In a world where steampunk hot air balloons and sky-pirates exist, there is a need for sky-based communication and supply stops. This cozy LEGO “Cloud 9 Outpost” built by Marcel V and LEGO designer Markus Rollbüler is just the place. It may be cobbled together, but it’s home-sweet-home to its humble inhabitant and his trusty pup. He also has to be picking up all sorts of reception with so many satellites and antennae! There’s lots of funky and fun parts usage here, but I particularly like the minifigure goggles used as bench legs.
I do not know why, but somehow I get drawn to LEGO desert builds. I guess it has something to do with the architecture of the buildings. Where I live, there is nothing quite like it, so it almost feels like taking a small vacation to a faraway place. So I would like to thank Marcel V for my most recent trip to the desert of Jazira, where I got to meet the Al’Tamasuk.
This creation offers a lot of great little details which really make it special. I will highlight a few, but if you zoom in I’m sure you’ll find many more. The best thing has to be the black lamps near the entrance of the building. These are black wands used to create a decorative cast iron lamp. Those wands are held (if I am not mistaken) only by friction and sheer willpower, so constructing that had to be quite the nuisance! Then there are wheel covers used as round windows, and somehow a baseball bat works perfectly fine as an architectural detail (see if you can spot them). There are snakes used as plant vines and have you seen that cute little wooden shed?
This little dragon designed by Marcel V looks like the kind of pet kids would beg and whine to get. The kind of pet who gets dropped of at the shelter after they are no longer cute and turn out to be not suitable as a pet. Nevertheless, it is cute as a button. The use of the ninja turtle shell as the mouth is very creative, and the eye tiles remind me of the wobbly eyes you would use as a kid in an arts and crafts creation. Somehow this entire creation reminds me of Calimero (must be the eggshell on the head). However, something tells me that this little Nepomuk transforms into something less cute after it hits puberty.
We love a good A-frame building over at TBB. This lovely creation by Marcel is no exception. Marcel manages to jam pack his creation with all sorts of little details. Most of them involve some serious nice parts usage. Let’s spot some of them. The door hinges are made using skates. General Leia lost a hairpiece in order for that bird nest to exist. Wands are used as deer legs and reeds in the pond. There are frogs and paint brushes used as ornate wood decorations in the bay window. There are plant vines climbing up the roof. The little round shutter for the round window is too cute for words and don’t even get me started about the chimney using ingot bars. Best thing about this creation is not all the little details (like the mushrooms) but the sense of calm and tranquility it evokes.
What do you get when four of the most talented castle builders out there collaborate on a series of LEGO builds? It’s a bit like alchemy, because the result is solid gold. Well, Grant Davis, Simon Hundsbichler, Marcel V., and Markus Rollbühler teamed up to show the life of a postman, carrying the mail across every bridge in the realm to make sure each and every citizen receives their letters on time. Each build is different in every detail, except the postman himself, but they are all scaled and shot to mimic the others, with the result that the builds complement each other perfectly. I’d love to have these framed on my wall, side by side, because these are not just LEGO builds, but art.
Models don’t get much betta than this. This fintastic creation is by Marcel V who nails the avid fisherman look. Prominently featuring a plaid shirt, with two custom fly lures dangling from the pocket. Sideways treads make a sofishticated zipper. Getting really down into the accurate details, our intrepid fisherman’s chest hair is exposed (horns) and he’s sporting a chain necklace. And what’s a fisherman without a rod? Perfect use of the chakram piece along the length.
LEGO is an art form. It requires precision placement of elements, meticulous thought, endless creativity, and a bold sense of the possibilities. Sure, you can build like a four-year-old, placing stuff willy-nilly and using any old color you please. You can also color on walls like a four-year-old, but that doesn’t take away from the frescoes of Raphael or Michelangelo. A build like this one by Marcel V. illustrates my point. There is a balance of composition, the cohesion of form, careful use of colors, and especially crisp photography. This is no child’s toy anymore.
This is not the first time I have written about a treehouse by Marcel, but this one has glorious limbs and even more glorious little rooms. The cheese slope roof looks great, and if you look close, every potted plant is constructed and attached differently. Don’t miss the book as a little roof over the door, too. My favorite detail might be the small table at the base of the tree, built of a combination of sorcery and twigs. The little pebbles arranged so carefully, stalks of grass, and even the soldiers posed loose give the build a much larger feel while still exhibiting a mastery of brick composition. After all, LEGO is an art form.
