We’ve just had a whole month of themed builds in the form of Febrovery, but now we’re in March we’re going straight into another one. It’s Marchikoma! And who better to kick things off than Cole Blaq? This particular tachikoma (or think tank, if you prefer) draws inspiration from Howl’s Moving Castle and Castle in the Sky, with a microscale city on its back. The link to the viaduct is particularly neat. Either this city exists as a massive turntable to turn the trains around, or it lies in wait for trains to stop before stealing them. In that sense perhaps it’s a bit more Mortal Engines than Studio Ghibli. Either way, it’s a great way to kick off the month. Why not have a look at what previous Marchikomas have brought us while we wait for more?
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro is a Studio Ghibli film which is often overlooked, so it’s great to see this fantastic build of the main structure in the film by Sandro Damiano. Created in microscale, the castle rests upon a beautifully formed lake with different shades of colour placed underneath transparent blue tiles, representing the variety of depths in the water. A long walkway links the castle to a clock tower which is placed upon a crumbling wall. The castle has been lovingly built with accurate tall blue spires and roofing details. Headlight pieces are heavily featured across the castle, portraying large windows.
Round the back you can really get a sense of how the castle is built upon a rocky surface with the use of dark grey bricks. There are also some clever uses of parts, such as the ends of grille pieces as tiny windows, and some of the arches are represented by rounded plates with bar handles. It’s a fantastic build that really captures the sense of awe and mystery surrounding the castle.
I don’t think there are enough words to describe my love of the Studio Ghibli movie Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. And the same can be said for this gorgeous LEGO build by Tino Poutiainen. The vibrant coloration of all the virulent fungi fits in perfectly with the aesthetic from the film, giving off that strong “poison arrow frog” vibe. Heavy use of round disks and plates, combined with more texturally complex parts create enough nooks and crannies to trigger some serious trypophobia. The skull of a long-dead God Warrior, resting atop the pile of fungi, is spot on. I especially like the use of old and new LEGO shades of gray to add some wear to the husk. But the icing on the cake here is the micro Nausicaä herself, soaring above on her mehve. Using under ten parts, it’s a shining jewel in an already brilliant crown.
Internationally recognized director and creator Hayao Miyazaki has had an inspirational effect the world over through his work at Studio Ghibli. Builder Andrea Lattanzio has been open about how Miyazaki’s films and stories have influenced his own models in the past. His latest model is a tribute to the home Miyazaki had built near Studio Ghibli’s main building back in 1998. Framed by brightly colored trees that contrast the grey and black tilework covering the building, Andrea shows off his architectural skills in yet another masterful model. Offset tiles help create an effect similar to the original wooden siding while fresh planks and posts in the deck, yet to become green with moss, provide a peaceful place for the famed director to contemplate life.
Check out this excellent LEGO microscale cove built by Flickr user Pixeljunkie. The heavy use of slopes laid upon their sides provides an organic, rocky backdrop for a tiny beach scene. But it’s not just any beach! This is the hideout of Porco Rosso, the Italian flying ace slash anthropomorphic pig from the Studio Ghibli film of the same name. You can see his iconic red plane, a Savoia S.21, sitting in the water. On the coast are his tent, chair, and radio, where Porco would relax between bouts with the sky pirates of the Adriatic. The shaping of the plane in such few bricks is inspired, and immediately recognizable to someone familiar with the movie. Also of note, the 1×1 plate with tooth used as a dock is some great parts usage at this scale.
In the Studio Ghibli animated classic Spirited Away, a sense of wonder and magic infuses just about everything. Marcin Otręba takes us on a trip to a LEGO recreation of the iconic bathhouse, and it’s every bit as wonderous. From the graceful curve of the bridge to the spot-on color choices and complex tiling in the walls, this microscale reproduction is very true to the original. But, like in the film, there’s more here than you might first see. Keep reading to discover some of the secrets!
This amazing LEGO model perfectly captures the mismatched style of the mechanical castle from the anime film Howl’s Moving Castle. In the film, the castle walks on spindly legs, spluttering and puffing out smoke as it goes along, as indicated by the clouds of smoke rising from the various chimneys. You can tell that the model’s creator, Marcin Otręba, has carefully studied the original design as all the strange contraptions protruding out of the castle have been faithfully recreated in this small scale. In order to portray the circular brickwork under the domed turrets, rounded 1×2 plates have been angled to form ringlike patterns.
Tino Poutianen has built this fabulous creation, based on characters from the anime film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. In the build of the ostrich-like bird, named Kai, claw parts have been used to create sprouting tail feathers of the bird. The lanky, tall proportions of the creature are perfectly captured through the use of long plant pot pieces at the legs. The ancient swordsman, Lord Yupa, has a cleverly constructed cloak over his arm with even a croissant piece used for his moustache. Tino has been able to portray the bulbous proportions of Yupa’s costume through a variety of rounded pieces while conveying the mysterious aesthetic of the famous warrior.
Are you ready to be Spirited Away? Ryan Howerter is ready help to start the journey with this astounding recreation of the Red Gate. This is one of those builds that has you doing a triple take – but, yes, this all LEGO. Amazing photography adds great atmospheric depth of field , but the trees and other greenery in the foreground is what completely sells this neglected entrance to the unknown. There are even more detailed views at Ryan’s Instagram post, and I suggest you take a moment to explore those, too.
If you like your Miyazaki inspired builds a little more animated, then check out this great Soot Sprite from our archives. And here’s to hoping that we’ll see even more Studio Ghibli creations there soon!
Okay, let me start with a confession: I’ve never watched a Studio Ghibli film. I know, I know, that makes me a bad person. Someday I hope to reform my ways. But before you throw your rotten eggs and moldering cabbages at me, let me show you a cool build that is inspired by one of the movies, Howl’s Moving Castle. Built by First Order Lego for both the Style it Up contest and the Iron Forge, it is a sight to behold. The complicated details are lovingly depicted here, from the houses embedded in the sides to the many, many complicated-looking mechanical apparatuses on the back. Is that a rat as smoke? Yes, it is. And beards and hair, too. There are too many other fabulous parts usages in this thing for me to list, so be sure to zoom in on it yourself, but if you notice that there are lots of minifigure legs and hips about, that’s because it is the seed part for the Iron Forge, the open-to-all-comers qualifying competition for the Iron Builder. Maybe this entry will “walk away” with the coveted prize. Ha. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some movies to go watch <ducks a rotten cabbage>.
Are you a better person than me and love Studio Ghibli? Console yourself for my ignorance and look through this Spirited Away series of builds, or a Princess Mononoke or My Neighbor Totoro figure. Just please stop throwing those rotten tomatoes at me!
The blocky Brickheadz building style meets classic Japanese anime in this cubist LEGO rendition of San from Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke. Immediately recognisable to fans of the movie, Nathan DeCastro‘s model captures all the essential elements of the famous character. Those streaks of red makeup are perfect, tapering to a point thanks to the use of curved 1×1 tiles, and the white fur headdress and the necklace are excellent. Now all this needs is a giant wolf built to the appropriate scale!