May the Fourth, the annual Star Wars Day, is almost here, and as usual LEGO is releasing some special goodies to celebrate. This year brings another freebie Gift with Purchase (GWP) set in the line of Star Wars microscale dioramas that LEGO’s been exploring since 2019. 40451 Tatooine Homestead lets you finally recreate Uncle Owen haggling over droids with the Jawa junk dealers outside the Lars family underground home. Maybe you can even get those units in the south range repaired by midday. The set includes 218 piecesand will be available from LEGO.com and in LEGO stores May 1 through May 5, free with a minimum purchase of US $85 | CAN $85 | UK £85 of LEGO Star Wars products.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
It takes a careful eye for detail to craft a large LEGO immersive scene since every corner of the frame has to be considered. But it also takes a large number of LEGO bricks, far more than one would think before beginning the project (especially for the foreground, which always needs more, always). Talented LEGO builder Joe (jnj_bricks) has both the careful eye and the pile of bricks and uses them masterfully to craft this castle harbor scene, with a quay, lots of shops, a castle, and even a drunken pirate down on the dock. It certainly fits the bill as a large scene, too, measuring 144×80 studs.
Joe neglects no surface in the scene, from the textured roofs to the detailed walls. There are slight variations in color to show weathering, and no two houses have the same wat-and-daub pattern. The selling point is the minifigure posing, however, which can be one of the trickiest bits to nail down, but Joe got it just right, with dynamic and natural poses all around. It really sells that this is a normal day with people going about their ordinary lives. Pretty sure I see the baker with the same old bread and loaves to sell. And do you see the goat? He’s got a goat, the Holy Grail of castle builders!
If you’ve never been to a botanical garden, you should go. As a kid, the first one I ever visited was the Butchart Gardens in British Columbia, Canada. I recall feeling like I had entered a wonderland. And as I saw the greenhouses, I realized I would never look at them the same way again. Since then, of course, I have been exposed to many large gardens and massive greenhouses, but I’ll never forget the beginning. This LEGO build by Kris Kelvin (Montgomery Burns) reminds me of that experience. It may be mostly veggies as opposed to flowers, but those big greenhouses sure are striking!
The huge display is filled with nice element usage, especially through the implementation of minifigure parts and accessories. There are also a couple of fun touches for those keen to investigate closely. Although it’s not a new technique, I’m personally fond of the fence design. Apparently, this will be part of an even larger diorama, which we can’t wait to see in its entirety! In the meantime, check out some of this builder’s other excellent work.
I remember barbershops! They were popular before all this COVID stuff. Since lockdown, some of us have taken matters into our own unskilled hands. One neighbor gave himself the “Robocop” haircut while another gave himself the ever-popular “I’ll never recover from this financially” hairdo. As circumstances have it, I’ve been rocking the “Crystal Palace” look for months now. No muss, no fuss, no nothing! With my goatee, I resemble the bassist for a heavy metal band or a tiny bouncer. Once things get back to normal this LEGO barber by Vir-a-cocha should get your hair looking as hip and cool as his own. He seems like he’d be a fun conversationalist, too. I really miss barbershops! Do yourselves a favor, next time you go to a barber or beautician, be sure to tip them well and let them know they are greatly appreciated. I also really miss hair.
We’ve featured quite a few LEGO facades, but it’s surprising to see how much life might be behind these buildings. Kris Kelvin (Montgomery Burns) depicts the back lot of two buildings in excellent minifig-scale realism without sacrificing any detail or action. This diorama is bustling with new shipments of lobsters, Scala bottle elements, and pork chops. In addition to the goods, you’ll find dark tan tiles scattered across the sidewalks and air conditioners that really capture that city grime. There’s also a variety of bar and fence parts to create all sorts of railings, gates, and pipes throughout. We’ve spotted the use of some rare brown fence pieces incorporated into the tall gates of the lot entrance. And at the intersection, there’s a pair of stoplights supported by bar handles and lightsaber hilts.
According to Kris, this build, along with an autumn garden, is part of a larger city diorama in progress. While we’re waiting to see it all come together, visit our archives for a look at some more detailed dioramas.
Are you aware of the phenomenon called Minifig Habitats? It’s essentially an 8x8x8 diagonal vignette that can be stacked and interlocked to form a pyramid display. However, there is a more popular habitat style that isn’t diagonal and has less open space. These habitats first appeared on Flickr in 2016 and were popularised by LEGO fan sites in the last few years. Since then, they became a nice way for people to show off LEGO Collectible Minifigures in a small dynamic display. Kristel Whitaker takes it to the next level by reimagining minifig habitats into a diorama of a pergola, a balcony, and a potting shed.
