Tag Archives: Book

From an Idea to LEGO | Book Review

Here at The Lego Car Blog we’re definitely towards the more adult end of the Lego fan spectrum (not that you’d necessarily know that from our writing ability or professionalism…), however it’s worth remembering that LEGO is, first and foremost, a toy.

It’s therefore with great pleasure that today we can share with you a book aimed exactly at LEGO’s core audience, and on a topic that we’re surprised has taken so long to be published. From Lowey Bundy Sichol‘s ‘From an Idea to…’ series, this is ‘From an Idea to LEGO’.

Lowey’s ‘From an Idea to…’ series of books explore some of the world’s most famous companies, explaining to children aged 8-12 how they were created whilst teaching entrepreneurship and business along the way. They are in fact the only books in the world that provide biographical business studies to kids, which – in a world filled with ‘influencers’ teaching children little more than how to open boxes of free things – is a wonderful alternative.

‘From and Idea to LEGO’ runs to around 100 pages and is filled with lovely illustrations by C. S. Jennings, fun facts and pop-out text (more on that in a bit). Printed in black and white on non-glossy paper the book is typical of those aimed at children (and a price point) so don’t expect another glossy coffee table publication of the type we usually review, as that’s not the point of this book.

Lowey charts LEGO’s history from carpenter’s shop and the invention of the plastic brick, via near bankruptcy to its position today as the world’s largest toy maker. The language is easy to understand, yet still detailed enough to educate, and when a new piece of business terminology appears it’s printed in bold and accompanied by a small pop-out explaining what it means, examples being ‘Patent‘, ‘Brand Equity‘, ‘Profit‘, ‘Revenue‘ and so on.

It’s this aspect of ‘From an Idea to LEGO’ that we particularly like as, whilst it’s well written, the history of The LEGO Company has been detailed many times before. What hasn’t is the business acumen behind the story, particularly in a format that children can understand. Lowey’s explanations are well-judged, clear, and will undoubtedly help readers to join the dots between having an idea and turning it into a profitable business. Lowey’s ‘Lemonade Stand’ example in the book may be slightly cliche, but it communicates the basics brilliantly.

If you’d like your kids to begin their understanding entrepreneurship, and perhaps to fuel ambition beyond becoming a YouTuber, then the books  from ‘Lowey Bundy Sichol’s ‘From an Idea to…’ series are a wonderful way to start. That one of the four books published so far is about our favourite plastic bricks is a bonus!

Read more about the ‘From an Idea to…’ series here.

‘From an Idea to LEGO’ is available to pre-order now.

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Little Red Corvette

From one of America’s worst 1960s vehicles to one of its best. The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was something of a revolution for US sports cars when it arrived in 1963. This is the C3 iteration that launched a few years later, with about 58 different V8 engine options (seriously, just look at this list!), the same slightly dodgy handling, and ridiculously good looks. This lovely Speed Champions-esque version of the iconic American sports car comes from previous bloggee ZetoVince who designed it for the ‘How to Build Dream Cars with LEGO Bricks‘ book reviewed here last year. Head to ZetoVince’s photostream via the link above for more details, and you can read our review of the book in which it features by clicking the final link in the text.

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A Busload of Books

Lego 1959 Salem Ameriliner Library Bus

Public transport is a depressing place these days. Only inhabited by people staring zombie-like at the screens clutched in their claw-like hands, endlessly scrolling through mindless drivel and self-promotive imagery, without having a clue what lies outside the windows or if the old man two seats in front is having a heart attack. Still, talking of mindless drivel they could be reading The Lego Car Blog so it’s not all bad.

This is much more our thing though, a gorgeous 1959 Salem Ameriliner bus re-fitted as a travelling library, with over sixty mini-figure books, a gramophone, and probably containing more than a few hipsters. It’s the work of Chris Elliott and there’s more to see of his beautifully presented creation at his Flickr album – click the link above to hop on board and open a book.

Lego 1959 Salem Ameriliner Library Bus

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How to Build Dream Cars | Book Review

How to Build Dream Cars with LEGO Bricks

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.

Lego Porsche 911 Instructions

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!

How to Build Dream Cars

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.

How to Build Dream Cars with LEGO Bricks

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 AC Cobra

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.

Visit Brick Passion to buy your copy.

Lego Ford GT40

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TLCB Recommends!

