Coast Guard Helicopter


I enjoy helicopters very much, so as it has been some time since the MD600, it was about time to make another one.

The full gallery can be found on Flickr and Brickshelf.

After my last helicopter, I wanted to build one that was more basic. This one would simple, small, colorful, and would make use of the excellent blades from set 9396. I wanted to do something like the Sea King, but with a Fenestron tail. I used a HH-52 as a basis for the scale. I built a mock-up of the scale, and started making the gearbox for the helicopter. The main rotor could be operated from a gear on the left of the aircraft. Two changeovers located next to the landing gear pods could be engaged to drive the land gear (up or down, on left) and the winch (up or down, on right). The main rotor was connected to the Fenstron fan at the rear. Both the landing gear and the winch are driven by worm gears, so they would stay locked when the changeovers were in neutral.

The gearbox is mounted in the bottom of the helicopter directly under the rotor. The landing gear mechanism moves forward with the pilot and co-pilot seats directly on top (I love those new panels). The winch gear moves aft, and drives a simple string spool. The compact driveline keeps enough space for a full cabin. There is enough room to add a battery box, and a M motor to power the rotor.

The body work came together quickly with the exception of the rear doors. I wanted to add two sliding doors with windows, and based on the color scheme of the helicopter, they had a to be white. After six drafts, I finally came up with a solution that was doable. They are not perfect, but all the other designs had windows that were comically small, or too low in on the body. Unfortunate, the design calls for six white rare parts. The rest of the bodywork turned out well. The nose, while a little clunky, looked how I wanted. The top area looked good with the three engine exhausts, and the six bladed rotor, while overdone, fit perfectly. Oh, and with clever pin placement, you can fold the rotor back towards the tail. The tail looked sharp with the ducted fan. The vertical stabilizer looked empty, but that’s a problem for all LEGO Technic aircraft with the exception of 42040 (maybe).

 

The helicopter worked great, though a clutch for the gearbox would have been nice. I was pleased with the bodywork of the helicopter, and the colors worked well; maybe grey and orange would be great on a rebuild. I would have lived to have a cleaner design for the wheel pods, but it worked well enough. It was a good swooshable design, as I found playing with the helicopter extensively. Now I need to make a scale Coast Guard ship on which the helicopter can land. Maybe next year.

Happy Building

Forest Fire Truck


Everyone once and a while I see a design I like so much, I copy it. So thanks to Horcik Designs on the fun little Fire Truck that I copied. Thanks for the inspiration.

The full gallery may be found on Flickr and Brickshelf.

When I found Horcik’s fun little Fire Truck, I was immediately enamored with the look of the truck. After deciding I was going to make it, I started looking for additional features to add to the excellent design. After finding some great ideas of a Renault version (2), I decided to get to work. The truck started with a 4×4 driveline and an I-4 engine. I used a simple live axle setup with 9l steering links to keep the sway movement in check, and both axles used a Panhard link. The steering was actuated with another 9l steering link, rather than the more common rack and pinion setup. This allowed for a lower engine mount, and something a little different in the design. The steering can be moved by both lights on the roof of the cab.

Which brings us to the cab. I wanted to use the face of Horcik’s truck, but wanted to add some changes. I added two doors to make the cab a little longer, and added four of the new panel parts that work great as seats. Then I made sure the cab could be tilted simply, and connected the two roof lights to the steering. You can see the engine and the steering when the cab is tilted.

Then off to the body. It turned out to be more simple than I had planned. I had some ideas for a hose reel, a roof mounted water gun, and various cabinets with tools inside. Every idea I tried was a little ugly, or boring. So, I closed up the design with a couple of water tanks inside the body of panels. It’s not fancy, but the design turned out clean, which is what attracted me to the project in the first place.

The design worked fine, though the front axle could be a little more robust. It was not a complicated build, but it was a fun one. Don’t worry, there will be complicated builds coming soon.

Happy Building.

BMW R nine E


As a LEGO Technic builder, form generally follows function. Sure, I make most of my MOCs aesthetically pleasing, but the joy and the priority of my builds, is what they can do. But every once and while, I flip this. I set out to make a motorcycle that looked a certain way, and adding in as many features as I could.

The full gallery can be found on Flickr and Brickshelf.

