Sunday, December 30, 2012


We still have a few days left of 2012, it is the perfect chance to look at what we got this year.

In 2012 had only 21 new posts, fewer than what I would have liked. But as some of you may have noticed, I try to post a fresh post every week. I hope to keep the momentum going into 2013 as well.

But instead of spending too much time on what has or has not happened here, let me look at another important event from my own perspective: used to be the most popular LEGO blog in Hungary but it has closed its doors in May 2012. Since I have co-authored the blog, I have written about 60 blog posts.

I am most proud of the interviews - I managed to get in touch with two well respected LEGO builders. Mad Physicist is one of the most influential car and aircraft builders, you can clearly notice his influence on this blog as well. You can read part one and part two of the interview here.

Legomonster was interviewed by Lehi in person. I think this is interview is probably the peak of my blogger journalist career. Thanks kockagyar and thanks Lehi, we could not have done this without you!

These would probably have never been created without and its single-person engine, tutuka.

Without kockagyar I will probably have to keep a lower profile. But bricksngears will continue well into 2013 with the weekly posts. Also, we have new builds ready to be shown, stay tuned!

Happy and LEGO-rich 2013 to all our readers!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


You have survived the Advent calendar season. Three more days and it's over! But now there is time to build something for your Christmas tree. You only need a few bricks, hopefully you have some in your drawer. Instructions here.

If you don't have enough red bricks, that's not a problem either, you can built something else: Santa, a blue sphere, or a snowmanCredits go to mpw for the great instructions:

If you are afraid that the sphere will pull down your tree, you can build a smaller one using instructions from Legohaulic too.

Merry Christmas to everyone and a lot of LEGO under the tree!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Let's build!

Interesting happenings in the builder scene. It is well known that Mainman likes microscale models, especially military aircraft: he has built an entire air force in 1:100 scale like this cool F-15. Now the plane itself has flown into air to let everyone know that there is a contest: everything that flies and is built in 1:60 or smaller scale can be nominated until January 22 2013. I myself am thinking about this and I encourage you to think about it too!

Something else has happened over the week: Mad Physicist posted another building instructions. This is only the fourth time in the history of the galaxy, so let us not underestimate the importance. Unlike the previous models this is a civilian helicopter built of relatively common yellow and red bricks, so it should not be too hard to build one at home.

Although it is more complicated than the sets you can buy in the LEGO shop, in the Mad Physicist universe this is a relatively simple one. If you have all the bricks (or LDD), I highly encourage you to build it. If you do so, don't forget to send me a photo!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Messerschmitt story, part II.

Let's continue the story of LEGO Messerschmitt fighters. As I promised last week, today we look at models that have something unusual.

The plane of locolson is clearly larger than the others and sports two special features. The dimensions allow for more details here: it has a fully retractable landing gear. Many builders have this on their aircraft, but it is not a standard feature on other Bf-109 models. The list of unique features does not stop here, it also has a rotating propeller without any Photoshop: there is just enough room for the motor in the front of the cockpit and for the battery box right behind it.

ABStract/ did not fiddle with real bricks. The plane comes in three different versions. The first one has a classic "Battle of Britain" scheme. It has a retractable landing gear, but this one is hard to operate with your fingers. Nevertheless it looks quite decent:

The next version has almost exactly the same shape but a different color scheme: a tan-green combination, characteristic of the desert versions:

The third version has been significantly rebuilt. Unlike the first two "Emils", this is a "Friedrich" with a similar desert camouflage:

Lego pilot built his own plane on the computer. The propeller is worth mentioning, it looks quite different from the other planes. The fighter is just "finishing" an A-20:

Last but not least, take a look at this microscale Bf-109 from tbone_tbl:

The paint scheme is quite characteristic, the type can be instantly recognized from the yellow nose and wingtips. I think it would be impossible to build a Messerschmitt smaller than this!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Messerschmitt story, part I.

After covering some trains last week let's take a look at an aircraft: the Messerschmitt Bf-109. This fighter is one of the most recognizable aircraft of WWII, the icon of German air superiority during the early years of war. It saw action during the Spanish Civil War and at the breakout of the "big" war it was already a battle-proven opponent.

It is well known and built many times from bricks as well, you can find quite a few variants on the net. Let's take a look at the best ones, starting with minifig-scale models and leave the more exotic ones for the next part.

