I love The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Like, really, really love it. I have more than a whole shelf in my library (yes, I have a library, filled with many leather-bound books) devoted just to the book and its ancillary volumes (The Hobbit, Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, etc.). Tolkien is my favorite author, by far, and I’ve read his major work at least twelve times. So when I see really well done LEGO builds based on the stories, like this one by Simon Hundsbichler, it gets the warm fuzzies going inside. Even if it is based on the movies, I still love it; after all, for whatever butcheries they did to the characters (e.g. Faramir), Peter Jackson et al. did a phenomenal job of representing the material cultures of Middle Earth. This particular build is inspired by the second volume of the work, The Two Towers, and features many towers, from the horn tower of Helm’s Deep to Orthanc to Minas Morgul to Cirith Ungol.
Microscale is notoriously tricky to pull off, but Simon is a master among masters at it. Some features that need to be pointed out include using the tiny hole in the bar holder with clip as the window at the top of Cirith Ungol. Genius. But it is all amazing. Helm’s Deep bears repeated looks, with the absurd number of unconventional pieces in the rockwork, from grey hawks and frogs to saddles. But then there’s my favorite stair technique with a grille brick leading up to Meduseld. And a stud shooter in Cirith Ungol. And rockets in the towers of both Minas Morgul and Helm’s Deep. And a spider as Shelob, a giant spider. Brilliant. And there’s a Treebeard, too! Add in the book base, and the water flowing through it, and you have one of my favorite LEGO creations ever.
If you missed Simon’s masterful representation of the first volume of The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, check it out here. I can’t wait to see the third installment!
You may have seen our ongoing advent calendar features where we reveal the contents of official LEGO advent calendars day-by-day and chime in with our witty commentary. Traditionally with advent calendars, you can expect to reveal a small nominal gift in the twenty-four days before Christmas. However, Simon Hundsbichler had something different in mind. Every day in December, Simon is unveiling a new intricate Lord of the Rings diorama that takes inspiration from the books and not the movies. On December first, he showcased this stunning scene depicting Gandalf arriving in Hobbiton. The quality of the work doesn’t waver, in fact it gets better from here.
Click here to unveil more.
I’m a sucker for new or nice parts usage (NPU) and Simon NH knows the way to my heart. So allow me to fangirl out at for a moment at his latest Harry Potter creation, Winter in Hogsmeade.
Did you see the brick walls built out of Mjölnirs or the underside of jumpers? Or the window arch made out of cheese held in by pressure alone? I love the modified plates with teeth as shingles and the lance as a downspout. How about the welding torch as a sconce, or the (extremely in-theme) sorting hat as the top of the lamppost. I’m really only scratching the surface here, as there are all kinds of other creative parts usages throughout, and that’s not even mentioning the smart colour choices (like, hello yellowish-green and light aqua as frozen grass). The creation as a whole is fantastic, but the smart use of parts really does make a LEGO fan weak in the knees.
I have a confession to make. I was that kid in high school who wore wolf t-shirts. You know, the one with the wolves howling at the moon, or the one with the wolf looking right out at you? I had wolf posters on my walls, and I even sponsored a wolf in a nature preserve for a while. Was I cool? Heck no. Did I like wolves? Heck yes. I also played with LEGO bricks during high school, so, yeah, I was not part of the “in” crowd. But my lifelong love of wolves has continued, though I no longer wear wolf t-shirts, and my love of little plastic bricks continues also. Which brings me to this build by Simon NH. It combines the two loves of my childhood, and in a beautiful way, to boot.
I love the wings used for the cheek fur of the wolf’s face, and the different spiky bits around the underside capture a fluffy feel well. The stunning color transition from dark grey on the top, down through light grey, dark tan, tan, and ending in white, is magnificent and makes the whole thing seem organic in a way that transcends the medium. The base, too, is exceptional, with a frozen river with a glass panel ice sheet, plenty of snow, and a delightful spiky evergreen made with different colors of flower stems. What I love about Simon’s builds is the way he manages to blend the LEGO palette like an impressionistic watercolor and the different textures of bricks like masterful impasto. It is not just LEGO, it is art. All it lacks is a moon for the wolf to howl at, and a screen print for me to put on a t-shirt to be cool again. Wolf shirts are cool again, right?
And don’t miss Simon’s incredible LEGO grizzly bear in the same style that we featured yesterday!
