Diorama MOCs

“Assassin’s Creed – Venice 1486” by Barthezz Brick

Creative MOC designers frequently tread upon a perilously thin line between common sense achievable ideas and larger than life grandiose projects. Eventually they all succumb to the latter and either emerge victorious, captivating the world in a state of perpetual marvel, or they crack under the weight of ambition and drown in the abyss of their own mindless insanity.

Three years ago Barthezz Brick took one such journey, veering well outside the realm of common sense, and luckily for everyone involved, returned stronger than ever with a build so unique it could be easily dubbed as ‘MOC of the year’, or maybe even the decade.

We are referring to his amazing vision of Venice 1486, as it may  have looked during the 15th century.

Where other men blindly follow the truth, remember, nothing is true.

Where other men are limited by morality or law, remember, everything is permitted.

We work in the dark to serve the light.

We are assassins.

Assassins Creed Venice 1486

Venice 1486 – the best unofficial installment of the Assassin’s Creed game series

Barthezz Brick writes:

Approximately 3000 hours and 250.000 parts later I present to you with great pride and incredible detail; Venice 1486 as it might have looked in the 15th century.

This is the first chapter of a total of 4, in which I’ll take you into an adventure of Darion as a Master Assassin.

Chapter-1 is about ‘observing’, chapter-2 will focus on planning, chapter-3 about the execution and chapter-4 about the escape. And all will be completely different builds within the Venice.

So, expect more over the years.

The Parkour Hero Of the Story

Darion Aiulf da Fortebraccio

Meet ‘Darion Aiulf da Fortebraccio’ and his eyes and ears in the sky, ‘Gaita’ an Italian barn owl

Darion is a Venetian nobleman, and unbeknownst to others, is also Master Assassin and a former member of the Italian Brotherhood of Assassins.

Abandoned by his brothers and mentor for disobedience, Darion is now a lone assassin that seeks his targets through signs of the God. Nothing unreliable there!

For his next mark, faith steered Darion towards the Templar order who have gained a foothold over the Venice city grounds. They have guilefully coaxed the newly elected doge, ‘Marco Barbarigo‘ into an alliance after Marco openly expressed his support for the Templar Order.

This is where the story begins….

Q&A Tour Around the Venice

The Classic Pirates were rather impressed with this diorama and had the fortunate opportunity to interview Barthezz to extract those valuable insights into how this harbour was birthed into existence.

Venice west side

Venice is a city in north-eastern Italy which is built on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and interconnect by more than 400 ornate bridges

Q: Why Venice?

Long story short; my girlfriend challenged me after our holiday in Italy/Venice 3 years ago to make Venice. I accepted on my own terms to build a 15th century Venice and how it could’ve looked back in the days.

The small fishing boat

The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region long long time ago, around the 10th century BCE

Q: How much money did you spend on this project?

I can’t tell you. My girlfriend reads all my posts as well, and told here only a couple of hundred bucks.

The small sloop near bridge

Historically from 697 to 1797, Venice was the capital of the Republic of Venice, a major financial and maritime power

Q: Did you use any inspiration from the Assassins Creed 2 video game, which mainly based in Florence Italy?

AC2 also visited Venice in the game. So it’s an existing Assassins Creed setting. For my diorama I made the whole thing from my own fantasy. So it doesn’t exist in the game nor in Venice itself. I just used the setting and the environment of the city in my advantage.

Over the stone bride

Due to its strategic location, Venice was also a prominent centre of commerce – especially in the trade of silk, grain, and precious exotic spices

Q: Did you base any section or a building on the existing real life part of Venice?

I don’ t really like building existing things because people will always judge. Now I can do what I want and set a proper story and Venice feel how it could have looked like in the 15th century.

Easy life on the docks

It should not come as a big surprise that Venice is considered to have been the first official international financial centre

Q: Did you build first in digital, or just went straight ahead and built the real thing from physical LEGO?

I never use digital software for my LEGO builds. I do everything by hand and for 95% out of my head. I only made a childish top-down sketch to get the layout out of my head and the rest is designed along the way. Some parts are rebuild 2 or 3 times before i was satisfied with the result. So its really all by trail and error.

The town's main square

Venice was known under array of different names: “La Dominante”, “La Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”

Q: What was the hardest part for you to build? Ships, building, bridge?

The hardest part for me was fitting this all together and make sure the lines of sight where clearly visible from all directions. And if I need to pick only one section, it will be the round towers designs.

The merchant sloop

Numerous parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork – as we can attest to that here, the sight is beyond belief

Q: What’s your favourite part?

