My wife and I are re-reading The Lord of the Rings together after having done so 22 years ago before the first Peter Jackson movie was released. By sheer coincidence, on the same day we read the chapter about the Battle of Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King, Kiwi builder Pieter Dennison shared the conclusion of a months-long project to recreate a Mûmak or Oliphaunt of the Haradrim in LEGO, based on how they appear in the movies.
Pieter’s build features all the iconic details of the enormous beast, from its four tusks (built from a series of 2×2 round bricks presumably strung on something like flex-tube), each with spikes on the end, to the war tower on the monstrous beast’s back. A closer look at the war tower shows just how huge this LEGO build really is, with about a score of minifigs riding into battle against the Rohirrim and men of Gondor.
If you want to see this in person, you can see it at the Christchurch Brick Show this July. And don’t miss all the other LEGO Oliphaunts we’ve featured over the years (also proving that this quote is the only one I ever use to write about this creature).
I am quite a fan of old cities. Old cities offer a little bit of everything. They have skyscrapers and office buildings but often also Tudor-style buildings reminding us of simpler times. These Tudor-style buildings are often located near the city square or the city centre or what used to be the centre of the city. Quite often these buildings had to be modernised at a given point because they didn’t have central heating and electricity in the period they were built. Sometimes these features are added very respectfully, and it is not noticeable from the outside that these features were added on in a later stage.
Sometimes, however, these features are just slapped on the building with complete disregard of how it looks. Although I prefer the first option, I’ve grown fond of the second one too. Either way, it reminds us of our past and it shows how our demands for housing changed over the years. This build by Pieter Dennison is a perfect example of a building having to evolve in order to meet the inhabitants wishes. Pieter made a lovey Tudor-style house, complete with a stone staircase leading up to the building. Bars and slope tiles have been used to create some lovely details and even windows. Dark tan and olive-green work together wonderfully for the plaster. It looks like the building has passed the test of time. The addition of rain pipes however takes it from a medieval theme right to something more now. It gives the house a bit of a steampunk-ish vibe that we all love.
“Are we the prey? No, we are the hunters!” Attack on Titan, or its original title Shingeki no Kyojin, is a tragic tale which starts out as humanity’s struggle against monsters, but evolves into an exploration of the evils of human nature, war, politics, more. Originally a Manga series that has been adapted into a high quality anime show, it has reached mainstream popularity and will now air its final season. Builder Pieter Dennison commemorates the very first episode with the town of Shiganshina being attacked by Titans.
This scene is just draws you in with the detailed buildings and uneven streets, forcing you to take a closer look at the way Pieter manipulates LEGO pieces to give this build a rough, aged feel. There is plenty of subtle use of texture and discolouration that doesn’t distract from the action that takes place. Minifigs representing townspeople flee from the Titan, which devours an unlucky soul. The soldiers of the Survey Corps swoop in from above with Spider-Man-esque manoeuvring gear to take down the grotesque monster. But can they save humanity from this mysterious threat?
This action-packed scene already got one of the opening songs stuck in my head…
“Seid ihr das Essen?
Nein, wir sind die Jäger!”
Inspired by the 2012 film adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, this LEGO creation by Pieter Dennison is a whimsical homage. Right away we’re drawn to the top of the Once-ler House with expertly placed shingles; they’re made from complementary colors and placed in a way to give it a slightly off-kilter, dilapidated effect. The choice to use a more muted green for the base works and brown Technic axle connectors for the tree stumps works well for this build.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – The Once-ler.
Saxon churches are surely a familiar site in England, but this is also true of the United States as well. This LEGO church built by Pieter Dennison certainly reminds me of some churches I have seen in New England.
Pieter utilizes a pretty simple color palette in this build – two shades of grey for the structure itself and then browns for the ground and what would be wooden components of the building. Much of the ground the building rests on is constructed using the SNOT (studs not on top) technique. The church itself is composed mainly of the usual bricks, slopes, and tiles – this is perfect as these churches were pretty simple brick structures. Some medieval minifigures oversee the reconstruction efforts of the church in this scene, which is fitting as this particular style of church was constructed between 597 AD – 1066 AD. Dennison’s build makes me imagine what “Sunday Best” would look like back in the Middle Ages.
I’m not the kind of guy who likes to watch horror movies; real life is scary enough, so why should my entertainment be scary, too? I mean, have you ever considered how much money you pay in interest on a 30-year mortgage? Terrifying! Add in taxes and maintenance, and it really does feel like my house is eating me. Now, I realize that Pieter Dennison built this incredible LEGO monster house after watching, well, Monster House, but I haven’t seen it. That doesn’t stop me from being frightened. Seriously, look at the state of those shingles, probably a slate roof that would take more than my left kidney to repair. And that siding needs fresh paint, if not a total tear-off (unless you slap some vinyl siding on top, like lipstick on a pig). And that front porch? There’s no way that railing is up to code. This is true horror, folks.
During my two trips to New Zealand for work, I never left the North Island, and the beautiful cities and countryside of the South Island have eluded me, so I’m always grateful when I get to travel somewhere new via LEGO bricks. Peter Dennison lives in the lovely city of Dunedin, and has spent the past 5 years building a huge diorama featuring the historic railway station on Anzac Square.
See more of this iconic New Zealand train station
What are your Halloween plans? Mine are to buy a bag of candy for trick-or-treaters, stay in and watch a few schlock horror flicks, but leave the lights out in hopes trick-or-treaters won’t actually come so as to have all the delicious candy for myself. What? Don’t judge. I like schlock horror flicks. It would seem Pieter Dennison has some schlock Halloween plans of his own that involve surviving the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Shipping containers make great zombie deterrents (right up until they learn to climb) and a rickety ladder serves as optimum transport between the two of them. I can’t see how that can go badly. Cattails (nature’s corndogs) populate the center area while the power lines in the background are an excellent touch. If this layout was a movie, I’d totally watch it with a bag of candy. Trick-or-treaters be damned!