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The Pharos of the Sun
My 2017 Nashville Public Lego Contest Entry.
About this creation
Let me tell you a story of a time long ago, a world of steam-power and adventure. Our story starts with a boy, a clever boy who always looked for new things and new places. He was always exploring the woods and hills, drawing maps to secret places he found, and hunting for buried pirate treasures that he imagined. So it was that the clever boy grew up to be a cartographer, a maker of maps, and he dreamed of the day when he too could go out in the wide world to the edges of the map and find something no one else had seen.

One day, while he was searching the dusty archive of a great library for charts, he stumbled across a very old book. And it was in this book that he found a legend of a lost tower. It wasn’t much, only these simple words:

Far to the East, in the land beyond the sun, is the Shining Coast. There the gentle waters of the Azure Sea lap upon golden sands. Far out into the sea are the last giants, great standing stones which mark the entrance to the Kingdom of the Sun. There, amidst the gathering winds stands a great fiery tower, the Pharos of the Sun, older than time and taller than a ship’s great mast. It is said that here, the Sun keeps her heart, and treasures untold.

But these words lit a fire in him that he had thought extinguished. He once more desired to explore the wide world and see sights no one had ever seen. Many years passed, and he visited many places and saw a great many things. Though he had learned much about the Pharos, it seemed forever out of his reach. Explorers and adventurers had sought this tower for ages untold and yet none had found it. Some sought it for the renown, others to steal the treasures it held, and some because it was told that the Sun herself would come down to earth each morning before she graced the skies. It was said that if one could look upon her in her fiery splendor, she would grant the asker a single wish.

Finally, as he was getting on in years and his hope was almost dashed, he found a small pressed piece of vellum stuffed in the binding of an old atlas. Unfolding it gently his eyes widened and he knew at once that this was the map he sought. The descriptions of the legend matched it so perfectly, and with the help of a local scholar he translated the cryptic writings upon it. At last! He finally knew the place to start! Excitement bubbled up and he felt spry and young once more.

So it was that the cartographer hired the S.S. Mandrake, a small but sturdy steamer, and set sail for the uncharted waters. He had many adventures before reaching the Shining Coast and the Azure Sea, far beyond the known lands, yet he finally reached those far shores. Then, sailing east into the sun, they came at last to the cairns that marked the last giants, great stones rising from the water. The S.S. Mandrake could go no further. A small skiff was set down in the water and the cartographer and his two assistants set forth to reach the tower. They were not alone, for trailing behind them was a small submarine captained by a villainous privateer who sought to steal the treasures and glory for his own.

Past the rocks the skiff slipped, quiet and smooth borne upon the winds, and the cartographer found himself at long last standing on a small dock at the base of the miraculous tower. Behind them the chug-chug-chug of the submarine’s engine as it turned the turbines echoed in the deeps, deeps that hid a silent guardian. Without warning great tentacles encircled the submarine as the mighty Kraken reached forth. The popping and grinding of gears could be heard for miles as the beast’s might crushed the submarine and dragged it to a watery grave far beneath the waves, never to return.

Free of his unseen adversary, the cartographer returned to his destiny, the sun was rising and she would appear on the tower once more. Could he stand the sight? And if he did, what would he wish for? What would you wish for?


If built to scale, the Pharos of the Sun would stand nearly 100 feet tall, almost as tall as the Colossus of Rhodes, or a ten-story building. Estimated at more than 2,000 years old, it would be one of the fifteen tallest structures of the ancient world; though only a quarter of the height of the more famous Pharos of Alexandria.

The runes are taken from Tolkien’s Dwarvish and represent the cardinal directions N, S, E, W. Each cardinal direction is given a custom color of gem to represent that side of the tower. North is a white crystal (diamond) to represent the icy northern winds; South is a red crystal (ruby) to represent the heat of the tropics; East is a light blue crystal (aquamarine) to represent the sun lit sky of mid-day; finally, the West is a dark blue crystal (sapphire) like the night sky.

There is a hidden chamber behind the South rune hiding the Library of the Sun. It is the only rune that matches the cardinal direction’s coloration. Inside is one of the two cartographer’s assistants. He is inspecting a cabinet of rare books and a hieroglyphic inscription.

The Heart of the Sun is a giant yellow crystal (topaz) that rests on the third tier of the tower. A secret switch (press the gem) in the hidden library’s ceiling will make it glow.

The goddess, depicted with a decidedly Egyptian flair, stands on the tower. She is one of 5 mini-figures in the scene.

Special Details:

The map in the hands of the scholar (in the skiff) is a map to a lighthouse treasure that is actually a standard LEGO piece, not a custom piece.

The figurines used were designed to display a “steampunk” aesthetic. Though the scene is not overtly “steampunk”, lacking the gears common to the genre, the heavy use of tans and golds, and the Victorian stylings of the characters are to suggest its inclusion in a fantastic melding of steampunk and high fantasy akin to games like Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (Sierra ©2001) or movies like Atlantis: The Lost Empire (Disney ©2001). Though not visible here, the S.S. Mandrake is intended to be a steampunk vessel.

The submarine and kraken are loosely based on the Nautilus and Giant Squid from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870). The Kraken is a mythological monster originating in the Norse legends, though similar monsters appears in other myths.

The skiff is rigged with Lego thread and sails from the Lego Movie’s Sea Cow.

The rocks are a composite of several mythical legends about giants becoming stone, in this case it is strongly influenced by the animated movie Song of the Sea (Cartoon Saloon, ©2014). There, the giant Mac Lir was turned to stone amidst the sea. The placement of the stones is reminiscent of the cliffs and rocks faced by many heroes of old, including Jason and the Argonauts, Odysseus, and many others.

Displayed at:
Nashville Public Library Contest 2017 - Nashville, TN


 I made it 
  August 4, 2017
Quoting Zac Rosamond Truly wonderful! I can see the subtle inclusion of steampunk. The story is also well thought out!
Thank you. I found a lot of people didn't get that this was steampunk because they're expecting all steampunk to be levers and gears, smoke and steam. Yes that's part of steampunk, but I prefer subtlety in mine, where steampunk is but a part of a larger magical world where technology and magic overlap in strange and interesting ways.
 I like it 
  August 4, 2017
Truly wonderful! I can see the subtle inclusion of steampunk. The story is also well thought out!
 I like it 
  March 10, 2017
Very elegant. I like the accompanying tale.
 I made it 
  February 20, 2017
Quoting Didier B Nice diorama !
Thank you.
 I like it 
  February 14, 2017
Nice diorama !
By J. Y.
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop The Pharos of the SunSteampunk

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