Cadillac ATS


A while ago I decided I was going to do a proper new school supercar. Something with all the features that are to be expected in the LEGO Technic Community. You know what they are; suspension, a gearbox, opening doors, a working engine, steering, and something fast looking. Probably red. It was time to test my chops and throw my hat into the ring.

The full gallery can be viewed here, and instructions may be purchased for $9 USD.

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Cadillac ATS

It has been a long time since I have built a supercar. While I enjoy many of the cars others make, I long for exceptional creativity in suspension design, gearboxes, and body style. It was time for me to build another one and contribute to these areas. About two years ago I set out to create a six speed gearbox that would have a more realistic gear change movement. I tried linkages, springs, and so many gears. In a bit of a breakthrough, I offset the two outside changeovers vertically by 1/2 stud. This allowed for the changeover lever to connect all three changeovers as it rotated from a single center pivot point. Once this design was completed, it needed a home.

ATS Transmissions

I have a preference for sedans rather than coupes. Plus too many two-door supercars have been created. Forgive the slight nationalism, but I thought it would be fun to do an American sports sedan, so a Cadillac was the best choice since the demise of my beloved Lincoln LS. The ATS was new, and at the scale would be a little more manageable than the CTS. I worked a little on the scale of the car. Some parts would be a challenge to convey the look, but I was ready to start building.

I started with the front suspension. The new suspension arms allowed for a short/long arm setup. The two different arm designs allowed for a increasing negative camber as the suspension moved through its travel. Additionally, the pivot points on the steering hub allowed for a kingpin inclination to provide an improved caster angle. Finally, I added Ackerman geometry to the steering link. After some work mounting the suspension, and the rack and pinon steering, I had the front suspension done.

ATS Front Sus

The rear suspension was more simple, but still had some unique features. While the real ATS uses a 5 link setup in the rear, I was not too impressed with the results I came up with as too much flex was found at the wheel. I started with a transversely mounted limited slip differential that I have used before. This connected directly to the two half-shafts for the rear wheels. I applied a short/long arm setup for the rear suspension so the tires would keep their contact patch as the body would roll through a corner. Like the front, this created increasing negative camber as the suspension moved through its travel. Normal in real cars, not often replicated in LEGO.

ATS Chassis

Tying all of these parts together was a little bit of a challenge. I wanted the steering wheel to be connected to the steering as well as a HOG knob on the dashboard. In addition, the doors, trunk, and hood should all open. Naturally, the car had to have a spare tire, and various engine options which could be easily removed. The chassis had to be stiff enough for the suspension to function well. Packing this all together took some time. About 9 months, but who is counting?

ATS Left Front

But what took the most time was the body work. This is the part for which I have little motivation, and the important part that would identify the car as an ATS. I had a lot of work to do. And my palmares have not trained me well for this task. After major parts were placed, and the dimension were set (37 stud Wheelbase, 60 stud Length, 25 stud Width), I worked on one section at a time. As the front bumper was part of the chassis, this part was developed early. As did the rear bumper. The headlights are unique for the ATS, so this was done early as well. After the roof was placed I worked on the trunk, which came together rather easily. I worked on the hood of the car, and after two designs I was happy with the result. I then worked on the grill, and after tinkering with a couple of SNOT techniques, I was able to get most of the distinctive Cadillac grill in my design.

Cadillac Grillz

Then off to the doors. I made seven designs. Most sedans these days have various creases that identify their sedan as different than any other sedan. You will notice the ATS has two, one on the bottom that rises slowly to the rear, and one midway up to the windows that moves along the length of the car from the hood to the trunk. The top line was accomplished by having the angle for the windows start a little lower on the front door and higher by a 1/2 stud on the rear door. The bottom crease was added by attaching some angled plates to the bottom of both doors, which cant slightly inward. Finally, both doors have an upper pivot point that is 1/2 stud inboard to bring the upper part of the doors toward the center of the car. Once I got a design I liked, I had to bring it all together to make sure everything fit well. I adjusted the roof, modified the hood, tightened up the dashboard connection to the doors, and made some changes to the rear quarter panels. There were still some areas where improvement could be made, but I was running out of ideas. I was pleased with the result. Pleased enough to say I was done.

