Not to make this all about me, but I’m an artist who enjoys illustrating book covers. My work is heavily influenced by old pulps, spy novels, game manuals, serial horrors, children’s mysteries such as Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and anything involving elements of danger, intrigue, lush colors, and provocative titles. The point to telling you this is with a spooky castle, and a dense forest, this LEGO creation immediately resonated with me. The title, “Treasure of the Snake Queen” evoked a sense of danger and exotic adventure. Already this was something I was excited to write about. You can imagine my delight when I then learned that this piece was built by our own Brothers Brick contributor Flynn DeMarco and his partner Richard Board. Together they comprise a cohesive building team who goes by the name of Tricky Bricks.
Hell has been on the minds of many a builder lately as evidenced by Ralf Langer’s stunning creation. For those not yet familiar with the nine circles of Hell, the river Styx features prominently in both Greek and Christian mythology, and the ferryman (Charon or Phlegyas) is said to transport souls into the underworld. Like most city buses, the ferryman demands exact fare, the waters are black and murky, the landscape foreboding and if all that is not hellish enough, Styx’s “Come Sail Away” is played on an eternal loop. (Come on, you had to have seen that joke coming!) All kidding aside, this is truly an inspiring layout.
The irregular shape of the base, trees and rocky outcrops all lend to a visually pleasing albeit nightmarish aesthetic. My favorite element however is the reflections on the water’s surface, and Ralf tells us it is not photographic trickery but rather a result of using black bricks in a SNOT (studs not on top) configuration. Are you intrigued so far? Then be sure to click on Ralf’s photostream as this is merely the first entry in a larger hellish collaboration featuring the Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. This one, Ralf says, is the brightest and cheeriest of all the entries so…yeah…enjoy the journey.
While kids don’t have deadlines to worry about or bills to pay, childhood can still be stressful at times. Watching “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” for me and other kids, was a nice way to leave our troubles behind and visit a sweet, gentle, understanding soul, even for just a little while. Matt De Lanoy has rekindled some of my fondest childhood memories with this Neighborhood of Make-Believe layout. Far left we see Grander Tiger and his granddaughter Collette at the Eiffel Tower while Mr. McFeely makes a speedy delivery to King Friday the XIIIth and Queen Sara Saturday. About middle and to the right we see Lady Elaine Fairchild tending to her Museum Go-Round while to the right of her in the background is none other than Mr. Fred Rogers himself waving to his friends in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
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.
You online gamers can set your squeal-holes to positively delighted. Not only will The Elder Scrolls Online soon come out with an Elsweyr expansion but Thorsten Bonsch built a little something to commemorate the event. More of a big something, the LEGO tower stands 27.5 inches (70cm) tall and the Silt-Strider looms nearly as high. The Elder Scrolls apparently begs the question: what if there were 20 meter tall flea thingies that could be ridden like an Uber service?
The need for insect-related transportation must be great in Vvardenfell because here is their sales promo: “The Red Mountain Company Express Silt-Strider Service, located at Caravaner Towers all across Vvardenfell, can get you where you need to go. Remember, when you climb aboard a silt-strider, your destination is just a hop, skip, and a jump away!”
Full disclosure; I have never played The Elder Scrolls online or otherwise, but I can appreciate a beautifully orchestrated creation when I see one. The flowing stream, the alien plant-life, the tower, and the Silt-Strider are all a breathtaking sight to behold. Who is the totally buff dude lounging in the grass in his underwear? No idea, but this is amazing nonetheless. But don’t just take it from me, stride on over to Thorsten’s flickr page and give him the Brothers Brick bump he rightfully deserves. “What say you, Thorsten?” “Um…what’s a squeal-hole?”
“The sea, she’s like a lady. You dance with her you dance by her lead otherwise she chew ye up and swallow ye whole.” How do you like my grizzled sea captain impersonation? Needs work? Yeah, you’re probably right. I was just channeling Ahab, Nemo, and a bit of Quint from Jaws who, as it turned out, needed a “bigga boat.” This historic LEGO harbor scene by Vaionaut has all the quaint charm of Amity without the danger. Upon further inspection, the cannons, soldiers, pirates, and other details do suggest danger and intrigue–though likely not shark related. Everything from the expertly crafted curved wall, to the granite sailing ship model, to the intricate detailing on the rooftops is a treat to behold. My favorite feature is the hanging sailor-capped albatross totem bearing a close resemblance to Donald Duck.
This is like the opening chapter of a great seafaring adventure novel with each page leaving me wanting more. As it turns out, there is a bit more as this was part of a collaborative pirate build presented at Bricking Bavaria and can be seen at Rogue Bricks. Though if you click there, be sure to brush up on your German. All the German I know, I’ve learned from Rammstein, which, like my sea captain impersonations, has proven to be unhelpful while traveling abroad.
Usually when we see something this epic, it has already been inundated with hundreds of “likes” from adoring friends and fans. When I clicked “like” on this piece, I was number 5. That was surprising given how amazing this creation is. This castle among the rocks raises more questions than answers, like: who lives there? What are they protecting? Is it abandoned? Aside from the plant life, the hawk appears to be the only discernible living thing guarding this fortress. Amenk Sachio seems to be a builder of few words as all he had to say was #LEGOcastle.
Though there are a few statue-like guards, it is perhaps the lack of human activity and minimal explanation is what makes this so fascinating, We featured about half of this creation a year ago but it seems Amenk wasn’t finished building yet. Intricate gold filagree, bridges, buttresses, gargoyles and other details adorn the new addition as well as the old. Well, I’m intrigued, how about you?