I have been planning to build a motorcycle for some time, and the 2017 Rebrick contest was a good impetus to finally make good on that claim. The contest theme was to build a BMW motorcycle for the future. So while keeping a couple design themes in mind, I could let my imagination go wild. I used Ian McElroy’s excellent Kickboxer concept as a basis. My bike would be dual single sided swingarms, a boxer electric motor, steering, and front and rear suspension, with drive front and rear. Oh, and I had to use the sweet 8420 wheels.

I started with swing arms. The front would be tough as steering with the swing arm would be tricky. I settled on a design with four steering links mounted in a square. This would allow for suspension movement, and the parallelogram linkage would allow for a virtual pivot close to the wheel centerline. I quickly learned adding a drive axle was not worth my time. The liftarm was connected to the handle bars with a series of links and liftarms. Technically, it worked, but it was a little sloppy. The rear swing arm was more simple. After toying with a rear driveline idea, I found it to be clunky looking, so I reverted to a design that mirrored the front. So now both drivelines had been given up.

The body was little more straightforward. Keeping with many BMW motorcycles, I wanted to keep the two cylinder Boxer motor. Since my bike would be electric, one motor would drive the front, and one would drive the rear. The battery was mounted low, and under motors and covered by the panels. I added a seat with seat back pod, and a tank. The tank was for small luggage, since the fuel tank was no longer needed due to the battery. I wanted to keep the sides free so you could see the frame, but it looked like it was missing something. I added two panels, which to my eyes seems about right. The small blue subframe under the seat gave a little additional color.

The bike looked good to my eyes, but the functions were lacking or did not function well. The suspension was gummy, and steering was sloppy. The bike lacked a drivetrain, which is the whole reason I build in Technic. It was fun to build a Motorcycle though, so I’ll make another one soon, but I think this time, I’ll use some more common design themes and building techniques.

Until then, happy building.

Mack Magma


I consider myself a LEGO purist. I do not cut parts, paint them, and I do very little with custom stickers. But I confess, I’m bending my purist tendencies as of late with all the great custom tire options available. After getting these RC4WD tires, it was time to build another trial truck.

The full gallery may be found on Flickr.

When I build a trial truck, start with three questions: What functions will it have, how many Power Functions receivers will that require, and how many battery boxes will be needed in what placement. Using these decisions I draw up a basic sketch of Power Functions part placement, and I get to work. This truck would have steering, a 2x PF L motor drive, and a two speed transmission. As with other trucks I make, I started with the axles first. The axles were simple as they required no additional functions. Both front and rear have a knob gear in then center, then a 12t to 20t reduction, and a final 8t to 24t reduction in a portal axle setup. The front as a simple steering setup, and the steering universal joints between the first and second gear reduction.

Both axles are strung together with a frame that houses the suspension and electronics. Both axles have pendular suspension, and are linked together with liftarms front to rear. It is a system that is simple, and incredibly effective. A PF M motor is placed in the front to power the steering, and another M motor sits beside it to power the transmission. Two PF IR receivers and two rechargeable battery boxes are placed with one on each side of the chassis. Both PF L motors are mounted side by side in sliding housing in the rear of the chassis. Each motor drives a set of 12t and 16t gear. These separate axles combine to either a 20t or 24t center mounted gear. When both engines are connected 12t to 24t gear, an overall 10:1 ratio is achieved. When both engines are connected to the 16t to 20t gear, an overall 1:6.25 ratio is achieved. With the power of the L motors, this gives a good low ration, and an appropriate high ratio.

As this was a quicker build, I did not spend too much time on the bodywork. A simple flat bed was installed, and the cab is sparse. I selected a simple America style cab from this design idea to build in blue. The grille is big and square, and the rest of the cab generally follows the idea. Both the cab and the bed can be simple removed.

The truck has plenty of power, and the transmission worked without error. The steering was easily controllable. The larger tires gripped very well, as they are soft with big knobs. They were a little taller than LEGO’s tires, and combined with the softer sidewalls, made the truck a little less secure in its footing. But the truck did not roll over easily, and the soft tires made it grip the ground well. I will be using these tires again.

Until the next MOC, happy building.

