Microscale LEGO builds can either be the most beautiful or the wonkiest creations out there. Builder Gilles de Crombrugghe pulled all the stops when it came to creating this gorgeous jungle temple scene, from nice piece usage to clever techniques. The choices he made helped create an engrossing, detailed, and realistic scene that feels like an Indiana Jones version of Polly Pocket. Opposing orientations for bricks help create the smooth blue outline of the pool of water. Headlight bricks in the base help attach the waterfalls which cascade serenely to clouds of mist made of ice cream and popcorn pieces. Brown Technic chainlinks make for a wonderful rope bridge with plenty of rickety slack. Steep, stony islands of meticulously sculpted slopes and modified tiles rise from the water, isolating the long-forgotten sacred grounds. At least, until the research team found their way there.
I always say it, there are just not enough Stargate builds out there. That seems to be changing more and more, as seen here with this vignette by Builder Douglas Hughes. Somewhat of a double hitter for references, this model follows in the style of our 2021 Creation of the Year with its own distinct character. Capturing some Stargate history, Douglas imagined the false god moving into his new apartments. A Cheops class warship shoots a matter stream down into the Great Pyramids of Giza as the sun sets behind it, the Nile alight with a red glare. Clever building techniques and color-blocking create a gradient that effectively emulates the dulling brightness of the setting sun. The use of black bricks for the pyramids and ship is a great way to achieve the silhouette effect. The translucent red river is my favorite part though, as it’s a perfect way to capture the depth of field with an added layer of realism.
This is a great example of the power models like this have and Douglas did a fantastic job with its color and layout. Maybe 2022 will bring us more of these delightful vignettes in addition to more Stargate love. Whatever it brings, I hope its not a bunch of Goa’uld in a Cheops.
There’s a definite art to building ruins out of LEGO bricks. They aren’t the best medium for it, quite frankly, since the plastic is usually (unless they’re old and much loved) bright and shiny, the edges crisp and square. And ruins are usually dull, dirty, and broken apart. There’s a tendency to try to over-do it and add studs everywhere, or round elements, or a bunch of different colors, and the shape often gets lost in the busy clutter that the build ends up being. But in the hands of an eminently talented builder like Josiah Durand (a.k.a W. Navarre), ruins can be a glorious thing, awe-inspiring just like the real thing in the jungles of the Yucatan. This one is not any one in particular, but the Mayan ruins at Tikal and the Aztec ones at Tenochtitlan served as inspirations.
The steps are excellent with their grille-brick texture, and the mix of smooth surfaces and studs is just right. There are many colors, but the muted earth tones all work together, and even match the printing next to the steps. The skulls give it the grim ambiance associated with the human sacrifices performed at many such sites, and the tiny statuettes give it some scale. And the lighting is perfect on this one, with slightly overcast South American sky giving it a real-world vibe. It looks almost like the real thing! Now that is the mark of some good LEGO ruin building. Take notes, aspiring builders!