Tag Archives: Summer Joust

Take a break in this courtyard of calm

Hot on the heels of one great immersive Arabic LEGO scene, comes another courtesy of Ids de Jong. Although made on a slightly smaller scale, it shares some similarities in scope, giving us a view into the courtyards that are so typical of this style of architecture. The arch pieces framing the entrance immediately set the tone for where we are, and the minarets and towers in the background employ forced perspective to give the impression that we’re somewhere in a bustling city. And that’s all great – but what my eye is drawn to is that mosaic at the front. It uses some clever LEGO geometry: the ridges on those inverted slopes are a half-plate thick, which combines with two more plates to give the exact width of the tiles on the corners!

The Persian courtyard

Stairway into shadows

The Summer Joust building competition challenged builders to create “stairway stories,” and most participants assembled their LEGO stairs upward. Isaiah Kepner takes a different approach with his model “The Shadowed Temple,” in which a wandering wizard approaches an ominous flight of stairs descending into the unknown. The surrounding wall features some impressive brickwork, mixing profile bricks, tiles, and ingots in every direction. For the trunks of the aspen trees, Isaiah borrowed a technique from Markus Rollbühler and incorporated Stormtrooper shin armor. Most impressive is the technique Isaiah devised for the cave itself, with a gradation of ever-darker bricks accentuating the darkness within. It’s an evocative scene and showcase of Isaiah’s growing skills as a castle builder.

The Shadowed Temple

Prepare to meet thy (map) maker!

Some of the best LEGO builds are the ones that not only have a story behind them, but that subvert expectations somewhat. Now I’m not talking about all the Nice Parts Use (NPU) in Eli Willsea‘s little vignette – although it is absolutely chock full of it. A wrench is used as a very sturdy-looking door handle, doors make for an elegant staircase, and candles mimic scrolls on shelves made out of Duplo elements. The bucket handles shoved into lever bases for the bookstand are cool too. This creation is titled “Madeline the Map Maker”, but is that really all she is? Look how brooding this place is… The dark red evokes something a little sinister to me. And it’s not helped by Madeline’s black robes. Perhaps we should be wary of where these maps might lead us!

Madeline the Map Maker

Playing with perspective in LEGO “painting”

Here at The Brothers Brick, we love when LEGO builders play with depth and space through forced perspective. For his build “Stairway to Memories,” forestArcher creates a clever trompe l’oeil effect with a framed shadowbox that houses yet another framed image within. Layers upon layers of depth, rendered flat as a painting. I appreciate the added detail of a gold ring hidden behind the potted plant, seen only in reflection. forestArcher credits TBB favorite W. Navarre as an inspiration for using forced perspective, and with this creation he proves an apt pupil.

Stairway to memories

forestArcher built his stairway illusion for the Summer Joust competition. Check out some of our other favorite entries in this castle-themed building tradition.

LEGO Caravanserai offers a treasure trove of techniques in tan

“Unwanted Company at the Caravanserai,” the latest diorama from Kit Nugent, is the rare LEGO build that is truly immersive, transporting the observer into a brick-built world. The craftsmanship is stunning. Working mostly with tan elements, Kit orchestrates every seam and shadow in service to the medieval Islamic architectural style. The interior facades are dense with detail, especially the screens made from over 200 densely-arranged candles, and the Modulex bricks that circle the lower walls.  The inner brick-work, revealed in the cut-away, is just as ornate, featuring a complex jigsawing of System bricks with a smattering of smaller Modulex. The glimpse of a nearby domed building under a blue sky seals the sense of immersion.

Unwanted Company at the Caravanserai

The architecture alone makes this a build to celebrate, but Kit is just as deliberate with the story told through minifigures and accessories.  He captures a frozen moment as travelers in the caravanserai trade look and reach for weapons as a shadowy figure enters. No doubt blood will soon be spilt on that lovely mosaic floor. Let’s just hope the goat is spared.

Dueling wizard builds give us something to crow about

Sometimes great minds really do think alike, as evidenced by two rhyming vignettes created for the Summer Joust “Beast Masters” category. Each creation features a brick-built blue spellcaster and their over-sized corvid companion, but despite similar theming, the two models demonstrate very distinct approaches to setting a LEGO scene. First up we have “The Wizard and the Raven” by Ids de Jong. Another admirer described the build as having an “I Spy appeal,” which is a great way to put it, with so many fun elements from throughout the years decorating the scene. The human figure, for which Ids credits the style to Markus Rollbühler, is definitely bringing strong wizard energy with the clever beard technique utilizing Gandalf’s hair piece. I love the personality of of the crow with the nightmare eyes from LEGO Dreamzzz, a good friend who seems eager to deliver scrolls to distant lands.

