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

Angus MacLane and the LEGO Community

Angus MacLane is significant to the AFOL community for a number of reasons. For one, he’s an animator at PIXAR who worked on WALL•E (among others) and also directed the short from that film, BURN•E. And, more specifically, Angus builds LEGO; he is an AFOL. His LEGO WALL•E is one of the better ones out there (hmm…something about animating the character helps you to understand his dimensions pretty well ;D ). And he’s made up some of his own themes, like Space Dwarves (here and here) and Clown Wars. A lot of those creations were covered in the Spring 2009 issue of BrickJournal in an interview by Joe Meno.

Enter the CubeDudes

Another theme that Angus invented appears quietly on September 21. Angus posted 102 characters in a new scale he’s developed called “CubeDudes.” Umm…wow! Bigger and blockier and cuter than miniland scale, this scale feels very “cartoon” but also professional and crisp. The heads are a 3×3 block making use of color variation and different SNOT techniques (depending on the character).
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2 Much Caffeine has some really awesome techniques going on here. I haven’t actually seen the video game he’s MOCing here, but the techniques he’s used for the build suggest it would be a pretty cool game.

Check out the brilliant pipework — especially the use of steering wheel handles as the water cut-offs in various places.

I also like the 2×2 turntable bases on the wall that look like fans, and the 1×2 modified bricks as air vents.

Not to mention the excellent SNOT use of tiles on the wall to give an added sense of texture.

And the drain grate on the floor is very well done. I almost missed it in this shot, but take a look at the other photo he’s posted.

Order_Up: Wide Shot, originally uploaded by BrickWares.

Having worked in various aspects of food service for about 16 years of my life, I appreciate what BrickWares has going on here. There are enough details in the shot to keep you looking for quite a while.

What are some things that I really liked?

The tiled kitchen floor definitely!

The cases of lettuce off to the left (making use of the green Exoforce hair)– I used to have to move those from the delivery truck up to a walk-in salad fridge, until the ladies were ready to slice them for the salad bar.

I also liked the shelves and the wide assortment of items stored up there. Not to mention the rat. There goes their health rating! =)

And it’s hard not to appreciate someone who has tracked down all these various food pieces, and food service establishment-looking torsos!

The Venice Library – “X marks the spot…” by 2MuchCaffeine

MrWhiskersMainView by Teddy(Johan)

Scriptorium by Bricktales

Scriptorium by Bricktales

LEGO books and LEGO bookshelves can be built and presented in a variety of succesful ways, as these builders have demonstrated.

LEGO Books

There are a variety of ways to portray a book with LEGO. One of the most obvious is by using part # 33009,the 2×3 book that first started showing up in 1997 in lots of the sets that were primarily marketed to girls: the Belville stuff, the dollhouse stuff. More recently they’ve appeared in a number of the Harry Potter sets.

Another good method is to use a variety of different-colored 1×2 or 2×2 tiles set into a bookshelf to give the appearance of a full shelf of books. This is the method that 2MuchCaffeine and Teddy(Johan) used in the first two pictures above.

I also like the effective way BrickTales had both types of books on his shelf above, plus using the printed 2×2 tiles to depicting individual pages being written.

LEGO Bookshelves

In the examples above, we see some standalone bookshelves as well as some built into walls. For the standalone, brown makes a good representation of wood, and the builders have integrated a number of ingenious uses of brown pieces … minifig legs, minifig heads, etc. I also like BrickTales’  use of arches in the built-into-the-wall bookshelves.

Riverside Stroll, originally uploaded by Erdbeereis1.

Erdbeereis1 mentions that this was MOC was mainly an effort to test out the water concept he had, that he’ll probably use later in a bigger scale.

LEGO Water

The water turned out very well — by using 2×2 peaks in an alternating pattern he has effectively portrayed in LEGO water that is moving — perhaps we have a river here, or a boisterous lake. Definitely not calm water, but nothing so unusual to scare off the people sitting around on the observation deck of the bridge.


The fence is another awesome technique. Interwoven into the tiles that give the smooth surface of the bridge, are the dark gray 1×1 plates that are the base for the 1×1 cylinder bricks that then hold mechanaical claw (part #48729, which in turn holds up the chain.


I’ve seen a number of arches where the builder has used 1×1 or 1×2 plates underneath for a decorative effect, but this goes a little further. By using a 1×2 Jumper Plate, he’s also been able to show a curve that juts out for an a bit of an overhang effect. Very well done!

Brick Wall

This technique is not so uncommon any more, but it’s always refreshing to see it on an otherwise “big gray wall.” A different-colored tile that juts out a little farther than the rest of the bricks. This is typically achieved by using headlight bricks in the wall and then slapping the plate on top of that.


And did you notice that the pigeon just left a present on one of the benches? Hilarious!