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.
Over the years, Marcel V has graced our pages as an impeccable example of all the things that make a creation exciting. Marcel seamlessly harnesses vignettes, storytelling and parts usage in a stunning way, and all without missing a beat. Case in point: his most recent work titled Emergency Landing. Inspired By Jonas Kramm and his incredible Jurassic Park vignettes, Marcel has chosen to build within a base of approximate 16×16 studs. With in this small space, the builder has packed in a brilliant little scene, oozing with lush detail.
I love having my eyes constantly drawn from one side of the build to the other just to soak in all the elements. The 1×1 3-leaf piece introduced last year has made a great impact on this build, showing up in two shades of green and giving the scene more depth. The tangled parachute made from two blue triangular sails has been nicely achieved, threaded over some gangly tree trunks. Trees aside, it’s the light bluish grey rock walls in which they spring from that set the scene for me. The white collared bird appearing on the right-hand side is another superb display of parts usage. A combination of minifig parts make up this specimen, such as a bushy minifigure hair piece, ruff and plume, just to name a few. The fact that a lot of it is held together with a rubber band only makes it better.
To see more of Marcel V’s work, check out this incredible build that had me stumped.
Sometimes a build comes around that is not large, or highly sophisticated, or deeply symbolic, but instead is just plain whimsically charming. This little tree stump built by Marcel V. and inhabited by several imps is one such build. The lovely arrangement of earth tones strikes the right chord, and nothing is out of place or superfluous. The grass stalks and flowers set a scale for the build that is life-sized, with little four-brick high imps scurrying about causing mischief from their little home. And don’t miss the wood grain of that severed stump!
There are a few nice piece usages to be seen here, like the cupcake cup for a flower and the corn-suit from a collectible minifigure growing beside the little house. I love the little ladders and the window on the roof. It is all captured in a clean visual aesthetic, with impeccably placed pebbles, too. These impish fellows look like they could come straight from the microverse of the Planticore we featured a short while ago.