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Brick Breakdown: Superman Black Zero set

by admin on July 27, 2013

in LEGO Super Heroes

(Written by William)

In this Brick Breakdown series I review official LEGO sets, from the perspective of looking at interesting building techniques we can all learn from. Today we will be looking at the #76009 LEGO Super Heroes Superman: Black Zero Escape. You can check out the previously discussed LEGO building techniques found in official LEGO sets at the end. 🙂

LEGO Superman Black Zero Escape Review

The Man of Steel is finally getting his fair share of LEGO time! Of course, it’s not LEGO’s fault. After all, Batman has a vehicle and gadget for nearly every occasion. Regardless, Superman is ready to shine! I can’t say I’m a huge Superman fan, so I don’t really know who the guy in the black is, but boy, does he look awesome! Speaking of which, if you do know who this villain is I’d like to hear about him in the comment section below. Now let’s look at the techniques used in this LEGO Super Hero set!

LEGO SLIDING-DOOR TECHNIQUE

You’d think that sliding-doors would get used more frequently in LEGO sets, as they are quite fun. But for whatever reason they don’t appear too often. But we can still learn to build a good sliding-door mechanism that we can incorporate into our LEGO models. For starters, sliding-doors work best with wide rails. These LEGO pieces are specially designed to hold a door in place while providing a smooth surface for the door to slide in between. Generally the same length rail is required at the top and bottom of your door.

LEGO Superman Black Zero Escape Sliding Door

Next you need a stop. This is what prevents the door from flying off the rails on either side. The stop can be located on the door itself, and use the door frame to stop against. In the case of the LEGO Super Heroes Black Zero Escape set, we have a small modified brick with a bar off the side that runs into the sides of the door-panel. Granted; an easier method to use is to have two stops one at each end of the door’s movement. Of course, the more you can hide a stop, the better it will look. The other factor of a sliding-door mechanism is to reduce friction wherever you can. As mentioned earlier, the rails are excellent for this purpose. As for the door itself, you’ll want to cover up any exposed studs with a tile. The larger the tile the better since every groove between tiles provides one more point at which the door can catch.

It is possible to make your own rails for your slide instead of the pre-made ones used here. A typical choice would be tiles. Just remember that the more tiles used, the more grooves there will be to catch on. But if you have no other option, make sure to use the longest tiles possible. Ultimately, that is all that’s involved; you make a frame with smooth surfaces, then provide extra room so whatever fits in the frame can move back and forth in that free space. It is a bit more intensive work than just adding a normal door, but it has a very nice look and functionality.

ANGLED LEGO MODEL ORIENTATION

The odd ship that comes with this set is meant to be held at a particular angle. This brings up a few interesting design challenges. The biggest of these is showing it to a person who knows nothing about the thing you designed your model around and having them understand what it is. People are so used to looking at LEGO with the studs up. Of course, building something upside down can also work well. But when a LEGO model has to be held in a 45 degree angle to make sense, you’ll have issues. The best way to approach this problem is by the use of angled elements. Notice how the ship has various wedges with their own odd angles. It also has a couple of guns pointing out in a strange direction. In cases like these, people handling the model will begin turning it based on the various angles they see in order to make the ship look level.

LEGO Superman Black Zero Escape Pod

For this particular ship, the angle of the seat is the biggest clue to the direction it needs to be held. This is reinforced by the boosters in the back and the guns in the front. If you need to know anything about making odd angles work for you, it is to break up any straight lines that go in a direction you don’t want and build features that will look like they go together when held the right way.

APPLYING WHAT YOU LEARN

Doors are not the only element that can slide on a LEGO model, however they are the easiest feature to work with. I recommend beginning with doors and working your way up to more complicated mechanisms. Slides are excellent when it comes to using multiple techniques together, so get the basics down with doors first, then start playing around with the possibilities. 😀

Ships of the space-faring variety often present us with these really strange angles. These tilts and turns provide builders with a whole new way to look at their pieces, but they also present a visual problem for the uninitiated. When it comes down to design, just make sure you have created new straight lines at the angle you want and people will have no problem orienting themselves to what you have built.

