Some Marvel-lous SNOTwork [Captain Marvel and the Skrull Attack 76127]

Avengers: Endgame is upon us. But before seeing it, I thought I should have a look at Captain Marvel, the second last film in this phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I saw the film a month or so ago, and was excited to build the set, featuring several of the main characters and a quadjet [Think of it as the precursor to the quinjets we subsequently see in the Avengers films].

I’m not going to focus on this set in a traditional review, but rather look at the techniques that the designers have used to get LEGO studs pointing in directions other than up. We often refer to this style of building as SNOT (Studs not on top).

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If things don’t change, they just stay the same: SNOT Techniques in 31058- Mighty Dinosaurs

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.

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What I learned from the August Monthly build 40215: Apple

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.img_1742
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 img_1741back 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.img_1743
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. Continue reading

The truth about cats and dogs:

What I learned about SNOT from Furry Animals (31021)

IMG_7389One 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…

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