(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 #70811 The LEGO Movie Flying Flusher. 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! 🙂
One of the running themes of The LEGO Movie series is the 2-in-1 builds. Take for instance the box image; it shows a plane that looks like it was assembled with plumbing supplies. But in the corner there is a hint of an outhouse and plumbing-truck. This ultimately gives you two takes on one set. The first is from the whimsical world that will be characterized by The LEGO Movie; anything is possible to build, it’s just a matter of your imagination. The other side of the coin is for those who are traditionalists and want realistic LEGO models.
The outhouse and plumbing-van are surprisingly straightforward with no strange gimmicks like flick-fire missiles. If you want strange, it’s in the alternate version. No matter which model you build though, they are both excellent. And before we talk about the techniques in this set, I do want to point out one thing with the instruction booklets. Booklet #1 makes the Micro Manager robot (the square black robot). Booklet #2 will give you instructions for building the plane. The third booklet with the plumbing-van is not labeled, but if you do want to make it, it replaces Booklet #2. So in either case you can leave Micro Manager robot together.
➡ SPIRAL FOLDING WITH LEGO
Taking a look at the Micro Manager robot’s legs and feet is a real treat. It is not often to see LEGO parts fold up this tiny and still be functional. This entire assembly is possible due to a couple of factors. The first is the locking finger-hinges. Most LEGO hinges are fluid in their movement and could swing freely. The locking-hinge however gives us the ability to create fixed angles. An other factor which makes the folding-legs functional is the strengthening of the joints. This means that the thin, fragile connection-points can now hold some weight. Granted; you don’t want to overtax their capacity, but as long as you keep the weight to a reasonable level you can make the legs work quite nicely.
Also, the folding of the legs work because of LEGO’s ability to hinge at 90 degree angles. Given the square nature of LEGO, the most natural spiral that can be formed comes from a series of 90 degree angles. Why are spirals important? Simple; they are the most efficient way of folding something up. Take for example a cloth towel. Folding it into squares is nice and tidy, but makes the towel long and flat. However, if you roll that same towel into a spiral it redistributes its mass equally between its width and its height. Now take that same towel and fold it into tiny squares. You’ll notice that it is not as wide, but it gets taller. Spirals will never be the widest or tallest, but they will be as small as you can make an object in both directions. Check out the set yourself to get an idea of what pieces to use to accomplish this.
➡ MAKING A LEGO MOUNTING DEVICE
One of my favorite parts of this The LEGO Movie set is the toilet. It manages to capture so many fine details in a relatively tiny design. This is in part thanks to the various odd elements used in the construction; a minifigure basket in blue, a life-preserver and a round sign in white make up the three distinct elements of the potty. The problem is that these pieces don’t naturally fit together. The basket is meant to go around a minifig’s neck, and the life-preserver and sign both need a bar to attach to but in different ways. So what is needed to pull these three parts together is some kind of a mounting device. In this instance it is a 1×1 round LEGO brick with a 4L bar in it. The round brick provides a stud for the basket to wrap around, the bar goes through the hollow stud of the life-preserver, and the sign has enough room to clip to the upper portion of the bar. Few parts, really brilliant applications! 😀
As you can see, a good mount provides all the proper connections for all the parts that need to go together in the most efficient way. Other qualities you want in a good mount is that it is easily hidden and can be moved out of the way, it is stable (which usually means you want to use as few parts as possible), and that it looks like it naturally belongs to right where it is. The mount for the toilet in this set does all three; it is efficient, it is hidden inside the wall, it is very stable (made of only two, well-connected parts), and it looks quite like plumbing pipes that fits right into the setting.
➡ APPLYING WHAT YOU LEARN
The technique of folding does not always have to come in the form of a spiral. You have a wide range of LEGO hinges at your disposal to use. Perhaps scissoring where you have two Technic bricks side-by-side with a pin creates the right shape for your fold. It is rare to see a spiral fold done with LEGO, so take the opportunity to study it when it’s done right.
Mounts can be used as a core structural design for a LEGO model. But more often than not they are needed for detail work like you see in this set. They are the facilitator for elements that just aren’t normally put together but could provide interesting shapes. Whatever you do, try to keep your mounts as simple and unassuming as possible. This streamlining will help with hiding and stability which is half the job with a great mounting device.
So what do you think? How do you like The LEGO Movie sets and the techniques we discussed here? Have you come up with a clever mounting device to connect different parts? How about mechanisms to fold away parts of your model in the most efficient way? 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 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
I really like the toilet, but the plane and the plumbing van don’t really seem all that nice.. Great review, though!
I agree with you LK901, the plumbing van isn’t really my style, ya no. but the toilet is off the chain awesome! if I had that basket, I would be able to make it. *sigh* oh well! Also I got the ice cream machine ( I probably already told you guys this,) and it was awesome! so much ice cream. but I made it into the regular ice cream truck.
First comment! I got the flying Flusher when it came out. I love the micro manager. 🙂 I like the names of the mini figures too.
Whoops way off 🙁 didn’t see that until too late 🙁
its okay Lloyd, it happens to all of us ( it happened to me, what? three times? twice in a row?)
It looks like with TLM’s message of unbridled creativity, The LEGO Group seems to be redefining our definition of what is purist.
