To this day it still baffles me that they managed to make three movies out of the book The Hobbit. It’s not a complaint, I do love the movies, but it’s just strange to me. Especially since the book is about a third the length of The Lord of the Rings, which also is three movies long. But let’s not get into that for now. Jaap Bijl drew inspiration from the movie The Hobbit for their latest LEGO creation.
Here we see the dragon Smaug setting flame to Lake-town. The atmosphere Jaap managed to create is amazing. Smaug itself is a miniature and the fire he is breathing is done simple yet really effective with bricks, plates and tiles transitioning from yellow to red. Smaug being dark red makes him feel and look like he is part of the fire he is creating. But what’s interesting is that not a single fire piece was used in this creation, and yet it still looks and feels very much on fire. One thing that also contributes to this great model is the backdrop, which to me hardly even looks like it is edited in. Framing the main scene with a dark brick build archway is a really nice and effective way to set the mood and draw your attention to the center of the picture. However, if you zoom in on the arch you’ll find lots of hidden details in the darkness. Last but not least I would like to note the use of round quarter tile to create those great rooftop shingles.
Your head hits the pillow. Your eyelids grow heavy. It’s the end of another busy day for you. But it’s just the beginning of the workday for those who keep watch in the Citadel of Sweet Dreams. LEGO builder Jaap Bijl has created a location above the clouds that evokes a sense of storybook charm while showing off some impressive construction. There’s some wonderful use of roundness throughout, but I particularly like the way the front door is framed with headlight bricks in an arc. And the choice to render the tree truck in shades of blue is an effective way to create a sense of another world that’s grounded in the familiar.
This LEGO clocktower made by Jaap Bijl, looks just like a giant grandfather clock. The shape of the build made me chuckle but that is not the only reason this creation is aesthetically pleasing. The cobblestone base is constructed very well using bars and half round tiles mixed with regular 1×1 and 1×2 tiles. Giving it a bit of a weathered look. There even is a small pendulum hanging between the two base pillars of the build, On top of that we have a Tudor style house with the Big Ben clock dish to represent the clock. It is always nice to see a part that is so tied to a particular set being used in a fan creation. The roof of the building is purple with some golden details. Adding a pop of colour to a roof of a build always makes it pop. The little turrets made of lanterns and splat gear add so much character to the little building. To top it off the build is set on an irregular base composed of all different kinds of earth tones and is adorned with birch trees, which are in fashion with LEGO right now.
The ’50s are calling! Don’t tell my father – he was born in 1955 and would be highly offended if he heard me using the term “vintage” to describe these items. I’d love to know what inspired LEGO builder Jaap Bijl to choose this era, but I’m so glad he did. The collection inspires images of a very different point in history. A tube radio, rotary telephone, and even a WW2 medal define the time. And the old-school toys and treats mixed throughout tell the story of a young family. Jaap used a bunch of the white 4×4 flower elements to achieve the look, but a couple of my most favorite examples are the ones that aren’t as easy to see, like the racecar wheels and radio tuning sliders.
There are many more fantastic examples of Jaap’s work in our archives!
In this rather solemn LEGO mosaic by Jaap Bijl titled “Einstein’s One Great Mistake”; a more serious topic is explored – Albert Einstein and his role in the Manhattan Project. If we’re going to get artsy here, I would even say that the color palette and aesthetic of this build are reminiscent of Picasso’s “Blue Period.”
The 4×4 petaled flower element is back in multiples, this time in an ominous arrangement forming a mushroom cloud – the shape generally synonymous with nuclear explosions. The rest of the scene in the right panel is formed with various sized plates and tiles in dark hues with white 1×1 round bricks and cones creating the stem of the cloud. A portrait of Einstein is presented in the left panel; his face is carved out of various bricks, slopes, and tiles, for the most part utilizing the SNOT (studs not on top) technique. Einstein’s notoriously unruly and spiky hair is rendered by a synergy of the white 4×4 petaled flower pieces and white dinosaur tails. In terms of composition, although this work could be called a mosaic, it differs significantly from the new LEGO Art mosaics which are comprised mostly out of 1×1 studs. For me, Einstein’s hair and the mushroom cloud both being heavily composed of the petaled flower elements represents a kind of mirroring effect, but I could be looking too deep into this. Either way, I think it could be said that this build is genuinely thought-provoking.
The ruinous landscape – a popular pictorial theme is recreated in the LEGO medium here in this beautiful vignette by Jaap Bijl. Of course, LEGO is great for construction, but even more so LEGO can provide builders with an opportunity to be forces of deconstruction and deterioration – creators of ruin. This sublime energy is perfectly captured in Bijl’s build.
The main part of this built scene is arguably the decaying classical temple. The triangular roof at the top – the pediment is depicted as half existent and utilizes the 4×4 petaled flower piece and some white wing pieces as ornament. The broken columns are built using 2×2 round profile bricks. Perhaps my favorite mini-build here is the broken statue which is made out of a pair of white minifigure legs with some random elements piled on top. The statue on the left looks rather intact but creatively uses the 4×4 petaled flower once again, this time as a shield. Bijl generously applies a variety of LEGO plant elements to give viewers a sense of natural reclamation. I really appreciate how Bijl builds the ruins in such a way that they appear to be sinking into a swamp of green tiles. No ruinous destination is complete without some tourists taking in the sights, and we can see here some minifigures making their way across the swamp in a brick-built boat ready for adventure.
