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.

Scramble the Rebel fighters from LEGO Echo Base

Markus19840420 continues to impress with his LEGO Star Wars dioramas. Following up his Sullust scene, he presents a slice of Echo Base from The Empire Strikes Back, impressive in both size and detail. The carved snow cave look, hanging lights, maintenance bridges, and runway lights make the whole scene feel authentic. I won’t overlook Mike Psiaki’s X-wing and Larry Lars’s Snowspeeder, both great models recreated by Markus from their respective building guides, with some modifications.

EpisodeV - Echo Base

EpisodeV - Echo Base

See more photos of Hoth Echo Base on the builder’s Flickr.

To be highly organized is, I should fancy, the object of man’s existence: 5 tips for keeping your LEGO collection sorted [Essay]

The quote above is from The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde and it’s the epigraph for The Ideal Order, a recently published novel written by Christoph Bartneck. (You can find my review of this book on Goodreads.) The story is centered around the life of a troubled AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) named Rob, who, like all builders before him, eventually realizes that his LEGO collection is virtually useless when stored in one big cardboard box and thus sets out on a quest to find (you guessed it) “the ideal order” for sorting his LEGO collection. (Spoiler alert! No such order truly exists.) I sympathize with Rob’s predicament, because I’ve been there. There’s nothing worse than trying to build an old set by fishing pieces out of the rainbow-colored abyss of plastic that is an unsorted box of LEGO. So we sort.

Sorting MOC
The possibilities are endless when deciding how to sort a LEGO collection and what’s right for one person is not going to be right for another. However, there are certainly some agreed upon standards that most builders share when sorting. For example, sorting by color alone just doesn’t cut it. On the other hand, it’s nearly impossible to have a separate space for each unique piece. So what is the best method?

Thumbs up to this updated LEGO BB-8!

To avoid duplication and showcase a broader variety of LEGO creations, we don’t often feature updated versions of LEGO models we’ve already highlighted, even if they’re significantly improved. But Will Galbraith and his friend Takamichi Irie decided to collaborate on an improved, more functional version of Taka’s BB-8, and the result gets a huge thumbs up from me!

BB-8 (Ver. 2) says "Good Job!"

The main challenge was that Taka was off in the UK studying, with Will back in Japan. The pair collaborated remotely to research BB-8’s various compartments, disassemble Taka’s original model, add the compartments to the sphere, and update the design of the head. Will documented the whole process on Twitter, so be sure to check that out — along with Will’s write-up on Flickr.

Conveyer belt sushi restaurant built with LEGO Power Functions [Video]

One of our traditions for TBB contributors attending BrickCon every year is to enjoy inexpensive sushi at one of the two nearby revolving sushi (回転寿司) joints. If you’ve never been to a revolving sushi restaurant, you grab small plates of sushi from a conveyer built that moves around a counter that surrounds the prep area. It’s fun and delicious! Japanese builder Dr.Peisan has used LEGO Power Functions to motorize a revolving sushi restaurant.

Lego sushi train

Built on four 32×32 baseplates, the restaurant is full of funny scenes and interesting characters. There’s a group of aliens (the ultimate gaijin) tasting earth food, a reporter using a fake mic, Emmet from The LEGO Movie, and even BB-8. I expect the sumo wrestler to give the lucha libre guy a run for his money… I’m personally most impressed by the wide range of different nigiri, rolls, and desserts that roll by.

You can see lots more pictures on Flickr and the builder’s blog (in Japanese). You’ll also be able to see this in person in Kobe at Japan Brickfest 2016 in June.

How to get blogged on The Brothers Brick, 2016 edition [Editorial]

Lemur with Jacket and PipeBack in 2009, I wrote a lengthy post titled How to get blogged on The Brothers Brick, in 3 easy steps. A lot has changed in 7 years, for both TBB itself and on the web more generally, and it’s time we shared how we go about finding and selecting what to blog here on The Brothers Brick in 2016.

The “three easy steps” I outlined back then are still 100% true:

  1. Build something cool.
  2. Take a few decent pictures.
  3. Put them somewhere we’ll find them.

But it’s worth revisiting what we expect in terms of presentation and “findability.” I’ll also cover what we consider newsworthy, in case you have an event you’d like us to feature or a hot tip you’d like to share.

Click through to learn how to get your MOC, event, or new item blogged!

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it

Not all LEGO creations are built with the goal of becoming world-famous masterpieces. Some models are created simply to share a couple of neat building techniques. This is one special category where you can come across some particularly brilliant exhibits, which have nothing to do with huge dioramas or horribly complicated mechanisms, but which still demand your attention. And Jonas Wide‘s Oleander house is exactly that kind of build.

