What I learned about SNOT from Furry Animals (31021)
One of my favourite sets of the last few years is the creator set 31021: Furry Animals.
The ‘Hero model’ is a cat and mouse, and the secondary (and tertiary?)models are a rabbit and a small dog. This set contains a few new(to me) ‘SNOT blocks’ and so provides an opportunity to follow on from my recent post about the SNOT techniques used in the Ocean Explorer (31045). For those wondering, the term SNOT used in the lego context refers to Studs Not (only) on top. So… focussing on techniques used where the directions of the studs is running at right angle to the primary direction of construction.
Once again, I am suspicious that some of the lego designers are trying to tuck little lessons for advanced building techniques into these small sets. I am now actively exploring my creator sets for hidden lessons, to adapt for my own creations. Why don’t you join me…
This set was released in 2014, and has around 290 pieces. It has since been retired. This set initially retailed for around $AU25-30. I recently obtained a copy from an online retailer for ~$AU30.
All of the animals (cat, mouse, rabbit and dog) for construction in this set have a cartoon like appeal, in part due to the expressive use of curved wedge blocks and arches, and also through the use of the pre printed eye tiles. The use of arches and bows on the featured models minimises the number of studs visible on the finished pieces.
I would like to particularly concentrate on the SNOT techniques used in this set. This set demonstrates how a number of different pieces can be used in combination: Brackets – Normal and inverted (both 1 and 2 studs high); Bricks with studs on the side in conjunction with modified plate, 2x2x2/3 with 2 studs on the side; and the tried and true 1 x1 bricks with a stud on the side, separated by a few plates. I hadn’t taken the time to properly explore these ways of using these pieces previously, so revisiting this set provided an excellent opportunity to expand my understanding.
I thought, I would focus on the differences in construction between the larger animals, focussing specifically on the use of SNOT techniques, and the different usages between models. The mouse is worth a brief discussion on its own as there are 3 different SNOT techniques involved in its construction..
Here we look at the heads for Cat/ dog/ rabbit: The cat and rabbit are both fairly narrow in the profile of the initial build: Their facial features are attached on the 2×4 SNOT blocks. The dog has a longer/deeper face and is built up, with SNOT blocks only providing a break in the smooth sides of the head, the nose and eyes.
The Face of the cat and rabbit both get built up from back to front (posterior to anterior for the students of anatomy out there)
Looking closer: the cat (Left) has the modified plate 2x2x2/3 with studs on the side BELOW the 4×1 brick with studs on the side. The Rabbit (Right) has the modified plate ABOVE the 4×1 brick. Both of these placements create a 2×4 binding region for the face on the front of the head.
The cat also has the modified plate, 5 plates and a 1×1 brick with a stud on the side, on either side of its face. These lateral studs are spaced as 4 studs apart. This allows the placement of small arches, allowing a rounding of the head. It also becomes apparent that touse the modified plate to simulate the dimensions of a brick with studs on the side, the modified plate should have another plate attached underneath.
The brow of the rabbit runs flush with the top of the head of the rabbit: 2(white+1 grey + 2 black plates above the outermost studs. This demonstrates that 5 plates cover the same width as 2 studs.
I have not added the ears to the cat or rabbit here… but they appear below.
The dog and cat feature near identical bodies, with only arches or slopes, and the internal, hidden filling blocks being different for the foundation. The rabbit is a very different shape, but offers little to learn from.
The bodies of the cat and dog both feature 2 stud high brackets, and inverse brackets. They come together perfectly to allow the arches that run vertically along the torso to be attached. To achieve this, they require 8 plates between the plates on the brackets, to ensure the correct fit.
Here are the complete models… each with more spare parts than the previous.:
The mouse: so few pieces, so many techniques…
The mouse uses two 1 x 2 brackets (one inverse) to envelope standard brick – forming a 2×2 binding region. Placing another inverse bracket on top converts this to a 2×3 binding region. The mouse also uses the ‘old school’ SNOT technique: place a pin with a stud into a technique brick. Positioning a plate or brick on this blue stud, sees the stud line up with the top of a block. It is positioned at the same height as the stud on the side of a modified block.
So: what have we seen:
In summary: here are the specific spacings brackets, as well as modified blocks and plates that we see used in this set:
There are spacings and piece combinations that just do not work: e.g. abutting a 2×2 bracket to a 1×2
I hope you have enjoyed this little exploration into further SNOT building techniques, as shown with the Furry Animals Set 31021. These techniques allow us to build in different directions.
Which model do I prefer here? I thought I was a dog person. However, the face of the cat is more expressive, and uses a number of advanced techniques, in simple ways. The final effect is delightfully whimsical, which is how I would consider the days spent working with this set.
See you next time.