The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide


More copies on the way!

Filed under: — @ 7:56 pm

Who would have thought that my publisher would be doing another reprint so soon after the last one? Not me!

Wow… I have confirmed that sales were much better over the end of 2009 than we’d anticipated. That’s the good news. The bad news, for the moment, is that appears to be sold out. Please know that this is a very short term problem. A 9th reprint of The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide has been ordered and should be available soon.

Thanks to everyone who has helped in the past and who continues to support my book.


Masterfully crafted LEGO fire engine

Filed under: — @ 5:29 pm

If you’ve followed my blog at all over the last few years, or perhaps seen some of my models on Brickshelf, then you’ll already know that I LOVE fire apparatus modeled in LEGO bricks. When it comes to my own designs, I tend toward 4-stud wide models, as they remind me of the LEGOland series of kits from the 1970s.

However, I spotted this amazing fire engine on Brickshelf the other day and wanted to share it here. I love the detail and the overall look of realism that the builder has achieved. I would love to see a model like this released as an official LEGO set.


Ambient music with a little bit of a LEGO connection

Filed under: — @ 9:26 am

I read several Ambient music-related blogs each day. Yesterday, I spotted a link to some new music by Stretta.

I enjoyed the sample that was there. You can download the entire work from Soundcloud, just by following the link in the embedded music player.

Then I started browsing around Stretta’s blog and noted that there was a category for LEGO-related posts. Turns out, Stretta is also a LEGO fan. I thought that was cool.

Then… I looked around more and realized that Stretta also creates music as part of Archetribe. And I thought to myself that the name sounded kind of familiar. I checked my MP3 player and sure enough, I already had some Archetribe on there, that I’d downloaded from eMusic a year or so ago.

I love finding little connections like that in life… people you don’t know who you discover in one way, but later find out that you have other things in common or that they are somehow connected to something else that’s come into your life at another period of time. It’s a lot of looking for and identifying coincidences, but I enjoy it. :)

1/20/2010 updated

Filed under: — @ 9:22 am

It’s taken me a long time to get to, but I finally was able to clean up the front page of last night. It’s not a redesign or anything radical like that. Rather, I just got rid of a bunch of old ‘updates’ that were starting to feel a bit dated.

Hopefully the info that’s there now is more relevant and interesting to those wanting to find out more about The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide.


LEGO Club Donates Books to Local Library

Filed under: — @ 9:34 pm

I thought this story was very sweet. And take a look at the book behind held by the smallest child (near the middle of the table). Yes, that’s a copy of ULBG. :)


20 Famous Skyscrapers Reproduced in LEGO

Filed under: — @ 9:23 pm

Every so often I stumble upon a mention of my book on a website. Or I spot a model that someone’s made using techniques found in ULBG. But it’s not all that often I spot a pic of myself somewhere that I didn’t know it had been posted.

Here’s an interesting page, that includes a picture of me and my CN Tower model.

Some of the other models I’ve seen before, but several were new to me. I especially like the picture of Holger Matthes and his Stuttgart Television Tower.


ULBG continues to be enjoyed around the world

Filed under: — @ 8:43 am

A couple of times in the past few years, I’ve posted images taken from the website, showing a visual representation of where visitors to are coming from.

I took another look at the map function yesterday and was delighted to see the little markers covering the map from one side of the globe to the other.

Here’s what it looked like:

ULBG fans from around the world!


Another translation in the works?

Filed under: — @ 8:21 am

If you’ve stopped by this blog over the years, you may know that ULBG is already available in English, Italian and Romanian. I was contacted last week by publisher who is interested in releasing another translated version of it. I won’t tell you you which language it might be appearing in, because it may not happen, but I thought it was fantastic that after being in print for over four years now, that there was still such interest in the book.


Updates coming soon

Filed under: — @ 9:06 am

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I will soon be updating both this blog, and the website. Thanks for your patience!!


Personal Update - March 2009

Filed under: — @ 7:26 pm

If you’ve happened by this blog over the last year or so you may have wondered if I had fallen off the face of the earth.

Thankfully, I haven’t. :)

But it has been a busy and personally challenging year for me. I haven’t been as connected to the LEGO hobby as I wish I was, but don’t go looking for my collection of bricks to show up on eBay. That will never happen. I’m just in one of those periods that many adult builders go through where other parts of your life become your priority and sometimes your hobbies have to take a back seat for a while.