For a start, let's look at LegoUli's model. In my opinion this is one of the best: the shape of the aircraft is excellent around the engine but also towards the rear of the airframe. The landing gear is fixed but looks very good. The 9-stud propeller is also an nice fit at this scale:

The plane of eremms was also built at a similar scale and it also has a minifig at the controls. The colors are similar but the details are quite different: the techniques used at the wing, the propeller and the cockpit differ quite a bit from the previous version:

Opëx Røver's plane is somewhat smaller: the wing is 14 studs compared to 16-17 studs on the previous ones above. Nonetheless the the details are finely crafted. My personal favorite is the tail section. I personally don't like the nose cone and the landing gear, but the color choice is slightly more interesting than on the planes above:

Last but not least let's see the creations of a real pro, Legohaulic. His models also illustrate the evolution of a build, how a rookie creation becomes a real masterpiece.

Frankly, the first model would not be part of this blog post without the subsequent ones. The model is recognizable but nothing special: it is large and does not have any particularly interesting details. The colors are not very interesting either and the photo is far from great. However it is a great basis for progress:

It is no wonder that the author tried a second time. The next one is a lot more sophisticated than the previous one: the engine, the cockpit and the plane overall are a lot nicer. Like the other planes above it also has enough room for a minifig piloting the stick. The most serious mistake is the green light on the port side. Looking at it more we can also realize that the plane is quite large: the wings are over 20 studs and the minifig at the stick looks a bit too small:

This is probably how Legohaulic has felt about it too because he decided to give it a third try as well. This is the result, probably one of the most well known LEGO variants of the famous Messerschmitt fighter:

Like the ones above it has a minifig inside, but it is more unusual than the others in several ways. First of all, this is the smallest of all models: the wing is just over 12 studs. The fuselage is only a little bit wider than 3 studs - I think it is quite an achievement to find room for a minifig inside. Another specialty is the choice of colors: unlike the other planes above the paint scheme makes heavy use of dark green, and it looks pretty awesome. The only strange thing is the small nose cone, it looks a bit smaller than it should.

And which one is the best? I will let you choose.

Next week we look at more special Messerschmitt variations.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hungarian train collection

It was not until recently that I have discovered this blog (in Hungarian). While the trains are most recognizable to locals, the build quality may appeal to everyone. Most of them are built with Lego Digitial Designer, which is understandable - I certainly would not have enough bricks to build all of them. Let's go through the best ones.

We start with the M28 shunter, I think it looks awesome:

There are larger engines as well. The NOHAB has Swedish origins. In Hungary it has been known as the M61. It may be familiar to everyone who travelled around Lake Balaton:

There are electrical engines too. This is the V43:

We can see interesting trains in the capital as well. This is the Cogwheel train that brings you up to the closest hill:

Once you are up, you can take the Children's railway to take a trip amongst the hills:

As the image shows the minifigs are all well. But I am sure they get tired in the fresh air. The way home is quick and comfortable in this Combino:
I am totally flattered. Each one of these has been built in LDD but they are all original: the details are right and they are instantly recognizable, full of happy minifigs. On the blog you can find other engines too: there is a V63, an M41, and M62 "Sergey" as well.

Congratulations to depi for the cool creations!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Porsche love

Lego Porsche was, and I am sure it will be too. But this photo speaks for itself: the expressions of the minifig tell it all, no need to ask who the king of the road is.

This is a Porsche 911 Turbo. I am pretty sure it does not get any smaller or more recognizable than that. A small nit is that the body of the minifig does not fit into the car, but this is a minor detail. On the other hand there are building instructions on mocpages.

Congratulations, ZetoVince!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On the side note of a masterpiece

No studs anywhere, it is covered by flat surfaces and curved edges. Sydag likes to hide studs on his aircraft. The colors are bright, but the aircraft is real. This one is a Hawker Sea Fury for example:

The shape matches its real world counterpart almost perfectly. The engine looks great with its eight-sided shape, but the rear part of fuselage, the the arc of the wings are all perfect. The color choice is a bit unusual, it seems to be an air racer, but the shape makes it very clear that the basis is a war machine.

Amongst the images there are more war-like creations too. This one is another legendary aircraft with a radial engine: an F4U Corsair fully armed:

To me these models with all their perfection seem almost a little bit "too synthetic": it feels like they want to hide their studs and I start to have doubts if they are made of LEGO bricks. But the finish is perfect: the body, the wing of the Corsair are all a perfect copy of the original. It is no coincidence that a the newest models ended up on Brothers Brick.

As an amateur builder I get very curious too: how? What is under the skin? Ok, I have some ideas about the wing, but how is the engine built? Fortunately there are quite strong hints amongst the photos. Voila:

The brilliant part is the 4-studded bricks in the front that are rotated in 45 degrees to form a skeleton for the 8-sided shape. The rear part is also very interesting as it is basically a skin held together by bricks with studs on the side. Take a look at the canopy too: the front part is held in place by a gray minifig hand.

