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.
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.
How’s your harvest season going? And by “harvest season” I mean your ability to procure pumpkin spice lattes at your local cafe; assuming not many of us know how to harvest pumpkin spice lattes from the Earth anymore. However, if you are among the rototiller and combine harvester set, then you may take interest in this Fortress of the Harvest in order to keep that pumpkin spice goodness protected. In just six hours, Jaap Bijl completed this neat little vignette with more finesse than some of us are capable of all week.
The rough textures, rustic windows and gold elements along the roof and spire are all particularly inspired. The butterscotch colored masonry bricks and the parts comprising the ground add warm autumn hues to this piece, but the purple elements, in this case 1×2 tiles and leaves, are seemingly becoming Jaap’s signature color choice. (You might remember his purple mushroom house we featured back in September.)
I suspect that any self-respecting mycologist would eschew chewing on any purple mushrooms; a bright color like that probably screams “I’m poisonous!” That’s not to say a purple mushroom is not edible. All mushrooms are edible, after all; it’s just that some can be eaten only once. This purple mushroom mansion built by Jaap Bijl can be viewed as many times as you like but, like a real purple mushroom, I would not recommend eating it – ABS plastic doesn’t go down easy. Built for the Parts Festival hosted by our friends at New Elementary, there is an abundance of lovely parts usage, as well as plenty of Jaap’s favorite color, purple.
In particular, the new projectile launchers make for nice columns to flank the stairs. You’ll also find some stars, hearts, and splats for flowers and archways, and who doesn’t like some clever carrots in builds? The large flowers to either side give the scene some scale; either the house is small, or the flowers are huge! I like to imagine that there are little imps or faeries about. There seems to be a budding theme of tiny fantastic creatures growing, with some recent examples here and here, and I am a big fan.