Saturday, March 31, 2007

Small LEGO Sphere Project

Name of Model: Small LEGO Sphere Project
Created by: Ed Hall
Found at:

Here's a fun one we can all try at home - a small, fairly simple LEGO globe with building instructions available online. You do still have to make sure you put the parts together in a way that they will stay, but that shouldn't be too difficult. They're in a normal .gif image file too, so you can even see them without having to deal with CAD and such. What's particularly elegant about this globe is that it's at a small enough scale to be easy to build, but at a large enough scale that the rounded effect works using only standard LEGO bricks without any of the more precise LEGO plates.
Some larger LEGO globes with continents and such were featured here last month.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Equilibrist Monkey on a unicycle

Name of Model: equilibrist
Created by: rupi
Found at:
I don't actually know what to say about this vignette. It appears to have a monkey actually perfectly balanced on a unicycle on a LEGO string between two LEGO trees. I don't think that's actually possible. I have no clue how this was done. Since there are several different angles shown in the pictures, I'm assuming that the photos weren't manipulated (and thus, it counts here, bizarre as it is).

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mona Lisa mosaic with frame

Name of Model: Mona Lego
Created by: Eric Harshbarger
Found at:
LEGO mosaics are an art form, much like many other forms of large-scale LEGO building. Former professional builder Eric Harshbarger used his "pixelego" software to dither LEGO bricks in just six colors (red, blue, white, black, yellow, and green) so that they would look like the true colors of the Mona Lisa. The frame was made from a variety of plates and more specialized elements. Technic plates were used to create "hangers" for wall mounting. Some cheating (glue) was used to make sure that this did not fall apart after it was sold (as bizarre as glue sounds to most of us, it is normal for professional builders to glue the parts together to prevent breakage).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tower of Belem Lisbon Portugal

Name of Model: Tower of Belem
Created by: torgugick
Found at:
Microscale builder torgugick has built yet another impressive landmark. This time, it's the Tower of Belem in Lisbon, Portugal. To get the gritty and realistic look of the walls smaller LEGO parts called "plates" were used instead of the larger LEGO "bricks" we're more used to seeing. These sorts of things are also good case-studies on why you shouldn't use off-brand parts - other brands don't have pieces that are the correct size to work with LEGO plates in models like this. Other things worth mentioning include the use of a fence from a LEGO Wild West set to make windows, the tile bricks used in the water, and the way slopes were used near the model's base. If you look closely, you can also see slopes and cones used for other architectural details. The offset-based stairs are a cool trick too!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Test 53 Mecha

Name of Model: Test 53
Created by: Izzo
Found at: and
"Mecha" is becoming an increasingly popular unofficial theme for LEGO fans. This amazing "mecha" is full of unusual uses of parts. To be honest, I'm having a hard time figuring out which elements I'm seeing in a few places. Also, note the careful color scheme. If you can read Japanese, you can read what I believe is a detailed description of the model here

Monday, March 26, 2007

Robotics Monday: Car Factory

Name of Model: Mindstorms Autofabrik
Created by: knusel111
Found at:
Once again, I find myself without much of anything specific to say about a model. As far as I know, this YouTube video is all anyone's seen of this model:

Sorry that this entry is up late and not really too lengthy, but hey, I'm a busy guy and I'm not getting paid to write this.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Abston Church of Christ

Name of Model: Abston Church of Christ
Created by: Amy Hughes
Found at:
The Abston Church of Christ is, for those of you not already familiar with it, an enormous mini-figure scale church made out of fairly standard LEGO parts. The interior is incredibly spacious - I have a feeling that it might actually be the largest interior in any LEGO building I've seen. There are too many details to mention - heck, I'm not even picking a picture to focus on here this time out. This project was incredibly ambitious, and it came out very well - it's worth taking some time to give the website devoted to it a browse. This is the type of thing you really have to see for yourself - and besides, I can't do this justice and much has already been written about it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fiat 131

Name of Model: Fiat Seat 131
Created by: arvo
Found at: and
If you clicked the link for today's model, you may have noticed that that page is written in Spanish. For those of you who can't read Spanish (or don't want to deal with an online translator), this summary will cover the basics. This car is modeled after an old family car - specifically, a Fiat 131. After the color was chosen, measurements were taken to properly build the car to scale. The chassis and steering system were built first with a good deal of detail, and the rest of the model was assembled little-by-little from there. The chassis has a combination of traditional LEGO bricks, Technic beams, and Technic bricks.

