When I was a kid, pirate ships (as I called all boats with sails) were one of my favourite things to build with LEGO bricks. While I thought mine were OK, I wish I’d been able to jump forward in time and see some of Gerard Joosten’s ships, especially his HMS White Card.
While childhood me and adult Gerard’s ships are similar in that they start at the bottom with boat hull pieces, that’s where the similarities end. Though we’ve featured his builds before, Gerard pushed himself to take his shipbuilding to another level with this one and it shows. The two aspects that jump out the most to me are the shaping of the hull and the intricate rigging. Those large sails, coupled with small details like the brick built wooden stock on the anchor cement the HMS White Card as quite the stunning ship.
The blacksmith shop is a staple of custom LEGO creators, and while we typically see blacksmiths from medieval time periods or fantasy worlds, the art of metal crafting spans many time periods. This is evident in Ayrlego‘s model showing a swordsmith honing the blade of a soldier in the British military with a spinning stone in a charming colonial outpost.
If you’ve ever wondered what to do with your faded bricks, check out the collection of faded white elements throughout the model. Along with some tan and dark tan parts, they give the building a nicely weathered look. Combined with the tile roof, it fits right in with the colonial architecture.
Ah, the pirate life — it’s all palm trees and rum, blue skies and treasure chests. Oh, and scurvy. And tropical insects. And crabs. Regardless of the reality of the pirating lifestyle, it remains a perennially popular subject for LEGO builders. Here’s Isaac Snyder‘s take on a small pirate hideaway — Cutthroat Cove — a rough wooden shelter built into the rock, complete with jetty and a lookout position on the cliffs above. The vegetation and the dual-coloured rockwork are nicely done, and the mix of browns used for the shelter gives it an appropriately ramshackle feel.
A builder named 呱氏神 (Gū Shìshén) has constructed, in my opinion, one of the most nauseating, vomit-inducing LEGO creations ever, but not because I dislike it. Quite the contrary. The skill level and presentation are all top-notch as evidenced by the beautiful waves, palm tree and gold filigree. My younger self would have loved the chance to go on this “Viking Pirates” ride, but as I get older it seems I’d rather quietly read about vikings or pirates and leave the real adventures to you crazy kids.
Queasy old stomach aside, this indeed looks as if it would be fun to play with. There is no video presentation for this, but the backside makes it clear that the ride works in exactly the way you’d think with the help of a manual crank and Technic gears. Continue reading
If the small “keep out” sign to the left doesn’t get the message across, then maybe the two hanging dead pirates will. Greg Dix built a scene inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean and has made it clear that he doesn’t want you to mess with whatever is beyond this natural arching structure. It looks like a nice clean wall that he probably doesn’t want your grubby fingerprints on. We will stick around just long enough to admire the clever build techniques that make up the slanted, rugged arch, that was surely no easy feat. Greg tells us this will be his last build for awhile as he is moving out of country, so soak it in, dear readers, but don’t get too close. In fact, you should check out his previously featured Island Fortress instead as it is much more inviting. Now go away. Scram! Git!
I can say with certainty that once the sea gets in your blood, you may spend a lifetime yearning to return to it. I often desire to smell the salt air, to hear the roar of the surf and to feel the unique sensation of being onboard a ship that rocks beneath my feet. Like re-learning to ride a bicycle, once you’ve returned you regain your “sea legs” (ability to walk and work in a forever rocking environment) no matter how old and creaky your bones may get and no matter how far you have traversed from the sea. A builder who goes by the name of Sebeus I likely knows what I mean, as evidenced by this small imperial trading ship. The color scheme follows the sloop from the Imperial Trading Post 6277 set from 1992.
Stay tuned to his photostream as he tells us this is merely one small craft that will inhabit an entire island town.
Imagine being a pirate and looking along the horizon to see the flagship of the royal navy barreling your way. Say, Stephen Chao‘s Royal Guardian, for example. With more than enough canons to knock the wind out of anyone’s sails, it’s a sight to behold. To be honest, I like history but I’m not a huge history buff; yet I can’t imagine there was ever a pirate ship as formidable (except in movies). I suppose its only downfall would be the speed it would lose with the weight of those canons.
Logistics aside, this build is well detailed and impressive in more ways than one! It’s very busy but clean at the same time. And not only does it look realistic and have superb shaping, it’s also fully furnished. Because, go big or go home, right? The mammoth ship comes complete with captain’s quarters, a galley, a full arsenal, and more.
