The bad thing about Lego is that if you’re just going to build the kit out of the box, it costs quite a lot of money compared to the time it takes to build the thing. The good thing about Lego, though, is that you can actually complete a project in a reasonable amount of time. Regular readers of this blog will be aware just how many half-finished craft projects I post about on here, and just how few completely finished ones there are (um, none). The Lego I posted about last week, by comparison, is already done! After three sessions, the kit is complete. I’m still not entirely sure why it merited an “18+” age guidance on the box, but it certainly did include lots of fiddly bits.
The ends of the pantograph collectors, incidentally are the same Lego element used for the claws of various dinosaur and other animal kits, but in silver.
Whenever I do Lego, I like to take lots of step-by-step photos, so it’s always very tempting to start posing the minifigs in positions to suit. I’m not sure they knew how to fit a connecting rod, although Lego rods do make wheel quartering extremely straightforward.
By now the Lego aficionados will have realised that this is the “Swiss Crocodile Locomotive” set slowly coming together. I don’t have any Lego track easily accessible right now, so I didn’t see any point getting the motor to go along with it; but I would imagine it is always going to be more of a display piece than a usable locomotive. Two flangeless pairs of wheels always seem to ride slightly off the rails, making its wheel arrangement a 1-1-B-1-1 or thereabouts. Still, I think it’s going to be quite a nice display piece for the office, when I have all the furniture in the office sorted out.
Even if I don’t have anywhere to put it properly yet, and even if it is only for display, the minifigs wanted to climb aboard as soon as it was complete.
The hardest thing about building this model? Probably the design of the instruction book. A kit with a lot of brown or dark brown parts, with instructions printed on a black background, is not the easiest read. Still, I didn’t really go too far astray at any point in the build.
Will this lead to more craft projects suddenly being finished? Will there suddenly be a flood of completed work? Well, stranger things have happened. I certainly shouldn’t start any more until there are fewer in progress, certainly.
It’s strange, having a birthday that falls not long after Christmas. For a while now I’ve been past the age of receiving very many birthday presents, so a while ago I deliberately went out and bought myself a present, and put it away, waiting for my birthday. This year, too, my birthday was relatively close to moving house, the strange period in which everything frivolous, everything not house-move-related, has to go into stasis until the move is over. My present to myself was a Lego kit, and last night I was finally able to start to build it.
Last time I built some Lego I turned it into a GIF. This time, I was tempted to go the whole hog, set up camera and tripod and lighting, program the camera into time lapse mode, and create a video of the whole thing. It seemed like an awful lot of effort, though, for something that was supposed to be a treat for myself. Maybe after I’ve finished the model once, I’ll take it all apart, set up a time lapse, and build it again. Still, I did take a few photos. This is the end of Step 1.
It’s a bit hard to tell what it’s going to be after just one step, I suppose. I didn’t get the whole thing finished in one night, but I suspect this is going to be completed much faster than most of my craft-type projects.
I do rather like the level of interior detail in this thing, even though a lot of it is likely to be hardly visible in the finished model. At present, it will just turn into something to sit on a shelf as an ornament in my office, but you never know, I might buy a motor to go with it at some point.
The second part of this Lego build is here
One of the sad things about growing up, at least to my mind, is that when you’re a child the toys you get for Christmas are hopefully the sort of thing that you can open up on Christmas morning and start putting together on the front room carpet. A box of Lego, for example, or Meccano, or the sort of train set that’s amenable to running on the carpet. As you get older, that sort of present becomes rarer and rarer. They don’t necessarily disappear altogether—I remember one Christmas when I was small, when my dad received a sort of complex marble-machine clock that we spent all of Christmas morning and some of the afternoon putting together—but in general such things are relatively rare. Even if I do get some sort of model kit to open, it will no doubt need careful planning and purchasing of extra materials before I can start putting it together; I can’t just open the box and crack on whilst we’re still eating breakfast.
So, when I noticed there was a new Lego shop in town, I couldn’t resist going in with The Children and buying a seasonal “gingerbread house” to put together over the holiday as a Family Project, although really it was for my own fun. The Children were insistant it be a Family Project, though, so we ended up compromising by strictly taking turns to carry out each step in the instructions. I photographed each individual step, although because I didn’t put any effort into keeping each photo consistent they can’t really be compiled into the sort of engrossing stop-motion video that can be done with Lego. I did try but it wobbles crazily all over the place; please look away if you’re liable to travel-sickness.
Yes, I know it has last year’s date on it. Maybe I should have asked for a discount.
To do such a video properly you’d also have to bear in mind that, given you start off with just a handful of pieces and end up with an entire building, you’re going to have to work out how you’ll zoom out smoothly at some point. And generally, you know, put some effort into proper setup and lighting and everything. Me, I just wanted to play with Lego.
I have to say, though, it does look quite nice sitting under the tree; it would look good on the mantelpiece too but that’s already stuffed with decorations. Maybe next year I’ll be allowed to build it on my own; or maybe I’ll just buy myself a set to open and put together all by myself.