The original page uses a number of pictures to describe the details of the model, so you may find it of interest even if you don't understand the text. There is also a brickshelf page for this model.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Detailed Train and Matching Microscale Train

Name of Model: American 4-4-0 , Mini
Created by: savatheaggie
Found at: and
This is a bit gimmicky, but it's a gimmick that never seems to get old. It's a little microscale train that fits on the flatbed of the minifig-scale train it looks like! The larger version of this wood-burning steam locomotive is well-done as well. Note the use of half-wide Technic beams and Town wrenches on the wheels and the way that a small window was used for the large front light. It's also interesting that the motor element is in the back of the vehicle instead of the front - allowing for more details on the locomotive, but probably offering a bumpier ride to passengers. The shovel on the front is also quite unusual. A close look at the Brickshelf gallery reveals that there's even some trickery to the steering geometry (which isn't something most LEGO train builders worry about).

The lettering on the regular-size train appears to have been done by "cheating" with a custom sticker.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Warrior / archer on horseback jointed sculpture

Name of Model: Warrior who shoots arrow riding on horse
Created by: dellta
Found at:
To some extent, anyone can try their hand at make a sculpture out of LEGO parts. It takes a certain sort of skill, though, to work in more unusual parts for details, and to set things up so that a certain array of motion can be achieved. This particular model is a bit of a two-for-one - a detailed, jointed horse and a detailed, jointed warrior are both exceptionally well-done.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

LEGO Antique Shop with vintage LEGO parts inside

Name of Model: Antique Shop
Created by: marak
Found at:
Here's an interesting idea for displaying old and unique LEGO parts - showing them off as goods for sale in an antique shop. It looks to me like a bit of cheating was used to make the sign on the outside of building, but otherwise it's a well-built building and a clever way of displaying some "vintage" parts.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Outrider spaceship

Name of Model: Outrider
Created by: Ellio
Found at: and
This spaceship uses a few unusual techniques to get certain angles "just so". There are several different hinges used, see if you can spot them from the pictures. Also, note the use of a large Technic wheel in the back. The way that several poles are attached for effect is interesting too, although I'm sure most people have seen that technique before.

Robotics Monday: Duck Factory

Name of Model: DuckPro: Automated Duck Assembly
Created by: duckjock
Found at:

No details this time out - this is pretty self explanatory:

A brief warning - not all comments found on the YouTube page are clean. I recommend just watching the video here (there's nothing else to see anyway).

Sorry about the late posting today - some unavoidable circumstances popped up.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Millyard Project / Amoskeag Mills

Name of Model: Millyard Project (Amoskeag Mills)
Created by: NELUG , with the help of sponsors.
Found at:
NELUG (the New England LEGO Users Group), along with Manchester, New Hampshire, USA's SEE Science Center, LEGO, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), and CLD Consulting Engineers, built this enormous scale model of Manchester's Amoskeag Mills. There are many things to love in this model. Careful research was done to make this model as historically accurate to the late 1910's (when the Amoskeag mills were at their peak) as possible. With over 3 million LEGO bricks used, this is believed to be the largest minifig-scale LEGO model ever made. As you can see in some of the many pictures available, some of the individual buildings here are longer than most people are tall. As many details as possible were rendered in the 55:1 LEGO minifig scale. For more information, I recommend viewing the model at the links given above. There's a ton to take in - to be honest I haven't even found time to go through some of the photo galleries yet. By my count, there are 527 photos available!

This model is now a permanent exhibit at The SEE Science Center, an excellent museum in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA. They also have a webpage about this model, as mentioned above.

On a personal note, I was very excited to see this model because I grew up near this area. I have been inside most of the mill buildings, some of which are not as well-kept now as they used to be, but some now hold a number of other businesses and such - including the SEE Science Center, which I loved visiting as a kid.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Steamship Möwe

Name of Model: Steamship Möwe
Created by: Andreas Weissenburg
Found at:
You can never go wrong with a big ship. Like most large LEGO ships, this one features a sculpted hull and a number of interesting smaller details. The "wood" on the decks is cleverly inlaid LEGO parts on their sides. Also, have a look for horn elements used to hold LEGO string up, and note the anchors and lifeboats.

