Category Archives: Building Techniques

Not sure what SNOT is? Want to learn innovative new ways to create awesome LEGO models of your own? Peruse our posts about LEGO building techniques to pick up tricks & tips from the best.

Eat fresh!

These larger-than-life sculptures by Bruce Lowell look more like pixelated photos than LEGO creations. Seriously, just squint your eyes a bit and these lunchtime treats look just like the real thing! I particularly love how Bruce captured the Subway and Lay’s logos perfectly, even on three-dimensional surfaces. And while it normally bothers me to see an underlying color showing through to a top layer of a different color, allowing the white layer to show through on the stair-stepped portion of the raw red onions is simply genius!

LEGO Subway Sandwich Meal

The Vaygr fleet expands

Tim Schwalfenberg expands his Homeworld Vaygr fleet with this classy Vaygr missile frigate. It’s the second ship of Tim’s Vaygr fleet we’ve featured, after his excellent corvette, and Tim has more on the way to round out the armada. One of the best hallmarks of Homeworld-inspired spaceships is the clean color blocking, and Tim’s interpretation of the Vaygr fleet looks striking clad in white with red stripes. One of the best details is the missile launcher mounted on the side, a fantastic brick recreation of the original model’s detail.

Vaygr Missile Frigate

Build your own miniature Songbird from BioShock Infinite

Following up a 1:1 scale Sky-Hook and an incredible minifig scale Songbird dioramaImagine Rigney is back with another build from the universe of BioShock Infinite. This time around it’s an itty bitty Songbird that you can build from a handful of pieces, and there’s full instructions to make one yourself.

Itty Bitty Songbird InstructionsBy the way, BioShock Infinite is a brilliant game and one of my all-time favourites. It’s relatively cheap now, so if you haven’t tried it yet, pick it up and give it a go.

Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device in LEGO

Leonid An is running awesome building experiments on some of the new parts. The result is this gorgeous handheld portal device from the Portal video game. I am guessing this build started with the white large figure armour piece, which has the same shape as a part of the original portal gun. However, the rest of the weapon is no less excellent and features a couple of great building solutions including these three minifigure hammer pieces on the other end. Take a moment to appreciate the peculiar scale of the gun; it is not too large, but has enough details which make it instantly recognizable.

Handheld Portal Device

The cat is back! A LEGO 1/36 scale Grumman F-14

It has been thirty years since Top Gun hit the big screen, and the true star of the movie, the charismatic Grumman F-14 Tomcat, was retired from US Navy service almost ten years ago. I built my first LEGO Tomcat more than 20 years ago and I have kept making improvements, as I learned new tricks and as new parts became available. Usually the changes were fairly small, with the core of the model changing very little.

VF-84 Jolly Rogers F-14A Tomcat

Ever since I completed my 1/22 scale model a few years ago, I’ve been eyeballing my three smaller 1/36 scale models, no longer liking what I saw. They looked very crude compared to the bigger model and they lacked a few essential features. The intakes on the Tomcat are cranked and the vertical tail fins are canted outward. These sort of things may not seem important, but they make a big difference to the look. Furthermore, the undercarriage never really worked properly, the nose was a bit long, the angles of the wings weren’t quite right and there were a host of other little things that could be improved. Of course, I had to avoid messing up the things I did like about the existing model, but small incremental changes weren’t going to hack it any more.

VF-84 Jolly Rogers F-14A Tomcat

I started with a new model, albeit with the old one nearby for comparison purposes. The first jet I decided to rebuild has the famous skull and crossbones markings of Fighter Squadron 84 “Jolly Rogers”, like they had in the ‘seventies. I don’t care much for stealth fighters. My Tomcats are probably the closest thing I have to a signature build, which makes me proud to say that the cat is back!