Feels like no matter how many aircraft I build as an amateur I will never get to this level. No matter how much I tease my brain I will not be able to build so freely in all dimensions, and not stick to plates and bricks. Congratulations, Sydag, keep up the good work!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

LEGO for Christmas

Christmas is still two months away, but planning ahead may save you some $$$.

I tell you what to do: if you plan to buy Technic and live in Europe, you should go to Almost all sets are on sale, delivery is mostly free (2-5 days International).

For example:
Just sayin'. For other sets it may be different, but is mostly competitive.

(If you happen to live in der Schweiz like me: you don't have to pay the 19% Mehrwertsteuer either.)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Legoland Deutschland 2012

Recently I had a chance to visit my one of my favorite places again, the Legoland in Germany. This was not my first visit to the park (see older here) and it was interesting to see what changed in two years.

First of all, there are new themes. Star Wars has been a popular theme for LEGO sets, but two years ago this was not visible in the park at all. By now this has changed completely: next to the Miniland of European cities there is an extensive Star Wars Miniland covering the older and newer movies. Another sign of the increased interest is the extra tent selling Star Wars sets only.

Friends got quite visible too. In the big store there is a separate corner for Friends fans. There is also a specialized store selling accessories and... khm.... sets. At least in theory. The store personnel said that as soon as they have a new shipment it is sold within days. This is of course not official, but every signs points to Friends being very popular.

Ninjago did not exist 2 years ago either and become quite apparent in Legoland. It has its own mini-world now and something quite special, the Flying Ninjago. As I have quite apparent and strong limits when trying extra dimensions, I did not get try it myself. But the concept seems interesting: by controlling two wings one can do a full turn or even rotate continuously.

One of my favorites is the brick store. The selection was excellent as usual: more limited than Bricklink, but better than anything else. The price has increased though: 100g of bricks costs 9 Euros now, compared to 8 Euros two years ago.

Regardless of this, it's still an excellent buy, as the spreadsheet shows:

Part Weight
BL best
BL 6
month avg
1x1 plate (black) 0.20g 0.0264 0.0583 0.0180
1x1 plate (medium blue) 0.20g 0.0269 0.0750 0.0180
1x4 plate (black) 0.71g 0.0126 0.0500 0.0639
1x2 tile (dark tan) 0.26g 0.0240 0.0583 0.0234
1x2 jumper (light bluish gray) 0.30g 0.0320 0.0583 0.0270
Technic gear, 20 tooth (tan) 1.40g 0.1421 0.2417 0.1260 

Monday, August 6, 2012


Dear Readers, I have no excuses. Against all promises this blog does not grow as fast as I have planned.

However something incredibly cool has happened so I must speak up and break the radio silence. We have had Lego Digital Designer for a while that continues to be the friendliest LEGO creator software that cannot produce nice renders. We have had POV-Ray as well which is free and creates nice images. Putting the two next to another yields quite satisfying results, but saying that it's a lot of work would be an understatement.

More precisely speaking, it used to be a lot of work. Because LDD2PovRay is ready. It promises combining friendly editing with world-class images in a way that works for everyone. The images speak for themselves.

There is one nit though. It only works on Windows, so I won't be able to test it for a while.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

LEGO Military Build Competition 2012

Yes, it is that time of the year again!

So far the Middle East Aircraft and Microscale Heavy Aircraft categories seem to be the most interesting. Let's build!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Parliament Building, Budapest

I have finally managed to finish the Parliament Building. It was a long wait, I know, but it served its purpose: I have nominated it to a building contest! Keep fingers crossed.

One of the iconic buildings of Budapest, the Hungarian Parliament Building stands by the Danube giving visitors a perfect view from the Castle Hill on the other side of the river.

After Budapest was united from three cities in 1873, an international competition was held to establish a new, representative Parliament Building. Imre Steindl emerged as the victor. Construction was started in 1885 and the building was inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896, and completed in 1904. During the communist regime a red star perched on the top of the dome, but was removed in 1990. The Hungarian Republic was declared from the balcony facing Lajos Kossuth Square on 23d October in 1989.

I chose the Parliament because it has a distinct shape that is easy to recognize. The original building has plenty of small details. To keep it all in LEGO I would have had to build in at a much larger scale. Instead I opted to keep it simple and manageable: I wanted to keep the distinct shape of the building but simplify many of the details so that it can be built at a reasonable scale. Even so it is larger than the typical buildings from the Landmark series: 36 studs wide, 19 studs deep and built from about 660 bricks.

