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 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.
History lessons and LEGO make better partners than the passive fan may realize. Builder Hunter Erickson, for instance, connects to bygone eras with brick-built displays of notable moments in the past. Throughout his work, Hunter has used LEGO to cover some of the more interesting moments from recorded history. All the while, he has utilized some great techniques to achieve realistic scenery, machinery, and animals. Here we have a wonderful example of color blocking from the darker base to the light brush and muted colors of the grass. The scene’s realism even goes as far as to create a shadow over the soldiers due to the dense canopy of the spindly tree they all huddle under. The rhinoceros is actually a design from Builder Stefan that we covered way back in 2010. Hunter certainly resurrected the design for good reason.
In this build, Hunter captures a potential moment from the Flaccus Expedition of 50 A.D. through the Sahara desert and most likely coming to an end around Lake Chad. The Legionnaires venturing into Africa with Septimius Flaccus had most likely only ever encountered or seen the creatures around them in gladiator battles. Being this close to something like this Rhinoceros had to be more terrifying then than it would be today. At least for some local-yokel Romans.
If you like history and LEGO, Hunter Erickson is a builder you need to check out. His most recent build represents a violent slice of the late years of the ancient Roman empire. The builder gives a very detailed description on Flickr, so make sure you check it out.
Besides being very well posed in an immersive battle scene, the minifigs are quite realistic in their design. The little autumn forest on the other side of the diorama is more than just a background though — if you look closely, you can see it serves as cover for a handful of Germanic archers. And the trees are quite well built as well!
In 73 B.C., the overlords of Capua conduct a slave trade in the town center but below, among the rats and stench, escaped slaves plan their counterattack. That is the scene depicted here by Hunter Erickson. This build was influenced by the TV show Spartacus, particularly the beginning of season 3, Hunter tells us. He goes on to say that the show itself isn’t entirely accurate so further research as to what life may have been like in Capua was needed in order reign in some realistic details. The rough stucco feel of the walls are an excellent touch as well as the terracotta roofs and small arched windows, all reflect the specific feel of an ancient Roman city. Call me weird, but my favorite feature has to be the river of green sludge flowing through the sewer. Let’s just hope that one guy washes his hands before eating that giant baguette.