The city of Minas Tirith in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (especially as depicted in Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations) is a fairly popular subject for LEGO microscale builders. But Joe (jnj_bricks) takes his LEGO build to the next level — or seven levels, if you count all the rings in the city — by creating a multilayered scene that places Gandalf astride Shadowfax in the foreground, the Tower of Guard in the middle distance, and the White Mountains against grim clouds in the distance. It’s often tempting to photograph your LEGO models from a high three-quarters view to show off all its details. While Joe has certainly built plenty of detail into his White City, he avoids that temptation by placing the viewer at Gandalf’s level in the foreground, looking up toward the city, with the Citadel of Gondor and Tower of Ecthelion reaching toward the lowering sky. The overall effect is magical.
If you’ve enjoyed Joe’s forced perspective LEGO version of Minas Tirith, be sure to check out an even more detailed microscale LEGO Minas Tirith by Koen that we featured nearly 5 years ago.
For their latest LEGO creation Josiah Durand drew inspiration from ‘The Fall of Gondolin’ by J.R.R.Tolkien. Since I am not familiar with the source material, there is little I can say about this creation being true to the story. I can, however, say that it definitely deserves a mention on TBB. The castle is white with some tan details, but the dark grey rock formation it’s build on gives a great contrast in colour. The top of the castle is light grey and it ends with a flat rooftop – a detail we hardly ever see when it comes to LEGO castles. This flat roof is adorned with a diving board like balcony. Which to me always predicts a stand off between two nemeses that ends in one of the two falling off the balcony towards certain death. As we see in Josiah’s creation, that might just happen.
Long before Sauron plagued Middle Earth, there was the evil Morgoth. W. Navarre presents us with the Dark Lord’s duel with the shining Elven king Fingolfin in a lovely LEGO scene. Fingolfin stands before Morgoth, his blade gleaming in the darkness surrounding them in Angband, the Dark Lord’s stronghold. Morgoth prepares the first strike, commencing the legendary duel that will ultimately claim the Elven king. The figures possess a beautiful craft speaking of a great love for J.R.R Tolkien’s legendarium. Fingolfin’s figure is splendid indeed, but Morgoth’s is where my eye is drawn. There’s an amazing amount of greebles adorning the Dark Lord, and some amazing parts making up his armor. One such piece is the drill bit in the center of his face, a piece that’s more versatile than I expected at my first encounter with it.
From The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug comes a scene of fiery wrath by W. Navarre. This build exists for the Middle-earth LEGO Olympics, bringing an iconic scene from the movie to life. Bard the Bowman pauses a moment as his home is set ablaze by the vengeful dragon Smaug, his determination to save his family and fellow townsfolk set by the heat. The fire illuminates some wonderfully crafted LEGO building and buildings. The homes have great details and features, though those sconces are no longer necessary with Smaug’s flames lighting the place. Some of the roofs have printed tiles, but others have the textures of Technic tread pieces. Of course, the town isn’t the only cool thing in the scene–the ice floating in the water is pretty neat too. The ice is brick-built sideways with slopes and wedges to give it those angles and edges. Though, I think most of it will melt until Smaug stops throwing fire around everywhere.
Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and the newly joined Merry travel by ferry in this LEGO vignette by Thorsten Bonsch. This series from Thorsten follows the first part of The Fellowship of the Ring. Here, we see the four primary hobbits traveling across the Brandywine River into Buckland. The color palette of this build is outstanding, allowing each detail to stand on its own among the others. When it comes to the building techniques, the roofing tiles on the structure draw my eye. It’s a simple technique, but quite effective. It’s just tiles on plates, but the tiles aren’t pressed down on the raised end. The rest of the structure is cool too, with the disheveled layers and angled brown supports. This is one of those locations in a LEGO build that I would love to visit if it were a real place. I would listen to the sounds of the lapping water on the riverbank and the nocturnal sounds of nature around the river.
This scene you may recognize from the movie as well, with a Ringwraith bearing down on the hobbits. In the book, upon which this vignette is based, this scene had less pressure on it. The book takes a lot longer to get Frodo and company out of the Shire, but there’s only so long they can take with a movie runtime to consider. Either version, the wraith takes the long way over Brandywine Bridge. Silly Ringwraith, shortcuts are for hobbits!
The next LEGO build from Thorsten Bonsch in this The Lord of the Rings vignette series is here! Hamfast Gamgee, the father of the hero Samwise Gamgee, receives a peculiar traveler. Frodo and Pippin learn of this event shortly after their own frightful encounter with a Ringwraith. Sam tells the tale of his gaffer’s visitor and the feeling of dread his father felt. Here, Thorsten paints the scene with greater detail than Sam in his own telling. Check out that thatch work on the roof of the hobbit home! The layering of grille tiles gives the roof a wonderful straw-like texture. Minifigure hands and droid arms stand in for disheveled bits of straw sticking out at the ends. This is a delight to see rendered in LEGO, as some thatch work can look too tidy without it. Another example of great texture layering is the plates and tiles making up the brickwork in the house’s structure. Also, be sure to check out that wheelbarrow!
