Tag Archives: Landscape

April showers bring May flowers, right? Right?

Perhaps it has been all this time indoors. Maybe it’s the fact that it has been raining a bunch, and I have small children who cannot be kept out of the mud by anything short of shock collars (which I have not tried, for the record). But when I see this build by why.not?, I get the feels. It’s sad and grey, with only dark and dingy colors, just like an afternoon of re-runs of Clifford the Big Red Dog with toddlers with rain pouring down outside. While I love the rocks made from the huge pieces, and the decrepit shrine is well done, too, it’s the rain that strikes me most with this build. The brick-built sky, with the slanting dark grey raindrops against the light grey clouds, is melancholy enough, but the dark tan water, with tiles inserted at differing depths to simulate raindrops plunking onto the surface, really brings the effect home. Golly. Are those really raindrops, or just my tears?

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Practical magic

It’s a common practice to touch up LEGO images with a bit of post-production magic. Sometimes it’s knocking out a background that isn’t quite clean enough, or maybe it’s going the other direction and putting a galaxy behind your spaceship. There’s nothing inherently wrong with extending a build by giving things clarity or context. However, Marcel V. shows us that everything doesn’t always have to be “fixed in post”. Tearing apart is 100% LEGO, from the craggy landscape to the clouds on the horizon. And the photo itself is untouched, free from any editing.

tearing apart

The short focal length gives clarity to the foreground elements like the lone wanderer (and faithful canine companion), and adds an air of mystery to the objects in the distance. Are those vines (constructed from 1×1 round brick and dinosaur tails) responsible for the fractured rock? Are they just taking advantage of another calamity? Just how close is the horizon? Are those storm clouds or an onrushing menace?

A behind the scenes look reveals some of the complexities that went into this creation. It’s interesting to see the different layers of construction that combined so seamlessly in the final image.

BTS - tearing apart

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see more photos from these adventurer’s travels. There’s just something special about the practical nature of their world that speaks to me.

Two hours to get lost in the mountains [Video]

LEGO builders will sometimes look for ways to challenge themselves. Sometimes they’ll require that their creation includes a specific “seed part”,  usually something that isn’t particularly easy to incorporate. Sometimes they’ll put insane time pressure on things, giving themselves a week, or even a day, to go from loose bricks to completed model. And then, sometimes, you get someone like First Order Lego who will create an entire diorama, based around a battle droid body, in just two hours.

Mountain city (2 hour build)

In this scene, a murky river of transparent black elements runs between two peaks. Connecting them is a bridge, made up of those required droid bodies and robot arms. Green spikes combine with 1×1 flower plate to create a touch of vegetation. And there’s even a mountain fortress, rendered in miniature by headlight bricks and cheese slopes. Hard to believe this only took two hours.

You don’t have to take my word on the short time frame, though. Check out this awesome time-lapse of the build and see for yourself!

Landscape and trees tell a story

While not depicting any particular scene I can remember,  Mountain Hobbit’s Fishing Docks is clearly set in Middle Earth. The colour palette is consistent with the official sets, and Gollum lurking behind one of the trees on the hill is a dead giveaway. Let’s talk about those trees and hill though. The shaping of both is superb. Everything is basically sculpted using slopes and wedges. I really like the heavy use of pieces that are one brick wide on the hillside, giving it the appearance of being quite weathered. The curve on the rightmost tree is particularly well done, as it tells a story about how that tree grew: when it started growing, it wasn’t so close to the edge, but over time, its trunk grew thicker and the hillside eroded. Because of geotropism, the tree grew to point upward though, giving it the curved trunk we see today.

Timothy Shortell

Thar she goes, with a hump like yellow sunshine, tis Moby Duck!

True story; due to an epic storm, nearly 30,000 bath toys were lost at sea, many of them “rubber duckies” (they’re not really made of rubber). While unfortunate, this event lead oceanographers and beachcombers on an odyssey to discover these wayward bath toys around the globe, thus proving that the oceans and currents are truly connected. You may read about it yourself in this book. I wonder if one of these yellow duckies has washed up on Anthony Séjourné’s otherwise serene bridge diorama. The ducky is comically outsized leading me to believe it’ll either destroy that bridge kaiju-style or at the very least cause a massive clog. Either way, it has made my day.

Lego bridge - atana studio

It’s not about how you build your castle, it’s about where you build it

It doesn’t matter how tall are the castle towers or how thick are its walls if the scenery is nowhere near impressive. Keeping this in mind Peter Ilmrud sets his Western Gate by the formidable Zamorah Valley. Thanks to forced perspective the composition of the build really makes it stand out. Although the towers are pretty much identical, differences in the designs of the rocky slopes give the diorama a rather natural look. Make sure to note excellent use of several types of wheels in the designs of the towers; this is something I would love to borrow for my own creations!

