Tag Archives: jnj_bricks

Beware the servants of the Goblin King

Busts have become ever-popular, and with them have come a wealth of fun ideas. Builders trying their hand at sculpting a character’s features with bricks are forced to try new things and innovate. This Goblin bust by builder Jnj_bricks was such a foray that was definitely successful. Texturing really helped this character come through, from the spikey, short hair to the boats used in his jacket. The knobbly, green skin translates well as a Goblin, as do the bright orange eyes which hold a mischievous light. The gold earrings and jutting jaw with sharp teeth add that extra bit of character emblematic of this trickster species in lore, old and new.

The Goblin

Quite a few techniques were used to achieve all the interesting angles and textures of this build. Though Jnj_bricks says this is a very different style for him, it’s clear it wasn’t too far out of his range.

A new twist on an old windscreen

I don’t know that I have a favorite LEGO piece of all time, but my top five would have to include the long, faceted windscreen that debuted in 1989’s Space theme offerings. Something about that wedge’s multiple sloped angles inspired so many of my childhood builds. I used it to build cockpits, magical jewels, the jaws of various monsters…but I hadn’t given it much thought in the last decade or two. So I was delighted when I spotted the White Tiger Star Fighter by jnj_bricks. One of my favorite pieces had been given new life.

White Tiger Star Fighter

By twisting two of the windscreens sideways and building over the resulting bottom half, the White Tiger employs the existing slope angles to create a new cockpit shape that blends perfectly with the more modern pieces that make up the majority of the ship. It’s got me wanting to dig through my old bricks to see what inspiration might strike.

White Tiger Star Fighter

What’s behind the door in this fantasy LEGO build?

This LEGO creation from Joe (jnj_bricks) was created for the Summer Joust 2021 contest, and it’s wonderfully moody. There are plenty of unique parts used here (see if you can spot the shark head), and the lighting is top-notch. The highlight of the build to me is the brickwork on the wall; it helps tell a story about this building and a lot of work clearly went into it. Another aspect that works really well is allowing the viewer to fill in the rest of the room by having it focused on the door and not having everything self-contained.

Behind the Door

I want much more than this provincial life

It takes a careful eye for detail to craft a large LEGO immersive scene since every corner of the frame has to be considered. But it also takes a large number of LEGO bricks, far more than one would think before beginning the project (especially for the foreground, which always needs more, always). Talented LEGO builder Joe (jnj_bricks) has both the careful eye and the pile of bricks and uses them masterfully to craft this castle harbor scene, with a quay, lots of shops, a castle, and even a drunken pirate down on the dock. It certainly fits the bill as a large scene, too, measuring 144×80 studs.

A Cloudy Day

Joe neglects no surface in the scene, from the textured roofs to the detailed walls. There are slight variations in color to show weathering, and no two houses have the same wat-and-daub pattern. The selling point is the minifigure posing, however, which can be one of the trickiest bits to nail down, but Joe got it just right, with dynamic and natural poses all around. It really sells that this is a normal day with people going about their ordinary lives. Pretty sure I see the baker with the same old bread and loaves to sell. And do you see the goat? He’s got a goat, the Holy Grail of castle builders!

A Day at the Docks

From Midgard to Asgard and the Bifröst bridge in between.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has supplied fans with awe-inspiring landscapes of fictional places such as Thor’s home world of Asgard. Undoubtably the incredible imagery in these films have inspired LEGO builders and content creators alike in recreating these fascinating worlds using their respective media of choice. Builder Joe (jnj_bricks) for example, translates the world of Asgard into the world of LEGO with his wonderful model of the Asgardian capital city.

Asgard

Joe’s model is from the perspective of the gate, where the Bifröst bridge to Asgard begins, the model as a whole is in micro-scale. The build largely utilizes many small elements as well as interestingly molded pieces such as minifigure helmets, weaponry, and other accessories to create forms of various buildings and dwellings. Asgard palace makes use of many pearl gold pieces, most notably 1×1 cylinders and cones and the ornamental golden clam shell. Of course my favorite component of this city-build is definitely the beautiful Bifröst bridge – its rainbow colors rendered by trans-clear plates and bricks of various sizes in multiple colors along with some black elements of the same kind. Overall with Joe’s creation, we get a post-card picture of a fan favorite setting in LEGO form.

On the shores of the sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-Earth

The bittersweet ending of The Lord of the Rings is a scene that impacted many readers and viewers such as myself. It is the last we see of our beloved heroes after so many trials and tribulations in their story. In this scene, our heroes join the elves on a boat departing Middle-Earth to “a far green country under a swift sunrise.” Many see this as an allegory for death and the journey beyond, whether it be heaven or something else. Like Bilbo, I like to think of this in a more optimistic way: a new adventure in an unfamiliar land. JNJ Bricks captured the moment in the Grey Havens right before their departure in a striking, immersive LEGO scene.

Grey Havens

The minifigures of Frodo, Gandalf, and the hobbits stand in the foreground, out of focus and facing away. The elves wait by the boat, ready to take them on their journey out of the completely brick-built harbour. LEGO parts make up everything in this scene, from the water to the sunset sky between the cliffs. My favourite detail, the arches, and towers across the water look just like the movie, despite being so small. The boat, being grey, is distinct enough to not blend into the background. The accuracy of this scene invokes the same emotion in me as I experience while reading the book or watching the movie. Now I am in the mood for some of Tolkien’s poetry…

A new perspective on a Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece

It’s 1496 in Milan, Italy and the renowned artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci is finishing up his latest commission, a fresco spanning the wall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Over the years, “The Last Supper” has become a symbol of the Renaissance art movement. More recently, it has been recreated as a LEGO vignette by Joe (jnj_bricks). In this stunning rendition of da Vinci’s masterpiece, Joe creates the appearance of a two-dimensional fresco with the illusion of three-dimensionality using three-dimensional LEGO bricks– it’s mind-boggling!

The Polymath: Fresco

Let’s take a look at some of Joe’s illusionistic building techniques in “The Last Supper”. First, the floor in the fresco is built slanting upwards. This creates a deep shadow underneath the table, reminiscent of da Vinci’s chiaroscuro technique of contrasting light and shadow in his oil paintings. Next, the walls of the room within the fresco are built using slope bricks instead of standard 1x bricks, making the “back wall” appear to be much farther away than it actually is. Finally, the bordering brick “window” that frames the fresco completes the composition. Early illusionistic wall paintings that date back to ancient Rome would also use this technique to portray a vista into another world.

All of these techniques enhance the forced perspective in the overall build, creating a convincing replica of the real-life fresco. With the amount of realistic details and artistic techniques packed in this build, it’s hard to believe Joe hasn’t apprenticed for the Renaissance master builders!

Paint it black

Many people seem to have more time on their hands recently, with much of normal life disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. And as a result, contests are popping up out of the woodwork to give LEGO builders some inspiration, whether it’s Reverse Engineering or Alphabet Starfighters. Included in that is one called Style It Up, where the rules dictate color choices and style rather than content. Since the first week’s challenge is to build something with only one color, jnj_bricks went straight to black. As in black panther. Now, if you have ever tried to photograph LEGO, you know it can be a challenge to get the lighting right. When your build is black, it gets about a billion times harder because it reflects everything. Yet this cat is perfectly captured mid-step, standing out against the black foliage.

A lot has gone into the panther, with teeny tiny parts giving it an organic shape. I see flippers, a mohawk, and a cap, to name a few. But minifig arms and gobs of horns for the grass add further details, and the scene as a whole is both dynamic and vibrant, despite being monochrome.

Feel inspired? There is still time to hop over and get some entries in.