John Deere Axron

What started out as a little tractor and trailer has grown into the Thirdwigg Farm! And it needed a bigger tractor.

Free instructions are available at

I started with a simple, small, row tractor that I called the Atmos. This tractor was mid scale and in addition to steering and a fake engine like most of my builds, it featured a front implement mount, rear three point hitch, rear PTO, and rear Pneumatic PTO. Little did I know how the tractor would grow into a lot of other tractores, trailers, impliments, and farming support vehicles. At some point, I found myself interested in making a larger tractor, and I have always loved the Claas Xerion. The Claas been done in Lego Technic before, so I went the John Deere styling route for my build.

The tractor had to integrate into the other builds, so the front and rear mount and PTO placement dictated a couple of the hard points. I built the tractor with four wheel drive, and four wheel steering. A four cylinder fake engine is placed under the frond hood above the front axle. The rear most cylinder does not move as the crankshaft would have run into the steering unit, and any change I tried to fix it made for an ugly hood. A worm gear actuated rear three point hitch allows for implements to be mounted to the tractor.

The steering is controlled by a HOG light at the top of the cab, which caused some headaches for placement as I wanted the cab to be able to rotate. There is a small gear on the right of the tractor that controls the rotation through and internally mounted worm gear. Getting the cab to rotate in the right spot, without hitting anything, and while still having the pneumatic pump, required endless test rotations.

Since this is a Thirdwigg Farm tractor, there are many options to pair with this tractor, all with free instructions. My favorite is the Hookloadr trailer, but the Tandem Disc looks great too. Free instructions are available for all the options, so feel free to make your own farm.

It is always fun to make another tractor and this one was no exception. I wish the drivetrain was a little more smooth, but the rest of the tractor worked flawlessly. And it looks fantastic. Coupled with a trailer, makes it look strong and purposeful. And the rotating cab is so much fun to play with. We’ll see what gets added to the Thirdwigg Farm next!

Happy building!


LEGO 42136 Articulated Dumper

I have never made an alternative model, until now!

The popularity of alternative models has been increasing in the past couple of years as Rebrickable has allowed for an easy way for people to see what they can make from the sets they own. I tend to be more interested in making the machines I want, but I figured I should learn how to do an alternative model at some point, and this summer I was ready for a little challenge.

LEGO set 42136 is a decent little set with some simple functions and an accessible cost. After I purchased the set, and put it together, I thought about what I could turn it into. Making an alternative model means you need to think right away about the special parts you have how they could be used in another MOC. For me, the important parts were the yellow panels, the turntable, and the wheels/tires. I wanted to keep the yellow and green well integrated, otherwise the build would look messy. Going through my Pinterest account, I came across the Hydrema Dumper, and I immediately knew it would work. I got to work.

I made a draft with the tires, bed, and major panels placed. Then it was just build, rebuild, rebuild to make sure all the parts were well supported and color matched with the parts available. Sometimes I just wanted another simple connector, and I had a use another solution with the parts I had left. Looking over the remaining parts, I wish I would have used the gears, and the little tires from the trailer. The tractor finished with steering and a tipping bed, and a cute little face.

I was happy to finally do an alternative build. This one looked clean, and the functions worked well. There has been some interest in the MOC, as some people have already built it themselves. You can too! It was a fun little challenge, so I’ll make some more alternative builds in the future.

Until then, happy building.

Skid Excavator

Another little contest build, complete with Free Instructions.

I participate in a number of LEGO Technic contests, and Eurobricks hosts a number of them. The requirements for the TC22 Contest was to build a Technic construction vehicle that could fit in a 10,000 stud bounding box. It had been a while since I built an excavator, and they allow for a lot of functions in a little bit of space. I have always been intrigued with the machines built by the French company Mecalac, and after looking at their cute little Skid Steer Excavators, I had my subject. Setting the scale was important as I only had so much space. I decided on the large tracks as I think they look a little better. Setting the width with the tracks at 17 studs, would give the stability needed, and would give me some working space. Calculating the rest of the excavator would allow for 28 studs in length, and 21 studs in height for a total of 9,996 total cubic studs.

I stared with the boom, which is a little complicated. The boom is a 3 section design, and should reach far, and tuck in close to the front plow, and be able to dig deep. I planned the movements with mini linear actuators, and wanted to keep the controls easily accessible. This resulted in a design where two actuators had controls on the boom, and two actuators had controls on the back of the superstructure.

I thought I had the hardest part done one the arm was finalized, but I quickly discovered that the rest of the superstructure was going to cause some problems. First, I was not sure on the shape I wanted. It took a couple of drafts to get the rear shape right. Once I did I realized I had some space for a little engine, so I added this, and connected it to one of the boom lifts. Now a little engine turns when the arm moves. Once these features were done, it took another four drafts to make sure the tractor would not fall apart.

Then off to the cab and the attachments. The can was simple enough, with a simple chair and the HOG mounted to turn the superstructure. I created four different attachments, including two excavator buckets, a skid bucket, and a set of forks. In what is becoming a standard feature of my builds, each can be changed over by pulling a couple of axles on the boom.

I was pleased with how this build turned out, and it was good enough for a third place in the Eurobricks contests. All the attachment options made for a fun, playable model, and the movement of the boom was perfect. Feel free to build one of your own.

Happy building.