Tag Archives: Book

The Brothers Brick isn’t just about bricks! When we’re not building with LEGO or writing about LEGO, we enjoy reading about it, too. Thankfully, there’s a plethora of page-turners ready for our perusal.

Kaneda’s Bike Book Review

The Arvo Brothers published a book on their masterpiece recreation of Kaneda’s Bike from Akira. This is a unique Lego book dedicated entirely to describing one creation while including a full set of instructions. The book is available for €19.99 + shipping and is sold directly from the Arvo Brothers, whom you can reach by email at arvobrothers[at]hotmail.com. Below is my review of the book.

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Pros:

  • Meticulous details documenting building techniques, parts selection, and references to the original model
  • Includes commentary on steps in the instruction manual for an in-depth building experience
  • Includes a parts list and sticker sheet


Cons:

  • Almost impossible to recreate the model due to lack of availability of the x-pod lids used on the wheels.

This is a well-written book centered on one of the Arvo Brothers’ most iconic and beloved Lego creations. It is obvious that a lot of work went into designing the model and producing the book. It is a good read for fans interested in the minutia of the design process of a top-tier fan model. For those wanting to recreate the model, there is a full set of clear-cut instructions with supporting commentary for an in-depth experience on the build process. However, you will be disappointed to find out that a key element of the model is out of production and nearly impossible to obtain on the aftermarket even if you have money. Because of this detail alone, I hesitate to recommend the book because the majority of its content is dedicated to the instruction set. However, if you are still curious about the design process, this is a publication that will not let down your expectations.

LEGO Space: Building the Future [Review]

We had previously mentioned the release of Peter Reid & Tim Goddard’s book, LEGO Space: Building the Future, published by No Starch Press. Well it has been a few months since the book was released, and I finally got around to finish reading it with my son and felt it was time for a review.

Lego Space: Building the Future

Let me start by saying that this has to be the highest quality fan-created LEGO book I have yet to lay my geeky hands on. From cover to cover, the quality of photography and overall style is absolutely top notch. You really can tell that this was a labour of love for everyone involved.

I actually had pre-ordered the book on Amazonso received it as soon as it was available, however, I purchased it to give to my 6 year old son for Christmas. I didn’t want to read through it before he got a chance so reluctantly put it away for almost 2 months. I think I was just as excited as he was about opening it up Christmas morning. For the week or so following Christmas, I would find Tate flipping through the book quite often. He is reading now on his own, but the amount of text in the book was a bit overwhelming for him. However, that certainly didn’t stop him from staring in wonder at all the beautiful photographs. He even promptly built his own turtle from the instructions provided (and added some spacemen with laser snowboards for good measure).

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The thing that sets this book apart for me is that it reads as a fantastic story throughout the history of space travel, and far into the future. It’s a science fiction novel illustrated with rockin’ LEGO models. Throughout the telling of the book, photographs of LEGO spaceships, alien landscapes, and space stations illustrate the story. And instructions are included for many of the models so the reader can build their own. I found it incredibly entertaining and inspiring to read through, and Tate even more so. As a family of LEGO spacers, I know this book will be read and re-read for years to come. The pictures on their own would inspire any right minded LEGO maniac to build SPACE!, but when coupled with the fantastic story it kicks that inspiration to a whole other level.

So needless to say I highly recommend this book whether you are a 30 something man-child like myself, or need a fantastic and inspiring gift for a child in your life.

Also check out this brilliant Trailer by Chris Salt.

Please follow the links below to buy your own copy and help The Brothers Brick at the same time:

Beautiful LEGO Book [Review]

A new fan-written Lego book called Beautiful LEGO recently hit the shelves. It’s author, Mike Doyle, is no stranger to the Lego community, having built the masterpiece seen on its cover. This is a book that shows pictures from most genres of Lego building and includes only scant text, serving the role of a coffee table book highlighting the inspiring creations by fans.

Here is my summary of the highlights of the book, which are elaborated in the review video below.


Pros:

  • Professionally re-touched photos by the author himself
  • Each creation is labeled with its title, builder, and year. Links to the builders’ galleries are included in the back of the book
  • The first of its kind book illustrating the wide variety of what fans are capable of building


Cons:

  • No coverage of trains and military creations!
  • Not many features on minifig-focused creations, greater emphasis placed on creatures, characters, and microscale instead.

This is a highly recommended Lego book for any builder or fan. For new builders, this will serve as a compilation of inspiring models at your fingertips, and for experienced builders, this is a perfect way to show friends what you do. A book like this doesn’t need words to explain itself, the creations will do all the talking and delight all who’s curious to open its covers. Despite a major flaw of overlooking trains and military builds, Mike still does a great job of covering most aspects of the diverse styles and themes. His professional re-editing of the backgrounds of many photos gives the book a consistent style. You can buy it now from Amazon.

