A couple of months ago, LEGO launched a site called the Ideas Test Lab, to test some new features that I assume might eventually make their way to the main Ideas site. As part of the Test Lab, they ran a challenge to build a ‘fourth model’ for some of the LEGO 3-in-1 Creator sets.
I really enjoy the challenge of building alternate models for LEGO sets. It brings me back to when I as a child, building with a limited selection of parts, relying more on imagination rather than trying to build a polished model. It also makes you think a little more about how to use certain pieces, to get the most out of what limited number you have. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to participate.
Modern Creator sets are actually pretty good for designing alternate models. They typically have a good selection of useful parts related to the type of set, and a unified colour palette. Much better than, say, a super heroes set that might have more specialty pieces and a bunch of minifigs. Of course, coming up with a good idea of what to build is usually the hardest part for me. In the end I built 1 alternate model for each of the sets in the challenge. You can see them all below, along with some notes on their construction. I also put together instructions for anyone interested in building them.
Mountain Goats and Vulture
These were built from 31058 Mighty Dinosaurs. I started out trying to build some sort of robot, but after randomly trying out some pieces for a head, I realized it looked very much like the head of a mountain goat. I built the large goat first and thought I was done. Then Kristal came by and suggested I built a kid to go along with it. With the leftover small pieces I was also able to build a vulture to hang around with them.
Built from 31057 Air Blazer, this is a micro scale, single pilot, spacecraft, which I envisioned as being for research, exploration and scout missions. I really like the teardrop shape of the body and how tightly the angled wings mesh with it. With the leftover pieces I was even able to design a stand for it.
I really wanted to build something other than a vehicle from 31056 Green Cruiser, but in the end my creativity failed me, and I ended up with a large scale motorcycle. Once I embraced what I was building, it came together pretty quickly, and I’m pretty happy with the final result. I focused more on the shaping of the bike, rather than functionality.
The smallest set was 31042 Super Soarer, with just 100 pieces. I really didn’t want to build another flying ‘thing’ from this set, and ended up building a robot. Its limbs don’t move very much, due to the limited selection of hinge or joint pieces, but I was able to add some nice details to its torso and head. With the leftover pieces I was even able to build a landing pad or the Gnat, which you can see in the video.