Kickboxer Diesel


I have done a lot of difficult LEGO projects over the years, but this project was the hardest in a while.

You may find free instructions for this MOC at Rebrickable.com.

I often participate in Eurobricks Technic contests, and this last winter, I chose to participate in TC19 Technic Motorbike Contest as I enjoy Motorcycles, and I have built only one. This was an oportunity for me to develop some skills in a MOC that I have not done in the past. I had no idea, how much it would stretch me. From the start I committed to the following features: steering , suspension, an engine, and a transmission.

I quickly picked a motorcycle to replicate, the fantastic Kickboxer, and got to work. First I set the scale and did a rough draft of the suspension. I built a little flat 4 engine.

Then I started on the transmission. The transmission is a four speed sequential transmission that is shifted on the left of the motorcycle. I took a while to get the design to work, and then took a lot of time to get it to fit into the motorcycle. Finally, I was able to get the final solution to work. It’s dense and complicated. I encourage you to take a look at the instructions to explore it a little more.

The suspension worked until I finished much of the bike. Then it sagged, and required a complete rebuild. I was able to retain much of what I wanted even after the redesign.

The motorcycle was a build I was very happy to finish. I was frustrated multiple times in this build, so I had a high sense of accomplishment when it was done. The transmission works flawlessly. The suspension is sufficient, and the steering is a little gummy. But all in all, it’s a build I am proud of. I hope you enjoy it too.

Happy building.

LEGO 8850 Update


After updating 8640, I wanted to update another set with a Technic Fig. There was only one option, 8850 Rally Support Truck.

Free instructions are available at Rebrickable.com.

8850 Update Side

Every once and a while I return to an old LEGO set, and try to modify and improve what was offered by The Lego Group when the set was released. I like to harken back to some of these influential sets because it helps me take stock of all the improvements that have happened in parts and design in LEGO Technic. 8850 was one of the first sets to use the, then new, cylinder and piston parts that have been used ever since. The set also had a driver, steering, and a robust design. When I set to work on this MOD, I placed the following constraints: keep the size, keep the engine, keep the steering, add suspension, update the bodywork, and keep the driver. Make it yellow.

8850 Rally Support Truck Update

The chassis came together quickly, as it is not too complicated, and utilized features I have used before. The rear live axle is simple, and linked forward by two links, and laterally by a Panhard rod. I used the new differential to increase the final engine speed. The front suspension is another simple design; double A-arms with a rear steering link. The steering mechanism travels under the engine, through an idler gear, and moves upward towards the HOG gear on the top of the truck.

8850 Update Chassis

The body work was quick as well, though I needed to slow down to be conscientious to the original design. Liftarms replaced Technic bricks, and the lines were kept. I added some engine detail including a intake, and gave a new grill design. I removed the headlights on top of the A-pillar, because they look silly to my eyes. I played with some ideas for the front bumper including a bull-bar, and other colors, but this simple design ended up being the one I like the most. I gave a little tailgate on the rear with some color, and a little exhaust pipe. Finally, I gave a little OCTAN coloring to highlight the race focus of the truck.

In my effort to improve access to my builds, I have created this MOD in Bricklink Studio, and have made instructions that are a little more clear than the photo sequence instructions I have done in the past. You may find a partlist and download the instructions PDF at rebricklable.com. Send me a photo if you enjoy the build.

Sample of the Instructions

8850 is a tricky set to update, because it has some defining features that I find unattractive, such as the front bumper, the rear, and the upper A pillar headlights. With this in mind, I think I carried the themes through to this build well. The OCTAN livery while keeping the main yellow with white highlights worked very well for my eyes. Functionally, keeping what 8850 had, and adding suspension was a fun project. I am already thinking about how to convert this build into an overland version with 4×4 and more bodywork. Stay tuned…

Until then, Happy building.

8081 SRT Tremor


Lego set 8081 is one of my favorites. It’s a cute little set, that has some mechanical diffenciencies, so I have made a number of MODs of the set. Here’s another one.

The full gallery may be found here.

It’s becoming a bit of a bad habit for me to start a new project while I am currently building something else. While I was building the 8081 110, I founds myself making another draft of a little pickup. I moved pretty quickly on the 8081 110, but this project stalled. The chassis came together quickly. The live axle rear suspension is a simple design with five links to keep non-vertical movement at bay. The front is a simple independent wishbone design just like the original 8081. Finally, I placed a V-8 right over the front suspension, and geared it to the rear wheels. I used the new differential in the rear axle, which drives the V-8 a little faster than in my previous designs.

The sport pickup is a silly I idea that was all the rage in the United States in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Pickups like the SVT Lightning, the Ram STR-10, and my personal favorite the Dodge Dakota RT, were prevalent. This MOC slowed while I was trying to get the styling in the vein of these notable pickups. I liked what I designed for the front and rear bumper, and the rear bed was sufficient. But all the designs I came up with for the hood and the front grill looked dull and basic. Each of the above pickups had bold grills, and a hood line that communicated more power than anyone would need.

At some point, I realized I was not making any changes to the design, and I was running out of creativity. So it was time to be done.

