning for LEGO Masters as a team. But as incredible as David’s LEGO skills were, it was never his priority. David’s family always came first, and he loved sharing the company of friends even more than he loved building. David, you will be sorely missed.

See more of David’s creations that we’ve featured on TBB, or check out his flickr.

This giant LEGO version of the Starcraft II map Megaton pits all 3 factions against each other

The classic real-time strategy game Starcraft II has inspired many LEGO creations over the years, but one of the most impressive has to be this stunning version of the multiplayer map Megaton. Built by David Frank, the map features the home bases for all three factions and measures over 16 square feet. Additionally, David has wired it with lights, giving features like the Khaydarin crystals a realistic glow.

Click to see more of this amazing creation

A peaceful setting for an epic adventure

Master castler David Frank has turned out this beautiful diorama. I absolutely love the scale of it; so often LEGO creations are—by necessity, no doubt—scaled down, so that houses are shed-sized and castles are the size of houses. Not so here, with this lovely dwelling sprawling across a delightful garden scene. David built the model to celebrate the publishing of his wife, Clair’s, fantasy novel, “To Whatever End (Echoes of Imara Book 1), and this house is that of the story’s protagonists.

Epic Pirate Island Hideout by David Frank

David Frank (Fraslund) is one of the best period and fantasy architecture builders currently working. You may recall the last project of his that we featured here, the gigantic Rivendell diorama he constructed with Alice Finch. As much as I loved Rivendell, as a longtime pirates fan, I have to say that David’s latest model, though smaller, enthralls me just as much.

Tolkien’s Rivendell comes to life with 200,000 LEGO bricks – exclusive interview with builders Alice Finch & David Frank

The last time we checked in with Alice Finch, she had just unveiled the world’s largest LEGO Hogwarts built from several hundred thousand LEGO bricks. Not content to let sleeping bricks lie, Alice has teamed up with David Frank to recreate one of my favorite locations in Middle-earth, Rivendell, “the last homely house west of the mountains,” where Elrond hosts both Bilbo and his dwarven companions in The Hobbit and Frodo and the Fellowship in The Lord of the Rings.


The Brothers Brick is pleased to unveil official photos from the two builders and an exclusive interview with Alice and David.

The Brothers Brick: How did the two of you meet?

Alice Finch & David Frank: The July 2011 meeting was our first SeaLUG meeting, and I remember David brought a part of his Dragon Knight Castle. Even though we were both relatively new to LEGO, it was clear that he was already building like an expert. We got to talking about castles — those that we’d seen in person and those that we wanted to build out of bricks — and we both mentioned how we thought building Rivendell would be the ultimate challenge. We’re both avid readers and dedicated Tolkien fans, so our friendship began with a thorough discussion of Elven architecture.

Over the last two years, we’ve had other projects that we focused on: David has built several castles, one with accompanying village and market, we both participated in a collaborative build of Hobbiton for SeaLUG’s display at Emerald City Comicon, and Alice built Hogwarts Castle. after our building skills had been honed on our own big builds, and with the second Hobbit movie about to come out, we decided 2013 was a good time to take on the challenge of building Rivendell.

Rivendell with David Frank and Alice Finch

TBB: In the movies, Rivendell is simultaneously sprawling and highly detailed. How do you even start a daunting build like that?

Alice: Our first task was to do research, which began with the laborious task of watching The Fellowship of the Ring — again. We got together and looked at the models in the movie, screen by screen trying to figure out how the buildings fit together and how we might approach the swooping arches and colorful roofs. Alice looked through all the “behind the scenes” and “making of” books on LOTR and found some of the original sketches for the models.

David: And I found a souvenir model that Weta Workshop made of Rivendell. It turns out that when they were making the Weta model, they had to do some serious research themselves because the film never really established what scenes happened where. The model was key as it allowed me to map out 48×48 sections in a Visio diagram to figure out roughly what size we would need to build it to.

TBB: Elven architecture in Tolkien’s artwork and Jackson’s films is very distinct, with swooping curves and intricate details that don’t easily lend themselves to accurate representation in LEGO. How did you approach this project from a design standpoint?

Arwyn's TowerAlice: By the spring, I started studying some of the more interesting and potentially difficult parts of the model. The first thing I experimented with was the iconic tower from Arwyn’s building (far left of the model). I wanted to try out some of the large wedge pieces I had left over from some experiments I’d done for Hogwarts and thought they might just work. Again, it took some wrangling to figure out how to attach them, but I was really excited about getting that particular challenge ticked off my list.

I also did some studies for the roof design — 1×1 tiles, 1×1 round plates, and “cheese” slopes were all options to achieve the patterned designs. I tried them all — alone and together — and found that all cheese was by far the best and also had the most color options. Ideally, it would have been nice if LEGO would have churned out a few thousand sand red, sand purple, and sand blue cheese for me, but at least I had a drawer full of sand green to pair with the dark green, dark red, dark blue, and tan cheese. After all the patterned roofs were completed, I think we figured that there are about 8,000 cheese in the roofs and another 2,000 or so in the mosaic bridges and courtyards.

Arwyn's bungalow and waterfall tower

David: I had less actual buildings in my sections, so I really focused on blending what I had with the landscape. My main building really emerges from the rock and was built After the landscaping had taken shape. The actual buildings were very different than anything I have ever done as they needed to be airy and sweeping, so I focused on a more open design and heavily utilized odd angles to get a different look from the brick.

TBB: What part combination are you the most proud of?

Alice: In my prowling for interesting parts on BrickLink, I came upon the Gungan shields. My first thought was how they would make some very elegant Elven windows, so I ordered a few to investigate and see if I could make them work in an architectural setting. Figuring out how to secure them was a bit of a challenge, but with some experimentation I figured out how to make them cooperate inside the framing of some SNOT arches.

Bridge Building

Once I figured out how to frame them, I designed the rest of the building around them, bringing in as much sand red and sand purple as possible. I’ve been collecting sand color parts almost since I first started building again, knowing that someday I wanted to do Rivendell and that if I wanted enough to build with, I’d have to gather them a few at a time.

David: Oddly enough, for me it’s simple 1×2 trans-clear plates. I had to figure out a way to represent horses emerging from waves and my part selection was very limited. I am very happy with the result.

Wave of horses


There are many other areas I am happy with, but given what I had to pull off, that would be it.

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LEGO Castle Grayskull

David Frank (AKA Fraslund) has created an outstanding LEGO rendition of that classic toy, Castle Grayskull, from the 80s television show, Masters of the Universe. David’s version is drop-dead gorgeous. He was able to perfectly capture the iconic gate and drawbridge, as well as the lesser known details around the sides and rear. David definitely has the power!


Check out the rest of the pictures. They are definitely worth it.

Underhill and Overhill

Alice isn’t the only SEALUG member bringing something epic to Emerald City Comicon this weekend in Seattle. David Frank (Frasland) is part of a big group of local builders collaborating on a large-scale Hobbiton. David’s section includes a field and two tiers of Hobbit holes.

LEGO Hobbiton diorama by David Frank on Flickr

I can’t wait to see this come together tomorrow! (And we’ll make sure someone takes great pictures to feature here later.)