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.
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.