Tag Archives: LEGO Ideas

How to be a better LEGO architect in 1001 easy lessons

Some of the earliest LEGO sets were for buildings or some sort of structure, and to this day architecture forms a core part of the LEGO panoply. If you build an architecture project from a kit, you’ll see that they are highly engineered. In order to make a LEGO project look like something other than a concoction of random bricks made by some kids having fun (which is, of course, just fine), serious planning has to have happened.

Most of the LEGO books I’ve seen are pure idea books. If you wanted to build a project based on what you see in the books, you have to either have a huge collection of LEGO parts very well organized, or you have to be prepared to order several specific bricks that are called for in the books.

But that is the wrong way to play with LEGOs. The books demonstrate concepts, give you ideas, guide you to become a better LEGOer.

Very few LEGO books that I’ve seen are clearly this, clearly about methods and techniques, as The LEGO Architecture Idea Book: 1001 Ideas for Brickwork, Siding, Windows, Columns, Roofing, and Much, Much More by Alice Finch.

How does this work? Let me give you an example. Say you want to build a building with nice columns. There are many different kinds of columns out there in architecture land, and you can imagine that there are different ways to build each one, and which method you use depends, in turn, on the scale you are working on. Say you want to build columns that would go with a building that would work well with the assumption that the building will be used by minifigs (the small LEGO people that come with many kits). Finch gives you sixteen pages of ideas for columns, starting out with these two:

Or maybe you are in need of some curved walls:

Or stained glass:

Or towers:

You get the point.

LEGOs are bricks, and bricks are used to build buildings, and The LEGO Architecture Idea Book: 1001 Ideas for Brickwork, Siding, Windows, Columns, Roofing, and Much, Much More is a really helpful guide to developing the methods and techniques for doing that.

The wizzard behind the book, Alice Finch, is one of the top LEGO builders in the world, famous for her extensive renditions of Harry Potter’s world and other major projects (see below). This is a great book for the aspiring LEGO builder, and an excellent choice as a holiday gift for your LEGO-loving offspring.

Science-Nerd LEGO Ideas Gift Ideas

You know what LEGO is. Do you know what LEGO Ideas is?

This is a program where people — not normal people but Lego Ninja Expert people — propose lego builds. The builds are normally actually built, but some are just designed or have parts that are just designed. These propose builds are then vetted on a publicly available web space at LEGO. People “support” the project by providing a very simple evaluation and, basically, a vote.

If a proposed build gets 10,000 votes, it goes into review. I suppose the review process is important, or all future LEGO projeects would be about Boaty McBoatface. Anyway, if the project passes review, then a limited number are produced.

Unsurprisingly, a relatively large number of these proposed builds are science oriented, science fiction, or otherwise, nerdy. Most of the rest are hot cars or airplanes.

These projects are usually expensive, and as noted, limited in production. But if you are willing to fork out 50 bucks or so for a very cool LEGO project, you can have some real nice ones at any given time. Sadly, no matter how cool the project is, it eventually fades into obscurity.

I should note also that you will find very few of these projects at any store. I’ve seen a few at Toys-backwardsR-Us, but most are only available on line.

I’ve gone through all the currently available projects (including several that LEGO no longer produces but that are still in the pipeline) to pick out the science and nerd oriented ones, plus one that is neither but still cool. Here they are.

Mars Science Laboratory

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-6-50-32-pmI’m going to start with one that is almost certainly impossible to get for less than 200 bucks, but there are several out there and it is one of the cooler ones ever built: The LEGO Ideas NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover (Kit 2114).

It has all sorts of moving parts and a nice metallic, low-peg look. It was designed by one of the actual engineers on the Curiosity project.

Exterminate! Exterminate!

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-6-53-35-pmThe Doctor Who Building Kit (model 21304) has the Tardis from the outside and the inside. It is bigger on the inside.

There are, I think, two doctors and one companion. Also, there are Daleks and a weeping angel.

There is a booket about the fan who designed this build, and about the TV series. In many ways, this is one of the nicer builds because is has so much cool stuff in it.

Did I mention there are Daleks?


The LEGO Ideas WALL E 21303 Building Kit is destine to be a classic. (See photo above). Don’t tell anybody, but this is Amanda and Huxley’s christmas present this year.


Big Bang Theory

I’ve never seen an episode of the Big Bang theory, but you have! So maybe you would like to have a look at the LEGO Ideas The Big Bang Theory 21302 Building Kit.

Here’s the info from the manufacturer, which, since I don’t know much about it, I’ll just pass on to you:

<li>Build an authentic replica of Leonard and Sheldon's living room in LEGO bricks</li>

<li>Great for display or role-playing scenes from the TV series</li>

Includes a booklet about the designers and the hit American sitcom

<li>The perfect gift for LEGO and The Big Bang Theory fans of all ages</li>

<li>Measures over 3" (8cm) high, 8" (22cm) wide and 4" (12cm) deep</li>

Ha. Leonard Sheldon. Funny joke, that.



I wasn’t sure if I should include this one or not, but on further consideration, a lot of people might like this.

The LEGO Ideas 21305 Maze Building Kit (769 Piece) is an actual maze game thingie.

Many LEGO kits have varying degrees of functionality, but most are minituarized versions of large things, like, say, an airplane or something, so they’ll have a prop that rotates and that’s about it. This kit is a kit to build a thing that is a thing, not a model imitating a thing. there are not many LEGO kits that do this.

In the down where I was born….

Finally, I give you the LEGO Yellow Submarine

Say no more.