Around this time last year, UK master builder Warren Elsmore released his first book, Brick City, which featured photos of some of his most famous city based models including London’s St. Pancras station and the Olympic village, together with instructions on how to build some of smaller models. The format must have been a success because he’s back with a follow-up, this time called Brick Wonders.
As with the first book, this one starts off with a brief introduction and then some helpful tips on building techniques, where to find those tricky bricks and sorting and storing your collection. This last one made me incredibly jealous of Lego “Professionals” — seeing drawer after drawer of sorted bricks made me realise that it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever be able to build anything like these giant dioramas, so I’ll have to make do with looking at the pretty pictures!
The theme of the book this time is the Wonders of the World, and naturally it starts off with Lego recreations of the original seven wonders — The Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and finally the Lighthouse at Alexandria. Each one is fabulously detailed and the crisp photography does a great job of highlighting those details over several pages. Dotted amongst the photos are some facts about the wonder in question. In-between the original seven wonders, Elsmore adds some other, smaller, builds from similar eras including a Trojan Horse and a chariot and this is where the building instructions come in to play again. For us mere mortals the amount of bricks required for the dioramas would be next to impossible to obtain, but with luck the smaller models are just about do-able, albeit with a few colour changes.
From the ancient wonders of the world we move into the next section featuring Historic Wonders, filled with more large scale dioramas of places such as The Great Wall Of China and Machu Picchu (both looking ace in microscale), an exquisitely detailed medieval London Bridge (complete with a tavern and cows!) and a model of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat Temple that must be using most of the world’s stock of grey radar dishes and radiator grills. Bizarrely, this section also has the instructions to build the little Tuk Tuk model in my photo — hey, they’re popular in Cambodia! Even for this tiny build I to adapt the parts list with the bricks I had available, which kinda adds to the fun as you get to make the model your own.
The building plans get a little weird in the next section, based around Modern Wonders, with the first two being a syringe and an antibiotic pill capsule — but they are at least related to the miracle of modern medicine scene that opens the chapter! After that we travel down the Panama Canal, over to Mount Rushmore (not quite as detailed as the one in LegoLand) and on to a microscale Hoover Damn. Buildable models here include some batteries, a lightbulb, a wind turbine and the Ford Model T — which I couldn’t resist hot-rodding a bit! However, my favourite mode from the whole book has to be the iPad, er, sorry, “Tablet Computer!” I love the curved corners and I had to try and build it, even though I had to substitute so many of the bricks/colours to get there. I was especially pleased with my Maps, Photos and Music app icons. There are even instructions on how to build the Twitter bird icon.
The book finishes up with some Natural Wonders including a mosaic of the Aurora Australis and a beautiful version of the Great Barrier Reef that’s so chocked full of colour and feels so organic. A massive contrast to the nano-scale, pixelated, rendition of the Grand Canyon on the next pages that looks like it could have been made in Minecraft! After a whirlwind trip to Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay (more micro scale) via the Matterhorn (with a build able mini version) and the African Savanna (with Duplo animals!), the book finishes over Niagra Falls with hundreds of transparent studs and wedges forming the foaming waters and spray.
Brick Wonders is a wonderful combination of amazing photos of incredible builds and interesting plans to use as starting points for your own Lego adventures, and deserves a spot on your bookshelf!
Geekdad was provided with a copy of Brick Wonders for this review