2C Sports Car


3T Sports Sedan was the inaugural car for startup Thirdwigg Motors, and the market requested another, smaller, sportier offering. The board of directors approved development of the 2C to fill this need.

Full gallery including instructions may be found here.

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I wanted to keep the scale and keep many of the best parts of the 3T in this design but change the body style and add a couple of features. Very early I decided on a two door with a mid or rear engine. I wanted to get a better transmission, so with this, I set of to work. I scaled the car to the Porsche Cayman, and started fitting in parts. I used the same suspension from the 3T in both the front and rear, which constrained how the driveline would have to be routed.

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It was at this point that the interior setup got a little complicated. When I started this car, the new Wave Selector was just release which optioned a lot of gearbox options. After seeing this great little transmission, I knew I had what I wanted: a four speed sequential transmission. After playing with some options, I place it in the middle of the car. I toyed with having the engine behind the rear axle, but settled on a mid placement. Nothing larger than a Flat 4 was ever considered. The four speed gearbox worked and a changeover axle ran to the front under the suspension where a simple rotation limiter was placed. The steering HOG and steering wheel had all of their mechanics in front of the transmission, so everything fit.

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I had intentions of having a ratcheting gear selector to work with the slick sequential  transmission. But I was running out of space. The center of the car was taken up with the transmission, suspension at each end, and placing one in the rear did not give a way to connect to the transmission. So the only place left was under the front hood. There were a number of great change over options that work well. I tried each. Some fit, some worked great, but each had the same problem: there was not good way to seamlessly integrate the “button” into the bodywork. I had visions of pushing on a grill to actuate the mechanism, but the grill was not very big, and required even more space than I was already using. In the end I decided to scrap the idea of a changeover, and use a simple rotary selector. It is not fancy, but it works well, and keeps the bodywork clean.

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Through out this process I was toying with ideas for the body work. Generally, I add parts as I like them, and when everything is placed, I rebuild the whole car with structures in place for all the final placements of critical internal and external parts. But this car had a large transmission in the middle which meant there was no frame running from the front to the rear. I added a structural frame under each door, and tried to build up the frame under the transmission as best as I could. It works, but there is still a little car flex under heavy center load.

First, the bodywork on this car works better for my eyes than the 3T, even though I tend to like sedans a little better. Second, the gearbox worked flawlessly. It was smooth, and even though I had the open the hood the change gears, the smoothness was worth it. Finally, the suspension worked great as it had proved itself in the 3T. It now adorns the desk at my work. Hopefully you enjoy it too.

Don’t worry, Thirdwigg Motors is already hard at work on the next car.

Happy Building.

2019


The final year of the decade closed here in thirdwiggville. As in years past, I am creating fewer MOCs than in years past, but with each completion, I am happy with the result. For 2019, I completed the following: Hunter Mk.III, John Deere 6130R, LEGO 42098 Car MOD, Iveco Skip Loader, Porsche 911 RS, and the 8081 110.

Again, I would have liked to complete a few more builds during a year, but I did increase from 2018, and small win.

Of the 2018 goals, here is what I accomplished:

  • A tractor (completed)
  • Car (Yep, two, and another tomorrow)
  • Skip loader truck (completed)
  • Something PF (Nope)
  • Another contest build (completed, Hunter MK. III)
  • An LMP car (Nope, but something is in the works)

I was very pleased with the Deere and the Skip Loader projects. Both were started in MID 2018, so it was nice to complete them. Both received lots of praise, which I was happy with.  I hope to create a couple more implements for the Deere before I take it apart. I was also great to do another 8081 MOD. Maybe more… Last year’s 3T Sports Sedans turned out a great, and Thirdwiggs Motors will be release another car tomorrow to flesh out the offerings a little more. Hopefully another MOC can be added in 2020.

For the third year in a row, I have completed only Bricklink.com order per month. My volume of parts is not expanding very quickly any longer, which is a great exercise in restraint. I only bought one set last year. I started using LEGO’s Pick-a-brick in 2018, and I am finding this more useful. Late in the year LEGO purchased Brinklink, and I am a little concerned about the changes that are coming. Bricklink.com has been one of the most significant websites to me, and I hope it will continue to be so.

