I don’t remember where I learned it, but the way you can remember how to spell “dessert” vs. “desert” is that dessert has more S’s, and you always want more dessert. Well, thanks to Malin Kylinger, one lonely traveler is about to have both. This wonderfully constructed oasis in the sands invites us to enjoy some ice cream and cakes poolside as a respite from weary desert travel. But is it real? Or is it all just a mirage…
Ah, Banthas. Glorious space creatures. Portrayed by elephants during the filming of Star Wars (1977) they serve as mounts for the fearsome Tusken Raiders, natives of Tatooine. And now they are ridden by a certain helmeted fan-favourite character, minus the helmet (and the character that never was.) This small desert diorama by KevFett2011 (no relation) showcases a scene from the first episode of new Star Wars series The Book of Boba Fett.
I do not know why, but somehow I get drawn to LEGO desert builds. I guess it has something to do with the architecture of the buildings. Where I live, there is nothing quite like it, so it almost feels like taking a small vacation to a faraway place. So I would like to thank Marcel V for my most recent trip to the desert of Jazira, where I got to meet the Al’Tamasuk.
This creation offers a lot of great little details which really make it special. I will highlight a few, but if you zoom in I’m sure you’ll find many more. The best thing has to be the black lamps near the entrance of the building. These are black wands used to create a decorative cast iron lamp. Those wands are held (if I am not mistaken) only by friction and sheer willpower, so constructing that had to be quite the nuisance! Then there are wheel covers used as round windows, and somehow a baseball bat works perfectly fine as an architectural detail (see if you can spot them). There are snakes used as plant vines and have you seen that cute little wooden shed?
Roaming around in desolation, a well-armed mech makes its way. This detailed mech model built by Carter, showcases how LEGO is the perfect medium for mech building.
Firstly the parts usage exhibited in this build is fantastic, my favorites being the brown minifigure backpacks used as ammo storage and the roller skate pieces rendering shoulder artillery. Out of some common black elements including the whip piece, 1×2 grill, and 1×4 wing piece – just to name a few, Carter fashions a distinguished arm-gun. A piece of shoulder armor usually found in buildable figure sets, is utilized as a cockpit of sorts. While the mech build is certainly the centerpiece of this model, the ground it walks on is also interestingly put together – comprised of a mosaic of 1×2 brown slopes. Overall this build is definitely and inspiration for imaginations everywhere.
As any builder knows, the release of an existing LEGO piece in a new colour provides lots of opportunities for building. Such was Andreas Lenander‘s thinking when getting hold of the gold ingot in tan, a new colour for the piece. His build of the aptly named Kumi’dia residence utilises this part all over the middle-eastern style dwelling. The ground is packed with these ingots to represent cobblestone brickwork as well as the textured base of the build. But my favourite is their combination with masonry bricks and 1×2 rounded plates for the textured wall. With a sprinkle of dark tan here and there, it perfectly conveys the weathered wall of the desert retreat.
Some gold and transparent light blue parts adorn the top of the building, conveying the resident’s wealth. In addition, Andreas uses a Bespin hemisphere part (from the Star Wars: Planet series) for the dome. Aside from the building itself I really like the small tree in the courtyard. It uses lasso and whip parts connect the leaves, which is a unique building technique and difficult to get right.
I think we can all agree, raised baseplates can be a pain to deal with. Not only are they large and clunky, but these baseplates also come with all sorts of odd features, typically as a result of special molds designed to function best in their original LEGO sets. Bram tackles a raised baseplate from the 1998 Adventurers Sphinx Secret Surprise set featuring a pre-fabricated ramp, off-set staircases, and heavy printing on all sides of its raised platforms. But in Bram’s Ara’Hith Estate, this baseplate virtually disappears into the architecture and seamless landscaping. The baseplate’s wide printed stone ramp transforms into a grand entrance into a shaded portico, and its irregular stud configurations have been cleverly filled in with palm trees and flower beds. Bram has worked around every tricky aspect of this challenge and the result is fantastic. We’re looking at a major NPU right here!
LEGO builder MorlornEmpire shows us how to add structure to a build in his LEGO temple named Deeper. There are so many parts used in an unconventional way that my eyes do not know where to look first. So let’s start from the top. The build features some palm trees made with flex tubing to give it the organic, not so static look and a ‘temple’ entrance covered in sand. The entrance is made of plates with tiles stuck between the studs to create a pattern. It’s almost as if there is a message written on the facade of the building.
Underneath the surface is the actual inside of the ‘temple’ and the walls are packed with intricate details. In the top we see cat tail elements, and the half round spoked window part filled with cheese slopes. Further down we come across the good old groove brick with a bar filling up the groove hole. To continue with 1×2 bricks filled with bucket handles. The columns have some stacked 1×2 panels to add texture and the tiled floor is made of inlaid cheese slopes.
I wonder how much of this creation is staying in place thanks to friction and gravity.
LEGO geometry typically involves lots of right angles. There’s really only so much you can do with a product that is based on a brick. However, that squareness need not be pejorative and can serve instead as an inspiration to mess with expectations. That is what this temple by Jaap Bijl does. While the building itself is based on the good old ninety degree paradigm, it is set crooked to skew the perception of the creation. Is it being swallowed by sand? Probably. This is likely the perfect example of what happens to a building built on sand, rather than solid rock. Foundations matter, people!
The build uses surprisingly little studs-on-top construction, as the steps are built sideways, most of the facade consists of tiles, and the beautiful blue stripe is being all kinds of SNOTty (or Studs-Not-On-Top-y). Then there is the dome on top, which is also studs-every-which-way. My favorite bit, though, is probably the texture of the tan area between the sections of dark tan and blue stripes, as well as above the doorway; the jumper plates and regular plates make for a very cool look, just like uneven weathered brick. The decay of the structure is lovely, even if the golden-weapon-equipped men guarding it are not.
Sometimes we get so caught up with focusing on what complicated LEGO techniques and original ideas our next build will have, that we forget the most important things, like building something that simply looks good. And “simply” is the key word here. Jussi Koskinen‘s sunset landing and all its main components are mostly simple in their design, but come together as a breathtaking picture.
The landscaping is very nice, with different layers creating a forced perspective, which is really solidified by the frontmost layer. The plane has some really clever solutions, especially the inverted convex tiles (boat studs) to make the wingtips as elegant as possible. The real magic is in the lighting though, setting the serene evening feeling of coming back home from a business trip or a vacation.
Hot summer days are still a few months away in the northern hemisphere and we all could use a little bit of warmth. Why not take a stroll in the desert with Palixa and the Bricks? She has created a very delicate oriental building and garnished the simple background with a few palm trees. The result is a very calming day in the desert…
The turquois dome, golden details, decorated tiles, and the complexity of the structure adds a lot to this creation. The load on the camel also fits perfectly into the scene. Join us to find a new oasis!