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.

Oh! What fun it is to ride in an Arctic Truck Mk II!

Well, the winter holidays are long gone, but Kirill doesn’t want the outdoor fun disappear. So, here is his Arctic Truck Mk II – an ultimate snow-rover in the scale of a regular Technic minifigure. One may find the exterior quite plain, but Technic vehicles are all about functionality.

Arctic snowmobile Total weight – 2650 g, dimensions – 40 x 31 x 18 cm, clearance – 4.8 cm.

Check out this video to see this impressive crawler in action.

And I can’t help mentioning a couple of the builder’s other models.

Click to see more great Technic vehicles by this builder

Alien Project by The Arvo Brothers [Review]

The Arvo Brothers (Ramon & Amador Alfaro Marcilla) have recently released their second book called Alien Project. It costs €26 + shipping and can be purchased via the Arvo Brothers website. The main bulk of the book contains detailed instructions for building their fantastic Alien figure and its base. There are also chapters explaining the inspiration behind the project and a rare insight into the development of a model of this calibre. Below is my review of the book.

ALIEN Project Book - Cover

Click here to read the full review

Interview with Hannes Tscharner, builder of 7,500-piece Millennium Falcon from The Force Awakens

When I first saw the amazingly detailed 7,500-piece Millennium Falcon the day after Christmas, I knew right away that it deserved worldwide attention. The model was built by someone who went by the screen name “Marshal Banana“, whom I recognized as the builder who’d created the wonderful 10,000-piece Jawa Sandcrawler back in 2011. Less than two days after I’d posted the Falcon, my prediction came true and the Falcon was everywhere, from “geek” sites like Kotaku and GeekWire to major news outlets like Time Magazine and USA Today. But we still knew almost nothing about this talented builder.

Now that he’s back from a well-deserved holiday, I’m pleased to bring our readers this in-depth interview with Hannes Tscharner, builder of both the Falcon and Sandcrawler.

Hannes Tscharner with his Millennium Falcon

Hannes shares a bit about himself, along with tips on photographing LEGO models and editing the photos for presentation. We also learn how he organizes his collection, what he uses to add lighting to his models, and more.

Click through for our interview with the builder of the 7,500-piece Millennium Falcon!

One for the pantheon of great microscale

Jimmy Fortel has built a beautiful microscale model of the Pantheon in Paris. The color scheme makes this look like part of the official LEGO Architecture series – and I’m sure this great little build wouldn’t be out of place in the line-up.

Mini Panthéon de paris

I really like the clean lines and deceptive simplicity of this creation, in particular the use of round 1×1 plates beneath the roof line, adding a nice touch of texture. The pillars at the main entrance are very good, and it took me a while to work out how they were built – the bottom of the pillars are round 1×1 bricks set into the model’s base. This is one of those models which surprises you with how long it can hold your attention, despite its small size.

This is not the ‘tower’ you are looking for

Apologies if you were hoping to avoid a Star Wars related post but there is a tenuous link to castles and towers, I promise. TBB regular Simply Bricking It,  has built our favourite Star Wars droid, R2-D2.

R2D2

The builder uses a mix of round and regular parts to allow a slight offset position, resulting in the curved shape. The use of alternate round and regular bricks is a technique that has been used frequently in the past for curved ‘tower’ structures (eg. castles, windmills, lighthouses and even spaceships). But I believe this is the first droid I have seen built using this particular technique.

I can’t finish this post without mentioning the vintage tap parts used for R2D2’s leg detailing — a ‘splash’ of inspiration there.

Disney Princesses as microscale Christmas ornaments

Every year Markus Rollbühler creates some new LEGO Christmas decorations for the tree,  and he shared this year’s collection of Disney Princesses in microscale.

Disney Princess Christmas Ornaments

From left to right:

  • Leia and R2-D2
  • Ariel, Flounder, and Sebastian (from The Little Mermaid)
  • Snow White and a deer
  • Tiana and Naveen (from The Princess and the Frog)
  • Elsa and Anna (from Frozen)

The details are fantastic at this scale, making the characters easily recognisable. I love Flounder and Sebastian, created using simple 1×1  tiles or plates with clips and 1×1 plates.  Another favourite is R2-D2 who is simply a 1×1 Technic brick resting on a silver 1×1 round plate, two white minifig hands and a blue-based lever – inspired use of parts!

