Jeff Friesen’s newest Lego guide, “Lego Space Projects” (No Starch Press, 2021) reveals space fans find out how to construct little spacecraft, from extra realistic-looking vessels to science fiction dreamcraft.
The guide additionally consists of step-by-step directions to information you thru the method of remodeling your Lego blocks into celestial locations, starting from comets to the sun to deep-space experimental drive testing on different worlds.
Friesen’s guide comes at a time when Lego is releasing formidable adult-themed units about well-known space machines, starting from the Apollo lunar lander to the Saturn V moon rocket to the Discovery space shuttle.
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But Friesen prefers a extra experimental constructing strategy. “I don’t actually build Lego sets by their instructions; I usually like to build my own thing,” he advised Space.com.
Space appeals to Friesen due to his fascination with engineering, he mentioned. He cited Lego’s Roman Colosseum set for example of engineering on a big scale, whereas Friesen is extra within the small scale. Space, he mentioned, consists of “some of the greatest engineering projects of all time.”
“I think great engineering wonders capture people’s imagination,” he added, “and space captures their imagination even more because that’s our new frontier right now, as opposed to discovering new continents.”
Space.com acquired a pattern of Friesen’s guide, which begins by explaining that Lego space bricks will be reinterpreted — even in the simplest type — for the essential components of a spacecraft. Friesen reveals that it takes solely three small bricks to recreate the fuselage, propulsion system and cockpit of a crewed spacecraft — which the guide demonstrates with Lego items 4589 (a cone), 3005 (a dice) and 54200 (a glass triangle).
From there, the guide assures readers, you’ll be able to study to make diversifications of your personal. To enable you, the guide additionally features a multi-page set of “greatest bricks for spacecraft,” a pattern constructable stand upon which you’ll be able to place your creations, and suggestions for ordering particular person bricks through the web store web site BrickLink. More superior and assured Lego builders will doubtless love these items.
“I don’t build digitally; I built it all with physical pieces,” Friesen defined. “Sometimes, instead of going from an idea for a ship, I’ll actually start with the pieces and experiment with how they fit together to make something interesting. That was kind of the inspiration for this book, actually, because they [Lego] often build architecture. Because architecture has no moving parts, I put a lot of moving parts into these builds — so the book is also an exploration of how to use parts.”
Friesen wrote one other guide about Lego microbuilds (“Lego Micro Cities,” No Starch Press, 2018), and he mentioned that his experiences from that guide additionally got here into play within the new guide about space. “Micro scale has an additional challenge, because you have to make the few parts that are in each build very meaningful. There are no wasted parts; it’s like the microscale is the sort of essence of building. It’s like minimalist art, [in that] almost everything has to mean something.”
For people who find themselves higher with guided directions — like myself — the guide has 52 guided units of assorted sorts. Each set has metrics for problem and variety of items, and in addition features a checklist of bricks you may want to purchase or purchase. If you are used to Lego’s multi-hundred- or multi-thousand-piece units, you might discover the included units considerably minimalistic or, for the straightforward ones, simplistic — however this additionally makes the units enjoyable to adapt. The simpler ones are additionally kid-friendly, which Friesen mentioned is by design.
“If I wrote the book when I was 8 years old, it would all be ‘Star Wars’ styles,” Friesen mentioned when requested to mirror on his personal childhood curiosity in Lego. “But I wanted to make it so that there was a few more civilian crafts, so it wasn’t all just warfare in space. I wanted to put some utility crafts of a normal functioning society.”
My favourite design of the included units in my pattern was “Bebot,” described as “an explorer mecha” that appears nearly like a flying Pixar WALL-E. I additionally loved the ideas for a “bounce buggy” (a rover outfitted with “jump jets” for rugged terrain) and a “cloud skimmer” designed to emit no air pollution throughout hypersonic exploration of different planets’ atmospheres. I did not get the prospect to assemble any of the units, however the directions look to me as intuitive as Lego’s typical space set books.
Friesen mentioned he’s engaged on one other guide centered on Lego engineering, which can doubtless embrace allusions to real-life space initiatives like SpaceX’s spacecraft or the International Space Station. “People really like engineering projects,” he mentioned of his determination to pivot tougher on this path, including that he plans to herald some parts from mechanical and structural engineering to the brand new units.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.