Gypsy Wagons

Gypsy Wagons

Gypsy wagons have been around for a very long time, having primarily been seen with travelling circuses, before being adopted by gypsies.
The “Horse drawn, painted, one roomed house on wheels with a stove” is believed to originate in France in the early 19th Century. Gypsies themselves adopted them around 170 years ago.

Its Romanesque characteristics, its baroque carvings and bright colours are likely to have been picked up from wanderings in Central and Eastern Europe. The Gypsyes’ name for their wagons is a “Vardo”, from the Iranian name vurton, that means cart.
There were different types of wagons and they were made of oak, ash, elm, walnut and pine. Most caravans were pulled by draft horses.

I’ve always been intrigued by Gypsies Wagons and in the past few weeks I built a couple of them. Inspiration come mainly from a coffee table book my wife gifted me, “Les Roulottes, une invitation au voyage”, a big source of colourful and funny caravans. It was very funny designing and building these caravans and also choose the right Minifigures from old sets and Collectionable Series. If you are wondering why Jack Sparrow is in the MOC the answer is that I think he has the perfect look of a yesteryear Gypsy.

LATCHO DROM!

“Two brightly-coloured wagons are home to a band of travelling folk in Andrea Lattanzio‘s latest LEGO model. Life on the road has never looked so inviting, with the bold colors of the mobile homes enhanced with bursts of flowers, and the scene stuffed with functional-looking details. I love the hanging tassels, the little chimney stacks, and the clutter of bags and lanterns and buckets. Don’t miss the use of minifigure hats as flower-pots, and the catapults used for the legs on the fortune teller’s table.” 

(“Life on the road”  The Brothers Brick – March 29, 2020)

Into the Wild and the Magic Bus

Into the Wild and the Magic Bus

A couple of months ago I built the Walden Cabin inspired by the the book “Walden; or life in the woods” written by Henry David Thoreau.
Walden and others books of authors like Leo Tolstoy and Jack London were the inspiration for Chris McCandless‘s journey back in early nineties.
My latest work is the most rapresentative scene of the movie Into the Wild that is an adaptation of the book of the same name written by Jon Krakauer, and tells the story of Christopher McCandless indeed, a man who hiked across North America into the Alaskan wilderness in the early 1990s.
McCandless’s intention was to live in harmony with nature, being self-sufficient, and rejecting the excess of material wealth and societal pressure. Unluckily his story ended differently than that of his predecessor Thoreau…
I saw the movie many years ago and recently I saw it again and I found it very inspirational and a little bit sad.
I recreated the “Magic Bus” that became the home for Alexander Supertramp, that’s the new name of Chris, in the middle of the wild nature, as you can see in the movie and as it really was back in those years. The bus is an old 1946 International Harvester K-5 used by the Yutan Construction Company to provide remote accommodations for the construction crew from Fairbanks that worked on road upgrades in 1960–1961. It contained beds and a wood-burning stove, which still remain today. 
I could tell you many stories related to the film but I don’t want to reveal anything to you, since maybe you haven’t seen the film or read the book yet…
Today would be Chris’s 52nd birthday and I think it’s the right day to share my Magic Bus. Happy birthday Chris!

“In honour of Chris McCandless’ 52nd birthday earlier this week, 2019 TBB LEGO Builder of the Year Andrea Lattanzio build a stunning recreation of the “Magic Bus” from the end of McCandless’ life, as documented in the book and film Into the Wild. This creation is a fitting tribute. The landscape looks like the clearing on the rugged Stampede Trail, featuring various elements representing rocks, plants, and mushrooms. My favourites are the tree built out of brown stud shooters and the grey homemaker hairpiece as a large rock. Framed inside its wild Alaskan surroundings, is the bus itself. The design is spot on and includes clever use of a dish with a spider web pattern as old and aged headlights and a stack of 3×3 dishes as the bus’s grill.” 

(“Go into the wild on the magic bus”  The Brothers Brick – February 16, 2020)

It’s time for Santa Claus to go!

It’s time for Santa Claus to go!

Like every year at this time Santa Claus has to get to work, children all over the world are waiting for him.
In my latest diorama you can see Santa Claus leaving his red cabin at the North Pole to get on his sleigh pulled by two Huskys. He has a long way to go…

This is probably my last MOC for this year and I wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

“Santa Claus, despite his media persona and the products he is implied to endorse, is not the consumerist type. Sure, he brings presents on Christmas to children, but not the max-out-the-credit-cards-and-refinance-the-house pile of presents that parents are somehow expected to provide. He lives a life of humble solitude, somewhere up in the frozen north (though not the North Pole; what responsible person would build a house on seasonally variant ice?), where he prepares for his annual journey of beneficence. At least, that is what this build by Andrea Lattanzio (Norton74) seems to imply. A delightful cabin, similar to Walden but much redder, rests in a peaceful snow-covered clearing, with deep snow on the roof and a sled ready to go (even though the sled is pulled by huskies, rather than reindeer). The most impressive part of the display might be the collection of parts used to create the snow-covered foliage, from levers and megaphones to minifig hands and everything else white. However, I love the cannon as a chimney — topped by pots, even more. Unicorn horns make for lovely icicles on the eaves (if only they were available in transparent colors!). My one quibble is that the woodpile looks far too sparse to make it through the winter in conditions like that. Santa will freeze to death. Unless he isn’t watching out for the polar bear lurking behind the cabin, in which case he’ll be devoured before freezing. And before bringing me LEGO for my stocking.”

