The recent release of the 501st battlepack has taken LEGO Star Wars fans by storm. Many bought multiple sets containing the fan-favourite clone troopers for collecting, army building, and for use in their builds. While many built scenes starring the 501st troopers, landscape artist First Order Lego already completed their most iconic and memorable battle. The Battle of Umbara is regarded as the best four-episode story arc of The Clone Wars and is enough to elevate the whole series to Star Wars fans’ favour. In these episodes, the 501st struggle against the natives, the landscape, and even their own in a brutal war story. They showcase that the Republic are not the good guys, the soldiers are disposable, and that the war is pointless and harmful. Thus, people frequently compare them to the real-world inspiration: the United States invasion of Vietnam.
The 501st, led by Anakin Skywalker, advance through trenches and carnivorous plants on this elaborate against the Umbaran natives. The dark terrain and the eerie flora is visually striking, providing good contrast against the white armour of the clone troopers. First Order Lego uses many rubber tires to give a smooth and rounded look to the large spiky plants. Many bladed elements make up smaller plants, and even a few construction parts provide roughness to the landscape. In addition, various transparent parts dot the terrain, providing light and giving Umbara its signature “evil” look. While on the far side, the neon-lit road is a welcome change from the rough black wilderness.
First Order Lego also provides a time-lapse video of this battle scene coming together:
Time and again, Markus Rollbühler continues to amaze me with his attention to detail, and the “oohs” and “aahs” continue with his latest build — a charming farmhouse. In addition to having excellent composition, the scene also features some excellent use of parts. The thatched roof effect is achieved with dozens of claws, the smoke billowing out the chimney is actually a rat flipped upside-down, and the cork in the wine pitcher is represented by a microphone. The greenery is also enjoyable, especially the effect produced by placing 3-leafed plant elements atop the stems of bushes.
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.
Purple treeze all in the ground. Don’t know if they’re growing up or down. Is it crystal or purple ice? Whatever it is, Duncan Lindbo built a tree that’s nice. Queue Jimi Hendrix guitar solo – Duncan’s magical-looking tree is constructed from transparent purple Bionicle elements, which are lit throughout to give it a sparkly, crystalline appearance. If something could be grown from a shard of the Dark Crystal I’d imagine this would be it!
If you’d like to see more of Duncan’s work in purple, be sure to check out his loathsome worm we featured back in September.
Salmon swimming upstream brings all the bears to the yard…er river. It also inspired Simon NH‘s latest LEGO build, depicting a brown grizzly fishing for dinner. What makes this bear unique is the diverse range of parts and colors used to sculpt its body and represent how things in nature are more complex than meets the eye. Simon’s bear features ears comprised of a minifigure hood on the left and female hair on the right, while a minifigure shooter and snowshoes form its iconic muzzle. The scene is also set with some fantastic landscaping, from the rippling waterfall to the rocky terrain with splashes of greenery. It’s truly a GRRiffic build!
If you’d like to see Simon’s build in person and happen to be passing through Denmark, it will be on display in the Masterpiece Gallery at the LEGO House.
Growing up in the 1990s, one of the things that made LEGO castle sets so appealing was the way in which they were advertised; catalog images were perfect at world-building, with sets placed within carefully crafted, colorful environments. Robbadopdop‘s blacksmith shop evokes those fond memories, and his attention to detail would have impressed my 8-year-old self ten times over. There’s plenty of clever parts usage to appreciate here, including a minifigure ruff for flower petals, hair representing the end of a mop, and disposable sprues from plants with 3 large leaves for green vines winding up the side of the building. The building itself employs an excellent use of color and utilizes a diverse range of parts, which helps it feel both gritty and fun to look at.
One of the coolest details is the way the roof flexes, complete with staggered shingles. If you’re wondering how this detail was achieved, Robbadopdop has shared pictures of the internal structure. He used rigid tubing, which can be easily cut to size and is flexible enough to shape, and the roofing was then draped into place. The end result is fantastic.
Mastering the art of LEGO architecture can be difficult enough, but jaapxaap goes a step farther with this seemingly impossible little house full of color and texture. This type of work, dubbed “ramshackle style”, is a personal favorite of mine. The skill required to pull off an organic building such as this is a special one.
The sloping roof is extremely impressive with its purple tiles and the seamless way the two roofs meet. One of the keys to this style is a variety of texture which the builder pulls of admirably here. The combination of profile bricks, SNOT pieces and tiles create the feeling of a house that is constantly in repair. The building’s color palette is quite appealing in various shades of brown accented with pinks and purples. The landscaping is similarly appointed with an array of plants of different sizes, shapes and colors.
I have a soft spot for collaborative LEGO train displays because they played a fundamental role in inspiring me to “build outside the box.” Because of this, I couldn’t help but smile when I saw Steffen Rau’s layout module. I love the curves of the track, mountainside tunnels, and wooded landscaping. It feels like a wonderful place to explore, especially with dozens of minifigures enjoying various camping activities.
In the Harry Potter films, Hogwarts looked massive and majestic. Although LEGO did a great job with the massive 71043 Hogwarts Castle set, builder Mathieu BL has built a microscale LEGO version of the castle that feels just as big as it should, despite its diminutive size. Part of this can be attributed to the surrounding terrain, which places the building within its proper context. The hills and cliff-sides have been carefully sculpted, utilizing a variety of colors and shapes to achieve a nice degree of realism. The sparkly water adds a touch of beauty, and it consists of loose trans clear and trans-medium blue elements mixed together to emulate the choppiness of the sea.
Turning the model around reveals a quidditch stadium behind the castle. A lot of time and care went into detailing this model. Mathieu spent over 1,200 hours designing and building Hogwarts, and nearly 75,000 pieces were used in its construction.
When photographed from certain angles, the little castle seems huge. Here, it looks absolutely stunning.
If you’d like even more LEGO Hogwarts in your life, be sure to check out our review of set 71043.
Collaborative building projects can yield amazing results, such as this slick 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 overlooking a picturesque cliff. The bright red Mustang was built by ham_MOC, while the cliff was built by Jonathan S. If you didn’t know this was a collaboration, you might think everything was made by one person. That’s because the two builds pair nicely, complete with advanced coloring techniques like the Mustang’s two-tone exterior and the layering of colors on the cliff. It makes for a cohesive build that couples American muscle with the beauty of the American West.
This month is an exciting time for the Copenhagen Zoo because they will be introducing a pair of pandas to the public this month. The two bears will be taking up residence in the Panda House, an enclosure designed to look like the Chinese symbol for yin and yang. Builder Full Plate was commissioned to build a replica of the Panda House for the Copenhagen LEGO Store, where it will be on display. It’s a great likeness of the original, complete with the curved staircase and viewing area. The unique architecture is accentuated by lush landscaping.
When LEGO launched the Islanders line in 1994, it made for an interesting addition to LEGO Pirates. In carrying on the legacy of this cherished theme, LEGO fan website Eurobricks has created a fictional pirate-themed universe. The lost city of Myzectlan, in particular, is reminiscent of the Islanders. Eurobricks’ “Daily Life in Myzectlan” collaborative building challenge has inspired some excellent models, such as this lush and lively jungle scene by Stefan G. With a big cat on the prowl, two Myzec travelers bide their time by hiding out in a miraforma. In the Myzec world, miraforma are used to hide from predators on the jungle floor. They also make for good lookout posts.