A LUGNET discussion features some insight about this model.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Functioning Air Conditioner Sculpture

Name of Model: Bryant Convention
Created by: Nathan Sawaya
Found at:
Nathan Sawaya is a professional sculptor who uses LEGO bricks as his main medium. He's available if you need specific things sculpted out of LEGO parts, or if you want to do an event of some sort. Let's say, for example, that you have an air conditioner company - why not have a giant air conditioner made out of LEGO bricks at your event? Or, take it one step further, and have a LEGO fan built inside of the air conditioner so that it can actually cool off people near it. Details to look for here include the vents on the side (more of that studs-not-on-top stuff), the Bryant logo on the front, and the round, sculpted top.

An earlier sculpture that is pretty much the same was made for the 2006 Carrier Convention.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Microscale Pirate Ship

Name of Model: Pirate Ship
Created by: Moko (for our readers that understand written Japanese: his blog)
Found at:
This beautiful microscale pirate ship features a number of unusual details. Note the binoculars used for cannons, and the way that plates are only loosely attached to form sales. A number of studs-not-on-top effects are used to add details to the ship's sides. Even the normally innocuous tubes on the bottom of plates are used for details - get a load of the way the rope ladders that lead to the sails are made.

If you've been following any of the other LEGO blogs out there, then you probably already know about this model and a few other brilliant models done by Moko. It should suffice to say that Moko is a genius and a browse through his/her Brickshelf gallery will be rather enjoyable, if you have the time for it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Prison Wheeler

Name of Model: Prison Wheeler
Created by: schlimps
Found at:
OK, so by now, most LEGO castles of any real size of some sort of jail or prison in them. You have to do something with the enemies you catch, after all. What, though, should you do if you want to move your captives to another castle, or use them to bargain with another kingdom? You put them in a little "prison wheeler" like this one. Note that the prison bars are really round fence parts (circa 1996), and that some Technic parts hold the jail cell in place. There is, of course, a reason for this cell to be very round and held up by Technic parts - it actually works as a prisoner-sized hamster wheel. If you look closely, you'll notice the clever use of a belt and a crown gear mechanism to make the prisoners spin when the cart rolls forward. Let's just go with the idea that it is a hamster-wheel sort of thing and not an instrument of torture, because torture is wrong and stuff, and you kids shouldn't be into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Escher's "Relativity"

Name of Model: Escher's "Relativity"
Created by: Andrew Lipson
Found at:
Escher's 'Relativity'Mathematician and knot theorist Andrew Lipson is famous for his reproductions of abstract minimal surfaces in the form of LEGO sculptures.

...but let's be honest, most people have a hard time following that sort of stuff, and would rather see his recreations of famous Escher images. I'll be featuring some Klein bottles and cross-caps here soon enough, but for today, Escher's "Relativity" is exciting enough. For obvious reasons, much of the "studs-not-on-top" (or SNOT) building technique is used here. Fairly thorough documentation for this model, along with more pictures, can be found at its webpage.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Robotics Monday: Knitting Machine

Name of Model: Knitting Machine
Created by: Thomas Johnson
Found at:
LEGO Knitting Machine ThumbnailAt this point, it's no real secret that most robots and machines made out of LEGO parts rely on the handful of robotics sets that LEGO has released over the years. Because of that, it always comes as a surprise when someone builds a truly exciting robot using nothing but a battery box and some traditional mechanics. That's right - you can make awesome LEGO machines and "robots" of sorts without doing any programming. Of course, the specialized mechanical work can be just as difficult as programming a robot. It's a bit of an art to work out a machine that works more like an old-fashioned automaton, and it can be very difficult to make a sequence of actions occur from just one motor's output. It can also be rather difficult to make LEGO parts work with other materials. Special grips often need to be worked out to make things work "just right".

Naturally, then, a knitting LEGO robot based on an old battery box is a truly magnificent thing to behold. A single motor is powered by the battery box, and arms that maneuver properly to knit are powered by chains and gears eminating from the motor. The cycles of various worm gear configurations are timed perfectly to give the arms a fluid motion and keep the yarn from falling. The whole operation is fascinating, but seems (to me) to be fairly easy to understand if you watch the video first and then look at the pictures.