Thanks to Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, Princess Leia can be officially described as a Disney Princess too…

NEXO Knights prototypes & development from LEGO designer Mark Stafford

Mark Stafford, a current LEGO designer on the new NEXO Knights theme, brought some  3D-printed prototypes and development parts to BRICK 2015 in London last weekend. NEXO Knights is the newest LEGO theme to be launched and is an eagerly anticipated Fantasy Castle theme with a sprinkling of Steampunk in the mix.

Mark brought set 70315 Clay’s Rumble Blade with him, but even more interestingly, he brought some 3D-printed prototypes and a series of development figures & parts to show the design process in more detail. The concept and final builds for Clay’s Rumble Blade show the significant changes that occur as the design progresses.

NEXO Knights Development Clay's Rumble BladeNEXO Knights 70315 Clay's Rumble Blade

Click to see the rest of the prototypes!

The roof, the roof, the roof is afire...

Following on from Jennifer’s recent post on waterfalls, here are some more creations with brick-built “special effects”. This ramshackle Laketown house by David Hensel features a convincing fireball rolling up from the roof…

Fire and Water

It’s difficult to depict fire with bricks without it looking like a pixellated explosion from the 8-bit era of gaming. I think David has pulled it off here, with the outer layer of transparent bricks and the darker colors at the edges simulating an expanding ball of flame.

I recently spotted another brick-built explosion which used very different techniques but created a similar sense of energy and motion. This fantastic tower explosion was part of Marc Gelaberto‘s pirate display at a show in Barcelona…

[MegaMOC] Fortaleza de Santa Catalina

It’s like a still from an action movie – the fireball blossoming, shattering the tower’s masonry as soldiers are flung into the air. Check out the priceless expression on this unfortunate soldier’s face!

[MegaMOC] Fortaleza de Santa Catalina

I’ve always shied away from building scenes like these, worried they wouldn’t live up to the image in my head. Seeing these great examples of fiery disaster, I feel some explosive action coming on in my building!

Tiny tanks advance to victory!

I’ve been following the recent builds of Thomas of Tortuga with interest and expressing little yelps of delight whenever a new creation pops up. He’s embroiled in a Flickr-based LEGO wargame called Divide And Conquer which I’m not even going to pretend to understand. However, the creations he’s putting together to represent his fictional nation’s military are fantastic. I particularly liked these armored tractor tank things…

Tractors

I must admit to a certain ambivalence about rendered LEGO creations – I generally like to see builders put bits of plastic together in the real world. And I’m a firm believer that restrictions on quantity and color drive creativity, pushing builders to develop new techniques. However, these vehicles are absolute class, and I figured I’d let the handful of “impossibly colored” parts slide this time. (Those are pieces which LEGO has never produced in that particular color. But digital parts, of course, can be any color.)

The rest of Thomas’ photostream is stuffed with similarly cool and slightly steampunk military creations – well worth checking out. I’m loving his series of naval vessels (especially this dreadnought), although again some of the “impossible part” use does make me twitchy.

I know some people say rendering isn’t “LEGO building” at all. I’m not sure I’d go that far, and builders like Thomas are making me pay more attention to rendered works. I reckon LEGO creativity shines through, regardless of medium. What do you think?

Working combination safe built from LEGO

Jason Allemann has used nothing but LEGO to build a fully functional combination safe. Not only does the safe lock with a three-number combination, Jason has designed the safe so that the safe itself cannot be removed from its outer case and opened without either knowing the combination or physically breaking LEGO pieces!

Working LEGO Combination Safe

A picture doesn’t really prove it, so here’s Jason’s amazing video.

If you want to build you own LEGO safe, you can download instructions from Jason’s website.

The defense of Port Royal

TheBrickAvenger has posted his most ambitious LEGO diorama yet, with this scene inspired by the heyday of piracy in the 17th-century Caribbean. While one’s eye is certainly drawn to the steeply slanted roof, clock tower, and minifig action, the standout detail for me is the studs-out half timber construction. The builder also uses three completely different techniques for windows, including an ingenious but incredibly complicated bay window shared back in March by Sheo. Spend some time poring over the picture — I’m sure you’ll find something I’ve missed that’s even cooler.

Port Royal is Attacked! by TheBrickAvenger on Flickr

Get your Rock on with Mad Max’s Doof Wagon

Anyone who saw this year’s Mad Max: Fury Road will instantly recognize this model by Matt De Lanoy as the most metal truck ever to appear on screen. The Doof Wagon, as it’s known in the Mad Max universe, carries the hortator for Immortan Joe’s crazed army of raiders, blasting out an insane rock ballad while the truck screams across the desert in the middle of pitched combat.

The Doof Wagon