More photos at:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Buildings and scenes from Hungary

It is well known that I like LEGO Architecture sets. Not so long ago I posted a review of the 21011 Brandenburg Gate on (in Hungarian) that triggered some of the fans to build several famous buildings and scenes from around the country. Many of them sent me the model they created so that I can render them in nice quality. Let me show you the result, click on the images to see them in large:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Super Car history from Eric Albrecht

We have covered the history of Technic cars a long time ago (see part I, part II and part III).

Now Eric Albrecht (also known as Blakbird, author of Technicopedia) did the same on the in the guest post of the official LEGO Technic blog:

The history of LEGO "Super Cars" is even longer than the Technic line itself, beginning in 1977 and running right up to the present day. There is no official definition of Super Car and therefore different fans might include different models on their own list. Most fans consider a Super Car to be one of the large scale automotive models which attempt to maximize realistic function as much as possible. Over the years, the models got more and more functionally realistic, and the complexity peaked in about 1994. Since then, subsequent supercars have become more realistically styled without adding a lot of complexity.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

LDD Pov-Ray Rendering tutorial

Several people asked me to provide more details on rendering LEGO models like the Trabi or the MiG-15. Until the surprise is built, let me entertain you with a tutorial on how to render LEGO models.

Before we start, let me underline that this is by no means a straightforward process. You should start only if you are ready to edit programming-language-like text files and download, unzip and manually organize files. It needs several hours, some debugging and tweaking, and possibly more hours to compute the final image.

Ok, if you have read so far, then you are at least curious to know what it takes. What follows is based on Koyan's excellent tutorial with some tweaks. Let's see how a typical render is made!

Step 1: I install LDraw. LDraw is an community-maintained database of LEGO bricks that will be needed for our photorealistic renders. As you can guess, this is needed once only. I download and unzip several files:
  • LDraw official parts (Core Files and Libraries / LDraw Parts Library, zip format). I unzip them in a directory on my computer. This is my LDraw directory.
  • Many bricks are not in the official release. I download the LDraw unofficial parts as well. Unzip those files as well and move them in the LDraw directory too. Some files will already exist, I don't overwrite them.
  • LGEO is another parts library that is made especially for POV-Ray renders. It contains fewer parts but those are nicely modeled. I download and unzip it into a separate directory.
| The original dome in  Lego Digital Designer |

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

21011 Brandenburg Gate

I have built my Brandenburg Gate. I have always liked the Architecture theme and this is the first set that I have bought. It is clearly for adults. Compared to Creator sets is a bit on the expensive side, but the result is very nice and I like it very much.

Many photos about the building process in the album.

Monday, January 2, 2012


New year it is, so let's start with something new.

New software for hardcore Lego builders: bltools.

With bltools you can process a Lego Digital Designer file and convert it into BrickLink orders. It may be especially useful since Lego will stop DesignByMe (the service to order bricks from within LDD) as of January 16.

bltools fetches the list of shops from Bricklink, optimizes the orders and exports them in BrickLink wanted list XML format.

Some remarks:
  • It needs Python, GLPK and knowing the command line
  • Since it is in Python, it runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and probably everything else
  • It may run for a long time and not necessarily produce the best possible result
But I have used it and it worked.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


There is nothing to be proud of: 2011 was not particularly fruitful in the life of the blog. Yes, we have new design and I have also fixed the old links and even more, we got a new MiG-15. But I did not provide a lot of new content.

It is not because I don't have anything to write about. I don't promise daily updates in 2012 either, but I will go after some of the hotness.

Some hints of what will follow:

  • It's not a secret that I am a big fan of cars from Mad Physicist. The Lead Sled replica is on my shelf for a long time, but now it sits next to a Ferrari Testarossa. More details will follow soon.
  • The last piece from the big Technic cars, the 8860 is also on my shelf for some time now. It's time to share more details about it.
  • I got several new Lego sets. For example a 5867 Creator car. I am very excited about this because Nathanael Kuipers built about 15 more variations, so now I can build those as well.

Gran Turismo from Nathaniel Kuipers-től. Now I have all bricks to build it :)
  • I also got a 21011 Brandenburg Gate. I have always liked the Architecture series, I am happy that I own the only European building so far. It is so nice that I started thinking about other buildings I could build in a similar style. Born in Hungary, I have started building the Parliament of Hungary. We will see soon how far I get.
  • I have found a serious problem with my Trabant. On its own it looks quite alright, but next to its friends it is obvious that it is not tall enough. It is just taller than the Ferrari Testarossa which does not look good. I hope to find somt time to fix that. It may need a substantial redesign though. At the moment I don't even dare to think about more cars.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year Rich in Lego!