When I first joined the online LEGO community about 20 years ago, I had to choose an avatar to represent myself online. I decided to draw the LEGO frog in MS Paint and use it as my avatar. The frog piece was released in the year 2000. Over the years some LEGO parts get redesigned. It is however my honest opinion that there is no way to improve the iconic little frog. For its time it is very detailed and still very cute. Four amazing builders decided to celebrate the piece and I could not pass it up the chance to take a closer look at them.
Roanoke Handybuck’s frog is currently visiting the Swamp with a lovely dock featuring some paint brushes and a beautiful architectural sculpture using red parrots.
Read on to see the rest of the models
This is one of the best fantasy LEGO builds I have seen all summer. Check out ForlornEmpire‘s recent creation, “Fiona’s Forge.”
Wow. Just, wow. Everything about this is a world unto its own. How did ForlornEmpire cram in so much detail so subtly into such a small space?
Let’s start at the bottom: the molten metal flowing under the steps into the casting racks is just unbelievable. I would have never thought to use window bricks to showcase the flowing metal beneath it.
The chain on the bucket looks like it was painstakingly made, using bucket handles, and… wait a minute, are those headlamps from the 2009 Clone Walker Battle Pack? Who would have thought to use such obscure LEGO pieces as a chain? While we’re talking about obscure bricks, I have to mention the Unikitty tail pieces used as supports for the shelf near the roof in this build. Such creativity! Such inspiration!
My only regret is that there aren’t any other images of this build. You’ve done it again, ForlornEmpire.
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.
This creation by Eli Willsea may or may not be inspired by the LEGO 10276 Colosseum. They are similar when it comes to architecture, color scheme, the lovely foliage and last but not least, columns! The columns in Eli’s creation are made of garage doors. There are three orders of Greek architecture (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian). To these the Romans the Tuscan and the Composite. Since these columns look quite simple my guess is they are either Doric or Tuscan. Next to the exquisite part usage on the columns, the color scheme of this creation is quite remarkable. Most of the colors are earthy tones except for the yellow tree foliage which really pops!
It takes a certain sort of madness to take something like a 9V Train track switch element and turn it into something organic like a bunch of sunflowers. But that’s just what Eli Willsea has done. Somehow. I mean, sure, you could start with 40 or so of those train switches. Add some 1×1 round brick in light green. A couple of round plates in brown. But then you have to get really creative: Check out that perfume bottle. Who even knew those 1×1 pyramid slopes came in transparent-clear? They form the perfect texture, making the full image for Eau du Soleil seem like an advertisement in a high-end fashion magazine. It’s just…*chef’s kiss*
This creation is just one of Eli’s entries in the Iron Builder competition. Check our archives for more from the contest.
2020 being the first year in a long time without a licensed LEGO video game is a disappointing moment for fans. It is yet another faction of business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to GameRant. While there is still hope for the tentative release of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga in 2021, this might be a good time for The LEGO Group to develop pinball game sets. Sure, this screams old school. But TLG already notched success when they captured the nostalgia for Super Mario and the Nintendo Entertainment System. Let’s also not forget the brick-built retro games, plus 2016’s Ideas Maze (21305). Just one look at the Chicken-Pen-Ball machine, made by Eli Willsea, has us stuck on tilt.
Eli’s fifth creation in the Iron Builder competition used the Track Switch 9V in yellow 19 times. He continues to outdo himself going up against Jonas Kramm, another gifted builder. Eli’s use of the Track Switch 9V balances function and form. They serve as the flippers, the flowers (dandelions?) in front of the barn, the handle on the ball shooter, and even the cabinet’s feet. It’s an egg-citing creation that takes our cheap chicken puns to the next level in this demo video. Check it out.
With Hollywood shut down and most movie theaters closed worldwide due to COVID-19, new entertainment has been a little harder to come by lately. I’m not sure our current global pandemic was the inspiration behind Eli Willsea‘s scene, but we find the protagonist (played here by the Lucas minifig from the LEGO Stranger Things set) fishing for DVDs from what is apparently the very last Redbox to have survived an apocalypse that turned the water a toxic green.
