A new LEGO bible is on the way, offering step-by-step instructions on how to build exquisite miniatures of humanity's greatest engineering feats. Curated by professional engineer and two-time LEGO book author Mattia Zamboni, Tiny LEGO Wonders (No Starch Press) doesn't only teach how to build freight ships, a space shuttle, and something called "The Moon Army" from precisely-arranged plastic bricks, bit provides the conceptual building blocks—pun unavoidable—towards becoming a LEGO master.
"The aim of this book was to create a collection of the finest tiny, but detailed, LEGO models," Zamboni tells The Creators Project. We've seen many creative uses for the plastic bricks, from an architectural experiment by Olafur Eliasson to immitations of Mad Max's vehicular sculptures, but this book is like a fascinating non-fiction dive into the medium—Moon Army notwithstanding. Over the course of 10 themed chapters, there are 40 different designs of varying difficulty. While it's not an official project of The LEGO Group, the models in Tiny LEGO Wonders are designed by builders from all over the world, some of whom have worked for LEGO in the past. "I admit that I’ve put a few of my own models in the book as well," Zamboni adds.
Completing the designs in the book will help build the technical skill necessary for your LEGO master training, but Zamboni says there are character traits you must cultivate if you want to transcend the instruction booklet. "A LEGO master must have creativity, ingenuity and a wide range of building skills. And thinking outside of the box is the cherry on top," he says. Become adept at creating original designs, and the next level is turning them into instruction manuals for other builders, which Zamboni says can be "a real nightmare." "Describing how to build a complex model can be like solving a puzzle," he advises. "There are many solutions to any one problem, and a skilled model designer aims for the most elegant one."
More specifically, Zamboni gives us a trick for how to approach these problems. "Break down the model into sub-assemblies," he says. "You’ll need to keep doing that until you have simple sub-models, that when combined, will make the final product. I also suggest spending time studying official LEGO instructions, because that is the state of the art to aim for." That's it for free tips. If you want to flex your building muscle, buy Tiny LEGO Wonders here. "After some trying some of the builds in the book," Zamboni says, "the reader will surely start building Tiny Wonders of their own." Check out the designs and a few pages of instructions below.