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.
The book itself is a high quality, hardback book consisting of 220 glossy colour pages. The book is divided into four chapters:
- ESTIMATIONS: Considerations regarding the scale of the model, with detailed schematics
- CONSTRUCTION OF THE MODEL: Description of the building process
- INSTRUCTIONS: Detailed steps to build the model, with an alternative build option for the hard to find parts, and a catalogue of parts
- GALLERY: 16 pages of awesome photographs showing the Alien looking all mean and moody
I realise that there will be some people who will want to buy the book but may perhaps not actually plan to build the model. The first two chapters are interesting but short, and whet the reader’s appetite for the main
course build process. The gallery chapter does have some beautiful photos, but the vast majority of the book contains pages of detailed instructions and the catalogue of parts required.
I left the book lying on our coffee table and, to ensure this was an accurate scientific experiment, I also left a control. In this experiment my control was another ‘coffee-table’ book that has proven popular in our house but is completely unrelated to LEGO. Over the festive period, a range of family and friends were able to pick up and flick through either book. The Alien Project faired very well despite the range of age groups and complete lack of LEGO interest in my visitors as a whole. The actual subject matter is well-known as the original Alien film is particularly iconic, and this gives the book a wide-spread appeal despite being a niche book.
I am going to stick my neck out and say that to buy this book and not actually build the model does a huge disservice to yourself and the Arvo Brothers. The reason this review is slightly later than others on the web is that I had to order some parts and build the model. I couldn’t review the book without building the Alien, and as soon as I started reading the introduction the die was cast! I mean, just look at the 51cms of LEGO awesomeness just waiting to be built…
Good news about parts
The first book published by the Arvo Brothers was Kaneda’s Bike but unfortunately the rarity of a few key parts meant only a limited number of people could actually build the model. This time, the Arvo Brothers have recognised that there are a few hard-to-find parts when developing the model and there is an alternative build within the instructions. The alternative build relates to the ‘spines’ on the Alien’s back.
In addition to the parts required for the original spines, there are a few other parts that are difficult to find. If you are open to using easily available alternatives, then there will not be a problem with getting parts and completing the build. As someone who has built the model, I already know that the common sources for parts are now bereft of these hard-to-find parts. An example of tougher to find versus easy to find is shown below (these all related to the base rather than the figure). You can make your own decision about whether this is a showstopper for building the model, but remember this is the base and not the Alien.
There is another way of avoiding some of the issues with finding specific parts to complete the base, and that is to simply build your own habitat for the figure. This route was taken by Missing Brick with resounding success.
- The book offers a fascinating insight into the process of developing and designing the build.
- The Arvo Brothers have chosen parts that are far easier to find this time and many will already be plentiful within your LEGO collection.
- The few hard-to-find parts that are present in the build are not essential as there are alternatives available.
- The book is beautifully presented, but to achieve a higher level of gratification I cannot recommend the experience of building this model enough.
Thank you to the Arvo Brothers for providing a copy of their book for us to review.