‘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.
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.
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’.
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;
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.