The Wizard and the Raven

Next is “Rook and Ruin” from builder Maxx Davidson (who’s been on a roll on the site lately with his whimsical creations!). Maxx’s vignette focuses a bit more on story as it captures the warlock mid-casting as his spell rips the ground asunder. I love the inspired use of a minifig arm for the warlock’s nose, the hand gripping a pair or roots to make the mustache. Nya’s Rising Dragon head makes for a wicked torso. The rook mixes smooth and spiky elements with a touch of pearlescent tiles to create some truly lovely plumage. Two mages, two crows, two magical builds!

Rook and Ruin

This fab crab can point you in the right direction

The “Beast Masters” category of the Summer Joust 2024 competition is producing some wild flights of fancy, and this cartographic crustacean is no exception. Pohaturon‘s “Crabtographer” imagines a world where seafaring guilds wouldn’t get far without the expertise of giant crabs who know their stuff. And speaking of technical know-how, I adore all the unconventional uses of commonplace and less-than-common pieces to give this build some extra flair. Check out the One Ring used for the naval officer’s buckle, or the white energy blast standing in for melted candle wax, for example. Both the crab and the officer are dynamic and well-executed, and it makes me long to explore this fictional world a little more. If only I had a map…

The Crabtographer

This LEGO barrel ride is making quite a splash

Riding down a river on a barrel may not be the most efficient way to travel, but ABrickDreamer manages to make it look like a pretty fun ride in this vignette which reminds me of the iconic barrel ride from The Hobbit without the angry elves taking pot-shots. The builder made excellent use of multiple transparent power effects and other elements for the splashing water, and that waterwheel really packs in the details at such a small scale.

The Barrel Accident

The Imp and the Mother of Dragons lock eyes across stairs

With Targaryens and their dragons once again fighting to control the Iron Throne (and Sunday night TV), what better time than to revisit the Breaker of Chains? Martin Studio recreates the Meereen Throne Room, where Daenerys ruled for 3 seasons before marching on Westeros. This was done as an entry into the Summer Joust “Stairway Tales” category. And what a grand staircase it is, filled with details to match the look of the location from Game of Thrones. While keeping to the original’s muted color palette,  Martin brings out a little more contrast to great effect. I love how the dark red and orange show through the seams between white tiles on the stairway, recreating the mortar on the screen version. And the mix of outward-facing tiles, plates, and ingots recreate the engraved landing beneath the throne. The choice of minifig parts to recreate Missandei, Jorah, and the rest is spot on. It’s an exquisite remake of an iconic location, and just a great set of stairs.

Meereen Throne Room

A colorful blast to the medieval past

A medieval LEGO scene with nary a brick in black, white, or grey? It’s harder than you might think, but castle fan Klaas de Wit proves more than up to the challenge with the village of Tranquil Brook, “where everything is calm except the colors.” The bustling tableau makes up for the lack of swords and masonry with vibrant foliage, brightly painted buildings, a traveling goldsmith, and plenty of livestock. The colors and church steeple remind me of a Scandinavian village in the summertime. Klaas’ model is a great reminder that sometimes adding constraints can be a great way to unlock creativity.

Tranquil Brook

Klaas built the Tranquil Brook for the first round of the Summer Joust, an annual contest for LEGO Castle fans that always inspires amazing medieval builds from the LEGO community. We can’t wait to see more colorful Castle creations in the days to come!

This seemingly tranquil scene hints at a much larger story about to unfold

With so many things to look at in this wonderful build by Kit Nugent, it might be easy to miss the drama unfolding on the steps of this pastoral scene in the forest. While the somewhat blocky trees are stars of this build, I like the little details, like using the underside of plates as roof tiles, and the dappled light filtering through the trees to land on the face of a mysterious woman. Showing the scene at an angle, and filling in the base with black really draws your eyes to the center of the scene.

The Face Which Launched a Thousand Ships

Gloomy cathedral in the dead of night has some spooky spires

Cathedrals are generally spooky enough in my opinion, but it seems that Josiah Durand has decided that their cathedral needed a bit more spooky, with glowing red lighting softly seeping through the stained glass windows, and spikes, lots of spikes. Oh, not spooky enough? how about some mist, some fire at the rooftops, and a mysterious figure either falling to their death or giving up their earthly form to drift to the heavens…

The City of Destruction: Purity's Death