Hi everyone! I’m Master Model Builder Rob, and today I’d like to share a few model building secrets. One of the most common models we build at LEGOLAND® is what we call a “Minilander.”

Minilanders populate Miniland, and they do everything from drive cars to ride bikes to live in houses, and more.  No two Minilanders are alike and making them unique is part of the fun of building them! Today we’ll be building one that looks like me, but once you understand the basics, you can build a Minilander that looks like anyone. Let’s get started!

I always begin building by sorting all my bricks, and making sure I have enough pieces to let my imagination run wild. For a basic Minilander, we will need around 36 pieces, though sometimes we add more for extra detail.



By starting to build on a base plate, we can make sure our pieces will always line up. Here, we start with our 1×2 plates, which will be the shoes of our Minilander.





Today we’re building a Minilander with pants, so we’ll add 1×1 bricks in the color our pants will be. If you want to build shorts, try using 1×1 round bricks for legs. Dresses are fun to build too, and you can use different bricks and slopes to build a fun flowing dress.





For our blue pants, we use 1x2x3 inverted slope pieces, which make the legs easy to build and strong.



Topping off the pants is a 2×3 plate. To fill in the waist section, we use a 1×2 plate underneath before sticking the 2×3 plate on top of the legs.


We’re going to make a brown belt with a gold buckle, so let’s make a belt-shaped layer of plates now. If you don’t want a belt, use another 2×3 plate in the same color as the pants to finish the lower body.


You can use two 2×3 bricks for a plain shirt, or any combination of plates to make a design. Some Master Model Builders can even make a flowered shirt using LEGO® Technic pieces and flower petal bricks! Since I love to wear striped shirts, let’s use a stack of red and white plates to make our Minilander shirt.



We like to use click-style hinges to make the arms, and Minilander arms are important to making expressions and postures. To make the shoulders, we use a 1×2 plate with a vertical stub.


Our shirt is completed by filling in between the shoulder plates with a regular 1×2 plate. The arms are started with 1×2 plates with a vertical fork on the end.

Next is one of the trickiest parts! For short sleeve shirts, take two 1×2 hinge plates and pinch and twist them to break them apart. Now push them back together after mixing up the ends. Make sure one is the color of your shirt and the other is the color of your skin.

Now we can build up the arms by attaching the 1×2 hinge plates. Long sleeve shirts can use single color hinges, and sleeveless shirts can use all skin colored hinges.

We’ll finish the arms by adding 1×1 clips for hands and 1×1 plates behind them. The plates are to make the arm muscles look bigger… I wish I could just make my real arm muscles big by simply adding pieces!


We start building the neck by adding a skin color “jumper” piece on the middle of the body. It’s called a jumper because it “jumps” a stud in between two other studs. It’s a very useful piece for adding small details to any LEGO model.


To begin the head, we’ll need another jumper and a 2×2 plate, in whatever skin color we’ve decided on. The jumper should be inserted into the bottom of the 2×2 plate, and it will be the Minilander’s chin when we’re finished.

We’re almost done! Let’s add the face and back of hair by using 1×2 bricks on top of the 2×2 plate. I have brown hair so that’s what I use, but I’ve made Minilanders with every hair color imaginable.

Let’s top off the hair with a 2×2 plate if you want the hair to look medium length. Short hair Minilanders use a 2×2 smooth tile instead of a regular 2×2 plate on top. In my next post, I’ll talk about how to build long hair, and THAT is a lot of fun!

Don’t forget the neck piece! For men, I use a 1×1 plate, because it gives a thick full look. For women and kids, I use a 1×1 round plate to give a more slender look.

When putting the head on, make sure it sits slightly forward of the center of the body, otherwise your body will look goofy! At this point, you can move your arms and head around to make whatever pose you want.

…And we’re done!

Brick regards,
Model Builder Rob