It’s a common practice to touch up LEGO images with a bit of post-production magic. Sometimes it’s knocking out a background that isn’t quite clean enough, or maybe it’s going the other direction and putting a galaxy behind your spaceship. There’s nothing inherently wrong with extending a build by giving things clarity or context. However, Marcel V. shows us that everything doesn’t always have to be “fixed in post”. Tearing apart is 100% LEGO, from the craggy landscape to the clouds on the horizon. And the photo itself is untouched, free from any editing.
The short focal length gives clarity to the foreground elements like the lone wanderer (and faithful canine companion), and adds an air of mystery to the objects in the distance. Are those vines (constructed from 1×1 round brick and dinosaur tails) responsible for the fractured rock? Are they just taking advantage of another calamity? Just how close is the horizon? Are those storm clouds or an onrushing menace?
A behind the scenes look reveals some of the complexities that went into this creation. It’s interesting to see the different layers of construction that combined so seamlessly in the final image.
I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see more photos from these adventurer’s travels. There’s just something special about the practical nature of their world that speaks to me.
Walls can be drab. I don’t know if you have ever had to stare at a wall, but I spent my fair share of time as a kid in time-out, sitting in a chair in the corner, examining the minutiae of the paint texture of the wall. Since then, I have stared at many walls, from cinder block to stylish shiplap, in doctors’ waiting rooms, my old calculus classroom, and many other places. They all look more or less the same. And the same thing can often be said of LEGO castle walls. Seen one castle, seen ’em all. But Marcel V. provides a break from the monotony by spicing up the grey with nice texture, but even more importantly, fun accessories. Because you know what makes a wall worth looking at? Family pictures, or a clock, or a piece of art hanging there.
The art of Marcel’s build is in the clever piece usages. There are paintbrushes and minifigure hands in the roof frame on the small tower. Unikitty tails give a delightful decorative detail on the battlements, and pistols provide support beneath. I also enjoy the wheelbarrow from a catapult and the vulture made from orc ears. All of these fun features make this wall lovely to look at, not drab. Add to that the fact that it is shown under construction, well, that just makes it better and more interesting. I’ve already stared at it for a while, and will continue doing so with pleasure.
Like the build? We covered an earlier part of Marcel’s brick adventure here.
Bakers were the unsung wizards of medieval times — taking the base material of the fields and transforming it into sustenance by the manipulation of the energies of water and fire. If that wasn’t the advertising campaign of the Bakers’ Guilds then they were missing a trick. Marcel V.‘s LEGO mill is a great example of the Castle building style applied to something other than castles or military scenes. The subtly-textured walls are broken up by some smart wooden trim, and there’s nice parts-usage and building technique on display if you go in for a closer look. Don’t miss the book used for the little roof above the window, the stonework around the door, and the dark brown spears as edge trims. The tiled roof is good too, although it might have benefited from a smattering of some other colour. My favourite touches of detail are easily missed in a casual view — those flour sacks out-front are lovely, and the dark tan axles as straw in the horse’s manger are excellent.
We see plenty of LEGO creations depicting scenes from movies. However, it’s less often we get a behind the scenes look at film production. That’s exactly what Marcel V. provides with this neat little diorama going backstage during the making of the 1939 classic Gone With The Wind. The scene shows Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler face-to-face inside a set which captures the feel of Tara, the plantation mansion in the movie. You can almost imagine the snide remarks and love-to-hate-you banter passing back and forth between the leads for the cameras’ benefit. The surrounding equipment is nicely put-together, with the lighting rig an obvious highlight. This is a fun little build and makes me want to see more “behind the scenes on the movies” LEGO creations.
Fun fact: for the famous sequence in the movie where Atlanta is set ablaze, the film-makers actually torched the abandoned sets from 1933’s King Kong.
When was the last time you raised your eyes to the sky? There could be so much hidden above the clouds, for example, a community of brave aviators hopping between mountain peaks in their agile airplanes. A breathtaking collaboration project by amazingly talented German LEGO builders, Vaionaut, Ben Tritschler, Marcel V., Mark van der Maarel, Markus Rollbühler, Sylon-tw, and Willem (Steinchen), called Skytopia, is full of steam- and dieselpunk vibes, including huge propellers, flying boats and tons of wood and metal.