Any time I see LEGO creations relating to Order 66 from Revenge of the Sith, I feel the emotional tension rising. As painful as it is to see clones turn on their former Jedi comrades, you have to admit that builder First Order Lego does a painstakingly good job at depicting the ultimate betrayal.
From the clones’ march into the Jedi Temple on Coruscant to the younglings hiding in the background, this build perfectly captures the epic darkness of the moment. The only word I have for the level of detail, especially in the Holocron bookcases and the statue work, is beautiful.
Oh, and did I mention that this build is literally lit?
The recent release of the 501st battlepack has taken LEGO Star Wars fans by storm. Many bought multiple sets containing the fan-favourite clone troopers for collecting, army building, and for use in their builds. While many built scenes starring the 501st troopers, landscape artist First Order Lego already completed their most iconic and memorable battle. The Battle of Umbara is regarded as the best four-episode story arc of The Clone Wars and is enough to elevate the whole series to Star Wars fans’ favour. In these episodes, the 501st struggle against the natives, the landscape, and even their own in a brutal war story. They showcase that the Republic are not the good guys, the soldiers are disposable, and that the war is pointless and harmful. Thus, people frequently compare them to the real-world inspiration: the United States invasion of Vietnam.
The 501st, led by Anakin Skywalker, advance through trenches and carnivorous plants on this elaborate against the Umbaran natives. The dark terrain and the eerie flora is visually striking, providing good contrast against the white armour of the clone troopers. First Order Lego uses many rubber tires to give a smooth and rounded look to the large spiky plants. Many bladed elements make up smaller plants, and even a few construction parts provide roughness to the landscape. In addition, various transparent parts dot the terrain, providing light and giving Umbara its signature “evil” look. While on the far side, the neon-lit road is a welcome change from the rough black wilderness.
First Order Lego also provides a time-lapse video of this battle scene coming together:
The 1×1 plate with a printed black square showed up in 2017 as an architectural element in a few different LEGO sets. It has become a popular detailing element, especially in micro builds. This castle by Luka (First Order LEGO) has used it here to give this lovely little castle windows and contrast. He also used air tanks for the gate and seep, as well as white wands on the spires. I’m not sure if it’s intended, but the icy white and grey-blue look gives me a wintery vibe. Even more so with the nifty use of the medium blue Exo-Force hair on the lone tree near the base of the castle.
Okay, let me start with a confession: I’ve never watched a Studio Ghibli film. I know, I know, that makes me a bad person. Someday I hope to reform my ways. But before you throw your rotten eggs and moldering cabbages at me, let me show you a cool build that is inspired by one of the movies, Howl’s Moving Castle. Built by First Order Lego for both the Style it Up contest and the Iron Forge, it is a sight to behold. The complicated details are lovingly depicted here, from the houses embedded in the sides to the many, many complicated-looking mechanical apparatuses on the back. Is that a rat as smoke? Yes, it is. And beards and hair, too. There are too many other fabulous parts usages in this thing for me to list, so be sure to zoom in on it yourself, but if you notice that there are lots of minifigure legs and hips about, that’s because it is the seed part for the Iron Forge, the open-to-all-comers qualifying competition for the Iron Builder. Maybe this entry will “walk away” with the coveted prize. Ha. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some movies to go watch <ducks a rotten cabbage>.
We are living in truly strange and uncertain times. There is a silver lining amid this global pandemic lockdown though. Most nations are reporting cleaner air, cleaner water, and nature sort of healing itself. I, for one, am enjoying hearing more birds and frogs and seeing stars in the night sky for the first time in quite a while. And I don’t know about you but my car is getting a solid four weeks to the gallon! However, First Order Lego also sees a glimmer of hope, as do most of us, in a return back to normalcy.
A plane in the sky is becoming an increasingly rarer sight these days and it looks rather awe-inspiring in this composition. The low-angle view is well-suited here and I really enjoy the colors and textures of these balconies. Italy has been hard hit with the pandemic so this builder was inspired to build balconies with a Mediterranean feel complete with numerous plants. Italy, and the rest of the world, let’s stay home, stay strong and, if we listen to our healthcare officials, we should be back to normalcy in due time.
Call it fate, call it karma, call it luck…whatever name you hang on it, destiny is a force to be reckoned with. And while it can be a scary thing, it can also be beautiful. I mean, just look at First Order LEGO‘s Hand Of Destiny. This monochromatic vision in bluish-grey LEGO may not evoke feelings of giddiness, but it still is a lovely thing to behold.
There are a lot of great textures in play in the base and fingers, but to me the real star of this build is the tree’s foliage. Those are hundreds of 8mm wheel rims. If you look very closely, you can see that they’re attached using various 1×1 clip plates. There has to be some very interesting architectural support hiding under those rims, too.
I’m always struggling to find good uses for all the LEGO wheels that accumulate in my parts bins. Maybe the techniques in play here can help inspire some creations of my own. And if not, that’s got to be the case for some other builder. Destiny demands it!
LEGO builders will sometimes look for ways to challenge themselves. Sometimes they’ll require that their creation includes a specific “seed part”, usually something that isn’t particularly easy to incorporate. Sometimes they’ll put insane time pressure on things, giving themselves a week, or even a day, to go from loose bricks to completed model. And then, sometimes, you get someone like First Order Lego who will create an entire diorama, based around a battle droid body, in just two hours.
In this scene, a murky river of transparent black elements runs between two peaks. Connecting them is a bridge, made up of those required droid bodies and robot arms. Green spikes combine with 1×1 flower plate to create a touch of vegetation. And there’s even a mountain fortress, rendered in miniature by headlight bricks and cheese slopes. Hard to believe this only took two hours.
You don’t have to take my word on the short time frame, though. Check out this awesome time-lapse of the build and see for yourself!
The first season of the Mandalorian has now finished on Disney+ and while we have some time to wait before season 2, we can still revel in the LEGO creations inspired by the show. The planet Nevarro makes a few appearances, and First Order LEGO has recreated one pivotal scene. The landscape is sufficiently textured to give the model the same gritty feeling as the show. Additionally, the buildings are built using many small pieces, making them as aged and weathered as we’ve come to expect from the Star Wars galaxy. To avoid getting too spoilery, I’ll just say that the scene is filled with all the right details, from droids to moisture vaporators, that make it unmistakably Star Wars. Check out the rest of this builder’s photos and see what other details you can spot.
When the sci-fi shooter Star Wars Battlefront 2 launched in the fall of 2017, fans around the world were finally allowed to live out life-long fantasies of fighting pivotal battles from all eras of the galaxy far, far away. One of these classic locales was Yavin IV, the site of ancient Massassi temple ruins used by the Rebels during the Galactic Civil War. In this scene by First Order Lego the heavily overgrown ruins are captured in amazing detail.
The scene depicts the Empire’s attempt to sabotage the Rebel’s defensive turbolasers, while defenders attempt to disarm the explosives. The model features some fantastic vegetation and the crumbling walls make great use of a variety of earth tones to give the structure a weathered look.
This close-up shows a clever use of Technic part as paving stones.