Initially, I envisaged this as a simple build that would take me 3 to 4 hours at most. The defining characteristics were that the subject wanted to be on a unicorn surrounded by books, that she was an archaeologist and that was particularly interested in Egypt.

My first problem was how to make unicorns, but I recalled that Lego made these skeleton horses, and thought I could attach a horn to them and surround it with a few books in a small cave or something and voila! A small set would be born.

The problem however was that I couldn’t think of any small set designs that really worked and as it turned out I only had black skeletons in stock which seemed inappropriate for a unicorn.  After a time, a dead unicorn skeleton seemed maybe a bit too morbid anyway. Managing to create a ‘live’ unicorn in the end I abandoned the initial concept altogether and started from scratch.

It took a full week or more before I conceived of the idea of a lost Egyptian library, perhaps a small version of the one that used to be at Alexandria.

I wanted something Egyptian looking and although I had a very small amount of tan bricks, I did have a lot of arches so the thought occurred to me if I could use arches to recreate an Escher’esque design or at least provided a similar impression. I came up with something simple and pretty and had a pyramid on top but it wasn’t great, so I set out to create something a bit more complex and again, started from scratch.

I added a natural stone feature so the building would seem at least a little to be growing out of the stone itself. I then set about adding a latticework of arches to the interior.

In the end, in the diminutive design  I think there are 14 arches, not one of them the same. There is a bookcase of old forgotten tomes and rare books protected through time by the library’s secret location. The stone has been crafted to possess a weather-beaten look as if sand has slowly shaped and smoothed it through the centuries. Various animals adorn the model both real and symbolic. The temple is smooth and sleek giving it a timeless quality that contrasts sharply with the barren environment that surrounds it.

I see the valiant explorer aided by her magic unicorn seeking the knowledge of the library asking the cat’s permission to enter. It’s obviously part of a bigger story that I leave to your imagination. The colours are representative of the desert with a deep red imbuing the set with a regal quality and the hieroglyphs and overall structure with its graceful archways and rounded battlements denote its cultural and historical identity.

It’s hard to say but it something like 24hrs of solid work to complete this model over a week, possibly more. (I should add that my hand was broken during this time so it was possibly a fair bit longer than it might otherwise had been). Much time was devoted to thought experiment but many things like the rock face needed to be continually rebuilt, however in the end there is not one brick that has not been lovingly placed and I am thrilled something like this has arisen from such simple foundations.


Brickman Dan

(Daniel Hitchings)

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