Staves may be little more than glorified sticks, but they have managed to work their way into the very heart of fantasy symbols. Some of the most famous examples are found in The Lord of the Rings, wielded by some of literature’s most famous wizards. Jon & Catherine Stead have recreated in 1:1 scale a pair of the wizard staves seen in The Lord of the Rings films.
The staff of Saruman the White is a remarkably clean model built around the Star Wars planet elements for the orb. Unless you zoom in, it might be hard to recognize the staff is actually LEGO. This is even more impressive if its mere five hours of build time are taken into account. The builders also share the exact piece count, which is 831 for this particular model, and it measures 91 inches in length.
The staff of Gandalf the Grey is an impressive creation in a completely different way. It is not quite as accurate to its movie representation as Saruman’s staff, but the complexity of the source material makes its recreation a much more impressive achievement. The spiraled headpiece is created using multiple arch elements wrapping around the shaft. The build was completed in an impressive four hours using 938 bricks. It measures 61 inches in length.
J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle-earth, best known from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books and films, has shaped much of modern fantasy. Indeed, LEGO builders have been finding inspiration there for a very long time, in the recent years even more so with the support of the official LEGO themes based on the movies. Over the years, we’ve seen multiple collaborative projects appear both as online galleries and convention displays; however, we think this latest initiative is among the most impressive. The massive collaborative project includes 10 builders and 13 creations depicting different locations and events of the Third Age of the Sun.
The project consists of dioramas of varying sizes and styles, although modern castle-themed builds tend to have moderately standardized techniques and styles in the fan community. This makes for a very consistent group project, while still letting each builder’s individual style shine through, and making each creation a great stand-alone build. Continue reading
Bilbo and Frodo Baggins were born 78 years apart, but with exactly the same birthday, on the 22nd of September. It is their birthday today and thus they make a mark on our Gregorian calendar – declared as Hobbit Day! And to commemorate the festivities, builder Thorsten Bonsch gifts us with a vignette that’s worthy of a weary hobbit to rest and unwind with a warm and cozy corner of home tucked in a corner of the Shire. Thorston’s clever techniques with 1×1 plates for the arc of the fireplace and a tessellated centrepiece for the floor using an assortment of cheese slopes in a variety of colors, all lit with perfect lighting, makes this a breathtaking and picturesque scene.
Minas Tirith, the Tower Of Guard, capital of the nation of Gondor, principal defender of the Realm Of Men against Mordor’s dark threat. This famous city from Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings has been the subject of many a LEGO creation, but it’s seldom looked better than in this rendition by Koen. The model is large, despite being built in microscale, and is composed of around 11,500 pieces. Taking six months to design and build, it’s remarkably faithful to the films’ version of the city. All the key elements are here — the great curved walls, the massive spur of rock, the tall citadel and the single white tree found on the topmost level. Koen has even gone as far as to include the tombs of the Gondorian Kings and their Stewards, situated behind the citadel itself.
The Pelennor Field, the large plain before the city, is seen here in happy prosperous times with farms and forests right up to the city walls, which makes a pleasant change from its usual appearance as an orc-ravaged battlefield. Koen has shared more images which show the details of the buildings within the lower rings, and the various techniques employed to give them varied texture and shape. The muted “sand” shades of green, red, and blue used for the roofs gives a sense of realism whilst providing a pleasant contrast to all the white.
My only quibble with this model arises from its accuracy to the film version of the city. It has always irked me that the outer wall in the movies was white to match the upper levels, when in the books it is described as hewn from the same arcane black materials as Orthanc. However, it seems harsh to hold that against such a wonderful piece of LEGO art, so I’ll push my Tolkien-geekery to one side and instead appreciate the building skills which went into this wonderful creation.
The TBB cover photo for June 2018 is Sandyman’s Mill by Patrick B. Now visiting our social media pages will make you want to be a hobbit and live in The Shire!
