New Century City Block III

Hallo all, there's architecture content now - another big project that got finished couple of months ago, the new city block, size of 64x96 studs, of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture. The project took around two years of very fractured building. The model features three two-module buildings. One and half of them were exhibited in Hupicon in April last year. And this was due to be finished to Pii Poo's local Tampere event, but as that one was chancelled due to the virus, it remains waiting for its exhibit debut.
The first building I made is the white one - the Primrose building - located in the corner. It is inspired by Secession architecture in Prague. Secession, the Viennese art movement in early 1900s, is best known in architecture via works of Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffman and Joseph Maria Olbrich. However, the style was present all around Hasburg Empire, including Bohemia, and whole disticts of Prague's New Town and Jewish Quarter were built at the time. Secession featured classical symmetry that was out of fashion in Northern Europe's Art Nouveau, but its modern structures and elegant simplicity made impact in Finland too; Wagner, Hoffman and Olbrich were quoted and presented in Finnish cultural and architectural magazines at the time.

This spesific building is based on Jungmannova námesti 1 in Jungmann Square in Prague's New Town. The building forms the axial endpoint of important Narodni street and Most Legii bridge. However, I left out most of the heaviness of Baroque-inspired details in fashion of Otto Wagner's designs and Finnish contemporary applications. I left the sculpted mask above the entrance and added a larger head ornament above the large window on the third floor; female figures with flowing hair are essential in popular image of Art Nouveau, and can be found in architecture around Prague, but are largely absent in Finnish buildings of the age; here architects preferred more crude and later more abstract ornamentation. The felt fitting for this "foreign" building and made it possible to make a mental connection to my character builds. The wrought-iron railings, as well as the round ornaments under the turrets, refer to Secession architecture. The omega-shaped portal was used around the world that time and ended up in couple of Finnish buildings, too.

The building is rather complicated technically. The large window, as well as the thin tall windows in the central bay, are made with SNOT and 1x2 trans-clear bricks. The turret corners are made with 2x4 bow parts to create plastic, soft curve of plasted Art Nouveau architecture. This required quite a lot of those pieces and more though than usual to the construction; Some of the windows, that again use SNOT, are not really connected, but are placed between parts in a way that they stay in place perfectly. I like this corner technique beter than macaroni bricks as it's easier to bond it with neighbouring structures and leaves no gaps (macaroni bricks have little gaps for studs in their sides).

The second building - Kallioperä house - was built in two phases, the corner for Hupicon last year and the rest this spring. It is mostly inspired by Finnish Jugendstil of 1904-1907 by Gustaf Estlander and Grahn-Hedman-Wasastjerna. The triangular stone portal, remiscent of Finnish medieval stone churches, is nicked from Von Essen-Kallio-Ikäläinen's Norma house. The round double portal housing both door and gateway is inspired by work of Estlander who preferred this kind of entry, made of big blocks of granite. The gray natural stone area is based on Finnish National Museum by the prime office of the time, Gesellius-Lindgren-Saarinen. It features a pine tree motif. The top floor hosts a loggia-type balcony. The ornamentation of the building features plant motif moldings, animal motifs and imp faces, one under the portal. Sun ornament on the gable was importet to Finland from Swedish Boberg's work and used in Pohjola insurance building by Gesellius-Lindgren-Saarinen; here it's made of rats.
Albertinkatu 19 (1906) by Gustaf Estlander.

Portal of Kirkkokatu 14 (1905) by Gustaf Estlander.
Pohjola Insurance Company (1901) by Gesellius-Lindgren-Saarinen.
Finnish National Museum by Gesellius-Lindgren-Saarinen.

Portal of Norma (1904) by Von Essen-Kallio-Ikäläinen.

The robust, wide bay windows with pointed roof were used by office of Grahn-Hedman-Wasastjerna, and shaping of the top floor is influenced by their buildings in Helsinki. Here they are accompanied by unusually heavy wave-like moudling under the eaves. The roof is complex composition of gables and turrets; I even remembered to add the chimneys, a very important part of Finnish Jugendstil roofscape (large houses could have hundreds of fireplaces). Number of wedge and cone elements are used along the slopes to form the roof. The window panels are bit of compromise; diamond hatch window panels weren't used in Finland, but the upper part of the window was divided into small, usually square panels. Usage of diamons hatches aims to capture the same amount of detail in the scale, even if the detail itself is not accurate.
Sirius (1905) by Grahn-Hedman-Wasastjerna.

The third building - Kotiharju house - is inspired by one source, Gesellius-Lindgren-Saarinen's Eol (1903). It is not exact copy by no means - making correct minifig scale replica would be much bigger. But most of the elements of Luotsikatu side are there: triangular gable with bay window on side, cut-out in the middle with loggia balcony inspired by Finnish luhtiaitta, a venacular building element, and beefy tower element with robust conical roof. The windows are of different sizes and styles and the intake part is in darker colour. The original building was supposedly inspired by contemporary English country houses.

There are differences, of course. My version doesn't feature separate corner section beyond the tower block, and the bay window is very different. Sadly, on the former case: I would have liked the bay window to be plastic, thick and round, but it's very hard to make such thing with angled windows! Using 2l long TECHNIC pin hole tubes instead of 1x1 round bricks could improve it, but I didn't have enough. Maybe I'll replace them at some point.