All in all, I was pleased with the result of the car. As this is my first studless supercar, I was happy with how it turned out. The functions were up to my standards, and nothing was compromised as the car came together. While I was overwhelmed with the bodywork, I was pleased with how it turned out. Because it took me a long time to get it to work, it may be a long time before I do another one. I was happy I did a sedan, and hopefully a new moniker can begin in the LEGO community. #supersedan.

Happy Building.

 

2014


Another year comes to a close here at Thirdwigg.com. A lot happened this year. Let’s recap. 2014 started with Thirdwigg Jr., it continued with Brickworld, and the addition of some projects that were not part of The Queue. I moved (without the loss of any LEGO elements I might add). It also included one of my MOCs being published in a book. It was a year that was a little more prolific than I had originally planned, while some of the MOCs I planned were not completed. As a recap, I completed the 8081 RT, Iveco XTR, JCB 714, Business Card Holder, Hawker Typhoon Ib, Silly Fat Penguin, JCB 531, Octan F1, Kenworth T47, and Updated 8386.

Here are some reflections. I built my first animal and it was a fun project. The Octan F1 turned out much better than I would have expected. The Typhoon was much better than the Spitfire, and it worked very well. I very much enjoy the small projects, but I learned this last year. I find these projects challenging for the driveline, and for the space constrictions. Also I find the bodywork frustrating as MOCs get larger. This may be part of my adversion to supercars.

My photography and productions skills need to improve. This will take some time, but hopefully I can learn some new skills to make this better. It is good to remember what I haver learned and accomplished in the last ten years. That time has flown by.

The Queue has been a fun addition to this blog. It keeps me motivated, and allow me a space to document ideas. OK, I also have a Google spreadsheet, but that’s a little like a mind dump, so I do not need that here. Plus I can add additional pictures there, and that’s always fun.

For 2015, here are some new goals. Last year, there were some large projects that were planned, and some were smaller and developed organically. While it is good to set some goals, allowing for some space for other ideas to work in is a good idea.

I started the Cadillac ATS 11 months ago. It needs to be done.

Finish the MD600. It’s close.

Create a small scale all-wheel drive car.

Design another working forklift.

Build another tank.

Make a midicar and make it power function driven.

Create a complicated trial truck.

Complete another garbage truck. I’m looking forward to this. I love garbage trucks.

Again, two small projects with about 500 pieces. Most likely manual functions, and one will be yellow. We’ll see what pops into my mind. I take suggestions.

Here’s to 2015. Happy building.

Top 14 of 2014


For the last couple of years I have done a recap of the year for my own creations. While this is a good way to reflect and to plan, it is also a little narcissistic. So to celebrate the MOCs of the community here the rundown of the Top 14 creations for 2014 as judged by Thirdwigg.com. Here is how I evaluated the MOCs:

Was the MOC something creative? Basically, was it something different than a red supercar, or a yellow truck/machine (even though there are a couple on the list)?

Did it contribute a new build technique to the community? Did we learn how to transmit movement in a new and unique way?

Was it something I found myself returning to frequently? I build at lot, and others inspire my builds. Did I see something this year that I incorporated right away?

Was is visually appeasing? It takes work to make a Technic MOC look good. Granted, this is subjective, but I think my eyes are generally consistent with the eyes of others.

Here we go.

14. TATRA 813

Madoca is well known in the community for his creative designs, compact functions, and accessible builds. As a lover of trial trucks, this build made me perk up. A classic truck, with all the functions needed, and a clean body. What else do you need? Instructions? Well those are available too.

Madoca TATRA 813

13. Custom 4×4 Pick-Up

This one came out a couple of weeks ago, but should be added to this list. TLG has done some great work in recent years adding a number of technic parts that are a color other than red or yellow. This has allowed for some colorful MOCs. This truck uses white to great effect, and the yellow as a highlight on the truck is great. Also, that blower is done in a tasteful way. I am looking forward to seeing more from Lucio.

Custom 4x4 Pickup

12. VW Bug/Bus

Another popular builder, Sheepo has created incredible works. What is attractive to me about this build is the amount of work needed to make two interchangeable cars. Granted, VW made this task more simple by creating the Bug and the Bus as fairly mechanically interchangeable, but still the work is great. And it’s the VW Bug, and the VW Bus. Who doesn’t like that?

