Forget the headlight brick or jumper plate; I can’t think of a LEGO part more beloved by builders than the common frog! And builder/amphibian wrangler Roanoke Handybuck has done a great job providing the infamous hoppers with a spot all their own for a festival of frogs. All the subtle details paying homage to frog-kind in this scene are excellent, from the statues to the door handles. The color choices are clean, with the light blue water, golden leaves, and lavender pennants contrasting nicely with the gray rock surrounding the scene. I love the intricate use of slopes and plates forming the arch above the podium. And overall, this watering hole feels private, as if this is a secret meeting only a few are lucky enough to enjoy.
It’s been a while since we covered the fourth of 8 builds from the second round of the Starfighter Telephone Game, or STG, so lets do a recap as we highlight the final build in the series. The STG-2 Beyonder, built by Simon Liu, the spaceship legend himself, made for a super strong finish for the whole game. For those not in the know, the game includes eight builders, passing along a spaceship design that they reimagine and redesign with each subsequent build. As such, the form and function can shift and change in dramatic ways from the first ship to the last. The bright green canopy surrounded by white angular canopy pieces smooth out the cockpit and compliment the triangular shaping achieved with the left and right roof tiles that Simon pulled from the Bone Demon set. Dark grey mock-wings stretch out from the green, white, and blue fuselage while gold tiling on the engines can be seen peeking out from behind the craft. Unfortunately Simon hasn’t provided much of a look at the back. Thankfully, the front is so beautifully built it’s worth appreciating on its own. The greebly, detailed interior of the cockpit feature’s many LEGO fans’ favorite frog piece as this sleek ship’s pilot.
When I first joined the online LEGO community about 20 years ago, I had to choose an avatar to represent myself online. I decided to draw the LEGO frog in MS Paint and use it as my avatar. The frog piece was released in the year 2000. Over the years some LEGO parts get redesigned. It is however my honest opinion that there is no way to improve the iconic little frog. For its time it is very detailed and still very cute. Four amazing builders decided to celebrate the piece and I could not pass it up the chance to take a closer look at them.
Roanoke Handybuck’s frog is currently visiting the Swamp with a lovely dock featuring some paint brushes and a beautiful architectural sculpture using red parrots.
There’s a lot more to this tiny build than a monastery on some rocks. In fact, the building isn’t its best feature! Talented LEGO builder Roanoke Handybuck did a great job at interlacing those light bluish grey elements to form the rocky outcropping. The pink flowers attached to reddish brown horns and minifigure hands are a superb fit too. But perhaps the most clever aspect is the use of only 3 pieces – two crowbars and a hotdog element – to try and recreate a Japanese torii archway.
If you like this, you should stick around and see more of Roanoke’s Handybuck’s handy-work.
Contests are a great way to bring the LEGO community together, and the Summer Joust has been a great example of that. We’ve featured a number of great creations from that event, but this one has a little something extra – two builders. Simon Liu is responsible for the foreground, while Roanoke Handybuck handled the exterior landscape. I admire the stonework on The Gateway quite a bit; it has a real Lord of the Rings Dwarvish vibe to it. The angular designs blend in well with the uncut rock around the opening. Outside, the bright colors and organic shapes provide a stark contrast. Thanks to clever photography, there’s just enough of the light shining through the door to unify the different creations. Which side of the gateway do you want to be on?
If this image has whetted your appetite for immersive LEGO scenes, be sure to check out more of our spotlighted builds!
This floating rock has been a recurring theme when it comes to LEGO fan creations. They have been part of the community for as long as I can remember. I am actually quite astounded that LEGO never tried their hand at it. To me building rocks is scary. I love how some builders manage to build these big rocky mountains made out of big wedge pieces that appear to stay together magically. Roanoke Handybuck managed to build a rock like this.
