Tag Archives: History

Keeping score on the Andean Quipu

One of the benefits of being a TBB contributor (besides limited use of the headquarters hot tub) is you learn new things about the world. Take this rather unconventional LEGO creation by Mattia Careddu for example. Is it the newest trend on the catwalk? Or is it some sort of facehugger monster? It turns out, it’s an Andean Quipu, a device, according to the internet, used for recording everything from tax information to land ownership to census records to military organization during the time of the Inka Empire. Highly specialized Quipu readers were even hired to read the complex series of fiber and knots in order to settle court cases. The only thing I can decipher from this particular LEGO creation is that someone can tie a sweet figure-eight knot. However, a skilled reader would surmise that I probably shouldn’t have claimed my dogs as dependants on my taxes. Also, I’ve been denied access to the TBB hot tub.

Andean Quipu

A 2,500-year-old LEGO creation on the shores of the Aegean

LEGO builder Justus M. Has taken us all the way back to Ancient Greece with his contribution to the recent Rogue Bricks collaboration. Each build in the series touches on the myths and society of the time, here showcasing a fishing village on the outskirts of Troy. A pair of huts make up most of the scene, with walls cobbled in various bricking textures to symbolize the mud clay that these buildings were actually made from. These angular houses contrast the smooth, weather-worn rocks in the foreground, showing their age in silence amid the bustle of the scene. But my favorite bit are definitely the exquisite cypress trees littered about. Each one an agglomeration of upward-pointing leaves knit tightly together so as to appear as a single green leafy tube – a difficult task given the nature of the parts used.

Rogue Odyssey: Fishermen's Huts Near Troy

This LEGO Mediterranean harbor takes us back to World War II

There is so much going on in this WWII scene by builder PelLego that’s it’s hard to know where to begin. I don’t know if I should talk about the detailed rock work first, or the delicate trees with flex-tube trunks. Those natural forms stand in juxtaposition to the tall man-made domiciles, tiny cars parked out front, and sleek boat being loaded with gear. The build is a masterclass in tile usage, ranging from the flat, even stillness of the water to the rough and worn street next to the dock.

WW2 Mediterranean harbour

More on this scene’s details below

White Jade Lion Seal of the Realm

The jade seals used throughout China’s history have demanded various levels of respect and contention. This model replica by Builder Joe of Dad’s Bricks pays tribute to such cultural regalia, complete with a stand and ornate case. An exquisite lion carving is built with white bricks atop the plain block that makes up the traditionally square seal. Though Joe doesn’t show us the base, which would hold the impression of the seal, we can still appreciate the black fence pieces used in its stand. More impressive is the wooden case with golden filigree which holds the precious heirloom. Clever studs not on top building techniques allowed Joe to add an almost hidden hinge into the sides of the box, along with all of the decorative elements.

[LEGO] White Jade Seal - Lion A symbol of kingship! Art is something that different from the main stream.

This is a kingly artifact, most commonly denoting the word of the Emperor in the dynasty’s past. Though many have been lost to the ages, possession of such items in the past could tear down an Empire or impress power upon entire regions. This Hong Kong-based builder does well to pay homage to such treasures, adding yet another lovely model to his collection.

In Spudkirk, it’s all about the little things

The fictional town of Spudkirk is home to this LEGO scene by builder Evancelt Lego, featuring a row of tiny townhouses and itsy-bitsy infantrymen. And the details here, even at this scale, are larger than life. The cobbling on the wall is excellent, demonstrating how war-weary the town must be. The use of color in the road, specifically the blotches of lime green and burnt orange, further the worn look of the town. And it does this without drawing too much attention away from the rest of the model. This allows other, more nuanced details to shine through, like that teensy tree on the left. The yellow-orange flowers as foliage on top of a trunk mostly composed of a brown stud shooter fits perfectly at this scale.

Quartering in Spudkirk

Minifigs galore from the Hundred Years’ War

Travel back in time with this LEGO battle scene from the Hundred Years’ War by builder Hunter Erickson. This build depicts the Battle of Poitiers, fought between the French and the English in the year 1356. This was but one of many clashes in this series of armed conflicts fought over the French throne. Edward, the Black Prince, led the English forces in this battle, while King Jean II led the French forces. This LEGO scene depicts the battle much the same an artist would have painted the event at the time of the conflict. Layering the background, the sky behind some brick-built hills achieves a great forced perspective. I just love the colors of the plates and bricks making up the rising dawn! The scene is densely packed with minifigures engaged in deadly combat. In blue are the French, fighting to push back the ever-advancing troops of the English. And waving across the battle from the mounted soldier is St. George’s flag, wonderfully rendered with round plates, studs, and clips to capture cloth in motion.

The Battle of Poitiers, 1356

The outcome of this battle will side with the English, despite the two-to-one odds against them. King Jean II was captured, along with one of his sons. Their ransom and the peace talks would take another four years to complete, but eventually, hostilities ceased in 1360 with the Treaty of Bretigny. England regained Aquitaine, was paid the ransom for Jean II and his son, and renounced the claim on the French throne. However, this peace was fleeting–hostilities resumed ten years later, continuing the Hundred Years’ War.

Are you not entertained by this LEGO Roman chariot?