For 2020 here are my goals:

  • Another Unimog!!!!
  • Something PF
  • An excavator
  • A mini helicopter
  • An LMP car
  • Thirdwigg Motors first EV!
  • 7 completed builds

My life is busy, so we will see how long I keep making MOCs. I am still motivated, and enjoy the builds. As always, check The Queue to see what’s coming. On to 2020, and another decade. Happy building.

 

8081 110


I have made it clear on a number of occations that I love LEGO set 8081. To celebrate this little unloved set, I created another MOD of this set.

Full gallery may be found here.

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A couple of years ago I did my first MOD of 8081, the 8081 4×4. It was the same bodywork of 8081, but I added 4 wheel drive, a front mounted V-8, and rear seats. It was a substantive change to the set. Likewise this MOD is so different from the first set, I am not sure if this is a MOD, or a MOC. I keep the design features of 8081, but not much from the original set still remains.

I took from front end of the 8081 4×4 which mounted the V-8, and the front bumper. Then I lengthened the chassis to accommodate a 4 stud longer wheelbase. The rear axle is the same, but the front axle needed to be modified to handle the increased weight of the truck. The center differential powers the V-8.

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Both axles are live axles that are suspended with a hard spring at each corner. Each axle has two stabilizing links on the bottom, and a Panhard rod for each. Steering is on the front axle. Combined with the Fischertechnik tires, the truck has significant suspension articulation.

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I added the bodywork last, but this did not take long as much of the design work followed themes determined by set 8081, though the pickup body style was planned from the beginning. The truck looked too big and black when I was done, so I added the roof rack/roll cage, the running boards, and a bull bar (though its little clunky).

The truck works well, and looks pretty tough. The suspension works much better than the first 8081 4×4. The new wheel hubs help the front a lot. Also the front suspension is better supported laterally than the first iteration. The Fischertechnik tires work great on this model, and while not LEGO parts, they are quickly becoming a favorite addition to my builds.

Throughout the whole project I kept asking myself, when is a build a MOD, and when is it a MOC. This project felt a lot like the later, but still connects to 8081.

Happy Building.

Porsche 911RS


There is a part of me that finds LEGO 42098 a little gimmicky: buy this truck that fits 5 cars but comes with 1 so you you build or buy more to fill the truck. But, these wheel arches are so awesome that I am going to do just that.

Full gallery including instructions may found here.

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After a rough first draft it was clear I was going to be able to steering and a Flat 6 into the car at a scale that would work for 42098, so most of the early work was on figuring out the shape of the car. I knew the car was going to be orange, and I wanted the little ducktail spoiler, so I modeled the car after the 964 version of the Porsche 911. The rear differential is placed two studs in front of the rear axle to allow for more room for the rear engine. I kept the normal LEGO engine parts rather than an axle engine like in 42098. The steering is simple in all in front of the driveline.

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The body work continued to take the most time. I used a great 911 MOC from Paave for many ideas including the seats and the front hood. Eventually, it all came together, after a lot of work on the doors, the roof, and the rear deck. The 911 is a beautiful car and getting all the details is so tricky. I almost feel bad for how critical I was of LEGO 42056. Almost…

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One thing you will notice is my use of both the 43mm and the 49mm tires for the rear of the car. I go back and forth on which ones I like best. Also, there was no way is was going to use the skinny 43mm tires for the front. They look silly.

This little car worked great, and functioned as intended. The shaping was off a little particularly with the rear quarter panels, the roofline, and the front headlights. But the shape of the 911 is so iconic that get all the details that have been refine over 50ish years is tricky. Either way if fits on the back of 42098.

Happy building.

Iveco Skip Loader


I have done a lot of small scale trucks, and it was time for me to do something bigger. 2 studs bigger to be precise.

Full gallery is here.

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This project stared as a desire to make another small truck. I have used the 43.2mm tire in my trucks a lot, and I have used the 49.5mm tire only once. I was ready for the newer size again, so I found a nice little truck to model, and I was off. I very much like the shape of the 49.5mm tire, but it presents some challenges to scale. I works much better as a 15 stud wide size, and trucks often have a dual tires on the drive axle. This leaves only 5 studs of width to work with for the chassis and driveline. While a differential will fit within this space, keeping the axle connected to the differential does not happen when driving the finished truck. So I have a 8l axle with stop connected to a bevel gear on one side, and a 5l axle with stop. The gear then runs to the front of the truck where it connects to a V-4 engine.

