2016


2016 was another productive year in Thirdwiggville. I did some fun builds, some big builds, and a couple of quick builds. I participated in four online contests, finished some projects that had been brewing for a while, and shut down one project that was not going anywhere. As a recap, here is what I built: Snowblower/Tractor, Porsche 911 Cup Car, K-TEC 1233 Scraper, Kalmar 180, 9393 Updates, Porsche 714, Volvo FE Refuse, International Tow Truck, and Concept Bulldozer.

Some reflections on 2016:

First, I completed some of the goals I set from last year.

  • Work on no more 3 WIPs projects at a time: Mostly Completed
  • Do what I can to get to Brickworld 2016: Not Completed
  • Finish the Ferrari 333 SP: Not Completed
  • Complete a garbage truck: Completed
  • Make a small scraper: Completed
  • Make a pickup truck: Not Completed
  • Participate in another contest: Completed
  • Maybe another tank, or a Honda 2×4. Neat: Not Completed

My MOCs are getting a little let complex, and I am happy to keep this going. I think I have found an appropriate level of Lego building for my life season. Having two little Wiggs in the house, limits my building time. Building less complicated builds keeps me motivated to keep projects going until completion. With the below plans in mind, there are a couple of complex builds that will be interspersed into less complicated builds.

Yesterday I was able to organize all of my Lego room. No loose part is on the floor, or on the building table. Everything is in its right drawer, bag, or place. It is perfectly organized. I hope to continue this. It keeps my frustration level lower, and lowers my chances of ordering a part I already have. I am thankful for having a dedicated Lego space. It is time for me to use it well.

With the above in mind, I hope to keep to the build three rule, where no more than three projects are occurring at the same time. Again, this keeps me from buying what I do not need, and keeps me more focused on completing a current build. I will try to keep The Queue updated so you may see what is currently being worked on.

I would like to keep to one Bricklink order per month. Keeping myself from acquiring what I do not need with be the theme this year. I have enough Lego parts to do most of what I want to build, so it is a exercise in prudence and planning to keep my accumulation of new parts to a minimum. I’ll report back on this at the end of the year.

With the above in mind, here are my goals for 2017.

  • A Model Team airplane
  • Another airplane
  • A motorcycle
  • A small truck (dump)
  • A big truck (PF, rolloff)
  • A pickup truck (PF)
  • A Large GT car
  • Something pneumatic

To 2017! Happy Building.

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2015


Another year comes to a close at Thirdwigg.com. Thanks to those of you who visit, read, comment, and build. In many ways 2015 was a frustrating year for me as I was finishing or attempting to finish many projects that were stalled, or ones in which I had lost interest. In retrospect, I should have cut ties, and moved on to something I would have enjoyed building more. Because of this and other responsibilities, my completed MOCs were down a little for this year. As a recap, I completed the Cadillac ATS, Windrower, CAT 586C, OCTAN Air Racer, MD600N, 2045 Mercedes Benz Athane, Audi allroad, and T-55.

To reflect on this year, some things come to mind. First, having a dedicated building space is a plus and a minus. It’s nice to be able to have a functional space to keep things organized and separate from the other parts of my life. But it also keeps me away from other good things in my life, so I do not find myself casually building while something else is going on. Also, I can hide my mess in the room which contributes to a lack of focus on projects. This bogs me down.

Second, I am very proud of some of the builds I completed this year. The MD600N and the Cadillac ATS were projects that were outside of my comfort zone, and the time spent completing them reflected this. Though this reminded me that as building time become more limited, I should be careful to limit my difficult projects.

Third, I think I have finally found a good, consistent, and repeatable photography system for my MOCs. While my pictures are not quite 100% perfect, they are 90% perfect 100% of the time now. This is a great improvement, and allows me to take photographs more often regardless of light or weather (particularly instructions).

Finally, I need to stop making supercars. I get excited by planning for them, but I do not find building the exteriors very exciting. Because of this supercar projects drag on for far too long.

For 2016 here are my goals.

  • Work on no more 3 WIPs projects at a time. More can be planned, but not built.
  • Do what I can to get to Brickworld 2016.
  • Finish the Ferrari 333 SP.
  • Complete a garbage truck.
  • Make a small scraper.
  • Make a pickup truck.
  • Participate in another contest.
  • Maybe another tank, or a Honda 2×4. Neat.

Let everything else flow as it comes up. With thirdwiggville now filled with four wiggs, it’s about time for me to acknowledge my temporal limitations. I will update The Queue as things come up.

To 2016! Happy Building.

Thirdwiggville


About a year ago, Mr., Mrs., and Jr. Thirdwigg packed up some boxes and left Chicago for Grand Rapids. Along with many other changes, this relocation provided myself a room devoted to LEGO; well at least until it will be commandeered (shared?) as a family play room.

LEGO Room

It is not too fancy, but it works well. The room is in the attic of the house without heating or cooling; the summers get a little hot, but the winters are fine. I have two little tables on which I do my building, and four organizing shelves that keep many of the high use parts close at hand. Tires, books, and empty bricklink packages are strewn about, at least until I can muster up the gumption to put them away.

LEGO Table

Organization is always a work in progress, and as you can see, some things need to be put away. Careful eyes can see some projects from The Queue that are getting close to completion.

LEGO Shelf

The room has some nice build in shelves on both sides of the room. As you can see, I keep a lot of infrequently used parts in bags off to the sides, and some of the larger Wheels and Tires. I also keep an large box on the floor for when small children want to come over and play in Uncle Thirdwigg’s LEGO room.

Happy building. More MOCs will be finished soon.

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.

