Tag Archives: ForlornEmpire

One clean looking Western scene

Hardly any studded surfaces are visible in this eye-catching model created by Eli Willsea. Instead, a variety of slope and curved pieces are mainly used, forming a staggered appearance of rocks. There is also a wonderful colour gradient in the rocks, as the light sand tone develops into a warm orange. The slight angle given to the side supports of the mine entrances assists in making the scene look even more realistic. The main characters appear to be in quite the dilemma, as they attempt to swing to safety while being pursued by some fearsome bandits.

Swinging to Safety

Beachy fun at the Sidewalk Cafe

LEGO Paradisa was one of the first attempts of LEGO to cater to girls and for its time really was groundbreaking. It brought us new colours, female figures and overall a beachy fun vibe. It is nice to see that up to this day the theme still inspires people. Eli Willsea hit the nail on the head with this creation. We get a remake of the 6402 Sidewalk Cafe. There are a lot of architectural details with columns, laced fences and croissants used to highlight the arches. Best part about this build has to be the plant trellis. It starts with flex tubing and minifigure hands on the side of the build. The horizontal trellis is made with bars with claws and hands and I have no idea how it is held together but I love it!

Sidewalk Cafe Revamp

After a busy day of digging, these explorers like to shred

Eli Willsea brings us a double dose of fun by combining two LEGO themes into one. This mash-up of Adventures and Island Extreme Stunts brings the best of both worlds into a radical ancient skatepark, with plenty of obstacles like ramps, stairs, and even a quarter pipe. I like to think that Dr. Kilroy is trying to deduce the perfect sequence of tricks to open a secret passage.

Stunts in the Desert

A set of roofs you’ll absolutely a-door

The first in a trio of LEGO creations from different builders, this nefarious deal for a poisonous potion is brought to us by Eli Willsea. The wooden beams and boards creating the patchwork docks on which the vial of poison is exchanged are absolutely terrific. There’s some excellent use of the minifig hand to create ladder rungs, and just enough chaos in the various bar part choices to give that ramshackle feel. But the highlight of the build for me lies in the houses in the background. The color choices are perfect, and perfectly compliment the brown skeleton on which they’re all built. And those roof tiles! Each utilizing a different type of hinged panel (large entry door, kitchen cabinet door, or book cover), they are an absolute marvel to behold! The varied look between the domiciles shows off Eli’s design prowess while feeding that feel that this is the wrong side of town.

An Unsavory Deal

And if you’re wondering about the other two builds in the series, stay tuned!

Bones and desert ruins forgotten by all but Time

Sun-bleached bones and an abandoned structure standout in the LEGO desert landscape by Eli Willsea. A feeling of loneliness and sorrow pervade the scene. Was this a sacred site with a sacred creature left alone due to unforeseen turmoil? Or was this creature the victim of sacrifice or punishment? None can say what happened here, only that the creature is long gone, its bones still bearing the weight of being tethered to the place. The structure around it towers overhead, an impressive mark on the landscape. Minifig roller-skates give detail to the capitals of the pillars. The banners on either side of the entrance stairs are seamless in their fitting, giving form to the staircase. High overhead, quarter tiles are wonderful vertical detailing for the entrance roof. The blending of soft and hard edges gives the scene a gentle, yet harsh, quality, not unlike the sand surrounding it.

Forgotten Bones

Phoning in a solar sailor

One of my all-time favorite games doesn’t have a name but its variations are known by many. The “telephone” game, in its many forms, gravitates around the idea of altering a phrase, image, or item slightly as it’s passed around to each participant. While most of us played it as kids, some adult fans of LEGO like to play a version of their own that is often out of this world. Builder Eli Willsea created the STG-2 Sailer as the 4th iteration in the latest telephone series. The small, rockhopper-style craft somewhat reminds me of the starter ship in No Man’s Sky (NMS) with its compact body and raised back portion. More NMS parallels arise with the solar sail sections with boosters firing off behind them. The sails creatively use the balloon sections from Friends sets and Sweet Mayhem’s Systar Starship along with some golden rigging for deployment and retraction. The coloration and parts usage give this ship lots of curves and angles that really catch the eye, an essential part of good spaceship building. Greeble, or detail, all you want but if your ship doesn’t visually swoop it’ll probably end up resembling a flying, mechanical potato. Thankfully, Eli knows how to avoid the spud fate and instead made a fantastic little puddle jumper that the next builder will have fun emulating.

STG-2 Sailer

Frigid bridges and cold, old stone

Winter may have passed, but its scenes still provide a tranquil allure. This small model by Eli Willsea is a delightfully cartoonish landscape of such a pleasant, icy kingdom. Aqua slopes and curves are built studs not on top, aside from the few exposed to secure the tiny trees and little huts. Using unicorn horns in sand green for different sizes or types of trees is a great method at this scale, but my favorite are the bridges. The mold for wands includes two of the pieces attached to a non-System piece for structural stability. Eli was smart here, wedging unattached wands into the gaps in the wand molds to create small wooden bridges connecting the islands. It might not be “legal” but it certainly suits the scene. Of course, the most complex element is the focal point, the Cold Castle itself. While the nearby huts sport maroon roofs, the castle is capped by dark azure. The stone spires of the structure seem to make use of inverted building techniques to secure the lightsaber hilts. Those create pressure to hold the forks of the bucket handle wedged above the inverted, rounded gold tile used as the castle gate.

The Cold Castle

This miniature scene is yet another example of the subtle skills that builders like Eli Willsea make use of for their models. It’s one thing to know how to operate within the System but another entirely to know how to break the rules. It starts as a simple suggestion, an experiment in limits, and becomes a signature that builders can rely on to set them apart.

Not your average garden gate

An alien scene, bright and mysterious, speaks volumes within a small space. Builder Eli Wilsea taps into their imagination to open up this garden gateway to an unknown world beyond. As is the trend at the moment, tap pieces are used to create patterns within the stones. While two are identical and use the tap in tandem with the minifigure posing stud, the middle features a pattern with solely tap pieces that opens up to a solid blue barrier to the beyond. The morose, cloaked figure stands by a lamp made with taps. Like a futuristic Kharon waiting to bear us across this door into the underworld, I’m not sure this guy would be the most comforting guide.

The Garden Gateway

Despite the foreboding figure and the unknown beyond the gate, the garden surrounding it seems pleasant and welcoming. The bright yellow frog bids me to stay, to not take this journey with the Ferrymen. The tree’s dark trunks and bright colors suggest a saccharine poison to this world though, so maybe it would be better to see what lays beyond. It’s up to you which is the true Forlorn Empire.

Hotdog buns for toes

One of the first articles I got to write about LEGO for TBB featured a brick built owl. It is safe to say that from that point on, brick built owls have a spot in my heart. After seeing this little cutie by Eli Willsea, I knew I just had to feature it. This forest critter has eyes that stare right in the deepest of your soul with their pitch black pupils and the vibrant yellow irises made out of lever bases. The only feathery parts that are used are the LEGO Chima wings around the eyes. For the most part curved slopes are used to build this animals body and wings. I would however like to highlight one special feature of this amazing build and that are the owls feet and talons. These are made with hotdog buns and black sausages.

Owl

A celebration of the humble LEGO frog

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.

Fred's Adventures: The Swamp

Read on to see the rest of the models

Draw your sword from Fiona’s Forge

This is one of the best fantasy LEGO builds I have seen all summer. Check out ForlornEmpire‘s recent creation, “Fiona’s Forge.”

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.

Old gods and hidden dangers

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.

Threat to the Ancient Birch

You can find more of Eli Willsea’s designs in our archives.