Salmon swimming upstream brings all the bears to the yard…er river. It also inspired Simon NH‘s latest LEGO build, depicting a brown grizzly fishing for dinner. What makes this bear unique is the diverse range of parts and colors used to sculpt its body and represent how things in nature are more complex than meets the eye. Simon’s bear features ears comprised of a minifigure hood on the left and female hair on the right, while a minifigure shooter and snowshoes form its iconic muzzle. The scene is also set with some fantastic landscaping, from the rippling waterfall to the rocky terrain with splashes of greenery. It’s truly a GRRiffic build!
If you’d like to see Simon’s build in person and happen to be passing through Denmark, it will be on display in the Masterpiece Gallery at the LEGO House.
Some builders just wow me time after time with stellar parts usages, not to mention their rapid-fire building. Pieces are used in ways that make me mentally file them away for a future build, or add to an imaginary Bricklink wishlist. One such builder is the highly skilled Simon NH, who after just visiting Hades in an awesome creation we highlighted earlier today, brings us a microscale build set somewhere in the Middle East. The building on the left is particularly rich with clever construction, but the whole thing bears closer examination. In fact, I’m pretty sure Simon looked over his white pieces and tried to find the strangest ones, and then worked out how to make them all fit together in some sort of mad-scientist LEGO lair.
The building closest to us in the forced perspective contains a basketball net as a rose window, which works because of the angle of the shot. Moving to the left (since Arabic and other Semitic languages are read right to left, and after all, this is a Middle Eastern-inspired build), the dark tan-domed tower is comprised mostly of stretchers and spinner bases. The tan archway uses a pre-fabricated piece, but at microscale it looks better than it does at minifigure scale, quite frankly. But then we come to the mother lode of exotic white parts in the leftmost building. Who even has a window with shutters last produced in 1975? (I might, actually, since I inherited my dad’s old collection of Samsonite sets from the 60s, but still…) Then there are the Aquanaut helmets turned upside down, and the Blacktron II jet pack for an archway, as well as, well, some 2×4 wheel wells for other arches. There’s more, too, but all of these parts from my childhood are making me nostalgic, and so I need to go find my own childhood LEGO sets, as well as my dad’s, and get the cool pieces to use in future builds of my own.
If you want to get the god of the underworld to do you a favor, you had best rosin up your bow and get ready to fiddle for your soul. Oh wait, wrong story. Music is still the key, though, and I’d wager a fiddle made of gold that the Ancient Greek hero Orpheus could even beat Johnny from Georgia; at very least he played his lyre so beautifully that it moved the cold heart of Hades to compassion, granting him his desire to take the shade of his beloved wife Eurydice back to the surface (with some provisos, admittedly). Simon NH has built the scene of the hero before the god, and it captures the feeling of the underworld perfectly.
The god is fittingly large in relation to the mortal, and his face is cold and foreboding. His crown is made from sais is nice and spiky, and chains hanging everywhere give it all the feel of a dungeon. My favorite bits are the green flames made from jagged-edged swords, just for the splash of color it gives to an otherwise dreary-toned build. But what really sets this build apart is the dramatic lighting. Everything is in shadows except the figures and the bit of path separating them, setting the stage for the dramatic performance of Orpheus. Despite being, in my mind, the Hawkeye of the Greek heroes (Jason: “What’s your superpower?” Orpheus: “I play the lyre.”), Orpheus ends up being one of the most impressive of them all.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the first in its series to truly delve into darker themes and atmosphere. It seems this mysterious and gloomy tome is what inspired Simon NH to build his latest creation, a microscale scene of the Durmstrang ship’s arrival at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.
It seems Simon has a phobia for normal bricks, as there are hardly any throughout the build. There are a few used as the lake and some plates visible here and there, but everything else is built from “specialized” parts and more or less exotic tiles and slopes. Of course, the inner construction probably has a lot of basic bricks, but here the looks are probably the most important. The best details have to be the tower’s roof and the wings used as waves. It is not all just in the cool parts used and in the combinations of bricks most people would never think to put together; a big impact is made by the lighting, photography and the subtle background added in post-production. I can almost hear the wind howling and waves crashing!
This LEGO model was built as an entry for TBB’s Microscale Magic contest. Coverage on TBB of an entry will not be taken into consideration during judging, and will have no effect on its ability to win, either positively or negatively.