I’ve recently started being interested in the idea of collaborative LEGO builds. Everyone does their part and they all come together to create an amazing piece of art. Such is the case with The Village of Thornefeld a terrific medieval village collaboration from Cole Blood, Timothy Shortell, Grant Davis, Eli Willsea, James Libby and Jake Hansen.
I had the pleasure of seeing this model in person at Bricks Cascade. Photographs can never quite capture the grandness of these large creations, but it was joy to see up close. What’s incredible about this build, besides it’s huge size and masterful execution, is the cohesiveness of the whole thing. Each builder worked within a tight color scheme and used matching rock styles to make all the sections mesh seamlessly. I love the way the ground slopes slowly upward, creating a wonderful rolling landscape and various levels. This is great territory for storytelling which each builder does nicely, creating a bustling village that’s full of life.
As if any LEGO fan needed another reason to visit Billund, Denmark, Poul-Erik Borre’s medieval buildings are currently on display in the LEGO Store at the LEGO House. The Home of the Brick is effective in inviting repeat visits, especially to see the rotating fan displays. While the headliners are the creations in the Masterpiece Gallery, the hidden gems that really enrich the experience are found in the store displays. There is so much to see in just this one creation.
The first thing I realized is how almost every shade of green (except maybe lime) in the current LEGO colour palette is used here. Sticking with green, he’s incorporated some nice decorative elements, such as statuettes, a dragon, and even the printed green leaves from Groot’s legs. Aside from the parts and colours, there are also some good stories being told in this scene. I’m particularly interested in whether or not there’s a link between the boys with slingshots and the shirtless man running across the rooftop.
When it comes to medieval buildings, builders sometimes go all out on texture. Pieces end up being used every which way, with studs facing all directions, and random parts thrown in there just to show how clever the builder is. It doesn’t always look good, though, since it can appear too busy. That’s not to say that I think every surface needs to be smooth and flat and all lines need to be clean and straight. Quite the contrary. Ralf Langer is one of the builders out there who manage to balance irregular surfaces, crooked lines, and clever parts usages with cohesive structures and a strong visual presence. The ground in his latest creation is a perfect microcosm of what I mean: he blends smooth bits, heavily studded bits, and interesting parts to create something appealing and delightful, and I haven’t even looked at the buildings yet!
If you are wondering what the part in the ground is that gives it the baked-clay or tiny cobblestone look, it is a Technic drive chain. And by a Technic drive chain, I mean about ten billion And they’re not just in the ground, but also in the walls of the buildings, forming some of the wattle in the classic wattle-and-daub medieval look. Minifig legs create some fun decaying shapes in one of the buildings, and flex tube ends make for some clever windows. But best of all is Ralf’s use of stud shooter triggers. I see at least four different uses for those in this build, showing once again that all pieces have uses in custom-built LEGO models. I’m always a sucker for immersive builds, and Ralf is one of the best at them. Look through the arches and you can see more town beyond, promising a bigger world out there. Just not for the figure on the ground, since the standing one is Death.
If a medieval castle was an exercise in the projection of power, we’ve got a new Lord of the Manor on the scene in Joel Midgley. His latest LEGO project is Hingston Castle, a formidable fortress, impressive in both scale and details. The sheer size of the castle grabs the initial attention, but then you’re sucked in by the little touches — the lovely shoreline landscaping, the water, the roughness of the walls, the off-grid angles of the outer rampart. And as for that dark grey line tracing the contours of the crenellations — beautiful!
Joel has lavished as much attention to detail on the action within the walls as without. The central yard plays host to grazing animals, trees and flowers, patrolling guards, and stables…
Best of all, hinged panels in those walls allow visibility of the castle’s fully-detailed interior. Click to take a tour of this incredible LEGO castle…
Although watchtowers are meant to be a lookout for warding off foes, this one by Ayrlego is a bit different. With its colorful trees and clever archway, it’s rather inviting, and I can’t decide which of the two features I like better! The window coverings are also a lovely touch, with tasteful stickers that play off of the doorway curves.
Ayrlego is skilled at creating a whole picture and story in a scene. Just take a look at this period-traveling Wainwright House or a vine-laden jungle lookout.
