30 October 2020

Forbidden Elementary: Sticker sheet cardboard box

Posted by Admin
Inthert (on Instagram) returns today with a wholly (and holey) different idea for a New Elementary post. Welcome to Forbidden Elementary, where we look at elements that aren't elements. Heresy!

Designed to withstand even the most enthusiastic play, the average LEGO® brick doesn’t typically require individual protective packaging. However, some of the more fragile, non-standard elements like rubber bands, string and cloth pieces need exactly that and so are placed in small cardboard boxes to keep them safe from factory to consumer.

This particular specimen comes from the Speed Champions polybag 30342 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo which was available for free with qualifying purchases from LEGO in June and August 2020. Unusually, it does not contain one of the vulnerable element types listed above; instead it protects the tiny sticker sheet from getting crumpled in the bag. Before diving deeper into the wonderful potential of cardboard LEGO elements, let’s take a brief look at the model itself because without it, I wouldn’t have embarked on this bizarre endeavour.

LEGO 30342 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo

Sadly, there’s nothing particularly noteworthy parts-wise. However, the 70 elements that do go into the Huracán are used efficiently with some nifty sideways and, in some places, upside down construction. I feel it doesn’t quite capture the wide, flat appearance of the real-life counterpart. 

That said, for a small 4-module wide build it’s just about as accurate as it can be. Then there’s the inclusion of the gold ink highlights which remarkably make the build seem bigger and more complex. Perhaps I’m just not used to seeing this colour outside of larger sets, much less a polybag!

And with all this hullabaloo about keeping the stickers safe, you might be wondering what they look like. 

But we’re not fussed about the stickers themselves, we’re more interested in the thing they came in - well, I was anyway!

The cardboard box in question (6295177) differs from the standard type seen in other sets since it does not have a perforated flap nor is it sealed shut with a tape strip. Instead it is secured by an arrowhead lock, thus freeing up the top panel for the four circular apertures. The size and spacing of which you may well recognise…

Assuming you just yelled: “Hey that looks just like DUPLO!” - you’d be right! In what can surely only have been an intentional decision, the cardboard box’s cutouts are indeed in line with the DUPLO building system!

Moments after discovering what I’m modestly calling the greatest crossover of the century, I had the crushing realisation that the sum total of my DUPLO collection is what’s shown here. Not wanting to be defeated by a piece of cardboard, I instead set about using the box in system builds – a far less limiting format for me!

Inthert's LEGO MOCs using cardboard


Starting simple with this warehouse vignette, I thought the card boxes would work just as well at minifigure scale. A few shelves, some brick-built boxes and a couple of workers complete the scene.

Ice Fishing

Time to raise the stakes or…erm...fish? on this crazy seed part challenge! The circular apertures and the blank colour of the cardboard prompted this inaccurate ice fishing scene. Inaccurate since the apparatus more closely resembles a caught fish drying rack rather than anything actually useful for catching them. I suppose the lesson here is not to expect real-world realism in LEGO builds centred around cardboard boxes! 


That sentiment is reinforced by my final creation which depicts the alien equivalent of a ‘whack-a-mole’ arcade game (the aliens call it something different though). 

Once again, I was inspired by the four circular cut-outs which this time around seemed ideal as a moon-like surface with craters to conceal the hiding astronauts.

And as a final treat, I even went as far as mechanising the spacemen’s movement - activated by turning a knob at the rear of the machine.

Hopefully my exploration of using this obscure element will cause you to look upon these boxes with different eyes next time you come upon one in a set – they can be far more than merely recyclable material if you’re willing to brave the scathing looks from those that don’t deem their use in MOCs ‘above board’. 

Be sure to let us know of other weird non-parts out there that would make for another interesting and lousy-joke-riddled ‘Forbidden Elementary’ article! 

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  1. OMG, I like your love of detail so much :)

  2. Very creative! I'll ponder usage before tossing these in the future.

  3. I love seeing this creativity!

  4. FFS Tom and his wonky connections...

  5. I was actually thinking I'd have had no way to tell that this was true, but then I just remembered that I own a handful of DUPLO event bricks, like the very first TRU Bricktober GWPs. I know I just pulled one of these out a set recently, but I can't remember which one, and I forgot where the box ended up.

  6. My personal naughtiest decision was to use two stickers to attach a 1x1 plate upside-down to another brick. 100% official Lego, 100% naughty.

    1. Wouldn't it suck to find out that a sticker-free, SNOT solution is actually possible?

      When I made my flying Ford Anglia from HP, the Whomping Willow set wasn't yet available. I needed a way to get the white stripe on the medium-blue doors, so I trimmed strips of white sticker border to do the job. I've also trimmed bits of the cellophane inner bags to boost the friction if an axle wasn't staying put (this was a particular problem with decorative bits that were attached to worm gears in Throwbot torsos).

    2. Hmm, I recall reading that a 4593 small lever could be placed between 2 1x2 plates, but I don't know about a 1x1 solution, could you cram a 36451c01 Infinity Stone between them or something like that?

    3. @Håkan S.:
      Depending on how robust a connection you need, there are a couple solutions I know of that can work with 1x1's. A 2L Technic axle has notches on the ends. Many 1x bricks have ridges formed inside them that these notches will lock into. There's also a really thick hose (5mm?) that's about as wide as a stud. The inner diameter is small enough that you can stuff a rigid 3mm hose inside. Doing so will expand the OD of the thick hose enough that it should grip the inside of the brick. I used this trick several years ago to make girls wearing poodle skirts (a 50's trend in the US). I used a jumper plate for their underpants, with a 3x3 radar dish for the skirt itself. The only torsos this works with are the 2nd gen design that has shallow ribs formed inside, which was used back when Paradisa was in production, but the domed shape of the radar dish made the connection highly unstable. So I came up with this trick to basically extend the stud all the way up to the shoulders. The rigid hose extends through the radar dish into the jumper plate's stud, and the thick hose fits over the portion that extends past the stud on the radar dish. The thick hose has a tight enough fit that you kinda have to work the connection to get it to fully seat. For 1x1 bricks, you'd probably need to counter-rotate them against each other while pressing them together until the bases touch.

      It'd be nice if TLC, or even some 3rd party custom part manufacturer, made something that's the diameter of a stud and twice as long as the interior depth of a brick, without a flange. Matching parts that are long enough to attach plates to bricks or plates to plates would be nice, but the plate/brick version would to be designed in a way that makes it easy to extract from a brick when you've only got the equivalent of a stud to grasp.

    4. If you are looking for compact SNOT techniques, swooshable.com has a ton.

    5. @Interstellar_1:
      I looked through them. Honestly, there weren't any that jumped out at me. A lot of my complicated SNOT construction is designed to just float in place, penned in by other elements. On my last completely new MOC, I've got four cheese wedges filling in gaps around the rear fenders. They're held in position from all six directions, but they aren't attached to anything. On the same truck, I did use a pair of The One Rings to complete a double stud-to-stud connection. Brackets can do wonders, too, depending on the space you've got to work with.

      I design many of my MOCs from the outside in, with MLCad. Once I know the shape of the space I have to work with inside, and what needs to be connected from which direction, I just start filling in the gaps. Fortunately, I'm good with geometry and puzzles, as my SNOT tends to require a lot of one-time solutions.