Ask a LEGO Fan

LEGO Wedding Cake Topper

Posted in Construction Techniques by lfanquestions on March 9, 2010

Mom of the Groom writes:

Hi,

I am looking for plans to make a Lego Bride and Groom for the top of the wedding cake. Any help? The wedding is not for a few months and we have millions of legos here. Thanks

Dear Mom of the Groom:
Please see the following images of a bride and groom wedding cake topper:

http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/5842

http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=247971

http://www.legotechnic8292.co.uk/145/lego-miniland-wedding-cake-toppers/
You contact the builder in the first link and purchase those figures.  It would be fairly easy to build similar figures by looking at the pictures found in the links.  Additional specialized elements for the figures can be purchased at www.bricklink.com

Sincerely,
LFan

Fan Created Instructions

Posted in Construction Techniques by lfanquestions on February 11, 2010

Brandon writes:

I have a great time looking at all of the great photos on the internet of the various MOC’s created by so many AFOL’s (and the non-adult FOL out there).  But is there a reason why you never see instructions on how to build them yourself or a parts list?  I realize that it would time consuming and a little disruptive in the creation process, but I think it would be great for the builders out there with less imagination or younger ones (like my kids) that see something great that they would like to build.

Does TLC have some policy where people can’t provide this information based on some fear that there will be some confusion or competition with their own official sets?

Dear Brandon,

A small percentage of fans do make instructions for their MOCs using Ldraw.  Check out fan created instructions here:

http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?q=instructions&stype=f&n=6

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=lego+instructions

There was a great online resource, Building Instructions Portal, for finding fan instructions:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070203032806/http://www.bricksonthebrain.com/instructions/index.cfm

Creating high quality instructions is a time consuming process for fans and TLG.  Most fans prefer to spend that additional time building.

LEGO must focus on making instructions for the sets they are currently selling.  The company does not regulate fan instructions or creations in any way.  Fans that create custom sets for sale include a disclaimer that they are not affiliated with TLG.

Sincerely,
LFan

Introducing a child to LEGO building

Posted in Construction Techniques, Inventories, Sorting, & Storage by lfanquestions on January 6, 2010

Shawn writes:

I have a moderate sized collection at this point (by some standards, maybe not by die-hards who have collected for 20+ years) of 15,000+ pieces. Some elements are sorted, but more than two thirds are unsorted in multi-gallon bins. My daughter is almost at an age where she can play with LEGO System pieces without supervision. I’d like to partition out a subset of pieces so that she does not get overwhelmed by all the various choices, as well as giving me the opportunity to introduce new elements in over time. Outside of reassembling smaller sets for her to build, do you have any other recommendations on how to partition my collection?

Dear Shawn,

Young children seem less concerned about having an organized collection than AFOLs.  Rebuilding small sets is a good way to start.  LEGO Basic sets from the 1970’s and 1980’s, LEGO Creator sets, and bulk tub sets produced today are a great way to introduce children to the brick.  These sets focus on basic building bricks which allow children to use their imagination.

http://www.brickset.com/search/?Page=2&query=basic

http://shop.lego.com/ByTheme/Leaf.aspx?cn=348&d=70

http://shop.lego.com/ByTheme/Leaf.aspx?cn=306&d=362

Sincerely,

LFan

Standard Technic Colors

Posted in Construction Techniques, Set Design by lfanquestions on November 3, 2009

Esteban writes:

Why is it that current Bionicle sets are limited to blue triple friction pins and red + rods? They both came in black in the past which looked far better on all the sets. Now there is an  annoying red standing out on blue or awful blue sticking out on red. What was the cause for this switch?

Dear Esteban,

Several years ago TLG decided to make most technic pins and gears in only one color.  This allows children to build sets more easily and not confuse elements.

Many fans of Bionicle and playthemes (City, Castle, etc) are not pleased.  These “wrong” colors do look out of place in sets.  Ideally Bionicle could receive technic elements that match the set.

Play theme sets also have a much higher amount of technic elements than in the past.  Reducing technic elements in these sets and adding more basic bricks and plates would be one possible solution.

Sincerely,

LFan

Flame element alteration

Posted in Construction Techniques, Product Quality & Safety by lfanquestions on November 3, 2009

Paul writes:

Dear Lego Fan;

Why did Lego change the design of its flame piece?  It seems less useful now:

http://www.e-klocki.com/2009/11/01/dear-lego-now-you-screwed-up-the-flames/

Dear Paul,

According to LEGO, the original “tabs” were used to connect the flame in the old dragon’s mouth.  Now that those dragons are not being produced, the tabs are not necessary.  The tabs are not a standard size stud, bar, or axle connection.  This type of connection is an “illegal build” for company sets.

Flames have been released in over 250 sets.  Even the less common colors are still quite affordable: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=6126

Sincerely,

LFan

Themed MOCs (My Own Creations)

Posted in Construction Techniques by lfanquestions on September 8, 2009

Jordan writes:

I was wondering, how did you find out what theme you wanted to build in?

Dear Jordan,

I always enjoy visiting historic structures.  This led to my interest in building medieval and colonial fortresses.

Do not limit yourself to one theme.  Other themes can be a great challenge.  This is why I occasionally dabble in Space and Town building.  A different theme may lend itself to other construction techniques.  These new techniques will increase your skill as a builder and can be incorporated into your favorite theme mocs.

Sincerely,

LFan

Advanced Construction Techniques

Posted in Construction Techniques by lfanquestions on August 26, 2009

Shawn writes:

Thanks LegoFan! I was going to ask a similar question but this will keep me plenty busy. If you’d like to follow up with a post on other advanced building techniques, that would also be appreciated. I’ve been building off and on with LEGO for about 25 years now, but have only recently gotten “serious” about building new and exciting models. Any new techniques to try out would be awesome.

Dear Shawn,

Please check out the following links for additional techniques to test:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/1187071@N22/

http://www.classic-castle.com/howto/articles/walloffsets.html

http://www.classic-castle.com/howto/articles/AdvTudorHTML.html

http://www.classic-castle.com/howto/articles/landscapehowto.html

Online fan sites are a good place to look for articles featuring advanced building techniques.

Sincerely,

LFan

Studs Not On Top (SNOT) Construction

Posted in Construction Techniques by lfanquestions on August 23, 2009

Chris writes:

Hi my name is Chris and I’m about 13. I’ve building with legos since I was 2 or 3.  I’ve been wondering if there is a website or something that could explain SNOT and or teach me how and when to use it?

Dear Chris,

Traditional Lego brick construction is stacking one brick on top of another.  SNOT is a fan acronym for Studs Not On Top construction.  It allows Lego fans to create more complex and accurate models. One great thing about Lego bricks is that you can build with them in so many ways.

Please see the following fan resource web pages for more information about SNOT building:

http://news.lugnet.com/announce/?n=3429

http://www.holgermatthes.de/bricks_us/snot.htm

http://www.holgermatthes.de/bricks_us/lampenstein.htm

http://www.holgermatthes.de/bricks_us/offset.htm

http://www.classic-space.com/plugins/content/content.php?content.45

Certain great moc builders hardly ever use SNOT and others use it all of the time.  The amount of SNOT building in a moc is completely up to you.

Sincerely,

LFan