(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 #79014 LEGO The Hobbit Dol Guldur Battle. You can also check out the previously discussed LEGO techniques found in official LEGO sets at the end of this article. So let’s begin! 🙂
First of all, I cannot mention the LEGO Dol Guldur Battle set without giving props to LEGO for the excellent minifigures. From Radagast to Azog, it is packed with character. Even the statue is a wonderful addition. I am not ashamed to say; I ended up with two copies of this set, all thanks to the minifigs and a really good deal at Barnes & Noble. 😀
The LEGO Dol Guldur Battle, unlike others in the LEGO Hobbit and LEGO Lord of the Rings lines, is purely a play set. Don’t get me wrong, you can play very nicely with all of the sets, but a lot of them are built just as much for display as for play. In the LEGO Dol Guldur Battle nearly every segment has an activity for you to interact with. Only the hinged corner sections don’t have action elements. So if you’re looking for lots of fun and activity to play out a battle-scene, this set is for you. Now we will move on to the LEGO techniques used in this set.
➡ LEGO ROTATING DOOR TECHNIQUE
One of the first things you’ll build is a rotating door. This is something normally seen in larger sets and not so much in smaller models. This is often due to the fact that for the door to look impressive, having a lot of context around it makes it stand out. In short, more stuff equals more things to compare it to. As for building a rotating door, it comes down to two major principles that I will mention below.
First, you need to connect the door at two points. These will be the axis at which the door rotates. It is often centralized and for those with a vertical axis, it’s at the top and bottom of the door. This design can become more impressive if you incorporate a way to turn the door. It’s at the connection points where you need to make that decision of whether or not to build in a clever handle. Also, the more central your point of turning is, the better balanced your door will be.
The second major point is clearance. The hardest part of any rotating door is to fill up the space while still providing enough room to move. A good tip to deal with this is to remember to turn the door after adding any additional layer. This will make it easier to deal with build challenges as you go, rather than finding the problem later down the line. This may seem like a simple tip, but we often lock down moving parts or add them in later so they don’t get in our way. This makes it so our convenience comes at the expense of good building techniques. Once you have that down, you can then experiment with gears to add a whole new level of complexity.
➡ LEGO MODULAR BUILDING WITHOUT MODULAR DESIGN
You may note that the LEGO Dol Guldur Battle set is built modularly. However, unlike other modular builds, it can’t be rearranged. Each part is made to connect to a specific section and only in a certain way. However we do get examples of three ways to connect sections together. I believe that the purpose of this technique is two-fold. First of all it forces you to fit the sections together in a certain way – consider this like a specific key that fits in a specific lock, and only one way. This is a great technique to use as a blueprint for really large LEGO models that need to be taken apart and be modular for transport. The second aspect of using this technique involves the variety of ways to connect modular LEGO designs. In this set small axles are used – instead of pins – in the central sections. Axles are stiffer and do not come apart as easily. In addition, two of them are used together; one on top of the other. This evens out the stress that would be on just one axle.
Next, a vertical support is added with a tile on the side of the wall. This closes gaps while at the same time providing interesting texturing. Finally, there is a horizontal connection-point up top with a plate and slope design. This works the same as the vertical support but from a different angle. Part of the reason for this heavy use of connection-points has to do with the hinge function of the side walls. Because they have more mobility, they apply more pressure where they are connected. This is why you have supports in multiple directions to absorb the stresses on the model.
➡ APPLYING WHAT YOU LEARN
Keep in mind that just because we were talking about rotating doors does not mean your model has to use this technique for a door. It could be a rotating sign or a purely decorative element that makes your LEGO model look more complex. Doors just happen to be this technique’s most functional form – which makes it a good basis for learning how to use it.
As for modular LEGO building without modular design, it is essentially the art of connecting LEGO on a larger scale. Compartmentalizing a design fits the LEGO system mentality so well as that is what LEGO elements do at their core. The interesting part comes in when you need to start realizing how simple physics work with your model. Motion, gravity, angles all play roles in what is and what is not a solid connection. This technique is merely the most straightforward way to deal with these issues.
So what do you think? How do you like the LEGO building techniques in the LEGO The Hobbit Dol Guldur Battle? Have you used the rotating door technique before? And how about experimenting with different modular connections? 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:
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Winter Village Cottage
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Winter Village Market
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lord of the Rings Council of Elrond
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Castle Dragon Mountain
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lord of the Rings Pirate Ship Ambush
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Ninjago Golden Dragon
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Superman Black Zero Escape
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Tower of Orthanc
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO City Dump Truck
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Monster Fighters Ghost Train
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lone Ranger Silver Mine Shootout
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lone Ranger Constitution Train Chase
- Brick Breakdown: Ninjago Temple of Light
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lone Ranger Colby City Showdown
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lone Ranger Comanche Camp
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Lone Ranger Stagecoach
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Star Wars AT-RT
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Arkham Asylum Part 1
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO Arkham Asylum Part 2
- Brick Breakdown: Legends of Chima Polybags