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Building with LEGO – micro-scale building

by admin on November 12, 2013

in Building Techniques

(Written by Geneva – gid617)

In this series we are going over a few basic LEGO techniques and ideas for building a good LEGO MOC (My-Own-Creation). I’ll be taking examples from several LEGO builders to give you a good idea of different styles and possibilities of the techniques covered, though unless otherwise specified, the examples are mine. We’ve already covered LEGO Bases & Borders, LEGO Landscaping, Customizing Your Minifigures, LEGO Buildings & Vehicles and Picture Perfect Scenes, so now let’s take a stab at LEGO micro-building – something smaller than minifig-scale! 🙂

LEGO Micro Building by Geneva

LEGO MICRO-SCALE SIZING: Usually building in micro-scale with LEGO is a bit more challenging than building minifigure-scale; because of the small size, it’s hard to incorporate lots of details. However if you are up to the challenge, the first thing to do is to choose your scale; micro-builds can be built for the LEGO microfigures (as the one above), at an even smaller scale of two plates equals the height of a (hypothetical) person, or anything in between! Once you’ve chosen your scale – either by picking something you are already familiar with (like microfigure-scale or the scale of the #10230 LEGO Mini-Modular Buildings – as in the example below), or by starting off the build and seeing which direction it’s going – be sure to stick with it! It can be easy to have slightly varying sizes if you’re not careful, and thereby creating a confusing end result. At certain scales, person-sized details are not even close to possible, but at slightly larger scales, they can be added in some very clever ways! Below is an example of a very nice LEGO Mini-Modular building by moctown called the Town House.

LEGO Micro Building by moctown

One of the nicest things about LEGO micro-building is that it doesn’t require a particularly large LEGO collection. While it is possible to build a huge micro-scale display, most LEGO micro creations are very small (naturally!), but still look good.  Micro-building is often more about the time you put into it than the amount of bricks. One of my favorite things about micro-building is that you can put a lot of thought into each piece, something that usually isn’t feasible at a larger size.

LEGO Micro Scale by Geneva

LEGO MICRO-SCALE DETAILING:  Adding details is where the rubber hits the road with LEGO micro-building. How do you get such tiny little details using LEGO bricks? One of the keys is to use the smallest bricks and other elements you have available for these sections. Another trick is to use connectionless LEGO techniques – balance pieces where necessary! I find I have to do this fairly often; in the example above, neither of the front two wheels are attached. And in the waterwheel below, a slight push will send the wheel flying! 🙄

LEGO Micro Scale Waterwheel by Geneva

Techniques and styles used for larger scale LEGO builds can also be used here. Rockwork and greenery have much the same style as for larger LEGO creations, but trees need to be much smaller! LEGO headlight-bricks are very useful, as are cheese-slopes and small odd-shaped bricks and pieces. Notice the careful piece use and the holes in the towers, made to look like window-slits, in the example below; Avell Castle by Toltomeja.

LEGO Micro Scale Castle by Toltomeja

It’s also helpful to look at normal LEGO pieces in a different way. A simple white road-sign can become a full sail for a tiny ship, green spikes can become giant trees, and teddy bears become life-size beasts! Below is a unique example of a very cute Treasure Box Castle by Dodge.

LEGO Treasure Box by Dodge

Posing microfigures (or other figures used) is something of an art in itself in such a small scale. Since microfigures have no hands, getting them to hold anything requires the use of a rubber-band or something of that sort. Rinaci Castle by Brother Steven is a good example of this technique.

LEGO Micro Scale Castle by Brother Stephen

SOURCES FOR LEGO MICRO- BUILDING: The now retired (but still available) LEGO Games line is a good source of LEGO microfigures and small parts, and the LEGO Minecraft sets have a great selection of useful parts for micro-building. Also, the second set of the #20216 LEGO Master Builder Academy has a full section on LEGO micro-building with tons of tips and techniques. And the #10230 LEGO Mini Modular Buildings is also a great way to start out with ideas. You can find all of them at the Online LEGO Shop, just click on the links.

Shop for LEGO Games

I hope the above examples give you some inspiration to try out LEGO micro-scale building. What do you think? Do you like the challenge of building in such a small scale? Are there any techniques you really like? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also want to check out the LEGO Microscale section for more tips and examples or choose from the following related posts:

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Meneldur November 12, 2013 at 10:15 AM

That’s awesome, Geneva! Great post! Lately I’ve been tinkering around with microbuilding. At first it was a little difficult to get everything just right, but once you get the hang of it it’s quite easy and fun. LEGO is AWESOME! 😀

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gid617 November 12, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Thanks! I really enjoy microbuilding as well. It’s fun to play around with all those little tiny pieces until you have them just right!

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admin November 12, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Yeah, I’m a big fan of micro-building also. It is actually quite a challenge, but as you said; you don’t need a huge collection for it. Still, it is nice to have some intersting elements that can start a whole micro-project. 🙂

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Tom November 12, 2013 at 3:43 PM

I rarely do anything but micro scale these days despite having a comical amount of bricks. Its tough but rewarding as I have very limited display space which cant be got at by a 3 year old!

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~Brick November 13, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Yet another wonderful post! I always learn so much:)
~Brick

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Ike November 22, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Wow! I like the microcreations!

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