Chris McVeigh has been producing instructions and kits for Christmas ornaments for some years and they've proved to be very popular. Now many of the them, and some new builds, have been published in a No Starch Press book, The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book.
While I was in Chris's hometown in Canada last month I had the pleasure of meeting him and took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the book.
The 214-page, 18cm square hardback book contains instructions for fifteen models most of which are designed to be hung on your Christmas tree. Most are traditional baubles but there's also a few whimsical ones such as computers and burgers.
They are prefaced with one of Chris's excellent photographs and a parts list and most end with more sumptuous photos which provide inspiration for building the model using different coloured parts.
As you will read below Chris takes care to ensure that the parts used in the models are readily available but despite this many are quite specialist so you may find you don't have enough of some of those that are needed in large quantities.
It's evident that a lot of care has gone into the photography, the instructions and the overall presentation of the book. The end result is simply gorgeous.
Christmas is now just 55 days away so it's the perfect time to start building models for the festive period. If you're in need of some inspiration, or you're a fan of Chris McVeigh's work, then you will not be disappointed by ths book.
It's available from Amazon and directly from No Starch Press, where you can view more spreads and a table of contents.
Read on for our interview with Chris:
Chris: After emerging from my dark ages, I was thrilled that I could connect with other builders online. (This is not something I experienced as a child – as far as I can remember, I’m the only one of my classmates who had LEGO.) Flickr’s LEGO group was wonderfully welcoming, and as I learned more about the community, I gained the confidence to build my own models.
It wasn’t long before I wanted to give something back. So why ornaments? Well, Christmas has always been a big deal in my family. But I also reasoned that ornaments would be small, manageable builds, and they’d be something rather unique. So in November of 2010, I debuted building guides for a Round Ornament, Santa’s Sleigh, and a Christmas Tree. And here we are, seven years later!
How did the idea to put them in a book come about?
The good folks at No Starch Press approached me about it, actually. Prior to that, I hadn’t really considered it!
A number of the ‘geek' models (computer, camera, burger) were designed specifically for inclusion in the book. I also proposed an all-new traditional ornament, but that would have meant cutting one of my other models.
Ultimately, No Starch felt that the book was really a ‘best of’ collection and the traditional ornament designs we’d already selected were the strongest. I think that was the right call. Also, that gave me more time to refine that new ornament design, which will soon debut as part of my 2016 Ornament Collection!
Absolutely, though I’m a little more flexible on price when the total amount of parts required is somewhat low (as in the case of most ornaments). Overall, I think the question of part availability is more important than cost.
I always scour Bricklink, Pick a Brick and Bricks & Pieces to make sure the required parts can be sourced before a model is pushed out the door. (Actually, I will even go over pictures of upcoming sets to make sure a part currently in short supply will still be available in a few months, for example, the 2x3 green angle/wedge plates required for the Christmas Tree.)
There are exceptions, of course. I will sometimes opt to use the best part available for the model, even if it is rare. The 1x3 Double Inverted Roof Tile (Design ID 18759) used on the back of the computer ornament is costly and somewhat hard to find on Bricklink, but it *is* available on Bricks & Pieces.
Thanks! Unfortunately, I have no automated solution. My building guides are created using renders from LDD, and each page is laid out manually in Adobe CC. It’s incredibly time consuming, but it gives me full control over the final product. That’s a trade off I can live with.
What’s your favourite model in the book?
The Burger. It’s just so ridiculous!
If readers of the book don’t have the parts to hand to make the models, where can they buy them?
Parts for most ornaments are in good supply on Bricklink, though in a pinch, you might also try LEGO’s Bricks & Pieces. I also offer custom building kits through my store at shop.chrismcveigh.com!
Thanks Chris, and good luck with the book!