Today I would like to show you three LEGO books by LEGO fan and professional LEGO artist Warren Elsmore. The first book is Brick City: Global Icons to Make from LEGO, the second book is Brick Wonders: Ancient, Modern, and Natural Wonders Made from LEGO, and the last book is Brick Flicks: 60 Iconic Movie Scenes and Posters to Make From LEGO. I will show you each book individually, and also share my opinion on them, and where to get them if you are interested. So let’s take a look.
First of all let’s start out by meeting the author himself. Warren Elsmore is a freelance artist and author, who creates unique, one-off, LEGO models for individuals and corporate companies. Living with his wife, Kitty, in Edinburgh he works worldwide for organizations including LEGO, DELL, BBC, WPP and Visit Denmark. Warren has been a LEGO fan since the age of 4 and has been building commercial models for the last 5 years. Now 36, he is world renown for his creations which are occasionally strength tested by his two cats, Io and Callisto. After spending 16 years in the IT business, Warren now concentrates on LEGO models, building from a studio that would be any child’s dream! When not building LEGO, he’s organizing events such as The LEGO Show, or blogging at warrenelsmore.com.
BRICK CITY: GLOBAL ICONS TO MAKE FROM LEGO – this was the first book published in the series (I’m calling it a series as all three books are the same size and format, so if you are into collecting matching books you will like these). The introduction of the book is pretty interesting. It briefly covers the history of LEGO, LEGO colors and shapes, a few techniques and building tips to get you warmed up, resources for getting the LEGO elements you need for your projects, as well as an introduction to digitally designing LEGO models, and customizing minifigures. Most older LEGO fans would be familiar with the subjects covered but they are still an interesting refresher, and those newer to the LEGO hobby would likely find the information very helpful. My favorite section was actually the first page, where the author talks about his own introduction to the LEGO hobby, as well as how he got into building LEGO City structures (it has been his life-long passion). You get a sense that you are in good hands and learning from an expert.
After the introduction the book takes you on a tour around the globe, while highlighting iconic places from different cities; starting in San Francisco, covering several other cities and places around the USA, then meandering up to Canada and down to Central and South America before hopping over England, mainland Europe, then continuing going east though Moscow, to the Middle-East and Asia, while taking a quick detour to Cape Town, and finally ending up in Australia. The book’s pages are color-coded by city, with a main outline at the beginning, so you can easily find the models you want.
There are very large models built minifigure-scale, micro-builds, mosaics, vehicles, landscapes, ancient ruins and more – so you will get introduced to many different building styles most suitable for a particular project. The LEGO models in the book are not just from the author – he also features the work of other LEGO builders. There are also step-by-step instructions for many of the models, so this is not just a pretty book to look at, but in fact a hands-on manual for designing and building your own LEGO creations. Each of the landmarks also include a little bit of history, as well as the building challenges that come with making a LEGO version of it. Below is a video-review of the book, so you can see what it looks like inside.
All in all this book is 250+ pages with brilliant colors and beautiful pictures. The photography is really excellent and the layout, cover and binding are all very nice. The book would be suitable for an older child, or teen, who is interested in travel and architecture as well as building with LEGO, and of course adult LEGO builders. The book also includes two posters that you can fold out and display, if you like.
I only have one complain about this book; the text is a bit too small. I think the font-size is 10, which is kind of unusual and too small for a picture book. This smallness is a much bigger problem in the step-by-step instructions. Many of these images are so tiny it’s hard to see the details. Maybe not such a big issue for a young person with sharp eyes, but for adult LEGO builders it could be a significant drawback. All three books are actually quite small (9 x 7 inches), and would greatly benefit from being doubled in size. This is sad, because other than the smallness issue, the book is all around excellent. You might want to locate this book first at a local bookstore to see if this is an issue for you before deciding to purchase. The normal price for this book is $19.99, and is currently available on Amazon for $13.79 (this price may fluctuate). You can find it here: BUY BRICK CITY ON AMAZON
BRICK WONDERS: ANCIENT, MODERN, AND NATURAL WONDERS MADE FROM LEGO – I’m going to start out by saying that this is actually my favorite book amongst the three. It is in a very similar format as the previous book; there is an introduction about the history of LEGO, some tips and tricks for designing and building your own models, sorting and storing your LEGO collection, online resources, and more. Some of the information is the same as in the previous book, and some of it is new and specific to this book – all in all very interesting and helpful. This book is also 250+ pages and includes two posters like the previous one.