Like the kind of ships that sail upon the oceans blue? Check out this unique swashbuckler, or maybe another with a gorgeously sculpted stern.
“The sea, she’s like a lady. You dance with her you dance by her lead otherwise she chew ye up and swallow ye whole.” How do you like my grizzled sea captain impersonation? Needs work? Yeah, you’re probably right. I was just channeling Ahab, Nemo, and a bit of Quint from Jaws who, as it turned out, needed a “bigga boat.” This historic LEGO harbor scene by Vaionaut has all the quaint charm of Amity without the danger. Upon further inspection, the cannons, soldiers, pirates, and other details do suggest danger and intrigue–though likely not shark related. Everything from the expertly crafted curved wall, to the granite sailing ship model, to the intricate detailing on the rooftops is a treat to behold. My favorite feature is the hanging sailor-capped albatross totem bearing a close resemblance to Donald Duck.
This is like the opening chapter of a great seafaring adventure novel with each page leaving me wanting more. As it turns out, there is a bit more as this was part of a collaborative pirate build presented at Bricking Bavaria and can be seen at Rogue Bricks. Though if you click there, be sure to brush up on your German. All the German I know, I’ve learned from Rammstein, which, like my sea captain impersonations, has proven to be unhelpful while traveling abroad.
The evergreen popularity of the LEGO Pirates theme has seen many a pirate’s hideaway constructed, but we’ve not often seen as impressive an Imperial fortress as this beauty from Greg Dlx. The fort is beautifully detailed, with grey accents around the windows providing some lovely texture against the white walls. The domed roofs for the towers add an unusual design feature which creates a sense of the exotic, a feeling enhanced by the dense jungle foliage which surrounds the buildings. There’s a couple of different techniques used for trees, and I love that their leaves play host to a colony of parrots.
Look closely and you’ll spot the killer detail in this scene — the half-plate height increase between the dark and light sand along the shore. It’s a tiny difference, but it adds immensely to the feel of wave-washed sands — an example of the attention to detail you see in the best LEGO creations.
No LEGO creation impresses me more than a well done microscale build. When building bigger, you can essentially sculpt any shape imaginable with basic bricks and plates. With microscale however, the parts you choose can make or break your design. Take david zambito’s Calm Seas for example, and focus on the trees and the ship. AT first glance, the trees might look pretty straightforward since he uses a leaf to represent a tree canopy. For their trunks though, he’s used a long horn instead of a straight bar, and this choice makes the tiny palm trees lean in a way that feels natural.
Next up is the brilliant little ship. Before I gush about the bow and sails, I’d like to recognize the apt use of a droid arm as the bowsprit. While it wouldn’t have been my first choice, now that I’ve seen it, I can’t think of a better piece to use in its place. Now on to the true stars of this build…. The obvious standouts are the crocodile heads as sails, which stand out as trapezoids, whereas most LEGO elements are rectangular. What’s more, the ridges over the eyes make them appear to be blowing in the wind. My favourite aspect of the entire build is the mummy’s headdress as the bow of the ship. Not only does the part fit in with the scale, but its functional areas are both used: the ship connects to the inside where a minifgure head would normally go, and the stud on the front of it is the connection point for the bowsprit. Take a closer look yourself and see what other amazing parts usage you can find.
With all the amazing official LEGO themes of today, it’s not surprising that LEGO builders are often inspired to create models that fit within these themes. Other fans enjoy exploring classic themes which have either been retired or only surface occasionally. You might be most familiar with the likes of Classic Space and Pirates, such as this Imperial Outpost built by Tammo S. Judging by the model’s name, it appears to have been inspired by LEGO set 6263 – Imperial Outpost It’s a lovely tribute to such a treasured theme. Nice touches include the simplicity of the low gray wall, along with the beach and water constructed from side-mounted bricks and plates. However, my favorite part is the brick-built flag, seemingly flapping in the wind.
The trading of cannon broadsides was surely the bluntest form of projectile warfare. Huge ships, passing within yards, blasted cannons into each other’s sides as quickly as the sailors could reload. Simon Pickard brings the fury of battle under sail to vivid life in this LEGO creation — a frigate and a galleon all set to pound one another into matchwood. The tightly-cropped image creates a real sense of action and drama — you’re just waiting for the splinters and blood to start flying. The brick-built ship hulls are impressively shaped, and the sails are beautifully done. This is a close-up view from a large-scale pirate-themed LEGO layout we featured previously, put together by British building collaborators Brick To The Past.