I do check my email daily, so if you have any questions or concerns about The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide please don’t hesitate to write me at: ULBG (at) apotome (dot) com.

In the meantime I want to say a sincere thanks to everyone who’s shown an interest, helped promote, or bought my book for themselves or as a gift. I thank you all for your support. It means a great deal to me.



Dealing with bad reviews - looking for some fresh ones!

Filed under: — @ 6:59 pm

For the 4th time in less than two months a less-than-flattering review has been posted for ULBG on

Now, before I go any further, let me first say that I’m a big believer in free speech. People should express how they feel, when those feelings are honest and sincere.

However…. it strikes me as odd that these recent reviews have been so negative when so many of the previous reviews for the book were much better.

The one thing I think some of these reviewers forget is that the Internet often provides two-way communication. It’s not just a means by which they can post their rhetoric and have it stick, no matter what. In fact, this blog (which gets cross-posted to the page for ULBG) and that page itself (by way of comments) provide a means for me to respond to these criticisms. And so I’m doing just that.

As noted, I believe people should speak their mind if they have a valid point to make. But what’s bothered me about some of these recent reviews is that the criticism is far from constructive and in some cases is downright laughable in its content. Take, for instance, one of my favorite recent examples:

“Is that all? An Ok book, but I was hoping that the author would go into greater details.”

Yup, that’s it. That’s the entire review. What I find ironic is that the reviewer complains that the book doesn’t go into enough detail but fails to provide any details about what details my book doesn’t go into! :)

The other thing that bothers me is when the reviews contain false or highly misleading information. Take, for instance, the review posted today (Mar 16, 2008):

“This book doesn’t have any diagrams or projects to build. It’s just a book that gives general advice, such as- have your lego organized so that you can build with it. It was a huge waste of money!”

The first sentence of this review is completely false. In fact, the book contains the complete instructions for a minifig scale train station, a sphere sculpture and a mini space shuttle orbiter. (And there are further complete model plans posted on my website ( It does, as noted, contain a lot of general advice, basic construction and engineering knowledge and yes, most definitely tips on organizing your LEGO collection. But the initial statement, made in the review, is not only misleading but it’s completely inaccurate. It’s as though this reviewer flipped through the book at a store, got what they thought was an idea of its contents, and wrote their review based on that. That’s the only explanation I can think of. Because if this person had actually read the book they’d have seen the instructions for the models I note above.

So to those reviewers I make the following suggestion… by all means, tell us how you feel about a book, good or bad. But please be prepared to back up negative comments with facts, examples and suggestions for improvement. Otherwise, your review simply serves to steer people away from a book that they might find they enjoy for reasons other than the misleading statements you’ve posted.

To anyone reading this, I humbly ask for your help. I’m hoping that some long-time fans of ULBG might take a few minutes in the near future to leave a review on to help offset some of these hit-and-run reviewers. (Note that of the last four, I have immediately commented to three of them and yet weeks later they have not taken the time or effort to respond. It’s sad that they feel justified in simply hurling mud at my book but aren’t prepared to stand behind their comments.)

I’m not looking for people to post unrealistically glowing reviews, but rather I’d really like to know what you liked about ULBG. Perhaps it would help to mention a few sections you found most interesting or useful after reading the book and by all means please do include suggestions for improvements. There may someday be a second edition of the book! :)

I put this request out there to all the ULBG readers who’ve contacted me, or who haven’t, and have read the book, since its release back in Sept 2005. It couldn’t have been this successful without you, and so it’s with great thanks in advance that I ask for your help now to keep the positive vibe alive for this little book.

For those of you who may be interested in leaving a review, here’s the link you’ll need to get started. Just scroll down to the section called “Product Details” where you see the sales ranking, release date and so on. There you’ll find the link that you click to leave a review.

Thank you very sincerely,
Allan B.


New podcast interview on LMALradio

Filed under: — @ 5:54 pm

Just when you thought you’d heard the last of me talking about ULBG…. along comes a new podcast interview. :)

I want to thank James from LMALradio for contacting me recently and setting up an interview. Actually, he contacted me in December but was patient enough to wait for me to get through the holidays and have a clear head for the interview.

The podcast is posted here if you would like to download and listen to it. James asked some interesting questions, including some I hadn’t been asked before in previous interviews.



ULBG back in stock at

Filed under: — @ 8:20 pm

It looks like the stock situation has been sorted out at…. so order away! :)

On a different note, this post marks the three year anniversary of this blog. Wow… where did all that time go?

All the best!