(“What happened to the reindeer?” The Brothers Brick – December 13, 2019)

Walden; or, Life in the Woods

Walden; or, Life in the Woods

A few months ago a friend of mine loaned me a book I had always heard of but never read. The book is the well-known “Walden; or life in the woods” written by Henry David Thoreau and published in 1854.
Walden details Thoreau’s experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days (1845–47) in a cabin he built near Walden Pond amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts.
By immersing himself in nature, Thoreau hoped to gain a more objective understanding of society through personal introspection. Simple living and self-sufficiency were Thoreau’s other goals, and the whole project was inspired by transcendentalist philosophy, a central theme of the American Romantic Period. It is considered Thoreau’s masterwork.

Struck by the history and inspired by the cover of the book, in the few past weeks I built Thoreau’s cabin in the wood. Its the first time that I made a woods-themed creation and I really had a lot fun building it.

Relatively neglected during Thoreau’s lifetime, Walden achieved tremendous popularity in the 20th century. Thoreau’s description of the physical act of living day by day at Walden Pond gave the book authority, while his command of a clear, straightforward, but elegant style helped raise it to the level of a literary classic. 

“Inspired by the book Walden; or Life in the Woods, Andrea Lattanzio escapes from the fast food restaurants and gas stations (and futuristic rovers!) of the modern world into the wilds through his latest build. I wonder if Thoreau, the main character of the aforementioned book, would choose LEGO as his outlet instead of escaping to the wild if he had lived in modern time? The diorama captures everything a self-sufficient cabin in the woods would have (including a bit of the woods). The textures and little imperfections on the cabin capture the hand-crafted appearance very well, most notably the tiles on the roof pressed down only half way and the window with a half-plate offset in its top and bottom halves. The pine trees are done quite well, with leaf elements placed at convincing angles on the central axis. The use of the old tree stump piece adds a lot to the atmosphere, as do the inspired choices of gray homemaker hair part as a stone and brown stud shooters in the dead tree on the right side of the diorama.

(“Escape the mecha and spaceships of our society and build a cabin in the woods” The Brothers Brick – December 2, 2019)

Mariachi wagon and Mexican house

Mariachi wagon and Mexican house

One of the most vivid traditions of Mexico is surely the Mariachi culture. I’ve been always intrigued by Mariachi musicians and when LEGO released the Mariachi in Series 16 Collectible Minifigures I thought it was really cute and perfect for a Mexican themed MOC.

My latest creation represents a classic Mexican scene: the Mariachi Wagon with the musicians on board ready to play the serenade to the beautiful girl on the terrace. On the right her father with his eyes well opened.
The house boasts a multi-level terrace structure, a couple of arbors covered by flowers and a large patio. Cactus and plants of all kind are all around.

In addition to the Mariachi, I also included in the diorama the Maraca Man (Series 2), Flamenco Dancer (Series 6) and the Taco Tuesday Guy (the LEGO Movie).

“Most Western-themed LEGO creations take their architectural inspiration from the single-street towns of the Gold Rush — clapperboard buildings, usually saloons and general stores. It makes for a pleasant change to see something a little more Southwestern in tone with Andrea Lattanzio‘s build of a classic whitewashed adobe flat-roofed house. And even better, there’s not a gunfighter in sight; instead, we’re treated to a mariachi band arriving in their wagon to serenade the farmer’s beautiful daughter. The house is a visual treat, covered with nice details, from the use of printed 1×1 round tiles on the protruding ends of the logs to the plant-covered arbors that provide shady spots on the flat roof. The use of woodgrain tiles above the windows and doors adds some welcome texture amongst the white. Bien hecho, Andrea!”

(“Jumping on board the Mexican bandwagonThe Brothers Brick – September 15, 2019)

Andy’s | Hamburger Stand

Andy’s | Hamburger Stand

I must admit I’m a big fan of hamburgers, especially if served in a beautiful restaurant marked by a modernist architecture.
This creation joins my passion for the most famous sandwich in the world and the vintage architecture.
Andy’s stand boasts a retro modernist design, with an elegant V-shaped roof, bustling terrace and googie style signage. The building design comes from my previous Esso Gas Station and it was designed by the Dutch architect Willem Marinus Dudok in 1953.
A large burger stands out on the roof and makes sure you don’t pass this one by.

The terrace has two nice tables where customers can enjoy hamburgers and other delicacies under the umbrellas. On the the back a guy is unloading his vintage van and delivering fresh beef and vegetables. The Van a is a III generation Chevrolet G-series made by General Motors from 1981 to 1983 and used in previous MOCs with different livery.

Flower pots, electricity poles, garbage bins and other details complete the scene. Inside the stand you can find everything you need to make great hamburgers of all kinds, fries and coffee.