Lego 8440 Update


I am on a little bit of a old set update kick right now, so here is another one.

Free instructions are available here.

When I do an update, I like to add features, but keep the look and feel of the original in a way that you see the build and know what it is referencing. It’s is easy to see the old studded design and have the impulse to recreate the set with studless beams. But there are a lot of new parts that have been released since those old sets were released and many of the new parts allow for a lot of new functions.

For this set, I started first with the bodywork. Once the bodywork was where I wanted, I would fit in as many new functions as I could. It turned out that not many functions were added. But at least the bodywork was a nice update to the original.

Updated 8440 (red) over original 8440 (light trans-blue)

I kept the V6 that 8440 had, and devised a new rear transmission to the rear wheels. It is single speed, but it is geared up in a way that the engine spins faster than it does in the original. I then started adding details to the engine that would fit under the engine cover. I had to keep some exhaust pipes, and cooling radiators, but it took a little time to get those to look the way I wanted. I finally found a solution that was a step up from the old pneumatic tubes.

8440 Update Chassis

Keeping the front steering was simple, but fitting it into the narrow nose was a little bit of a trick. The final result is not too interesting but works well, and allows for a removable nose. A simple rear wing was added as well, and can be easily removed.

The remake did not add as many new functions as I originally wanted to add. True, the design stayed faithful to the original, but a wanted a little more than that. Everything worked well, and looked great, but it was a little too simple. Maybe the next update I do will have a little more opportunity to make some updates. Until then, happy building.

LEGO 42126 SVT8/10


I loved LEGO set 8081 because it gave me a lot of modification ideas, and LEGO 42126 is similar.

Instructions may be found at Rebrickable for the SVT10 and the SVT8.

LEGO 42126 SVT10 Front

In addition to the 4×4 version of 42126, I was immediately interested to making a sport version of the pickup. The sport pickup is one of those silly American contributions to the automotive landscape, so naturally I had to turn the most American of vehicles, the F-150, into a sport truck.

First, I had to figure out how to set the ride height. I decided on the wheels for the truck right away, so it was clear the truck had to come down a little bit. It was clear this would be a significant modification. Since I was already changing the whole frame for the ride height drop, I decided early that i would change the rear suspension to an independent design.

Second, I had to decide on what engine I would use. It was clear at this point, I would have a two door and four door version so I decided a V8 for one, and a V10 for the other. 42126 has a lot of space under the hood, so both would fit without a lot of changes. I added a chain driven supercharger for the V8 to give it a little different look.

LEGO 42126 SVT8 Open

Finally, I wanted to keep the bodywork similar to 42126, but with a sporty look. I designed a new front bumper that is lower, and looks less rugged. I removed the side steps from 42126, and replaced with some simple panels. A new hood was also designed.

Video for the SVT10.

Video for the SVT8.

Functionally, the truck worked better than the Raptor. The suspension worked very well, thought the rear ride height was a little high. The steering worked well, and the front wheels tracked better than on 42126. I liked the look a little better as well, as the wheels and tires make 42126 look out of scale with itself. I pleased with how the updates turned out, so we’ll see if I come up with another MOD to do at some point.

Until then, happy building!

Ionos Sport Sedan


Sometimes I cannot make a decision. This is the LEGO result of that problem.

You may find free instructions for the AWD and the RWD (my favorite).

At the end of 2020, I decided to make a sport sedan. I find the sport sedan to be my favorite kind of car (see here and here), and it was time to do another one. I acquired a couple of the Defender wheels, which look more sporty than the other 56mm wheels. These would be the center of the build. The car would be long hood, short deck, with faired fenders. Then more questions happened, and I could not make up my mind.

What transmission did I want? What engine would be best? Could I fit all wheel drive? Was that appropriate? As I found myself asking these questions, I began answering “well why not that too?” It was here, the project took a dramatic turn. The car would be fully modular and interchangeable. After playing around with some dimensions and simple structures, I decided on the following setup: Two different transmission and rear suspension modules, one floorplan, one body (in two colors), two engine tubs for all wheel drive and rear wheel drive, and three engines. Demensions were set with a width of 27 studs at the rear tires, and 25 studs at the front tires, and a wheelbase of 33 studs.

Each of the 9 modules were build in constant flux with each other as I managed attachment points, size, and interchangeability. I settled on a 4 speed manual transmission module, and a 4 speed sequential transmission module. The manual is shifted in the cabin, and the sequential has a shift lever on the rear bumper. While four speeds is basic for a LEGO car these days, it kept space inside for four seats. Once the transmission modules were basically set, I was off to another module.