Sheepo Bus Bug

11. Eurobricks Mini Contest

OK, this is not so much a MOC as a group of MOCs, so maybe I am cheating a little here. In addition to being a fiercely contested contest, this provided so many great ideas for small builds, tight solutions, and simple mechanics. I loved this build, and this build, and this build, and on and on. It forced me to build in a completely different way. I will be using great ideas from this contest over and over again. Eurobricks, keep it up, these are the things the make the community better.

Ladybird

10. Tiger

The community has a lot to owe Sariel; books, many MOCs, publishing tutorials, online tools and more. While everything he does is well done, only some of his MOC truly blow me away. I have a thing for WWII German tanks, and adding all the functions together takes a skilled builder. But what sets this MOC above of his others for me was the attention to detail on the bodywork. Look at that turret. How about those cooling fans? A Fabuland shovel !?! These are the kind of builds that make him great. Now I’m waiting for that promised Mustang to show up my Spitfire and Typhoon. Your move Pawel.

SONY DSC

9. Hertz Rental Truck

I noticed Marat‘s creations last year, and I had the pleasure to meet him at Brickworld. At Brickworld he walked me though the build, the challenges he experienced, and the features of the MOC. Everything works seamlessly, all the features you would expect are there, and the build is truely stunning to behold. Seeing this picture makes me think I’m back in Chicago.

Marat Penske

8. Impreza WRX

If you have not heard of Pipasseyoyo, stop living under a rock. First, it is a Supercar, and everyone like one of those. Second, it is not red. Third, the suspension is truly unique. Four, and this is what sets it over the top for me, try to find a part of this build that is parallel to the “LEGO Cube.” Not one part of the body is parallel to the X, Y, or Z axis. Everything is set off some axis; some at two; that part under the headlights is at three. Look at how those doors are canted upward. Look at that D pillar. How do you come up with that? Fascinating.

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7. Saxo WRC

Beside being one of the more fun LEGO videos of 2014, this MOC portrayed a new approach to suspension design. The rear suspension lacks a differential, but manages to have a fully independent setup on the rear driven axle. All between 15 studs of width. In the increasingly motorized Technic community, this MOC prioritizes propulsion rather than appropriate wheel speed. You will notice the lack of a differential if you are wheeling your run of the mill 8081 on your house carpet, but if you want to make a small car run the trails outside your house with a buggy motor this is your setup. I liked it so much I used it once, and plan to use it again. It’s an amazing design. Try it for yourself.

Saxo

6. Arado 196

I frequent the French Forum Techlug.fr frequently, and I’m happy I do. I catch great little builds like this. They seem to have a number of great airplanes that pop up frequently. It is hard to do an airplane build well, so when I see one that turns out great, I am stunned. This plane has working control surfaces, and working small bore radial, and is built in a moduler way. The yellow on this plane works great, and the working canopy screams well thought out design.

 

5. TATRA 813

ATRX is one of my favorite builders. So many of my trucks have been built in response to a new technique he has developed. This led to this. This MOC is on this list, not because it is a TATRA, but because this is the first trial truck I have seen with a driveline build entirely of gears. Every component of the driveline is mounted laterally, from the twin XL motors, to the 3 speed transmission, to all four drive axles. It’s not as pretty as Madoca’s, but the unorthodox driveline give it a higher ranking.

ATRX TATRA 813

4. Volvo FM 340 Refuse Truck

Another late addition; this one was added a few hours before this post, as I was sure it would not be finished before the end of 2014. This is what a Technic MOC should be. It has lots of functions, Power Functions, pneumatics, and a beautiful exterior. Another great entry from Lugpol. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a garbage truck.

Volvo FM340

3. Jeep Lower 40

I waited about three weeks watching Viktor post teasers of the MOC before it was revealed at Brickcon. I think it even made angry remarks about not showing the full model (Sorry Viktor). But it was worth the wait. While the driveline is basic and effective, it was the stunning body work that I enjoyed so much. True, not many creative or unique techniques are used, but that what make LEGO so interesting. Great design has been accomplished by both simple and complicated techniques used to an appropriate amount. It takes a talented builder to know what is needed for a build. Well done Viktor. We look forward to more builds.

Lower 40

2. McLaren MP-4

From simple techniques to complicated techniques. I said I was not going to post a red supercar, but it is the complicated details that add this car to the list. I watched this develop over some time on flickr, and with each update, I was stunned by the level of detail added, and smart use of simple parts. The engine was detailed, the transmission was stellar, the modularity was aggressive, and the bodywork identified the car immediately. If you are going to do a supercar, this is how you do it.

