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Lego: Projects, Ideas and Inspiration

No Starch Press has pretty much the best selection of Lego books around–hey, Cult of Lego–and their recent offerings show that their focus on Lego isn’t wavering. Check out three of their recent Lego books:

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Lego Space: Building the Future

by Peter Reid and Tim Goddard

Lego Space is an impressive book. Hardcover and full-cover throughout, it feels like a history book. Oddly enough, it is a history book of a sort; a future history of humanity in space, built in Lego.

At it’s core, Lego Space is simply a book of Lego projects, both original (and impressive) models created by the authors, as well as simpler ships and robots that com2e with step-by-steps so that readers can build the models themselves. Most of the book, however, are the authors’ own models, which are very sophisticated and well-built. These consist of space stations, sleek starships, and a variety of robots, as well as dioramas with minifigs that depict scenes from the future history.

There is a huge variety of models presented–all within the realm of science fiction, of course. Many models were photographed or rendered from different angles. In cases where there are no instructions, this is a great way to help readers create their own version.

Along with all of the sweet Lego ships, robots, bases, aliens, and so on, is a fictional storyline beginning with Sputnik and Voyager (i.e. real events) and proceeding to a made-up future history featuring a permanent moon base, first contact with aliens, and the inevitable interstellar war.

Everything is beautifully photographed, and the instructions are nicely rendered and easy to understand. It’s a great book if you are interested in Lego Space or if you just want to build some fun science-fictiony models!

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Lego Built It Book, Vol. 1: Amazing Vehicles

Lego Built It Book, Vol. 2: More Amazing Vehicles

By Nathanaël Kuipers and Mattia Zamboni

These two Lego project books impressed me for two distinct but very important reasons.

First, the 20 models featured in the books are attractive but very simple. Making Lego models for books is tricky because the author wants to build something crazy, but if the parts list includes an obscure brick someone has to mail-order for, chances are the project will never get built. The solution is to use only the parts found in one set. This makes for very difficult builds, because there are only so many ways a set of parts can be assembled.buildit2_cvr_MASTER_new_lo

That said, the authors found a cool solution: they used only parts found in the Lego Creator Super Speedster set (Lego P/N #5867) in both books. Volume One includes instructions for ten cool vehicles ranging from muscle car to a rescue truck and even a stroller! Volume Two has additional macho models like a forklift, semi rig, and tow truck. It bears repeating: you can build all twenty models in both books with just the #5867 kit.

The other thing I really liked about the books is that the Lego model shots and instructions are all very beautiful full-color renderings. Co-author Mattia Zamboni is a graphic designer and he created all of the model renderings. The step-by-steps look far better than pretty much any instructions I’ve ever seen!

These two books are great for the reasons I mentioned above, and simply for the fact that they have 10 cool and easy-to-build models each.

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Images courtesy of No Starch Press.

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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