Build your own Galaxy

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Build your own Galaxy, The big unofficial LEGO builder's book is the second book to be published this year by a team of German AFOLs: Joachim Klang, Oliver Albrecht, Lutz Uhlmann and newcomer Tim Bischoff. The first one was Build your own LEGO Vehicles which we reviewed in July.

Like the first, it's a hefty tome: a 400-page paperback. Apart from a few introductory pages it consists entirely of instructions, for about 25 different models.

As the book suggests, these are all space-themed models and all but one are based on existing IPs: Star Trek, Star Wars, Space:1999, Battlestar Galactica, and Space Patrol Orion which seems to be a cult 1960s German production.

Build your own GalaxyThe instructions fall into two categories: what I'll call 'normal' models and what the authors call 'Brick Heads'.

In the former category are micro-scale models of an X-Wing, Imperial Shuttle, Slave 1 and AT-AT, a minifig scale Viper from Battlestar Galactica, and, what is the only original model in the book, a very nice mecha.

They look to be competently designed and the instructions are very well done which will make building them easy. There's a parts list for each model which will simplify gathering or ordering them.

 

Build your own GalaxySeventeen of the models are 'Brick Heads' which are basically characters from the various IPs made to the same scale and style: short stubby bodies and round heads. There are Brick Head versions of Kirk and Spock, R2-D2 and C-3PO, and a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica to name but a few.

You are either going to love them or hate them. Unfortunately I fall into the latter group and thought that they were quite cute but I'd never bother to build them and, compared to CubeDudes, they lack charm and charisma.

I also felt there were way too many of them: a book purporting to enable you to 'build your own galaxy' should be full of spaceships, planetary exploration vehicles and so on, not quirky caricatures.

I wish the authors luck with it, but, unusually, it is not a book I will recommend based on the limited appeal of the bulk of it and a lack of originality of most of the other models.

That said, if you do want to buy it, it's available from Amazon.com ($21) | Amazon.co.uk (£17) | Amazon.ca ($21) | Amazon.de (€20)

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I believe this is the last LEGO book to be scheduled for publication this year. Later this week I will publish my 'top 10' books of the year to enable you to make informed choices about which ones to add to your Christmas wish-list.

10 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Is there much variation in the style of the characters? One of the charms of the cube dudes is that they are all essentially the same build for the body and head, with minor modifications. Plus there are loads of them these days, free to access and easy to build from a single picture.

Leaving just eight models of spaceships does seem a little strange for such a title. Three of them (from the cover) seem to be SW, and all those three have been done officially in mini-form as it is.

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By in United States,

We should make a list on what SW vehicles Lego should make/remake. And the book looks interesting.

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By in United Kingdom,

The complete set of models, from the HEEL website is, in German:

Raumpatrouille - Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion
Major Cliff Allister McLane
Leutnant Tamara Jagellovsk

Star Trek - Raumschiff Enterprise
Captain James T. Kirk
Spock
Klingone

Mondbasis Alpha 1
Mondbuggy

Star Wars: Episode IV - Eine neue Hoffnung
R2-D2
C-3PO
Sandtrooper
Wasserdampfevaporator
X-Wing
TIE-Fighter
R2-D2

Star Wars: Episode V - Das Imperium schlägt zurück
Darth Vader
Yoda
Boba Fett
AT-AT Walker
Slave 1

Star Wars: Episode VI - Die Rückkehr der Jedi-Ritter
Jabba the Hutt
Oola
Lambda-Fähre

Kampfstern Galactica
Commander Adama
Zylone
Viper

Mecha
Mecha

The figs are essentially the same build.

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By in United Kingdom,

Hmm. As a Star-Wars-OT-and-not-much-else Lego lover that does look quite appealing, though I see what you (Huw and two!) mean about the limitations.
The AT-AT looks like a very nice build, much more substantial than any other mini-build I've seen, and possibly even better looking than the System scale vehicles. The Lambda looks kind like they shrunk the UCS version, with the same major defining pieces in the wings and nose, which makes it seem quite adorable to me as I've got the UCS model and it's very much pride of place in my collection. And I'm a sucker for anything Boba Fett so I'd like to see the Slave I.
This might make just my tentative Christmas want list and be my first Lego book, as well as bringing some brinklinkers some trade in the new year.

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By in United States,

I'd love to have the Battlestar Galactica Viper instructions, but am not going to buy the book for just that. I'd like to see a UCS Slave I - especially Jango's version, with a detailed interior, or some other SW's builds that Lego hasn't done. The brick figures are ok but shouldn't have more than 2-4 pages devoted to them, anything more is a waist.

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By in United Kingdom,

^From the size of the builds you can see I doubt the Slave I is a UCS version. (Unfortunately.)

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By in Switzerland,

I am very disappointed with the book and just send it back. Most of the models are just blockfigures. They are nicely done, but one or two would have been sufficient. Stay clear if you are looking for minifig-sized models. The skill-level of the authors is top notch, but the book simply is not that great.

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By in United Kingdom,

I just got it and I'm quite happy with it, but only because I'd read this review already and wasn't expecting much!

If anyone's interested the builds of Slave I and Lambda Shuttle are all pretty decent and midi scale.
Slave I fits the microfigure from the Battle of Hoth game in.
And the Lambda Shuttle is pretty much a scaled down version of the UCS model, with the same parts and techniques, just only two rows of 5 high bricks in the main sail where the UCS version had 5, and one row of 3-high pyramid pieces in the nose where the UCS version had 3.
Those are both very nice builds with some good techniques.

The Battlestar Galactica Viper looks good too and is minifigure scale.
I also really like the midi/mini AT-AT that again seems like a shrunken version of the system scale model. It's got some very clever techniques in the legs particularly.
(Oh, and there's a Mecha too, which I guess is nice.)

But the midi X-Wing and TIE Fighter seem pretty meh to me, as does the Space 1999 Moon Buggy.
And everything else is that weird figure building. I think most of them are pretty rubbish, oh, and there's a Moisture Vaporator (how exciting... not!).
So why why would you buy it? If you love the Star Trek figures, there's only three.... If you love Battlestar Galactica, there's one vehicle and two figures.... If you love Mechas, you probably know how to build them already.... If you love Star Wars there doesn't even seem like much of that if you don't like the figures! That's a pretty small target market.

Overall then it's pretty rubbish, and even dishonest with 3 vehicles and 1 figure shown on the cover, but 8 vehicles (including the evaporator) to 15 figures inside (plus a page showing you how to give your R2-D2 a third leg... that doesn't work!! You'll need to chop pieces off your Technic pin for that to happen.).
There are a few mistakes I've found in the boxes showing the pieces you need for each step of the build too, which is just careless.

If, like me, you love your UCS Lambda Shuttle, love Slave I and like AT-ATs, haven't got any Lego books yet and would quite like just to have one for your bookshelf, and most importantly if you can get it at a significant discount, then think about getting it, maybe flip a coin to decide.
But don't expect any more than that from it, that's all it's got. So if that's not you (and it's probably not is it?) steer well clear - it's rubbish!
3/10, at a push!

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