A chance encounter at a crossroad tavern often leads to adventure. This LEGO inn built by Sebastian Bachórzewski taps into this spirit, looking every bit as if it could have been drawn straight from the pages of a fantasy epic. Rough and ready in appearance, with great building techniques used to offset the stone structured base from its wattle and daub upper floors; it’s the sort of spot you’d expect to meet a shadowy stranger. Who are those drunken soldiers looking for? Who might be hidden under those inventively built technic pin wheat sheafs? It’s one of those great builds that segues seamlessly into the art of storytelling.
J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle-earth, best known from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books and films, has shaped much of modern fantasy. Indeed, LEGO builders have been finding inspiration there for a very long time, in the recent years even more so with the support of the official LEGO themes based on the movies. Over the years, we’ve seen multiple collaborative projects appear both as online galleries and convention displays; however, we think this latest initiative is among the most impressive. The massive collaborative project includes 10 builders and 13 creations depicting different locations and events of the Third Age of the Sun.
The project consists of dioramas of varying sizes and styles, although modern castle-themed builds tend to have moderately standardized techniques and styles in the fan community. This makes for a very consistent group project, while still letting each builder’s individual style shine through, and making each creation a great stand-alone build. Continue reading
Erstwhile LEGO gearhead guru Lino Martins is mixing it up, bringing us a big vignette of a haunting brackish backwater with a dark secret. This collection of treehouses forms a small bayou village, whose residents are sworn to placate a fearsome beast with blood sacrifices, often in the form of giant alligators lowered into the creature’s tentacled arms by means of a rickety contraption. The smooth dark green bricks make excellent ponds of stale water, with a smooth finish of algae broken only by a few small ripples as the monster’s arms raise.
What with the swamp being infested by an otherworldly horror, it’s best not to disturb that calm water, or indeed get anywhere near more than is absolutely necessary. That, plus the lack of land in the middle of swamp, means the townsfolk of Mangrove Swamp have all the necessities built on raised platforms, from farming to swine raising. Continue reading
It’s one of the contradictions at the heart of LEGO building, that we love to see the rectilinear brick subverted. Bravo to jaapxaap, who has centred his latest model on some seriously wonky geometry. There’s no doubt that Falcon Castle is suffering from years of subsidence, its central tower quaintly leaning at the most acute of angles.
Of course it takes real talent to do this, which you pick up again in the embellishments that have been added: the ingot bricks used to simulate wear, or the golden tower painstakingly formed form telescope pieces. In the end though, you just have to marvel at the way the imperfections of the ramshackle fortress have been so perfectly built.
Per Ardua Ad Astra — “Through adversity to the stars” — the motto of the UK’s Royal Air Force, and what sprang to mind as Paul Nicholson‘s LEGO version of a Supermarine Spitfire thundered into view. For a small model, the shaping is pretty good, capturing the iconic elliptical wing shape well, and there’s a nice mix of colours to create a camouflage effect. And the use of 1×1 “cheese slopes” delivers the essential touch of the raked exhausts down the sides of the engine. I’m less of a fan of the forced-perspective base — I think the presentation would have benefitted from further separation of the plane from the ground, and perhaps a tighter depth of field pushing the background out of focus. However, despite those minor photography gripes the plane itself is a cracking model, immediately recognisable and eminently swooshable.
Although I’m up to date with all the movies in DC’s cinematic “Extended Universe” it’s not the part of their media empire I’m most familiar with. Instead, I get to blame my kids for every episode of Cartoon Network’s “Teen Titans GO!” that I’ve had to suffer through (and then eventually succumb to). It is unapologetic in its juvenile humor and will break down your will to resist and then begins to hammer home with clever gags, running jokes, and surprise DC comic character cameos.
Which brings me to this humongous LEGO scene from builder Living Rave in Canada. The cacophony of the show is perfectly encapsulated in this diorama that features the iconic Titans Tower just offshore from Jump City, which is appropriately under attack from every direction.
The elaborate build is enhanced with the addition of official characters thanks to the waves of minifigures released with LEGO Dimensions and the LEGO Batman Movie Collectible Minifigures series. I also love the giant brick-built TTG logo in the background. There’s even a brick-built version of their strongest enemy, the demonic Trigon, who also happens to be heroine Raven’s father.