MP-4

1. JCB 320T

This might anger some people out there, but my favorite build of the year was another MOC from Pipasseyoyo, and a loader at that. Maybe I like this one because I have been working on an arm for a JCB 32o for a couple months now. Maybe because I have a thing for tracked skid steers. Or maybe I like so much of what Pipasseyoyo is making these days. I found myself going back to this model more than any other MOC in 2014. The arm is robust, the tracks move at just the right speed, and the range of motion for the bucket is perfect. A great video helps us see what the Loader can do, and the pictures look great.

Congratulations Pipasseyoyo, your JCB 320 wins the 2014 Thirdwiggy Trophy.

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I cannot include everything that was awesome this year; there are other better venues for that. I will say, I am watching with interest the development that has taken place with Tommy Styrvoky, and I am a sucker for a good Unimog. Also maybe next year, Pipasseyoyo will have a third or fourth on this list.

Updated 8386 Ferrari F1 Racer


On December 18th, 2004 I bought 8386 here in Cologne, Germany. It was the first LEGO set I bought in 7 years, and thus was the end of my Dark Ages. It was my return to LEGO. Today marks ten years since I bought this set. This is a celebration of that event 10 years ago.

The full gallery may be found here.

Updated 8386 F2004

A lot has happened in the last ten years. When I think about that time I pause to reflect on where I have come. I have lived in 10 different places, including three states, had a number of different jobs, and increased my family unit by a factor of three. But people don’t come to this website to read about me, they come for LEGO. Over the last ten years we have gained much. The Technic line has improved both in terms of functional abilities, but also in the frequency and quantity of models offered. We have gained Power Functions. We have Linear Actuators, CV joints, more suspension parts, and so many more wheel options. We have favorite elements that did not exist ten years ago. Colors now include green, blue, white, and orange. LEGO made a Unimog. Bricklink started not much more than 10 years ago. Let that sink in for a moment. All of these developments have made so much of my building possible. It only makes sense to celebrate with a MOD of the set that reminds me of my return.

8386 was a rather basic set. It was modeled after the F2004 car #1 or #2 of the 2004 Scuderia Ferrari team through a licensing agreement with Ferrari. The cars were rather successful during the 2004 season at the hands Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. 8386 included working steering, a working V-10, and a removable engine cover. And that’s about it. Oh, and a lot of stickers. As I did with the 8081 4×4 my goal was to keep what was there, and improve what I could. I would add some additional features, namely suspension and a gearbox. Since 2004, LEGO has added a number of elements that made these goals easier than they would have been ten years ago.
First, I built 8386 as is. After a good hour, I had the stock 8386 complete. I had my constraints, so now I needed to modify the set. I started with the front suspension, as I thought that would be rather difficult. Turns out it wasn’t. I removed a couple of axles, and added in two hard shock absorbers. The geometry made the suspension adequate. It could have been a little harder, and could have been a little more aesthetically pleasing, but it worked.
8386 Front Suspension
On to the rear. First to go was the trans-clear engine. Ugh. I knew I wanted to add rear suspension, but I was not sure I wanted to add a gearbox due to the limited space. I played around with some designs, and decided I should give it a go. I came up with a design that would need only 7 studs of space. The design would be off center of the car, which would present some changeover problems, but saved 3 studs of length. One axle would connect directly to the new style differential, and the other axle would connect directly to the crankshaft of the V-10. At first, I set the gearbox behind the differential, but I found that option to be rather unsightly and added some complications to the gearshift linkages. With some modifications to the chassis, moving the V-10 forward a stud, and increasing wheelbase by moving the rear axle back 1/2 stud the gearbox would fit.
8386 Gearbox
Once the gearbox was designed, I worked on the rear suspension. The gearbox got in way of the suspension design I wanted, but that was a cost I was willing to pay. I used the same upper arms as 8386, but created a liftarm design for the lower arm. Two shock absorbers connected from the chassis to the slightly modified wheel hub. While a pushrod design would have been nice, this setup worked well enough for me. I added a simple linkage to the gearbox that connected to levers in the cockpit. It looks a little clunky, but it allow all the controls to be at hand. I then made some modifications to the exhaust system so it would fit the added features. I made some modifications to the body work to give the car some visual lines that matched F2004, and added a little more white. The car was done.
End of the V-10, beginning of the cramped transaxle.