Since yarn is obviously needed for any knitting machine, this doesn't really count as cheating.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Incomplete Lego Town/Train layout

Name of Model: unknown
Created by: ulimy
Found at:
This is a fun little gallery to browse through - several well-done buildings, detailed scenes, and beautiful bridges are included in this LEGO® Town / Trains layout. The layout is incomplete, but any one building or bridge from this layout would have been enough to get it mentioned here - it's really well done. It looks to me like some lighting/photography trickery may have been used to alter colors a bit, but I don't think any "cheating" was done here. Some parts are used in unusual ways though - have a look at how the diagonal lines are made in the buildings, and make sure to see the train bridge that uses old train rails as part of its archetecture! This is one that I think you have to have a look at for yourself - thumbnails can't do it justice.
I'd like to take a moment to conduct an informal poll. Send your response to . Should every Sunday's model be a large / extremely detailed model that takes more time to look at? Let me know what you think.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

LEGO Stegosaurus

Name of Model: Stegosaurus
Created by: Henry Lim
Found at:
Henry Lim earned himself a bit of notoriety in the Lego fan community by building the largest dinosaur he could fit in his apartment. At one point, this stegosaurus was listed on eBay to try to make space, but it was not sold. This sculpture is able to hold its weight without glue, in spite of the size of its head. The tail needs outside support, however. At the time it was built, green bricks were still fairly hard to find and expensive. It is estimated to have taken a few thousand LEGO bricks. Surprisingly, this sculpture was made freehand without the use of CAD techniques. Some documentation and many more pictures are available at the model's webpage.

Friday, March 9, 2007

LEGO Aquazone Castle

Name of Model: unknown
Created by: bhamilto1
Found at:
If you're like me at all, you've spent some time recently complaining about Lego's new "Aquaraiders" line because it very obviously rips off their older Aquazone line, but this time the bad guys (the raiders) are now the good guys (who were called "Aquanauts" and later "Hydronauts" in the original line).

But if you're not like me, that all sounded like gibberish. In any case, we don't see enough underwater castles made of Lego. Even when we do see underwater castles, it's not often that we see them in the proper color scheme for the original 1995 Lego Aquazone series, and we almost never see them done by people with the funds to track down all the specialized pieces used in that line.

Oh, and sorry the post's up late today. I'm still working out the kinks of this thing, but I would like to keep the updates regular.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Detailed Lego Dragon

Name of Model: Original diorama featured Dragons - scene 03 Exterminators
Created by: Izzo
Found at:
Have a look at the details on this dragon! Not only is this a nifty-looking dragon at first glance, but a close look reveals dozens of unusual uses of LEGO parts. I'd start to write about the details, but I wouldn't know where to start. You'll just have to take a closer look yourself.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

News: LEGOLAND California Miniland Models on eBay

We interrupt your regular Lego Model of the Day programming to let you know that LEGOLAND California is auctioning off ten models from their Miniland New England Harbor display on eBay. 70% of the final auction prices will go to the Foundation for Positively Kids (whom I had never heard of before). Any one of the ten models up for auction could have been featured here. The Miniland displays featured at LEGOLAND parks are world famous, due to their extreme level of detail. Actual locations are carefully researched so that Miniland can feature perfectly to-scale replicas. A scale that is a bit larger than the average Lego playset makes it easier for the LEGO company's professional builders to squeeze in all the details they want.

If you have the money, you might want to consider picking one of these up, and if not, you might enjoy a browse anyway. The available selection can be viewed at

Bridging Sydney

Name of Model: Bridging Sydney
Created by: Ross Crawford
Found at:
This LEGO reproduction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built to celebrate the bridge's 75th anniversary. The assembly was part of the lead-in to the Museum of Sydney's Australia Day event. Someone at the museum somehow heard that Ross Crawford had made such a model in the past and made arrangements with LEGO Australia to have parts provided for a new model (the first attempt at the bridge had since been dismantled). The bridge is made primarily out of large LEGO Technic pieces, but a bit of complex angle work was done to make the long and straight beams look like the curved bridge. The use of such large beams and difficult construction techniques also makes the bridge extremely sturdy. This model's impressive size and use of somewhat hard-to-find parts set it apart. You can see this model in person at the Museum of Sydney's "Bridging Sydney" exhibition through 29th April 2007. Additional photos are available at this model's Brickshelf page and the Brickshelf directory documenting the building process further.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Eagle Transporter

Name of Model: Eagle Transporter
Created by: shinyafujita
Found at:
The Eagle Transporter is a spaceship with an interesting modern Lego Technic-based top. There are other cool details to see too, of course, but you can always look for that yourself.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Robotics Monday: Lego Rubik's Cube Solver