We see lots of impressive LEGO castles, often huge models festooned with towers and crenellations. Detailed medieval interiors prove a little less common, but here is an excellent example from O Wingård, and one which shows you don’t have to build big to build good. Although not put together with complex building techniques, this scene is packed full of detail — a hallmark of the best LEGO creations. The walls use a good selection of different brick types to add realistic texture to the backdrop. There’s a fine assortment of armour and weaponry on display, and the ceiling beams are nicely done. However, the highlight for me is the brick-built door with silver “tooth plates” providing hinges — nothing particularly complex in its construction, but a perfectly proportioned portal all the same.
A man built a thing. He had a name, in those long-before times when salmon ran in the streams like silver clouds in the moonlight and people went about their business in great cities gleaming with glass as yet unmelted by fires from the sky. His name was Patrick B. The thing he built was built from bricks and told a story. A story about a man and his child a boy. That story was first told by a man named Cormac McCarthy in a book called The Road. A book is a thing made of trees but you cant eat it like you can bark and leaves and the little stems that try to push their way toward the darkened sky at the end of the months of snow. This thing this story these bricks by the man Patrick show the man and the boy as they walk long miles along long roads to the sea. It is a thing to behold. A thing you cant look away from.
LEGO and storytelling are a match made in heaven. As much as I enjoy building for the sake of building, I also enjoy LEGO as a medium for producing a narrative. Markus Ronge had me hooked last month when he shared a teaser poster for an upcoming series of story-driven steampunk builds. A few days ago, Marcus revealed the first part of his conceptualized world in the form of Maersk Pier, owned and operated by fourth-generation shipping mogul, Herman van de Maersk.
Bored with the shipping industry, Herman decided to build this majestic port to serve luxury airships and their wealthy clientele. As a steampunk model, Maersk Pier is breathtakingly beautiful and does a great job of blending Victorian-style architecture with steampunk fantasy. The extensive use of white works well and reminds me of marble, which witnessed a resurgence in use as a building material during the 19th Century Greek Revival period. Speaking of history, the model’s name is a clever nod to LEGO’s lengthy relationship with the Maersk shipping company, which has included a number of Maersk co-branded LEGO sets over the years.
Microscale offers LEGO builders an opportunity to create epic layouts within a reasonable footprint and parts budget. Peter Ilmrud takes full advantage of these benefits to create a sizeable slice of a fantasy kingdom, complete with an impressive mountaintop city guarded by a dragon. The city itself is nicely done, with clever combination of bricks to make windows from the little gaps. Aside from the towers of the citadel, the scenery is packed full of all the fantasy details you’d expect — sprawling forests, riverfront villages, guard towers in the hills, and a cave entrance which doubtless leads into a dungeon complex overflowing with goblins.
I particularly like the river winding its way through the landscape, the banks smoothed with a nice selection of curved plates. It also offers a setting for some smart parts usage — check out that ship made from golden epaulettes mounted upside-down on a jumper plate. Sweet.
Taylor, of the Brandon and Taylor Walker building duo, has put out another entry in his Dungeons & Dragons series. As a newly-minted D&D player in the middle of his first adventure (I’m a half-elf Ranger with a sailor background who always follows orders, even if they’re wrong), I’m probably paying more attention to this one than I normally would have! There are five unique figures representing a range of the official character classes all facing off against a monstrous mimic treasure chest. The standout figure for me is the demonic tiefling with his mustache-for-horns. The floor and walls are also extremely well done, adding a patterned texture to offset the chaotic battle.
And if you’re as hungry for more D&D LEGO content as I currently am, check out our archives for cool models featured previously!
The scene from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in which an Imperial Star Destroyer menacingly hovers over Jedha City certainly makes for a striking LEGO diorama, and it seems to entice some of the best Star Wars builders. Although we’ve seen Jedha City with a Star Destroyer expertly recreated once before by Hannes Tscharner, this time 0necase has made a much larger version of the scene, and the result is breathtaking.
The Star Destroyer is superb, and the shaping on the front and back of the bridge is particularly well done. However, the real star of the show is the mountainous base and city itself. I love the amount of colors and different greebles the builder has incorporated into the city, which serve to make it pop against the beautiful layering accomplished with various brown and earth orange wedge plates. Even the Imperial cargo shuttles transporting kyber crystals to the Star Destroyer are present, represented by minifigure roller skates — a particularly inventive parts usage.