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.

Never make light of a Lizard’s bloodline

Though the Bionicle and Hero Factory lines died a while ago, plenty of fans still covet and horde the pieces that LEGO provided us during those golden ages. Nonetheless, builders hold onto the parts to provide some unique and specific detail to their character models. I had a chat with Alex_mocs about their build process for this model, Dawnpike Azaria, inspired by the Lizards in the game, Divinity: Original Sin. Alex challenged himself to sculpt a more feminine reptilian character saying that he hadn’t seen “many feminine coded dragon characters built from LEGO.” Thus, he had fun sculpting a lizard-like head with that energy in mind. He certainly did well, utilizing dragon wings, vines, and various other decorative elements to capture the frills and horns common to this character’s people. Though the color palette limited his piece choices, Alex made great use of them throughout Azaria’s figure. Her armor and jeweled necklace are wonderful details that work well to fill in the gaps that some pieces leave. Alex also found that gold hoops fit snugly around some rubber tires which made it possible for them to be stacked and hold their position. He used this technique in the neck, tail, and ankles. Meanwhile, Alex admitted to using a paperclip in the gold hose around her waist to help her chainmail skirt hold its shape.

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My Little Game Boy

There are a lot of reasons to get the LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System. From hidden easter eggs in the build to fantastic play features, the set is hands down one of the best sets the LEGO Group has ever released. It’s hard to imagine getting this set and ever wanting to break it down. Then again, some builders just can’t help themselves. Mech Master Moko harvested some printed tiles from the remains of this amazing set to bring us another piece of nostalgia, with a twist. This ingenious model transforms from a classic handheld gaming system into GAMEBOY-ROBO.

GAMEBOY-ROBO

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Research station amid a vibrant reef

Working with a new part can be a challenge. Finding how they fit into the system can lead to surprises and disappointments. Ultimately, dedicated builders like Tom Loftus find a way. Armed with tons of teal from the Ninjago Jungle Dragon and challenged to examine the functionality of the transparent VIDIYO Canopy (as he calls it), Tom found himself under the sea at this Reef Station. He gave me some insight into some of the extra pieces he worked into the model, including finally making use of the drone elements introduced last year.

Reef Station

Read on to see more of the details in this colorful underwater scene

Relax. On this slime pool, everybody’s an outlaw.

The wealth of characters from the Star Wars universe is almost never-ending and fans of the animated series are sure to recognize this infamous villain. An icon of the Clone Wars series, Cad Bane proved a formidable foe to Obi-wan and Anakin on a multitude of occasions. Respected by fellow bounty hunters and often employed by the Sith, this rough and tough fighter knew his way through the galaxy from the swamps of Nal Hutta to the underbelly of Coruscant. Immortalized here in brick form by Magnus W, this digital build uses some clever parts usage to achieve an uncanny likeness of Bane. Stand-out pieces are the pirate hats on either side of his chest as well as the Minifigure hoods used as his shoulders. Hinged bricks, angled slope tiles, and modified plates make up most of his jacket. The blue Magnus used in Bane’s face perfectly contrasts with the bright red eyes peeking out from the shadow of his iconic broad-rimmed hat. The satisfying color blocking does well mimicking the character’s design.

Cad Bane Bust

The rear of the bust holds a few extra details and reveals how the head was modeled. A mix of modified bars, hinges, and inverted plates allowed Magnus to attach Bane’s eyes and hat to the inverted pieces in his neck, jaw, and nose. The hose attached to the angled bars with studs not only works perfectly as his breathing apparatus but also forms the core of the connection between the top and bottom of his head. The bricks laid on their sides for the base are also a satisfying way to mount this fantastic bust.

Cad Bane Bust (Back)

Though much smaller than the helmet busts the LEGO Group released in the last year or so this model would still make a great addition to any LEGO Star Wars collection.

Forget flying pigs, this one is interstellar.

This hulking beast of a starship is the T-37 Spayspigg by builder InterBrick. Inspired by the intense models created by Noblebun, Interbrick set out on an ambitious journey to create this greebly digital monster. Creative parts usage stands out at this scale with repetition being the name of the game. The nacelles to the side and bottom all share the same design with tubes, dishes, hoses, and minifigure legs creating the mechanical details of exposed engines sections. My eyes are drawn all over this model, noticing the various different techniques InterBrick used, but my favorite little detail of the nacelles has to be the white cowboy hats.

T-37 Spayspigg

Riddled with super detailed engines, this ship could be a formidable racer or a frightening bomber. Either way, you’re sure to be left in the dust. The power of having hundreds of minifigure accessories is exemplified in these engines. Three styles of nozzles adorn the nacelles and main body of the ship. They share some interesting parts such as flippers, telephones, and snowshoes while more tubes, bars, and scuba tanks are used as part of the propulsion systems. The large central engines are a bit bulkier with ice skates lining the interior of the nozzles.

T-37 Spayspigg

A truly monumental feat from InterBrick, the T-37 Spayspigg is an amazing build worthy of praise. It was great seeing that Noblebun even helped with the renders for this digital model. I love seeing the community work together!