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Adding the skip functions were the next challenge. Adding the rear outriggers was not very difficult, but then it was complicated by adding the skip hook. Both are moved by mLA that are mounted far forward in the truck and connected by long liftarms to the back. It took a while to get the geometry of all of this to work together in conjunction with the lifting arms, but in the end it all worked well. The lifting actuators are moved by a gear on the side, and the other two functions are moved by two gears on the top of the cab protector.

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Working on the cab came next, and I used a mix of system and technic bricks. I made sure the cab could tilt, and there is a locking mechanism. The steering HOG is on the top of the cabin, and connects when the cab is down.

Finally, I added a little trailer. I added a simple function to lock the skip in place. The trailer can be towed by the truck, and when it is time to add a skip the hitch goes under the truck so it can get close enough to drop the skip.

The truck ended up doing everything I wanted. The tip and lift functions work well, and the trailer was a fun little addition. The colors work well for this truck, and the cab turned out as well. Maybe I will need to do another MOC in this scale.

Happy Building.

 

LEGO 42098 Car MOD


I do not buy many sets these days, mostly due to the fact that the space required for a gazillion new parts every year is not priority I am willing to resource. But some sets are a fun opportunities to MOD.

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The little car from 42098 caught my eye. While the truck was neat, it was not what I was interest in, so after a query of my own part collection, and a quick order from LEGO, I got the parts I needed. Upon completion, there were a couple parts of the car that bothered me, and a couple of parts I thought I could improve. So I started taking apart the car to see what I could do.

First, I made a mock-up of the side of the car to see if opening doors could work without lengthening the car. Turns out by moving the curved panel forward one stud, it works easily.

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Next, I was off to the rear axle. It was easy enough to design a simple live axle and connect it to the V-8. What become tricky was mounting the shocks. 42098 has low rear deck, and I do not like how the rear wheels are pushed down away from the wheel wells; it make the car look tilted forward. So finding an appropriate ride height to lower the rear while mounting the shocks in the limited space available took the rest of the time. Once this was in, I added the bodywork back on with a couple of changes to the 1950s rear and the side sills and the car was done.

The car worked well enough, though any live axle setup is a little silly when there is not suspension on the front. The engine still worked smoothly. The steering HOG on the back is still not optimal, but adding one on the roof would take away from the fantastic roof-line. Another round of edits may be needed to add back in the nominal opening hood. It is a pretty basic feature in the original car, but since opening doors were added in this MOD, the opening hood is missed. We’ll see what I end up MODing next time.

Happy building.

John Deere 6130R


I am into a little bit of a tractor phase lately, so here is a model of the John Deere 6130R row tractor.

The full gallery including instructions may be found here.

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After the completion of my 9393 MOD, and the Claas Atos, I wanted to expand on what could be done in the tractor theme, and I wanted to use the newish large technic tires that first came from 42054. I set out to set the scale and list some of the features I wanted.  I decided on a John Deere tractor, because green looks sharp in LEGO, and the hubs I would need were available in yellow.

I first started with the driveline which is simply a differential between the rear tires, and a  couple of gears to the I4 engine (green of course). The steering was the second feature added, and runs from the HOG on the roof, goes through one bevel setup to the rack under the from engine.

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The tractor also has a front and rear PTO, with dual on/off switches, and front and rear drawbars. These features were a little tricky to add. The PTO on the rear is connected to the driveline on the right by a changeover catch, and routes rearward over the rear axle. The PTO on the from is connected to the driveline on the left, and routes under the steering axle to the front. Both drawbars can be raised and lowered by a HOG on the roof ahead and behind the steering HOG. Both use two mLAs to raise and lower the drawbar, and both can hold enough weight to tip over the tractor.

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Working on the body work took some time. After trying a couple of technic options for the front hood, and rear fenders, I settled on an option that uses mostly system bricks. I was pleased how it turned out as it does not subtract from the look of the tractor too much. The hood can open to see the engine.

