With the Colossal Castle Contest XV starting two weeks ago, the greatest castle builders ready their bricks to compete in what is probably the largest themed annual LEGO competition. Lasting till the end of the year, it gets countless high quality submissions every time. John Snyder joins the competition with a diorama of an elven village, setting the bar high for any still considering to compete.
Unconventional colour use and stark contrasts are definitely the first parts to catch one’s eye, but there is more to see beyond that. I am sure many people will take a closer look at this creation, but some details I believe should be pointed out range from blue minifig legs used as waterfalls to the buildings’ textures and the somewhat simple but highly effective autumn trees. Indeed, taking your time and exploring every little corner of this diorama will surely be a nice experience.
After a hard day breathing fire and scaring unsuspecting villagers, even dragons need a little down time. Anthony Wilson has built one of the most distinguished, chilled-out dragons I have ever seen. In his relaxed position, this dragon is able to effortlessly enjoy a cup of tea without disturbing those fine Magenta wings and the floral decorations in his ‘hair’. I particularly love the use of the lime Gresh helmet for the dragon’s flared nostrils and Corroder Claws to form the head shape.
A closer look at the relaxed dragon shows that he likes nothing better than a Jammie Dodger to dip into his cup of tea. Milk and no sugar please, he’s looking after that fine figure. I love the cute little teapot suspended from the tip of the dragon’s tail, while the cup and saucer really look the part.
John Donne wrote that “no man is an island”, but when it comes to LEGO creations, famous poets do not restrict your imagination. Ben Fitzsimmons has turned that saying around with his huge LEGO diorama depicting a multitude of islands each inhabited by wandering travellers. Each unique little island is a place for rest and trade above the expanse of dark azure ocean. This is a beautiful, fantastical build with a touch of steampunk. The islands are all full of creative buildings like the tall lighthouse on the far right, and nice landscaping such as the waterfall spilling back into the ocean and the colourful trees.
A closer look at one part of the diorama shows some of the fun details. I love the propeller-powered pack that one traveller is wearing to cruise between islands, while the use of the ‘hot air balloon part’ as a sail works well at this scale.
Ben’s diorama won the Steampunk category at Brickfair Virginia this year and I imagine the build was even more impressive to see in person.
In the old days, animals were often used in wars — most often horses, sometimes hounds and even elephants. Alexander Blais throws all the historical realism out the window with this crazy creation of an “escargoliath” with an archer tower on its shell to beseige the city of Boldiron. The animal has a sense of motion to it, and slow motion at that.
The spiral on the shell is simple, but it gets the job done and the round organic shapes are captured very well, although the studs possibly give it too much of a “fuzzy” feel.
Legend says a gorgeous temple is hidden somewhere in these mountains. To find it, you’ll have to cross the treacherous lava and fight giant scorpions. Or so they say. What’s inside? Only builder David Leest knows. But you can bet your bottom copper that any heroes that find the temple and live to tell the story will be richly rewarded.
David’s stunning scene depicts an adventuring group comprised of a blue mage, a red mage, a dwarf, and a thief who have finally reached the temple’s doorstep. The temple itself is quite detailed, including studded textures, bas-relief sculptures, and a pleasing mixture of “new” gray and old gray that makes this building look ancient.
Dwalin Forkbeard shows his love for the fantasy worlds of Warhammer with a 52cm tall LEGO Dwarf Thane full of character. The subtle contours of the armor plating suggest the Thane’s battle-hardened stance. The shaping of the face mask and helmet are excellent, especially around the eye holes, allowing for a rather impressive beard to extend downward.
We’ve recently featured a sci-fi diorama sporting some nice portals, but this diorama by I Scream Clone places portals in a very different theme indeed. Both of these were built for a loosely connected collaborative project named “Portals” presented during the Sydney Brick Show. The builder brings an oldschool castle diorama to the table, with some very good structures, but mostly simple landscaping that helps the portals stand out even better. I wonder, are these dioramas really connected…
Putting Duplo foliage pieces to good use, jsnyder002 brings us a tranquil little fantasy scene with a pair of mushroom houses in a lush landscape. The mushrooms themselves include some great details, from the white spots on their red roofs to the little doorknobs on one of the houses built by inverting jumper plates. The large Duplo bushes give the scene a bit of a cartoon feel, as do the curly sprigs on the left.
The Elven Fortress of Valahadrian is located deep in the Mystic Isles of Avalonia, and was created from the imagination of LEGO builder Tirrell Brown. The tan and reddish brown colour combination fits well into the green woodland landscape surrounding the fortress. I love the unusual circular construction with overgrown arches to give a really organic feel to the architecture. Tirrell has clearly spent time on the trees and greenery to bring the whole build together, resulting in a lovely vignette. There’s a story unfolding before our very eyes with the rowing boat arriving and someone awaiting the visitor’s arrival.
I can’t help but draw your attention to the multi-layered base mimicking the differing grass, soil and water layers — a very nice detail!
This intriguing looking black dragon by Al Fi has clearly been enjoying a few too many dragon snacks, as that oversized paunch reveals. The builder has mainly used Bionicle parts for this unusual creation, but some LEGO System and Technic elements are present too. I say ‘unusual’ as it’s not often you see a couple of tires used to form the central stomach area of a creature in this manner!
It’s worth having a look at the rear side of this dragon to see some more lovely shaping and spiky details. The purple and pearl grey highlights are just enough to break up the black without making this dragon look too much like a LEGO Friends creation!
It’s not often that I see a LEGO creation and think to myself “this is art.” But Lukasz Wiktorowicz‘s most recent build, “the Edge” certainly is art. Using both classic architecture and surrealist imagery, Lukasz created an absolutely stunning build. The proportions on this thing are spot on and the details are ridiculously, well, detailed. But what really pushes this build over the top is Lukasz’s out-of-the-box building techniques.
Normally I’m a stickler for lining up LEGO bricks perfectly (90 or 180 degree angles only, people!). A little crease from a cattywampus brick in an otherwise smooth wall is a downright sin in my book. But Lukasz purposefully stacked the bricks in his four pillars all askew and the resulting texture is fantastic! Another creative feature of this build is the base. When I accumulate a boxful of seemingly useless bricks, I shove them to the back of my shelf and forget about them. Instead of doing the same, Lukasz used those ball socket bricks to create an unconventional base for his build that makes the whole thing look like it is floating. Well done all around.
Finnish builder Eero Okkonen does it again with this latest addition to his collection of Discworld characters. With donut in hand, Sergeant Colon looks like the Roman equivalent of a modern American cop (famous for their infinite love for this kind of pastry). Chain mail armor and caligae boots are perfectly captured in such a small scale, and those chubby cheeks look fantastic! Corporal Nobbs on the other hand is instantly recognizable with his big nose and cigarette. Despite the smaller scale, Eero’s attention to detail results in another two magnificent micro-sculptures.