(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 #70804 The LEGO Movie Ice Cream Machine. 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! 🙂
Beware, the ice cream man is coming to town! The initial impression most people have when seeing the flying ship version of the #70804 The LEGO Movie Ice Cream Machine is, “Man, that’s a big ice cream cone on that ship!” Throw in some clever accents and you get something that definitely earns the title of Ice Cream Machine. This is anther 2-in-1 set from The LEGO Movie series, where you either build a regular ice cream truck, or the crazy, flying, ice-cream-shooting version. There is also a Micro Manager (the black box looking robot who are the badguys in The LEGO Movie) that you can keep intact no matter which version of the ice cream truck you build.
So let’s say you are not a fan of the wild and crazy. You prefer a bit more plain vanilla. You like the serious LEGO re-creations of vehicles you recognize from real life. Then the secondary model of the classic ice cream truck is for you! In fact this is an amazingly well done and unique model in its own right that would fit right into your LEGO City. So no matter how you like your ice cream served, this set is sure to please. Now let’s look at some unique LEGO building techniques in this set.
➡ LEGO AMMO-CLIP
Over the years, LEGO has made a few models that utilize an ammo-clip. They are typically high on the fun-factor, but may not appeal aesthetically to some LEGO fans. Due to their design, the majority of the clip is usually up top where it is hard to hide. Thankfully this is not an issue with how it’s used here. First, let’s discuss what makes an ammo-clip work. It is normally built on a LEGO lift-arm since the rounded ends are less likely to catch on anything. This is then aligned vertically to let the force of gravity determine how it gets reloaded. Since it needs to stop at certain locations to fire the next missile, it typically uses the missile itself to control where it is aligned. Finally, the ammo-clip has some sort of stopper up top to prevent it from falling through the model. (Check the video below for the section where the ammo-clip is being built, so you see what I mean.)
The Micro Manager in The LEGO Movie Ice Cream Machine does all these things and manages to hide it fairly well with a tall design and mid to low firing-slot. The important feature to note are how the left and right movement is controlled with modified LEGO plates with rails and small lift-arms mounted inside the model. Then the whole thing is boxed up in the front and back, giving the ammo-clip just enough space to fit.
In order to line up the missiles with the opening, slopes are added in the back to give the perfect spot for the flick-fire missiles to rest upon. To top it all off, the top of the ammo-clip has a modified pin with ball to prevent the clip from falling all the way through. That central opening is a standard feature when using an ammo-clip design. In cases where you do have issues, you can always reach from underneath to straighten out anything that has gone wrong. All in all, this is the tightest example I’ve seen of this design and it’s definitely worth imitating.
➡ INTERNAL CONSISTENCY IN LEGO BUILDING
When building the flying version of The LEGO Movie Ice Cream Machine, you may notice that you put two 2×2 round bricks under the steering compartment. Later you find out that rubber tubes that match the green and blue colors (save for the fact that they are transparent) connect back to that part of the model even though you can no longer see the bricks. This is an example of internal consistency. There is a physical space in your model that contains a component that is used somewhere else. In this case, ice cream stored in the back is piped to the front and shot out like a spray.
It’s not necessary to always have a physical representation as seen here. Rather, you will want to think about whether or not it is reasonable that something that should go somewhere would actually fit. Let’s say you were building a Stone Age house. And the minifigs in your Stone Age creation use an elephant’s trunk for taking a shower. If you are only showing the elephant’s trunk inside the house, the obvious question would be where is the rest of the elephant? So you have to make your creation look reasonable and logical, even if it is all fantasy. You will want to consider where pipes lead, how something gets power, and all those minor details to make your LEGO model look and feel more believable.
➡ APPLYING WHAT YOU LEARN
Ammo-clips in my mind are the next evolution in the LEGO firing mechanism arms-race. First we had the catapult, which was finally brought down by the large spring-loaded elements. Then LEGO turned to the simple, elegant and functional flick-fire missiles. And now we have the ammo-clip. Each step seems to streamline the process of projecting missiles at the badguys. Of course, being the most advanced mechanism so far, this means that it may take some practice to get the ammo-clip just right.
Internal consistency in LEGO building is all about keeping in mind those things that aren’t necessarily seen, but are still important. Recently I build myself a LEGO claw-machine. Once I was done putting glass in all four sides, I noticed something looked wrong; I realized that there was no clear way for the claw to be powered or connected in any way to the controls. In other words, I failed to think about the internal consistency of the model. Thankfully, adding some LEGO bricks at the back fixed my problem easily. It’s a simple thing, but it can make a big difference in your LEGO models.
So what do you think? How do you like The LEGO Movie sets and the techniques we discussed here? What is your most favorite LEGO firing mechanism? And do you pay attention to consistency in your LEGO models? 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 Parisian Restaurant
- Brick Breakdown: The LEGO Movie Flying Flusher
- Brick Breakdown: LEGO The Hobbit Dol Guldur Battle
- 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