Not to make this all about me, but I’m an artist who enjoys illustrating book covers. My work is heavily influenced by old pulps, spy novels, game manuals, serial horrors, children’s mysteries such as Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and anything involving elements of danger, intrigue, lush colors, and provocative titles. The point to telling you this is with a spooky castle, and a dense forest, this LEGO creation immediately resonated with me. The title, “Treasure of the Snake Queen” evoked a sense of danger and exotic adventure. Already this was something I was excited to write about. You can imagine my delight when I then learned that this piece was built by our own Brothers Brick contributor Flynn DeMarco and his partner Richard Board. Together they comprise a cohesive building team who goes by the name of Tricky Bricks.
I suspect that any self-respecting mycologist would eschew chewing on any purple mushrooms; a bright color like that probably screams “I’m poisonous!” That’s not to say a purple mushroom is not edible. All mushrooms are edible, after all; it’s just that some can be eaten only once. This purple mushroom mansion built by Jaap Bijl can be viewed as many times as you like but, like a real purple mushroom, I would not recommend eating it – ABS plastic doesn’t go down easy. Built for the Parts Festival hosted by our friends at New Elementary, there is an abundance of lovely parts usage, as well as plenty of Jaap’s favorite color, purple.
In particular, the new projectile launchers make for nice columns to flank the stairs. You’ll also find some stars, hearts, and splats for flowers and archways, and who doesn’t like some clever carrots in builds? The large flowers to either side give the scene some scale; either the house is small, or the flowers are huge! I like to imagine that there are little imps or faeries about. There seems to be a budding theme of tiny fantastic creatures growing, with some recent examples here and here, and I am a big fan.
In many fantasy tropes there’s that moment where the heroes gather to set off on their grand adventure. Maybe it’s in a tavern, maybe it’s the king’s audience chamber. Sometimes it’s in a mystic glade or just a chance encounter. If you’ve seen this scene once, you’ve seen them all. However, what you might not have noticed was the world happening around the heroes. There are common folk who exist outside of the main narrative, living their fantasy lives as best they can. ‘Sergeant Chipmunk’ brings us a LEGO moment in time that captures the momentous as well as the mundane.
I’m a sucker for the stories behind builds. I’m also one for nicely cut lines and color choice in architecture. This build by Brother Steven displays all of those traits. Although we’ve seen it done before, the journal of an adventurer chronicled in LEGO is a fascinating concept, and done well by Steven. This particular creation is part of a series of builds, all following “Zenas Abbington” as the hero. There are so many lovely aspects to the castle: the round base, the shape of the towers, the pearl gold carriage wheel in the windows, and the accents on the front door. Let’s not forget how adorable those sheep are too!
And the flip-side is just as pretty! That tree is magnificent, with its color and angled branches. I’m also a big fan of the underside of those mushrooms! It’s no wonder that this, coupled with a few other creations, won a “Brickee” at BrickFair Alabama 2019!
Some of the details of this build are reminiscent of other creations from Steven’s magical world, such as this floating castle we featured last year.
Skyrim players the world over know the joy of a well-timed FUS RO DAH! The iconic shouted spell will blast your enemies, and if you time it just right, as in this scene by Victor, the results can be spectacular. This also happens to be the perfect use for LEGO’s new power burst elements from various Superhero sets, showing the blastwave emanating from the Dragonborn. Also not to be missed is the use of the tree-costume element as the tree’s trunk. Despite the obvious application, this is actually the first time I’ve seen a good tree made with that element.
Builder W. Navarre takes us to a Middle Eastern-inspired fantasy world with this lovely vignette of a royal apartment. What’s striking as much as the excellent agglomeration of official LEGO stickers is the use of worn, dirty bricks to lend an ancient, chiseled look to the walls. Most builders eschew such bricks except as hidden filler, but scenes like this remind us that there’s a use for nearly anything if you’re clever enough.
I used to think that a dragon without wings was simply a lizard, but I wouldn’t dare say that to the face of this wingless dragon built by Leonid An. His name is Glaurung the Fierce, and with his athletic, lean build and large claws, this dragon looks like it could easily rip any opponent to shreds, especially a heckling human who dares mock his lack of wings.
What I love about this dragon in particular is the way the builder has used repetition throughout the body, neck, and tail to achieve a very clean organic figure. For example, the robot arm piece is used at least twenty times, laced through flex tube to give both the subtle and more drastic curves the body of the dragon required. The 2×2 round tan boat studs are used as armor plating from the top of the neck of the dragon, all the way down underneath the belly to the tail, making for a wonderfully consistent aesthetic.
The Wheel of Time is a classic series of Fantasy novels by Robert Jordan, first published in 1990. One of the empires in the Wheel of Time universe is known as Seanchan, and it inspired Douglas Hughes to build a LEGO version of a Seanchan Greatship. According to the builder, the Seanchan style is a fusion of medieval European and Asian influences. For example, the figurehead is European while the trio of ribbed sails are reminiscent of Chinese junks. I love the sculpting of the bow and the ornate detailing running the entire length of the ship. The golden hawk figurehead looks stunning and doubles as a reference to Artur Hawkwing, one of the Seanchan empire’s earlier leaders.
Magical swirls, bright colours, and mysterious runes might impress you in this portal hub scene by LEGO builder Chris Perron, but with a bit of thought you realize it is just a glorified crossroad, which seems as magical to us as cars would to someone using a portal transport system.
There is so much to love in the scene. The swirling, colourful portals are highlighted in post-production to give an immersive magical feeling. The green runes on the floor add a bit of mystery, along with the eye symbols and other decoration on the walls. The real star is the forced perspective castle in the central, blue portal and how it is lit in beautiful sunset colours.
If you are a fan of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you are probably familiar with Titania, queen of the fairies. Loosely influenced by the bard’s play, Ben Cossy whipped up this lovely LEGO fairy stretching out on the curled leaf of a flowering plant. Ben’s fairy is well-built, with a calm-looking pose and skirt flowing to the side. While the fairy herself is visually stunning, she is made all the more impressive thanks to some detailed landscaping. The sculpting of the flower is breathtaking, including an excellent use of the natural flex of 1×2 plates and 1×1 round plates to form curves in the leaves. It completes the scene in such a way that feels bright and magical.
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.