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.

Ask A Lemur – Sorting, Joining a LUG & the Founding of the Blog

Merry Christmas, Dearest Readers!

It’s the TBB Lemur Intern here, once again, to answer your questions and be your window into the deepest, darkest reaches of the LEGO hobby. Well, that and candy canes, cookies and all the other yummy bits that people keep leaving about. Such a scrumptious time of year! I’m loving everybody! Caylin let me lick the bowl after she made her world famous fudge and Ralph needed a guinea pig for his egg-nog experiment. I said I didn’t know any guinea pigs so he said I would have to do. It was really yummy! Not sure what the experiment was, but as long as he turns out delicious nog, I’m happy.

Oh, I have a bit of news. There is now a Lemur button on the sidebar! If you want to ask me a question, just click on it and leave a comment in the most recent ‘Ask A Lemur’ post. There is also a bit of delay in the Lemur Loot. Once it gets here, the mail room gnomes will gather all the addresses and get caught up on the backlog.

On to your questions!

How do you sort your Lego collection? And what ways of sorting have you found work best for which styles of building?

That is a great question! It is also not an easy question to answer because everyone sorts a little bit differently. There are two main ways though. Sorting by color and sorting by piece. Many fans first begin by sorting their collections by color.

The problem with that is once all your pieces are in bins of the same color, it is really hard to pick out the pieces you need because everything sort of blurs together. So most builders then move onto some version of sorting by piece. The problem there is that there are so many different pieces you can spend the rest of your life sorting your collection in the various pieces.

A good way to start is to do what many call a “rough sort”. Figure out what kinds of pieces you use most and separate them from the mass of pieces you don’t use. Then you can sort those into similar categories. If you have a lot of the same pieces, you might want to sort those by color. Some do and some don’t. I’m sure other readers will chime in and talk about the specifics of how they sort.

Personally, I sort my collection by taste. It takes a very keen set of taste buds but it’s totally worth it.

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In space no-one can hear you rust

One of the more notable Maschin Krieger inspired builds from this year’s Ma.Ktober fest is probably the Baumeister Spinnentier, a “construction arachnid” style zero-G hardsuit, created by Canadian builder Josh Derksen.

Clearly the break-out technique Josh has used here is the application of paint to give the model a rusted look (…yes it rains in space, deal with it!). Using paint to artificially ‘weather’ LEGO is something I’ve wanted to do myself for a long time, but have not yet been man enough to attempt. But Josh totally nails it with this creation. Check out his full breakdown to get a look at all of its finer details and play features (which include poseable arms and pincers, and an openable cockpit).

Stickering 101 – the magic tutorial

Applying stickers used to be something my dad would do for me when I built sets as a kid, and seems to be far less common in today’s adult builds. But anyone paying attention to the space builders this past year has seen a steady rise in stickering, especially in the micro-sized builds. Enter Jacob Unterreiner (4estFeller). We’ve seen him a few times here on this blog but I don’t think we’ve really seen him like this:

Micro GARC - 71

That’s a pretty amazing stickering job. But look at it closer, that’s a micro GARC and is only 11×5 studs! Feels a lot bigger, eh? He’s taken stickering to the next level and really able to skew the sense of scale with his intense stickering. By my count (assuming symmetrical stickering and no stickers on the bottom) I found 54 stickers! That’s probably 2-3 times the usual sticker sheet size for a 1000 piece LEGO set.

But dear reader, you might be asking yourself, how does he achieve such wonderful results? Thanks to our friends at Build Like a Boss who have been running a series of tutorials on everything from advanced bricklink buying, building frames or bases, and of course stickering:

BLaB Stickering Tutorial

You can check out the awesome three part sticker tutorial series:
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Loholt Manor

Loholt Manor

Luke Hutchinson is one of the current top medieval builders and this creation shows why. This is a build that he built nearly a year ago and never posted because he didn’t feel it was quite right. The majority of builders just post whatever they make as soon as it is done. Letting a build sit for a time and then coming back to it later can give you a much better perspective. I call it letting a build ‘age’. Another sign of Luke’s build skill is the standard to which he holds himself. This build wasn’t posted originally because there were a number of aspects with which he wasn’t happy. A good builder doesn’t build to get the “Wow, awesome build!” comments but should be pushing themselves to ever greater things. Do I think this build is striking? Yes, I do. The unique colors, mixed with Luke’s trademark roof profiles and textured walls really make this pop for me. But I’m also very happy to see that Luke is willing and able to self-critique and push himself to a higher level. Well done, sir!

The LEGO Neighborhood Book [Review]

No Starch Press, known as the purveyors of many LEGO books written by LEGO fans, recently sent me a copy of their latest book exploring our favorite hobby, The LEGO Neighborhood Book. Written by brothers Brian and Jason Lyles, it explores the City Modular standard through pre-built creations, architectural techniques, and model instructions. The 204-page book is 8″x8″ with a high-quality soft cover, and the glossy pages with great color representation we’ve come to expect from books about LEGO.

The LEGO Neighborhood Book

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Friday Night Fights – Say Cheese!

Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada, USA for another round of Friday Night Fights! Tonight we’re going a bit cheesy – cheese wedges that is. Our contenders have been throwing around the cheese all month, posting a build a day using the humble Slope 30 1 x 1 x 2/3. Let’s go to the tale of the tape.

In the blue corner, we have Grant Davis who gives us a brilliant rendition of Chinese Checkers:
Cheesy Chinese Checkers - Day 29

In the red corner, we have Eli Willsea who give us one of the coolest cheese wedge floor mosaics I’ve seen in awhile:
Cheese Break-in - Day 2

As usual, constant reader, you are tasked with deciding who’s the cheesier builder by way of comment. On the last edition of Friday Night Fights, Steampunk Rifles, Monster wins 9-1. Tune in next week for another action packed edition of Friday Night Fights!

Beautiful realism

This power plant office by LegoJalex is a simple and realistic creation with believable details. On a more subtle note, the tactful use of colors contributed much to this creation’s appeal. Some examples include the dark orange tiles on the smokestack, the yellow caution sign, the black stripe at the bottom of the building, and of course the blue door.

Small Power Plant and Office

Microscale map of the city of Copenhagen

Ulrik Hansen displayed this micro layout of Copenhagen at LEGO World 2014. From a glance, you see a mesmerizing array of structures typical of a microscale city. On a closer look, you’ll be impressed by the skillful techniques used to create the angled roads. The gallery on Flickr with detail shots is a must see.

LEGO Melbourne 1972... and a quick message from our sponsors

For the third time (previous ones here and the supremely talented here), Michael Pianta (scruffulous) and I teamed up to present a 1972 era diorama at Brickvention 2014 based on the railroads of the great state of Victoria, Australia.

Brickvention 2014 - Overview

APM mill - Gray siding through leavesThis time we chose our most urban setting yet in the APM Paper Mill in suburban Melbourne alongside some of its neighbouring suburbia. As usual, our goal was to create as realistic a display as possible, under the limitations of our collaboration (I fly my contribution in) with the specific targets of creating: 1) plausible landscaping, flora and fauna, 2) minimal gridding and, 3) realistic roads and rail. I’m happy enough with it to think we hit the targets.

APM mill - Tim's houses with J Class

On a sadder note, I’m using this flagrantly self-promotional post to announce my resignation from TBB as a writer/editor/curator/whatever the latest hip term for it is. After many years sharing my love of LEGO with you all, I need to focus my time and energies on other things. I even hope to start building more models again, although I’m not threatening that too strongly. I happily extend my thanks to Andrew, Josh, my co-bloggers new and old, and especially our readers for the fabulous time I’ve had here.