Review: Alien Project

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The Arvo Brothers are talented builders from Spain who produce books containing instructions for their best models. Last year they published one on their model of Kaneda's Bike which, to this day, has caused a worldwide shortage of the rarest parts used in it.

Their second book has just been published which will probably have much the same effect because it features what is, in my opinion, a far more iconic and desirable model: an alien from the quadrilogy of films of the same name.

Its bio-mechanical form lends itself to creation in LEGO, particularly given the many curved and creature parts introduced recently. The brothers have done a fantastic job of modelling it, and of presenting it in the pages of this book.

It's a c.200-page hardback book with a fantastic image on the front.

Alien Project

Before launching into the actual instructions the first section of the book explains the design process of each part of the model, explaining why certain parts or techniques were used. It provides a useful insight and makes for interesting reading.

Alien Project

The bulk of the book, 150-pages or so, provide instructions for the model, and a base to display it on. They are exceedingly well produced, at least equal to those in official instructions.

It's built in modular fashion, beginning with the the torso, then the head, then the limbs, which are connected together using click hinges to provide stability and strength.

Alien Project

A parts list is provided at the back for the 1526-parts used for the xenomorph and the 466 used for the base.

Alien Project

The base looks great, but of course doesn't need to be made exactly like this. However, the alien stands at some 48cm tall and is probably quite heavy so something will be needed to prevent it toppling over.

Alien Project

Finally, a gallery of photos at the back of the book show the model in all its glory.

Alien Project

It's a beautifully presented book of a fantastic model and even if you don't intend to build it, it's a great thing to flick through which, if it's anything like Kaneda's Bike, it's likely to become highly sought after once it goes out of print.

Will the book cause more worldwide shortages of particular parts? Yes, almost certainly. There are some extremely rare parts used in it, one of which has appeared only in one collectable minifig. However, the book does provide a workaround if you can't get it and the other rare part it connects to. There are a lot of wedges and windscreens used which, while not as rare, you are unlikely to have enough of them already. I'm not going to list them here, for obvious reasons, you will just have to buy the book!

It's available directly from the Arvo Brothers website for just €26. You will find more photos of the book and the model on their flickr stream.

Kaneda's bike was not something that interested me enough to bother building it but this is totally different: as an Alien fan, I can't wait to get started -- I should have 95% of the parts in stock; my first BrickLink order has been placed!

Thanks to Carlos from HispaBrick magazine for sending me a copy to review.

 

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29 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

That looks incredible. What is the rare part?

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By in United Kingdom,

It would be wrong of me to list them here and cause pre-emptive hoarding :)

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By in Belgium,

Looks fantastic but it's not a queen as the article suggests. It's just an alien. An alien queen designed by these guys.... Now THAT would be nice!

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By in United Kingdom,

Wow! Looking at their Flickr stream I'd say they build better display-type models than TLG.

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By in Australia,

So....What is the rare part?

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By in United Kingdom,

@biyitch - to be fair they don't have to have their designs play tested, don't have the same level of restriction on in production parts and don't have the same level of IP approval that TLG do...not saying their designs aren't amazing, but it's not a fair comparison

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By in United Kingdom,

Does anyone have a steer what sort of cost the parts should run to? The base looks overdesigned and can doubtless be simplified. For the Alien, based on ~10p/piece that should run to ~£150 but depending how rare a lot of them are it could be a LOT more.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ That's what I was thinking. I might buy the book, but it is a lot of money for instructions if I don't go on to build it due to cost of the build.

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By in Venezuela,

The ARVO Brothers are really talented!!! I love the Kaneda's Bike creation

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By in United Kingdom,

As an Alien fan this book is a must-have and I will be ordering it once I've finished typing this. Looks as though Huw has already contributed to the shortage of whatever the rare parts are so I'd better be quick.

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By in United States,

Fingers crossed for Predator!

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By in United States,

Are they legit in securing proper licensing? Just curious.

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By in Netherlands,

Wow! This is awesome!