Western Gate of Zamorah Valley

Can a volcano be a character?

There are certain LEGO building systems that are tailored to different themes and motives. Technic is most suitable for mechanization, System tends to be best for buildings, vehicles, landscapes and similar motives. Bionicle (character & creature building system, or Constraction, or whatever you may call it) was obviously intended to be used to build characters and creatures and not volcanoes! But LEGO fans love to use parts in unique ways and chubbybots‘ latest build is a prime example.

volcano2

The build mostly consists of armor shells, probably connected on their intended limb pieces (or possibly in a different way, but we can not really see the inner structure). There are a few trans-neon orange chains for thinner lava flows and some round plates and bricks as smoke. But that is it. Such simple techniques were used in a unique way with a good sense of shape and topped off with good photography, resulting in a very memorable creation.

A welcoming watchtower

Although watchtowers are meant to be a lookout for warding off foes, this one by Ayrlego is a bit different. With its colorful trees and clever archway, it’s rather inviting, and I can’t decide which of the two features I like better! The window coverings are also a lovely touch, with tasteful stickers that play off of the doorway curves.

Spring Watchtower

Ayrlego is skilled at creating a whole picture and story in a scene. Just take a look at this period-traveling Wainwright House or a vine-laden jungle lookout.

Finding peace with plant pieces

Nothing says peacefulness like a bonsai tree. And what better way to cultivate the perfect tree than to use LEGO to make it just the way you want it? From it’s beautiful base to the winding trunk, Brent Waller‘s bonsai is a picture of serenity. The shape is gorgeous, especially paired with the clean rockwork. The bridge and little fisherman are cute too!

LEGO Ideas Zen Bonsai

Brent is also the creator of something completely different, but also 100% epic. He’s the fan designer of the LEGO Ideas set 21108 Ghostbusters Ecto 1. Additionally, you’ll need to zoom in on every detail of his incredible Wayne Manor and Batcave.

Beautiful medieval scenery abounds

I’ve personally been building a lot of landscape lately, so I love being inspired by the work of other builders. There’s a ton to be inspired by in this creation by John Snyder. The first thing that draws me in is the colour palette – olive green and dark tan work so well together to form a muted backdrop for the bright leaves on the trees, and even the brown and light grey of the building stand out.

The Silver Seedling

Delve deeper into this detailed scene

The Black Breath

If you are like me, you’re probably thinking the world could use more LEGO creations inspired by The Lord of the Rings. Am I right? Who is with me on this? As it turns out, Cole Blood (who, in my opinion, has the coolest name in the history of the world) has answered all our prayers with this stunning piece he calls “First Appearance of the Ringwraiths”. Having no physical form, the wraiths are cleverly depicted as hellish black apparitions that seem to seep into the landscape. The orc heads on pikes, the toadstools, and the small flowing stream create excellent visual cues throughout. Stay tuned, because this is merely one piece of a larger Second Age collaborative series we’ve been covering that Cole is participating in with his equally talented friends. I will eagerly wait, right after heading over to the registry to change my name to Rex Awesome or something.

First appearance of the Ringwraiths

Just cruising on the lake in my Ford Mustang

In this incredibly detailed digital build, ExeSandbox was tasked to put a 1965 Ford Mustang in beautiful scenery. I think nobody told him it was supposed to be placed on a road, but the builder just slapped it straight in the middle of the scenery. And it looks amazing! Never before has a car driving on water looked so right.

Lake Scenery (Front View)

The centerpiece of the scene is the quite accurate Ford Mustang, and it really gives the scene context. But it is the landscaping that shines here. There is a lot of simple parts that just work really well, like trees built of stacked leaf pieces or the clean layers of the ground. On the other hand, there are also very intensely textured trees with plates facing all directions and an extremely realistic lake bed covered in rocks. The water benefits the most from computer rendering, as finding this many perfectly clean translucent panels and placing them this straight without bending would be nearly impossible. What does not benefit from computer rendering is the perfect curved road though. While this technique looks beautiful and requires a proportional amount of work in real life, the builder states that it was a nightmare to do digitally, reminding us all that digital builders face their own challenges (the whole scene contains over 90,000 pieces). Often skeptics see digital builds as cheating or an easy shortcut, but the naysayers are often people who have never opened a brick-building program. And below is the final piece of art with a full background, and we can all agree that digital or not, the end result is a stunning image. And sometimes that is what matters.

Nothing Like a Ford on a Lake