LEGO builders John and Isaac Snyder collaborated to bring us this magnificent winter tavern. It’s packed to the top of its steep roof peaks with great detail, and you can just feel the inn standing as a bulwark against the blustery winter winds. I particularly love the snowy forest surrounding the tavern, which makes it feel much more immersive than a stark building on a bare setting. You could (and should) spend some time poring over the intricate parts usages through the build, but take note especially of the Thor’s hammers surrounding the door; I’ve seen them used as stonework before, but they fit so well here.
One of my favorite things about the winter is the beauty of a peaceful snowy mountainside, and this LEGO build by -LittleJohn looks just the part. It took me a little while to grasp the scale of this mountain, but then I spied the castle perched up on the ledge above the glassy waterfall. The ramshackle techniques used on this build come together splendidly to create a magical moonlit river.
I love how hobbies or interests are able to bring people together. I am quite the LEGO nerd and thanks to LEGO and its community, I’ve met so many lovely people. My partner on the other hand is quite the board game geek and thanks to him I got sucked into the community that comes with the dice. What never stops to amaze me is the amount of love that goes into designing board games. John Snyder and Isaac Snyder drew inspiration from the game ‘Everdell’. The game is filled with cute forest critters and almost magical surroundings. For their latest build, they decided to give the ‘Castle’ card the LEGO treatment.
The castle wall looks really organic and irregular at the top due to a fine selection of pieces. We can find dinosaur tails, spider legs and plant limbs used for the wooden castle gate. Each wooden beam gets adorned with a white horn, claw, cone, lever base, or a bulb to represent fresh snow. The main tower has a crazy angle to it and I can’t figure out how the bricks are connected at the place of the angle. My guess is flex tubing but I might be wrong. It may as well be friction and gravity. There are cattle horns used in brown as architectural details. We get flags made out of pentagonal tiles with a little crown attached to it with a rubber band, which looks like a little layer of fresh snow on the top of the flag. The inhabitants of the castle are LEGO animals, which makes this build less than minifigure scale, which allows for parts to be used in a very original way. The skis used for doors look massive and add a sense of grandeur to the castle. Have you spotted the brave little blue hamster defending the castle?
I have nothing but respect for any LEGO builder who participates in any Iron Builder challenge, the fan-driven challenge where a single seed piece is used in inspiring ways. The latest example is this build by -LittleJohn, where the seed part is the wind-up key in dark orange. Not only does it work perfectly as the wobbly bits along the seahorse’s back, but it also makes up the long kelp strings, held together by Minifig hands.
There are a few things that really get me in the Christmas mood. One of them is a LEGO gingerbread house. Over the years, LEGO has produced more specialized LEGO parts, and they often come in white. It never stops to amaze me to see how fans use these pieces in their gingerbread houses. This however is not the case for John Snyder. They have been getting creative with the toy winder key for a seed part challenge. If this build is completely symmetrical, which gingerbread houses often are, more than 50 winder keys are used in this build. But it’s not just the use of the winder keys that is very creative. The inclusion of the old window is very nice and makes it look like there is no physical door; it’s just outlines piped on with icing. The house comes with candy canes, gifts, pine trees covered in snow, and lollipops that use a dish that to me at first was unfamiliar. At first, I thought it was from a Belville fairy set, but it turns out to be a Friends part.
Check out more LEGO gingerbread houses here.
Behold! Another fun little LEGO creation by John Snyder featuring a woodland gatherer. I’ll be honest, my first thought upon seeing this build was, “Oh, look! The Wicked Witch of the West!” But then I saw the title and realized it was an insanely cooler character, Gnepnug the Forager. I’ve never seen anyone use a Bionicle leg plate before as a face, but this works! The use of multiple minifigure capes for worn-in clothing was a clever idea. I also appreciate the lack of a baseplate, with John instead opting for what appears to be a green LEGO sail piece.
