The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide is a fantastic guide and building instructions to help beginners and intermediate LEGO technic fans build their own vehicles and other related contraptions.
Ease of Understanding/Practicality 5/5
Additional Features 5/5
Pawel Kmiec is from Warsaw Poland and has been building LEGO contraptions for over twenty years with plenty of experience in both vehicles and the general principles discussed in his book. Pawel, he goes by the nickname Sariel on the internet but his name is pronounced Paul, has been tinkering with LEGO’s to build models and is Poland’s 2012 LEGO Ambassador.
If that does not give you an idea of how prolific he is with LEGO’s and building the fact that he is YouTube’s most-viewed LEGO Technic builder may show you how much he is into LEGO’s. Pawel Kmiec has published his first book on LEGO Technic building techniques and the book is a must have for anyone interested in branching out from the instructions that come in LEGO sets.
The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide starts you off with the basics of LEGO concepts that most kids get quickly but adults scratch their heads about when kids try to explain it to us. The guide moves along quickly into mechanics and motors then to advanced things like steering and suspension for vehicles and into motors and remote controls.
The book is really designed around the vehicles but many of the concepts work in any LEGO Technic building like the section on building strong that describes the do’s and don’t’s of building in regards to keeping your model in one piece. The book has interesting sections on pneumatics, I didn’t know LEGO’s even had air pressure stuff, and another section on electric motors and the Power Functions remote control system.
The guide gives you an in depth look at steering and suspension of both wheeled vehicles and tracked ones so you can get an idea of how to start on either types of vehicles. There is a section on transmissions and another on adders and subtractors which help you use more than one motor for a model to create realistic vehicles.
The book finishes up with models and how to design and build your own from real vehicles or just imaginary ones but it does not include any in depth instructions for full vehicles. The Unofficial Guide does include step by step instructions for those steering and suspension systems, transmissions and those two motor systems for a start on your own vehicles.
Sariel does not publish instructions for full vehicles as he just does not take the time to record the instructions when he builds things. He states that he is more interested in building than publishing his instructions and thinks that LEGOs are more for the imagination of each individual to create what they want.
I really like his book as it does not just include a bunch of instructions of what to make but gives both adults and aspiring kids an idea of where to start and lets them go from there on their own. The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide is a fantastic book but you do need to get some LEGOs to start your building and I wanted to see if a set would work with the book.
I wanted to see what I could do with this book and a LEGO set so I asked LEGO for Motorized Excavator kit 8043 to review along with the LEGO Guide. While this kit is going out of manufacturing you can still buy it or similar ones that have the Power Functions remote control system with motors along with a great assortment of parts to begin your adventure using the guide.
I did have to buy a few extra parts, notably the gear differential but these only cost about $2.50 each and are easy to find at Bricklink.com. BrickLink.com is a great website where you can find specific parts to buy at prices lower than LEGO sells them and you can buy from stores nearest to you.
The site is a bit hard to figure out the first time you go but there are forums and help sections to get you started but this is a great place to start your shopping trip. If your youth is interested in branching out in LEGO Technic’s a set like the Motorized Excavator is a must as it quickly gets you a lot of basic parts you need for building but first decide on tracked vehicles or wheels.
Sets are usually based on wheeled vehicles or ones with tracks so leaning one way or the other will decide on which type of set to go with for a starter. The book does only give you a start into building and gives the basics so you have to use your imagination and some thought to get the model completed.
I not only highly recommend The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide for anyone interested in LEGO Technics but think it is a must for those individuals who want to go anywhere beyond the set instructions. This is a must have book for youth wanting to really put those sets of LEGO Technics to use and find out what they can really do with their mind and LEGO’s.
Sariel’s Book @ No Starch Press
Sariel’s Book @ Amazon