Tag Archives: NPU

Swallows and Amazons

Fledgings look to expert builder Inthert and crane their necks to see what he builds next. Specialising in spaceships, he finds the right pieces to build intricate shapes that bring beauty to otherwise now-generic vehicles. He presents us with a pink-haired lady piloting a small and unique starfighter with an unusual shape. When taking a gander from different angles, we can see that this ship has the shape of a plump bird, with the elements of a fighter jet.

Spaceship Telephone Game - Part 12

Bird puns aside, this well put together craft checks all the boxes that satisfy a parts- and technique-oriented coot such as myself. A bulky body with downwards sloping wings that resemble a small bird gliding on a current is perfect. Aside from unique parts like a white Slizers visor in the front and two sizes of barrels, the use of inverted slopes for small intakes is ingenious. There is minimal greebling, but it works just as well, as less is more. Last but not least: the wing and landing gear function: the landing gear swings out as the wings fold in.
That’s it.

Spaceship Telephone Game - Part 12

Only Inthert can make it so simple and work so well. But my favourite part still remains the girl with the lavender coloured Elves hairpiece. Something about a pink-haired girl being the pilot makes an already perfect spaceship even cooler.

See more perfect builds by the talented Inthert here.

The deeper picture

LEGO builder MorlornEmpire shows us how to add structure to a build in his LEGO temple named Deeper. There are so many parts used in an unconventional way that my eyes do not know where to look first. So let’s start from the top. The build features some palm trees made with flex tubing to give it the organic, not so static look and a ‘temple’ entrance covered in sand. The entrance is made of plates with tiles stuck between the studs to create a pattern. It’s almost as if there is a message written on the facade of the building.

Deeper- Full Moc

Underneath the surface is the actual inside of the ‘temple’ and the walls are packed with intricate details. In the top we see cat tail elements, and the half round spoked window part filled with cheese slopes. Further down we come across the good old groove brick with a bar filling up the groove hole. To continue with 1×2 bricks filled with bucket handles. The columns have some stacked 1×2 panels to add texture and the tiled floor is made of inlaid cheese slopes.

I wonder how much of this creation is staying in place thanks to friction and gravity.

Now that’s a Renaissance man

There is just something about this mustachioed fellow’s gaze that is utterly captivating. Perhaps it’s the twinkle of 17th century worldly knowledge in his eyes, or it’s the amazing part usage that went into the face detailing as well as the costume of this LEGO bust built by Grant Davis.

The eyebrows of this piece are each cleverly composed of two reddish brown claw pieces, while the mustache is ingeniously constructed of two tail pieces with technic pin endings clipped to a reddish brown minifigure epaulette. Perhaps the main focal point of this build is the elegant white “ruff” or millstone collar made out of 4×4 flower pieces with rounded petals and 4×2 wedge elements. The studs on the wedges add some texture to the notably ruffled piece of neckwear. It is hard to pick my favorite use of parts here, I also quite enjoy the hat and its use of rounded-bottom 2x2s. Davis’s bust is both cleverly fashioned and true to its subject – the renaissance nobleman in its depiction.

Have fun storming this castle

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.”

Moated Castle

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.

This hummingbird is more than the sum of its nice parts usage

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.

Hummingbird

Made for a purpose but destined for greater things

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.

ARM-Ship

Two mechanical arms sweep out with multiple sensors surrounding the shell of the ship. Maintenace activities in space never looked so good.

ARM-Ship

Hitch a ride in the back with a pig

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!

Chevy Advance inspired vintage truck

Sometimes the parts used are as beautiful as the whole

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.

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.