Name of Model: Rubik's Cube Solver
Created by: JP Brown
Found at:
One of the more famous Lego Mindstorms robots out there is this 'bot that solves Rubik's cubes. Truth be told, this is actually fairly simple - it's just a few Lego Technic arm assemblies with a limited range of motion hooked up to a Lego Vision command set (link coming soon (or in 2010 when I realize that this still says "link coming soon" - oops!)). Maybe it's the beauty of the simple design that makes it so exciting, but it might also be the fact that so few of us have three Lego Technic turntables. Granted, it takes a certain amount of computing skill and perseverance to get the program going, and it can be hard to track down the proper parts for this sort of thing, but the mechanics and building-related part of the deal isn't that difficult. The programming was done in Visual Basic. Let's be honest though - most people can't solve Rubik's cubes easily and are fascinated by the robot's ability to solve them.

Sadly, some cheating was used to make the Rubik's cube easier to manipulate. However, this wouldn't have been required if older (read: worn-in) cubes had been used.

If you want to know more, thorough documentation of this cool 'bot is available at its webpage.
Just a quick housekeeping note: today's post was titled "Robotics Monday" because I plan on only featuring Lego Mindstorms-based material on Mondays. So if you don't like Lego robotics, you can skip this blog on Monday, or if you only like robotics, you can make a point to only read on Mondays. I'm hoping to feature a variety of models here, and this is just a way of making sure that this blog doesn't get overrun with Lego Mindstorms stuff. Feel free to let me know what you think of this in the comments, or you can send an e-mail to

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Entrance to the Caves

Name of Model: Entrance to the Caves
Created by: Nathan Todd
Found at:
Every once in a while, you see a model with a seemingly impossible level of details. That's the case with Nathan Todd's breathtaking Entrance to the Caves. The thumbnail image here doesn't do it justice - the building on top of the hill is just the tip of the iceberg. The cliff and cave are built entirely out of Lego, with a good deal of slopes and sculpted effects to give it a realistic shape. Closer up, you can see all sorts of plants and architectural details. A bridge has been built from scratch out of brown hinges, and the bridge spans a waterfall made from clear and translucent blue LEGO bricks. A staircase with quite a few odd angles in it leads up to the top of the hill. Inside, the end of a brawl can be seen around a broken table in a dining room. Chains and skeletons sit in a jail, and rafters grace the top of most of the rooms. A walkway outside is complete with undergrowth and loose stones, and matching knights can be seen standing watch throughout. There's even a hidden treasure room deep inside of the caves. There are 33 pictures of this one, and they're all worth a look.

I'm not sure that I even want to know how much time and money went into gathering up the pieces for this one.

Lego Taxi

Name of Model: Basic US Taxi
Created by: Antony Lau
Found at:
Sometimes all it takes is a bit of detailing to make a model stand out. Note the black and white checked doors on this taxi cab. Also, have a look at those windshield wipers!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Microscale Lego Notre Dame Cathedral

Name of Model: Micro Notre Dame
Created by: turgugick
Found at:

Remember when you first took a Lego roofing element, stuck it on to of a Lego brick, and called it a house? Believe it or not, there's now an entire field of Lego building devoted to such "microscale" building. Creating distinctive landmarks, houses, spaceships, etc in extremely small scales requires using pieces in unusual ways. It also allows Lego fans to build things that would be incredibly large and difficut to make in a larger size. This Lego version of Notre Dame Cathedral, for example, fits on a common 15 inch square baseplate. Note the clever use of fences, goblets, and gears as archetectural elements!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Lego CitroenDS Vintage French Car

Name of Model: CitroenDS
Created by: MisterZumbi
Found at:
This Thursday, we bring you a Lego model that is perhaps a bit more in-reach for the modern young builder. Let's face it, not everybody has a seemingly endless supply of Lego parts, and it can be hard to find uses for some of the specialized parts found in today's Lego sets. MisterZumbi's CitroenDS uses new slopes and smooth elements that you're likely to see in the Lego collections of today's kids but not in older Lego collections.

Note the way that curved slopes are used for the car's roof and hood. The grill is made of carefully placed "knives" made for Lego people. A closer look also reveals that offset elements were used to give the base of the car a width that is difficult to create with Lego - and still connect that to a common windshield element. Although not all of us can build larger-than-life Lego models, we can all try using the parts we can get our hands on in unusual ways to make detailed models of our own.