Book Review: ‘Tiny LEGO Wonders’ Inspires with Mini Vehicle Models
Although it’s been around for decades, the LEGO Company has taken pop culture by storm in recent years with the release of its acclaimed movie and Dimensions video game. As exciting as these developments are, many of us still treasure the simple joy of creating basic LEGO sets using various bricks we have on hand.
No Starch Press has released a creative, useful, and affordable manual for building simple vehicles with everyday LEGO bricks. Titled Tiny LEGO Wonders, this collection of over three-dozen original models–with complete assembly directions–only requires between 10 to 150 bricks per set to build replicas that can fit in the palm of your hand.
Tiny LEGO Wonders: Build 40 Surprisingly Realistic Mini-Models!
By Mattia Zamboni
Product Details: Hardback, 208 pages, 11.25 x 8.75 inches
Ages: 9 and up
Publication Date: July 2016
Publisher: No Starch Press
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What if you could build a miniature-scale model of a race car, fire truck, or airplane with only a handful of common LEGO pieces? Tiny LEGO Wonders offers fans young and old a collection of over three-dozen original directions for building various transportation vehicles–from automobiles to boats to trains to planes. While not officially licensed by LEGO, this hardback book from No Starch Press gathers the contributions of LEGO enthusiasts from across the globe.
The book contains 10 sections, each pertaining to a different form of transportation:
- The Train Station
- The Airport
- Fire! (emergency vehicles)
- The Construction Site
- The Car Dealer (consumer vehicles)
- The Race Track
- The Harbor
- The Aircraft Carrier
- 3, 2, 1, Liftoff! (space shuttles)
- The Moon Army (futuristic military vehicles)
Each section contains a couple individual models labeled by difficulty level, giving readers the inventory of needed parts, step-by-step building directions, and photos of the final products. It also includes references to websites where you’re able to buy the parts you don’t already own.
The book has been assembled and largely authored by LEGO Ambassador Mattia Zamboni of brickpassion.com, who has contributed to several other LEGO books over the years.
Tiny LEGO Wonders looks great on your coffee table or bookshelf with its bold title and glossy screen printing of models contrasted on a white background.
But, this book is really made for use more than show, and it’s durable enough to survive frequent use by even young readers. There’s no dust jacket; the art is printed right onto the sturdy cover. The white cover does collect smudge marks, but they’re easy to wipe off.
The book is large enough and pages wide enough to easily see the small pieces without having to squint. It shows the set names at the bottom of each page, and each model is designated by a different background color on the pages and full title pages. There’s hardly any instructional text, but if you’re used to building LEGO sets, you know that’s the norm.
Also from No Starch Press: Check out these impressive scale LEGO models of vehicles in this must-own book
Whether you’re a KFOL or an AFOL, it’s fun to see the grandiose LEGO sets other people build in their spare time, but it’s even more fun to use your imagination to create your own sets at home. That’s why Tiny LEGO Wonders will appeal to so many fans of the building block company. Instead of being another collection of impressive brick sets that are made to be ogled rather than imitated, this publication is meant to be accessible and practical.
These directions resemble the iconic instruction guides of licensed LEGO models, including the pastel-colored backgrounds. Arrows and symbols are used to clarify certain steps in the processes. You’re not likely to mess up these sets if you follow the directions, especially if you’re a LEGO veteran.
I thoroughly respect the creators of the sets in Tiny LEGO Wonders. While building a small LEGO model may be simple–especially following this book’s directions–crafting an original small-scale design is actually more challenging than designing a large set. You have to assemble the perfect shape using just a few pieces, and the fact that most of these designs utilize traditional polygonal LEGO bricks you probably have lying around (though maybe in different colors) is an achievement. Zamboni and the other contributors find ingenious, alternative ways to use common pieces you wouldn’t think to use in vehicles–like helmets for a bulk carrier’s bow.
Rather than store this book on your shelf and say, “I wish I could make that,” Tiny LEGO Wonders is meant to be shared with fans and is made accessible to those with a passion for transportation. It represents the boundless creativity and ingenuity of LEGO fans and how the toymaker has become an inspiration to process one’s surroundings in different ways.
Tiny LEGO Wonders is available through the publisher’s website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, O’Reilly, and other retailers.
Product provided for review by publisher.
- Aaron WidmarSenior Editor
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing... See more articles by Aaron.