(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 examining one of the smaller LEGO Nexo Knights sets, the #70324 LEGO Nexo Knights Merlok’s Library 2.0. 🙂
Let me start by saying that I love the LEGO Castle sets. Some of the first LEGO sets I got was from LEGO Castle, and it remains one of my favorite themes. When LEGO Nexo Knights was released, it did not quite strike me as what I have been looking for in LEGO Castle sets. Don’t get me wrong, I think the concept is interesting, but something felt off.
It took several months before I decided to give LEGO Nexo Knights a try. It was after building the first set I realized why I was getting a funny feeling about the theme. LEGO Nexo Knights is basically LEGO’s version of He-Man. If you don’t believe me, look up any old episode of the He-Man cartoon. It is full of medieval concepts with a heavy dose of futuristic/mystic weapons. This discovery kind of blew my mind. 🙄
It is interesting that this is a seldom visited combination, which means that LEGO Nexo Knights managed to have a unique and imaginative feel that is quite interesting. And the sets also contain so many very cool new elements! But let’s focus on some of the interesting building techniques found in this set.
➡ BUILDING A LEGO VERTICAL CATAPULT
The LEGO Nexo Knights Merlok’s Library includes two plate-shooters, a ball-blaster, and a disc-launcher, plus a very unique catapult. A catapult is basically a lever and fulcrum assembly, for the purpose of launching something. In the case of this set, the lever is the translucent orange banner at the top, which – when hit with the ball-blaster – will launch a section of the wall (see video below on how it works).
What is most interesting is the effect you get when you mount a catapult vertically, versus more traditional catapults that launch horizontally. Firstly, you can active the catapult by directional force straight from the front, instead of needing a downward force. This does mean that you will need to put in place some stoppers to compensate for natural gravity that would automatically activate the catapult.
Secondly, a vertical catapult tends to not have a lot of leverage. It can perhaps knock over a wall, like in this set, but it is not the best to send projectiles very far. You can compensate for this with gears and expandable arms, but this may make the model way more complicated than it needs to be. All in all, vertical catapults work best as triggers, rather than full blown projectile heaving devices.
➡ HANGING DÉCOR WITH LEGO
Taking a look at the tower in the LEGO Nexo Knights Merlok’s Library, you may not notice anything special about the bars covering the second floor window. However, I encourage you to pay a bit more attention. The wall element the translucent-orange bars are attached to is the section that explodes from the wall, so it needs to be able to handle a bit of rough play. Which of course also means that the bars need to be fairly secure.
Generally bars are used as decorative elements on LEGO buildings, and their construction can be quite fragile. This is why it is particularly interesting to see how LEGO designers managed to strengthen the bar connections in this set. Normally LEGO buildings (like real structures) are constructed going up from the bottom. This gives the models a strong base. However this also means that they may be weaker at the top section. Blowing out a whole wall (like in this set) would make both the wall and the building fall apart.
In this set the bars look like they are attached at the bottom, but in reality they are secured at the top; using 1×1 plates with clips, and also being shielded by the bottom lip of the 1×1 round plates. This makes the bars very secure, even when the wall flies out of the structure.
➡ APPLYING WHAT YOU LEARN
Catapults are simple tools, but as you can see in this set, by angling it differently (vertical vs. horizontal), you can achieve a very different look and action. Another example would be taking a wheel and turning it sideways to rotate something. So the next time you see a nifty action element, try imagining it in a different position to see if you can get more out of it and use it in a unique way.
When it comes to decorations on LEGO buildings, we often don’t think about making them particularly secure. However as your skills get better, you may start planning for more complex connections – especially when there is an action feature involved that requires a sturdier design. While the most secure option would be using multiple connection points, if you can only attach your decorations at one point, hanging them from the top may end up being stronger than using the normal way of building up.
So what do you think? How do you like the LEGO Nexo Knights Merlok’s Library set? And what do you think of the building techniques used here? Did you learn something new that you can incorporate in your own creations? Feel free to share your own tips and ideas, or ask questions in the comment section below! 😉
For other reviews in the Brick Breakdown series focusing on interesting building techniques in official LEGO sets, see my author’s page. And you might also like to check out the following related posts: