Tag Archives: Jesse van den Oetelaar

The water is fine down by the Brandywine

Jesse van den Oetelaar has crafted this LEGO serene scene of a place in Middle Earth called the Brandywine River. It’s not a location I’m overly familiar with, but a river filled with brandy and wine does sound like a heck of a party! Unfortunately it also sounds like a recipe for a disastrous hangover. But hey, the last time a bunch of hobbits had a party they ended up saving the world, so it can’t all be bad! Anyway, I love Jesse’s use of depth here. It’s partly thanks to some seamless editing. But even so, the LEGO portion of this build goes back a deceptively long way. Combined with the clever photography it makes us feel totally immersed in the scene… And the river!

Brandywine River

There are secrets hiding in this library’s collection

There’s nothing like going to the library to discover something new, even if the library is made of LEGO. Jesse van den Oetelaar presents a small window into a magical library chock full of secrets and rarities. Made for this year’s Brickscalibur contest, this build has great textures from top to bottom, with details galore to explore. We see two stories to the building with books and artefacts from floor to ceiling. Let’s take a closer look at some of the details on the second floor and its railing. There’s some nice parts usage with wand elements standing in for the railings filler spokes. The bookcase has colorful tiles for the books filling the shelves, a classic method for full bookcases. I love the use of tan Technic pins for all the candles. Their unique shaping is perfect for such an illuminating portrayal.

We all float up here

LEGO builder Jesse van den Oetelaar must have his head in the clouds as evidenced by this stunning new creation. Fall colors, hot-air ship, floating islands, great build techniques; what’s not to love, really? There’s been a good deal of floating island-themed builds gracing the pages of The Brothers Brick lately. Not that we’re complaining! Sometimes the best place to be is a fantasy world high among the clouds. Take a lofty trip into our archives to see more floating island creations by talented builders all over (or way above) the world.

Floating Island

The final fate of a doomed son of Gondor

Nobody sets a LEGO scene quite like Jesse van den Oetelaar. Just take a look at some of these past builds, and you can find some common themes showcased in this gorgeous vignette of Boromir making his last stand against the Uruk-hai. For example, Jesse’s vegetation is top notch, not to splashy such as to draw the eye away, but definitely providing a closeness to the scene. The twisted tree trunks and overgrown patches of dark green and olive contrast the occasional pile of rocks or red-capped mushroom. And the use of lighting is exquisite! The surrounding forest feels dark and eerie, with the foreground even slightly out-of-focus. Everything about this build pushes the eye to the center of the picture, all to behold Boromir’s final redemption: sacrificing himself so Frodo (and The Ring) can escape.

Boromir's final stand

Awww, what a cute little tower you have there Saruman

There are few towering structures more recognizable than the two towers featured in the Lord of the Rings novel of the same name. The obsidian-colored sharp-cornered Orthanc has more in common with its dark counterpart in the book, Barad-dur than it does with any of the man or Dwarf made structures of Middle-Earth, namely a lot of sharp pointy bits. Even in this microscale model by Jesse van den Oetelaar the tower at the center of Isengard looks quite ominous. One of my favorite details is the angled bars made by wedging the lever part in between grille plates. The round base was constructed with black clamps attached to flexible tubing, and it is a simple yet effective technique.

Tower of Orthanc

A look back in time outside the walls of Alexandria

I’m really digging this serene view of LEGO Alexandria by builder Jesse van den Oetelaar! Employing forced perspective, a micro version of the ancient city’s walls can be seen on the other side of Lake Mareotis (modern-day Lake Mariout in Egypt). I like how the micro greenery around the wall looks to be a miniaturized version of the flora we see in the foreground. The reed design front-and-center is wonderful, employing wands and paintbrushes to add variety to the verdant patch. Even though it’s tucked away to the right, the designs on the sandstone building are intricate and fit right in with the medieval setting. And the water flowing out of the fountain is some especially nice parts usage. But my favorite part of the scene is the subtle texture added to the water’s surface with the occasional bare stud. It adds motion to the build without disrupting the serenity of the view.

