A striking turn-of-the-century style dreadnought, the CWS Bannanaville is outfitted with more armaments than you could hope to face if she decides to give you a broadside. Designed by Thomas of Tortuga, this fictional fleet-leader is one of the best examples of microscale warship building I’ve seen, with lots of perfect little details. Because of how perfectly it fits, the one I like best is the use of the “cheese grater” 1×2 slopes for ladders between the decks. It’s a remarkably good render, to boot.
This sleek craft by CK-MCMLXXXI is a study in symmetry. Not only left to right along the central axis, as is more common in spaceship design, but also top to bottom. It feels like that solid white canopy at the front, combined with that 45-degree wedge plate was the central element to inspire this design. Regardless of where the idea came from, this craft is jammed with great greebly bits in a variety of colors, some really nice connections, and plenty of curved elements that give the vessel a refined, yet functional look.
A long time ago, in this galaxy far, far away, you won’t find lightsabers and droids, but you’ll certainly spot princesses and knights. Built by Koen, this precariously perched castle has a wonderfully Disney-like aesthetic with some clever techniques mixed in, if you take some time to study it. Note, for instance, the second-tallest turret, which has windows made of pulley wheels and Technic pins.
Personally, I’d like to think this is where the Little Prince lives after he grows up.
As the gateway to the Klondike, Seattle boomed during the gold rush of the late 1800’s. And with the explosive growth of Amazon in recent years, the Emerald City is experiencing a new boom. Everything here is surging: the economy, the population, house prices, and consequently homelessness. King county now ranks #3 in the nation for homelessness, after New York and Los Angeles, 47% of whom lack proper shelter.
I decided to use LEGO to illustrate this problem by imagining Seattle as an Architecture skyline set, featuring the Space Needle, Pike Place Market (complete with brass pig and gum wall), the Columbia Tower, Smith Tower, ship yards, and a plethora of street-side tents.
The good news is that local government has just levied money to finally attack this humanitarian crisis, no thanks to Amazon. The Seattle-based retail giant, now one of the most valuable companies in the world, threatened to halt all of its downtown expansion rather than cough up less cash than they probably spend keeping their cafeterias stocked with kombucha and avocado toast. Meanwhile the company’s founder – now the world’s richest person – allegedly ponders sinking the bulk of his fortune into advancing space travel.
Maybe before we start putting people in tents on Mars, we should first try to reduce the number that are forced to live in them down here…
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is one of the most famous buildings in the world — first a Greek Orthodox Church, then the Ottoman Imperial Mosque, and now a museum. Despite its reknown, its distinctive collection of domed, sloped, and circular construction is surely an intimidating subject to recreate in LEGO bricks. However, Rocco Buttliere — the undisputed master of LEGO architecture — appears up to the task.
The attention to detail that’s gone into this model is impressive, and the parts use is a masterclass in how to give a LEGO creation depth of texture. Don’t miss the use of Shakespearean-minifigure neck ruffs as flourishes on the surrounding towers, battle droid feet employed as arched windows, and the masterstroke of using hot dog sausage parts for the central dome! This is a great example of imaginative building to show anyone who ever says LEGO parts are getting too specialised nowadays.
One of the great joys of LEGO is when you see a piece used in a brilliant new way. That’s exactly what Victor has done here in this tiny microscale office interior. Yes, the 80s-look geometric floor design uses a bunch of those new diagonal 1×1 tile parts, and the lamp and wall pictures are smartly-done, but it’s the chairs you should be looking at: two minifigure mohawk hairpieces — upside-down and balanced on round 1x1s. Brilliant.
Building a Technic mechanism to make a LEGO model actually move can be daunting for those who mainly build static models, but perhaps this excellent Star Wars kinetic sculpture by Josh DaVid will inspire you (and me) to give it a try.
The model features a circling snowspeeder, and moving legs on the AT-AT, which can be powered by hand or with a Power Functions motor. The builder has done an excellent job compacting and simplifying a seemingly complex mechanism into such a small space. Check out the video below to see the model in action!
What I particularly love about building in microscale is that it makes you value every single piece and every spare stud of space. When a tiny 1×2 slope becomes a very huge section of the building’s roof you become very careful with planning your creation. And Marco De Bon‘s tiny quarter is a brilliant example of careful planning and very nice execution. Despite a very limited variety of pieces and colors, this neighbourhood looks both elegant and surprisingly diverse. My favourite part would be those small balconies of the white apartment building; the use ofplate 2 x 4 wedge‘s shape is just stunning.
Large spaceships are a flagship of LEGO space creations, where “large” is generally accepted to be 100 studs in length (or honestly any other spatial dimension) — these are called capital ships or SHIPs (Super Huge Investment in Parts). For the past few years, it’s seemed like there might be fewer built throughout the year, because many people rather concentrate their efforts in the annual SHIPtember community challenge in September. So in a way, Lysander Chau‘s Battleship Andromeda is like a Christmas gift in May, and I hope your big spaceship lust is as satisfied as mine.
The Micropolis standard is what allows LEGO builders from around the world to come together at a convention and build a sprawling but tiny city that fits together. Here, LEGO creator Tammo S demonstrates some great microscale building techniques in this city block, featuring a hotel, some apartments, a pizzeria, a few residential buildings and a lovely courtyard. The model has a very European vibe, with a variety of dormer window designs, satellite dishes, and landscaping.
I was never satisfied with LEGO’s attempt at a microscale Republic Gunship (also known as an LAAT) from the 2013 advent calendar, as it lacked the signature long engines, unless that’s what the binocular piece is supposed to represent. So a few days ago, since I’m working on a larger Star Wars microscale build, I thought I would try my hand at a micro LAAT, then a day later, I ended up with these two. Although I wasn’t worried about part count, these use only 19 pieces each, just five more than LEGO’s version.
Check out the video instructions below — there are picture versions, and a video that goes a bit more in depth on how to build this cute little model. I have also included a link to download the decal sheet I made, so you can print it out yourself as well.
We recently featured a World War I dogfight kinetic sculpture by Jason from JK Brickworks. In his video, Jason promised to share variations on the theme, and he’s done so with this fantastic trench run scene from A New Hope. The little starfighters and greebly Death Star surface are excellent in their own right, but the movement takes this LEGO creation to the next level.
The video shows Luke’s X-wing evading Darth Vader’s TIE fighter, with turbolaser turrets swinging back and forth as well. Jason also takes the kinetic sculpture apart to explain how he added the extra motion for the turbolaser emplacements.