Mini Mack Cabover


Sometimes I need to build something small to refresh my mind. This was the result of stepping away from other projects for a while, and spending a couple of hours on something small.

The full gallery may be found on Flickr.com.

Recently I wondered if I could build something like LEGO set 8065; a small truck with one function. I liked the little roll off dumpster idea, and I see plenty of the Mack version around here. I had a couple of hours, so I thought, let’s see what I can build. The single function of the truck is the roll off feature. A worm gear moves the arm up and down, and the little hook catches a bar on the dumpster.

The rest of the truck is build on liftarms and connectors. The truck is 8 studs wide, and the space between the two rear axles is 4.5 studs. These two measurements made the chassis more challenging than it should have been. I built a simple cab, and added a little bumper, and the truck was done.

The truck works well. It only does one thing, so it should. It was fun to do a quick little build, and make something small and simple. Until something more substantial…

Happy Building!

Unimog U90


About 3 months ago I purchased a set of four Fischertechnik tires from ebricks.ru. After seeing a review of them by RM8, I reached out to him, and he mailed me a set. After a little time, I finally have something to show with them.

Unimog U90

After playing with a number of ideas, I decided to do another Unimog. It’s easy to motivate myself to build a vehicle I love. This time, I wanted to do the unloved U90 (418) version. It was not a terribly successful version, as many find the hood…not one of the best. But few people have built this version, so I was up for it. I put to to a vote on Eurobricks, and the decision was to build it in green. Off I went.

The scale required a 27 stud wheelbase and a 19 stud width. I built the front and rear axles and tied them together. Through a couple of edits, I finally added the suspension and figured out how to get portal axles into the truck. The Power Functions XL motor was mounted just over and in front of the rear axle driving power to all four wheels. The Servo motor was placed directly ahead of the XL for the front axle steering. I added a four cylinder fake engine over the front axle. The rechargeable battery box was placed over the rear axle.

Unimog U90 Driveline

The suspension is a live axle setup, with four hard shock absorbers at each corner. Each wheel has about 2 studs of travel. Not much for a Unimog, but enough for a 418. At this point I started a draft of the cab, and a draft of the bed. At this point the truck had an identity crisis. Move forward with green or find another option.

Unimog U90 Bed Tilt

Building LEGO Technic with green is not the easiest. The color lacks 1×5 and 1×11 beams. Both of the these parts would be needed for the bed and the cab. I could make some things work for the 1×11 in the hood, but there was no other option (read, inexpensive option) for the 1x5s needed for the bed. I toyed with other colors for the bodywork; orange, white, blue, yellow. None of them had the right pop I was looking for. Other than the orange, but, as other have said, orange has been done too many times. Then it dawned on me, “why not use plates?” I had my solution. With one bricklink order, I was done.

The truck drives well, and is easily controllable. The front portal axle can use a little strengthening, so serious trial abilities are lacking with this truck. Both the bed and the cab can be easily removed. I ran out of space for a ram to elevate the bed, but it can tilt three ways. I was pleased with how the truck turned out. It looks great. The driveline coule use some improvements, so I will make those improvements on the next truck.

 

2016


2016 was another productive year in Thirdwiggville. I did some fun builds, some big builds, and a couple of quick builds. I participated in four online contests, finished some projects that had been brewing for a while, and shut down one project that was not going anywhere. As a recap, here is what I built: Snowblower/Tractor, Porsche 911 Cup Car, K-TEC 1233 Scraper, Kalmar 180, 9393 Updates, Porsche 714, Volvo FE Refuse, International Tow Truck, and Concept Bulldozer.

Some reflections on 2016:

First, I completed some of the goals I set from last year.

  • Work on no more 3 WIPs projects at a time: Mostly Completed
  • Do what I can to get to Brickworld 2016: Not Completed
  • Finish the Ferrari 333 SP: Not Completed
  • Complete a garbage truck: Completed
  • Make a small scraper: Completed
  • Make a pickup truck: Not Completed
  • Participate in another contest: Completed
  • Maybe another tank, or a Honda 2×4. Neat: Not Completed

My MOCs are getting a little let complex, and I am happy to keep this going. I think I have found an appropriate level of Lego building for my life season. Having two little Wiggs in the house, limits my building time. Building less complicated builds keeps me motivated to keep projects going until completion. With the below plans in mind, there are a couple of complex builds that will be interspersed into less complicated builds.