LEGO builder John Snyder says “hay there, farmer!” To which I reply “hay there right back!” Frankly, I know nothing about farming, but I do enjoy a friendly greeting replete with puns so I figured I ought to jump at the chance to feature this John Deere tractor and hay baler. If you’re as a-moo-sed by this as I am, then you should check out -LittleJohn’s other stuff. He’s been building a lot of amazing stuff lately. But before you go, let me try my hand at a farmer joke. Here goes. How did the farmer find his cow? He tractor down. OK, admittedly that could use some work. Sorry, I’m just going to let myself out now.
The famous Aztec ruler Montezuma was fierce and massively successful at expanding his empire by conquering opponents – until he wasn’t. After reigning for over 17 years, he was killed during the Spanish conquest. His purported headdress (likely not actually his) was stolen by Hernán Cortés and currently sits in an Austrian museum. It and the slightly less flamboyant headdresses of Maya and Aztec warriors are now a big part of popular culture. They’ve even been regularly depicted in LEGO, both officially (recent and old), and through custom models like this one, by John Snyder.
Of course, what makes this build so cool is not necessarily the history of the subject matter. What makes it awesome is the excellent use of parts. The green feather elements are naturally perfect, but can you see how they’re attached? The use of green cable clips is genius! Other things to look for are the alternating modified plates for the feathers in the back, hands for accents, and the interesting use of a Technic differential gear for the pedestal.
As you likely know, John is a prolific builder, and we’ve featured his work many times. I’m sure we can expect more great things very soon. And while you wait, check out some other Aztec-Inspired builds.
If you’re a blacksmith, odds are you have a supplier of ore and metals coming from a nearby mine. In this case, the mine is built by -LittleJohn. Clearly taking inspiration from the new LEGO Ideas Medieval Blacksmith set, builder -LittleJohn made this creation for the Colossal Castle Contest. The Allanar Mine is run by dwelves (dwarves + elves) who offer a warm meal and a soft bed to any travelers passing through.
The level of detail here is staggering. The landscaping, the mine building, and the inn are a work of art. I’d have to say my favorite part of this build is the windows. They’re beautiful! Both paned and double-paned are built so creatively. I’m going to have to see if I can replicate -LittleJohn’s techniques in my next medieval-themed creation.
My uncle, who also happens to be an adult fan of LEGO, always says: ‘You don’t have to have a lot of different parts to build something amazing. You have to have a lot of the same parts to build something amazing.’ John Snyder proves my uncle is right. This creation consists of mainly two parts. The leaves in bright light orange to represent the straw. The 1×2 rounded plates are used to create 1×2 rounded bricks which make it easier to build round shapes. Out of these bricks which support the roof are made. The sheer size of this creation is about as impressive as the excellent lighting.
Can you judge a book by its cover? Conventional wisdom says “no,” but John Snyder may have a different opinion. The elegant book binding here is complemented by some slice-of-life details that are every bit as charming. This creation is part of the Iron Builder contest, and this round focused on the challenge of incorporating modified 2×3 plates into the build. We can see them in action in the book bindings on the cover, and in the dark red flowers. The golden carriage wheel on the cover matches the yellow centers to the flowers as well as the gold coins, but did you know that the black cloth bag there is (probably) also a LEGO element? It looks to me to be a Wolfpack Pouch. Now there’s a part you don’t see every day.
If you’re in a literary mood, why not check out our book archives? You just might learn something new!
Sometimes, pillaging the land of righteousness just seems like too much work. So do what LEGO builder John Snyder does: put your feet up, cast in your line and relax.
There are a ton of little details that really make the build come alive. From the mossy vines growing all over the swamp to the different shades of brown used to look like wood rot, it’s all here. I especially like the use of pirate hook hands to hang the fish up. The roof tile work is equally exquisite.
My only gripe about this build is that I’m begging for more. It’s so good that I want to see the same thing spread out over dozens of baseplates. Congratulations on a job well done, John!