I was quite excited when a copy of 40215: Apple made its way into my hands as a special present. It is one of the monthly mini builds that crops up at LEGO Stores as a special event: each month, a new small set, typically given away at a VIP Build event for kids.
So… I live in Australia. Until a few years ago, we would routinely be given a link with our LEGOShop.com emails for the monthly build. It came as a surprise to me recently to discover that rather than using pick a brick, investigating brick link, or raiding my own collection of pieces, these Monthly MiniBuilds are presented as as a polybag, containing all the instructions and pieces required. This is unknown to us Down Under: we hear of monthly mini builds, but never see them. It’s not all bad: we do get some promotional mini builds, but these are not always easy to come by.
This set is not much to look at from the outside: the polybag has the set number on the side, and on breaking it open we find around 58 parts, and an instruction sheet. I love instruction sheets. It takes me back to my youth, when one of the exciting things with opening a new kit was in guessing how many folds will be undone to open them right out…on this occasion there are eight.
Opening the set reveals a marvellous variety of pieces: curves, bricks with studs on the side, plates with suds on the side and even some Mixel eyes. Red is the main color, but there is a little lime green, as when as white and tan/brick yellow.
It looks like we are in for some serious SNOT work. Regular readers know I am a fan of sets teaching us things, and this is one of the smallest sets I have seen to provide a great example of how to make SNOT work. SNOT, you may recall stands for ‘Studs Not On Top’: we use bricks with studs on the side to redirect studs from their primary direction, an
d then cover them up, in this case, with the 2x2x2/3 curved plates to make up the curves of the apple.
First we build up the core. The key to this model is recognising that the body is 4 studs high and wide. Four studs in height is equal to the height of 10 plates. So, 10 plates high, achieved in part with bricks with studs on the side, on the sides, and the ‘back’. At the front, to break up the build, is a small window with a worm climbing out. To facilitate this, there are two 2x2x2/3 plates, with studs on the side. At the base, this provides a lower stud for a 4 stud arch (well, two 1x2x2/3 bows, joined together with a small plate.
The set comes together pretty quickly, with the core built up, and the sides attached. A couple of rounds pieces and a wedge plate on top complete the model with the addition of a stem and leaf.
And there you have it. It’s a 10 minute build, but it is quick. The worm adds a bit of character, with his lime green body, and eyes attached via a plate on the side of a 1×1 brick with a stud on the side.
It’s a cute build. I have not seen SNOT so nicely demonstrated in such a small set before, and hopefully some of those who got to do the monthly build took away the message on how to implement the SNOT solution in their own builds.
I loved putting it together, and throwing it into out fruit bowl, much to the chagrin of the other members of our house hold!
I give it four out of five arbitrary praise units. I love the simplicity, the SNOT, as well as the use of color in the worm, apple and stem. It does however feel a little repetitive, but there are 3 different arrangements of the studs on the side of the model to learn from.
What of the rest of the year? Here are some of the monthly mini builds offered so far this year. As you can see, they are small, but some offer interesting building techniques.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this build. It saddens me that we do not have such resources readily available in Australia (Official Brand Stores). I’d happily pay a subscription to LEGO for an annual collection of these, perhaps 3 or six months at a time to minimise postage. What do you think? Would you take advantage of such products? Let me know in the comments below.