Tag Archives: NPU

A LEGO cottage in candy colors

With some of the most inventive LEGO part usage I’ve seen in a while, Daniel Cloward has assembled quite the bright-colored cottage. His ingenious roof technique utilizes a lattice of rounded tiles held within the clips of this part. Add that to the paintbrushes as door hinges, hot dogs in the round window frame, and minifig headwear as rocks on the front lawn, and the build is bursting at the seams with exquisite part usage. But the cherry on this NPU cake has got to be the inclusion of Clikits in the cobbled walls of the structure.


MC Vespa; full-time DJ, part-time pretty boy

Clever LEGO builder Dan Ko graces the pages of The Brothers Brick once again and this time he drops MC Vespa. He’s got cool shoes, a radical haircut, and a face like a Vespa. No seriously, it is a Vespa! The part can be found in the Friends Heartlake City Bakery. Check out that doofus grin! It has more than a few of us at TBB headquarters chuckling at this very nice parts usage. Please peruse our Dan Ko archives to learn why we think Dan is the king of NPU while you, on the other hand, just sort of loaf on the couch.

MC Vespa

Ace Parts Usage: TBB’s favorite LEGO build techniques of 2023 so far [Feature]

Over the course of the last six months, we’ve featured literally hundreds of excellent LEGO creations. While all of them are already the best we’ve found, there are a handful that stand out above the rest.  Usually these creations feature the coolest techniques and exceptional NPU (Nice Parts Usage), and have us talking about them more than the average build behind the scenes. We’ve seen everything, but occasionally we’re extra impressed by something new and unique. Although we do feature our overall favorite builds (using several criteria) in the running for the TBB Creation of the Year in December, we’ve decided it would be fun to honor some ace parts usage right here, right now. Join us as we count down the best of the first half of 2023!

Click to see the full lineup!

A zippy little speeder

I love a LEGO speeder bike build! When I’m short for time or have builders block, I build a little speeder and am always impressed with how useful those small parts can be. Here, Lucas Shannon puts that versatility to work with a bike of their own. Handcuffs are used to hold onto laser pistols which adds great texture and detail. This also allows a connection point for the interesting windscreen assembly, attached via a clip.

The Maroon Marauder (1)

Taking a look at the back, we can make out the root piece upon which this hover bike is built: a motorbike frame sans the wheels! The way that Lucas has filled the wheel wells and utilized just about every possible connection point on the frame is quite impressive! I’m excited to see what I can take from this into my own designs.

The Maroon Marauder (5)

Avert your eyes, purists! Illegal Robot is here!

It’s not the biggest or most elaborate LEGO creation we’ve ever showcased here on The Brothers Brick but I was excited to write about it nonetheless. This little offering by Josephine Monterosso is called Illegal Robot and apparently, that was enough to pique my interest and get this wee bot onto my to-write list ASAP. She goes on to explain that this was built from modified parts and illegal connections. The shoulders and upper arms are cut ends from a chain and the hands are held in place via cut stickers wrapped around the pegs. The purists would not like this; the last time we upset them we got a record number of complaints from folks with AOL email addresses. I’m chuckling inside, Josephine. Thanks for being a total rebel!

Illegal Robot

Miniature LEGO floating island sports a hoot of a nice part usage

Using only 92 LEGO elements, this whimsical model of a floating rock with a miniature windmill by Mbricks packs quite a lot of nice part usage, or NPU! While hair pieces make great foliage as they come in a rainbow of colors, my favorite part is the white owl used as a cloud. A couple of flexible whips make excellent roots.

Floating in the Clouds

A backyard construction project

A product of the recent “Construction Constructions” LEGO building contest over at New Elementary, Jaroslaw Walter has implemented quite the assortment of construction contraband in this backyard diorama. First up is the expert use of the forklift roll cage for the legs of the lawn chairs and table. This furniture sits on an area of pavers made of bulldozer treads which add the perfect bit of texture to the patio area. And the dozer scoops for planters along the left wall are a brilliant choice, fitting into the rest of the scene expertly. But my favorite usage has got to be all the minifig wrenches used throughout the scene in everything from a lock to plant stems.

Tiny Backyard

The hippest holiday builds we’ve ever seen.

We’ve often praised Dan Ko for his inventive parts usage, but these two Christmas ornaments might just take the cake…or fruitcake, as it were. Starting with a set of legless minifigure hips as faces, Dan has crafted Santa and the traditional Christmas Nutcracker as ornaments suitable for hanging on any LEGO fan’s tree.

Pocket Santa

Santa’s got minifigure parts working overtime, as a single leg fills in for his beard. And I’m particularly impressed with the small space Dan was able to leave in the Nutcracker to denote his chompers. Make sure to check out more of our coverage of Dan’s impressive builds right here.

The Nutcracker

Here’s the scoop on this wintry scene...

The latest LEGO creation by builder Evancelt‘s depicts a wintry scene with an impressive castle towering above the nearby village. The castle, with its yellow colour scheme, is reminiscent of the classic LEGO Yellow Castle, but what impresses me with this castle is that the walls are made from a digger bucket! In micro builds like this, I’m always impressed when parts you wouldn’t expect should work really do work so well!

Winter Kingdom

But it’s not just a great castle on display here. Surrounding the castle is a beautiful wintry scene complete with snow-covered forests, using various horn pieces, and a small village which utilises the printed plate from the latest CMF series, but my favourite piece of detail in this scene? The snowy mounds made from white croissant pieces!

Now, all this talk of winter leaves me needing to find an open fire to warm up…

Command and control your space

NPU, or Nice Parts Use, is the fan term for taking an unusual and seemingly single-use LEGO element and cleverly incorporating it into something else. It’s rare to see the NPU ethos applied to expensive electronic components, however, that’s exactly what TBB alumn Benjamin Stenlund has done with the 9V battery box controller on this Vic Viper, positioning it so the infrared emitter becomes a cool cockpit. Of course, don’t miss the carrot blasters on this greebled entry to the Novvember fan challenge, too.

The Controller

Sentient Automated Planetary Explorer

There’s nothing equally amusing as a well-written background story for a cool goofy-looking LEGO build. This seemingly silly robot by Bart De Dobbelaer actually comes with hilarious story. Still, I’m more impressed with the building techniques! The face inside a transparent box from a LEGO VIDIYO set is a gem, but maybe its funny legs or neat landscape will impress you more..?

Sentient Automated Planetary Explorer

This microscale forest scene is hair today, gone tomorrow

With fall finally here, my favorite time of year, a stroll in the woods is a delightful way to pass the time, strolling among quiet ruins as the fall leaves drift to the ground, as in this scene by LegoHobbitFan, which uses a variety of hair elements as billowy foliage. Log printed tiles make the perfect path, and a few of the trees are made with stud-shooters, turning weapons into trees.

The Forest