Yesterday I was able to organize all of my Lego room. No loose part is on the floor, or on the building table. Everything is in its right drawer, bag, or place. It is perfectly organized. I hope to continue this. It keeps my frustration level lower, and lowers my chances of ordering a part I already have. I am thankful for having a dedicated Lego space. It is time for me to use it well.

With the above in mind, I hope to keep to the build three rule, where no more than three projects are occurring at the same time. Again, this keeps me from buying what I do not need, and keeps me more focused on completing a current build. I will try to keep The Queue updated so you may see what is currently being worked on.

I would like to keep to one Bricklink order per month. Keeping myself from acquiring what I do not need with be the theme this year. I have enough Lego parts to do most of what I want to build, so it is a exercise in prudence and planning to keep my accumulation of new parts to a minimum. I’ll report back on this at the end of the year.

With the above in mind, here are my goals for 2017.

  • A Model Team airplane
  • Another airplane
  • A motorcycle
  • A small truck (dump)
  • A big truck (PF, rolloff)
  • A pickup truck (PF)
  • A Large GT car
  • Something pneumatic

To 2017! Happy Building.

Top 16 of 2016


For the third year in a row, Thirdwigg.com presents the Top 16 of 2016. From the start of 2016 the Board of Trustees of Thirdwigg.com have scoured the interwebs to bring you the top LEGO Technic MOCs of 2016. As with any list, the challenge is not what to include, but what to leave out. If you are interested in the past years, check out the winners for 2014 and 2015.

As in years past, here is the general criteria for selection.

Was the MOC something unique?

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.

Again, thanks for visiting, and keep making awesome stuff for 2017. We at Thirdwigg.com are watching, and ready to add your stuff to next year’s list.

16. Terex Crane

Terex

I try to frequent the French Techlug.fr forum frequently, even though my French language skills are lacking. At times, I find little gems like this crane or this Cargo Loader. This Terex crane caught my eye because of the unique vehicle, and prefect execution of the functions and general look. I think I would have made a small color change, but overall, well done.

15 Small Ural

ural

I love a good trial truck, and the variety (size, makes, drivelines) I see is wonderful. This mid-scale Ural was just the right amount of Russian truck for me. Check out the driveline. I know Lucio’s 8×8 was pretty cool too, but felt myself wanting to play with this Ural more.

14 Small 5 Axle Crane

5 Axle Crane

Technic cranes are becoming a dime a dozen, and 42009 didn’t help. So I appreciate finding another crane that is truly unique. This one was built by long time excellent builder Eric Leppen. It was a great size, had all the functions of 42009, and was manually operated. I love the planning required for a MOC with so many functions packed in a small space. The colors are great, as a little orange goes a long way. I also have to mention Eric’s stunning 4 Axle truck with Knucklebone, it was great, but didn’t make the top 16.

13 Lipko Telehandler

Lipko Telehandler

Lipko keeps getting better. He’s made some great designs over the years, and this year he had some knockouts. The Simple Supercar was stunning, and the TC10 Backhoe won a contest, but the Telehandler got my vote. Packing all the required features of a Telehandler is impressive. The leveling fork blades, the steering, the orange. All of it was great. Keep it up.

12 Porsche 919 Small

steph77-919

This year, LEGO did another Rebrick contest. There were many great designs, but this small 919 stood out to me. The 919 is well know, but this recreation in a small scale with a working sequential transmission, steering, and the white and blue coloring. It didn’t get a top ten in the contest, but thanks to the LDD file available, plenty of people should be building it. That is a win in my mind.

11 Compact Excavator

anto-excavator

This Excavator was released among the fury of the Porsche Contest, so it could have been easily overlooked. The small design packed a number of power functions features. I liked the clamshell buckets, and the slewing of the arm in addition to the turntable. The overall dexterity of the arm was well displayed in the video. Well done again Anto.

10 Metrac Mower

anto-metrac

I almost missed this. I was not attracted by the title, and the first pictures we nothing special to me, but after I gave it a little time, I started to see all the features packed into this little lawn truck. The driveline was complex with the various steering modes, and the four wheel drive. The PTO was a great addition with the implements lifts, and allowed for the mower attachment. The design was unique, and well executed.