Straight from the Circus Maximus, let me present this exquisite LEGO chariot built by Dicken Liu. And, given the subject matter, I think this is a good time to learn some Latin. Our first vocab word is volare: to fly or move quickly. And, by golly, those horses are doing exactly that! This build evokes such motion with its flying manes and tails, I can almost hear their galloping hooves when I look at it! It’s truly a brilliant use of curved slopes and arches.


Learn some more Latin below

This Roman temple is straight fire!

Behold, the sacred fire of Vesta! So long as it burns, Rome’s safety and prosperity is assured. Builder Antonio Cerretti uses LEGO to show us how this temple may have looked in its prime. The Temple of Vesta once stood in the Roman Forum at the heart of the ancient city. Dedicated to Vesta — the Roman goddess of hearth, home, and family — it stood for many centuries until it was permanently dismantled in the mid-16th century. We know what it may have looked like from coins and artwork, and here Antonio gives us a marvelous recreation built from LEGO! The temple’s adornments strike with their vibrancy, reminding us that the ancient world was filled with color. Clipped together, barbs and cow horns make up the details on the capitals of the Corinthian columns. Further up, light grey minifigure handcuffs give definition to the blue frieze between the columns and roof. Peer through the open entrance to see the sacred fire, burning brightly to keep the darkness at bay.

Tempio di Vesta B

The temple’s interior showcases the sacred fire and more wonderful columns. Clever usage of croissants make up the capitals of what appear to be ionic columns set into the curved wall. Then, we have the eternal fire in the center of the enclosure! A light brick is cleverly buried beneath loose translucent LEGO studs, giving the fire its warm glow. Simple flame pieces stick out from the embers like the reaching arms of a healthy fire. Undoubtedly, this build gives us a splendid glimpse into an aspect of ancient Rome, grounding the past in the present.

We stand with Ukraine

In this time of strife pressing on the chest of the world, making it hard for all of us to breathe, there are people fighting for their lives and their land. Digital LEGO builder Chris Yu has joined countless others in showing support for the people of Ukraine as they fight off Putin’s mindless assault. The Brothers Brick staff stand with Chris in this testament of support. Simple color-blocking within the parts building this blue and yellow fist of power illustrates the strength of the Ukrainian people.

i stand with ukraine

Major events like this make waves, and those waves wend their way through creative communities where expression of opinion and emotion reign. People inspired by the events of the world, like Chris Yu and others, make wonderful art worth sharing, not only for its message but also for the artistry in its execution. Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian and Russian families affected by this unfolding tragedy. We see your strength. May peace come swiftly to the hearts and minds of you all so that you may begin to move on with your lives as you wish.

The real casualties of a real war

This new LEGO creation by a historian who goes by the name of Benjamin acts as a stark reminder that there are currently real-world actions with real-world consequences. Here we see a Ukrainian civilian discovering possibly a loved one among a heap of rubble. Benjamin provides a passage in German that, while you are free to translate it yourself, the gist is that this is not a war of tanks and soldiers but rather of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters, as well as kindergartens, schools, town halls, shopping malls, universities, factories, and homes. When we feature things like this we predictably get a slew of comments on social media that state something to the effect of; keep your world view out of LEGO. Or I come to this site to not see this kind of thing so stop doing it. The truth is that something as big and consequential as one country invading another cannot go unnoticed and cannot go unheard, even among us adults who enjoy building with LEGO. At the very least it has us worrying about our Ukrainian and Russian friends, family, and colleagues, but the impact of these actions span far wider than that.

It Is War In Europe And Not Just In Books

Keeping silent or purposefully misinformed about such things is how wars like this get started in the first place. It’s how they can go on indefinitely. This is why we at The Brothers Brick will stand with our brethren of builders and feature articles such as this one. While we haven’t shied away from real-world problems before, this is the first you’ve seen depicting the conflict in Ukraine. I can assure you that this will likely be the first of many because alas real-world actions like this are too important to go unheard.

A Roman border tower keeps an eye on them goats

Whether it be the great natural color scheme, fantastic textures or intricate shapes, there’s a lot to love about this Roman border tower built by Ben Tritschler. But the star of the show, to me anyway, has to be those goats. Clearly I’m not the only TBB contributor thrilled by goats. However, I do seem to be the most vocal about it. What can I say? Goats are pretty much the formula for success around here. Even when they’re scary as hell. I may consider also going gaga for those sheep. They are not without their charm. As a LEGO builder, Ben is also not without his charm. Check out our archives to see what I mean.

Roman Border Tower

A really cool tree next to a nice house

Yes, the building is a work of art but have you seen this incredible tree? LEGO builder Ayrlego shared a recent creation with us, the Villa. Plant life, thy name is beauty. Just look at that tree! It might take the cake as the most realistic LEGO deciduous tree I’ve ever seen. The vine work is also fantastic with the way it crawls across the roof. I also admire the small potted plants and the garden shrubbery. It’s all a testament to Ayrlego’s skill with bricks.

Villa, Terraversan Interior

Of course, where would this creation be without the villa itself? I mentioned that it’s a work of art because it truly is, incorporating styles from American Colonial to Spanish Mission. Though the lore behind Ayrlego’s creation is fantasy, one could easily see such a villa existing somewhere in the early days of North American settlement.