Tag Archives: Diorama

There’s nothing like a massive LEGO diorama to prove that you’ve arrived as a LEGO builder. The LEGO dioramas we feature here span everything from realistic medieval castles to scenes from World War II, and more than a few post-apocalyptic wastelands.

It’s a wild, wild life with these jaw-dropping LEGO jungle animals

Travel deep into the jungle and pay a visit to its denizens with City Son‘s stunning LEGO wildlife model. Tigers, parrots, a mandrill, and even a skunk inhabit this overgrown temple.

Animal Kingdom (2019)

Figural modeling has always fascinated me. I am always blown away by builders who can create organic models that really capture the essence of living creatures. This is a prime example of how to do it right. Each animal on its own would be a model worthy of notice. Combine them together with some beautiful scenery and you have something truly spectacular.

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A castle for your princess

When I first saw this diorama titled Molly’s Castle, I actually thought it was microscale due to the overall silhouette. But then I spotted some minifigures high atop the turrets, and mounted knights wending their way through the forest. Built by Jon & Catherine Stead over just six days, this LEGO diorama features a rare tan castle in a verdant setting, with plenty of details to ogle. Measuring nearly 4 feet in length and 17 inches tall, you won’t lack for adventure here.

Molly's Castle MOC - 2

Click to see more of the castle diorama

A perfect castle destination for that end-of-summer family vacation

When I think of all the activities and amenities I want in the perfect vacation locale, the first things that come to mind are: disease-filled swamps; crocodile-infested waters; dark, damp, and uncomfortable rooms; seminars on torture; unnecessary violence; and a complimentary continental breakfast. Fortunately for me, Patrick Massey has built exactly such a place! The dark green waters around Stormholme Castle tempt me with their malaria, West Nile, or dengue-carrying mosquitoes, and the lushness of the vegetation makes me certain that the humidity level is probably about as close to the carrying capacity of air as it can get; I love sweating profusely while being bitten by bugs, don’t you? The dark gray castle itself looks appropriately foreboding, given its swampy setting, and is, shockingly enough, Patrick’s first actual castle (he has specialized in the medieval fantasy genre for at least six years, yet never built a castle; a few towers, and small fortresses, but no castles). The wait has been worth it.

Stormholme Castle

Click to see more of this incredible castle

The air dragon soaring above the stone and water

I love LEGO dragons, and the air dragon Bandea from this immersive (almost) fully LEGO scene by one of our contributors, Benjamin Stenlund, is one of my favourites from the past few months. The body is chunky and curvy like a “real” dragon is. What gives it the edge are not the Ninjago sword edges, but the awesome background it is presented on. The horizon is put on just the right point with the corresponding camera angle. What I love most are the realistic rocks, made of wedge slopes and polygonal panels fitted together to represent the cracks and angles of a real rock face.

Flying to Varlyrio

The builder has quite a few elemental-themed dragons in his portfolio: Moto the Fire Dragon, Maji the Water Dragon, Hewa the Air dragon and Daera and Kijani, the Earth Dragons – the last one being my personal favourite so far.

A day of winter fishing in the solace of frozen silence

A prolific LEGO builder who’s graced our pages before, Ted Andes has presented a creation I resonate with at the moment, Winter. I’m typing this from Victoria, Australia, where the frosts and bleak days have been many. This beautiful vignette, a small capture of a snowy morning on the edge of a siheyuan. I can almost feel the stillness in the air.

Winter

Andes’ parts use is always exceptional, though not just in obscure part usage. His harness on basic parts to get the maximum effect is outstanding. The bare tree is made from roughly thirteen different pieces, twisted into some outstanding, gnarled forms. See if you can spot them all — can you see any I’ve missed? The river and its edging is also another highlight for me. The 4L trans-light blue bars surrounding some fish is a nice touch, giving the impression of icy cold, rushing water. Having the land predominantly in two colours has also worked elegantly, while the simple touches of trans-clear near the edge of the river have brought it closer to the reality of the camping trips I’ve taken in winter.