Scania Crane Truck

shineyu-scania

Shinyu has come out with a lot of great designs recently, and he has not been around for very long in the community. I was impressed with this design, both tin the number of features of the truck, but also with the prevention. The stickers were tasteful, and the photography was effective. The crane was great as was the rear lift. Great job, we look forward to more.

8 Unimog 401

tamas-unimog

Tamas had a great year winning the Rebrick contest. And for good reason, but I fell in love with his Unimog. Basically I swoon for anything built in Dark Green. And I fall for any Unimog! Then he makes the first Mercedes-Benz Mog with working drive and steering, and all the details in the engine and chassis. I’m over the top. The steering wheel is fantastic, and the interior is just as sparse as the real thing. Great job!

7 Veyron

pipasseyoyo-veyron

I’m a little bit of a Pippasseyoyo enthusiast. Let me restate that, I think Pipasseyoyo is the best Technic building working right now. So I watch closely when he finishes a MOC. I was again impressed when this Veyron was finished. The body work of the Veyron it difficult, but the execution in this MOC did it justice. The driveline was great with all-wheel drive, that huge engine, the transmission, adjustable suspension, spoiler, and steering. Also it was great to know that my ATS transmission inspired Pippasseyoyo’s design.

Jeep 

marat-jeep

Not many Technic Model Team designs made the list this year, but again, Marat came in with this little Jeep. The driveline is compact, and only has what is needed. As it the case with Marat, the bodywork is over the top. Every detail is perfect, and the coloring makes it stand out. I appreciated the various picture that were taken with different tires and colors.

Dream Porsche

dicky-porsche

While I seemed like many of the Porsche entries were a 911 or a 919, I appreciated the designs that were an idea for what Porsche could have its lineup. Like James Tilson’s Mission E, this entry was unique, and well executed. The features were simple, but the body work was swoopy, and made me want to drive it. I liked the removable roof, and the rear lines.

John Deere 648L

desert-eagle-skidder

I very much like forestry equipment, particularly fellers, but this skidder meets my expectations. Green is a hard color to work with, so the outcome was great knowing the constraints. Here again, we see a lot of functions in small MOC that makes you ask, “how does it all fit?” I love the rear claw. Now I want to see it with the new 42054 tires on it.

3 Porsche 919 Large

Charbel 919

There were some weird aspects of the Porsche contest, one of which was the lack of notoriety of this design. The bodywork was a great rendition of the 919; such simple solutions were used to stunning effect. This was also the first MOC I built in a long time, and I was struck by the effectiveness of the transmission and changeover lever. The suspension was simple and effective. If you need a good build, give this one a go.

M4A2 Sherman

tommy-sherman

Every year Tommy gets a little higher in the list. To be fair, I’m a little bit of a sucker for tanks, and extra points for Shermans. But this design is complete. Working drive, turret functions, suspension, the fake motor, and so much more. His attention to exterior detail keeps getting better.

1 Volvo FH Crane Truck

steph77-crane

I appreciate Steph77’s participation in the Eurobricks forums. He invites participation as he builds with the community in the forum. It allows for improvements as he moves forward with his designs. This one started simple enough, but kept getting more complex. Many functions are pack into this, and it’s not huge. I loved the rear crane, especially the retracting and extending final boom. The outriders were great, and the control with each function was great. Congratulations Steph77, you win the 2016 Thirdwiggy award!

Also this, this! Why was it not finished? It was looking so promising. Get back to it Sylvian, we’re all cheering for this.

 

Concept John Deere Bulldozer


In what is becoming a little bit of a theme, I submitted another design for a Lego contest. In the long line of Eurobricks.com contests, the Technic Challenge 10 called for a pneumatic build. Challenge accepted!

Full Gallery Here

Concept John Deere Bulldozer Left

The contest had very few constraints other than the build had to use Pneumatics. As I have mentioned before, working with pneumatics is not my preference. I don’t like them, so it was good for me to step out of my comfort zone.