LEGO Adventure Book 2

If the LEGO Adventure Book was an unofficial sequel to the 80s Ideas Books, the LEGO Adventure Book 2 is an official sequel to an unofficial sequel. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a book filled with great models by many great builders. I won’t write much about the book (aside from pointing out it has almost 40 sets of instructions), but I will leave you with the list of builders who contributed to it: Megan Rothrock (author/editor), Mark Stafford, Are J. Heiseldal, Arjan Oude Kotte, Barney Main, Birgitte Jonsgard, Tommy Williamson, Tyler Clites, Marco den Besten, Yvonne Doyle and Daniel August Krentz.

You can pre-order from Amazon.com right now (and remember, clicking that link helps support TBB).

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Amazing Vehicles LEGO Build-It Book [Review]

No Starch Press recently sent me a copy of one of their latest LEGO books, Amazing Vehicles, to review. It retails for $20 USD, though you can currently nab it over at Amazon for $15. Written by Nathanaël Kuipers and Mattia Zamboni, it’s a giant instruction manual in book form for building ten different vehicles. This is Volume 1, and the second volume is slated for release next month.

Street RodI’ve never been much interested in any of the unofficial build-it-yourself books, regardless of subject matter, because I always thought that if I’m going to build something that isn’t a set, I want to build my own model that I can claim. Additionally, I’m not much of a vehicle builder.

Nevertheless, since I wanted to give the book a proper review, I sat down to build one of the models. I chose to build number 9, the Street Rod. The book uses the same master set of parts for all of the vehicles, which are laid out on one of the first pages. If you’re just building a single model, though, like I was, you won’t need all of the pieces, and I found it annoying that each model didn’t have a page showing what parts are needed for it.

Instead, I gathered all of the parts for it the slow way, by manually going through each instruction step and finding the necessary pieces in my collection. While a lot of the parts are pretty common, unless you buy a lot of creator sets, chances are you won’t have all of the necessary pieces in the right colors. The book is quick to encourage builders to find substitutes, though. I found all but one red curved slope 2x4x2/3, which I substituted with a 1×4 tile and some cheese slopes (it goes on the rear bumper).

 

Instruction-ifiedThe book is high quality, printed on heavy paper, and the instructions are crisp and clear.

The black pieces (notoriously hard to make out) were even easy to see. I did find the difference between white and tan to be frustratingly hard to see, and honestly I’m not even sure why the models need any tan: the entire book only calls for 3 pieces in tan, and they are mostly used in hidden places.

Street Rod, built from pure SNOT.So I began building the car, and it started off pretty much the way you would expect a Creator-type car to start: some long plates for the base that you build up from. Immediately, though, I was surprised to find that the plates are actually facing upside down, and the entire car chassis is built studs-down. The direction reverses part-way up, and the hood and trunk are studs up.

The engine area was filled with a nifty bit of Studs Not On Top (SNOT) work, and some clever half-stud offsetting. The final model is a snappy looking little roadster, similar in size to the 150-200 piece official Creator vehicles. It’s definitely a lot larger than minifig scale, being 8 studs wide, although I don’t think minifigs would look terribly out of place in it (although, sadly, there’s no legroom for them). I was very impressed with the overall build quality, and I hope the rest of the vehicles in the book hold up to this standard. Seasoned LEGO builders who are used to working with SNOT techniques won’t find anything new here, but for someone who is just getting into using more advanced building techniques, there’s a lot to learn here. This book would have been a goldmine if I’d had it when I was a teenage builder.Street Rod

The Council of Elrond the way it was meant to be

I could talk about the literary impact of the scene depicted from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I could write about the technical pieces about the sculpting, the curvature and natural look of the build, and excellent manner Paul (Disco86) has captured just a small portion of Rivendell.

But really, just look at it:

Gorgeous.

I highly recommend looking around his photostream; for more Lord of the Rings themed builds, you can check out this gallery.

Curiouser and curiouser... Moko builds Alice and the White Rabbit

Moko claims never to have read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (as it so happens, I’m reading it right now), but that doesn’t stop him from building a wonderfully evocative version of Alice and the White Rabbit based on nothing more than a few image searches on the web.

Alice in Wonderland

Moko says that Alice’s hair was especially hard and that he had to rebuild it a couple times. The extra effort has certainly resulted in some naturally flowing hair.

New and upcoming LEGO books for Jul-Oct 2013

It seems like there are new books about LEGO coming out constantly, both from famously “LEGO-friendly” publishing houses like No Starch Press and from many other publishers.

We haven’t been able to feature or review all of them, so here’s a quick roundup of the many LEGO books published so far in 2013, along with links to pre-order a number of future books.

I’m particularly excited about LEGO Space by perennial TBB favorites Pete Reid and Tim Goddard. Though we don’t have too many details about what’s inside, the cover alone hints at Neo-Classic Space greatness.