In a world where steampunk hot air balloons and sky-pirates exist, there is a need for sky-based communication and supply stops. This cozy LEGO “Cloud 9 Outpost” built by Marcel V and LEGO designer Markus Rollbüler is just the place. It may be cobbled together, but it’s home-sweet-home to its humble inhabitant and his trusty pup. He also has to be picking up all sorts of reception with so many satellites and antennae! There’s lots of funky and fun parts usage here, but I particularly like the minifigure goggles used as bench legs.
What is it about the persistent fantasy of castles among the clouds, whether it is on a floating rock or built on the cumulonimbus itself? It’s certainly pervasive, even being featured in everyone’s favorite space fantasy, ruled by Prince Calrissian. I’m not complaining, mind you; I have a deep love for the idea myself and have been tempted to build something along those lines one of these days. But LEGO builder Caleb Saw beat me to the punch, creating this stunning castle afloat on the aether.
Now, I love domes, and this castle has excellent domes, including, quite fittingly, half of Bespin. There is wonderful variation among the buildings, and yet they look a cohesive whole, too. The tan and dark tan colors look great together here, and the foliage is top-notch; indeed, the vines and trees look incredibly organic. And then there are the clouds. So many round bits that work so well together to create something light and fluffy out of shiny ABS plastic!
Because they’re cool. Or at least they are when they’re as well put-together as this floating LEGO castle by Andrew JN. The floating rock, with its foliage and tumbling waterfall, is a nice piece of building, but it’s the fortification which attracts all the attention. The colour scheme is wonderful, tan with patches of light grey, and a smattering of dark blue elements providing a pleasing contrast. The texture in the walls is smartly-done — overall it’s smooth and easy on the eye, but has just enough detail to make it look realistic (although what does “realistic” mean when we’re talking about a fantastical floating castle?!) The tan is a bold choice, unusual in LEGO Castle creations, but it pays off here — giving the model more than a little whiff of madcap Bavarian “fantasy fortress”, undoubtedly a good thing in my book.
There is something magical about a floating castle. Not just the unanswered question of how and why it drifts among the clouds, but also the exotic promise of breathtaking views from pretty much any vantage point. In this microscale castle by Dr. Zarkow, I am left wondering where all that water is coming from. One of my favorite details has to be the small green gears used for leafy trees. The new wand from the Wizarding World makes the perfect prow for the floating ship, and don’t miss the use of a white car tire beneath the dome.
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.
When I first saw this build I did a double take. There are lots of pirate shipwrecks out there, and lots of medieval-looking structures. There are also plenty of creations featuring pirate ships attacking those structures. But there most definitely aren’t many shipwrecks running through the center of a village, sitting on a floating sky-rock, splitting it in two. The level of engineering involved in such a creation deserves major kudos, and those kudos belong to John Snyder.
We’ve featured other creations by John, but were particularly struck by the interesting setting for this one. Every angle shows masterful attention to detail.
There are such things as classic themes in LEGO builds, like Castle or Space, but there are also very well-established motifs that can fit into these broader themes. One such motif that is often visited by many builders over what is now decades is floating rocks. Marcel V. takes inspiration from some of the more famous floating rock builds to bring us this cute little floating watchtower.
The best part is the watchtower, in my opinion. It has a unique polygonal shape with a cute little dock and very good colour work. Notice that the door is actually a window piece wedged in front of the wall. There are a few other examples of unconnected bricks used on it as well, a technique people seem to either love or hate, but in this case it works really well — connecting the piece just for the sake of it would not change the look of the creation anyway. Besides the watchtower itself, the little landscape adds just enough colour to set the mood and give the titular tower a nice contrast.
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!
It takes a lot these days to impress with a LEGO castle creation, and while an interesting roof technique and deceptively simple rockwork can help, this floating island scene by ArzLan shows creativity a level higher. The build doesn’t just feature new ways to build something seen before, but adds another dimension with an open scroll from which the island emerges.
It is not a coincidence that I mentioned the roof technique and the rocks as examples of attractive traits of a build, because those are two of the highlights in this particular example. The dragon is important too – it is very well built and adds a lot of life to the scene. The scroll is great as well, and it should not be taken only as a unique subject, but also as a well-built scroll in its own right.
Here’s a cheery little scene from Brother Steven, full of vivid colors and and delightfully simple skyboat. I love the fascinating mix of characters interacting here; they’re far more diverse than scenes like this usually dare portray, and the build is better for it, lending it credence as a festive autumnal market.
Most LEGO builders draw inspiration from history, movies, books, concept art, and their own imaginations. But for several years now, a talented group of builders has been toying with the idea of a new medium for inspiration: music. We’ve highlighted their Symphony of Construction several times. A new collaboration shares roots and some builders with the Symphony, though this time the builders are constructing a common world around a rousing set of music by Ian Spacek.
Be sure to check out the full gallery of images, as the Isles are populated with a great number of lovely little vessels and majestic structures by a host of brilliant builders.
The entertaining piratical musician was built by Sweetsha. The dreads look appropriately unwashed, and I like how well the essence of the character is conveyed in a relatively simple build.
Sweetsha is apparently engaging in a seed-part contest, with the brown claw piece as the mystery part. His floating windmill island is also worth highlighting. The clouds as structural elements to stabilize the base and hold the flying machine aloft are a nice touch, and the round Hobbt-door is too cute. Be sure to check out his flickr-stream for more cool models utilizing the brown claw.