Hot New Book Shows How To Create Working Firearm Replicas From LEGOs

LEGO Heavy Weapons CoverGunLink recently got our hands on a copy of a brand new book by 17 year old British LEGO-whiz Jack Streat.  Why am I talking about toy bricks on a firearms website?  Because the book is LEGO® Heavy Weapons: Build Working Replicas of Four of the World’s Most Impressive Guns, an instruction manual on how to create realistic model firearms from a popular children’s toy.

If you like guns and you were ever a child with building blocks, chances are good that you may have fashioned those blocks into crude L-shaped “guns” to battle make-believe bank robbers or other bad guys.  Rest assured that Jack’s creations are NOT those crude L-shaped chunks of plastic!

You may have already seen some of Streat’s creations on the internet; he posted his first LEGO gun online several years ago at the age of 13 and has kept it up ever since, sharing pictures, instructions, tips and videos which have been a big hit with LEGO enthusiasts and gun-geeks alike.  His YouTube channel boast nearly 17 million views, including his working LEGO AK-47 with over 3.3 million views alone.

As if it weren’t plain enough just from looking at the pictures of Jack’s creations, the book’s introduction drives home the point that he clearly possesses a sharp, creative mind and sound engineering principles.  Along with some of his personal background, the author describes his methods, extolling the benefits of modular design and detailing his use of CAD (computer aided design) software throughout the process.

In the book, Streat provides complete parts lists, photos and instructions to create (mostly) accurate 1:1 scale replicas of four firearms: a Desert Eagle with working blowback action, a AKS-74U carbine with folding stock, a bolt-action Lee Enfield rifle and a pump action SPAS combat shotgun.  Each replica also has an introductory section, providing background information on its real-life counterpart as well as design history for the model.

The book, however, is not without its own small amount of controversy.  It seems that, in this zero-tolerance world where children are suspended from school for making a “finger gun,” there is some handwringing over the idea that a youngster might build *gasp* a model gun.  Never mind the fact that LEGOs have a large adult following and some are even used in college level engineering curriculums.  This concern even drew attention from the NRA-ILA.

One reviewer of the book at an online bookseller commented that he was impressed with the quality and detail of the book but that he had to “take pause at the content” due to the subject matter, fearing that the book would “glorify guns and make them cool.”  The reviewer went on to express his concerns over the appropriateness of for younger children.

Another individual, apparently upset and saddened by the book, posted online that he contacted LEGO about the book and received a reply from the company in which they stated that they are “always disappointed to hear [their] LEGO® sets are being used in this way.”  Evidently The LEGO Group doesn’t share the amicable feelings expressed by Streat in his acknowledgments section.

It seems to me that the type of person, regardless of their age, with the interest, creativity, ambition and patience to amass the bill of materials and follow the intricate instructions to build such a detailed mechanical model (and enough sense not to put the bricks in their mouth and choke while doing so) would have a rational enough mind not to be driven to violence by what amounts to a technical manual.

As far as parental concern goes, however, it should be noted that many LEGO bricks are small and that these replicas are made of and fire those bricks, which may pose a choking or eye-putting-out hazard.  As such, the parts, building process and final product perhaps should not be left to small children without parental supervision.

The book itself is a sturdy 8×10″ number whose 368 pages come in at nearly an inch thick and weighing 2lbs.  The pages are of thick matte paper that shows the diagrams clearly and will stand up to plenty of thumbing through as you build the models or flip to instructions for replacing a worn part.  The book also features a special binding which allows the book to lay flat on its spine without losing your page or sneaking shut while your hands are occupied building the models.

The title seems to be quite popular.  Although the book just began shipping earlier this week, as of this writing, No Starch has a notice on the book’s info page stating that, due to high demand, they have run through their first batch of inventory and that current orders may experience a brief 4-5 day delay as new stock is on the way.

LEGO® Heavy Weapons (No Starch Press, May 2012, 368 pp., $24.95, ISBN 9781593274122) is available for order from most major book retailers or directly from No Starch Press, which offers 30% off with the promo code ARMORY.

See the book’s promotional video here.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Since posting his first LEGO gun online at age 13, Jack Streat has played an influential role in the LEGO weapons builder community. In his spare time, he modifies guitars in a never-ending quest to make them as loud as possible. Streat is 17 years old. This is his first book.

ABOUT NO STARCH PRESS
Founded in 1994, No Starch Press publishes the finest in geek entertainment—unique books on technology, with a focus on open source, security, hacking, programming, alternative operating systems, LEGO, science, and math. Our titles have personality, our authors are passionate, and our books tackle topics that people care about. Visit www.nostarch.com for a complete catalog.

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