The tractor worked well, and all the features functioned as they should. I will continue to design implements, and test them out as long as the tractor stays built.

Happy building.

Hunter MK.III


Let’s start 2019 off a month late with a small little airplane for the Eurobricks TC15 contest. I was excited about this contest, but as I started with some designs, none of them worked the way I wanted them too. This was the result of a lack of inspiration, and 7 different drafts, all quite different.

The full gallery can be found here.

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Hunter MK.III

I was frustrated with everything design I was trying, and then I picked up a little stud shooter, and started playing around with some technic panels. After a little tinkering, I found I could do something like a WWII attack plane. I started with the engine cowling, and tied it to the wing that I had started.

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Hunter MK.III Loadout

Next I added a cockpit section, and then added the joystick and control surfaces. Mechanically, it is a simple design, but airplanes run out of internal room quickly. The landing gear is a simple worm gear setup, that is tied together by a single axle.

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Hunter MK.III Bottom

I then worked on the bodywork to make it all tie together. I added a little color, some markings and nose art, and the design was done. It is not my best work, and for a contest, I wanted to have something I was proud of. It looks OK, and it functions well, but I have to try my hand at another airplane soon.

Happy Building.

2018


Another year closed here in thirdwiggville. The production level was down a little bit as compared to years past, but I was pleased with what was build. For 2018, here is what I completed: Claas Atos, Cat 914K, Unimog 437, 3T Sports Sedan, and the Volvo Ibex.

The accomplisher in me wants to complete a higher number of different project, but this year felt alright because some of the projects were a lot of work, and ended up being something I was quite proud of. Maybe I will do more next year, but completing quality builds might be better than a high quantity.

Of the 2018 goals, here is what I completed:

  • Something pneumatic, completed
  • A tractor, completed (and I had so much fun, I am doing another one)
  • Something big and PF, nope
  • A Car, completed
  • A model team build, nope

I was very happy with how the 3T sedan turned out, and the Unimog 437 was a lot of fun. It was a comprehensive modular system, which was a new type of project for me. Both were popular with other builders, and they were popular with me: both are still on my desk at work, and I have no interest in taking them apart. One note, the 3T was so much fun for me, I am going to keep the theme and scale going. Thirdwigg Motors will release another car in 2019, and maybe something else a little crazy.

I have now gone two years with only one Bricklink.com order per month. This has been a hard project, and has helped me focus on what parts I have, rather than mindlessly purchasing more parts. I will say, LEGO’s Pick-a-brick continues to improve. The interface is still a little clunky, but I can get new parts quickly which is reducing my need for purchasing new sets.

For 2019, here are my goals

  • A tractor
  • Car
  • Skip loader truck
  • Something PF
  • Another contest build
  • An LMP car

My life keeps getting more complicated, so we will see how long I keep doing this, but I still keep having fun designing and completing these builds. As always, check The Queue to see what’s coming. On to 2019. Happy building.

Volvo Ibex


Another contest, another build. LEGO Ideas posted a contest to build your idea of the Volvo construction vehicle of the future using LEGO Technic bricks. This was my entry for the contest, which did not win, but was a design I was happy to complete.

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The design was inspired by the Volvo Sfinx and the Hyundai HFex Concept as I was interested in trying the various tracks, and a foldable boom. I started with the track sections, with four idetntical modules. Each are connected to the center turntable with a worm gear assembly for individual track movement. The system is enough to hold the full MOC, but not overly strong.

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Next came the superstructure. I created a conventional cab on the left, and added some fuel cells on the back. These cells can slide out the back of the superstructure to be easily replaced. Next came the boom. I wanted a three section boom that would fold, and extend in a variety of directions. Each of the three pivots is operated by a worm gear mechanism. The best manage the length of the boom, the main boom used a worm and 48z gear, the second used a worm and 24z gear, and the final boom used a worm and 8z gear. I added a ball join at the end of the boom to allow for multiple attachments.

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The entry did not win the contest, but I was happy with the result. It was creative, and functioned well. I like the way it looked, and was happy with the track setup.

Happy building.