As with the white building, this one features rounded corners made with SNOT. It required quite complex sturctures, but as the brick wall zig-zags on the corners, with SNOT bricks for connection, it actually forms sort of support pillars behind the corners, making the whole thing more sturdy (and also eats lot of bricks). Corners around the intake are made with 2x4 bows, and the corner of the building is made with few dozen 1x3x3 bows in yellow (I had to Bricklink around ten from Sweden). It's not obvious from the pictures, but the effect is very nice in real life.

Building of this house began in last summer. Back then I very quickly made the left part of the facade and the loggia balcony. The tower was made during the winter and spring months. The first version featured windows in the corner - as in the original Eol - but it destroyed the feel of solid and strong yet calm walls. The tower roof took bit of pondering to get right, especially on the back where it connects to the rest of the roof, made with ordinary slopes. The doors of the shop rooms, as well as the surprisingly complicated bay window roof, were the last thing made for this.

All the events are chancelled by now, but hopefully I'll be able to display these at some point. I'll post more soon! All photographs here are my own.



Magadril of Dandelions

This was another character build made during the last busy weeks of spring semester. The starting points were cloth pieces used as spider cocoons in The Hobbit sets and a sticker sheet that came with some Elves sets years back. And the character herself was definitely inspired by watching Lego Elves during the pandemic. There’s something similar in the aesthetics.

I began with the cloth piece that formed the top with a pleasant, silky pattern. The sticker sheet featured almost tattoo-like sketches of people and dragons, so I applied one to tan 1x2x2 brick, as it was too long for more versatile 2x2 tile. Thus the stomach far formed with 1x2x2 brick on the middle. Another piece use I had had in mind for a while was medium blue wide barrels as sleeves, and they fitted the overall style well; bare arms could have looked bit dull, and sort of puffed sleeves balanced the colour scheme nicely. I left the upper arms bare to give the attire light, fantasy feel.

Making skirts with enough room for legs to move is a common challenge in character builds, as readers of this blog might be familiar with. On this case things turned surprisingly well. The skirt construction with four 1x1 round-plate-with-bar stuck into 2x2 round tile (in the middle, under the bow) is similar to my Nissa character build from last summer. The aqua belt connects to upper pair of those pieces, hiding the gap, and 4x4 macaroni bricks connect to the lower pair, forming the sides of the dress. Light blue car door, originating from some old RLUG support, make a neat line on the hem. The front panel is made with perfectly fitting wedge plates, furbished with macaroni tiles and Spider-Man’s web piece. I quite like those web accessories, as they have some sweet geometric patterns with handy connection points. The legs are based on Herald of Carp Speeder’s legs, but these actually go up all the way. The hip joint is even on the right height! The feet are bare, inspired by Galadriel.

Hair is always interesting part to build. I tried some vibrant colours, as well as sand green on this, as in Elves theme, but something more mundane and elegant worked better with white and bluish colours of the dress. I settled on silver as I had plenty of dinosaur tails for locks and octagonal frame pieces for the forehead to connect everything. The crown of trans-medium-blue claw piece settled it; the upper octagonal frame is angled 11.25 degrees, so the spikes of the crown are nicely dense. This element was not part of the original concept (no sketches were made as I was home all the time) but it fitted the fantasy theme nicely as did the sleeves.



Samurai of the Blood Moon

This was one of the simple character models I made as a relaxing activity during last spring’s hectic schoolwork. It was inspired by Skeleton Warriors, a 90s action cartoon we re-watched during the pandemic (we also watched Lego Elves and we’re currently watching Bravestarr). I also just simply wanted to make another samurai (the latest, samurai of the garden, was built in November 2018, and Samurai Mech in last summer). Samurai armour has plenty of interesting material patterns that inspire new piece uses. This character is not a skeletal samurai (nor skeleton warrior) but idea of skeleton-esque oni mask felt cool.

The first version of the mask was built around astromechanic droid leg as a nose and large eye holes with cheese slopes. It had some potential, but it was too bulky and tall and thus unfitting with the bulky shoulder and neck armour. It was replaced by more streamlined looking skull mask with thin eye holes and delicate nose bones made with barb pieces. I used strong contrasts of black and red to go with the pale mask but added some dark bley so the colour scheme wouldn’t be too close to my black-and red-warriot series I made a year ago. I bet using those long mudguard pieces as the helmet horns isn’t new trick, but it looks good and gives the limelight to those elegantly shaped pieces.

The black bamboo armour built with car bumper pieces is one the seed part uses of this model. I had plenty of those around, without much use for them. I like the rounded shape they give to the torso above the cloth belt. Another piece use was using those weird, U-shaped wedge pieces to form the loincloth. They’re connected in a diagonal pattern with some help from 1x1 quarter round tiles, forming a piece of textile with tattered edges. The neck armour uses octagonal panel with Ninjago dragon sticker, a piece that has been looking for use for some time now. Its edges are furbished with lever bases and 1x1 round plates. The shoulder armour plates limit the movement bit too much, but I like how they line up almost gapless with the other pieces of armour. Bulky shoulder plates are essential part of samurai silhouette.

Using thread links as skirt armour is another old trick, but I haven’t used it for a while, if ever. At least it is easy and looks good with the similar pattern of chest armour. Samurai of the Blood Moon has two swords; permission to carry two swords was essential part of samurai class. The upper legs are easily tackled with large CCBS shells, representing simple trousers. The lower legs I’m especially happy with. The knee armour with its red lines turned out nice.