17th Century Europe was a period rife with change, from feudal powers to the birthing stages of parliament. It also brought with it a decline in houses constructed of wood, giving way to stone and brick-built abodes. Benjamin Calvetti has replicated this style with stunning class, and his English Cottage is jam-packed with lovely details. The continuity in stone work, from the bordering fence line to the walls of the cottage, speak more of the local quarry than they do of a random handful of LEGO bricks.
See more pictures of this quaint cottage, including a fully furnished interior!
Medieval cottages are a favorite subject of LEGO fan builders around the world, and while we feature them often on TBB, once in a while a creation comes along that really makes an impression. At first glance, this compact cozy cottage by mamax711 may not seem that remarkable, but once you look a bit closer, there are some wonderful details worth noticing. For example, the walls are built using a number of parts not commonly associated with wall building, particularly, the tan 2×2 brackets used to trap the sideways facing plates on either side of the windows. And speaking of windows, the brown 1×2 tile with handle on top makes the perfect small window frame. The jumbled garden and roof details fit the building very well.
The two most immediately eye-catching bits on this scene are the smoke and cloaks–well, capes, actually; 8 to be exact. Kevin Peeters does a nice job incorporating them into this lovely windmill. But that’s not the only great part about this build. The cobbled-together look of the stone building and rooftops makes for a great medieval homestead.
The foliage, including the fall-colored tree in the back are also nicely done. But my favorite part might just be the white snake element used for the wisp of smoke from the chimney, a technique we never tire of.
If you’re a fan of the medieval theme, check out some other cool architecture, like a seaside market, floating castle, hero’s cottage, or micro kingdom.
Can you hear the sound of seagulls? The peasants and knights sure can in this medieval seaside market built by Teabox. This is an incredible build, featuring a multi-tiered castle wall manned by red knights, fishermen returning from a day’s catch, and a guild of green traders arriving for a visit.
It’s the little details that make this creation so full of life. It’s all here, from the wooden piers on the waterfront, to the flowers growing through windows, or the soon-to-be-eaten crustaceans caught in the crab traps.
Many depictions of space men visiting earth depict them making contact during modern times, but who’s to say they might not have visited in the past? That’s exactly what looks to be happening in Ralf Langer’s latest creation. But the visitors from space are not the only thing that’s out of this world in this little chapel – the parts usage is seriously stellar!
Ralf was inspired to build the chapel by a challenge to use the new Big Ugly Ship Hull for something other than a spaceship, and he integrates it so well here that I didn’t even notice it at first glance. Advanced building techniques abound in the construction of the chapel, from the complicated yet smooth circular wall to the chain link rooftop. My personal favourite is the front door – I can’t figure out how he achieved the herringbone inlay, but the end result is stunning.
I’m a sucker for the stories behind builds. I’m also one for nicely cut lines and color choice in architecture. This build by Brother Steven displays all of those traits. Although we’ve seen it done before, the journal of an adventurer chronicled in LEGO is a fascinating concept, and done well by Steven. This particular creation is part of a series of builds, all following “Zenas Abbington” as the hero. There are so many lovely aspects to the castle: the round base, the shape of the towers, the pearl gold carriage wheel in the windows, and the accents on the front door. Let’s not forget how adorable those sheep are too!
And the flip-side is just as pretty! That tree is magnificent, with its color and angled branches. I’m also a big fan of the underside of those mushrooms! It’s no wonder that this, coupled with a few other creations, won a “Brickee” at BrickFair Alabama 2019!
Some of the details of this build are reminiscent of other creations from Steven’s magical world, such as this floating castle we featured last year.
Over the last year Roanoke Handybuck has built something of a reputation for his wonky building style. Celebrating the shapes and forms of the medieval period he focuses on capturing the way wooden beams bend and walls subside. In this latest model, titled Eldford Market, he demonstrates in a tiny 16 x 16 baseplate all the LEGO techniques synonymous with his work. Everywhere you look, bricks are matched irregularly or held at off-centre angles, whether it’s in the cobbled street or as part of the weathered tower. The icing on the cake, though, has to be the way the upper floor of the main building tilts elegantly into its neighbouring sloped roof – brilliant!