Once a year, my long-distance partner Alyse Middleton and I, Chris Doyle, try to take a week of vacation together. With the realities of life in the USA in 2020 limiting the potential destinations, this time we opted for a “Quarencation” at my place. Kind of a bummer, but staying here kept us within easy reach of my LEGO workspace…and that paid out some nifty results. We were able to take an idea we had been kicking around all the way from concept to physical model. Working in the style of the new LEGO Art sets, we created a mosaic of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.
I’d built a number of mosaics in the past, so I had a few ideas on how we could approach making a new one. And while that experience was helpful, we ended up taking a very different route to reach our goal. Come along with us on our journey of highs, lows, seemingly endless moments of “I guess we’re starting over again“, and, yes, eventual triumph.
One of the joys of writing for the Brothers Brick is seeing how LEGO builders make clever use of the parts in their collection. Emil Lidé has been experimenting with parts in unconventional ways, including using dark green minifig plumes for grass. The plumes are affixed to the 1×1 round tile with bar and pin holder, which allows them to be tilted in multiple directions. This in turn gives the grass a random but natural-looking pattern. As someone who loves LEGO landscaping, it would be exciting to see this technique used on a larger scale!
Markus Rollbühler whipped up some wholesome LEGO goodness in the form of this fabulous classic bakery. Markus put a lot of thought into the ingredients that went into his build, with an excellent use of parts throughout the model. Both parts of the LEGO treasure chest are used to form portions of wooden beams, book binding elements are used to form windowsills, and the sprue from the new minifig wand accessory is cleverly used to form the body of a candelabra. Keeping up with the bakery theme, Markus even managed to use pretzels for windows and the honey-laced beehive to form the top of the conical shaped roof. There are plenty of other awesome details to spot. What are some of your favorite techniques on display here?
Amidst the summer heat, Josephine Monterosso’s brick-built grapes look quite refreshing, not to mention realistic. They look like they were just picked off the vine, right down to the green leaf hanging off the end of the stem (the leaf appears to be a green minifig cape). The grapes themselves are purple Technic ball joints, a part which has been around since 2001 but never appeared in dark purple until this year (you can find it in sets 76103 & 41342). A good part can be made even better with the proper technique, and I especially love how Josephine used plant pieces to create a very organic looking bunch of grapes. Bon appétit!
Orcs can be beautiful, as Dr. Zarkow demonstrates in his Warcraft-inspired Orc Burrow. Everything here, from landscaping details to the building itself is well-executed. The use of cheese slopes to create the impression of rough stonework on the hut is particularly brilliant. If you’d like to see how he achieved this technique, he has been kind enough to share a photograph of how it was done. There are also some really playful details, including the pig hitched to a cart filled with wheat. Seeing that made me squeal with excitement!
Tim Schwalfenberg’s latest build, Wizard’s Gate, is a masterclass in both rock work and brick wall building. There are a lot of lovely techniques packed in to really make this model top class. In particular, the wall portion of the gate uses a technique that requires some off-setting techniques using the headlight brick and some patience with clips and tiles, but the finished look is really fantastic.
Tim has provided a breakdown of the technique used to create the brick wall effect. As Tim explains, “The wall is constructed using headlight bricks to achieve a half plate vertical offset and then alternating clips on 1×2 tiles to form the exterior wall It’s similar to many of legostrator’s awesome techniques.”
In order to create all the amazing stuff you see here every day, LEGO builders have to do what all artists do: (a) learn a variety of strange techniques, and (b) endlessly steal from one another. And now fans of Microscale dioramas have a chance to kill two birds with one stone! Serbian builder Milan Sekiz has used a relatively new sloped piece (lovingly nicknamed the baby bow) to come up with three different microscale tree designs. Change the colors of the bows to represent different seasons.