Great LEGO Models on the Web

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It seems impossible to keep up with all the wonderful LEGO models that people have posted on the World Wide Web. The following are a just a few of my favorites.

Summer Building Contest

There are quite a few excellent entries in the Summer Building Contest on the Construction Toy Home Page (also see other comments on that page). Here are some highlights:

Six-legged walker

The Web page on visualization at the Cornell Theory Center has a number of non-LEGO animations, but I like the nice animation of a six-legged LEGO walker (135 KB MPEG movie). This model was designed by a computer as part of a research project in my department.

Mobile Robot

The Mobile Robot Laboratory at the University of South Florida has a WWW page that displays a photo of a mobile robot built mostly of Technic LEGO.

Two-story house

The scanned images collection in the unofficial LEGO® FTP archive (see my further description elsewhere) contains a lot of nice images, but I particularly like this two-story house by Steve Putz ( It's not the only way to build a house for the minifigures, but it's a good one, and it shows a whole universe of LEGO possibilities that aren't even hinted at in most of the catalogs.

There are three images in the archive: a side view of the completely assembled house (44 KB JPEG image), and bird's-eye views into the upper floor (51 KB JPEG image) and lower floor (48 KB JPEG image) when they are opened for access. There's also a text description of this and other images that Steve contributed.

Red dragon

This fascinating model of a large red dragon (56 KB JPEG image) is in Preston Crow's LEGO Empire, but it's credited to Cat Huse. My particular fascination with this model is that it perfectly illustrates a recent (September-October 1994) discussion in about the tradeoff of specialized ``animal'' pieces versus building the animals out of generic bricks. And we were specifically discussing dragons, of course, since LEGO does make these in (mostly) one piece. To quote myself:

A one-piece horse or dragon almost maximizes strength and appearance, while almost minimizing generality (or maximizing specialization, if you like). (It doesn't go quite to the limit in any of those categories, nor does any other LEGO piece I've yet seen, hence the insertions of "almost.")

On the other hand, you could build the entire thing out of fairly generic pieces, hence (almost) maximizing generality, but then you'd either have to build it fragile (e.g. with neck and legs that come off too easily) or compromise severely on appearance in order to build it solidly enough.

I couldn't have asked for a better illustration. Cat Huse's dragon is made entirely (or almost entirely) of general-usage bricks, and it looks absolutely superb. The only drawback is it seems to be something you'd want to handle with care; that's the unavoidable tradeoff.

Giant Space Ship

I have a particular interest in this model by Gabriel D. Celis since I scanned in the photos myself. It's an example of what you can do if you use most of the pieces in a reasonable sized collection. It's hard to get a two- or three-color scheme then; one has to use the colors one has, but one can at least be creative and make a nice design of it. This ship has so many functional parts to it, it's hard even to identify them all. It's actually a mother ship for a fleet of smaller detachable craft, as well as having impressive engines of its own (note port and starboard color coding) and a large cargo bay with elegant doors.

Three views of the ship and its auxiliary craft are available: the top view (94K JPEG), the side view (63K JPEG) with several of the small craft visible separately, and the rear view (58K JPEG) including a partial view inside the cargo bay. See also Gabriel's detailed remarks (2K text) about the photographs.

Blue Mobile Crane

I've always been fond of toys that nicely emulate heavy machinery (such as construction or farm machinery). And there's something particularly pleasurable about the idea of building a nice crane out of LEGO. I was probably about seven or eight years old when I made my first attempt.

The blue mobile crane by Joe Lauher, on his Construction Toy Home Page (see further information below) is a paragon of this kind of model. Notice that the crane has four degrees of freedom: the boom can lift and extend and the cable can be retracted under the control of three cranks, and the entire boom platform rotates on the truck frame. The joint between the boom platform and the frame shows a classic answer to the problem of how to mate two large surfaces that must rotate against one another when the circular arcs found in LEGO parts are mostly of relatively small radius. (The answer is you build mating squares, and tolerate the corners jutting out when you rotate through less than 90 degrees. It looks great anyway if done in style, as this crane is.)

Super Super Car

This is something else altogether. Jacob Sparre Andersen provided this image of a ten-times-normal-size LEGO Super Car (181 KB JPEG image). (An alternative copy (71 KB JPEG image) is on the Danish server.) Look at the figure holding the driving wheel. That's not a minifigure, that's a real person. Wow!

Last updated Mon Sep 29 00:57:16 EDT 2003 .

From David A. Karr's LEGO Collection, by David A. Karr