Here’s a fabulous tribute to a classic LEGO set — the iconic Yellow Castle 375, reimagined as a desert fortress. Galaktek has done a cracking job with this Arabian take on the 1978 original. Whilst the shape is immediately recognisable, a modern parts selection allows for the injection of more detail, with printed tiles and patterned fencing helping create the impression of elaborate tiling, and an appropriate choice of minifigures adding to the exotic Arabian atmosphere.
Best of all, the model features one of the most fondly-remembered elements of the original — it opens up. This was a much-loved play feature “back in the day” and, in this creation, allows us a better look at the fine interior work…
LEGO Castle displays tend to focus on the Western European medieval era, with great grey fortifications set amid green forests, featuring knights engaged in combat, with perhaps the odd siege engine chucking rocks. How refreshing to see this huge collaborative display by thirteen members of SwissLug which breaks with tradition on two fronts: first, by depicting a city in the Levant (the lands of the Eastern Mediterranean), and second, by showing off the peaceful, multicultural side of life (probably right before the Crusaders show up and make a nuisance of themselves!)
Click here to enjoy the pictures of the diorama…
Every journey comes to an end sometime, and for this weary traveler, his journey ends with a warm welcome from a loving father in this lovely scene by Carter Witz. One of the first details that caught my eye was the gently angled wall along the riverside.
The same style of stacked plates and tiles is carried through to the back yard, which also features simple but interesting trees and other vegetation.
Carter has included a fully detailed interior, which suggests, along with the letter in the father’s hand, that this homecoming was expected, and a yet another treasure of home is waiting. A good meal.
Builder Ted Andes brings us this scene full of middle-eastern style architecture and serpentine intrigue. A group of warriors battles it out with the forces of evil in the form of a snake-bodied wizard that we only see from the back. I love the way it lets your imagination fill in what might be behind that hooded cloak.
The whole courtyard is full of touches that evoke a feeling of the Middle East. The sand green and white tiled floor is beautifully done and complimented nicely by the sand green tiles with blue and yellow flowers on the wall to represent the elaborate tile work. The impressively large door made from palisades bricks is quite a presence and the use of keys as handles is very clever. The column treatment is elegant with its combination of square, round and palisades bricks as well as an earthy color palette that brings a cohesiveness to the whole scene.
But, it’s the decorated central column that really steals the show. The octagonal fountain at the base is a pleasing shape that draws your attention and mimics the angles of the tiled floor. The use of upside-down gold lamps for faucets gives is a nice touch and the gold scarab finishes this portion off nicely. The central column leads to a cluster of shin guards at the top that blossom into balloon parts topped with a bush to create a beautiful architectural palm tree. The addition of Aladdin off to the side, mopping up with a wry smile, is terrific and leaves us wondering if perhaps he was in on this evil plan the entire time.
Builder W. Navarre takes us to a Middle Eastern-inspired fantasy world with this lovely vignette of a royal apartment. What’s striking as much as the excellent agglomeration of official LEGO stickers is the use of worn, dirty bricks to lend an ancient, chiseled look to the walls. Most builders eschew such bricks except as hidden filler, but scenes like this remind us that there’s a use for nearly anything if you’re clever enough.
LEGO builder Greg Dlx continues to explore large-scale recreations of exotic architecture. Following from last year’s desert fortress, here’s a beautiful Persian Palace. The white and gold domes grab all the immediate attention, but it’s the arches with their fabulous purple touches and the surrounding greenery which draw you in further. The vines snaking across the elaborate facade are well done, and there’s lots of nice tilework on the floors. The surrounding gardens look beautiful and Greg has filled the grounds with a veritable menagerie of animal life. However, it’s perhaps a shame there aren’t some appropriate minifigures lending a little more action to the scene.
Here is another beautiful build made for the Guilds of Historica by the always amazing John Snyder. His Katoren Monastery was built “just for fun to mess around with the dark blue / white color scheme”. The rock formation is very organic and the flora accents it beautifully. I love the angled cobbled path, patchwork rock walls, and the staging and design of the minifigs.
As well as another angle of the build showcasing the wonderful interiors and cheese slope mosaic walls, John has also included a little back story: “Located on the Eastern outskirts of Katoren, this monastery survived the Kaliphlin civil war better than most. A natural spring was the reason for the monastery’s location, and the spring continues to provide fresh water for all the inhabitants, as well as make the surrounding area very lush compared to much of the Kaliphlin landscape.”
In the depths of the Medina, behind the bazaar, the Sultan sneaks incognito through the arcade. Andrew JN evokes the architecture of the Middle East, and creates a nice sense of mystery and intrigue, in a LEGO diorama with a tiny 8×8 footprint. I love the restrained use of colour and the clean building style on display here. The use of turntable bases around the bottom is particularly effective, the layered archways are excellent, and the mosaic floor inside the arcade is nice touch.
The Brothers Brick’s own Patrick Massey has created this beautiful mosque after a short hiatus from LEGO master building. He shared some insider tricks he implemented to save time and bricks, and the most interesting is that he created the model purely for photographing. In other words, there is no back to this incredible build! Patrick has been reading a book about Ottoman history called Osman’s Dream, which contains a lot of descriptions of the various styles of Ottoman architecture. Petrea Central Mosque hasn’t been modeled on any particular mosque, but it is very reminiscent of the Imperial Ottoman style of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.