Lorca, nicely said! In my opinion these sets (and the movie) are a direct response to people who have been criticising LEGO for loosing originality and creativity with the licensed sets, and going right back to what LEGO is all about.
I think it is possible that with all the licensed sets, which are basically 3D puzzles, LEGO attracted a lot of collectors and hobbyists who would never build freely. But if you grew up the pre-SW era, or inherited a giant box of LEGO from your parents or older siblings with no instructions, The LEGO Movie sets are directly speaking to your heart. 😛
And of course it is also okay not to like them. I also hang out on the Brickset forum where most of the members are collectors and some of them would break out in hives just at the idea of free-building. There is LEGO for everyone, so both collectors and free-builders can get along – that’s the good thing. These sets are for us, free builders, and they may also inspire collectors to get out of their comfort-zone a litte. 😉
I am definately a free builder, and I too like the occasional instruction booklet from which I can learn new building techniques for my MOCs. So these sets are the ultimate combination of new elements and building techniques with a more classic aesthetic that hearkens back to the Classic Castle and M-Tron days.
What you said reflects our previous debate ove the Cloud Cuckoo Palace.
Also, what name do you go by at the Brickset Forum?
Lorca, I actually have been picking up instructions booklets pretty much every time I shop on BrickLink. They are usually very cheap as sellers just want to get rid of them, and it gives me an opportunity to learn some interesting new techniques without having to buy the whole set. And you can also download instructions booklets from LEGO’s website on all of the currently available sets. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon. I go by akunthita on Brickset. 😉
that is the total truth admin and Lorca. I remember when I had Duplo’s with no instructions. that was so much fun!
I believe there are fans who have scanned nearly every instruction booklet since the 70’s and put online for free… Then, some people prefer paper…
(I’ve been searching for instructions for Cobi sets online, I thought about dismantling a tank, but I haven’t yet found any…)
Yes, Brickfactory has I think all the instructions scanned: http://www.brickfactory.info/. In general I prefer paper as I’m on the computer too much already. But I have pulled some older instructions from there as well. And since I shop on Bricklink frequently anyway, a couple of instructions for a few pennies is easy. 🙂
I used to use The Plastic Brick’s chrome app, which was a link to their website, http://instructions.theplasticbrick.com/ , until TLG shut them down on the premises that they were violating Fair Play. Their home page is still open, where you can petition The LEGO Group on their behalf.
And, unfortunately, I am under 15, so I can’t “legally” join you in the Brickset Forum. Would you advocate the use of a pseudonym on my part? Are there any, shall we say rogues? lurking around the Brickset Forum I would need to watch out for?
Hm… that’s really strange because several websites share LEGO instructions. Maybe there were some other issues as well with Plastic Brick? I’m personally in touch with LEGO’s legal department and they are reasonable people.
As far as Brickset, since it is a forum they legally cannot accept members who are under 16 (same at Eurobricks, Bricklink, etc.). I would suggest to wait until you can become a member officially. It is not worth signing up then being discovered underage. It also endangers Brickset, and they will have no choice but to terminate your membership otherwise they can get in legal trouble.
Also, these laws are there for your own safety. There are very crafty and dangerous people out there who are specifically prying on young people hanging out at social sites. Please stay safe. Think of joining Brickset as a right of passage. I have seen many 16 year-olds joining Brickset the first time, talk about how they waited for that moment, and it is so nice to welcome them. It is always best to choose the path of righteousness. 🙂
does anyone know when the first ninjago episode come out I mean ninjago Rebooted
I just have to say, that comment was completely unrelated.
After a Googling, there has been no official premiere date set, as yet. Maybe sometime this February?
It happens at times that someone just leaves an urgent question or comment at the latest posts. I don’t mind so much as long as it is related to the LEGO hobby and not some spam. The official premiere date is January 29th. 😉
No its not in February!!!!! (ha, ha! I hope. 🙁 ) I have a reason why. they released THE LEGO MOVIE sets on the twenty-ninth and the movie is on February seventh. so about a mouth and a half away. so since the ninjago sets were released on the first of December. the premier HAS to be either on the 15 of Jan. or the 22 of Jan. so, that is my theory. and I’m pretty sure I am correct. since I am the number one fan of ninjago. (well, I consider myself to be. so I am. right?)
January 29th. 😉
but… but, are you sure? okay new theory, its coming out either the 22 of Jan. or the 29 of Jan. yes, I am THE expert. 🙄
Well, Adam from the BrickFan received an email directly from CN that the premiere is on the 29th. 😉
ok new theory, its coming out the 29. I new that! so new that! 🙄
If you look at page 39 of Ninjago 2014 topic on Eurobricks, you will find Episode 1 & 2.
Are you talking about those really bad quality ones? I tried watching those but they were so bad I just had to stop. I think it is best to wait for a better version or just watch it on CN.
so true admin! virtual high-five!
UPDATE: Guys, if you are interested one of the largest The LEGO Movie sets is 21% off on Amazon! Here is the link: #70809 The LEGO Movie Lord Business’ Evil Lair Discount on Amazon
Thanks to Kerry for the heads up! 😉
I cannot wait until the lego movie comes out then i can see a flying toolet lol