While this is not my favorite MOD of 8081, it is another one to add to my long lists of MODs. The MOD worked well in that each of the simple features functioned without any problems. But I do feel like I did not do justice to 8081 with this MOD, nor did I represent any of those sport pickups well with this MOD. Maybe I’ll need to build a replacement soon….

Happy building.

LMP C Turbo


Every once and a while I participant in a Eurobricks Contest. This car was the entry into the TC18 Contest.

Full gallery may be found here.

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The contest called for a small car using only two types of wheels, and not more than 15 studs wide. I like building small non-powered builds, so I decided to get to work. After working on a couple of drafts of car layouts, I decided on the LMP type C race car. It would be a little challenge, and allowed me to add some features that I wanted.

I new I would want an engine, steering, and removable bodywork panels just like a real LMP car. This morphed into a fully modular build. I started with the Monocoque which contains the steering, driver seat, roll structure, and rear engine and suspension mount.

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Next I worked on the engine and rear axle. I used a mini V-8 design that is becoming common in LEGO designs, and made mine in such a way that it could be easily removed. The design incorporates an intake and turbo exhaust. The rear axle attached behind the engine. The entire assembly can be easily removed.

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The bodywork took a little work, but only because I could not decide on the colors I wanted. Dark Azure was decided upon pretty quickly because it looked sharp, and had the small wheel panels. But the accent color was a little tricky. I liked yellow, white, black, but finally settled on lime. I hope you like the final look.

Everything worked well, and it looked the way I wanted it to. The result of the contest was about right in the middle on the 40ish contestants, so good, but not great.

I hope you enjoy the build. Happy building.

 

 

 

 

1E.R Track Car


Thirdwigg Motors is not immune to the regulatory requirements of automotive manufacturing. As such, electrification has arrived!

Full gallery may be found on Flickr.com.

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After the introduction of the 3T Sports Sedan and the 2C Sports Car, Thirdwigg Motors was ready to start exploring the electrification of vehicles. Since the previous vehicles all had internal combustion, in order to more into electrification, some testing was required. The car features a single electric motor just forward of the rear axle. Geared up 3:1, the motor provides sufficient acceleration and top speed.

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Since this is track car suspension and bodywork are crucial for performance. The flat bottom of the car contributes to downforce, as does the rear wing and aerodynamic bodywork. The front and rear suspension is independent with torsen bars at each corner. There is very little wheel travel, appropriate for a track car. Steering is handed with the steering wheel, and the HOG just above the driver’s head.

The car was a good exercise to test a different drive mode in a LEGO car. Another electric car will soon be coming from Thirdwigg Motors, so this test vehicle was a good first step. The suspension was a little soft; it worked OK which was my experience with the Octan F1 as well. Frankly, the torsen system only works great for tanks in my experience, but maybe with a little work, it can have an application in future cars.

Until next time, happy building.

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.

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.

911RSDrive

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.

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.

3T Sports Sedan


The sport sedan is my favorite kind of car. You can have your McLaren, if I can have four doors and a long hood. One with the proportions of a C-class, the suspension of the ATS, the engine of a Mazda 6, the suede interior of the M3, and the value of the G70. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be set. But there are few good sedans in LEGO, and even fewer smaller ones. Let’s change that.

Instructions may be downloaded here.

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When I set out to make a sedan, I wanted it to be smaller. What were the features I could add in a smaller LEGO car? It had to have some style, suspension, a gutsy engine, steering, and a transmission. Finally, it had to be strong. So I got to work. The scale was set on a 3 Series that was a little wide, so I set the hardpoints and set off to work.

I first set the two axles and suspension. I have built a couple cars with a floating rear differential, and this setup has worked well in the past, so it would work well for this car. Each side had a dual arm independent setup with two shock absorbers. The front suspension used a dual A-arm setup and a wheel hub with only one hard shock absorber.  Before adding the steering, the driveline would need to be finalized.

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I played around with a number of transmissions, but settled on a simple two speed design for a number of reasons. First, it was smallest as something else would take a lot of space from the interior. Second, something better would take away from the rigidity of the model. Sedans need a lot of support through the transmission tunnel as you lose a lot of rigidity near the doors. Finally, anything more complicated than 2 speeds would be tricky to manually operate (play with) in this scale. About half way through my work on this project, some fun new gears came out which improved the design.

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Next, I moved on to the bodywork. This is the part that causes me the most problems in my car builds, and this car was no exception. I set the doors first as I wanted to use two panels for each side. Then I worked on the front and rear bumpers. The rear came together quickly, but the front took a little more time. I wanted something that was sporty, and with a simple grill. I think it worked out well. Finally was the roof and the rear quarter panels. This part took a long time, as I wanted something strong and stylish. The result is strong and has the C pillar split into a D pillar. It is not perfect, but it is stronger than all the panel ideas I tried.

After the bodywork was set I did something I have never done before, I rebuilt a second whole car. This time, I knew all the final features, and where all the body work would attach so I could focus on creating a strong frame that would best support the whole design. I am happy I did this, as it cleaned up the inside, found some new solutions, and made the whole car stronger. Building this way also helped me think through how clear instructions could be made.

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In the end, I was pleased with the final design. It accomplished all the goals I wanted, and it is an accessible design for others to recreate. I love building in this scale, and cars are a lot of fun, so I will need to do another small car design again.

Until the next time, happy building.