Thinking outside the box can take you out of this world

The LEGO VIDIYO line has introduced some notably interesting minifigure DJs and a ton of printed tiles, or BeatBits, that interact with the accompanying music video creation app. As far as parts go, we’ll see what the future VIDIYO sets hold for us, but for now, we have the BeatBoxes. They’re curved cubes with clear bodies that attach to a large, 8×8 modified brick. Inside, a special element holds two hinged plates that display the BeatBits and a fixed horizontal stand for the minifigure. Recently these elements have gained some popularity and builders are showing off what they can do with them. Builder martin.with.bricks elevated his BeatBox out of this world, cleverly using it as the cockpit for a spaceship dubbed the VIDI-1. Bricks are stacked in various orientations to attach to the cube element and wrap around it. The lime green of the BeatBox base is accented by patterns built into the wings as well as vents on the sides and guns on top.

VIDI-1

Inside the clear section of the BeatBox, Martin has used brackets, clips, and rounded 2×1 plates to create a seat, display, and controls for the Alien DJ. Representing “Extra Terrestrial Dance Music” according to the promotional images, this is a great minifigure design from the VIDIYO line. Continue reading

Efforts continue in cataloging the mechanical tree of life

The fantastic mechanical creatures of Mitsuru Nikaido have long fascinated me. As I was emerging from the dark ages of my LEGO obsession, the robotic structures of Mitsuru’s models opened my eyes to just what was possible within the LEGO system. While each creature is a dead ringer for their biological inspirations, they also stand separately from them. Their form and selective color-blocking create eye-catching robotic designs. Mitsuru mostly sticks to a light or dark bluish grey contrasting with white and a pop of bright light orange. This simple palette gives a builder plenty of parts to play with though and Mitsuru certainly takes advantage of his options. Let’s take a moment to check out his latest models of a Water bear and a Snail.

LEGO Mecha Water Bear_01

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Microscale Wall-e watches the skies waiting for a shooting star to wish upon [Instructions]

When it comes to robots that warm our hearts, it’s hard to think of one more endearing than Wall-e, the hard-working, dedicated hero from the movie that bears his name. Working hard to clean up our mess while we humans cruise the galaxy in comfort and style. If you would like to have a tiny Wall-e to keep you company while you work from home, follow along with KosBrick to assemble one of your own.

LEGO Mini Wall-E (Tutorial)

Build one of your own with this instructions video

A Vic Viper worthy of royalty

Oh, the depths of space have so much to offer. As vast as the human imagination itself, nothing tickles my soul more than a great spaceship, especially one built from LEGO. Seeing how builders mold their abstract forms, creating engaging structures and silhouettes under the constrictions and limits of the LEGO system, builds a sense of absolute awe. Gaming fans of the modern era can escape into any number of epic worlds from Mass Effect to No Man Sky or the vast realms of Homeworld, EVE, or Star Citizen. As such, there is a wealth of designs that inspire wonderful builders around the world. This model was built by Carter Baldwin as a homage to a Hiigaran ship from Homeworld 2, but he diverged a bit from the original design. Take a look at the Imperial Interceptor, a marvelous Vic Viper for the Royal House of Sol. The stand-out color blocking achieved in this model depends greatly on the triangular tiles that hug the sharp edges of the ship’s body and wings. Contrasting the dark blue slopes and tiles, the gold gives the ship an eye-catching allure worthy of royalty.

Imperial Interceptor
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Built for the fearless adventurer

Spaceship! I will always react that way to any swooshable model starcraft. Builders love to show off their knowledge of the LEGO system by the way they mold and craft the shapes of their starships. In addition, the eye-catching detail, or greeble, they add shows off some of their brick collection as well as their ingenuity in representing the elements of a spaceship. In this wonderful model, Starfighter Intrepid, builder seb71 shows off some of their skill.

Having a history of well-crafted spaceships, seb71 has brought us an eye-catching, sand-green design highlighted with white plates and tiles built cleverly into the wings and body. If you look at the structure of the Intrepid closely, you can see the various orientations the builder used to achieve their desired design. The stickers seb71 used add just the right amount of extra detail. I love the large white slopes in the wings, often used in the Imperial Shuttle sets. They work perfectly with the structure as well as the color-blocking.

Starfighter Intrepid

Read on to see more views of this fantastic spaceship

Don’t trust your eyes, its a deceptive disguise...

Let’s talk about LEGO and Transformers. When Transformers were first introduced in the 1980s, the LEGO system didn’t quite have the available pieces to recreate the complicated designs of vehicle-to-robot transformations. Fast-forward to today and it’s a totally different story. Armed with a slew of modern joints and plates, Librarian-Bot is pulling off designs that are more than meet your eyes.

Flashpoint
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Stacked terraced garden habitats

Are you aware of the phenomenon called Minifig Habitats? It’s essentially an 8x8x8 diagonal vignette that can be stacked and interlocked to form a pyramid display. However, there is a more popular habitat style that isn’t diagonal and has less open space. These habitats first appeared on Flickr in 2016 and were popularised by LEGO fan sites in the last few years. Since then, they became a nice way for people to show off LEGO Collectible Minifigures in a small dynamic display. Kristel Whitaker takes it to the next level by reimagining minifig habitats into a diorama of a pergola, a balcony, and a potting shed.

Spring Habitat Stack

The white structures provide a bright canvas for plants to grow on and make the diorama clean and minimalist. In addition, the nougat flooring brings a lovely warm contrast to the blue backdrop of Kristel’s photo. There’s plenty of other colours as well, from the yellows and pinks of the flowers to the blues and reds of the potting shed in the lower right habitat. All of these come together in a concise diorama that are clearly different parts of the same house.

Want to build your own minifig habitats? Here is the template.