If tiny LEGO castles are your jam, then Patrick B. has a treat for you. This 12 x 12 stud microscale masterpiece is full of so many cool parts that you’ll wonder why anyone bothers using standard bricks. The tops of Scala milk cartons make tiny blue tents, a minifigure microphone and tank linkage combine in the cannon, and dark green minifigure epaulets and tooth plates provide some vegetation. The castle itself is also a tiny work of art. If you look close you can spot bucket handles, minifigure hands, neck brackets, and even a basket as the interior of the front gate. And check out the construction on those towers! Quarter circle tiles are wedged into a 2×2 round plate to for the turrets. It’s a connection some might call “illegal” but I call “sweet.”
If you’d like to see how Patrick achieved all this, check out the Instagram post highlighting the build. And if that still isn’t enough great part usage to satisfy you, I should mention this isn’t the first creation of Patrick’s that we’ve featured.
In the LEGO community, nice parts usage (or NPU) is something many builders strive to achieve. Using parts in an interesting way never fails to garner notice and compliments. Often these types of techniques are scattered throughout the model, but in the case of this hummingbird, builder Jaap Bijl gives us a figure that consists almost entirely of NPU. So, where does one begin?
The tree branch and leaves may be common, but the whips for vines and the small minifigure hammers for the flower stamens take us into unusual territory. The minifigure spanner used for the feet and the clever eye and beak area are stand outs. The wings, however, are a thing of beauty. They’re a terrific combo of flexible tubes, small wrenches and a variety of blue Technic pins and 1×1 round plates to create the wing feathers. The lavender grass pieces and purple antennae make for a nice finisher as tail feathers. They body and silhouette of the bird are quite nice as well and really bring the entire model together as a cohesive whole.
Every custom builder’s LEGO bin of parts would likely have elements that would leave them bewildered and likely a sigh of defeat can be heard. Elements that fit into this category are typically purpose-built and typically only have one use for its intended purpose. One such example is a cockpit fuselage of a helicopter. Oscar Cederwall (o0ger) is not daunted by such a challenge and seamlessly integrates the part into his Assisted Robotic Maintenance ship and made immensely amazing.
Two mechanical arms sweep out with multiple sensors surrounding the shell of the ship. Maintenace activities in space never looked so good.
I’m always amazed at the ways LEGO fans can use minifigure accessories as design elements in new and creative ways. One of my new favourites is Versteinert’s vintage Chevy. While there’s no denying how well the shape of the truck has been captured, the use of weapons and utensils is captivating. Whether it’s the frying pan and lightsaber hilt repurposed as a banjo or some of the less intuitive design choices, the exaction is magnificent. The teacup makes a cute side mirror and the revolver is an effective exhaust pipe. Most impressive, in my opinion, is the grille made up of 4 axe heads – what an ingenious way to vent an engine!
I’m a sucker for new or nice parts usage (NPU) and Simon NH knows the way to my heart. So allow me to fangirl out at for a moment at his latest Harry Potter creation, Winter in Hogsmeade.
Did you see the brick walls built out of Mjölnirs or the underside of jumpers? Or the window arch made out of cheese held in by pressure alone? I love the modified plates with teeth as shingles and the lance as a downspout. How about the welding torch as a sconce, or the (extremely in-theme) sorting hat as the top of the lamppost. I’m really only scratching the surface here, as there are all kinds of other creative parts usages throughout, and that’s not even mentioning the smart colour choices (like, hello yellowish-green and light aqua as frozen grass). The creation as a whole is fantastic, but the smart use of parts really does make a LEGO fan weak in the knees.