End of the V-10, beginning of the cramped transaxle.

All in all the design worked well, and required less time than some of my more fancy builds. It was a restful project, and one to which I enjoyed returning.
Maybe in another ten years, I’ll update this again with new features made possible with 10 years of LEGO changes and developments. I look forward to it.
Happy Building.

Review: Incredible LEGO Technic


Every once and a while you get the chance to participate in something that is bigger than yourself, and you do not full realized the significance until you are fully immersed in the project. Pawel “Sariel” Kmiec is well known in the LEGO Technic Community, so I was surprised when he sent me an email last February. He was putting together a book of various Technic MOCs, and he wanted to know if I would be interested in having my Spitfire included in the publication. Absolutely.

Cover

After emails, photos, photoshop, drafts, and other small tasks, I was part of the project. After months, I have finally received a copy of the book. Incredible LEGO Technic: Cars, Trucks, Robots & More is published by No Starch Press (San Francisco, CA, USA, 2015) and will be one sale in the coming days. Sariel is the author, and Eric “Blakbird” Albrecht is the Technical Advisor.

After a great forward by Conchas, and a heartfelt introduction by Sariel, the book dives right into the MOCs. Starting with Agricultural Equipment, it is organized into chapters to group the MOCs in like categories; airplanes, cars, supercars, trucks, things with tracks, and others. For this content the organization works well. For the most part, builders only have a single MOC presented, so having it organized by builder is not necessary.

Chapters

With each passing chapter, we are given about four pages for each MOC, complete with a short writeup, and listing of features. Each MOC has about 6-10 high quality pictures devoted to it, and some have great renders of their functions. While many of the models I know well, the renders are a helpful tool for persons who are new to Technic or to the MOCs. Understanding the complexity and mechanics of each MOC only increases your awe for the builds. Each MOC lists the builder (by screen name), and the year the build was completed.

MOC Page 2 MOC page

At the end of the book, all the builders are listed with biographies, and a small picture of the person (some get only a smiley face…boo). The final page of the book gives websites for each of the MOCs, including video and instruction information if applicable. It’s a nice feature, and having them all at the end keeps the chapters clean and absent of a whole bunch of URLs.

Builders

The book has a broad diversity of MOCs, builders, types of creations and time periods. The work of Blakbird is incredible, and is used to a stunning effect on many of the models. While I understand the work that goes into each of his renders, it would have been great to have them included for more of the MOCs. It’s clear the MOCs for which instructions are available, are the MOCs for which a technical render is given. As is expected, anything Sariel produces will have excellent photography. The presentation of the MOCs is truly stunning. All the photos are top notch and highlight the breathtaking MOCs.

MOC Page 3

The book features many different builders, and not many are featured too frequently. While Sheepo, Crowkillers, and Madoca are fan favorites, it is nice to see some space give to some other excellent builders as well. While it is understandable Sariel has a number of MOCs in the book, you do not feel like it’s an advertisement for his Youtube account. Also, his best MOCs are on display, though I never was too excited by “the Bat.”

I found a couple of typos, but I guess you could find a couple at thirdwigg.com as well. I did not find them distracting, and most people will spend most of their time looking at the great pictures and stunning renders. The purpose of the book is to highlights many builders rather than the skills of Blakbird, but some of the technical renders could use a larger space. Additionally, there are some great small creations out there, and it would have been great to have more of them included. While I appreciate the diversity of the builds, it would be nice to have a couple more that are not replicas of something else. While the modeling on display in this book is great, the creativity that some express with LEGO without a template would be great to see.

Looking through the final pages, it great see some of the greatest builders of the LEGO Technic community listed all together with pictures and biographies. I am honored to be among these builders. I hope you enjoy the book as I have. Pick one up; you’ll be glad you did.

Kenworth T47


The Kenworth T55 is my favorite Trial Truck I have built. It’s not the best looking, or the most capable, or the most reliable, or even the most popular but it’s the one I keep coming back to. My latest truck is a continuation of the Kenworth series of trial trucks. The T55 would pull a stump, the T47 is quicker, has better steering, and more compliant suspension.

