Last February, I looked the 31045 Ocean Explorer Creator Set, and particularly the techniques used for ‘SNOT’ building. These building techniques help models made of LEGO® bricks gain an extra dimension as studs and bows move in different directions. As a reminder, when AFOLs and TFOLs talk of SNOT, they are referring to ‘Studs Not On Top’. As a follow up glossary hint, AFOL and TFOL refer to ‘Adult/Teen Fan Of LEGO®’.
New SNOT Bricks
On the meantime, there has been a widening of the palette for SNOT components.
Introduced early last year is the modified brick, 1x2x1 2/3 with 2x2studs on the side. Making its debut in the modular Creator Expert 10251 Brick Bank, its use has dramatically increased this year. For example, twelve these bricks form the basic ‘skull’ of the new BrickHeadz character sets. Exploiting the measurement of 5 plates thickness=2 stud plate length, this brick has a square profile. this allows bricks on the side to bind with studs on the side of adjacent bricks, although, as can be seen below, spacer bricks are required to bind with ‘regular’ bricks with studs on the side that are attached to the top of this part.
Another new piece, announced late last year as part of the 2017 modular building, 10255 Assembly Square, is the modified brick 1×1 with 2 studs on adjacent sides. This piece is just perfect for sitting in the corners that the ‘Travis’ brick- with studs on four sides- will never fit.
As you might imagine, these pieces are likely to revolutionise SNOT techniques, making them for more accessible to the average builder.
Today, I would like to look at the way in which these components are used in 31058- Mighty Dinosaurs. Compared to the way in which SNOT components were used in last year’s Creator Sets, we have quite a different style to look at this year, affording create versatility and strength.
This set has quite a lot to offer: I focussed last week on the ‘Ball cup, high friction with rubber’, next week I will bring you the rest of the set.
Constructing the head
The hero model of 31058, the Tyrannosaurus Rex model, begins its life by putting together a core of the new SNOT pieces: containing the 1x2x 1 2/3 brick and the bricks with studs on their adjacent sides, and a number of plates to provide appropriate spacing.
This core provides a region to bind 8 antistuds of a 6×2 plate, with 2 studs on the side of the core, 5 studs apart. This arrangement (15 plates = 6 studs long) provides for a stable attachment to the cheeks and side teeth, as well as a place to bind the front teeth at the front.
The top of the head of the dinosaur, an arrangement arches and curved slopes, fits nicely on the top of this arrangement. The clips (part of the cheek assemblies) attach to a 4stud long bar, which also attaches to clips on the jaw.
The jaw is constructed along a row of 1×2 bricks, with studs on the side. They are held together on 3 sides: a dark red tile on top, and tooth p
lates bridging these bricks, secured by a long tile on
As you can see, the roof of the mouth is smooth, with no visible studs.
Flash back to 2016
How would this effect have been achieved in 2016? The final result here is very similar to the dragon featured in the 31032 Red Creatures Creator set from 2015. As seen below, this dragon’s is more square than oblong. The central core of the head is a plate, with 2 brackets to the side, and another to the front. A drawback with these brackets is that the bracket is half a plate thick. It is also difficult to get a comfortable taper at the front. That set used another 4 stud wide bracket at the front. While it looks dragon-like, it cannot be considered a useful shape for a Tyrannosaurus head.
So, I set about constructing the core, using 2×1 bricks with studs on one side, and 1×1 bricks with a stud on the side. Essentially, there is one row of studs (vertical or horizontal) every 5 plates. This will cost us considerable number of binding points using the new core. As you can see in the image below, this allows a choice of either 2 binding points on the side, and two on top, or one binding point on each side, and four on top. Either way it is significantly weaker than the version with 2017 bricks: 2 binding points on each side, and six on top. The new parts allow for twice as many binding points in total. While the new core looks fine when substituted in, it does not afford the same strength, either for the cheek assembly, or the top of the head.
Building techniques using LEGO® Bricks have been evolving constantly since they first appeared over 50 years ago. New molds and part designs allow for new construction techniques, especially for studs not on top (SNOT) building. Two new elements introduced over the last 12 months have been included in the 31058- Mighty Dinosaurs Creator set. Previously making their debut in the modular buildings, by using these elements in a relatively inexpensive creator set, the options are opened up to a wider audience. Whilst the shape of the model can be achieved using older elements, it is apparent to me that these new elements allow many more binding points in the model, and so improve its durability.
Again, there is a lot to be learnt from a $25 Creator set, with many novel techniques used. In a future, final, review, I will cover the other new elements, and other aspects of the model construction.
I hope this focus on the SNOT techniques used in the construction of the head are of interest. In the meantime, leave a comment, and sign up for email updates.