When it comes to beautifully constructed LEGO cabins, Andrea Lattanzio is in a class of his own. Whether you’re looking for perilously perched adventure or a little holiday magic, odds are good Andrea has you covered. Andrea’s latest build is the Crystal Mill, a real-life Colorado landmark as it might have looked back in the 19th century. The realistic trees and gorgeous waterfall catch your attention right away, but don’t overlook the smaller details of the cabin, like the minifigure wand elements on the front-door and the creatively crafted ladder.
In the distant dystopian future of LEGO builder Andrea Lattanzio’s imagination, a colony of survivors braves the seas and storms searching for land. Based on “Le Navigator” by Simon Laveuve (a miniature artist known for grungy, industrial dioramas), this ramshackle pile of outhouses and palettes is covered with clever techniques and textural details. Towering antennae and string lights add height as well as detail to the model while reactor-powered turbines under the barge move the colony, frothing the sea of loose studs below. The olive-green, dark nougat and medium azure plates detailing the structures add a “cobbled together” effect by intentionally misaligning them.
Today, LEGO Ideas reveals the results of the most recent review. In case you missed it, the Review Board had to evaluate 34 projects, including ideas based on popular franchises, fan-favourite creations, and even K-pop! According to the video and article published on the blog, there is some good news, and some not so good news.
While this may not be Santa’s primary residence at the North Pole, we can pretend that this cute cabin by Andrea Lattanzio is Santa’s holiday home. Since Santa only works during the month of December, does he have the rest of the year off? Does he go on holidays? He must go vacationing all over the world since he has so much time. I’d think he has a cabin close by in the Canadian or Siberian wilderness somewhere to to escape his elf-infested home for a bit of peace and quiet. I sure hope he doesn’t need to get away from his wife, and that his marriage to Mrs. Claus is still doing well…
We’ve written about Andrea’s A-frame cabin before, but we forgot to mention who owns the property. Now I’m curious to see Santa’s beach house in a more tropical region of the world. Or maybe I’m just wrong and Santa doesn’t have the rest of the year off, maybe he rents an apartment in a big city and works a boring financial job…
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Here at The Brothers Brick we love smart building techniques. Our hearts start beating a little bit faster when we see a LEGO part used in a clever way. But clever and smart do not always mean complex. Andrea Lattanzio shows us that sometimes simple is the way to go with their 1×1 round plate sea.
While it’s not a new technique, using different colours to create waves is a real nice touch. Making the house in the same vibrant colour as the ocean is a nice way to draw attention away from the bright sea and towards the detailed little house. Plus the bright colour of the house highlights all the earth-toned details around the house. If the house was earth-toned too, those little details wouldn’t stand out as much as they do now. However, the simple studded sea is probably one of the only simple techniques used in this creation. Andrea also built a trabucco, which is an ancient fishing machine from the east coast of Italy. This build looks like it is defying gravity and I truly wonder how sturdy it is. It looks so fragile with those thin legs. I can’t help but wonder how many times the legs collapsed when Andra made alterations to the platform on top. Or maybe the legs were added as the final step to the build to prevent this from happening.
The main character in Sweet Tooth, a new Netflix series based on a comic book, is a boy who is a human/animal hybrid born in the midst of a global pandemic. His caregiver Pubba makes a secluded home in the woods to raise the deer boy in safety, hiding from surviving humans who resent the existence of hybrids. Norton74, who is a master of building cabins in the woods, put his skills to great use in re-creating the dilapidated cabin that Pubba has spent considerable time and effort to repair and add on all the comforts a growing deer-boy needs, including a place to play “catch the ball”. Aside from the wonderful details in the cabin itself, the inclusion of a buck in the background is perfect.
When driving through the countryside, it’s a common sight to see a dilapidated barn in the distance, where nature has taken over. But it is much less common to see nature intruding on a well cared for building. Take this lovely shed by Andrea Lattanzio, for example. While it is clear that the roof has seen better days, the landscape and the exterior of this garden shed clearly receive a lot of love and attention from Magda, the owner. Almost every landscape detail is noteworthy, but my favorite unique part is the Minifig base for Sandman from the Marvel Spider-man franchise, used as a base for the pot to the left of the shed doors.
