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.

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

Amazingly beautiful LEGO schooner has unbelievable lines

Sometimes a LEGO model is so incredible you stop and wonder if the builder is using the same catalog of bricks as the rest of us, because the finished model doesn’t even look like LEGO. Hoang H Dang is a masterful ship builder (we previously featured his incredible fishing vessel) and he’s turned his hand to building a two-masted schooner. The finished model has some of the best shaping I’ve ever seen on a LEGO ship, making this gorgeous sailing vessel sleek and elegant.

The immense scale of the model is hard to comprehend on its own, but when viewed next to the builder, it becomes obvious that at close to four feet in length and nearly as tall, this is no mere weekend project.

And for those curious how Hoang has constructed such an elegant hull from angular bricks, you can check out this work-in-progress photo to see some of the interior construction.

LEGO cones make perfect Spanish roof tiles

I’ve been waiting for more people to utilize o0ger‘s roof building technique since it was posted last December. As o0ger showed us then, when you alternate the direction of stringed one-by-one cones they make a pretty snazzy-looking Spanish tile rooftop. At least one other builder has incorporated o0ger’s technique into a build of their own. And now the technique’s inventor himself has decided to show us how it’s done, with this fantastic harbor scene:

The Harbor

While the cone roof is the standout feature of this build, the entire scene is simply terrific! The harbor itself looks sturdy and lived in, with just the perfect amount of clutter and detail. I also love the dangling water plants.

If you want to incorporate new building techniques into your own builds or share some of your techniques with the LEGO community, I recommend checking out the LEGO Techniques Flickr Group for inspiration.

Roof technique

Full-size iconic Halo rocket launcher created with LEGO

My passion for LEGO and gaming has resulted in quite an expansive arsenal of gaming weapons, and now I present the most massive of them all: the classic dual-tube rocket launcher from the Halo series in full 1:1 scale. I chose to build the most recent iteration featured in Halo 5: Guardians. It came down to small details when I chose this iteration: the orange highlights, the classic lettering of the “SPNKr” moniker, and the bulky grip section were all my favorite.

SPNKr Rocket Launcher - Halo 5: Guardians

At 50.5 inches in length and weighing in at 24 pounds, it’s made from approximately 6,000 LEGO pieces, and initially I thought there would be no working features at all! However, there is one: you can open the launch frame and remove the launch tubes, just like how a Spartan would reload it in the game. Watch this demonstrated in this video:

Click to read how it was created

It’s-a me, Koopa!

Swan Dutchman built a Koopa Troopa from the Super Mario Bros games so adorable you almost feel bad for his fate at the hands of those pesky plumbers. Not only do the cartoony proportions of the head, shell, and boots in Swan’s build match up well with Koopa Troopas in recent Mario games, a variety of poses are also achieved with some Bionicle arms and legs. And if you enjoyed his Koopa Troopa, be sure to check out Swan’s other LEGO Nintendo characters, Wiggler and Kirby.

Koopa Troopa

Please stay off the freeway

The Arvo Brothers have struck again with another incredibly beautiful and photo-realistic model. This time, it’s a scooter inspired by the totally retro Vespa P200. The P200 was imported to the US in the late 70s and early 80s, a time when steep angles and blocky designs were common — making this an ideal subject for LEGO modeling. The taillight design chosen here is an exact match to the original ride, executed perfectly in brick. I really like the scale of this model, with larger parts used for broader strokes, leaving smaller parts to fill in the details. If you wish you could build like this, fret not: the builders have promised a PDF of instructions is forthcoming.

P200 Moto Back