Review: Tiny LEGO Wonders

Posted by ,

Tiny LEGO Wonders by Mattia Zamboni is the latest LEGO book from No Starch Press.

It's a 200 page hardback filled with instructions for building 40 microscale vehicles. Both the instructions themselves and the models are very high quality and if you have an interest in microscale modelling then this is a book that you will not want to pass up on.

The book is divided into ten chapters, each one dealing with a different type of vehicle: airport, fire, construction, harbour, train station etc. A full list and table of contents can be found on the No Starch website.

The chapters are preceded by double page dioramas which have been modelled by Alexander Bugiel and Matteo Russolillio, and rendered using a variety of tools. I have to agree with the author who describes them as 'breathtaking'. The fire one below is stunning, but is perhaps one of the least impressive.

Tiny LEGO Wonders

The models themselves were designed by Mattia and a number of other contributors. Each one is illustrated with high quality renderings and easy to follow instructions. A full list of the parts needed is provided although they are ordered somewhat randomly which makes gathering them together harder than it needs to be.

Tiny LEGO Wonders

Tiny LEGO Wonders

The quality of the models is excellent and a lot can be learnt from studying the instructions or, better still, building them. Each one is graded easy/medium/hard although I would not expect any of them to be beyond anyone reading this.

If I have one criticism it's that a few of them are reliant on stickers for key aspects of their design, such as the windscreen of the ICE train above.

It would not be right for me to review the book without trying to build one of the models so here's my version of a bulk carrier ship from the harbour chapter, which was designed by George Panteleon.

Tiny LEGO Wonders

It was certainly an interesting build that employs some interesting techniques and illustrates how, when building at a small scale, you need to look at parts differently. For example, the 1x2 white grilles that are used for the windows of the bridge.

There are a few sections of the ship that are held on by only one stud so the model is a bit fragile in places but I guess that's par for the course for microcale models. The completed model is about 20cm long and looks fantastic. There's a similar container carrier in the book too, so I might have a go at that next, then maybe design some of my own vessels for a microscale harbour diorama.

This is another excellent book from No Starch Press and one that I have no hesitation in recommending, particularly if you are a microscale modeller already or want to try your hand at it. It would perhaps have been nice to have some non-vehicle models in it, buildings for example, but I guess they have been covered already in other NSP books, such as Tom Alphin's excellent The LEGO Architect.

It's out next month and can be pre-ordered from Amazon:

Thanks to No Starch Press for providing a review copy. The opinions in the review are my own.

Update: Mattia has been in touch and tells me that the following will be provided on the No Starch website when the book later this month:

  • Comprehensive parts lists will full parts information for easy ordering
  • Downloadable XML files of wanted lists to make the Bricklink experience as pleasant and fast as possible.
  • Stickers page to be printed out, cut out, and applied to models by readers

11 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in Poland,

Wow. Terrific models. Do these books get a discount on Amazon UK eventually?

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

They tend to hold their price quite well.

Gravatar
By in {Unknown country},

After a while I feel tempted to by some Lego Book again!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Love the fire scene. Have they used LEDs as well as trans 1 x 1 round bricks, to give the 'glow'?

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

It's all CGI, so no.

Gravatar
By in United States,

That looks really terrific. Might have to give it a shot...

Gravatar
By in Australia,

What an awesome book. Definately buying this!

Gravatar
By in Canada,

Just built some 90's police sets with stickers crossing over panels... ICE is one half.. Wonders if that's where they got the idea.

Gravatar
By in United States,

The parts lists don't contain part numbers for the parts so it can be very difficult to search for pieces you're unfamiliar with. For example, a lot of small wheels and tires Lego has released look very similar and there's no way to nail down specific parts you need unless you are intimately familiar with them already.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I don't think that's too much of an issue although I agree it might be for wheels and tyres of which there are many that look similar, and particularly so if you need to order them.

More of a problem for me was that all white plates, for example, are not grouped together in the parts list image which made it a nuisance going back and forth from one parts drawer to another when gathering them up.

Gravatar
By in Germany,

Thanks for the review. I had already preordered the book after the first news of it came out. Can hardly wait for it to arrive. Unfortunately over here it won't be released until August.

Return to home page »