Continuing in the tradition established in the previous builds in the series, this vignette depicts the moment from the The Fellowship of the Ring book. The movie version does this scene with Farmer Maggot. In fact, Hamfast is only in the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring film. Here, Hamfast gets his due! Personally, I’m really enjoying this series, as the books often get overshadowed by the movies in artwork depictions. Can’t wait to see what’s next in this ongoing vignette series!
Three is company, but four with a Ringwraith is a crowd. Coming from builder Thorsten Bonsch, this LEGO scene is the fifth build in a series taking on the legendary world of The Lord of the Rings. Depicting moments iconic to both the films and the books, these builds favor the books in the details. That’s why we see three instead of four hobbits–Merry didn’t join the group until the next chapter! Thorsten returns to this story moment after ten years away, though this time at a much smaller scale. What makes or breaks a build at this scale are the details, and the details here are amazing! Take a look at those tree roots, how they frame the hiding hobbits and flow towards the leaning tree. The tree takes you to the Ringwraith sniffing out the Ring, but Sam stops Frodo from revealing their location. These aren’t the hobbits you’re looking for, Ringwraith!
Ten years ago, Thorsten realized too late that Merry wasn’t part of the group of hobbits hiding from the Ringwraith pursuing Frodo and the Ring. This time around, the mistake is corrected with Frodo, Sam, and Pippin in the hideaway. The ten year-old build is quite beautiful, and I recommend checking it out. It’s at a larger scale than this one, and on a steep slope rather than the hollow Tolkien described in the book. Also look forward to the next build in this Middle-earth vignette series! It will expand to other builders once Thorsten’s contributions are finished. I do enjoy a good adventure through Middle-earth!
It’s nice to take break from huge builds and enjoy a LEGO creation that’s zoomed in a bit more. Hubba Blöoba invites to visit Middle Earth in this nifty little vignette. The Iron Forge 2021 seed part of the minifigure torso inspired this build, appearing as windows and…clouds? Sure, why not? The rolling green hills are also well executed, as is the forced perspective from the gate in the foreground leading to the seemingly distant burrow. Other cool details are the ox horns framing the front door, and the grill tile forming the slats in the fencing. Careful, though. This sort of creative part usage can be hobbit forming.
Jonesin’ for more Tolkien-esque goodness? Check out some other featured builds!
Move over, 1980’s LEGO yellow castle. There’s a new fortress in town: Jako of Nerogue has become my new favorite castle constructor.
At first glance, the thing that jumps out at me most is the curvature of the gate. That’s not something you usually see on medieval fortifications. It’s almost like a Moorish-Spain look. From the gate, my eyes are drawn to the teeny-tiny details of the walls and windows, with LEGO bricks having the exact appearance of stone. I really like the style Jako chose to use on the gate columns and the main keep windows.
Does anyone know how he did that? Just incredible! This is how I want all my castles to look like.
The bittersweet ending of The Lord of the Rings is a scene that impacted many readers and viewers such as myself. It is the last we see of our beloved heroes after so many trials and tribulations in their story. In this scene, our heroes join the elves on a boat departing Middle-Earth to “a far green country under a swift sunrise.” Many see this as an allegory for death and the journey beyond, whether it be heaven or something else. Like Bilbo, I like to think of this in a more optimistic way: a new adventure in an unfamiliar land. JNJ Bricks captured the moment in the Grey Havens right before their departure in a striking, immersive LEGO scene.
The minifigures of Frodo, Gandalf, and the hobbits stand in the foreground, out of focus and facing away. The elves wait by the boat, ready to take them on their journey out of the completely brick-built harbour. LEGO parts make up everything in this scene, from the water to the sunset sky between the cliffs. My favourite detail, the arches, and towers across the water look just like the movie, despite being so small. The boat, being grey, is distinct enough to not blend into the background. The accuracy of this scene invokes the same emotion in me as I experience while reading the book or watching the movie. Now I am in the mood for some of Tolkien’s poetry…
While not depicting any particular scene I can remember, Mountain Hobbit’s Fishing Docks is clearly set in Middle Earth. The colour palette is consistent with the official sets, and Gollum lurking behind one of the trees on the hill is a dead giveaway. Let’s talk about those trees and hill though. The shaping of both is superb. Everything is basically sculpted using slopes and wedges. I really like the heavy use of pieces that are one brick wide on the hillside, giving it the appearance of being quite weathered. The curve on the rightmost tree is particularly well done, as it tells a story about how that tree grew: when it started growing, it wasn’t so close to the edge, but over time, its trunk grew thicker and the hillside eroded. Because of geotropism, the tree grew to point upward though, giving it the curved trunk we see today.
If this hellish looking monster built by Marcin Otreba reminds you of the fire demon who faced off against everyone’s favorite wizard Gandalf in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, that would be for good reason. Featured in the video game Middle Earth: Shadow of War, Tar Goroth is one of the minions of darkness in Middle Earth. Unlike its better-known cousin, this Balrog has to walk. Maybe that explains why he looks so mad.
The use of several transparent orange elements peeking out between the cracks in its ebony skin makes this monstrosity instantly recognizable, along with those downward-pointing horns. Also, it strikes me as very fitting that so many of these 1×4 wing with pin hole elements from the official Lord of the Rings theme were used throughout the model.