An Open Letter to Vader and the Management of the Imperial Forces

Dear Honorable Darth Vader and the Management Team of the Galactic Empire,

You have an almost infinite budget at your disposal to spend on wages and upskilling of personnel and technological innovation. I’m sure you’ve attended the Business Strategies 101 course at our SPOT (Security, Peace, Order, Terror) University and learned that having quality over quantity is paramount towards a calculated win in all battles. The root cause of all losses has been apparent, and we can narrow it down to one thing: bad aiming (be it Stormtroopers, or TIE pilots). At one time, our Stormtroopers had a reputation for being precise enough to pinpoint a Jawa from two sand dunes away. Until we return to this, you will continue to see mockery in all forms like this one built and sculpted in LEGO form by Pasq67 – Tie Fighters tailing Rebel scum piloting X-Wings Starfighters, which are low-tech vehicles that have little automation and only manual firing systems. However, they are always evading, destroying, and killing so many of our innocent troops and soldiers.

LEGO Star Wars Trench Run

The solution? Invest in better targeting systems, and train the troopers to shoot well and not let them graduate unless they have a decent passing rate for marksmanship. My analysis shows that it’s a simple strategy that will save us from countless numbers of sequels, prequels, animated series, and god knows how many more spinoffs down the road. Until then, toy companies like LEGO will continue to build multi-million dollar businesses from allowing people to recreate scenes and games retelling history on our continuous defeats. It’s embarrassing. Do something.

Yours sincerely,
Stormtrooper
(FN-2186)
#NOTATRAITOR

Let’s run away with the circus!

Builder Ian Hou turns our attention to the center ring with this beautifully built circus scene. Heed the carnival barker in his jaunty top hat as he calls to you — “Step right up folks and stare in awe and amazement at this action-packed quintuple of animal performers, each one with its own special talents on display! Hurry, hurry! Take a peek, you won’t be disappointed!”

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Each of the animals in this scene could stand on its own, but the combination of all of them together makes for a truly marvelous show. If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be the leaping tiger. Hou manages to imbue it with action, movement and just a touch of danger.

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The scooter-riding bear is a close second with his whimsical expression. The dog as the carnival barker is a brilliant touch, and the magician’s rabbit also provide a nice dose of humor and expression. Taking center stage is everyone’s favorite big-eared elephant Dumbo, although Hou doesn’t reference him as such in his descriptions of the piece.

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Every performer has a level of detail and building creativity that is a joy to look at up close and leaves me wanting to figure out how the builder did it all.

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The setting of the scene is equally rich in detail, from the bejeweled stage lights to the speakers and rounded stage. The use of flags on the sides also adds to the festive atmosphere and the font on the word “circus” is particularly impressive and creative. I’m also particularly fond of the use of the backside of the pieces to create the curtained backdrop. Many builders go to great pains to not show the back, but Hou does a terrific job in this case and it all blends together perfectly. As an added bit of humor, in the corner behind the tiger there looks to be a crate full of food, including a cooked turkey, to make sure the performers are well fed and ready to play.

Luckily, the fun doesn’t stop with the front of the model! The back and outside are equally impressive, utilizing a second lettering style and a simple but effective representation of a circus tent.

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Like any good traveling spectacular, at the end of the day the whole shebang can be folded up and moved on to the next city, ready to thrill audiences with the greatest show on earth!

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It’s the little things that cause the biggest problems

When running a Super Star Destroyer it is often easy to overlook the smaller nuisances that could cause potential turmoil. Trip hazard in compartment 4412 on deck 206, that one toilet that won’t flush by the aft galley, that doohickey shaped like a cowboy hat that keeps buzzing for some reason; all can spell tragedy when left unchecked. The imposing sight of the Star Dreadnought Executor alone was enough to frighten an entire star system into submission, so it was easy to dismiss a lone one-man rebel A-Wing as a laughable insignificant detail. Ben Cossy recreates the scene in Return of the Jedi when one such laughable insignificant detail crashed into the Executor’s command bridge, thus sending the flagship hurtling into the Death Star II. (The first also destroyed by small, laughable rebel spacecraft.)