Lego Cheerleader Red

Here at The Lego Car Blog we receive all sorts of requests for endorsements. Frankly this is as surprising to us as it probably is to you, because we’re idiots, but nevertheless somehow we’ve found ourselves in a position of power. POWER!!

We may have got a little over-excited at this realisation but don’t worry, we were brought back down to earth when we asked our intern to pose for the picture above, with the result being a new entry into the Mis-Conduct Box and a picture of a mini-figure instead.

Back to the task in hand, and it’s probably time to assemble some of our recommendations into one handy guide. So here they are, TLCB Recommends….

Third-Party Bluetooth Control | SBrick & BuWizz

We’ve tested two third-party LEGO-compatible bluetooth products here at The Lego Car Blog, and we’re pleased to say that both earn a recommendation.

Best for programming: SBrick

SBrick ReviewReviewed here earlier in the year the SBrick controller provides Lego models with bluetooth capability, allowing control via a mobile phone, gamepad, or other device. This has clear advantages over LEGO’s own IR control, being unaffected by bright sunlight, and allowing the receiver to be completely hidden inside a model.

Where the SBrick really scores though is the superb programmable app, allowing the bespoke set-up of a model that surpasses even LEGO’s own Mindstorms robotics sets. We tried the SBrick with the LEGO Technic 42030 Volvo L350F set and were amazed by how easy it was to set up, and how beautifully controllable the Volvo became. It’s a new dimension in Lego robotics.

Best for power: BuWizz

Lego BuWizz ReviewLike the SBrick above, the BuWizz offers all the benefits of bluetooth control, but with the added bonus of a built in battery that can provide up to eight times the power of LEGO’s Power Functions system. The BuWizz brick can be programmed too, although we found this far more limited than the SBrick’s abilities, but really this product is all about power.

The BuWizz bluetooth battery genuinely transforms what Lego models can be capable of, and whilst we suspect far more axles, gears and pins will break a result, their owners will be having riotously good fun in the process! Read our review of the BuWizz brick by clicking here and see how fast your model can go.

Books | No Starch Press

No Starch PressWe’ve reviewed loads of Lego-themed books over the years and most are really very good. Our favourite publishers are the guys at No Starch Press who have brought several top-quality building books to print, including some authored by builders who have featured on these very pages.

You can find all of the books we’ve reviewed via the Review Library, and you can check out NSP’s current range via the link above.

LEGO Set Reviews | Brick Insights

Brick InsightsOur ever-expanding Set Review Library has become (and this is a rare thing at TLCB) something that we’re quite proud of. With one hundred sets, third-party products and books reviewed to date, a few of which were written by you – our readers – it’s as good a place as any to find out whether that eBay seller really can charge that much.

However our reviews are only written by us lot here at TLCB Towers (plus a few from you) and, as mentioned previously, we are idiots. Better then to trust an amalgamation of many reviews before you make a purchase decision, and the brilliant Brick Insights does just that. Pulling review information from multiple sources (of which we’re one) you can quickly see all the reviews for a particular set, the average, highest and lowest scores and much more.

You can read our overview of Brick Insights by clicking here and you can check out the site itself via the link above. Don’t buy another set without it.

Builders | Wait, what?

Lego MicrophoneYup, because we’ve been interviewing the very best Lego vehicle builders on the ‘net in our ‘Master MOCers‘ and ‘Become a Professional‘ interview series.

If you’d like to know how some of the greatest Lego model-makers create their masterpieces, and very probably learn some useless facts about them too, then head over to the Interviews pages via the links above. We’ll be adding more builders to this Hall of Fame very soon too!

Other Stuff | Blogs, Creation Sharing, LUGs and more

We’ve a whole heap of references worth your clicks to be found in the Directory, including the sources our Elves use to find creations, rival blogs, games, Lego User Groups and Friends of TLCB.

Take a look via the link above, and remember that your clicks and page visits here at The Lego Car Blog directly contribute to worthy causes around the world, as our limited advertising revenue is dispersed to those who need it more than we do, and that’s entirely thanks to you.

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The LEGO Trains Book | Book Review

The Lego Trains Book

Thump. It was just before Christmas, and a brown package slammed onto the hallway floor of TLCB Towers. A dozen TLCB Elves immediately ran towards it, but thwarted by its weight were unable to make off with their prize. A lot of post goes missing here.

Fortunately this TLCB writer is considerably bigger than a TLCB Elf and thus was able to pick up said package and, with some Elves still attached, retreat to the TLCB ‘staffroom’ (an ancient sofa in the corner of the office).