I could just look at it for hours trying to figure out how it is constructed. The rock is not the only pretty thing about this build. This build appears to be lacking in studs. The only place I can actually see them are in the foliage of the paddle tree. Adding the pyramid tile to the Tudor wood beams looks like a lovely finish of wooden beams. Although there are a lot of pop colors in this build, to me the focal point of this creation is the bright light orange door. The use of the dragon head sword hilt as ornate door hinges is stunning.
This one might be worth zooming in for a second. There’s a lot of fun stuff packed into this little LEGO build by Roanoke Handybuck. Where should we start? We’ve got chain links for the water wheel, bridge, and windmill. There are also hands, horns, and wands galore used for a variety of things. We even have full arms (minifigure and tauntaun) here as part of the cobblestone pathway. Let us not forget the reddish brown crown in the tower. That part only came in the 71040 Disney Castle in that color. Finally, can you find the paintbrush and frog?
Actually, those aren’t ALL the cool things. But I encourage you to see what else you can find on your own. Just the colors and shape of the base are fun by themselves. The only negative points for the purist in me are the cut-up pieces used for the grass. Added points, though, for the fact that apparently the water wheel and windmill spin! By crankshaft? We’ll have to stay tuned for a video! In the meantime, check out more of Roanoke’s work in our archives.
Those are lyrics from a song by Enya that I was listening to when I saw this diamond-shaped spaceship build by Roanoke Handybuck. This build is very fitting to Enya’s music, as both are beautiful, ethereal, and simultaneously dark and light. The spaceship is bright, smooth, with just enough greebling, and is adorned with gold cannons, antennae, and engines. The shaping is definitely alien; not scary and menacing, but rather welcoming and beautiful. With a small yellow frog as the pilot, I doubt this poses a threat. I like to imagine the frog is also listening to Enya inside the cockpit.
The builder packed this small ship full of interesting techniques to give it a unique look. The end connections of croissants form 45º angles with rounded edges, so that the diamond shape of the ship isn’t too sharp. A smooth windscreen that sits flush on top of the ship, and blends well with the smooth surface. The bright ship hovers above a dark maze, which provides a contrast between vehicle and the environment. The end result is truly a work of art. It makes me want to listen to Enya’s music, hoping the spaceship I build will be just as beautiful.
Designing castles on a limited footprint is a fun challenge and this 12×12 castle by Roanoke Handybuck packs a lot of detail into a small space. From the rocky outcropping above a sheltered cove, three tall towers keep watch. Dark red rooftops are picked up in the small wooden buildings at the water’s edge. A tiny boat with a brave captain risks the rocky shore, and minifig hands for flags are a nice finishing touch.
The Harry Potter universe’s village of Hogsmeade continues to be a great source of inspiration for LEGO builders. I don’t know if it’s the lure of crafting medievalesque buildings in a non-castle creation or the fact that it’s a winter-themed town that isn’t decked out in red and green, but I know it works. The latest one to catch my eye is Roanoke Handybuck’s Hogsmeade Village. The two buildings pushed against each other, bookended by three happy little trees, and blanketed in snow, really captures the feeling of cozy wizarding town. Looking deeper into the scene, you’ll notice a few amazing parts usages that make these cottages look old and ramshackle. Maybe magic is the only thing keeping them standing. The first thing to notice is the lantern made from a pair of brown Witch-king crowns. Most interesting to me though, are the windows framed with neck brackets. Well a relatively stable connection of LEGO parts, it gives an especially rickety look for the windows’ muntins.
Over the last year Roanoke Handybuck has built something of a reputation for his wonky building style. Celebrating the shapes and forms of the medieval period he focuses on capturing the way wooden beams bend and walls subside. In this latest model, titled Eldford Market, he demonstrates in a tiny 16 x 16 baseplate all the LEGO techniques synonymous with his work. Everywhere you look, bricks are matched irregularly or held at off-centre angles, whether it’s in the cobbled street or as part of the weathered tower. The icing on the cake, though, has to be the way the upper floor of the main building tilts elegantly into its neighbouring sloped roof – brilliant!