‘How can I build [insert model here]?’
It’s the question receive more than any other here at The Lego Car Blog.
Until now we’ve politely diverted people to the builder of their desired creation directly, knowing full well that instructions won’t be available and that they’ll leave disappointed. However we may now have an answer, thanks to Peter Blackert (aka Lego911) and Quarto Motorbooks and their new release ‘How to Build Brick Cars’.
It sounds perfect, but is it all it promises? We hand over to Lego car-building legend and TLCB Master MOCer Firas Abu Jaber to find out…
‘How to Build Brick Cars’ – A book for all LEGO fans and petrolheads!
First of all, I’m no pro in reviewing books, but I’m a big fan of LEGO and a petrolhead myself. I build LEGO cars as a hobby as well, so I can assure you that you’ll have a very interesting and unique experience with this book if you have any interest in LEGO and/or cars.
There’s no more fun than building your own favourite scale model out of LEGO bricks yourself, rather than getting a die-cast model. ‘How to Build Brick Cars’ can help you to build some of the greatest vehicles ever made, from city cars to super cars, you’re sure to find something you like in there!
What first took my attention of this book is the cover of it, very well designed and printed it gives you the expression that you’re dealing with a high quality product. That goes for the whole book as well, every single page is well printed, the pictures are very sharp and the instructions are clear enough and easy to follow, just read the ‘How to use this book’ section before you start collecting your pieces and building the models. Experienced Lego builders will be able to use the instructions without reading the introduction, but I would still encourage you to do so.
This point leads us on to the content of this book, ‘How to Build Brick Cars’ is divided into three main sections, 1. Foundation, 2. Intermediate, and 3. Advanced. But before we look at these sections let’s talk about the first pages of the book and a bit about the author.
Peter Blackert, who is very well known in the Lego community as “lego911”, is a prolific and talented Lego car builder. Fortunately for me I know him through Flickr, and although I’ve never met him personally I can assure you he’s a very nice person. I have always been impressed by the quality of his work and the ‘speed’ at which he builds his models! You might never believe me if I told you he can build a very nice and detailed car every day. No wonder he works as an engineer for Ford Australia!
In the few first pages of ‘How to Build Bricks Cars’ you’ll find the introduction, ‘Why build brick cars’ and a detailed contents page so you can see what the pages of this book contain.
Another important section is the ‘How to use this book’ page, as mentioned above, specially if you’re not an experienced Lego builder. Although the instructions are pretty clear and easy to follow they are made in a compact way to ensure the book is able to contain as many different models as possible, so you need to pay attention while putting the pieces together, but for me that adds to the fun in the process!
1. Foundation Section
1. 1932 Ford V8 Roadster.
2. 1932 Ford V8 Coupé.
3. Ferrari 488 GTB.
4. Ferrari 488 Spider.
5. Citroën 2CV Charleston.
6. Jaguar E Type Coupé.
7. Jaguar E Type Roadster.
After the few introductory pages you’ll find the first main part of the book, the ‘Foundation’ section, in which you’ll find instructions for seven very detailed and accurate small scale cars in a scale of 1:28. Being small scale doesn’t mean they’re simple to build though, they are still challenging and big fun! The models in this section range from cars as old as a 1932 Ford (above) right up to the latest Ferrari 488 GTB.
My own favourite of the Foundation section is the Citroën 2CV Charleston. I built one myself (see below!) and noticed some very smart and interesting techniques and connections between the bricks all over the model, something you’d never guess just looking at the model from the outside.
2. Intermediate Section
1. 2017 Ford F 150 Raptor
2. Datsun 240 Z Coupe
3. Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder
4. BMW i8 Hybrid Coupé
5. Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS
The second part of ‘How to Build Brick Cars’ is the ‘Intermediate’ section, where you’ll find some of the most iconic sports machines have ever made. The models in this sections are at a slightly larger scale of 1:20 (LEGO Miniland scale), with more advanced and complicated techniques than those in the previous section. They also include more detail and a few working elements too, including opening doors, hoods, trunks, even working suspension, afforded by the jump in scale.
My favorite model of this section is the 240Z/Fairlady Z (maybe because I’m a big Nissan fan!), it was a big joy to build and very satisfying with some superb techniques, details and features.
1. Bugatti Veyron 16.4
2. Ford GT Le Mans Race Car
3. 1971 Plymouth HEMI Cuda
Finally the third part of ‘How to Build Brick Cars’ is the ‘Advanced’ section, which features instructions for some of the fastest cars that have ever been produced. Fasten your seat belt and get ready for the adventure!
As you’d expect, in the third and final section of the book you’ll find the most detailed and complicated Lego models. Whilst these models are at same scale as the previous section you’ll experience a much higher degree of build complexity utilising more advanced building techniques, enabling you to create an even higher level of engine and chassis realism.
After building the cars in this section you’ll have gained more building skills and a greater breadth of techniques enabling you to build better models for yourself, plus of course you have some very nice models from the book to display on your shelf!
Personal Experience Example
Before ending this review, I’d like to share my personal experience and opinion about building one of the models, my favorite model in this book, the Citroën 2CV Charleston.
First of all, that Peter has squeezed so many details and features into a relatively small scale Lego car is seriously impressive. The model has an opening trunk, ingeniously working suspension on the front wheels (using a very clever technique!), very sturdy construction, and you can fit your mini-figure inside too! Nice.
Building this model was an enjoyable experience and the pieces are easy to find if you are a LEGO collector like myself. I built mine in yellow with tinted brown glass, and you can build your version in many colors including the widely available red, white, black… etc., plus of course in the the original colour scheme shown in the book of dark red and black, and it looks absolutely stunning.
During my build I noticed very clever techniques and connections all around, with pieces connected to each other in every direction possible as the designer has used a good number of ‘bracket’ pieces and lots of ‘slope’ pieces to give the model its unique and curvy look. My favorite part of the build is the excellent usage of ‘wedge’ plates as the rear fenders that cover more than half of the rear wheels, a really good solution in my opinion.
After spending several hours with this book, both reading and building some of its models, I can assure you that you’ll have lots of fun building the models some of which will provide you with the most unique building experience you’ll ever have.
As mentioned previously, I encourage you to read the first few pages before you start collecting your pieces and building the models, and if you don’t have that much experience in building with LEGO try to start with the simpler models in section one then move on to the more advanced models in the second and third sections.
I should also mention that you can build the models in this book in many colors, and you can find the available colours of each model above the instructions of that model (a really good idea! – Ed), just choose the colour that suits your taste best!
Finally I would like to thank the author Peter Blackert for giving me early access and the opportunity to review this great book.
How to Build Brick Cars, Peter Blackert (aka lego911), Motorbooks 2017
A huge thank you to Firas Abu Jaber for joining us a Guest Reviewer. If you’d like to get your hands on Peter Blackert’s superb new book ‘How to Build Brick Cars’ then you can do so via the link to Quarto Motorbooks below. And it really does look like we now have an answer to the ‘How can I build [insert model here]?’ questions!