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By in United States,

We're gonna need a bigger mech! Stay frosty Brickset!

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By in Germany,

Can you say anything about the size of the completed model? Any maybe how posable it is? Would be coll if it also could be posed on all four legs.

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By in Netherlands,

@lippidp
Also just out of curiosity with regard to "securing proper licensing"?
H.R. Giger died about a year ago, and took good care of his friends, co-workers, and wife etc. also securing them with his inheritance, works, legacy, and his museum. At least according to a documentary I recently saw about Giger. I don't know what is up with any rights the film company might have over merchandising. Nor do I know if the 'Alien' creature is the intellectual property of the heirs of Giger, or to what extend the film company also (in part) has a claim to it, or has full ownership over it?!

Still I don't think this book qualifies as (simple) merchandising. It is fan art inspired by Giger's art and design, using Lego as the medium to make and create it. This 'Alien' / 'xenomorph' creature has become part of pop culture that really exceeds the boundaries of individual or corporate ownership. I really hope that their creative (and commercial) enterprises with these books are not stifled by some stupid copyright lawsuit, and if they would need permission for this, they have obtained it.

It would be nice if someone with more knowledgeable about such judicial matters could comment on this.

ps.
About the model; how pose-able is it. It looks a bit too static for my taste in this rigid upright position.

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By in United States,

^I'm certainly not an authority on copyright law or what have you, but the fact that they are selling this book for profit, using the Alien name and imagery, would seem to be solid grounds for needing to go through the licensing channels. My impression of 'fan art' is that it doesn't involve making money.

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By in United States,

@Maarten.storms- Where in this article is there any suggestion that this is a queen? No matter how many times I read through it I don't see it.

I was curious about the licensing too. When you do merchandising at this scale you should definitely be paying to use the property in my opinion. It does look like there is some sort of trademark symbol near the Alien title.

I know there are people crazy enough to pay anything for parts these days but why design a model using parts not readily available if you're planning to sell a book of instructions for it?

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By in Czech Republic,

Hmm, wouldn't it be better if only they avoided using rare elements? I was dealing with this issue myself during my last build and since I'm not wealthy enough to spend fortune for some stupidly expensive parts, I decided to put some more effort in picking rather commonly (moreless) available parts.

If I bought the instructions, I'd end up being quite disappointed if I found out that I can't build it eventually. I'd guess that this fact won't affect the demand for the book in a positive way. For me a model that would promise that many people will build it would be better choice for featuring in such excellent instruction book.

Nevertheless, the model looks very good and the book even better - I can hardly imagine the amount of time and effort that went into this.

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By in United Kingdom,

I've spotted the rare CMF part. It doesn't look essential, just decoration. It looks like the hoses will be the expensive parts to find.

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By in United Kingdom,

Book ordered. So looking forward to this, plus I can immediately start making those rare bricks even more scarce thanks to the Arvobrothers.

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By in United Kingdom,

Looks pretty cool, but I'm not keen on the pose. It's too upright and human looking.

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By in Poland,

I have 6 those rare pieces and need just 4. :D For now it's impossible to get 4 from one seller on BL and not many of those were sold in November. Getting 4 minifigs will be much easier but also not many sellers have 4 of them. :D Crazy...

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By in United Kingdom,

Bought the book, have the part list, but boy are some of those parts rare!

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By in United States,

Wow. That does look pretty sweet.

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By in Australia,

Looks stunning. I would love to get the book, but the 'rare' parts deter me at this time.

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By in United States,

For those wondering, I would guess that the Arvo brothers did NOT in fact secure the rights to use the Alien/Aliens property and likeness. Those rights are owned by Fox, and I don't see any of the trademark information anywhere on the book or their website that a licensee would be required to use. There is a small trademark symbol by "Alien" in the title, but that's likely a recognition rather than permission--there's probably something inside the book that acknowledges the ownership of the property and states that their use of it is fan art.

I'd wager that "Kaneda's Bike" is a similar case.

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By in France,

If i buy the tumblr, how many more parts do i need?

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