Lake Mareotis, Alexandria

Indiana Thunder, uhm I mean Johnny Jones

To me, the Adventurers theme has always been LEGO’s answer to Indiana Jones before licensed sets were a thing. It is nice to stumble across like-minded people. Jesse van den Oetelaar did a mix between the Adventurers theme and Indiana Jones and the end result is amazing. The build looks gigantic. It is about 20 bricks high.Roller skates , binoculars and flowers plates are used as architectural details. There are foldable chairs and even an old school camera. The camera intrigues me as I can not break it down in my mind completely. I do know that Jesse cleverly used a brown flower stem as camera tripod. There also is an old school backpack used for the body of the camera. For the rest of the construction, I am completely clueless and would love a breakdown at some point.


The inn in the forest

After a long day walking through the woods, a place of rest is the one thing you’ll need. Perhaps “The Peaceful Shrub” Inn would suit you well, created by LEGO builder Jesse van den Oetelaar. Meanwhile, I’m resting my eyes on one of the most lovely little cottage inns I have ever seen. I admire Jesse’s use of color in the plants, the path leading to the inn, and the inn itself. I can spot four different uses of green, all of which work perfectly in this build. The bricking that makes up the inn is especially detailed, with dark tan and sand tan colors referencing the patchwork style of many fantasy world buildings.

The Peaceful Shrub [GOH]

I also like the barrels of ale next to the feasting minifigures. I hope the chickens walking about don’t mind that chicken is also what’s on the table!

The Peaceful Shrub Inn [GOH]

The back of the inn is stuffed with plant life. The pine tree and the large leafy tree are some of the best examples of greenery that you can find. The way these tree trunks are designed helps show the unevenness of the bark while pulling your eyes upwards towards the foliage. The mix of flowers and shrubbery is likely what gives “The Peaceful Shrub” Inn its name.

The Peaceful Shrub Inn [GOH]

Away from the hustle and bustle

Riff raff! Street rat! I don’t buy that! But I would definitely purchase this little scene if it was an actual LEGO set. There’s nothing like a quiet Middle Eastern street to bring peace to my day. Builder Jesse van den Oetelaar easily captures the tranquility of this moment with his skill in using a variety of building methods. I love how the street was formed in a way to allow for cracks, with plants on occasion growing through. The brickwork of the buildings speaks to the age of this setting: long ago, yet the houses and walls have already existed for centuries. The wooden container in the corner is made of two buckets and two black rubber bands, cleverly making it look like a real barrel. There’s so much I want to explore in this little alleyway!

The city streets

When trouble comes to town, what will you do?

A new guard is having to learn on the job as bandits attack in this portside scene by Jesse van den Oetelaar, which features some well-textured stone structures, along with a brick-built boat. The dock is nicely detailed, with merchants and a local catching fish. There’s also some great window construction, like the first floor of the middle building which uses the bases of black turntables to frame transparent plates.

fractured kingdoms, bandit attack

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the ruins?

Kayaking, canoeing, and boating of other types are pretty popular where I live. While Jesse van den Oetelaar’s LEGO model seems to portray a more medieval type scene, this build reminds me of a real life historic park not too far from me, where you can kayak on a creek amidst the ruins of an aqueduct.

Fractured Kingdoms

Jesse’s minifigure character William Renou paddles a brick-built sail boat which utilizes many small brown elements, notably many tiles of various sizes for the body of the boat while the sail mast utilizes multiple brown 1×1 round bricks. The water in this model is rendered with white trans-clear tiles, which is a bit different from most builds I have seen which tend to make use of trans-clear elements in various shades of blue. The white trans-clear elements are a good choice and they work well with the mostly grey color-scheme of the architecture.

The aqueduct ruins mostly make use of 1×2 brick elements, slopes, tiles, light green tree limb elements, and various other light grey pieces. I especially appreciate the cattails that are fashioned out of tan technic pins attached to brown sticks which were then stuck into the holes of tree limb elements. While the fantasy vibe is evident throughout this work, the vignette is still quite relatable in real and present moments as well.