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A Catablog of Tools, Tips, and Techniques for building with LEGO®


Category: Tips
Micro Steamship Convoy
Micro Steamship Convoy originally uploaded by 2 Much Caffeine.

All LEGO builders have a comfort zone—those couple of types of things we prefer to build. Whether is is 16×16 Vignettes, Mechs, cars, or castle … your LEGO comfort zone stereotypes what kind of builder you are, and the types of builds you return to time and time again.

Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing wrong with building the types of things you’re good at … and it helps “build” your reputation as a certain type of builder. But, we all get stagnant, and if we ever want to bring to the table new ideas, and new twists on an old technique, then maybe it’s time to get out of your rut and intentionally build something else for a while. It could help you improve your overall technique and give you some new ideas to bring back to those things you build every day.

Here are a couple cool creations from 2 Much Caffeine. He normally does various vignettes in minifig-scale. Here he is trying is hand at varying degrees of microscale.

Not sure what to build instead? Here are a few ideas ideas to get your started …

  1. Look at the ideas coming through the Flickr LEGO Photostream. Pick the first one you see that you don’t normally build.
  2. Try Fadmasher from Swooshable. Fadmasher has a database of a lot of cool themes and randomly gives you suggestions of two themes to combine for something completely different and new.
  3. Into a good book right? Try building out a scene, or a vehicle, or even just the cast of characters.

What do you do to get out of your ruts? How do you decide what themes outside “your comfort zone” you should build?

After all, isn’t that what we did when we started playing with LEGO toys as a lof? Building out a scene with characters and a plot — perhaps you played out a scene from the Saturday morning cartoons you were watching (I always had my LEGO supply spread out across the living room floor every Saturday morning). Now with all the licensed sets from popular movies, it’s a little easier to make the connection between what you are building and that movie. But what about making up a new story? Bart De Dobbelaer has been doing just that. He recently started his 3rd series of MOC stories.

Diva, originally uploaded by Bart De Dobbelaer.

In his Flickr Photostream he typically gives some dialog and narrative, though the MOCs are done well enough that the stories pretty much tell themselves.

Also Check out Prometheus and The Life Aquatic with Clumsy Pete.

Awakening, originally uploaded by Bart De Dobbelaer, from his story Prometheus .
Seaweed, originally uploaded by Bart De Dobbelaer, from his story The Life Aquatic with Clumsy Pete.

via The Brothers Brick

I am so resisting the urge to go take some LEGO toys out to the sandbox…

Earlier this week I blogged nolnet‘s Power Minors! — his “kid-version” of the LEGO theme Power Miners. Well, he’s been busy building out different sets for each of the characters he introduced. I really like seeing all 4 of the sets together in one place, so I’m pointing here to the 3 new pics, plus the original 2 I already blogged.

Power Minors Pebbles Plow
Power Minors Pebbles Plow, originally uploaded by nolnet.
Power Minors Gravel Grinder
Power Minors Gravel Grinder, originally uploaded by nolnet.
Power Minors Crystal Carrier
Power Minors Crystal Carrier, originally uploaded by nolnet.
Power Minors Debris Driller
Power Minors Debris Driller, originally uploaded by nolnet.
Power Minors!
Power Minors!, originally uploaded by nolnet.

Power Minors!, originally uploaded by nolnet.

Why not take an existing theme and re-think it a little? Sometimes a pun can go a long one way, as in the case of Nolnet’s “Power Minors” — taking the existing theme of “Power Miners” and turning the characters into kids.

Nolnet has done a great job of keeping the ideas, color scheme, and main types of pieces from the original theme into the characters and new set he built.

It will be fun to see other sets he comes up with, or if other folks come along and follow-up on his idea with other new sets in this them.

Power Minors Debris Driller

Pink Tiles
Maybe it was a bunch of junk brick in a 20-pound lot you of LEGO bricks you won on eBay? Or maybe you drew a high number in an epic game of Dirty Brickster. Or perhaps it was an unexpected color when ordering parts by “grouped part bags” in a bulk LUG order. That’s what happened to Bladewood last week. But she made the best of it. continue reading…