With new iterations of the Xbox and PlayStation announced for release at the end of this year and the LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System already on store shelves, 2020 is shaping up to be quite the year for gaming console hype. Jaap Bijl encases this momentum in his LEGO Xbox build.
Bijl’s rendition of this fun-machine visually pops with its complementary black and pink color scheme. The 4×4 flower with petals element is expertly used as both lettering and the D-pad on the controller. Additional detailing on the controller is done with 1×1 half-circle tiles used for buttons and round-bottom 2x2s for joysticks. The machine as a whole is expertly brick-built using pretty standard build techniques. Great timing on Bijl’s part for such subject matter as video game imagery seems to be pretty popular with the brand this year, a build like this would look great displayed with the aforementioned NES or even with some of this year’s gamer inspired Ninjago sets.
At a time when chaos seems to be the order of the day, builder Jaap Bijl reminds us that we can still find moments of serenity if we only look for them. At first glance I thought this was a real photo but upon closer inspection it proves to be an incredible work of LEGO art. Just looking at it gives me a sense of peace and calm. The first thing I noticed was the lovely sideways built water in sand green and olive green. The lily pads and plants with a few yellow flowers peeking out and an adorable yellow duck are a perfect accent. The surrounding landscaping is a nice mix of textures and colors that bring focus to the central cherry blossom tree. To provide detail on the bridge, the builder has utilized Technic bushings and axle connectors that appear to be strung like beads onto a flexible tube. The small temple is full of detail and has a roof that utilizes a similar construction method to the bridge. I love the cleverly built Buddha statue with his large belly created by a simple 2×2 round tile. Add in a few animals and a solitary minifigure to complete the picture and you have a model that transports you to an entirely different world where quiet contemplation reigns.
In the LEGO community, nice parts usage (or NPU) is something many builders strive to achieve. Using parts in an interesting way never fails to garner notice and compliments. Often these types of techniques are scattered throughout the model, but in the case of this hummingbird, builder Jaap Bijl gives us a figure that consists almost entirely of NPU. So, where does one begin?
The tree branch and leaves may be common, but the whips for vines and the small minifigure hammers for the flower stamens take us into unusual territory. The minifigure spanner used for the feet and the clever eye and beak area are stand outs. The wings, however, are a thing of beauty. They’re a terrific combo of flexible tubes, small wrenches and a variety of blue Technic pins and 1×1 round plates to create the wing feathers. The lavender grass pieces and purple antennae make for a nice finisher as tail feathers. They body and silhouette of the bird are quite nice as well and really bring the entire model together as a cohesive whole.
The mustachioed surrealist artist Salvador Dali inspired this stunningly spindly pachydermal presentation from Dutch builder Jaap Bijl. This was an entry for Innovalug’s ongoing Style It Up! LEGO building contest. This category restricted creations to maintaining 4 studs’ worth of contact with the display surface. Dali’s “Les Elephants” features just the sort of delicately balanced build many of us actively try to avoid. Thanks to the plethora of newer curved slope pieces over the last few years the Daliphant’s shape is well represented, and I’d almost wager it took longer to get the thing to safely stand in place than it did to build.
Need more LEGO Dali in your life? We’ve featured a few creations in the past, including Lin Kei’s own “Les Elephants” take which earned him a spot in the LEGO House’s Masterpiece Gallery.
LEGO geometry typically involves lots of right angles. There’s really only so much you can do with a product that is based on a brick. However, that squareness need not be pejorative and can serve instead as an inspiration to mess with expectations. That is what this temple by Jaap Bijl does. While the building itself is based on the good old ninety degree paradigm, it is set crooked to skew the perception of the creation. Is it being swallowed by sand? Probably. This is likely the perfect example of what happens to a building built on sand, rather than solid rock. Foundations matter, people!
The build uses surprisingly little studs-on-top construction, as the steps are built sideways, most of the facade consists of tiles, and the beautiful blue stripe is being all kinds of SNOTty (or Studs-Not-On-Top-y). Then there is the dome on top, which is also studs-every-which-way. My favorite bit, though, is probably the texture of the tan area between the sections of dark tan and blue stripes, as well as above the doorway; the jumper plates and regular plates make for a very cool look, just like uneven weathered brick. The decay of the structure is lovely, even if the golden-weapon-equipped men guarding it are not.
With the recent launch of Disney+, there’s been a lot of buzz about The Mandalorian, the latest Star Wars series to hit the TV screen. Builder Jaap Bijl reaches back into Star Wars’ televised past with a Star Wars: The Clone Wars duel between Obi Wan and the bounty hunter Cad Bane. The purple planet of Teth is well-represented here, with nicely sculpted rockwork and enough tonal variety to keep things interesting.
Both characters are locked in a fierce battle, complete with sabers waving and guns-a-blazing. While they may be the stars of the show, my favorite element in this scene is the black and gray tree. The leaves are cleverly sculpted from curved slopes, along with a few ball and socket joint connections.