LEGO Superman Sets Available Now

So what do you think? How do you like the LEGO building techniques in the LEGO Super Heroes Superman set? Have you used any of the techniques discussed here in your own LEGO creations? Feel free to share your own experiences, tips or ask questions in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the other reviews in this series:

NEW Marvel LEGO Super Heroes sets are now available!

LEGO Super Heroes New for 2012

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Fikko3107 July 27, 2013 at 10:23 AM

You got it all wrong. Black Zero wasn’t the name of the villain; rather, if I’m not mistaken, it was the spaceship that in this set Lois Lane is escaping from. (correct me if I’m wrong. It feels like ages ago since I watched Man of Steel…) Of course, this isn’t the whole Black Zero, but just particularly the bit where Jor-El’s hologram sent Lois Lane to Earth via an escape pod.

As for this villain, he’s General Zod. In the movie, He’s a Kryptonian, like Superman, and thus he has all his powers. Well, plus a powerful spaceship, advanced Kryptonian armor and equipments, a squad of similarly-powered Kryptonians loyal to him and a terraforming machine. His weakness in the movie is that he hadn’t quite gotten used to his new-found powers yet, until the end of the movie, and need to stay in that armor to prevent all the powers to come rushing in. As for his motives, well, he has a personal vendetta to the House of El, thanks to Jor-El thwarting his Insurgency.

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admin July 27, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Fikko, as Will mentioned he is not a Superman fan. His focus in reviewing sets is on the building-techniques used in the set we can learn from. Thanks for clarifying who the badguy is! He looks awesome, BTW! I’m not a Superman fan either, but I got three General Zods on Bricklink and I use them as evil aliens! 😈

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The brick guy July 27, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Sounds good to me 😀

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legosw July 27, 2013 at 4:52 PM

ditto

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legosw July 27, 2013 at 4:54 PM

I meant to reply to fikko.

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ninja of stealth July 27, 2013 at 7:48 PM

the new superman suit is much better than the old one. and the other guys’ suits are awesome!

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legosw July 27, 2013 at 4:56 PM

what I find awkward is lois’s hair is orange!

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legosw July 27, 2013 at 4:59 PM

batman is 100% my favorite super hero. who else agrees w/ me?

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ninja of stealth July 27, 2013 at 7:49 PM

I think my sister does! batman is cool… end of story

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Skippy July 27, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Superman fan or not, I really want to talk to this Will guy. Or at least have someone else tell him for me. Black Zero is the name of the SHIP! The bad guy is General Zod! Did he even buy this set? Or see the MOVIE?!? GAHH I don’t care if he’s not a big Superman fan, can someone just PLEASE talk to him for me? Tell him to edit this like right now or I will get super mad. (No pun intended.)

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admin July 28, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Skippy, I’m sure William will respond to questions and comments on his post, but as he mentioned he is NOT a Superman fan and the purpose of his articles is to look at LEGO building techniques, not to analize characters. It is not like everyone is a Super Hero fan, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a good LEGO set from that line. 😉

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Will July 28, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Sorry Skippy. I saw the name of the set and did not recognize General Zod at all. I have not seen the movie and my Superman knowledge dates back to the early to mid 90’s. My knowledge of DC heroes in general only extends to the Batman lineup more than any other superhero or villain. I did buy the set and review the set, and it’s a good point that I should have looked at the box since it usually tells you what characters are in the set. I think I was more curious because Zod’s armor looked so cool that I wanted there to be a character named Black Zero.

As for editing the post, that is in the admin’s hands and I don’t have access to do so myself.

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admin July 28, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Will, thanks for the clarification. I changed the text slightly to not to upset Superman fans, and at the same time stay true to the intent of the article, which is focusing on the building techniques in this set, not on Super Hero characters. If readers like to help out clarifying something, that’s what the comment section is for. 😉

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admin July 28, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Oh, and yes, Black Zero would be an awesome name for a villain! 😀

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