Arvel Crynyd's Sacrifice

He calls it “Arvel Crynyd’s Sacrifice” and excellent details abound, including making use of spring shooter darts and antenna as part of the explosive effect. Meanwhile, a myriad of minifig headpieces create texture for the black smoke. The minifig officers run like the dickens as the hapless crew members do…whatever it is they do with those switches and knobs. Crynyd was posthumously awarded the New Republic Medal of Bravery for turning the battle tides in the rebel’s favor, and we can’t help but root for the underdog. If you too like the notion that the little guy can take down a vast oppressive empire, you should check out this previously featured instrument of death that was ultimately crushed by “teddy bears.”

You won’t get Grant out of Montana, he’s a digger

Since Jurassic Park roared onto cinema screens in 1993, many LEGO builders have recreated their favourite scenes. We’ve lost count of the number of T-Rex vs Ford Explorer dioramas we’ve seen, and many of the other action sequences have received their own brick-built tributes. However, Jonas Kramm has chosen to revisit one of the calmer moments near the film’s beginning — a dinosaur excavation in the Montana Badlands. Jonas has captured the scene perfectly — Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler are brushing away at the exposed Velociraptor fossil, surrounded by piles of gear. The dinosaur fossil is nicely put together, but the assorted equipment rewards closer inspection. I particularly like the rendition of the red “shotgun holder” — fired into the ground to generate a sonar image on the computer screen. (A screen which Jonas has thoughtfully shaded from the Montana sun, just like in the movie!)

LEGO Jurassic Park - Montana Velociraptor

The form of the Forum taking shape

I love it when two things that I like and know something about come together, like peanut butter and jelly or LEGO and Roman history. Tim Schwalfenberg brings us a slice of the early days of Rome, when they were still constructing the Forum.

Roman Forum

Or perhaps it is later in Rome’s history when they were building a second, third, or fourth forum. I suspect it is early, though, since the streets are not yet paved and there is still active construction going on with a wooden crane lifting up a block of marble to add to a second building. If that’s not deep enough, please excuse me while I put on my scholar hat for a moment. It should be pointed out that not everything is completely accurate here: the Romans generally built with brick or concrete and faced the buildings with marble, rather than building the whole thing of marble; and also, Caesar Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome (reigning from 27 BC to AD 14) is said by the historian Suetonius to have said, “I found it of brick, but left it of marble”, since marble was rarely used before Augustus’ day.

However, taking my scholar hat off, this is an impressive build, with lovely columns of clearly Ionic styling. The structure conveys the grandeur that is proper to that mighty republic of the past. The trees are particularly nice, with the whips coiled around in an organic way, and evoke the stone pines of Rome well. The folded minifigure capes do a great job as togas, too; you can see a few senators, perhaps, near the sundial in their white togae candidae. My favorite piece usage, though, is the inverted jumper plates for the ladders. The whole thing is impressive. Augustus would be proud.

LEGO Star Wars fan builds animated Death Star trench run & Death Star II destruction scenes with 50,000 LEGO pieces [Video]

LEGO Star Wars builder Anthony Ducre recently shared a massive diorama featuring scenes from both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. Built from over 50,000 LEGO bricks, the diorama includes Darth Vader chasing Luke Skywalker down the trench of the first Death Star, animated by placing the starfighters on classic LEGO 9-volt train tracks.

LEGO Star Wars Death Star diorama by Anthony Ducre on YouTube

Watch videos of this huge LEGO Star Wars diorama after the jump

These tires might not be racing slicks, but the racing is sure slick

Everyone likes to watch a racecar speed around a corner at a break-neck pace, caroming nearly out of control, tires barely maintaining friction with the pavement. Add in a bit of ice and snow to reduce that friction to almost nothing, and the excitement increases. Builder Simon Pickard brings us a rally car in just that situation, seemingly mere seconds from sliding into a drift. I love the composition of the shot, with the beautiful movement implied by the curved road.

Snow Rally - Monaco

While the car is the MINI Cooper from Speed Champions set 75894 (be sure to check out our review), the setting for the vehicle is what sets this apart from the pack. The curvature of the road is the detail that catches the eye above all else, with the excellent tire tracks. Formed from tiles and plates arranged carefully, the path and the posing of the car give it all a profound sense of movement, especially with the 1×1 round plates kicked up by the skidding tires. My only quibble is that the front tires are still straight, when all of my highly technical race knowledge gleaned from watching Cars with my kids tells me that he should be turning left to go right…