I don’t have one particular thing or section that is my favourite. But if I need to name a few; – the waving water – the bridge with the hp wands – the boats – the fountain – the round towers.

The small wooden bridge

But sadly, since every beginning has an end, the sovereignty of Venice came to an end in 1797, at the hands of that insatiable blue coat Napoleon

Q: Did you have periods where you got stuck with no idea how to move forward?

Not really in terms of size or does it get finished some day. The thoughts I had where more in the direction; is this good enough and do I still like it… If you look upon a build for so long it’s hard to still see the beauty of your own build.

The canoe under the wooden bridge

Today the lagoon and a part of the ‘old’ city have legal protection by an Imperial Soldiers convention, in other words, they are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Q: This diorama being chaper-1, is the chapter-2 also Venice or something else?

Chapter 2,3 and 4 will be AC builds and tell the rest of the story of Darion. Chapter 1 is about ‘observing’. Chapter 2 will focus on planning, 3 about the execution and 4 about the escape. All three will be completely different builds within Venice.

The white building

Last but not least, Venice has been described as one of Europe’s most romantic cities and the most beautiful city built  by humanity – and the sames echos for this brick-built rendition

Q: Roughly, how many minifigures are there?

A quick count learned me that there are approximately 90 minifigs incorporate within this build.

The main channel

For those who feel the need to nitpick, you may ask how this masterpiece is in any way related to the ‘Pirate theme’?

Q: How many conquistadors do you have?

14 conquistadores as CMF figs and some loose helmets and bodyarmor pieces to create another 10 for this diorama.

The Assassin's target

Even though this is not technically pirate themed, there is a generous amount of overlap. For instance the use of the Imperial Armada minifigs ties this into Classic Pirates nicely – Don Diego de LEGO would be proud!

Q: During those three years of building, how did you manage to keep the dust off?

I built some LEGO towers and sleepers in combination with a plastic sheet to keep the dust of. That works perfectly as you can see.

On the streets of Venice

The devil is in the details, and each little part of that fantastic diorama is a jewel of its own – observe the pigeon at the fountain and the cat preparing to leap

The light boy and the ducks

A gondola is a traditional long, narrow Venetian rowing boat which is steered by one person called a gondolier with the aid of an extremely long oar

Q: Last question; what did you use for the background?

The background is a industrial piece of vinyl flooring that I bought because my regular 2m wide backdrop was way too small. I still need a piece for our attic, so I hit 2 birds with one stone!

The broad view of the east side

Undoubtedly this is the biggest Assassin’s Creed MOC we’ve seen, and what’s more amazing is that sheer size of it did not deter Barthezz Brick from making truly phenomenal photos

Fishing sloop on the east side

Road signs sails really capture the attention, but there are so many other details here on this boat it is hard to pick a favourite

The east side docks

Seeing that eagle on the tower we can almost visualise 360° panoramic views during the synchronization – Assassins Creed  fans will understand

Eagle view over the east tower

Notice all the building techniques used to curve (bridges, towers, boats, crane… ) in one simple word – wonderful!

The romantic ride

Gondolier, would you please take us around one last time before we visit the About the Builder section and leave Venice, gracie!

Venetian Gondola on LEGO Ideas

Not strictly ‘pirate themed’, but after all what we have seen, maybe we could should take a minute or two and give our support to his LEGO Ideas submission, the “Venetian Gondola – Minifgure Scale”.

LEGO Ideas Description

I present to you a minifigure scale gondola. The iconic tourist attraction nowadays, but back in the day the way of transport through Venice.

It’s always striking how authentic the city still is and how many elements have been preserved as they looked 500 years ago. One of the elements that really stands out for me is the gondola. In its shape or appearance never changed and yet the iconic element that immediately reminds you of Venice.

A souvenir most tourist take home to remind you of your last vacation.

About the Builder…

Dad, LEGO enthusiast, AFOL, builder since 2017 and a MOC Expert, Barthezz Brick is all that and more! He hails from the Netherlands and when he is not building jaw-dropping historical dioramas, he sails the globe on the Flying Dutchman. Really? Nay, just kidding! He mostly builds stunning dioramas and uses his remaining free time to juggle multiple social accounts, in which he regularly shares tips, tutorials and the secret knowledge behind his builds.

Connect with him on:

What Do You Think?

With so many incredible, mind blowing details it seems impossible to find the best place to start processing the entire diorama, but after a week or two, when you come to your senses, tell us what do you like the best? The towers, the bridges, the size of it, or the overall effort and time Barthezz invested?

Tell us, for we are waiting for you in the LEGO Pirates forum


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