Tips and Techniques: What I learned from 31045

I love Creator sets.

Not only do they make pretty nifty models, they also demonstrate some nifty building techniqIMG_8102 (1)ues. I recently picked up 31045, Ocean explorer (RRP $AU25).  The set has a number of the models to build: A research ship, with a crane and a small submersible; a cargo plane, and a larger submersible.

Each of these models presents a different SNOT (Studs not on top) technique.  These are particularly techniques to set studs at right angles to the primary direction of the build.

The primary build – the ship shown above – demonstrates the use of the  1 x 1 modified brick, with a stud on the side.  It also clearly demonstrates the ratio of 2 studs measuring the same distance as 5 plates:  brick…2 plates…brick nicely attaches 3 studs apart.  Adding the 2 plates at the bottom makes an even 4 stud distance to fill.

As you can see on the left: 5 plate high is the  same distance as for 2 studs. On the right: a 4 x 2 stub plate fits perfectly.

The bows of the ship are attached to the sides, and it can be seen that the bow  is 2 studs or 5 plates wide.

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The second model, a cargo plane, uses the bracket, 1 x 2 – 2×2 to change the direction of the build:

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The bracket is installed above a brick and a plate. The plate at the top of the bracket makes 5 plates from top to bottom. A 2 x 2 brick fits flush with the edges of the  bracket.

Building it up a further 4 plates (one brick and one plate) allows the placement of another 2 of these pieces leading to a larger area to redirect the build.

Again, 5 plates high is the same as 2 studs.  In this example, we consider the ‘plate’ of the bracket to be top plate of the 5. Add another 4 plates of height and by placing a layer of brackets (making layer 5) the studs maintain the spacing with the bracket below

The third model, the submersible, uses a 4 x 1 modified brick with 4 studs on the side next to a 1 x 1  brick, to show they run at the same level. By placing these next to a bracket, it can be seen that the bracket offsets pieces slightly more from the central core of the model.  This is NOT a full plate thickness of offset.  The studs on all of these blocks, however, run at the same level.


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Not in place on the left… a bracket is placed next to the red 4 x 1 brick.  when you zoom in (right panel) you can see that the yellow plate is in a different plane to the transparent green stud/grey plate.


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The bracket piece is interesting: the upper surface of the bracket is as wide as 3 plates (one brick) high.   (2 studs = 5 plates, one stud =2.5 plates.  Therefore the offset above is exactly half a plate)

This use of multiple SNOT techniques in one simple Creator set, allowing you to review them with each build, is fantastic.  This set shows clearly the strengths and limitations of these techniques in redirecting the direction of build.

Examples of this style of advanced building technique are slipped into many LEGO Creator sets. Sometimes there are special examples of special details, to make a model more realistic e.g. recessed window sill, a sliding door in some of the house sets, sometimes there are just interesting mixes of pieces to use (esp mixels).  I especially like the way that more sophisticated techniques are slipped into some of these smaller sets, allowing us to develop our own MOC building, yet still provide some instruction for the technique

What is your favourite (construction tip) lesson you ever learned from a small LEGO set? Leave a comment below.




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