While LEGO builder Carter Witz tells us he has kept this design pretty simple I’m still smitten with it anyway. Granted it doesn’t have mind-blowing techniques and complex gear trains but you can go a long way with a well-appointed layout. I love the trees, the smiling minifigures and the rock patterns. That waterfall though really makes the piece special. The look and feel takes us back to a specific time in LEGO history right in the sweet spot of childhood memories. You know, before all the backaches and sore knees. This builder frequently takes us to special places. Check out the Carter Witz archives to see what I mean.
The kingdoms and castles built by fans have provided its many factions a stable home since the last Castle-themed sets were retired. Builder Dale Harris provides two such fortresses in this massive build, complete with lush scenery. Inspired by the original sets including the Forestmen and the Black Falcons, this model is a blend of childhood nostalgia and adult builder expertise. Named for the two factions that call the area home, this had to take a massive amount of planning.
The heart of the forest lay deep within the multitudes of birch protected by the Forestmen. The unaware would see a plain tree but within its ancient form lay the spirit of the forest, a god older than the dirt its roots now dig through. Those that hear whispers of its power seek to gain a piece of it to use for their means, good or evil. At least, that’s the story that comes to mind when I see this model. Here builder Eli Willsea shows us the Prince of Persia attempting to evade the Forestmen as he seeks the power granted by the ancient birch. Check out the parts Eli used, like the vehicle shovel in the background of the underground chamber or the horns and large claws as branches. Fantastic rock molding frames the sandy texturing of the bricks at the base of the chamber, detailed with minifigure legs and candles. While the smaller birch trees make use of the slits in the technic parts for their look, Eli used black lifesaver bouys to achieve the bigger birch’s characteristic stripes.
You can find more of Eli Willsea’s designs in our archives.
When I was a kid, one of my absolute favourite LEGO sets was Forestmen’s Crossing, and while those old sets were cool, building techniques have greatly evolved in the last 30 years. Patrick B exemplifies this with his updated version of the classic set. The most noticeable difference is the greater level of texture that’s possible now. All of the large pieces from the original set, like the baseplate or bridge, are instead brick built in this creation, giving both of them greater detail.
The walls of the tower are much more textured, using a mix of various bricks, plates, slopes, tiles, and even light gray briefcases! There are other amazing parts usage throughout, from the red Technic gear as a flower or the brown pneumatic t’s as fence. I love use of Hero Factory rock armour as a rock – simple but brilliant. The thing that really ties it all together though, is how he’s managed to incorporate some of classic pieces like the Forestmen shield or their original minifigure parts, so seamlessly with new elements.