Cute little animals . A collection of animals I made. All with free building instructions (PNG, LDD, LDraw). . Update April 2013: you can now have these animals turned into an official LEGO set by supporting my CUUSOO project.
It all started with the sheep, roughly two years ago. I will not deny the obvious inspiration I got from Shaun the Sheep in general, and Shirley the fat sheep in particular.
Just like Shirley, the sheep can lower its head to reach the grass. The tail can be moved up and down, too. More photos and free building instructions, for all animals on this page, can be found on my BrickShelf. For parts management, check out my Rebrickable page.
I then set off to make this goat and a couple other animals, but was only really satisfied with the goat. Basically the idea was to use a different seed slope and/or a different SNOT technique for each animal. But I approached it completely backwards. I found myself building something — anything — first, and only then trying to classify the creature. ("This looks like, um, a cow? I guess...") So I ended up with a cow and a bison, I believe, or another goat; whatever. They didn't really pan out at all and were disassembled. A horse survived, but really didn't look anything like a horse either. I lost interest and forgot all about it.
Fast forward two years, I finally took the sheep and goat off the shelf and decided to try and pick up where I left. The donkey above and the cow below were the first additions to the collection. (Quite obviously, the seed part for the donkey were the ears.)
Again, the idea was to use a different seed part for each animal — or a different SNOT technique, tail, horns, eyes, you name it —, while still maintaining a consistent overall look and feel. Which included always enabling the head to move up and down, just like the original sheep.
The hippo was a milestone in that I finally started looking at photos of actual animals, rather than letting my phantasy run amok. And I think it showed.
Also, in retrospect, it was a good thing to let the project sit idle for two years, because LEGO put that time to good use and brought out a whole lot of all-new, extremely useful parts. To name but two painfully obvious ones, the 1×2 cheese slope and the 1×4 double curved slope. Without the latter the hippo right there simply wouldn't exist.
The giraffe came next. I fiddled around a lot trying to get the neck and the head right. An LDD screenshot documenting the tedious process can be found on my BrickShelf. In the end it was so simple and obvious. A eureka moment. In fact by this point I was up to full speed, making a new animal every day.
(I provide such "making of" screenshots for all models on this page; the sheep is an exception as it was designed completely IRL, start to finish. Back then, LDD wouldn't run on my machine anyway.)
Next there was the rhino. No fancy SNOT here or anything, and the body is very similar to that of the hippo, but obviously the real challenge here was getting the head right. Again, painfully simple once you're looking at the final result; but not so easy to get there, as the "making of" screenshot on my BrickShelf documents. (In fact, the original seed part was the 2×2 brick modified with curved top and two hollow studs — such an obvious choice, such a not-so-obvious dead end.)
The mountain goat is probably the model that bears the least resemblance to the actual animal. And yet, it's also one of my personal favorites. I don't know. I just like him. Don't judge me.
No collection complete without an elephant. As usual, the head moves up and down. So does the tail. The ears can flap and the trunk can bend. It went through the most redesign stages, too. LDD — actual bricks, LDD — actual bricks, rinse, repeat, forty times over. But I am satisfied with the outcome.
One final screenshot of them all. Yes, there's a tenth animal right there. And there are even more!