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Building without instructions

I recently started building dimensions sets that I order on amazon without instructions. I usually open the sets with the rest of the mail and built the minifigs.  By about the third or forth set, I began attempting to build the vehicles/accessories using nothing but the pictures.  I start by dumping all of the pieces onto the table but then set one of each 1x1 aside since those are most certainly extras. When I eventually play the game, I compare my build to the official build. In a few cases I did everything exactly correct.  Most of the time there are a few mistakes but they are always in portions not visible in the picture. 

I recall doing this at least one before one a starwars polybag or planet set.  I generally buy/build larger sets but this type of building might prompt me to buy more polybags and small sets.

Does anyone else do this?  If so, what is the largest set you have attempted?  What is the largest set you have successfully build without instructions?


  • ricecakericecake Member Posts: 878
    I have not, but I know that @henrysunset (Tom Alphin) likes to do "box builds". For example, he built #21016 Architecture Sungnyemun (, 325 pieces) and #21022 Architecture Lincoln Memorial (, 274 pieces), as well as tries to reverse-engineer sets before they are released.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    We do it with Mixels. It makes simple builds more fun.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,270
    I dare you to try that with the Ghostbusters HQ :)
  • MattsWhatMattsWhat Member Posts: 1,643
    edited February 2016
    I do this with the CMF line.. ;)

    I love doing it with dimensions, but it is frustrating when there are parts you just cannot see!
    Architecture sets are nice ones due to the repetition meaning you can work out what is going on at the back (although the insides are still a challenge), I can't imagine doing it with a 250 piece 'traditional' set.
    Next up, in a sealed polybag without instructions using only the picture on the polybag!
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,780
    I rarely use instructions when building Bionicle figures I get in job lots. I've also done this before inside polybags- quite a fun challenge.
  • high5debrahigh5debra Member Posts: 16
    I now attempt to build anything under 100 pieces without instructions.  (polybags, SW/Chima battle packs, seasonal sets etc.)  I've also tried some of the Super Hero $20 sets.  I can usually get about 75% of it, and then need to resort to the instructions to get some of the inner workings.  It makes for a fun challenge.  Then I heard of someone on this forum who builds polybags in-bag.  That's my next challenge....
  • xwingpilotxwingpilot Member Posts: 799
    Building without pictures looks hard:
  • FauchFauch Member Posts: 2,712
    only did it with the tie advanced prototype polybag (I mostly buy big sets, so it would be hard to attempt) and built it with no mistake.
  • deephorsedeephorse Member Posts: 83
    I've done it with the Wonder Woman invisible jet from the Dimensions set.  It was discounted and I only bought it for WW because I don't play the game.  However building the jet from just a couple of pictures was a nice little challenge.
  • DevastatorDevastator Member Posts: 66
    That sounds like a fun challenge. Im going to try that with my lil AT-ST Im building tonight. As a kid, whenever i got a new set I'd build and tear it down until i could do it without instructions. I knew that sooner or later the instructions would be lost or destroyed. I probably couldnt that with some of the sets i have today.
  • FauchFauch Member Posts: 2,712
    @xwingpilot : well, the model is definitely too complicated
  • GalactusGalactus Member Posts: 260
    edited February 2016
    I dare you to try that with the Ghostbusters HQ :)
    If that's too easy, you could try something like the motorised AT-AT.
  • RomanticWarriorRomanticWarrior Member Posts: 248
    I just tried this for the first time with the Fire ATV. 

    Several years ago when I built the UCS Falcon, a non-AFOL coworker asked if I used the instructions to built it.  I'm pretty sure he wasn't joking =o
  • tomalphintomalphin Member Posts: 250
    ricecake said:
    I have not, but I know that @henrysunset (Tom Alphin) likes to do "box builds"...

    Thanks @ricecake for sharing my work!

    The largest set I completed in this way with only a couple superficial mistakes was #21024 / Louvre which has 694 pieces.  

    I made a few more mistakes on #21020 / Trevi Fountain, and #21018 / UN Headquarters.

    While I could get the exterior about right, I was stumped by the interior structure of both #21021 / Marina Bay Sands and #21023 / Flatiron.

    (I'm almost done building #21028 / New York City, but I'm not sure if I built the interior of One WTC correctly per the instructions.)
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