The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide
Author: Pawet “Sariel” Kmiec Publisher: No Starch Press RRP: $34.95 Available: Now
If, like me, you love minifigures and minifigure scaled LEGO sets, perhaps you aren’t as familiar with the slightly intimidating world of LEGO TECHNIC and what it has to offer. This is exactly what Pawet “Sariel” Kmiec is attempting to address with a book that could well be exactly what you’re looking for.
If you’ve heard of Sariel before, then you’re likely already a LEGO TECHNIC fan. If not, you’re in for a treat. Unlike many LEGO books on the market, this isn’t about collecting sets, minifigure reference material or beautiful photos. Instead, this is an almost encyclopaedic look at the overwhelming techniques and fundamentals behind how LEGO TECHNIC works, and how you can incorporate it into builds of all styles.
We’re thrown right in to the LEGO TECHNIC world in this book, starting with basic concepts. This really does assume you know very little, and, without ever feeling patronising, takes you through everything from definitions of speed, power and torque, to types of bricks used in TECHNIC such as axles, wheels, motors and their various functions. I found the chapter covering gearing and transmissions particularly insightful, with an inventory of gears, and a gear-ratio reference grid that I’m sure will be useful to many builders.
This updated, second edition guide has added, amended and improved upon the 2012 first edition to give you the best possible chance of understanding how to enjoy LEGO TECHNIC. With a continually updating parts catalogue, the writer acknowledges that some pieces will go out of production and get replaced by new ones, but with Bricklink available this would hardly seem a problem for most of the elements.
Throughout the 424 pages of this book, there are clean layouts with carefully annotated graphics and diagrams when necessary to enhance the text. This is one of those books that can be dipped in and out of, depending on your requirements. Although I’d recommend starting from the beginning if you’re a novice like me, you’re bound to find yourself flipping back and forth once you’ve understood a particular aspect better and want to re-read sections.
Almost every area of TECHNIC you could want to know about is covered, whether it’s RC power, pneumatic functions or chains and pulleys. Make no mistake, there is some extremely complex theory introduced and explained here, making it feel much more like a physics textbook than an ‘easy-build’ reference guide, but that seems to be the aim. Whatever your level of knowledge in engineering is, if you read this cover to cover you will almost certainly learn something new. The author provides explanations from the very basic right through to the advanced, but the best thing is you can keep coming back and even try out some of his build ideas with the included instruction sections.
I wouldn’t recommend this for the younger LEGO fan, or indeed anyone not interested in TECHNIC or general engineering concepts. But this is an extremely comprehensive book full of detailed explanations covering enough to allow the average builder to go away and incorporate useful and advanced techniques in their own MOCs.
The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide (Second Edition) is available now from all good bookstores and online retailers.
This product has been provided for review by No Starch Press.