T47

Right from the beginning I knew the truck would have a similar cabin at the T55. It would continue with the four wheel steering, and I added an independent suspension. The dimensions would stay close to the same. From there anything else was fair game. I started with the axles. The new suspensions arms made it a little bit easier to make a good independent design. A CV joint was used at the steering knuckle, which allowed for the steering pivot to be near the wheel. Each wheel had about three studs of travel.

The XL motor was placed on the left of the center line and the rechargeable battery box was placed on the right. A newly acquired Servo Motor was placed rear on the centerline directly in front of the rear axle. I had a little more space left, so I added a simple two speed gearbox. A little more space remained so I added a flat six engine.

T47 Engine

Part of my attraction of the T55 has been it’s coloring, and it’s shape. I wanted to keep the attraction similar, but in a way that would differentiate the trucks. I have been acquiring some green lately, so I thought would be a great color. The cab is basically the same, but now it can tilt so you can work on the engine.

The off road performance was not great on the T55, and the T47 was similar. The independent suspension had too much play at the wheels to be great at steering, and the articulation was not very supple. The truck was great to drive around my house, but when I took it outside it did poorly. The suspension design is better than my last independent set up. There was no slipping of the gears. I think my next design will use the same knuckle, but design a different steering connection. This truck again proves the use of knob wheels rather than a differential for a trial truck. Feel free to make your own, and let me know what improvements you developed.

Happy Building.

Octan F1


In a bought of inspiration (or distraction) at work, I noted my old 6546 sitting on my desk. After years of looking at this small car I thought, I could make this bigger, and in Technic. Done.

The full gallery including instructions can be found here.

Octan F1 Front

I decided the car should have a simple engine, four wheel suspension, and working steering. Recently, there was a good design that gave me an idea about how to do a smaller scale driveline for the car. I worked on the rear first, and once I had the suspension setup, I added a small flat four engine place directly on the bottom of the car. This would be the basis for the rear of the chassis.

I then started the front suspension design which would utilize the new suspension components from 42021. I first tried adding shock absorbers. Then I added rubber connectors. The first was too big, the second did not work to well. After monkeying with it for a while, I developed a simple torsion bar setup. The torsion axle is a 10l and provides the pivot point to the bottom control arms. They connect to the chassis behind the suspension to a fixed point under the steering wheel. The set up works well. Frankly, it works a little better than the rear as the rear could benefit from stiffer arms and suspension mounts.

Next came the body work. As I wanted to keep things similar to the 6546, the coloring would have to be white, green, and red. And it would need some stickers. I used the stickers from set 60025, so the car number would have to be changed from the original #4 to #5. The coloring and markings turned out well. I tried to make sure it was not too busy. Easy enough, and everything is easily acquired so you may build your own.

Fitting with my yearly planning I have now completed the two small builds I wanted to complete. It was quick, fun, and a MOC that is accessible for other builders. Feel free to build your own (make some new colors, and we can then have a race).

Happy Building.

JCB 531


Astute readers will note the heading of Thirdwigg.com has changed to read “LEGO Technic from Grand Rapids.” A slight heading change notes a rather large life change for myself, Mrs. Thirdwigg, and Jr. Thirdwigg. This has caused a slight hiccup to production and the timeline of The Queue, but we are back in business.

A working telehandler has been on my list of machines to build for a long time. I finally acquired a 32l axle, and it was the impetus I needed to start the project.

The full gallery is here.

Ready to take on any project.

Ready to take on any project.

Right from the beginning I decided the MOC would have steering, boom lift, boom tilt, and boom extension. All the functions would be manual as is my current trent (do not fear, it will be over soon), and would be housed within the boom itself. I based the scale for the MOC on the length of the boom being 32 studs so I could use the full 32l axle.

The 32l axle was placed on the top of the boom, and would allow the sliding 8z gear to transmit rotation to the fork tilt throughout the full extension of the boom. At the end of the boom I added a mLA to adjust the tilt of the fork. It took a little working, but I eventually figured out how to adjust the tilt for every position in the lift. I then worked on the boom and the extension so it would be as stiff as possible through all points of the lift.

I then worked on the chassis and the cab. The chassis was rather basic, and after a couple of rebuilds to get the steering right, it was done. I did have to do some revisions to have the boom/chassis interface more rigid. It turns out that when the boom was fully extended, the lift would sway a little too much. I then added a cab and the engine box on the right side. Here you can see the final project working.