We featured Andrea Lattanzio’s cozy LEGO A-frame home a while ago. It seems however that the A-frame building went through a little bit of a makeover — the autumn theme has been changed to match the current winter season. It looks like the beautiful wooden tiles outside have gotten a fresh coat of red paint. Where the autumn edition of this creation featured minifigure hammers for a cobblestone base wall, the winter edition uses ingot bars for the brick-built wall. The use of the ingots look a bit better-maintained compared to the minifigure hammers, which matches the fresh paint job. One of the small details from the autumn build that I appreciated dearly was the use of mushroom radar dishes. I am glad those got featured in this creation too.
The bus remains familiar, but there have been some added details to give depth and texture to the snow. Additionally, trees that were once leaf-filled are now barren and covered with snow, the firs have been replaced with white branches, and the clever touch of icicles added to the bus windows complete the scene.
Be sure to visit Norton74’s flickr page for a bit of history on this bus that no longer resides in Alaska’s wilderness. It’s an interesting story that makes for a great scene.
Some LEGO builders find a niche in the community and spend most of their time building there, churning out beautiful creations that all fit a similar genre. For some that’s castle, for others that’s space, for others it’s Bionicle, and for others it’s some licensed theme or other. For TBB 2019 Builder of the Year Andrea Lattanzio, that niche would be shacks and automobiles. Few builders out there can equal the clean lines and perfect textures of his buildings; just look at the uneven tiles for the siding, and the perfection of sideways masonry bricks for the adjacent shed. The build is nearly studless, which helps those clean lines, and the photography is pristine, which helps too.
But don’t let that expert photography fool you; this is not a simple build. You don’t get a studless look by accident, not without plenty of SNOT (studs not on top) techniques. Plus there are myriad clever parts usages. For example, there’s a hockey stick and a harpoon holding lamps; there are pirate hooks on the truck’s bumper; and those sideview mirrors are mighty cleaver, I mean, clever. And speaking of the truck, Andrea’s vehicle designs are as clean and elegant as his shacks; no studs, crisp color blocking, and perfect shaping and scaling.
This month’s cover photo, from Andrea Lattanzio, brings us this blast from the past with an incredibly detailed LEGO general store. The diorama is littered with items you might find at a remote general store, and luckily Andrea provides a close up look at the details (see below). Candy machines, phone booths, tools, and gas, this general store has you covered no matter your needs.
Here’s that closer look at some of the items you’ll see surrounding the general store. The water tower is a clear standout, but some of the other details like the power pole, the cable holding up the chimney pipe, and the cat going after that bird nest. This entire scene is a delight to take in.
Santa Claus, despite his media persona and the products he is implied to endorse, is not the consumerist type. Sure, he brings presents on Christmas to children, but not the max-out-the-credit-cards-and-refinance-the-house pile of presents that parents are somehow expected to provide. He lives a life of humble solitude, somewhere up in the frozen north (though not the North Pole; what responsible person would build a house on seasonally variant ice?), where he prepares for his annual journey of beneficence. At least, that is what this build by Andrea Lattanzio (Norton74) seems to imply. A delightful cabin, similar to Walden but much redder, rests in a peaceful snow-covered clearing, with deep snow on the roof and a sled ready to go (even though the sled is pulled by huskies, rather than reindeer).
The most impressive part of the display might be the collection of parts used to create the snow-covered foliage, from levers and megaphones to minifig hands and everything else white. However, I love the cannon as a chimney — topped by pots, even more. Unicorn horns make for lovely icicles on the eaves (if only they were available in transparent colors!). My one quibble is that the woodpile looks far too sparse to make it through the winter in conditions like that. Santa will freeze to death. Unless he isn’t watching out for the polar bear lurking behind the cabin, in which case he’ll be devoured before freezing. And before bringing me LEGO for my stocking.