The engine tubs were a lot of fun and took less time than I thought they would. There are two tubs. The first, is built to support the front independent suspension and two different engine designs. The Straight Six is my favorite engine, so I wanted to make this options possible. The steering race for this module is placed far forward to allow for the I-6 to fit. In fact, the front of the engine is two studs from the front of the car. The V-8 fits well, and is placed behind the front axle centerline. The second engine tub features a fixed Flat 6 engine, and two fake electric motors; one for each side of the front axle. This unit is the hybrid and All Wheel Drive engine tub. Each tub attaches to either transmission module with six pins and one axle for steering. Drive connects by a 8 tooth gear off the engine.

Then I built the floorpan. This simple build provides the floor to both the cabin and the underside of the car. It is connected at six points, four to the chassis, and two to the center of the body. These points stiffen the car, and connect it all together. The body took the most time as this is what most people would see. Early, I committed to the sides panels including the doors and the part just behind the front wheels, and the roofline. Otherwise everything else was fair game. The front bumper took some time in order of the two studs of space, but I was pleased with the design. Next I managed to get the A, B, and C pillars to look the way I wanted. The C pillar took some trial and error but finally got a shape that was fast looking without the coupelike lines that seems to be permitting sedan design these days.

The rear took the longest. It was at this point where my focus on the MOC was starting to wain. Over months I tinkered with different trunks, different lights, and different rear bumpers. Eventually, I got to where I am now which could be improved, but I was pleased enough to call it complete. I added a little spoiler, and the body was done.

Ionos Sequential Rear

After everthing was built set, I rebuilt the whole car. As I did, I checked fit and built a Bricklink Studio file. With each step I found improvements along the way, and learned how to make better instructions. The result was a car system that fit together well, and gave for an interesting build. Again, if you are interested in the detail, or building your own you may find the instructions here and here.

This was my most favorite build in a long time. If you are interested, the Dark Azure, Manual, AWD version is my preference. The integration of all the parts was fun to do, and the build, test, rebuild process that went through every stage was a case study in continuous improvement. Both transmission work flawlessly. The suspension is stiff and functions as they should for a car of roughly 2500 parts. The varied engines were a fun inclusion. The design of the car is sporty and keeps the lines and proportions of a traditional Rear Wheel Drive Executive Sedan: long hood, short deck, short front overhang. I hope you enjoyed the car, and if you build it, I hope you enjoy the build. I definitely did, and will do something similar in the future.

Until then, happy building.

LEGO 42126 V-8 4×4


Sometimes a LEGO set needs just a little more content. 42126 is one of them.

Instructions may be found on Rebrickable.com.

LEGO 42126 was introduced in the Summer of 2021, and I was immediately drawn to the pickup as it included some features I like, such as steering, suspension, a decent (at least in the USA) price, and it’s Orange! But there were serious features lacking such as four wheel drive, a V-8 (I know, I know, a Raptor, and many of Ford’s F-150s use a turbo V-6), and the rear suspension geometry was weird. I agree with others, that some parts of the design like the rear taillights and the front headlights are a little off. But, like 8081, I saw some potential here, and I ordered the set.

In fact, before I even received my copy of 42126, I was designing and a building a new chassis. The V-8 was easy enough to add, as the space under the hood is extensive. Adding in a front drive axle was a little more complicated. To keep the width, steering geometry, and suspension travel the same as 42126, adding a front drive axle would take a little work. I used a floating differential design, which allows the differential to move freely as the suspension travels through its movement. The steering link was flipped upside down, and relocated in front of the drive axle. The suspension swingarm and shock absorber mounds did not change.

42126 V-8 4×4 Chassis

Immediately behind the engine firewall a differential that connects to the V-8, and the rear axle. The rear axle is changed to replicate a better movement of the rear Raptor. LEGO noted how the half module offset of 42126 was a feature they had to work on to get the placement of the axle correct. However, this feature was only needed as the pivot point of the rear axle was so to the rear of the pickup. By moving the pivot point of the rear axle farther forward, the travel pivots less, and creates a better axle movement of more up and down. This also helps place the axle better when one side is up, and the other down.

While I made no changes to the exterior, I made minor changes to the interor. The colors of the seats have been changed so they match one another a little better. Finally, with a little bit of cross frame bracing, the pickup was done. When 42126 finally arrived, I removed the bed, the doors, the hood, and the roof from 42126, and my F-150 was done.

I like making modifications of sets more than I like making B or C models of them. As such, this project was an enjoyable one for me. I worked fast, and I liked the improvements I was able to make to the original. I like the look of 42126, so keeping this consistent was fine for me, and the additions of the V-8 and the four wheel drive was a fun challenge to pursue. Now to see if I can do a Sport Truck version of 42126. Stay tuned….

Happy building!

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.