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.

Build your office at home

With most of the corporate world working from home these days, it’s easy to miss the cubicle life. You can reminisce about the good old days with this LEGO creation from Tiago Catarino.

LEGO Cubicle

I love the curved desk and the drawers next to the chair. Minimalist is the word that comes to mind in describing how Tiago was able to cram in so many details with so much subtlety. I can’t help but smile at the crooked sticky note. One thing is for sure, when I get out of quarantine and continue working on a scale model of my office, this cubicle is certainly going to be there.

If you’d like to build your own office cubicle, Tiago has provided us the instructions on his YouTube channel.

TBB cover photo for June 2020: The General Store with Everything

This month’s cover photo, from Andrea Lattanzio, brings us this blast from the past with an incredibly detailed LEGO general store. The diorama is littered with items you might find at a remote general store, and luckily Andrea provides a close up look at the details (see below). Candy machines, phone booths, tools, and gas, this general store has you covered no matter your needs.

General Store

Here’s that closer look at some of the items you’ll see surrounding the general store. The water tower is a clear standout, but some of the other details like the power pole, the cable holding up the chimney pipe, and the cat going after that bird nest. This entire scene is a delight to take in.

General Store in detail

Want to see your own LEGO creation featured across TBB social media for a month? Check out the submission guidelines and submit your photo today.

Stay safe and keep up with The Brothers Brick by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter or Pinterest. And for extra goodies, follow us on Instagram, Flickr, or subscribe to us on YouTube.

How to build a bitty bowling lane [Instructions]

Although it kind of sucks to be stuck at home these days, one upside is the number of glorious LEGO creations coming from builders all over the world. But if you’ve got builders-block or need something small to get you started, Tiago Catarino keeps the instructions rolling! When you can’t go to the real bowling alley, why not build yourself a little lane? This adorable build would look great with several lined up together!

LEGO Bowling Lane

As always, Tiago has provided a visual tutorial. Follow the link below to build along!

Click to watch the video

How to organise and sort your LEGO collection, by the Mad Physicist [Feature]

With a lot of people holed up in their homes, as a result of stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19, The Brothers Brick has been getting questions on how to best organise one’s LEGO collection. There are obviously many different ways to do this. These range from not organising it at all, via sorting elements by colour or type, to giving every type of element in every different colour a separate container. The latter is seen by some people as the “ultimate” or “most advanced” sorting solution. A behind-the-scenes discussion among our contributors revealed that we all have somewhat different sorting systems. So, for those of you staring at a large pile of random unsorted LEGO, we’ll be sharing our ideas in a few feature articles. We’ll also go into the process of cleaning and sorting your LEGO.

In this installment, we kick off with our very own Builder in Residence, Ralph Savelsberg aka Mad physicist.

Click to read more about how Ralph sorts his LEGO collection

Can you solve this? The LEGO Reverse Engineering challenge will have you scratching your head [News]

Most of us are staying home a lot more these days, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably already built all the LEGO sets laying around your house and have run out of ideas for your custom build. Our friend Ryan Howerter has just the thing to solve your brick doldrums and keep you flexing your LEGO muscles with a little brick workout. Introducing the Reverse Engineering Contest, a daily challenge wherein you, the viewer, are tasked with recreating a tiny but deceptively complex model with your own bricks. Ryan will be posting a new challenge to his Instagram every day from now until August, so you’ll have plenty to keep you busy.

Much like the crossword puzzle in the papers, there are no prizes to be won in this contest, just a victorious sense of accomplishment and expanded knowledge of your favorite highly sophisticated interlocking brick system.

Designed by Ryan and his friends, each of these small creations uses only a handful of elements and looks pretty simple, but don’t be fooled: there’s more than meets the eye to these brain teasers. Here’s today’s challenge to get you started.

Some might be simple to you, but no matter what your skill level, others are sure to have you pulling your hair out and wondering if Ryan has invoked the Kragle. However, the only shenanigans that may be involved with building the models are weird pieces and outside-the-box thinking. Ryan says that none of the solutions include things like stickers, flex tubing, or rubber bands–and certainly no Kragle. Can’t find the right parts to make it work? Give it a try in a digital building program like Studio or Mecabricks.