I was feeling especially creative this time, so I thought about a number of concept ideas. Pneumatics do not tend to work smoothly when lifting arms so I decided against an excavator and a loader early. Additionally, I was not willing to invest in additional parts for this project. After a couple of drafts, the idea of this bulldozer was born. Taking some inspiration from some of John Pope’s design, the basic idea was there. The dozer would have different tracks, a three movement blade, a crazy engine, and a forward thinking design.

Concept John Deere Bulldozer Blade

I started with the tracks. After moving the axle points four wheels countless times, I came up with a design I liked. I made another one, and linked them together. The I worked on the blade. The dozer would have a lift, tilt, and side to side angle adjustment. After playing around with some idea, I found a solution I liked. Two pneumatic rams were on the front to lift the blade on the top. Then two links were connected low on the two sides of the blade, and then on each side of the dozer. These points on the dozer were moved fore and aft by on pneumatic ram each. These side rams would move the blade left or right individually, or together they would tilt the blade up or down. Additionally, it allowed all the tubing to be internal.

Concept John Deere Bulldozer Open

I added a small compressor powered by a Power Functions M motor, and the battery box under the cab, and added the 16 cylinder engine (coupled V-8 and Flat 8). The cab was easy to get the shape I wanted, and gave me some space for another pneumatic ram to open the hood. I then decided to add a ripper since I had one pnuematic left. The new 1×11 ram a great addition, but a little more power could have been used for the ripper.

Concept John Deere Bulldozer Chassis

I was pleased with the look the bulldozer. The functions worked well, but on reflection, the were not exciting enough to be competitive for a contest. After two pneumatic builds in a row, I find some of the frustrations I have with them remain, but I am discovering some charms as well. We’ll see what comes next.

Happy building.

International Tow Truck


I have so many pneumatic parts, but I do not build with them often. It was time for me to use them.

DuraStar

Since this would be an intentional pneumatic MOC, I wanted to do something small and simple. I thought a tow truck would work well. As many of my trucks are based on Europian models, I figured it was time to do an American truck. The International DuraStar truck seemed to be a good solution, and they are rather ubiquitous her in the States. It is not too big, and not a pick-up based truck, so it was perfect for me.

I first started with the tow boom. I used the new 1×11 cylinder for the boom extension. I used two of the old 2×9 cylinders for the boom lift. I worked hard to get the boom rigid enough for the extension while remaining small. Still the boom is about twice the width and height of the required scale. It is a little flimsy with a heavy load.

DuraStar Hook

The chassis was more work than it should have been. Working in all the pneumatic parts is simple enough, but giving space for all the tubing and flexibility required much work. Add to the fact that the  chassis needed to be strong enough for a Pneumatic pump, and I thought it would be good to have a working driveline, and it got messy fast. Editorial comment: I like clean designs. It’s hard to have clean designs with pneumatics.

DuraStar Chassis

The rear wheels connect to a 2 cylinder fake motor in the front. I did not use a differential. It fits, but I could not find a solution to keep the wheel axles connected to the differential while retaining the rear dualies. All of a sudden the choice of not having a differential in 42022 makes a little more sense. I added a little car lift on the back. The elevation is controlled by worm gear, and the extension simply uses two friction connectors. In front of the dualies is a pneumatic air tank on the right, and the two control valves on the left. Hoses fill up the rest of the space. Above the air tank is worm gear transmission for the winch.

DuraStar Right

I spent a lot of time working on the hood. The cab came together smoothly, but the hood took some work. Working with something that was rigid enough for my standards took some time. I tried some designs with panel, and some designs with plates and wedge plates. Eventually, I settled on a simple studs-on-top brick and plate construction. The mixture of Technic and system looks a little disjointed, but it represented the shape well.

The truck worked well enough. The steering and fake motor worked smoothly and consistently. The pneumatics worked smoothly, and were able to move the functions of the truck well. The car lift on the back cannot handle too much weight.

Two final editorial comments. I am firmly in the linear actuators camp, as I have said before. Fitting rams, running tubing, and trying to use those little valves just to get position of the pneumatics perfect drives me crazy. Second, I really like the 49.5×20 wheel and tire set. It is a great size and has perfect look. But when I build trucks with them I get frustrated. They look better as dualies on the rear, but there is no good connection to a differential on a 15 or 17 wide setup. Eventually I will find a solution, but at this time, they are driving me crazy, so stay tuned.

Happy Building.