X marks the spot of ingenuity

We see a lot of original spaceship designs from the LEGO community, and a lot of LEGO pieces being used in clever new ways. But I’m still always impressed by those builders who boldly integrate unusual pieces and pull it off with panache. One such builder is Curtis Collins with the Seraph. It’s a gorgeous design that uses bright red LEGO canoes for the engine cowlings, despite a plethora of black greebling on the struts—and miraculously, it works. Keen-eyed readers will also spot that the cockpit glass is a LEGO Christmas ornament.

Seraph

Sticker it to ya

This dangerous looking spaceship is filled with clever techniques and interesting parts. The extensive use of Technic gear racks is especially menacing, but the real standout here is the innovative sticker usage. They weren’t custom printed. Rather, Adrian chopped up a bunch of the yellow stickers from set 75053 The Ghost (from Star Wars Rebels) and placed them on the model in an interesting pattern. The stickers were already printed to be scruffy-looking, but the builder wanted them to be even scruffier. So he abraded the stickers by rubbing the model back and forth on a wooden table. The stickers aren’t shiny and smooth any more, but the result is definitely worth it.

Gliesian Impi?33m fighter

A pocket-sized castle for a crafty wizard

Microscale creations often bring out the best in builders, forcing would-be architects to look at mundane LEGO pieces in new and unusual manners, seeing a portcullis arch in a shark’s jaw, fortress spires in Technic pins and embellished walls in pauldrons. Take a look at this fascinating floating castle by Marcel V., and observe how all the tiny details crafted from odd pieces coalesce into a menacing microscale fortress.

Nocturnian floating castle

Working LEGO chainsaw (massacre not included)

It may not cut through much, perhaps not even warm butter, but this gorgeous little LEGO chainsaw by František Hajdekr is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. And it really works! The Technic panels and liftarms fit together as snugly as a jigsaw puzzle. Inside you’ll find a battery box and a Power Functions motor. The safety guard also acts as a safety catch. A simple trigger controls the action. But why take my word for it? See for yourself!

Lego Technic Chainsaw (with Power Functions Motor)

Bonus: the builder has also constructed a power drill and a dune buggy, which also feature Power Functions functionality.

No one warned me that battle dragons can be so cute!

Girls’ themes like Friends and Elves have granted us a huge variety of new pieces, from minifig accessories to some lovely dragon heads and wings. So as soon as the 2016 Elves sets were revealed in January, it was just the matter of time before the fan community found better applications for all those new parts. LEGO 7 makes a perfect upgrade of the fire dragon from Elves set 41175.

Dragon Warrior-1

I’m quite confused, as all the armour parts go amazingly well with each other and the whole figure is truly impressive, but I still can’t take my eyes away from the dragon’s face. Just look at those charming eyes and cute teeth! And who could know that the new wings would have such an astonishing color gradient. Simply perfect!

Build your cake and eat it too

Sometimes LEGO looks good enough to eat, and this is certainly the case with Sad Brick‘s Cranberry Black Forest cake. This plastic take on the classic German desert appears to have the key ingredients of chocolate sponge, cream, kirsch, more cream and a black cherry on top. A puzzle for you: do you know which part has been used to depict the cherry?

Cranberry Black Forest Cake

The best part is that this cake is definitely fat-free.

The age of the Samurai: a stunningly huge mountain hideaway with working illumination

When your 5 year old son asks you to build a Ninjago city, you only say yes. But Ben Pitchford took things a little bit more seriously and ended up with a massive diorama nearly 4 feet (or 121 cms) high! The building process took almost 9 months, which is way over the attention span of a 5 year old. I guess Ben just needed an excuse to build something large. Luckily he had 100,000 LEGO parts laying around so this fortress was no big deal for him. He sculpted the big mountain with absolute attention and mastered the art of rock building. Ben also hid small LEDs behind transparent parts, so it makes a great scene once illuminated after dark.

The Samurai Code

The rice field, dojo, shinto shrines, cherry blossom trees, numerous caves, flowing lava, amazing waterfalls, grand stairs, mountain zipline and original Japanese characters make up a most amazing diorama. It will take you some time to absorb all the details, but you can see more photographs below.

Click to see more images