Capturing emotion in bricks isn’t always as easy as it cracks up to be, but fortunately a wide range of terrified minifigure expressions made achieving fear possible.  I say fortunately, because I set out to build an immersive scene of a volcano exploding over a medieval town.  My goal was to present a minifigure-height view of the drama unfolding.  And the result: Havoc.

I started the build off with a simple 16×32 baseplate, then mapped out the road and front houses.  Given the forced perspective of the build – in other words, the fact that the background houses are built at a diminishing scale – it was difficult to determine the exact scheme ahead of time.

I spent a few days stalling over the layout, not being able to get over that first hump.  But time was ticking away, and I finally buckled down and got to work on the road and the first few minifigure scale houses.  As you can see from the following behind the scenes shot, I simply built up to a suitable height and didn’t bother with roofs!  That made my job a lot easier, I’ll have to admit!

Having completed the house on the left I started to work my way around with the further houses burning in the background.  The challenge of microscale is something I’ve always enjoyed, especially because it often allows you to spend a longer time over a single piece.  At any rate, building the flames and crumbling roof was a breeze.

I knew that minifigure posing and expression would be absolutely essential when it came to capturing the feel of this scene, so I put a good deal of thought into that part of the build.  Dynamic poses aren’t easy, but when you do stumble across one, it’s rewarding!

In this next behind the scenes photo you can get a good feel for the size of the volcanic mountain in the background.  I did a light slope for the road as it got farther back, and then I just built up on the rockwork from there, being careful to include a few lava falls here and there.  In the end, the mountain isn’t presentable on its own, but as a backdrop, it gets the job done.

Poses, poses… I enjoyed tinkering around with this guy up front.

As it turned out in the end you could hardly see the exploding wall behind this unfortunate minifigure, but it’s there and was actually one of my favorite parts of the build!

For the house on the left I tried out a new technique: SNOT or Studs-Not-On-Top stonework, with sloping walls and a tudor-style second story.  Notice also the carefully hid attachment point for the shooting lava flames.  That’s one of the great things about scenes that are geared toward a specific angle… you can pull off apparently gravity defying moves like that by being careful to engineer the attaching pieces strictly behind the scenes.

On the whole, this was enjoyable to build and satisfying in its final results!    I don’t know about you, but it sure makes me want to scream, “Run!”


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