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.

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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Table of Contents

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

“Mr Choo-choo train, take me away.”

It’s time to ride the rails with Ted Andes aboard the mighty land-yacht called Intrepid, an Art Deco style train built with the Steampunk genre in mind. I was drawn in by the brutality of the cow-catcher, but I stayed for the smoothed out lines and clever photography. According to the builder this model was constructed for an upcoming book by TBB regular V&A Steamworks.

Intrepid (Main)

I need to get in on this publishing frenzy, all the cool kids these days are either writing books about LEGO or being featured in them. I thought print was supposed to be dead? Good luck with the book, Guy and crew, if this photo is any indication of the overall quality I’m sure you’ll do quite well.

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.

Oh no, not again

“Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.”

If this means nothing to you, then you’ll probably not get what this vignette by Stefan Schindler (Brainbikerider) is all about.

The Sperm Whale and the bowl of Petunias

If you don’t get it, I suggest you get your sorry behind to the bookshop (or log on to your favourite on-line bookseller) and finally get yourself your own copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. What kind of nerd are you?! Seriously. Be ashamed.

I often try to find things to blog by people who haven’t had their MOCs featured on TBB before, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to pass up the opportunity to blog a model dedicated to one of my favourite books. I love the simple but very effective way in which the scene suggests motion by having stripes in the background and it could be just me, but I think the sperm whale actually looks a bit surprised.

Review: Brick City by Warren Elsmore

The name Warren Elsmore may not be immediately familiar to adult fans of LEGO worldwide, but you are likely to have seen some of his work, such as his LEGO model of the 2012 London Olympic Park. He is also well-known in British LEGO circles as the organiser of AFOLCON, the UK’s own LEGO convention, and as the former chairman of the Brickish Association. For his latest project, he has translated his love for our favourite bricks into a book titled Brick City, about building the world’s great cities with LEGO.

Brick City

The book contains a few introductory pages on subjects such as building techniques, useful LEGO parts and customising minifigs. The rest of the more than 250 pages of this hefty volume are dedicated to photographs and instructions of fan-built models, each with an informative little blurb about the real-world object and about its LEGO rendition. Many of these models were built by Warren himself and his wife Kitty, but he has also enlisted the help of several other builders, including J. Spencer Rezkalla (Spencer R), Sean Kenney and Arthur Gugick, who are well-known for their architectural models. The book also includes two of my own (vehicle) models, which is why I was sent the advance copy of the book that I am using for this review.

Brick City

The models are mainly buildings and monuments, from a grand total of 39 cities across the world, with a few pages dedicated to each of them. London, New York and Paris each cover larger sections. You can build some of the models yourself, using instructions in the book. These models tend to be fairly straightforward, but often are still a bit more complicated than your average LEGO set. A minor point of criticism of the book is that the pages aren’t particularly large and because of this, the instructions are quite small. This may make them somewhat difficult to follow for inexperienced builders. If you are like me, however, the instructions don’t really matter. It is simply a joy to have this book lie on my coffee table and leaf through it every now and then, to enjoy the photographs. The book contains beautiful models and the reproduction of the photographs is excellent. It also contains two large fold-out posters, of Warren’s London St Pancras station and Spencer’s beautiful microscale rendition of the (new) World Trade Center from New York. If you are into LEGO architecture sets, you’ll definitely like this one.

The book will officially be out in early May, but Amazon.com has already started shipping copies. RRP for the UK version (called Brick city -LEGO for Grown-ups) is £12.99 and the list price for the US version is $19.90. There is also an Australian version (which, somewhat oddly, is the one I got), but only the covers differ. The book is also available in Canada and several European countries.