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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In some ways this rendered microscale build is simple, but my eye was drawn to its neat little features and techniques. Everything fits so nicely against each mountain segment in this model designed by Aukbricks. Simply put, it’s clean and elegant.
The overhead view doesn’t do it complete justice. I believe the best way to view this build is to watch it as it’s turned. The Technic axle pins make for great crops and the books are lovely rooftops. The trees made from foliage elements are also perfect. While the techniques aren’t entirely new and unique to this build, the cohesive combination is beautiful.
We recently covered another one of Aukbricks’ renders, a holey sports store!
When it comes to fun landscape techniques, Emil Lidé has you covered. This tree made out of slopes is whimsical and creative. For me, it’s a little mesmerizing. It almost looks like it has been turned into 3D fractals!
But this is just a small sample of Emil’s handiwork. He’s not only an expert at building unique flora, he is gracious enough to create instructions on how to build them. His free instructions for both the trunk and canopy of this tree are on his personal website fullplatebuilds.com. You can also check out our article about one of his part experimentations, or another featuring multiple techniques in a single build.
One of the things I love about Alan Boar’s LEGO creations is the amount of time he takes to research his subjects. In this case it’s the Taikoo Ropeway, an early cable car system built in 1891 to link Hong Kong’s Taikoo Dockyard to the Taikoo Sugar Refinery. The finished diorama, built in collaboration with his wife and son, is rendered in an aesthetic reminiscent of Chinese landscape painting. Designed in monochrome, the Mount Parker setting is wonderfully accented with stylised brick clouds. In front of the clouds, a grey building frames the predominately white ropeway scene, helping to highlight a host of fascinating features.