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The Tao of Lego

I’m with Jason when he says Legos are becoming just another single-use plastic toy.

But, even as the sets get more corporate, Lego builders get more creative. And, my god. I just cannot comprehend how people build some of this stuff:

The mech from District 9, perfectly rendered, with room for a Lego minifig inside.

Another Legomech, so alive and full of personality. (My 10-year-old self would have traded scraps of soul for the secrets in these bricks.)

Spaceships cooler than anything Lego has ever sold.

And, my favorite, the “microspace” movement, which is like the haiku form of Lego-building. The emphasis is on economy of construction and wee tiny scale. And yet: Danger. Style. Speed. Drama. Each one is like a little puzzle, sometimes a little joke.

This, my friends, is the tao of Lego.

September 11, 2009 / Uncategorized


One thing that those star wars and batman sets do bring are some pretty cool new pieces. I’m amazed by the Lego (engineers, designers?) to make spot on replications of items from these worlds.

Aywhoo, my son gets some of these branded sets, but really when we play With Legos it’s all about using you imagination to create something new. Branded Lego sets haven’t changed that.

Yeah, I guess I don’t buy the Indiana Jones Legos = decline of childhood stuff.

1) It’s fun and useful to follow instructions and put things together. Imitatio!

2) It’s fun to ignore instructions and build whatever you want – especially with the terrific pieces that you get with the customized sets.

3) Even if you don’t break down the assembled Legos, it’s more fun to build an Indiana Jones or Harry Potter castle than it is to buy one that’s pre-assembled.

I think 2 and 3 are basically incontestable, but 1 is the crux, right? But I think it’s the most important!

The only part I take issue with is the second phrase of #2 — “especially with the terrific pieces that you get with the customized sets.” Some of them are, I agree, pretty cool; but some of them are just like, “here is a piece of the Millennium Falcon.”

Eh, you know, I’m not using my imagination here. B/c of course you’re right — “here is a piece of the Millennium Falcon” can become the chest-plate of a battling war-mech without too much effort.

Oh man, this post plus this amazing set of images which displays pretty much the opposite philosophy (look at what you can do with just A LOT of white bricks!) has reignited my Lego love in a big way. Gonna buy some bricks today.

Oh wow, I’m with you. Those are terrific.

Having bought and played around with both some standard bricks and one of the ridiculous Star Wars sets, I can safely say that the belief that any Lego is single use says more about our poverty of imagination Lego-wise than any problem with Lego.

For example I bought this kit, which appears to be made of all-kinds of single-use bits. But when actually building is I discovered not so. For example, the feed of the walker are actually the same as the bodies of the Droids, some of the joints are re-purposed guns, and there are just dozens of little clever things, such that as you build following the instructions there is moment after moment of discovery “Oh, you can do THAT with that part…”

And then my roommate linked me to this which completely puts paid to the notion that single use parts are actually single use. You will not be sorry for clicking on that link.

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