The MOC worked well, and other than a slight sagging of the boom at full extension, I would not change a thing.

Happy Building.

Silly Fat Penguin


Sometime procrastination breeds a good outcome. Sometimes. This is the result of waiting too long to come up with an idea for a contest.

The full gallery with Instructions can be found here.

Penguin

A while ago Eurobricks posted a contest. While I was focusing on Brickworld, a new job, and other life events, I decided I should sit this one out. Then things died down. On July 20. It was a little late to produce something excellent. I thought it would be fun to do something other than a truck, plane, or tractor. I saw a little toy penguin on a colleague’s desk, and I thought,that’s it. That would be fun.

The penguin has a wheel on the bottom which runs three gears. The final gear drives a shaft that connects to the wings and the beak, making them move as the penguin wobbled along. Behind the main wheel, there is a little swivel wheel so the penguin can be nimble.  I added some feet, and worked a little while on the belly. I added some fun eyes, and made sure to give the penguin a cute little bow tie. All done. All for 192 parts.

I wish I would have added a wind up motor, or gave the penguin the ability to walk by itself, but I ran out of parts and time. After filming (which is not my best work), I realized the flapping could have been a little quicker. But it was a fun little project, and my first animal creation, so that’s something. I hope you enjoy, and if you can vote, give one for me.

Happy building.

Hawker Typhoon MkIb


Two years ago I built the Spitfire MkIIa. It remains one of my more popular builds, and one of which I am still quite proud. It was not my first large plane, though when I completed it, I said it would be my last.

As my father would say, “never say never.”

Typhoon

The full gallery may be seen here.

I learned a lot of great things from the Spitfire. Large scale building is exciting, and challenging in that you have to think about significant structural considerations, placement, and shaping before and while your build.

With this in mind, I wanted to develop what I have learned, but allow myself the ability to take a large scale aircraft to the next level. I wanted to improve the function of the control surfaces, design my own propellor, use four Power Function channels, and use the boatload of Dark Green parts that I had recently acquired. I considered a number of airplanes, including doing the FW-190 again, but I finally settled on the Typhoon. Time to get building.

After some planning, I had my scale. 1/13 was an appropriate size for me to replicate the plane and its functions, while still keeping the plane from getting too large. This scale would also allow for LEGO wheels for the landing gear, and a worker able propellor spinner design. As I learned from the Spitfire, placement of large components needed to be done early, and placed in the MOC to its exact final location. As the structure of the fuselage and wings would be stressed heavily, large components could not get in the way. Once I placed the engine block, the landing gear, the power functions, and the control surfaces, I was able to start putting together the robust structures that would support the final plane. One of the major challenges of this plane was the outset landing gear on the wings. Because they were located 42 studs apart, the wings needed to be strong. But due the the space taken for the control surfaces, and the massive 24 cylinder power pack, the wings still sag a little under load.

The control surfaces were activated with strings with studs on each end. I found this to be a better system than the axle controls for the Spitfire. It kept the controls more smooth, and reduced the amount of play in the controls. The elevator and ailerons were controlled with the joystick, and the rudder was controlled by two foot pedals in the cockpit. The remaining functions were controlled via Power Functions. An XL motor powered the massive 38 stud diameter propellor, as well at the 24 cylinder Napier Sabre engine. A M motor controlled the pitch of the propellor. Another M motor powered the landing gear, and still another  adjusted the flaps. All four motor were mounted in the chin of the aircraft; I had to use that huge chin for something. The two IR receivers were mounted in under the windscreen, and the rechargeable battery was mounted behind the cockpit.

Finally, I had to make sure all the markings were accurate. Again, due the limits of dark green parts, it was not an easy task. I started with wings, and made sure to add invasion stripes, and work my way out to the tips. The roundels were a little different than the Spitfire, but were a little larger. The fuselage took a little work to make sure the panels could be easily removed, but I eventually got there. The fuselage roundel should have a yellow ring around the outside, but the strip is so small, I could not figure out a good way to do it.

The plane worked almost perfectly. The ailerons were a little sticky, but other wise everything else managed to work for an 8 hour shift at Brickworld. The plane was liked enough to be nominated for Best Air Ship. While it did not win, it was validation that the the model was a success.

Happy Building.

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