The white structures provide a bright canvas for plants to grow on and make the diorama clean and minimalist. In addition, the nougat flooring brings a lovely warm contrast to the blue backdrop of Kristel’s photo. There’s plenty of other colours as well, from the yellows and pinks of the flowers to the blues and reds of the potting shed in the lower right habitat. All of these come together in a concise diorama that are clearly different parts of the same house.
Want to build your own minifig habitats? Here is the template.
I had a Venus Flytrap once. I bought it when I had an infestation of fruitflies several years back. Or were they mayflies? I don’t know, I didn’t ask. Either my flytrap was fussy or they’re not that into fruitflies (or mayflies) because it really wasn’t the fly kill-fest I hoped for. But this LEGO Mars Flytrap by Linus Bohman is the stuff of B-Movie nightmares. It’s big enough to eat cars and it doesn’t seem fussy at all. The Mars Flytrap is expertly crafted with plant bits and I just love that horrific gaping maw. Oh, and before you flood the comment section with what’s LEGO and what isn’t, it’s all LEGO. Yep, even the cars! They’re from a series of LEGO HO Scale offerings from the ’50s and ’60s and are now worth a mint. Tasty!
If you look up Paul Hetherington in the dictionary you’ll find the definition to be builder of awesomely huge LEGO creations. Probably. I don’t know. Does anyone still have dictionaries anymore? Well, if we did, Paul’s smiling mug would be in it. The man has more talent in his little finger than most of us have in the rest of our fingers combined. Go ahead, look it up. I’ll wait. See? This time he takes us back to our childhoods and Saturday morning cartoons with this stunning Scooby-Doo diorama consisting of over 8000 pieces. Most of us would have just bought the Mystery Machine set from 2015 and called this case closed. But Paul integrates the iconic vehicle with an entire mystery mansion.
There’s trainheads and castleheads, but usually it’s meant to refer to fans of the various LEGO themes. However, here’s a build that takes it quite literally. Designed by Corvus Auriac, this 5,400-piece microscale model depicts a castle built on a rock that might be a little more alive than its builders suspected. It’s packed with lovely details from the dragon burninating the town to the tiny wizard tower sprouting out of the side of the castle’s tallest roof. Do yourself a favor and give this one a close look, as you’ll be rewarded with lots of clever parts usages. One of my favorites is also the one used most here: most of the trees are made from dark green minifigure epaulets stacked on each other.
Typical of all his creations, it’s hard to say what part of it your eyes will be drawn to first. When I usually see something new he builds, I notice one part of it, and think it’s amazing. Then I notice another, and another, and another. My eyes dart around looking at all the components of a complex and beautiful creation. From top to bottom, you start with the clever lettering of the title BBC Doctor Who, then you see the giant Weeping angel and Cyberman surrounding the TARDIS. Continue reading →
There are some LEGO builders that I would just love to hate, since they seem to be living the perfect LEGO life, and Markus Rollbühler would be at the top of my list; he’s one of the most talented builders out there with about a billion social followers, he has an enormous and perfectly organized collection, and he even works as a set designer for LEGO, the (pipe) dream job of every aspiring LEGO talent. But Markus is impossible to hate, because he is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, super humble, always offering advice and help when asked, and available to even the most rookie builder. How could I hate a guy like that? I can’t. Instead, I admit that he’s one of my personal favorite builders, regardless of what genre he tries his hand at. In this case, it is a delightful little lighthouse.
Markus shows of his skills by building a compactly small round tower out of tiles, pairing that with a ramshackle hut with a teal roof (got to love teal, right?). Markus is famous for his cheese slope roofs, and really his ability to make a roof out of virtually any piece (see Ninjago City Gardens, a set he designed, if you doubt the truth of the statement). He is also well known for his foliage, and this tree made from yellow feathers does not disappoint. The color scheme is just about perfect, as is the composition, and the building techniques are on point…in short, it’s enough to make one green (or even teal) with envy, except that the builder is just too darn nice.
Sometimes you don’t have to understand exactly what you’re looking at to appreciate how awesome it is, and how well-built it is. This LEGO creation by Bart De Dobbelaeris called the Glarburg Horror, and I think it fits into that category. Bart’s written a short story on this Lovecraftian monstrosity, but I’m afraid I’m still no closer to figuring it out. Nevertheless, I like the repetitious use of elements on the “creature” to create an unnerving texture. Meanwhile, the broken stone columns have an almost technological feeling, while the whole scene is subtly overgrown with sickly black shoots made mostly of connected droid arms.