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Book Review: LEGO Heavy Weapons: Build Working Working Replicas of Four of the World’s Most Impressive Guns by Jack Streat

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I have to admit to an initial bit of trepidation in regards to No Starch Press’ LEGO guns series. The first one I came across had the irresistible title of Badass LEGO Guns, and the book turned out to be exactly what it was advertised to be. I even wound up building one of the guns (which shoot LEGO bricks by the way), with my son. So when I heard about the new, provocatively titled LEGO Heavy Weapons: Build Working Replicas of Four of the World’s Most Impressive Guns by Jack Streat, I just had to have it.

The four guns in question here are the Desert Eagle pistol, plus three rifles; the Jungle Carbine, AKS-74U, and SPAS 12. All three of the rifles actually shoot LEGO bricks, and it looks like they could do some damage. They may not be lethal, but I imagine getting shot by one would most likely be a fairly painful experience. The warning on the back says that the models are not suitable for children under 12, which is sensible enough. But the most pertinent warning states “Be particularly careful when handling these models in public, because they can be mistaken for real guns.”

This last little piece of advice is the one to take to heart. For those of us who grew up making various, simple models out of LEGOs, the idea of building a realistic looking gun out of the bricks may seem a bit implausible. But with Mr. Streat’s detailed instructions, these guns really do look like the real deal, and one would be well advised to be to heed his warning.

LEGO Heavy Weapons is an incredibly detailed 356-page book. The author has taken great pains to lay out everything one would need to build these guns. In doing so, he has made it possible for even for the most novice LEGO enthusiast to succeed. Each section begins with a “Design History” chapter, in which he explains the overall “big picture” of just exactly how he came up with the various LEGO configurations used for each component of the weapons. To simplify the building process, he has broken down each gun into “modules,” such as the trigger, pistol grip, magazine, stock, and all the rest.

Thankfully for those of us who are novices in the world of LEGO construction, the book includes a plethora of photographs. These are extremely useful, for they not only perfectly illustrate just exactly what each individual piece looks like, but how it all fits together in a step by step manner. While it is not my intent to compare the previous Badass LEGO Guns book to LEGO Heavy Weapons, I must say that the detailed approach of Heavy Weapons is very impressive.

I would expect nothing less from the No Starch Press publishing house though. Their motto “The Finest in Geek Entertainment” is no mere boast. “Fun” is the best one-word description I can offer for what they do, as a visit to their catalog, amply demonstrates.

For those interested in building some of the most impressive LEGO guns ever, LEGO Heavy Weapons is a must. It is also written in a most inviting style, as Jack Streat brings a very personal touch to his descriptions of the guns themselves, and the entire process he went through in coming up with the finished product. There is also a site listed on the final page for the reader/builder to visit ,for “Updates, errata, and other information.” Click here to check it out.

Although I initially got interested in the whole LEGO gun subculture as something of a lark, I quickly discovered that this is a very real, and very cool scene. LEGO Heavy Weapons is much more than a simple curio, it is an excellently designed, and thoroughly informative piece of work which I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in such things. From one geek to another, I must say that this is a most impressive book.

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