Eli’s build features a slew of wonderful details, such as the rebar or conduits sticking out of the elevated roadway and electrical bits on the power pole built from pieces like a rollerskate (the new universal greeble piece). Eli makes good use of printed pieces on the Redbox machine, including old-school LEGO Space 1×1 button panels and window panes from the TARDIS in the LEGO Ideas Doctor Who set.
What says cute more than a LEGO hedgehog? Okay, maybe a real hedgehog, but dang this guy is a cutie! Created by excellent builder Eli Willsea, it’s a great use of that claw element for the spines. Eli says there are almost 200 of them, which comes as no surprise! The trademark curl of the body, little white tummy, and pink toes makes for a loveable build.
Willsea (AKA Forlorn Empire) has been featured numerous times on The Brothers Brick. You can check out more of his builds here.
Building in microscale requires a special skill set. One must have an eye for simplification of textures along with a firm grasp of the essentials of whatever it is. Eli Willsea has that skill, as this tiny (yet still large) rendition of Gringotts bank from Harry Potter demonstrates. I am guessing it comes from the first film, as there is a recognizable Hagrid down in the vaults, alongside what I suppose to be Harry and a goblin. Everything one would need for Gringotts is there, from the columns to the large dome, along with the crazy tracks for the carts in the depths beneath. My one complaint is that the columns on the front-corner facade are too straight, lacking the signature tilts seen in the films.
The rock pillars beneath the street are impressive, built in sideways rings and then threaded onto Technic axles, allowing them to spin around into different configurations. This is great, because it means that you can build the same shape a bunch of times and have it look different depending on how it is angled. The cars down on the tracks are delightfully simple, consisting of droid arms and round 1×1 tiles with bar and pin holders. The cart up on the street above-ground is also inspired, making brilliant use of wands on sprue to give delicate texture to the rails. It’s also being pulled by something skeletal (a thestral, perhaps?). This was originally built for our own Harry Potter Microscale Magic competition, but Eli failed to complete the photography in time. While that is too bad, it is certainly better late than never!
Well, maybe that’s not quite true. But they sure are a nice addition to any country-style home. In my mind, front porch swings mean good times on a warm summer afternoon. It appears that Eli Willsea (Forlorn Empire) feels the same way. His excellent use of garage door elements hanging on chains gives it the perfect look. The support beams on their sides for the porch railings look great too, and the flowers/flowerpot couldn’t be at a more perfect scale.
If you’d like to see more of Eli’s work, take a look at our 2018 Creation of the Year. Or maybe watch a video about the making of his build, “Advanced Simulation”.
For well over a century, BRIO of Sweden has been manufacturing high-quality wooden toys. Builder ForlornEmpire was inspired to replicate BRIO’s MEC construction toy in LEGO-form. BRIO Mec sets typically consist of wooden beams, plastic pegs, tools and more. ForlornEmpire’s concept is whimsical looking in terms of form and presentation, complete with the characteristic tan representing wood and bright colors for the plastic mallet and pins. Speaking of the pins, they make clever use of the construction helmet and 2×2 disc weapon. Modifying the BRIO logo to read BRIC is a nice touch.
When LEGO was making toys from the 1930s through 1950s, they were contemporaries of BRIO. In fact, it’s worth noting how the BRIO Mec construction system is reminiscent of LEGO’s BILOfix wooden construction toys introduced in 1959. Both Scandinavian toy makers were likely inspired by metal beam construction toys like Meccano and Erector.
Of all the things we’ve seen built from LEGO over the years, individual organs have to come near the end of the list. Proving that they are, in fact, on the list though, is this cheery two-dimensional stomach by ForlornEmpire. There’s actually a lot of complex building involved in creating this digestive system, with skillful SNOT-work required to position the various curved slopes making the wavy edges.