Sporting some of the cleanest lines I’ve ever seen, this Roman temple by Lech Kulina is a brilliant bit of LEGO architecture. Widths of a half-plate or less permeate the construction, especially on all the plinths surrounding the temple. And all angles have been cleanly cut off thanks to the use of brackets. The build is so clean that those small bits of decay stick out like a sore thumb. Each notch in the tile, each blotch of tan discoloration, each profile brick is given greater meaning by the “purity” that surrounds it. It’s quite possibly the truest representation of Roman architecture I’ve seen recreated in plastic. Make sure to check out Lech’s Flickr album to see how he pulled off such a feat!
Okay, so we’re almost exactly on the opposite side of the calendar from the Ides of March, but Julias Caesar is still having a pretty bad October in this LEGO diorama by Victor van den Berg. It’s rare to see a diorama this large that’s set indoors, but this recreation of the Roman Senate is gorgeous from top to bottom, including lovely mosaics on both the top and bottom. Although LEGO has never produced a Roman theme, there are enough key pieces floating around that seem perfect for it, from the Roman Emporer collectible minifigure from Series 9, to the marble scrollwork element and the gladius, and together they bring this scene to life.
LEGO builder Sandro Quattrini has been knocking it out of the park with their character builds of late (check out our Sandro Quattrini archives). The newest addition to the roster is a heroic-looking black panther, although this one hails from Rome rather than Wakanda. I guess technically that means we should use its Latin name, Panthera Pardus. For a static build, it’s phenomenally dynamic thanks to the aggressive stance, roaring head, and the swaying belt tassels. (Tassels doesn’t feel like the right word for something so militaristic… Reader, answers on a postcard if you know the proper name!) These use microphones and dumbbell weights for the detailing, and this centurion’s equipment features plenty more clever highlights. The shield makes use of a Ninjago hat and — perhaps ironically — swords, while the armour chestplate is broken up with a Speed Champions hubcap and minifigure shields. Armour with shields on it? Nothing is getting through that!
If we’re going to talk about clever parts use, though, we need to talk about that head. The shaping is simply stunning! There’s loads to enjoy here, but I do like the solution for the ears, which involves a tyre squeezed over a headpiece from a Star Wars battle pack. Alongside the mean eyes and those fearsome jaws, it gives this particular panther heaps of personality.
History lessons and LEGO make better partners than the passive fan may realize. Builder Hunter Erickson, for instance, connects to bygone eras with brick-built displays of notable moments in the past. Throughout his work, Hunter has used LEGO to cover some of the more interesting moments from recorded history. All the while, he has utilized some great techniques to achieve realistic scenery, machinery, and animals. Here we have a wonderful example of color blocking from the darker base to the light brush and muted colors of the grass. The scene’s realism even goes as far as to create a shadow over the soldiers due to the dense canopy of the spindly tree they all huddle under. The rhinoceros is actually a design from Builder Stefan that we covered way back in 2010. Hunter certainly resurrected the design for good reason.
In this build, Hunter captures a potential moment from the Flaccus Expedition of 50 A.D. through the Sahara desert and most likely coming to an end around Lake Chad. The Legionnaires venturing into Africa with Septimius Flaccus had most likely only ever encountered or seen the creatures around them in gladiator battles. Being this close to something like this Rhinoceros had to be more terrifying then than it would be today. At least for some local-yokel Romans.
You can hear them an hour before they arrive. Ten thousand footsteps all in perfect sync, marching to war, wielding spears and swords and covered in armor. That’s the image builder Big Stannis creates with his epic Roman legionnaires.
This build is nearly beyond description. You can’t help but stare at the shouting soldier above, hearing his voice command the 144 troops into battle. I’m super impressed by the use of little yellow hands to form Rome’s symbols on the shields. The pieces use in the armor and helmets is equally expert.
Oddly, my favorite part is the dirt. Yes, the brown and tan pieces. I’m a sucker for well-constructed LEGO dirt, and this is another masterpiece. Using the round flat bricks is a method I haven’t incorporated into my builds, but I will now!