Usually heavy packages received here at TLCB Towers are ‘Cease and Desist’ notifications wrapped around a breeze block from The Brothers Brick, but this time we had a present! No Starch Press; we like you!

The Lego Trains Book

No Starch have been in the Lego book game for a while, consistently churning out books about our favourite plastic building blocks for some years. Their latest publication is this, the 230-page ‘The Lego Trains Book‘ by Holger Matthes.

In compact landscape format and produced in No Starch’s usual glossy high quality form ‘The Lego Trains Book’ really is surprisingly heavy, but does the content live up to the cover?

‘The Lego Trains’ book begins, after a brief Forward and Acknowledgements section, with a chapter detailing the history of LEGO’s official Trains line, following the range from its beginnings in the 1960s, through the battery era, live rail era (this writer’s favourite), to the latest remote control Power Functions sets. It’s a comprehensive compilation of the LEGO Trains history and one that’s sure to be of interest to anyone who loves the theme, although it is perhaps a bit too in-depth for the more casual Lego builder.

The Lego Trains Book

Chapter two is entitled ‘Basic Principles’, and it’s brilliant. Detailing building techniques and parts ratios it’s perfect for any builder of any theme (not just Trains) looking to create more advanced Lego creations. Utilising well-chosen digital depictions the author makes even the more complex techniques easy to understand, and whilst these aren’t quite as high quality visually as LEGO’s own they are good enough to make for useful teaching-aids.

Chapters three and four build upon these techniques with practical application, detailing the considerations and choices available when designing your own train models. This is a very thorough chapter offering insights into a variety of scales, how to ensure models can handle tight corners, how to connect carriages to one another, how to create realistic steam train mechanisms and such like.

It’s a gloriously nerdy section and as such Holger includes links to third-party products and design software that can help a builder reach the utmost level of realism. This may be a bit too in-depth for most builders (ourselves included), but it’s usually better to have too much information than too little.

The Lego Trains Book

The final chapter, which at 100 pages long makes up nearly half the book, is where ‘The Lego Trains Book’ comes alive. Continue reading

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How To Build Brick Cars | Book Review

Lego Cars

‘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.

Lego Ford '32 Hot Rod
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.

Lego Citroen 2CV Instructions

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.

Lego Datsun 240Z Instructions
3. Advanced Section

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!

Lego Bugatti Veyron Instructions

Continue reading

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Become a Lego Professional!

Lego Brick Built Cars Book

The single most frequently asked question we receive here at TLCB Towers is ‘How do I build this model?’. We receive queries like these in the hundreds, and – despite our urge to scream ‘enough!’ and run out of the building brandishing whatever office implement is nearest – we offer a continuous stream of polite replies explaining that the models we feature are not official LEGO sets and thus instructions are not available.

Well, finally, we have a generic answer that may actually be helpful!

Legendary (and prolific) vehicle builder Peter Blackert (aka LEGO911) has appeared here at The Lego Car Blog numerous times, and is therefore probably responsible for generating some of the ‘How do I build this model?’ comments himself.

Now, after years building stunningly realistic vehicles numbering in the hundreds, Peter has published a book containing full-colour illustrations and step-by-step instructions for many of his models!

Vehicles such as the 1932 Ford V-8 Roadster (pictured above), Datsun 240Z, 2016 Le Mans Ford racer, Ferrari 250 GT California, Jaguar E-Type coupe and convertible, Ford F150 Raptor, Bugatti Veyron, Porsche 911 and many more are all featured, allowing you to build and modify these for yourself using your own bricks!

We’ll be bringing you a review of Peter’s book ‘How to Build Brick Cars’ in due course, but until then how did Peter go from uploading his Lego creations online to having a book published and available for sale all over the world? Find out as Peter joins us as the fourth builder in our ‘Become a Lego Professional‘ series – click the link below to read his story.

Click here to read How Peter Blackert became a published Lego author!

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Autobots, Roll Out!

Lego Transformers Autobots

It’s been a while since we let the Elves watch a Transformers movie. This is partly because they’ve not found much in the way of Transformers-related builds, but mostly because after the abomination of ‘Transformers 4 – Age of Extinction’ we just couldn’t stomach any more Michael Bay directed nonsense.

Today though, we’ve relented, because one of their number returned with this cache of superb fully Transformable Autobots courtesy of Alex Jones aka Orion Pax.

