There’s one question we get here at The Lego Car Blog more than any other; ‘Can I have instructions?’. Mattia Zamboni, author of the previously reviewed ‘Tiny LEGO Wonders‘ and previous bloggee ZetoVince have decided to respond to the call, and recently sent us their latest book that claims to provide the answers…
Thunderbay Press’s ‘How to Build Dream Cars with LEGO Bricks‘ aims “to deliver accurate car models of epic cars”, and it really does feature some epic cars. From legendary American classics like the Ford GT40, Dodge Charger and Corvette Stingray, through European supercars such as the Lamborghini Countach and Porsche 911, to modern-day exotic hypercars like the Pagani Zonda.
Epicocity achieved then, but how about accuracy? Well Mattia is so confident in the realism of the builds within ‘How to Build Dream Cars’ that the contents page doesn’t name them, or even feature colour, instead showing simply black and white renders of each of the models featured. It works too, creating a beautifully clean look that is maintained throughout the book.
The models are indeed instantly recognisable, at least for car fans which we suspect you’ll be if you’re reading this. LEGO’s own Speed Champions sets are too of course, and we’ve loved seeing each new release in this line-up as LEGO create more partnerships with real-world car manufacturers. However there are many brands that LEGO have not yet partnered with (and may never), and often the sets can be quite sticker-heavy, making recreation from spare parts at home impossible.
‘How to Build Dream Cars’ manages to accurately recreate some of the world’s best known cars without a single sticker, whilst using more advanced techniques to achieve greater realism than LEGO’s Speed Champions sets. Let’s take a look at how!
Each model starts with a description and image of the real car, including the all-important fact sheet that all car fans require. The instructions continue the black and white theme and add colour simply via the bricks used in the build. Like Mattia’s ‘Tiny LEGO Wonders’ book, these are slightly more complicated than those found in an official LEGO set, both because the techniques themselves are, and because LEGO have simplified their own steps, sometimes to the point of adding just one piece at a time.
‘How to Build Dream Cars’ feels more like LEGO instructions did a decade or so ago, being noticeably more advanced, and using more monochrome piece colours. This means that there are few contrasting-colour pieces in hidden places (as LEGO now use to make them easier to find/identify), which is appropriate given most builders will be creating these models from their own parts and black/grey is a safe bet.
Ingeniously the book also contains a complete parts list (which can be dropped straight into Bricklink should you need to buy them) and video instructions for each model, accessible via the QR Codes printed inside. This makes creating the models in ‘How to Build Dream Cars with LEGO Bricks’ a properly interactive experience should you wish it to be, and makes us wonder why LEGO haven’t done this themselves.
Graphics are excellent, and whilst black-on-black isn’t quite as easy to follow as LEGO’s white-pages the instructions are well laid out, clear, and printed in high quality, with good visuals for sub-assemblies and piece positioning. Most importantly the results are superb, successfully mixing System and Technic parts to recreate the iconic shapes of some of the world’s most famous dream cars, such as the AC Cobra pictured below.
LEGO are a roll right now with their ever-expanding line-up of officially licensed vehicles. However there are many more amazing cars out there not yet licensed to become official LEGO sets.
If you’d like to expand your own car collection by building some stunning real-world replicas that LEGO haven’t yet created themselves (and that are more detailed and more advanced to build to boot), ‘How to Build Dream Cars with LEGO Bricks’ fulfils the brief brilliantly. From vintage classics to modern supercars, Mattia and Vince have created an excellent instructional guide to building your own dream cars at home, with enough technical specs and vehicle history to keep car fans happy too.
That the book also contains complete parts lists, video instructions, and looks beautiful is the icing on the cake. Highly recommended.