Tag Archives: NPU

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

Rodent problems don’t last long when this beast is around.

This purple pest-catcher by LEGO builder Dan Ko is an excellent example of repurposing pieces for unexpected uses. This wolfen beast’s snout is crafted from a purple minifigure motorcycle, and his tufts of fur are leaves. The result is a ferocious-looking beast that’s happy to keep the city streets free of vermin, who are clever little brick-built creatures themselves.

The Rat Catcher

Agra Sunstriker, Beat Wizard

Back at it again with another fantastic figure, Builder Eero Okkonen makes use of some interesting parts from Monkie Kid’s new Galactic Explorer. After watching the Moon Knight finale, this seems like an ancient Egyptian hero in the modern era. Just imagine him strutting up to a bad guy, dropping that boom box, hitting play, and kicking butt in step with the power of the gods.

Agra Sunstriker

Drop the beat

Non-toxic but still inedible

Deep in the forest, far from the beaten tracks, a colony of fungi fruits from the remains of an old tree. Builder Paulo Loro brought new life to some old table scrap mushrooms by integrating them into this natural display. Fungi can be difficult to identify so its hard to say if these are based on enoki, shiitake, or something else—I’m no mycologist. All I can say is there’s a certain magic to the twists and turns the mushrooms make. Tail pieces are used to represent the stalks of the fruiting bodies while dish pieces represent the different stages of caps. The most mature of the species use the rock elements with eggshells underneath as gills.

The Mushroom Tree 04

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We’ll pause for a Hollow hold here

Whenever I’m building small, I often refer to Dan Ko‘s builds for incredible detail using the smallest Lego pieces. Here, Dan has built a small vignette inspired by the game Hollow Knight featuring the Knight and Hornet. Using the new cape piece from the recent Doctor Strange sets as one of the bodies really injects a splash of colour to the build! We see a lot of nice part usage on the heads, with the expression of Hornet speaking volumes through the position of the half-circle tiles, whilst the staff is topped with a subtle collar detail. And did I mention those white croissants for horns? Inspired!

Hornet & The Knight

Frogs on candlestick pond

There really aren’t enough candlesticks in the world. Well, LEGO candles, anyway. They’re so useful! Take this wonderful build by Eli Willsea, for example. It uses over 50 of them to create the look of bulrushes. Excellent execution! But that’s not the only excellent parts usage here. I love how he used those 1×2 hinge plates to create adorable frog eyes and the center of the waterlily. Those flies and that incredible tongue are awesome too!

The Frogs

If you like these techniques, check out more builds by Eli (AKA Forlorn Empire). Also, if frogs are your thing, we even have a collection of builds that feature frogs!

There’s so much to do in Grandpa’s attic

As the LEGO inventory of pieces grows each year, we often end up with parts that can seem too specific to have versatile uses. But a great way to transform parts that might seem too specific is to use them in a different scale, as César Soares demonstrates with this attic scene that’s full of innovative parts usage. The potted plant on the right of the scene is made from two Carnival Dancer headdresses. The legs of the hat rack are minifigure monkey tails. And the plant next to the telescope repurposes yet another minifigure hat for its leaves. But perhaps the most innovative technique is building a hole in the floor and filling it with chopsticks to create a shag rug.

Grandpa's Attic

After you’re done exploring this attic, take a look at some of the other innovative LEGO parts uses we’ve highlighted right here on TBB previously.

Release the TIE fighters!

Well, those are a different kind of TIE fighters… Dan Ko built the most striking microscale spaceship for a Space Jam contest. I’m in love with it, and that may or may not be because of the teal – my favourite colour. The colour scheme with the purple highlights somehow feels like it belongs in an established universe. Whether it be LEGO Classic Space, or any sci-fi franchise, this carrier appears to swoosh straight out of it. The part usage is also worth noting – teal coloured brick separators and the little bow ties that represent the tiny starfighters.

The Wraptor Carrier

Want to see more builds with teal? I sure do! We have a whole collection of them here!

Bröther, may I have some L-00-P5

Sometimes you see a few interesting LEGO pieces want want to build something from them. We do it all the time. So do official LEGO designers like Chris Perron. While the old big basketball hoops may be the standout pieces on this mech titled L-00-P5, Chris based his build around the triangular vehicle tipper end.


The tipper end parts are at the top of the mech, and those allow the front and rear paneling to be attached at an angle. This gives this brightly coloured mech an aggressive feel that its armaments – a big gun and a small knife – enhance. But it is really the legs that drew me in. The orange and white colour scheme become scarce as the dark grey mechanical bits are exposed. Chris assembled the feet with subtle greebling which allow full articulation.

Check out more of Chris Perron’s! builds here.

MPU: mammoth parts usage...

We like builds with NPU. They showcase the limitless creativity of people when it comes to utilising a weird LEGO element in a unique way. Character builder Eero Okkonen is no stranger to odd but innovative parts in his wonderful builds. And he is no stranger to Bionicle either, from which his myriad of character builds originate. This time he takes this opportunity to include a part many had difficulty integrating into their creations: the Rahkshi back. And it works so well that I will now think of that part as “Mammoth forehead.” Thanks Eero!

Woolly Mammoth

And also thank you for planting the idea of Bionicle x Ice Age crossover in my head.
It was Scrat who awakened the Bohrok swarms…