Embedded into the base of a mountain, Helm’s Deep was the castle retreat of last resort for the people of Rohan as told in The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien. Builder Patrick B. shares his micro rendition of the fabled fortress.
Known as the Hornburg for its sounding horn at the top of the castle’s spire, Helm’s Deep is every castle junkie’s favorite location. Patrick spares no expense in detailing the tiniest features in his tiny version of the castle. From the wooden palisades over the main gate to the curved ramp leading up to it. The small culvert is there, as are the windows of the main keep. Building everything within a black frame is a nice display touch as well. Helm Hammerhand himself would be proud of this magnificent tribute to the Rohirrim fortress that bears his name.
I’ve always admired the tiny-house movement and its adherents; it’s always wonderful seeing these little homes while out on a drive. Therefore, unsurprisingly I am also delighted to see minimal LEGO houses often done as mini-builds or in microscale. Patrick’s tiny LEGO house certainly takes LEGO minimalism to the next scale!
In order to execute this build, Patrick uses a combination of vintage and new elements as well as a mix of unique and common pieces. The snowy ground the house rests on is comprised of a few white 1×1 bricks, slopes, and plates arranged by way of the SNOT (studs not on top) technique. The body of the home mainly makes use of the 2×2 pentagonal plate – a very interesting and not so common piece. Two types of feather pieces are utilized here – the single feather which renders smoke coming from the chimney and the plume feathered headdress which Patrick uses as snow-covered trees. In another build featured below, similar use of old and new, common and unique, is also used.
If tiny LEGO castles are your jam, then Patrick B. has a treat for you. This 12 x 12 stud microscale masterpiece is full of so many cool parts that you’ll wonder why anyone bothers using standard bricks. The tops of Scala milk cartons make tiny blue tents, a minifigure microphone and tank linkage combine in the cannon, and dark green minifigure epaulets and tooth plates provide some vegetation. The castle itself is also a tiny work of art. If you look close you can spot bucket handles, minifigure hands, neck brackets, and even a basket as the interior of the front gate. And check out the construction on those towers! Quarter circle tiles are wedged into a 2×2 round plate to for the turrets. It’s a connection some might call “illegal” but I call “sweet.”
If you’d like to see how Patrick achieved all this, check out the Instagram post highlighting the build. And if that still isn’t enough great part usage to satisfy you, I should mention this isn’t the first creation of Patrick’s that we’ve featured.
When I was a kid, one of my absolute favourite LEGO sets was Forestmen’s Crossing, and while those old sets were cool, building techniques have greatly evolved in the last 30 years. Patrick B exemplifies this with his updated version of the classic set. The most noticeable difference is the greater level of texture that’s possible now. All of the large pieces from the original set, like the baseplate or bridge, are instead brick built in this creation, giving both of them greater detail.
The walls of the tower are much more textured, using a mix of various bricks, plates, slopes, tiles, and even light gray briefcases! There are other amazing parts usage throughout, from the red Technic gear as a flower or the brown pneumatic t’s as fence. I love use of Hero Factory rock armour as a rock – simple but brilliant. The thing that really ties it all together though, is how he’s managed to incorporate some of classic pieces like the Forestmen shield or their original minifigure parts, so seamlessly with new elements.
“In a hole in the snow there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell… No, this hole was warm and snug, a cozy place in which Bilbo could thaw his toes after a wintery walk.” Patrick B. has created the perfect little winter scene from the Shire, with a hobbit hole covered in snow. The sledge is nice little creation, as is the snow-clad tree atop the mound, but be sure to zoom in on the hobbit dwelling’s frontage — the windows are lovely, and I particularly like the reversed plates used for the door, a surprising but effective choice.
The 2007 Will Smith movie I Am Legend is in my top 10 favorite films from the post-apocalyptic genre, and I’ve always wanted this to have a sequel of sorts. This iconic scene built by Patrick B. is full of painstaking work showing the disarray of a weathered city block. Countless number of brown whip minifigure accessories intertwine as tree roots and vines, crawling all over the building facade and road surface. If you haven’t already seen this movie, give it a chance — and even if you’ve caught it on the big screen, do lookout for an alternate ending that was produced with many different scenes that tell a slightly different tale.
Steven Spielberg’s award-winning 1993 film Schindler’s List is not a movie that inspires frequent LEGO builds. Nevertheless, Austrian builder Patrick B. has hauntingly captured the typewriter that Oskar Schindler and Itzhak Stern use to list the names of people Schindler attempts to save from the Holocaust. Patrick’s LEGO build includes many of the key items Schindler has on his desktop, including pens, paper, a stapler, and a wonderfully symbolic candle. The melting wax and drop of ink dripping from the pen are particularly beautiful touches.
With Avengers: Endgame now in theatres, many fans have been looking back to the roots of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) before watching the latest installment. As his own tribute to the first movie in the series, Patrick B. built a memorable scene from 2008’s Iron Man, the first movie in the MCU. Here you see the cave in Afghanistan where Tony Stark built the first Iron Man suit with the help of Ho Yinsen.
The cave is littered with various pieces of technology, storage, and trash, all created using interesting parts combinations, or printed and stickered elements. The backdrop is constructed appropriately grittily, with the mixed brick and plate simulating a ramshackle wall and magic wands, droid arms, carrot stems, and whips pushing through as tree roots, making the structure look a bit unstable. The half-built Mark 1 Iron Man suit is a real gem; take a look and see what pieces you can see used in unconventional ways as different aspects of the suit of armour.
Stumbling across a bandit hideout in the forest might normally cause some alarm. But this Oriental LEGO creation by -LittleJohn evokes nothing but admiration. It’s a lovely scene, with great landscaping, a nicely detailed building, and some fun minifigure action around the fringes. Normally I like when the central subject of a creation is built in a colour scheme that contrasts with the backdrop, but here the building’s muted tones blend in perfectly with the browns and reds of the autumnal forest. This means you have to look harder to spot the details, but that’s perfectly appropriate for something that’s supposed to be a hideout! Also, don’t miss the use of minifigure legs as curling waves at the edge of the stream — a clever way to avoid the harsh cut-off this kind of diorama base sometimes causes.
Here’s an impressive LEGO rendition of an epic film location — Edoras, the capital city of the Riders of Rohan in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy classic The Lord of the Rings. Patrick B. has faithfully recreated the film’s vision of the town — a hill, studded with wooden buildings, surrounded by a palisade, and capped by King Théoden’s hall. The wooden fencing around the town is excellent, particularly the towers — brilliant detailing for such small-scale building. And don’t miss the dark brown robot arms clutching Harry Potter wand parts — they make for surprisingly effective windblown trees.
Here’s a more detailed look at the great hall on top of the hill — Meduseld, seat of the Kings of Rohan. The close-up view allows you to fully appreciate the rockwork and the clever choice of different textured bricks which goes into the microscale detailing of the buildings…