Each creation is an ingenious work of art, and you can now build them for yourself, as Alex has released a new book containing step-by-step building instructions! There’s more to see via the link above, where you can also find a link to Amazon where Alex’s book is available to buy.

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Review – The Unofficial Lego Technic Builder’s Guide – Second Edition

This review must start with a disclosure. The lovely, kind people at the No Starch Press sent us a copy of this book for free. The weighty package from the USA, dropped through the letterbox of TLCB towers and caused great excitement. So much so, that all of the 32⅞ Elves in the office were given a Smartie each to celebrate. This was followed by a short, sharp blast from Mr. Airhorn, just to show them that we weren’t going soft. So a big “Thank you” from The Lego Car Blog and some well fed Elves too.

ultbg2e_cover

For this particular reviewer, Paweł “Sariel” Kmieć’s first edition was published at exactly the right moment. I had emerged from my Lego “Dark Ages” and was enjoying building again. As kid I’d enjoyed building both space and Technic models but now beams had no studs on them and apparently they were called “liftarms”. Connections were all via pins and axles and specially shaped pieces that were undreamed of in my teenage years. These new parts and techniques opened the doors to building things that were either too bulky or too structurally weak in days gone by. The opportunities were immense but also bewildering.

The light in the wilderness was the first edition of “The Unofficial Lego Technic Builder’s Guide”. My copy is bent, dog-eared, coffee stained, tear stained and much cherished. The second edition is bigger, at just over 400 pages but still small enough to keep handy on your bedside table or read in the bath. If you don’t own a copy of the first edition and have any interest in Technic building, the new book is a must buy. It is presented in a clear visual style, well written and has a good index. At around $35/£25 the book is great value too. But if you already own the first edition, is it worth buying the new version? Let’s take a look inside.

ultbg2e_370-371

The second edition uses the same style as the first. The pages are packed with information but are easy to read, with text and illustrations placed well. The font is the same, comfortable to read font as the first edition. The author is a graphic designer by profession and it shows through in this product. This is a very technical book but it doesn’t have the feel of a school science textbook. Although most of the illustrations are the same as in the original book, many have been changed for subtle upgrades that are visually clearer. There are also many brand new illustrations.

The second edition is 70 pages longer than the first. One of the ways that these are accounted for is in additions to the early chapters that cover the parts range of Lego Technic. It’s amazing to step back and reflect on quite how many new Technic pieces have been created by Lego since the book’s first edition just three years ago. There are also additions to the definitions of technical terms and “Tricks with Bricks”. Chapter 5 is a brand new chapter on wheels. It starts with defining what a wheel is, in Lego terms and finishes by covering the up-to-date topic of using RC car tyres on large Technic cars. As you carry on leafing through the book you spot more upgrades. There is a tabular version of Sariel’s famous online gear calculator. The “Pneumatics” chapter includes the V2 version of Lego’s system and like the “Pulleys”, “Building Strong” & “Motors” chapters, the pneumatic “Devices” chapter has been slightly upgraded too.

ultbg2e_262-263

The one big disappointment for me in this book is that the chapters on “Levers & Linkages” and “Custom Mechanical Solutions” are unchanged. These were one of the most inspiring chapters in the first edition, making me want to revisit my old engineering text books and try building some of the mechanisms in there. It would have been good to have seen some extra ideas here. These sorts of things are extremely useful for landing gears or feed mechanisms or kinetic sculptures. Overall the book is very focused on Lego vehicles, which is what you’d expect coming from a famous builder of Lego vehicles of all types. Lego Technic forums tend to be focused on vehicles too, so this book is spot on with its content for the market. However, it would have been nice to have had a bit more about the creativity, engineering and Lego techniques which go into things such as Great Ball Contraptions or kinetic sculptures. Then again, Lego produces model vehicle sets, the market is about cars & lorries and things that swoosh along are more fun than a static model. Oh, and we’re car blog, so we’d best not go on about this for too long… Continue reading

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Tiny Lego Wonders – Book Review

Tiny Lego Wonders Review

‘Where can I get instructions / How do I build it?’. It’s the single most frequently asked question that we receive here at TLCB – so just how do you start ‘MOCing’?

It’s a question we raised in our review of the superb No Starch Press produced ‘Art of Lego Scale Modeling‘ book last year, and one that, since LEGO discontinued their brilliant Ideas Books, has gone unanswered. Now though, No Starch Press have created a book aimed squarely at fulfilling this need.

