The LEGO Build-it Book Amazing Vehicles by Nathanael Kuipers and Mattia Zamboni has just been published by No Starch Press, who have sent me a copy to review.
Nathanael has worked for LEGO as a designer of Technic models, and prior to that he was well known in the community for making fantastic alternative models from Creator and Technic sets, which you can find on Brickshelf. This Formula 1 car made from Creator set 4404 was one of my favourites at the time.
Mattia produced the 3D rendering of the models in the book, and his website has some background information on how this was done.
The best way to describe this book is as '5867 Super Speedster: The Missing Manual' because what Nathanael has done is basically what he used to do: take a Creator set and make alternative models from just the parts in the set. The ten models in the book can all be made with just the parts in 5867 from year 2010.
The models, which include an off-roader, a classic car, a rescue truck and a wheel loader, are all fantastic and many are superior to the official models that LEGO provided instructions for. What's most impressive is that, although they are all 4-wheel vehicles, there is a surprising variety, from racing cars to trucks: even a baby stroller.
The instructions and model renders are extremely well done, as you can see from the sample spread on the right. In fact if you didn't know they were renders, you'd think they were photographs, they are that good.
This book is successful at showcasing Nathaniel's talent of taking a specific selection of bricks and making multiple models from them, and also demonstrating how incredibly versatile LEGO Creator sets are.
There was a time, back in 2003, when LEGO would have provided instructions for ten or so models and inspiration for ten or so more with Creator/Designer sets (4101 Wild Collection immediately comes to mind) but unfortunately that stopped in 2008, for reasons I have explained before: because customers were complaining that instructions for all the models shown were not provided. For this reason, the book really can be described as 'the missing manual'.
So, is this book for you? If you have 5867 to hand and you'd like to do more with it then, yes, without doubt this is a fantastic book to have that will provide hours of entertainment as you build and rebuild the models in it. If you don't have that set, well, you can always assemble the parts yourself, or buy it on eBay or BrickLink where it can be obtained for not much more than its original RRP.
Even if you don't intend building the models, the book is so well produced that you'll have pleasure flicking through it and seeing the amazing potential of a pile of LEGO bricks.
There's a volume two in the works which is due out in September. Guess what: it uses the same set of bricks to create ten more vehicles! Nathaniel certainly has talent!
The book is available from Amazon, and volume two can be pre-ordered. You'll find them on our Amazon LEGO book list.
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