William Gibson’s seminal sci-fi novel Neuromancer helped set the cyberpunk standard for urban cityscapes with its depiction of The Sprawl — a vast built-up area stretching the full length of the Eastern Seaboard of the US. Whilst Didier Burtin doesn’t mention Neuromancer with regards his latest model, this microscale LEGO creation immediately made me think of Gibson’s work. The architecture and the presence of some small-scale aerial vehicles also brings to mind Syd Mead’s vision of the cities of the future from Blade Runner. Whatever your particular favourite flavour of cyberpunk, you’re sure to find something you like in this model…
The city is gloriously detailed, rewarding a closer look with a wealth of textured detail, the product of smart parts choices and interesting combinations. Too often futuristic LEGO cities offer a homogenous architecture, but this offers a rich variety of building style, looking like it evolved over time in a messy clash of planning, business, and everyday living — much as a real world city does.
The model is all the more impressive for its tight footprint. All the glorious details in the images above are found within a small square of construction — a great advertisement for the effectiveness of microscale building in being able to conjure up epic vistas…
When you’ve designed something as beautiful as Ayrlego‘s Wainwright house, it seems a shame not to experiment with its presentation. It looks right at home in its medieval situ, with its muddy path, city guards, and period timber frame construction.
However, why stop here? Relocate the build half way around the globe to Jamestown in Virginia and you have a completely different enviroment to explore. LEGO palm trees and red coat soldiers have surrounded the timber frame residence, giving the model a fresh colonial feel.
There are a wealth of details worth checking out in Andreas Lenander‘s latest LEGO creation — a busy marketplace in a Middle-East-inspired fantasy city — not least its unusual inhabitants. The city walls feature some nice little touches to break up the expanse of tan, and the detailing around the arch is spot-on. The towers provide a nice backdrop to the action, and the white one has some lovely texturing which delivers the impression of mosaics or elaborate carved screens. Below, the market itself is brimming with people and animals, creating a sense of activity and movement. You can’t look at this without finding yourself waiting on a big fight breaking out!
There are a huge variety of minifigures amidst the hustle and bustle of the marketplace. The mixing of figures from different LEGO themes can sometimes jar, but here it simply adds to the sense of a wider fantasy world and the bazaar as a melting pot of cultures and races…
If your LEGO pirate ship crashes on the rocks, what do you do? Easy, rebuild! Travis Brickle has embraced this idea, skilfully repurposing the recognisable aspects of his vessel into a makeshift cottage on its own remote island. It’s a ramshackle affair with the hull doubling as roof replete with dormers; I love the turtle shell fix to one of these. The mast stands tall as a look out post, I assume to scour the horizon for rescue. A ship’s wheel hangs above the door, a reminder of past maritime glory. Yet, even when a pirate’s shipwrecked, you can’t take the buccaneer out of the man: there are sailors still to walk the plank, treasure to plunder, and rum aplenty to be swilled.
If there is a place where even medieval tax collection would look picturesque, it would be Arylego‘s latest scene, depicting a wooden water mill. This unpleasant task is quite often depicted escalating into violence, so Arylego’s creation comes as a breath of fresh air, showing a civil conversation.
The colour scheme is muted, but quite realistic, with a tree in autumn red colours as a contrast to lighten up the scene. My favourite parts have to be the textures and mixing of colours on the roof and timber walls of the building. Welcome uses of parts are the hinge plates with fingers used in the wheel, which makes the shape much more flowing than any other hinge system.
LEGO fansite Classic Castle’s annual Colossal Castle Contest is upon us yet again. Now in its 16th year, this long-running contest draws out scores of world-class builders. We’ve got our eyes on all the contenders, but the one that caught my eye today is Isaac Snyder with a pair of simple yet elegant medieval builds. While modest in both scale and intent, Isaac has crafted a wonderful slice of middle-age urbanism, with neatly designed houses crowding over a packed street. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Isaac has opted for a refreshingly clean aesthetic, eschewing the now-common jumbled style of bricks at crazy angles and roofs mere moments from collapse.
Next, Isaac moves to the countryside while retaining the same tidy style, bringing us a happy cottage on a streambank. The wattle and daub architecture is expertly accomplished, and the little touches like the chicken coop give life to the scene.
Sprawling across multiple base plates, this staggering LEGO sci-fi display is the brainchild of builder Marco den Besten. Taking inspiration from the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun video game franchise, it depicts a bustling military complex and its numerous support vehicles, mech suits and space fighters. The glistening yellow, white and grey colour scheme, borrowed from a Nexo Knight shield, gives it a crisp and clean futuristic feel.
See more details and animated features of this huge LEGO space diorama
LEGO TOKYO is a special collaboration between Aurélien Mathieu (better known online as Shobrick) and Cole Blaq. To be precise, it’s really Shobrick’s swan song from the LEGO scene–and what better way to make a grand exit but with a monumental partnership to release four epic scenes that were put together by professional set designers and talented artists.
Click to see the duo’s amazing images of LEGO Tokyo and read about how they were created
I’m fascinated by Mihai Marius Mihu’s latest Cthulhu themed creation. Featuring a red shrimp-like ‘old one’, whose beady white eyes and muscular torso resonates a sense of otherworldly grandeur. It’s a unique monster design that utilises some excellent modelling skills to creepy effect. The composition sees the demon towering over the diorama’s micro scale fortress, again hinting at an inhuman scale suited to its Lovecraftian subject matter. Working like a latter day Hieronymus Bossch, Mihai’s art shows us the uncanny potential of the LEGO brick.
Halloween has come and gone, but it should not be the only day of the year when we get to see dark and moody themes. Tymothy Shortell would agree, having built castle ruins that look perfect for the season yet apropriate throughout the year.
All the colours, or lack thereof, make for a great atmosphere, mostly facilitated by the dark gray of the castle wall. While the castle is my favourite part, the landscape is very important too. The whole scene is a round shape, with natural flowing transitions between rocks and grass. The editing and photography are what takes the build to a higher level though, especially a dim orange light shining through a window.
The iconic landscape of Hobbiton is a stark contrast to the majority of other locations presented in the stories of J. R. R. Tolkien, and its unique style is quite the popular theme for LEGO builders to tackle. Coming off the tail of a large Middle Earth-themed collaboration, Jake Hansen has joined forces with Cole Blood in what I hope is not the “Last Alliance”.
The large scale of the diorama–16 32×32 baseplates, or about 11 square feet–really brings the best out of the rolling hills made of stacked plates. Continue reading
Robert Maier has opened the LEGO Chamber of Secrets and unleashed a fantastic beast of a basilisk! If you’ve followed Robert for a while like we have you’ll note this model, while a bit of a departure from his usual post-apocalyptic fare like a toxic wasteland and a world without trains, displays his typical knack for textured, murky worlds.
In this scene you can see Tom Marvolo Riddle (AKA teen Voldemort) near the climax of the book/movie after he has spent months manipulating Ginny Weasley with his diary-Horcrux. Here she’s unconscious just before Harry Potter swoops in to save the day on Fawkes the phoenix in a bit of deus ex machina. The ambiance of the scene is perfect with bones of victims past, rotting plant life, and foggy water. The basilisk model itself dominates the chamber as it slithers out of Salazar Slytherin’s statue. I especially like the vertical nature of the statue against the horizontal striations of the chamber walls. You can check out some finer details of the basilisk itself in the closeup shot below. It’s a far cry from the basilisk we reviewed in the Hogwarts Great Hall!