And if you get stuck, Ryan will be posting the answers every Sunday to a Dropbox linked in his Instagram bio (so as to not accidentally spoil anyone). This is the fifth time Ryan has run a challenge like this, and I’ve had a blast puzzling out the devious intricacies of previous challenges and can’t wait to see what else is in store this time around.

How to build the baby-est of baby grand pianos [Instructions]

Back in January, we featured a tiny LEGO upright piano with instructions, built by Tiago Catarino. Now he brings us another mini masterpiece: a baby grand! While they’re both adorable, I have to say, this one is my favorite. He captures the shape perfectly.

LEGO Grand Piano Instructions

Click to watch the tutorial video

Building “Pursuit of Flight” is still attainable [Instructions]

Nearly a year ago, we featured this exceptional kinetic sculpture by Jason Allemann. The “Pursuit of Flight” later went on to become a finalist in the recent LEGO Ideas review round. A week ago, LEGO announced which projects made it into the next production run, and unfortunately, Jason’s “Pursuit of Flight” was not one of those projects. But do not despair! He has made the full instructions available to anyone who is dying to build this wonderful piece of art.

Pursuit of Flight Instructions

For those big Star Wars fan out there, you can try your hand at a trench run variation of the original model.

As you may know, this is not the first time that Jason (also known as JK Brickworks) has been a LEGO Ideas finalist. He has actually previously won the coveted opportunity to have his build become an official set… twice. He’s responsible for 21305 Maze and 21315 Pop-Up Book (the latter in collaboration with Grant Davis).

Building this Super Mario block is no mystery! [Instructions]

Sometimes it’s easy to look at a LEGO model and over-complicate the build process. But this Mario Bros mystery cube isn’t tough to make, and designer Tiago Catarino is happy to show you how!

LEGO Mystery Cube

Click to watch the tutorial video

The Brothers Brick Explore: LEGO Classic Space [Feature]

Classic Space – one of the perennial LEGO building genres, ever-popular amongst fans for its nostalgic nods to iconic official sets of the past, and the opportunities it presents to depict an optimistic expansionist vision of humanity’s intergalactic future.

This building genre takes its primary influences from the LEGO Space sets released between 1978 and 1987, and the follow-up themes released during the late-80s and beyond, when factions like Futuron, Blacktron, and the Space Police were introduced to the universe.

But the genre is about much more than just the official sets. Take a trip with The Brothers Brick as we blast off on our grand tour of LEGO Classic Space…

Click to read our in-depth overview of the Classic Space building genre

Happy little trees

You know about Bob Ross, right? If not, the short version is that he was an amazing painter, best known for his peaceful and calm teaching method. Quite often, he would fill his canvasses with “happy little trees,” conjuring entire forests with just a few elegant brush-strokes. Builder Emil Lidé (Full Plate) has a similar talent, creating trees with a flair and minimalist style that evokes nature with just a tiny selection of LEGO elements.

Not satisfied with just one tree, Emil has created seven distinct varieties for us to enjoy.

Microtrees

All seven are great, but there are a couple of standouts that I wanted to take a closer look at. (All seven are detailed in the builder’s Tree Techniques album on Flickr.)

Continue reading

Build your own LEGO pumpkin napkin rings for Thanksgiving dinner [Instructions]

Last year, my family requested that I build some LEGO napkin rings for Thanksgiving dinner. I eagerly set out experimenting with LEGO turkeys, Pilgrim hats, brick-built pies and more, but those all were too complicated for an already-full dinner table. The design needed to be simple, stable and instantly evoke the Thanksgiving spirit. The idea struck that a simple pumpkin ring would work perfectly for a harvest table.

I experimented with a few options, since the opening had to be big enough for a rolled napkin but strong enough not to split when holding it in place. After trying and failing to get the right shape using a studs-up technique, it became apparent that rotating the whole build on its side was the way to go. TBB’s Chris Malloy provided a final moment of brilliance suggesting the curly whip for the top, and the design was complete. Continue reading

Build James Bond’s Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me [Instructions]

Looking back at the action scenes from the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me make them seem downright cheesy today. Having said that, the reason why the Lotus Esprit is still remembered and loved is just how realistic the way the car submerged and reappeared on the sandy beach. Simple designs are sometimes the key to making things rememberable. Hachiroku24’s take on this vehicle not only looks great from the sides, but also has great detailing on the rear using simple 1×1 plates for its rear tail lights.

Lego 007's Lotus Esprit

Click for full instructions to build your own