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The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide 1st Edition

84 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 068-9145705423
ISBN-10: 1593270542
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Allan Bedford is a lifelong LEGO fan and builder whose most ambitious model is a 5,000-piece replica of Toronto's famed CN Tower. An avid photographer, Bedford spends his time chronicling the streets and people of his adopted hometown, Toronto.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

LEGO bricks have been engaging builders, both young and old, for decades. However, during this time, surprisingly little has been written about this unique building system and its many uses. True, a number of "idea books" have offered building instructions for a variety of projects, and thousands of printed instructions have accompanied the enormous range of products released over the years. In most cases, however, these instructions were only for one or two finished models. In recent years, books and articles have been written that supply information about LEGO robotics, virtual computer-aided designs, and even about the LEGO company and its many facets. Up to this point, a book that addresses the system itself and its greatest function—building LEGO models—has been missing from this list.

This book fills that gap by offering a broad spectrum of topics all connected by the thread of building real models with actual plastic bricks. Most chapters present best practices, tips, and techniques that you can apply to almost any building project. Woven together with these ideas is background information on such subjects as architecture, design, engineering, color theory, and so on.

I hope that this book will serve LEGO builders who are prepared to move beyond the instructions supplied with official sets and who are ready to begin making their own original models. My target audience may include younger builders who are working on their own or parents who are working alongside their children. Adult builders returning to the hobby may also find useful information they can use to refresh techniques long forgotten or perhaps develop those they never had as a young person.

I round out the book with a unique feature that I hope helps builders of all skill levels see the LEGO system at a glance. The Brickopedia (Appendix A) is a graphical reference tool that presents the most common and most reusable elements from available LEGO pieces. Although it does not contain an entry for every single piece ever produced, it does thoroughly examine the LEGO bricks, plates, slopes, and other elements that best define the highly flexible nature of this building system. I have categorized the Brickopedia using some traditional techniques but also using some newly defined criteria and classifications. I set this up intending that you use it as a stand-alone tool; therefore, it does not require a computer or Internet access to be useful.

So sit down with a bunch of LEGO bricks and get ready to build!


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (September 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593270542
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593270544
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

With sales of over 60,000 copies, The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide has become a perennial favorite of young builders and their adult mentors.

To learn more about this book, please visit the Facebook page, by copying and pasting the link below into your browser. Or, simply search for Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide on Facebook and click Like!

Allan Bedford is a long-time LEGO builder and author of The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 178 people found the following review helpful By ueberhund VINE VOICE on December 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have to admit, this is one of the most interesting books I've read all year! Expecting simply a discussion on the best way to build a wall, I was surprised at the amount of awe the author is able to instill in the reader regarding those little plastic bricks. LEGO's are actually quite amazing. As the author points out, the LEGO company adheres to some of the strictest quality control measures. Releasing a brick that is too tall or two short is unacceptable, as your creations simply wouldn't fit together.

The author takes almost a Zen-like approach toward LEGOs. To truly build, you must first understand the brick. So he helps you understand the brick. I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's truly fascinating stuff. After discussing the brick and basic building techniques (you would be disappointed if there wasn't a discussion on how to build the best wall, wouldn't you?), the author shows how to build for different perspectives. Sure you can build things the same size as those little LEGO people, but you can also build things that are much bigger. The challenges and tips for doing just that are outlined.

I always wondered how some people were able to create something amazing from scratch out of their LEGO collections. Well, I still may not be able to create something out of thin air, but the author does show how to plan your creation. In fact, he shows how he designed and built a model of the space shuttle-and it all looks so easy. It simply comes down to careful planning, having the right LEGO parts, and a little bit of time.

One thing I thought was really cool about this book was the appendix. Here the author shows every single LEGO piece, its part number, and a description of what it's good for.

This is really an amazing book.
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Big Xeno on December 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Like many kids I had a few Lego sets as a kid. And like a lot of kids I stopped playing with them at some point and eventually gave away the sets I had. So when a friend recently gave me a copy of The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide to check out, it was a real surprise at how quickly all those great memories came flooding back of building with Lego. One look at the retro-looking cover on this book and I knew there had to be some cool stuff inside. Indeed, there is!

This book isn't just a set of instructions for a bunch of models or a price guide for collecting sets. It's an overview of the entire Lego system and takes you from knowing what a brick is, right up to designing your own model. Inbetween, there are discussions about scale, building Miniland-sized characters, how to build a sphere and how to build 'jumbo' bricks which look like a blast to make. The pictures are in black and white. At first I thought this would make it difficult to follow along with the examples but it was no problem at all. The images are crisp and clean and with no color it allows you to focus on the bricks being used in the technique without worrying about which color they should be. If I'm gonna' build my own models I'm gonna' use my own colors anyway!

What surprised me the most was, even though I hadn't touched a Lego set in years I found myself wanting to build some of the examples in the book (especially the sphere!!) and went out and bought a couple of those big tubs of assorted parts. The book has helped me rediscover a fond hobby from my past. I'm hooked - again. The author's easy-to-grasp explanations of the various concepts have really helped me feel like I can build some of the ideas that must have been in my head since I was a kid.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Jack D. Herrington on September 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a really interesting book. It's a best practices guide for Lego. It teaches how to plan and sculpt Lego like nothing I have read before. It's definitely not the type of book that you get with a Lego kit.

There is also a reference section at the end of the book which covers all of the different types of Lego pieces, which is really handy.

My reservation is that the book could have been larger. The author could have presented more examples to illustrate different types of Lego techniques. So if anything my four star rating is just my way of saying; more, more!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By D. Ward on November 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've visited Lego Land several times and am constantly impressed by the creativity of the models on display, and have always come away wondering how I could go about designing a model from scratch like the professional builders do.

The LEGO Builders Guide gives you a step by step guide from starting at the very beginning with choosing your subject, planning using handy templates, building techniques, and presentation.

This book will help you

- Build super size models

- Build micro scale models

- Build Lego Mosaics

- Build Building and people at Mini-Land scale

- Build Geometric shapes (e.g. Lego sphere)

- Organise you Lego bricks

I purchased this book with one specific project in mind, but reading it has given me a hundred more ideas

Great Lego Book and a very good price!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ginny Teague on January 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Rather, this book is for those who are interested in the characteristics, the proportions, the considerations, and the general techniques involved in building with one of the best inventions of all time, LEGO. This is the book for the person who understands the old saying: "Give a man a fish--feed him for a day, teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime." This book is for those who want to "learn to fish" so to speak. I purchased this book in December 2005 for my then 8-year-old daughter as she had recently begun so show extended interest in building her own designs from LEGO elements. Subsequent to receiving, and reading, the book her models began to take on a more sophisticated construction as her understanding of the the LEGO system deepened. I do not believe that this book is too technical for a child as some other reviewers have mentioned. It is also not overtly simplistic either and can provide a lot of help to the adult LEGO enthusiast as well. Buy the book, read it, follow the examples, learn the techniques and then let you imagination go and build what you want with confidence-that is what LEGO is all about.
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