Oleander house

I imagine most of us have tried building a shabby brick wall at least once. About 10 years ago it was a fairly difficult task. But with the arrival of dark red plates and bricks with masonry patterns, even a beginner can now manage some authentic-looking walls for their town or fortress. But Jonas throws some multi-layered techniques into the mix, to make it look as if the wall gradually deteriorated over the years. Simply beautiful, isn’t it?

The theory of colour in LEGO

Li Li (lisqr) has been exploring building with angles on his own blog and he utilises one technique in this latest build, Spectrum.  By off-setting the far end of each level of brick, Li Li has created an ingenious twisting sculpture that displays the visual spectrum in LEGO colours.

Spectrum

This is a lovely work of art and crosses the line between LEGO creation, art and science in a beautiful fashion. The birds eye view show the spectrum of colours in all their splendour.

Spectrum

Taiwanese LEGO fan uses 15000 bricks to build 4½ foot long SHIELD Helicarrier

The most anticipated LEGO set of 2015 was the enormous Avengers SHIELD Helicarrier. As we highlighted in our extensive video review, there was a lot to like about that set, except for the relative scales of the carrier, the microfigs, and the quinjets. And while some builders have explored more ambitious LEGO Helicarrier designs within the confines of a computer screen, no-one has dared tackle the challenge of building a more properly scaled and movie-accurate version of the Avengers’ flying fortress using actual LEGO bricks …until now!

Working with nothing more than reference photos from the 2012 Avengers movie, Taiwanese builder ZiO Chao and a his friends Dada, Kimura, Kuan-Wei, Stephanie, Tiger and Will from the Formosa LEGO club spent a month and a half (and many sleepless nights) constructing this enormous and fully detailed model of the iconic Helicarrier. At 140cm x 80cm it’s twice the size of the official LEGO set, and contains five times as many pieces. At last, those “swooshable” little quinjets now actually have room to move around!

Regarding the build process, which he photographed in great detail, ZiO told The Brothers Brick: “Before I started to build it, the most annoying thing was collecting parts and classifying them. Then we used Technic beams to sketch out the skeleton of the carrier, which needed to be strong enough to hold everything together. Technic beams were also a great solution for the supporting yellow columns, the front of the carrier, and the four turbine engines.”

Click here to keep reading

Life-size LEGO BB-8 from The Force Awakens built from 11,000 pieces

Norwegian LEGO builder Henrik Lorentzen has built a life-size LEGO model of the wonderful droid BB-8 from The Force Awakens. Though not quite as adorable as a pug dressed in a BB-8 hoodie (which I saw at the dog park today), this LEGO BB-8 has all the charm of the droid in the movie.

LEGO BB-8 head on Flickr by Henrik Lorentzen

Henrik started planning and designing his LEGO BB-8 last April, using Bruce Lowell’s sphere technique and Bram Lambrecht’s sphere generator. The finished model uses about 11,000 LEGO pieces — including a thousand white 2×4 bricks and three thousand white 1×2 plates — and weighs 10 kg (22 pounds).

LEGO BB-8 on Flickr by Henrik Lorentzen

With a LEGO event at his local theater in November and the movie coming out in December, Henrik gathered all the parts he needed in September and began building, finishing it just in time for the event on November 6.

Read more about this LEGO BB-8 after the jump!

Buggy class exploratory vehicle

FebRovery‘s come early this year! Ilya T.’s greyscale rover is just the thing to kick off twenty-nine days of rover-fueled madness. (That’s right everyone, 2016 is a leap year! So why not use your extra day to build a rover of your own?) I love the tight construction inside the small bubble-cockpit, the conical rear end, and the pop of color from the spaceman’s red suit. But the real selling point of Ilya’s build are those fantastic heptagonal wheels.

Rover SCP-1

Microscale plane gets props for its props

Karf Oolhu is the busiest builder I follow. My Flickr stream is regularly filled with his latest creations – always fun, always imaginative, and often packed with interesting parts use. This cute little plane and hangar is no exception…

The little plane...

Look at the propellers. LOOK AT THE PROPELLERS. Ice skates in control lever bases, clipped onto seat backs. Undoubtedly an illegal connection (as in a combination the designers of official LEGO sets would not be allowed to use) but utter class all the same.

Shrine of Polarized Birefringence

This build by WRme2 is simply one of the most brilliant creations I’ve ever come across:

We’ve featured many castle vignettes before, so what makes this one so special?
It’s the windows. That’s not fancy photoshoping, that’s science!

WRme2 has figured out that due to the manufacturing process of some of the earlier LEGO bricks, when photographed with a polarizer you get that amazing effect which he has so brilliantly used in this build.

Here’s what it looks like with portion of a brick under a polarizer (like sunglasses):

For those really interested, he’s also done an equally impressive job explaining the science behind these colourful bricks.