Tiny Lego Wonders, written by LEGO-Ambassador Mattia Zamboni, features 200 pages of clear instructions for 40 wonderfully realistic miniature vehicles, from cars to buses via trains, aircraft, construction equipment and more. The book is divided into sections that categorise these models according to where you might find them in the real world, for example the airport, the harbour, and the construction site.

Each location section features a double-page spread showing all of the vehicles within it in a large brick-built scene. It’s a simple yet brilliant addition that’s very reminiscent of LEGO’s old annual catalogues and it’s sure to provide a huge amount of inspiration.

Lego Instructions Book

Every set of instructions starts with a high quality image of the finished model, just as any official LEGO set does, along with a parts list and a difficulty level. The instructions themselves are beautifully clear and the build process will be familiar to anyone who has constructed an official LEGO set.

There are perhaps slightly fewer steps and marginally more complicated sub-assemblies than you’ll find in LEGO’s own work, but if anything LEGO have over-simplified their instructions in recent times and Tiny Lego Wonders seems to have struck a good balance between conciseness and difficulty.

Lego TGV Train Instructions

Where Tiny Lego Wonders scores huge points is with its inspiration potential. All of the models featured use common non-specialist parts, but even so it’s unlikely that most builders will have the exact part and colour combinations to recreate the model piece-for-piece as per the instructions. However the instructions are so good, and the models so thoughtfully designed, that changing the colours or design slightly is really easy. And once you’ve done that, you’ve started MOCing!

Some sections also include images of additional variations of the model detailed in the instructions, showing what can be done with a few simple changes. Again, these are really easy to replicate (even though they aren’t included in the instructions) and having a go yourself will instantly turn you into a ‘MOCer’.

Lego Car Instructions

Are there any disappointments? Nope, not really. Perhaps a few of the large double-page scenes look a little over-polished / too digitalised to these eyes, but other than that Tiny Lego Wonders might be the perfect MOCer’s book. Which gives us a bit of a dilemma in giving a rating because, despite the general ineptitude in TLCB office, there are some talented builders here who would have limited use for such a book. However, Tiny Lego Wonders isn’t aimed at the microscopic demographic of ‘Lego Blogger’, and thus we can ignore our usage and rate it accordingly;

Tiny Lego Wonders

Buy this book! Even at just £13 / $17 for the hardcover on Amazon, Tiny Lego Wonders is as beautifully produced as all No Starch Press publications, but for it to remain pristine on a bookshelf or coffee table would be a great shame. Tiny Lego Wonders needs to look dog-eared, shabby and worn out, because the value of this book is in its use; Tiny Lego Wonders could be the launchpad you need to start your MOCing journey.

From now on when anyone asks us ‘How do I build it?’ we’re going to give the same answer; You start here.

✮✮✮✮✮

No Starch Press

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The Art of Lego Scale Modeling – Book Review

The Art of Lego Scale Modeling

Here at The Lego Car Blog we firmly believe that you can never read too much, so it’s with great pleasure that today we can bring you a review of a book that could be tailor made for this blog – The Art of Lego Scale Modeling.

Created by two of our Master MOCers, Dennis Glaasker and Dennis Bosman, and produced by the awesome guys at No Starch Press, The Art of Lego Scale Modeling brings together some the most brilliant vehicle builders of the current generation.

Running to over 200 pages No Starch’s latest publication features more than fifty incredible Lego models from twenty-four of the very best Lego model makers in the world – including the authors themselves – neatly divided into several categories, including trucks, ships, heavy equipment and motorcycles.

The Art of Lego Scale Modeling

As we’ve come to expect from No Starch Press, photography and print quality are excellent, with double page spreads used throughout to score maximum visual impact. All of the models included are accurate replicas of real-world vehicles, and alongside each is a brief description of both the build and the model’s full-size counterpart. Most of the builders and many of the models have featured on blogs like this one over the past few years, but however impressive a Lego model may look on a computer screen, they are far more so in print.

The Art of Lego Scale Modeling

The final few pages of the book are given over to a ‘How to’ section, although this section is fairly short and is clearly not the main aim of the publication.

It’s actually this topic that we would like to see more of in future Lego books. Whilst Lego building is intuitive to many of us (and after all, it should be – any child can design their own creation without any difficulty at all), we’re continually amazed by the number of ‘Please can I have instructions’ and ‘How can I build like this?’ emails and comments that we receive here at TLCB.