Review: Incredible LEGO Technic


Every once and a while you get the chance to participate in something that is bigger than yourself, and you do not full realized the significance until you are fully immersed in the project. Pawel “Sariel” Kmiec is well known in the LEGO Technic Community, so I was surprised when he sent me an email last February. He was putting together a book of various Technic MOCs, and he wanted to know if I would be interested in having my Spitfire included in the publication. Absolutely.

Cover

After emails, photos, photoshop, drafts, and other small tasks, I was part of the project. After months, I have finally received a copy of the book. Incredible LEGO Technic: Cars, Trucks, Robots & More is published by No Starch Press (San Francisco, CA, USA, 2015) and will be one sale in the coming days. Sariel is the author, and Eric “Blakbird” Albrecht is the Technical Advisor.

After a great forward by Conchas, and a heartfelt introduction by Sariel, the book dives right into the MOCs. Starting with Agricultural Equipment, it is organized into chapters to group the MOCs in like categories; airplanes, cars, supercars, trucks, things with tracks, and others. For this content the organization works well. For the most part, builders only have a single MOC presented, so having it organized by builder is not necessary.

Chapters

With each passing chapter, we are given about four pages for each MOC, complete with a short writeup, and listing of features. Each MOC has about 6-10 high quality pictures devoted to it, and some have great renders of their functions. While many of the models I know well, the renders are a helpful tool for persons who are new to Technic or to the MOCs. Understanding the complexity and mechanics of each MOC only increases your awe for the builds. Each MOC lists the builder (by screen name), and the year the build was completed.

MOC Page 2 MOC page

At the end of the book, all the builders are listed with biographies, and a small picture of the person (some get only a smiley face…boo). The final page of the book gives websites for each of the MOCs, including video and instruction information if applicable. It’s a nice feature, and having them all at the end keeps the chapters clean and absent of a whole bunch of URLs.

Builders

The book has a broad diversity of MOCs, builders, types of creations and time periods. The work of Blakbird is incredible, and is used to a stunning effect on many of the models. While I understand the work that goes into each of his renders, it would have been great to have them included for more of the MOCs. It’s clear the MOCs for which instructions are available, are the MOCs for which a technical render is given. As is expected, anything Sariel produces will have excellent photography. The presentation of the MOCs is truly stunning. All the photos are top notch and highlight the breathtaking MOCs.

MOC Page 3

The book features many different builders, and not many are featured too frequently. While Sheepo, Crowkillers, and Madoca are fan favorites, it is nice to see some space give to some other excellent builders as well. While it is understandable Sariel has a number of MOCs in the book, you do not feel like it’s an advertisement for his Youtube account. Also, his best MOCs are on display, though I never was too excited by “the Bat.”

I found a couple of typos, but I guess you could find a couple at thirdwigg.com as well. I did not find them distracting, and most people will spend most of their time looking at the great pictures and stunning renders. The purpose of the book is to highlights many builders rather than the skills of Blakbird, but some of the technical renders could use a larger space. Additionally, there are some great small creations out there, and it would have been great to have more of them included. While I appreciate the diversity of the builds, it would be nice to have a couple more that are not replicas of something else. While the modeling on display in this book is great, the creativity that some express with LEGO without a template would be great to see.

Looking through the final pages, it great see some of the greatest builders of the LEGO Technic community listed all together with pictures and biographies. I am honored to be among these builders. I hope you enjoy the book as I have. Pick one up; you’ll be glad you did.

Business Card Holder


Thirdwigg.com will be in Schaumburg this weekend at Brickworld. I understand my readership is rather international, but I you find yourself in the area, stop by and say hello.

Image

When you say hello I’ll send you home with one of my flashy new business cards, and you can take a look at my new business card holder. It even has suspension to keep you fingers safe from the impact due to your excitement.

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2013


2013 was another good year for my LEGO portfolio, though not quite as prolific as 2012. I created 7 MOCs over the course of the year, which I guess is respectable considering the size and complicity of some of my MOCs. As a recap, this year I completed the Spitfire, the Talon Track, the CargoMaster Crane, the Cat 573c Feller, the Bedford MWD, the Sod Farm, and the MAN TGS. I also spent some time creating instructions for my popular T-72 and the Kenworth T55.

Some thoughts as I look forward to 2014.

First, instructions seem to be very popular. Various people ask for instructions often, and I suspect this is consistent with other builders. While many of my MOCs have instructions freely available, I have decided to start charging $5 USD for some, particularly the more complex and unique MOCs. The reality is that creating instructions is a lot of work. I hope to keep offering a mix of both.

Second, I have been enjoying building more MOCs that do not include Power Functions. While creating another Trial Truck is always exciting, creating something smaller with lots of features has been very exciting. Still some of the works I enjoyed the most both in building and in playing are my 4×4 8081, the Sod Harvester, the Mini Feller, and the MAN TGS. Also, these builds are more accessible to other builders who may have a smaller collections. The simplicity allows them to build one of their own. Good design should not require a large collection.

Third, I really do enjoy the big modeling projects. The Spitfire is my proudest accomplishment, but yet there are many parts of the airplane that can be improved. While the Spitfire was much better than my FW-190, I can do even better on the next one. As I write this I am in the planning stages for something large and functional to follow in the steps of overly-large brick based Technic airplanes.

For 2014, let me publish some goals.

Attend Brickworld 2014, and bring the following:

Create a Studless Supercar with a short-throw 6 speed shifter.

Model another large plane. I have to use those dark green parts for something.

Make another working helicopter.

Design another small forklift.

Build another Trial Truck with independent suspension; 6×6 or 8×8.

Two small projects. These usually develop organically, so planning for them is a little hard. But each will be not more than 500 parts.

Also, 2014 will be my ten year anniversary of returning to LEGO from my Dark Ages. I hope to return to the set that brought me back, with a modified version of 8386.

Until these are completed, happy building, and thanks for visiting.