The main section of the book is divided into four sections and is inspired by the Seven Wonders of the World – so each chapter features seven wonders. We look at the original Ancient Wonders, Historic Wonders from other places in the world, Modern Wonders (both architectural and technology), and Natural Wonders.
Just like in the previous book, there are excellent photographs of all of the featured LEGO models, and there are building instructions for many of them. There is also a little history on each of the wonders, which is very interesting. So you can read, learn some history, look at the pictures, build the models… the book is fully engaging and is a great read for both teen and adult LEGO and history fans. Below is a video-review of the book by Joshua Hanlon, so you can see what it looks like inside.
I have the same complaint here as with the other book; the text and the digital images for the step-by-step instructions are too small and can cause eye-strain. As above, I would recommend that you take a look at this book at a local bookstore to see if this is an issue for you, even if you decide to purchase it online for the lower price. The normal price for this book is $19.99, and is currently available on Amazon for $13.22 (this price may fluctuate). You can find it here: BUY BRICK WONDERS ON AMAZON
BRICK FLICKS: 60 ICONIC MOVIE SCENES AND POSTERS TO MAKE FROM LEGO – this is the third and most recent book by Warren Elsmore, and published by Baron’s Educational Services. Okay, I don’t know what to say… I was complaining about the texts-size of the above two books, and what does the publisher decide to do with this one? Reduce the text-size even more! The previous two books’ text-size is kind of border-line, small and straining on the eyes, but still readable. Here the text is further reduced to something like font-size 8! We are talking about very-very small print here, the kind you find at the end of advertisements and legal documents (the part they are required to put in there, but they don’t want you to read). I have no idea why this was done because there is plenty of empty space around the text on most of the pages. The small text is especially ridiculous as it is quite long and dense on each page with a lot of information, next to some very large pictures. So you have to zoom out with your eyes to see the pictures, then you have to zoom in to read the tiny text. The only thing I can think of is that the book was originally meant to be published in a larger size, then at the last minute it was reduced to half, and the publisher forgot to change the text. I’m just trying to find some rational explanation…
This book is the shortest of the three with 160 pages. It has a much shorter introduction, after which it goes right into the main sections. This book features scenes from some of the greatest films of all time, recreated in LEGO. Although all three books have beautiful photography, this one is the closest to an art book with many of the images simply including a character in the same pose as in the original movie with a simple background. The book does include a few instructions of some of the models, but it is not as hands on as the other books. The description of each movie scene is well chosen and interesting – if you can read the tiny text. Four genres of movies are included. Sci-fi and Horror, Drama and Classics, Action and Adventure, and Comedy and Musicals. So many iconic films are covered; Blade Runner, E.T., Jaws Men in Black, Ben-Hur, Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Titanic, Gladiator, Jurassic Park, The Matrix, Back to the Future, Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, West Side Story, and many-many more.
One thing I really like about this book is that great care was taken in choosing the minifigures. In fact, the author worked with well-known UK-based customizes, Nick and Caroline from minifigs.me, to make the minifigures as close to the original characters as possible. This makes the images in the book so much more authentic and professional.
This is an enjoyable book with some great LEGO images, although as I have mentioned it is more of a picture book that you could flip through on a leisurely afternoon, rather than a hands-on book like the previous two. Unfortunately the tiny text takes a lot away from this otherwise nicely done work – make sure you have very good light if you want to read it without getting a headache. While I mentioned that checking out the other two books at a bookstore is a good idea, I think for this one this is a must. The tiny text can be a serious turn-off for many people and I would not recommend buying this book without seeing it first. The normal price for this book is $18.99, and is currently available on Amazon for $14.84 (this price may fluctuate). You can find it here: BUY BRICK FLICKS ON AMAZON
So what do you think? Do you have any of these books already? How do you like them? You are welcome to share your own review below! And if you don’t have the books already and have any questions after reading the reviews, feel free to ask in the comment section!
And you might also like to check out the LEGO Books section for more reviews, or select from the following recent posts: