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.

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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.