Customer Reviews: The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide
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VINE VOICEon December 4, 2005
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. You can feel the great respect the author has for LEGOs, and when you're done, you feel the same way. I also really enjoyed the author's approach to LEGO building, as it was something I've never seen before. This is a great gift for that LEGO builder in your life.
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on December 28, 2005
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.

One of the coolest parts in the book is the Brick-O-Pedia. This is a big section at the back that shows pictures and descriptions of hundreds of lego pieces. It's worth the price alone! I found it interesting to see when some of the parts were released and Bedford also suggests different uses for many of them.

If you are a kid or a kid at heart who loves Lego then you need this book. If you're an adult who wants to get back into the hobby or help out a child or younger relative then you'll also find this book extremely useful. In my case it's allowing me an easy return to a simpler time. I'll probably sit down with my nephew the next time he visits and share this very cool book with him. I know he''ll enjoy it as much as I have.
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on September 29, 2005
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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on November 1, 2005
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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on January 12, 2007
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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on September 9, 2005
I've been fortunate enough to be able to review this book before it went to press. I loved it, and said as much to the publisher. When I recieved my review copy of the final book last night, I was even MORE impressed.

This book is packed for a great content for any age and/or skill level. Been a LEGO builder for decades? Want to start building as an adult? As a kid? Then this book is for you.

Great work to the author!
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on August 20, 2009
I am 33 and I have recently started building Lego again after a 13 year break. I bought this book out of curiosity and it turned out to be a great refresher course and summarized many things I had spent far too much time looking for in the very extensive online community.

I noticed that several people who gave this book a negative review had one thing in common. They bought this book for a young child, hoping it would be a huge collection of colorful instructions that we are all familiar with from the sets that we buy. I guess the idea being that it will keep the child busy, on their own, for hours on end. This book won't do that, but that definitely doesn't mean that it can't be used with young children who like to build Lego. A parent might have to be around initially to take the ideas off the pages, and present them to their child in a way that they can use those techniques to build the things they like. I actually see this as a great opportunity for both the child and the parent to be creative together. Ideas like board games, mosaics, or micro models are great and show a completely new way of how parts can be used.

I agree with what some other reviewers have said, that on its own, this book is ideal for older children who might be looking to further their skills, or find a solution to a problem. This book has plenty of instructions, and practical examples to illustrate how techniques work without spoon feeding you. Expensive color prints are not needed for what this book wants to show you and that has made these 300 pages very good value for money. Personally I would have placed more emphasis on some subjects and less on others, but this opinion will be different from one person to the next depending on what they already know.

Lego parts and building techniques have developed a lot since this book was initially published, to the point where very experienced builders won't find examples of advanced SNOT techniques, dioramas, or specific themes that they currently see online. That however, is also not what this book is aiming at. If you are an experienced builder you can buy this book if you want a comprehensive reference of the most important building techniques, tools and parts to compliment other Lego literature you might have in your collection. If the author were to make another book summarizing the current, advanced building techniques, with updated parts, I would definitely buy that one too!
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on February 22, 2006
There are not many toys at Grandma and Grandpa's for our grandchildren to play with so when we came across a LEGO set that used to belong to our son we hoped that it would be a good way for the grandchildren to develop their creative skills. However, we are definitely what you would call "LEGO illiterate". We didn't know where to begin until someone recommended Allan Bedford's book, `The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide'. We purchased it last fall and now look, at least to our grandchildren, like we know all there is to know about LEGO. The Brickopedia is especially helpful and although our projects will be small for awhile with the help of this well written and well organized book we will move on to bigger and better things in the future. LEGO is a great way to spend quality time with grandchildren and can become addictive thanks to the help found in Allan's book.
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on November 10, 2005
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, not only for myself, but for my 7-year-old girl. I love the depth of it and the simplicity of it. I liked the trade size, because I could take it with me to continue reading. It was great to get more info and still have some pics to view.

As a former bookseller, I relish good reference books. This is one of them.

Okay, enough with the review; I gotta go get my LEGO bricks sorted. And, with Allan's Brickopedia portion of the book, I can do it in style. Thank you, Allan! When's your next one?
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on August 25, 2011
My kids (4 year old boy and 5 year old girl) and I are pretty new to Lego building. We have mostly been building the pre-packaged models but we wanted to do more.

While I was searching Amazon for some kind of Lego building help I came across this book.

I ordered it and started to read it as soon as it was out of the box! There were a lot of helpful sections and we were introduced the the world of Miniland figures based on this book. The building tips were pretty basic, but some tips like the using grids (some of which are provided in the book) were extremely helpful!

The most helpful section of the book has to be the Brickopedia. It is basically a visual dictionary of about 300 of the most commonly used Lego elements. It is good to have handy when you are attempting to build a model and you just need to find the right piece to create the angle you want! The history of some of the individual elements included in the brickopedia is pretty interesting as well.

The illustrations in the book are in black and white which makes the directions easier to follow, but can be boring for younger readers. The tips aren't all that advanced so some experienced Lego builders may not get too much out of the book in that respect.

Overall, this book is more for the Lego builder who is having trouble getting started building their own creations and is at least a teenager. The Brickopedia is handy for any level of Lego enthusiast and ensures that you will keep referring back to this book over and over again!
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