The Art of Lego Scale Modeling does not set out to answer these questions. Moreover ‘Art’ in this case refers to the visual brilliance of its subjects, rather than the act of doing something, and it excels at sharing this through print. As a coffee table visual stimulant for any fan of Lego, or even just for fans of vehicles and machines, it has set the bar beautifully high.

The Art of Lego Scale Modeling is available to buy now directly from No Starch Press as well as from several well-known online retailers for as little as £19.99. More like this please No Starch Press!

Lego Book

Buy The Art of LEGO Scale Modeling

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Competition Winners Announcement!

TLCB Summer Building Competition

The entries have been reviewed, much beer has been drunk, and a few fights have broken out, but we can now announce the Winners of TLCB Summer Building Competition!

Choosing the top two creations from the dozens of entries received has been no easy task, in fact it was hard enough agreeing on the top five. If you’re reading this and your model appeared here during the past two months, you were probably in with a shout.

Lego Competition Prizes

The competition Winner and Runner-Up will bag themselves some great prizes courtesy of the awesome guys at No Starch Press – we highly recommend checking out their range of brilliant Lego books at the link above.

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And now, the winners!…

Continue reading

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The Beer’s Run Out!

TLCB Summer Building Competition

After a week of hard drinki… er, we mean judging, all of the fantastic entries in TLCB Summer Building Competition have been evaluated, tested and scored by a crack team of various TLCB office staff.

We’ll be publishing the results shortly, with the winner and runner up bagging themselves some awesome Lego books from the guys at No Starch Press. We’ll also be contacting the winners via their online accounts (whether that be MOCpages, Flickr, Eurobricks etc.) so if you see your creation appear here soon make sure you check your messages!

Well done to all the competition entrants, we received a huge range of entries and choosing the top two was no easy task – although the beer helped. See you soon for the Winner’s Announcement!

Lego Competition Prizes

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TLCB Summer Building Competition is Open!

Lego Competition

After much teasing we’re delighted to announce that The Lego Car Blog’s first building competition commences today!

Build the Elves a Vehicle!

Someone (possibly these guys) tipped off the animal welfare officers that there may have been mistreatment of animals here at TLCB Towers. How that’s possible with fictional mythical creatures we don’t know, but the short of it is we need to prove that we look after the little sods that make up our unpaid workforce. And so… The Lego Car Blog Elves are about to get their Christmas and Birthdays all rolled into one!

To get us off the hook with the authorities we need you to build the Elves their perfect vehicle. Those of you who’ve been visiting this site for a while will know what they like, but for those of you that haven’t, think racing stripes, Transformers, guns, remote control, huge engines, or all of the above. There may also be bonus points available for incorporating an Elf or two into your entry.

How to Enter

We’ve teamed up with the wonderful guys over at LUGNuts and Headturnerz on Flickr to enable you to upload your entries via their discussion threads. Alternatively you can enter right here at TLCB by commenting with a link to your entry.

You may enter as many creations as you like, and the winners will be chosen based upon the designs that best meet the brief and our usual Submission Guidelines. We recommend using the Search function to discover more about what the Elves like, and a few hints may be dropped throughout the duration of the competition.

Lego Competition Prizes

Prizes!

You can never read too much, and the awesome guys over at No Starch Press – purveyors of a large range of brilliant Lego books, have provided some excellent prizes for you to win!

The first place winner will have top choice of one of the three superb books pictured above. The second place runner up can choose between the remaining two books and the winner will also get their mitts on the remaining publication.

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Legal Stuff

  • TLCB Summer Building Competition runs from July 1st to August 31st 2015 GMT, and no late entries will be considered.
  • All entries must be your own work and be built and photographed during the two month competition.
  • If you’re under the age of 18 you must get parental permission before entering the competition, as winners will need to provide TLCB with their contact details.
  • LUGNuts, Head Turnerz, TLCB, and No Starch Press are not responsible for any additional tariffs, taxes, customs, bus tokens, or traffic tickets your country may impose on you when claiming your prizes.

Good luck to all our readers, and don’t forget you can join the discussion, ask questions, submit complaints etc. via the comments here at TLCB or via our Flickr partners.

Submit Your Entry!

…via one or more of the following;

LUGNuts

Headturnerz

TLCB

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