For anyone interested, here’s a beginner’s guide to building Lego birds. I’ll be showing you how to build my hepatic tanager model, and talking about some of the different building techniques used in my Lego birds to help you build your own birds. But first, the hepatic tanagers:
I’ll be showing you how to build the female one, but if you want to build the male one, the only real difference is the colors.
The rounding on these birds is inspired by the Lowell Sphere technique, which is one of the smallest and most effective ways to create a convincing sphere out of Lego:
There are many ways to build bird legs, and in this case I’ve used droid arms. They tend to work well on birds that have smaller legs.
Those little “rail” pieces are helpful for rounding the corners when the parts change direction (a major part of the Lowell Sphere technique) and you don’t have enough room to fit jumper plates in that space. And with that, now it’s time to build the top part of the bird!
Half-stud offsets are your friend. Here, it’s used to mount the head of the bird. Sometimes it works to just mount the head flat on the body of the bird like this, but often it’s better to mount the head on a hinge.
Since the top and bottom of the bird are both built studs-out, it needs a SNOT (Studs Not On Top) core to let you connect the bottom upside-down. This technique is one of the most compact solutions, taking up the height of only a single brick.
Joining the two halves of the bird’s body is the most satisfying part IMO ;)
There are loads of ways to build wings. In this case, the wings blend well enough with the bird’s body that simple rectangles with pointy ends work well enough, but other birds require a bit more shaping to the wings.
Using a jumper plate on the “chin” of the bird helps round it out a bit, sort of like a smaller version of the Lowell Sphere technique.
Here are some alternate techniques you can use on the inside of the bird, depending on what parts you want to use.
The hepatic tanager isn’t too complicated, but where this starts to get more challenging is when replicating birds with more fancy plumage, such as this blue jay, which is a lot more complex than the hepatic tanager.
Here’s an exploded view of the blue jay to get an idea of some other techniques you can use.