One of the nicest LEGO Ideas sets released so far is definitely the #21301 LEGO Ideas Birds collection, designed by British LEGO fan and birdwatcher Thomas Poulsom. We did a full review of the set last year that you can read here: LEGO Ideas Birds Review & More! LEGO Ideas Birds included three beautiful bird models; a Robin, a Blue Jay, and a Hummingbird. Since then Tom also released a book with fifteen more LEGO birds. If you liked the LEGO Ideas Birds set, I highly recommend picking up the book too, so you can expand your LEGO birds collection. We will take a look at the book in more detail below. 🙂
The title of Tom’s book is Birds from Bricks: Amazing LEGO Designs That Take Flight. Here is the official description: Let your creativity soar with 15 projects using interlocking bricks and to make birds from around the world. Interlocking bricks, such as LEGO, have fueled the imaginations of aspiring designers and builders for generations. In Birds from Bricks, horticulturist and LEGO enthusiast Thomas Poulsom guides you through re-creating nature’s feathered-friends in stunning detail. Assemble your very own cardinal, macaw, penguin, and more! With detailed step-by-step instructions and full color photos of completed models, Birds from Bricks will let your creativity soar. Learn how to build 15 projects, featuring birds from around the world: North and South America, the Mid-Atlantic, Eurasia, Africa, the North Pacific, and Australia/New Zealand. Each set of instructions includes entertaining and educational information about the bird’s characteristics and habitat. Poulsom’s creative and charming designs surprise and delight lovers of birds, nature, and – of course – LEGO.
A gardener and tree surgeon by profession and a passionate nature and bird lover, Thomas Poulsom rediscovered his love of building with LEGO as an adult. He was inspired to create his first realistic LEGO bird sculpture, a Robin, when a real Robin perched nearby while he worked in his garden. Poulsom has since expanded the scope of his LEGO project to more than 30 birds from every continent; three – his Robin, Hummingbird, and Bluejay – were accepted by LEGO for production as a set. Poulsom’s LEGO bird designs have been featured in many online venues for LEGO, design, gardening, nature, and birding enthusiasts. In 2013 he was a speaker at the PINC (People Ideas Nature Creativity) Conference in Zeist, Holland. You can check out his creations in his flickr gallery.
Just like the LEGO Ideas set has a really nice box design, this book also got a very tasteful cover, featuring three of Tom’s LEGO birds. It is published by Quarry Books, an offshoot of Rockport Publishers, focusing on providing instruction and reference books to artists, crafters and other creative people. The size of the book is about 9×10 inches, and it is 144 pages long. The chapters are divided by region, with one to four birds from each.
➡ From North/Central America: Northern Cardinal, Common Grackle and Painted Bunting. If you read my original review on the LEGO Ideas Birds set, you know that I’m an avid birdwatcher. I was particularly happy to see the Painted Bunting in the book, as this is a very beautiful but rarely seen bird, that we have spotted once in our yard. I’m also happy to see that the Common Grackle includes some purple and green. At first glance these birds look only black, but they actually have beautiful iridescent colors. And of course the Northern Cardinal is very cute.
➡ From South America: Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and Scarlet Macaw. Both of these are very beautiful and exotic looking birds, and LEGO got perfect color options for them.
➡ From the Mid-Atlantic: Northern Rockhopper Penguin. This is the only bird representing the Mid-Atlantic region, but it is a great LEGO model in every way – including the funny hairdo of this adorable bird in a tuxedo.
➡ From Africa: Red-Capped Robin-Chat. This is the orange/gray bird you see at the front cover of the book. It is stocky and round, similar to the Robin in the LEGO Ideas Birds set, however the design of the bird is different. And this is one of the greatest strengths of Tom’s birds collection; you learn so many ways to build LEGO birds!
➡ From Eurasia: Eurasian Blue Tit, Canary, Northern Lapwing and Common Kingfisher. The Eurasian Blue Tit is a difficult bird to recreate in LEGO because of the coloration and interesting patterns. The LEGO version featured in the book did get the colors pretty close, but I think the bird’s shape got lost. It suppose to be stocky like the Robin above, but it ended up being more elongated. But I understand the difficulties Tom faced when designing this bird, and I respect his choice to focus on the colors and patterns. The Canary is the yellow bird you see on the front cover of the book. It is very pretty, and uses some interesting building techniques. The Northern Lapwing and the Common Kingfisher are really nicely done as well.
➡ From the North Pacific: Albatross. This is the only bird from this region, and it is represented perfectly with outstretched wings – the most common way you see these birds gracefully and effortlessly soaring high in the air with a wingspan as much as twelve feet!
➡ From Australia/New Zealand: Pink Robin, Kakapo, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. The Pink Robin is very similar to the other two Robins featured in the book and the LEGO Ideas Birds set, but with a pretty pink chest. And Tom used yet another technique to build the LEGO version of this bird. The Kakapo is a critically endangered flightless parrot, and it’s really nice to see Tom adding it to his book to bring awareness to this unusual bird. Often kept as pets, the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, is a beautiful and very intelligent white parrot with a yellow crest, and looks perfect in LEGO form.
The focus of Birds from Bricks is to give you step-by-step instructions for the above mentioned fifteen birds, but there is also a bit of info on each bird, making the book educational for birdwatchers as well. You will need to gather your own LEGO parts to build each bird, but there is a handy parts-list included for every model. Most of the elements used are quite common (similar to what was included in the LEGO Ideas Birds set); plates, angled plates, standard bricks, bricks with studs on the sides, and regular and rounded slopes. The part numbers are also added, so you can easily find them on BrickLink.com, the online LEGO marketplace.
The instructions are easy to follow, once you have all the elements. Even if you don’t have all the right colors right now, it is worth checking out the building steps, as the book is a wealth of information on building birds using different techniques. Once you master them, you can even experiment with building your own LEGO birds. So the book is very useful as a reference even long after you have built all fifteen models.
Birds from Bricks: Amazing LEGO Designs That Take Flight is available on Amazon. The regular price is $24.99, but at the time of this writing it is on sale for $17 – which is a great price. You can find it here: BUY BIRDS FROM BRICKS BOOK ON AMAZON
Also, while the LEGO Ideas Birds sets is now sold out at the Online LEGO Shop, it is still available on Amazon, so if you don’t have it already, it is worth picking it up at the same time as the book. You can find it here: BUY LEGO IDEA BIRDS SET ON AMAZON
If you liked the LEGO Ideas Birds set, the Birds from Bricks book is a wonderful addition. It also makes a great gift for LEGO and bird lovers – especially those who would like to learn to build their own LEGO bird models. What do you think? Do you have the LEGO Ideas Birds set? Did you enjoy building the birds? And how about the book? Do you have it already? Or plan to get it? Feel free to share your own thoughts and feedback in the comment section below! 😉
And you might also like to check out the following related posts: