When it comes to medieval buildings, builders sometimes go all out on texture. Pieces end up being used every which way, with studs facing all directions, and random parts thrown in there just to show how clever the builder is. It doesn’t always look good, though, since it can appear too busy. That’s not to say that I think every surface needs to be smooth and flat and all lines need to be clean and straight. Quite the contrary. Ralf Langer is one of the builders out there who manage to balance irregular surfaces, crooked lines, and clever parts usages with cohesive structures and a strong visual presence. The ground in his latest creation is a perfect microcosm of what I mean: he blends smooth bits, heavily studded bits, and interesting parts to create something appealing and delightful, and I haven’t even looked at the buildings yet!
If you are wondering what the part in the ground is that gives it the baked-clay or tiny cobblestone look, it is a Technic drive chain. And by a Technic drive chain, I mean about ten billion And they’re not just in the ground, but also in the walls of the buildings, forming some of the wattle in the classic wattle-and-daub medieval look. Minifig legs create some fun decaying shapes in one of the buildings, and flex tube ends make for some clever windows. But best of all is Ralf’s use of stud shooter triggers. I see at least four different uses for those in this build, showing once again that all pieces have uses in custom-built LEGO models. I’m always a sucker for immersive builds, and Ralf is one of the best at them. Look through the arches and you can see more town beyond, promising a bigger world out there. Just not for the figure on the ground, since the standing one is Death.
Hell has been on the minds of many a builder lately as evidenced by Ralf Langer’s stunning creation. For those not yet familiar with the nine circles of Hell, the river Styx features prominently in both Greek and Christian mythology, and the ferryman (Charon or Phlegyas) is said to transport souls into the underworld. Like most city buses, the ferryman demands exact fare, the waters are black and murky, the landscape foreboding and if all that is not hellish enough, Styx’s “Come Sail Away” is played on an eternal loop. (Come on, you had to have seen that joke coming!) All kidding aside, this is truly an inspiring layout.
The irregular shape of the base, trees and rocky outcrops all lend to a visually pleasing albeit nightmarish aesthetic. My favorite element however is the reflections on the water’s surface, and Ralf tells us it is not photographic trickery but rather a result of using black bricks in a SNOT (studs not on top) configuration. Are you intrigued so far? Then be sure to click on Ralf’s photostream as this is merely the first entry in a larger hellish collaboration featuring the Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. This one, Ralf says, is the brightest and cheeriest of all the entries so…yeah…enjoy the journey.
No doubt, any LEGO fan with a passion for building can relate to this humorous scene by Ralf Langer. LEGO Star Wars 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon burst on to the scene in 2017 with a whopping 7541 pieces and a price tag to match. Star Wars fans flocked to the store to bring their large prize home, often to the chagrin of their partners, families and bank accounts.
I love a model that tells a story and this one employs some great details that serve to add to the narrative. The inclusion of dead plants is a funny little gem and the expressions on all the minifig’s faces tell us everything we need to know about what they are thinking. The mom’s rolling suitcase and the daughter’s teddy bear are a nice touch as well as the many open boxes of parts spread around the room. The Millennium Falcon itself is also a terrific little build all on its own. My favorite bit is the LEGO storage shelves which are all organized by part. The bucket handles add a nice splash of color and detail and the use of single parts in the shelves represent the organization system perfectly. A true homage to the LEGO obsessed.
Many depictions of space men visiting earth depict them making contact during modern times, but who’s to say they might not have visited in the past? That’s exactly what looks to be happening in Ralf Langer’s latest creation. But the visitors from space are not the only thing that’s out of this world in this little chapel – the parts usage is seriously stellar!
Ralf was inspired to build the chapel by a challenge to use the new Big Ugly Ship Hull for something other than a spaceship, and he integrates it so well here that I didn’t even notice it at first glance. Advanced building techniques abound in the construction of the chapel, from the complicated yet smooth circular wall to the chain link rooftop. My personal favourite is the front door – I can’t figure out how he achieved the herringbone inlay, but the end result is stunning.
When Ralf Langer put together his excellent LEGO headphones and tape cassette, all that was missing was something to provide the tunes. Now he’s filled the gap with a brick rendition of the innovative 80s hardware that reinvented how we listened to music — the Sony Walkman. The colour scheme is a perfect match for the 1979 original, and the details down the side are simply spot-on — don’t miss the use of a silver ingot piece and grille bricks to recreate the volume slider, the offsets so the buttons stand out from the casing, and the nice deployment of the “back-to-back grille tile” technique to make those tiny square holes. I also love that silver stripe separating the blue from the grey — excellent attention to detail.
There was nothing quite like living in the 1980s. Back then, having a single cassette tape on-hand meant being forced to listen to a full album of music and nothing else. It was just one of many technological shortcomings we had to deal with. These two nostalgic builds by Ralf Langer certainly bring back some of those memories. At first glance, the headphones look so realistic. Ralf used LEGO rubber tires to form the ear cushions, and I’m still puzzled by how he incorporated them into the build.
The compact cassette tape is also shaped perfectly, right down to the placement of the capstan and pinch roller openings. My favorite parts are the chain links used for the magnetic tape supply reels. While writing this article, I was inspired to play music from the ’80s over my 21st Century Bluetooth headset; talk about instant gratification!
We often build with LEGO bricks to imitate, in other words reflect, life. While Ralf Langer‘s latest creation is a completely realistic microscale depiction of medieval life, the word reflection has more meanings to it.
First we see a micro mountain village with some cool techniques like the church roof, printed tiles as windows and modified plates as pine trees, but then something interesting in the water catches the eye. Ralf states in the picture description on Flickr that this is an experiment in water reflections, and I can see where he is going with it. A little extra bit is exposed in the description; if you go to the beginning of Ralf’s Flickr photostream, you can see that the building being reflected in the water is a microscale version of his first custom LEGO creation, earlier this year.
Building challenges come in all shapes and sizes, but constructing a wall from LEGO bricks that resists the system’s innate interlocking functionality is something new. Ralf Langer‘s build, entitled “Tear down the wall,” grasps the nettle and gives us something special. Using balanced combinations of plates, Technic elements and masonry bricks, he’s concocted a Jenga-like tumbledown edifice. Compositionally, it’s cleverly used to frame the model’s second feature, a beautiful medieval house that pokes through the collapsing façade.
First proposed by the American physicist Gerard O’Neill in the 70s, an O’Neill Cylinder is a large tube, pressurised with an atmosphere, and spinning to create artificial gravity. The hull features alternating strips of “land” and transparent windows, allowing sunlight to be reflected inside from large mirrors. The cylinder has become an iconic design, familiar from a raft of TV, movie, and videogame depictions of mankind’s future. Ralf Langer has built a beautiful LEGO version of an O’Neill-based space colony, using microscale to ensure his space settlement features fields and trees, flowing rivers, and towering cities. The rings supporting the curved land panels have technical-looking greebles, and the entire creation looks much bigger than it really is. This is epic LEGO sci-fi, depicting a future I’d love to see.