Tree and Bough Building–Basics for My Friend George

Hi, dear followers. This is an instructional post that will only interest beginners in building trees and absorbing the basics of what I have learned. They are for a friend, George, my boss, he who inspired the best tree I’ve ever made.

Let’s begin.

Standard blocks criss-crossed to lock them with a bottom and roof plate to secure the base of the simple trunk. One plate equals one third of a brick, which helps with locking, the Lego term for overlapping supporting bricks or more often plates to secure and “lock the piece,” securing it even if it moves, as my boughs do.

Next slide. Adding the large bough sections, which themselves are optional but nice to broaden the spread and reach of your boughs as they transform from brick to interlocked plates. A brick is the depth of three plates.

Some parts we’ll use. Not all, just a sprinkling of good ideas for parts that will work.

Adding the brick foundations of strong, stout boughs. Just the black-and-brown staircase pieces this frame. They widen the reach of the tree and in combination with poseable curving boughs give the appearance of near sphere-like shape. We’ll attach the plate-‘based extensions of the boughs as they thin out from here in the frame after next.

Filling in the 1×2 brick spaces so the tree trunk doesn’t have gaps. Maybe leaving them out would be effective. Hmm. But we fill the gaps in for aesthetics, and to create a wide surface we can lock by placing wide plates across the dividing lines between the bricks of our trunk. That’s our next step.

There we have it. The two bricks on the side, in reverse colours, are laid over top of the bricks of the trunk to bind them together and make of a toy a more permanent sculpture. Some spaces are not covered, but I’m leaving them because I might attach a short bough piece inside one of the spaces. Don’t know. It’ll be okay with this level of coverage.

Sloped bricks. These fasten over 2 plates, not three, and so are useful for locking down elements 2 plates deep. The black bough staircase piece has become two plates deep with the addition of a single brown plate across its bottom rung, subtracting one level from the next step in staircase. That leaves two levels for the sloped brick to fasten to the base brown plate.

See how they reinforce the security of the black staircase brick?
The pieces of our moving bough! They don’t actually quite work in this formation, but it’s close. Let’s show you how to add them. You’ll need to study what you’re looking at.
A 1×3 upward sloping bough brick locked to the black staircase piece below sees a 1×3 attached to the tip of the brown bough brick. Above it another 1×3 to secure it. The 1x3s add the structure and the pinch (fasten/lock) onto of the 1x4s or longer plates for longer boughs.

After fastening the projecting 1×3 plate and the extending 1×4, we close and lock, or pinch the 1×4 with another 1×3 on top (topmost brick). Congrats. You’ve learned one technique for creating moving Lego models. Fun steps ahead and some practice.
Look at the fun you can have. The bough can fork, in twain, or in three, as the bough above in the photo does. Notice the criss-cross support system of 1x3s that hug/secure the longer 1x4s and longer boughs. In the above bough, notice how a single 1×3 (on the top of the bough) secures not one but two other boughs? That’s how you get a tree with a full spherical appearance. Remember: secure, secure, secure. Lock, lock, lock. Now for some real fun! Adding foliage.
Lovely random shapes for foliage are best.
Don’t panic. There’s nothing to this stage. You decorate the tree like a Christmas tree and add foliage bricks on top of the brown bough, contacting as many studs as possible so few leaves fall off of the work if it’s in transport, as mine frequently are. The leaves are changeable as your mood, as are the moving boughs. So enjoy your ever-changing tree!

George’s tree, called properly with his full name the George Stavropoulos Tree. A masterwork of impressionism. Most bough’s move. Thank you all for reading. I hope this opened a creative door for you. Mark Stanski

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