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A few years have passed from The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit hysteria that included an official LEGO theme, but many builders still find inspiration in Tolkien’s fantasy universe. Roanoke Handybuck is one of these builders and his latest creation is Beorn’s house. We can see the party of dwarves accompanied by the Grey Wizard and Bilbo Baggins meeting the master of the house.
The builder uses colours and their combinations to great advantage, especially mixing the dark tan and olive green, which seem to naturally fit together. Do not limit your attention only to the beautifully flowing roof, because the stonework of the house’s walls is quite impressive too, as is a plethora of details spread around the diorama.
The excellent photography and advanced building techniques may be what drew my attention to this creation by Patrick B., but they are not the most interesting part to me. What is so unique about this creation is the accompanying description, crediting a handful of builders who inspired Patrick’s Sandyman’s Mill, either by building their own versions prior or as Patrick’s sources for some techniques used. It is normal for builders to both reuse previously discovered techniques and credit their sources, but I rarely see it like this particular example. It almost reads like a scientific publication!
Click to see and read more about the build!
At the far end of Bagshot Row at number 10 is the house of Fredregar “Fatty” Bolger, the son of Odovacar Bolger and Rosamunda Took. Patrick B. has captured Fatty with his wife and a furry friend outside his beautiful house at Bag End — another Shire creation for his “ExploringTheShire” project he started a year ago.
Like many a member of the online LEGO community, Patrick has credited fellow builders in the comments on Flickr to acknowledge where he has “borrowed” Jonas Kramm’s cobble design and appropriated the watering can design from Simon NH. I love how the online LEGO community reminds me very much of Hobbiton in more than a few regards.
The Lord of the Rings is constantly present as a theme in LEGO fan creations, although less so in the past year or two. As an extension, other stories of Tolkien’s universe find their way into bricks, notably and in this example by Carter Witz, the Silmarillion. The build represents the gates of Menegroth, the thousand caverns, which is one of the most beautiful motives in the Silmarillion in my opinion.
As the obvious centerpiece of the diorama the stone door is beautifully crafted with carefully and effectively placed sand blue pieces to break up the gray, as well as some neat part uses, from the shields and a ribbed hose above the gates to the moustaches used as door rings. I should point out the landscaping, which has a good mixture of greens for a realistic grass effect and a neat tree with simple yet effective roots extending beyond the base.
The first word that comes to mind when describing this LEGO swamp scene is atmospheric. Markus Rollbühler has clearly been affected by the dark and damp Danish winter and channelled those dark thoughts when creating this scene The cinematic style is very well done, there are some really fantastic effects – rippling water surface, fog, huge depth of field and the soft lighting. The scene shows some intrepid explorers paddling towards an orc settlement consisting of houses set on high stilts, it makes for a very eerie setting.
Taking a closer, clearer look at the Orc’s stilt houses reveals some fantastic details. The side panels are made from tracks and the hose stilts look suitably risky as an engineering feat. I love the simplicity of using the curled minifigure whips as a way to hang the lanterns, it’s very effective.
Click here to see a closer view of the swamp monsters
Last month we featured Patrick B.‘s lovely version of Bag End, Bilbo’s house in the Hobbit and later Frodo’s in The Lord of the Rings. It turns out Patrick wasn’t done making cheery hobbit holes, though, as now he’s followed up with Samwise Gamgee’s home on Bagshot End, which is just as welcoming and snug.
It’s loaded with details, including lots of clever uses for unusual elements, such as the unusual Scala flower pot and vase paired together along with mini-doll Belle’s light yellow dress as large garden jars. Each section of this homely dwelling bears close scrutiny to tease out all the shrewd techniques. Continue reading
Dutch builder Vladimir van Hoek has created a fully functional pinball machine from LEGO, inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The table includes scenes from all three books and movies, from Hobbiton above the ball shooter to Mount Doom in the opposite corner. Every element of the pinball machine is built from LEGO, including the targets, lanes, and flippers. Official minifigures from the Lord of the Rings sets add character to the scenes, but the microscale buildings and landscaping are excellent in their own right.
See more photos and the LEGO Lord of the Rings pinball machine in action