When you’re building a floating castle, space is limited. The City of Alaylon designed by the legendary architect Sir Alberto Mauriccio (according to the LEGO builder, Brother Steven) is a wonderful example of making the most of limited land. The island in the sky that this fortification and village are perched on is actually made up of two pieces of land connected by a sky bridge.
There is nothing boring or plain about this castle in the sky. The many wall and tower fortification are built using some common elements of various sizes, like radar dishes and 1×1 round plates, and the inclusion of sloped elements at regular intervals along the walls ties the different structures together. The outer walls are gently curved to reinforce the crescent shape of the landscape.
The many upper towers, all in white, are also built to different dimensions using a wide variety of arches and other architectural elements that compliment each other quite nicely.
The smaller shops and building inside the castle walls are the perfect addition to the scene, providing a glimpse into the day to day life of its residents and visitors. I really love the mason perched on a small platform to do some delicate repair work.
This humble Dwarven home by Isaac Snyder may look like a fairly simple construction, but if you take a closer look, there are quite a few techniques worth mentioning that bring this dwelling to life. The black roof uses small slopes in an asymmetrical pattern which is quite unexpected. Also, the corner pillars blend seamlessly with the walls. The inset alcoves for doors and windows have a very strong castle fortification vibe, and speaking of doors, this one is a gem, made from various brown plates stacked simply, and adorned with hinges made from one of my favorite “new” parts, the modified 1×1 round plate with handle.
But there is one more thing… an interior.
There have been many entries in the continuing Isles of Aura saga, a series of floating islands creations, but I wanted to spend some time touring Isaac and John Snyder’s latest effort: the Town of Khevroa.
We’ve previously featured models from the Isles after the concept’s genesis as Models Inspired by Music and later with Brother Stevens’ Sunset Slumber among others. However, this latest scene has some great examples of packing a lot of detail and building variety into one small town.
Continue deeper into the town
Flying ships are certainly not uncommon among LEGO builds, going back to the heyday of LEGO steampunk and floating rocks eight or ten years ago. Mark Erickson has incorporated large LEGO boat hull pieces into a rather amazing flagship for his fictional Vermillion Empire.
Mark’s ship uses custom-printed sails cut to standard LEGO size, but the most impressive part of the ship is all the gold detail, both surrounding the cannon ports and at the prow of the ship, where a mighty ram is ready to impale enemy ships.
A cottage in the woods is a very pastoral setting, but this cottage by Pavel Angelov Marinov looks a bit sad and neglected. Could be the perfect hiding spot for an evil sorcerer, or a fugitive framed for the murder of his wife by a mysterious one-armed man, or even a beautiful princess troubled by a curse. Between the overgrown landscape, the dilapidated stone walls, and the roof with a tree growing out of it, this cottage could use some love. Maybe some industrious little dwarves with funny names would be up to the task.
One of my favorite features of this model is the roof. Using ball joints first introduce by LEGO in 2014 in the Mixels theme provides the perfect organic curve to build the crooked thatched look. Also, Pavel’s choice of olive green stems mixed in with the traditional green ones provides a nice contrast with the green flowers.
Some of my fondest childhood memories revolved around dreaming about dinosaurs. In the late 1980s, Tyco indulged me with prehistoric playthings in the form of Dino-Riders, and I pined for a world where I too could ride a triceratops. These memories came flooding back when I saw Jme Wheeler’s series of builds depicting his own dino-riding universe. Jme brings each setting to life with some excellent scenery, but he has also gone one step further by creating backstories for each scene. This particular build depicts the relationship between Gunther the fisherman and Cornelius the Carnosaurus, who was rescued by as a juvenile by a once-lonely Gunther. What’s particularly excellent is how Jme used brick-built water to make it look like Cornelius is drinking water, although I would imagine his presence sends fish into a frenzy.
Click to see the rest of the dino scenes
A fantastic piece of fantasy just popped up in the form of the home of the white lotus priestess by jaapxaap. Jaapxaap’s use of a wide variety of angles and bright colors help create a building that feels both wonderfully organic and magical. I wouldn’t have thought of doing a purple roof, but it works really well here and compliments the orange and brown hues of the surrounding terrain. A number of fun little details can be spotted in this build, including wild looking toadstools, a brilliant brick-built stork, and plenty examples of the priestess’ signature flower. You will even find a small porch with a telescope, perfect for any astrologer.
Who needs an island in the sea when you can have your own private enclave in the sky? This splendid floating homestead was built by -Littlejohn and his brother Isaac for InnovaLUG’s collaborative display at Brickworld. While this size of the islands may be small, the builders packed a lot of detail into each one. I love the idea of subsistence farming above the clouds, which is made even more exciting through the use of bright and cheery colors. The little house completes the scene quite nicely; it looks so quaint and inviting that I wouldn’t mind living there!
When it comes to building a great microscale castle, there is something beautiful in the simple choices, color, angled walls, round or square towers, a bridge. This lovely castle scene by Henjin_Quilones has many of these simple choices that add up to an enchanting build.
One of my favorite features is the use of inverted 2×2 round bricks, with windows at the top made with the gaps on the underside of the bricks and plates. A few well-placed gears are another nice detail. The grooved bricks used as stairs was a surprising feature. I also really love the smooth walls topped with slopes, and the very few windows placed very thoughtfully.
Besides the castle itself, there are other areas of the scene worth noticing, like the small village and docks, the watchtower on the far side of the bridge, and the detailed landscaping.
One of the things that can really set a castle apart are the little architectural details — window frames, a well-crafted wall, bridges, and parapets. This stunning creation by Fraser Ratzlaff has all this and more. At a glance, it might seem like this castle in the clouds has to be microscale, but make no mistake, this minifig-scale castle is nine feet tall! One of the most impressive things about this castle is the support, made entirely of official LEGO bricks.
See more details after the jump
Dragons are the quintessential fantastical creature, common in myths from cultures around the globe, and a muse for artists and sculptors for centuries. LEGO builders are no exception — and here it’s John Cheng who has succumbed to the dragon’s call. This striking dragon bust is lovingly assembled from a well-chosen selection of curved and sloped parts, creating a great impression of musculature beneath scaled skin. Further, the blue and purple colour scheme is bold without being garish, and allows the lightning-flavoured horns on the dragon’s head to really pop from the image. The cloud-styled base of the model works nicely too.
John Snyder takes a fantasy spin on Islamic architecture with Al-Danah, a fantasy fortress. His fabled fortress is exceptional in several aspects: lovely choices of color, simplified cartoony textures, and a unique cloud technique that makes its elevated location convincing.