20 May 2020

Iron Builder: Thomas Jenkins' stud shooter techniques

Posted by Admin
We have another Iron Forge contestant from the Iron Builder challenge revealing their LEGO® techniques for you today: Thomas Jenkins (on Flickr and Instagram), a Welshman living in Japan who has been building with LEGO for over 20 years. Last week in Round 3 the seed part was part 15391, the Minifigure, Weapon Gun, Mini Blaster / Shooter. 

On my first assessment of the Stud Shooter piece, there were two ways to use it in a model: take advantage of the bar that sticks out at an angle from the barrel of the shooter, or utilize the gaps and recesses that are usually used to house the accompanying trigger element.

Techniques using the angled bar of LEGO Mini Shooter With Ø3.2 Shaft, Design ID 15391

The angle of the bar meant that when used in conjunction with more shooters, it was quite easy to reproduce something akin to a spider’s leg. 

The shooters are connected quite simply with a 1x1 round plate with hole. The spanner seed part from the previous round also found its way into this model!

While experimenting, I made a pleasing almost-domed roof by pairing the seed part with the new minifigure posing stand (65578) found in the DC Super Heroes collectible minifig series.

Here is a breakdown showing a triangular segment and how I connected four of them to create the dome. 

I think this technique would be useful to recreate the roof of an Asian inspired temple, shrine, or house as the result is reminiscent of the traditional kawara roof tiles commonly seen in Japanese architecture. 

Looking at ways to exploit that angled bar not only lead me to spider’s legs but also the thrusters of a retro rocket and the mandibles of a Star Wars-inspired helmet. I’m usually a Star Wars builder but I’ve been enjoying the opportunity the Iron Forge contest has given me to build a little out of my comfort zone! 

Utilising the gaps in the LEGO Stud Shooter

The cut-outs in the ‘barrel’ of the shooter definitely had potential use in a MOC. I’d seen the small hole on the bottom of the shooter used as a doorway in microscale castle MOCs. This led me to the idea to build a small scale Tower of Orthanc, where I used as many of the stud shooters as I could to mimic the texture and details of the imposing monolith.

I also used the negative space of the shooter in my little samurai figure. I inserted a 3L black lightsaber bar between the two shooters to add depth and bring out the shape of the mouth. 

My original idea was to use two more shooters as nostrils, but rather than shoe-horning more of the seed part into the build, I used a helmet from a Star Wars Imperial Guard minifigure which gave the figure a look not unlike that of the mythical Japanese tengu.

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All images are © Thomas Jenkins.


  1. Wow, very clever. I love how you managed to fit what looks like 25 stud shooters into that Orthanc build alone. Very good!

  2. ...

    I may just have facemasks on the brain, but I clicked on this totally expecting to see a facehugger.