The LEGO Neighbourhood Book 2 review

The LEGO Neighbourhood Book 2 provides a volume of building tips and instructions for fans of the modular street building style

Author: Brian Lyles and Jason Lyles Publisher: No Starch Press RRP: £16.99 Available: November 6

One of the new releases for fans’ bookshelves, The LEGO Neighbourhood Book 2 is the second volume in the series. In this follow-up to the original, Brian Lyles and Jason Lyles provide a mix of photographed models and digitally produced instructions to demonstrate tips for building LEGO streets, or even as the title suggests, neighbourhoods.

The focus here is on building structures in the style of the Creator Expert modular series, following the format of sets such as 10243 Parisian Restaurant and 10246 Detective’s Office. There are some excellent buildings in the book, with highlights including the Caribbean Restaurant and the Art Deco Apartment. Some of the models are not modular, but are designed in scale with such buildings, including the excellent War Monument that would be right at home in a large minifigure scale layout. The building exteriors are represented through photographs only, rather than instructions, but for the most part this is all that is necessary.

Unfortunately, not all of the models in the book live up to the quality of the LEGO modular buildings. Taking Italianate Row House as an example, the trees and walls are rather rudimentary and will not impress fans who have built one of the official releases. While it could be argued that LEGO designers are liable to build the best models possible, evidence from the fan community shows that often it is dedicated hobbyists who produce the most intricate builds.

The LEGO Neighbourhood Book 2 cover

This book very much shines when it comes to the details, showing how to add intricate little minifigure scale elements such as the soda machine or frozen yoghurt dispenser. For some of these there are instructions, for some simply close-up photographs. They should certainly provide inspiration for those looking to furnish their empty modular buildings.

The LEGO Neighbourhood Book 2 works best when it focuses on the modular buildings, as it is going to be consistently useful to those looking to build a modern street. Towards the end of the book, the focus is lost, with the Gallery chapter diverting to other settings, and the Microscale chapter underserving the scale – a book dedicated to microscale is warranted rather than just a chapter. Thankfully, the volume ends on a high with full instructions for the excellent Corner Condominiums.

Fans looking to expand their own modular building techniques could do worse than adding The LEGO Neighbourhood Book 2 to their bookshelf. It contains some nice examples of minifigure scale buildings and some nice little accessory builds, despite including some material that feels like padding.

This book was provided for review by No Starch Press.

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Graham was the Editor up until November 2020. He has plenty of experience working on LEGO related projects. He has contributed to various websites and publications on topics including niche hobbies, the toy industry and education. Follw Graham on Twitter @grahamh100.

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