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.
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.
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.
I bet you’re taking a second, or even a third, close look at this magical floating castle to analyse how it all holds up. LEGO wizard jaapxaap must have dreamt of this one night and woke up to make it a reality. The colour choices of white and gold, plus the bright blue of the domes and trimming helps provide an additional subconscious cue, elevating it into the skies above the clouds. A brilliant idea turned into reality with the execution of beautiful engineering.
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.