ULBG sold out on - more on the way!!

Filed under: — @ 9:27 pm

Well folks, this is one of those good news/bad news situations.

If you’re trying to order The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide on right now you’ve probably discovered that it’s currently sold out. From time to time Amazon has shipping/stock issues that make it appear that the book is sold out. This isn’t one of those times. It really is sold out. :)

In early November my publisher checked the stock levels and at the time, given the rate of sales, we were good to go for the Christmas season. But the fantastic success of Forbbiden LEGO lead to an unexpected renewed interest in ULBG as well.

So a 6th printing has been rush ordered and is on its way. But it will probably be two weeks or so before those copies will be shipping from Amazon.

In the meantime… I have a very (emphasis on VERY) limited number of signed copies that I can offer to sell directly to you. Of course, it’s probably too close to the holiday to actually get you a book by Christmas, but if you’re interested in one of these copies please email me at signedcopies (at) apotome {dot} com and we’ll see what can be done. :)

All the best!
Allan B.


geekdad blog posts ULBG review

Filed under: — @ 10:23 pm

I was thrilled to hear from John Baichtal last week. He let me know that he was working on a review of ULBG for the geekdad blog. I answered a few questions and told him how glad I was that someone was still interested in posting a review about the book.

I’m happy to report that the review has been posted and I think he had some really kind words to say about the book.

Check out this cool pic of the new cover art that he posted:

ULBG Cover Art from 5th printing onward




Filed under: — @ 4:36 pm

As some of you may know, one of my other hobbies (besides LEGO building, cycling, watching movies, listening to music, reading etc. etc.) is designing games. Not computer games, but rather I prefer to design traditional board, tile and card games. In fact, ULBG features one of my games as an example of how you can use LEGO as a medium to create a game that is fully playable. I’ll write more about that game in another post.

In the meantime I wanted to share with you a link to a site called Game-it-Yourself!. It consists (among other gaming-related info) of lists of games that are free to download and print out. I was searching through the lists this morning and was pleasantly surprised to come across one of my own games there. :) That games is Triangulate and was created for a contest way back in 2001. Yikes! Remember when that was still at the beginning of the “new millenium"? LOL

I realize, in looking at the page, that the formatting is messed up for the board layouts. I will dig around and see if I can find the original graphics that were supposed to go along with those rules. If I can find them, I’ll post them here.



Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

Filed under: — @ 8:19 am

I thought this was an interesting movie tie-in:

Mr. Magorium's Big Book

Here’s a link to the page for the LEGO product.

And here’s a link to the movie itself, starring Dustin Hoffman.

I don’t recall the LEGO set getting much press… at least I don’t remember seeing it show up in any of my Google news alerts over the last few weeks and months.

But the movie looks fun. The set looks very interesting. So we’ll see what happens. :)



RailBricks magazine released

Filed under: — @ 8:16 am

Check out this posting on LUGNET announcing the arrival of RailBricks magazine.

According to Senior Editor Jeramy Spurgeon, “RailBricks is a dedicated LEGO® Train Hobby Magazine similar to Model Railroader. Each issue will strive to advance the LEGO® Train Hobby by providing a FREE online publication created by LEGO® Train fans that focuses on various aspects of the LEGO® Train Hobby.”

It’s good to see more writing about the LEGO hobby finally starting to emerge. I have said before, and continue to believe, that this hobby is lacking when it comes to the amount of writing that represents it. Most hobbies (model trains, coin collecting, quilting, water color painting etc. etc.) often have not just one but several monthly printed magazines and shelves full of books in the library related to the hobby. So I’m glad to see new LEGO-related books and periodicals appear as I think it helps build the hobby as a whole. :)



Urban cycling

Filed under: — @ 9:47 pm

I have been meaning to post more about my thoughts on/experiences of cycling, but in the meantime here’s an interesting article about ‘city bikes’. Note specifically, the mention of single speed rides. If you haven’t tried one… what are you waiting for?

More cycling notes to come, I promise!



LEGO Big Rig - Cool tires, lotsa pieces, great price

Filed under: — @ 9:08 pm

OK, the title of this post sounds like a commerical, I admit that.

But have you seen this new set (#4955):

LEGO Big Rig

I happened to see it in a local store today on my lunch hour. Check out the product page on for more details. Specifically, look at the price and how many pieces are included. If you ask me, I’d say that’s a really good value. And those tires! Six very cool, well-sized wheel/tire sets. I might just have to pick one of these up come pay day. :)


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