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 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!

8854 Update


Winner, Winner, Chicken dinner is what we say in my house!

Free instructions are available at Rebrickable.com.

LEGO 8854 Update

I often participate in online LEGO contests, and most of them are on Eurobricks.com. In the summer of 2021, Eurobricks announced TC20, Technic Studless Recreation. I participate in many, but not all, of the contests that Eurobricks offers. The requirement was to pick an old studded set, and recreated it in studless Technic. I couldn’t sit this contest out, as it checked all the right boxes for me. Entries would be smaller to stay in scale, the builds would be feature packed, and it they would have a deep nostalgic connection. I was in.

Choosing a set to recreate took some time. I started with a list of 32 sets, and started to whittle it down from there. Quickly I removed some of the sets for various reasons: interest, size, not right now, too sacred (8880). I ended with a top three of 6357, 8855, and 8854. 6357 would be interesting to me, but after doing 8640 a couple months back it could wait. 8855 had some opportunity. It is a classic set, and instantly identifiable. I built a little mock-up, and let it sit for a couple of days. I didn’t come back to it.

I am not sure why I did not settle on 8854 right away. I love building Unimogs, and when I do updates I like to add some features. 8854 was missing suspension and an engine, so everything was right for me to recreate this iconic set. I had made my decision and I started posting my progress. First, I had to decide the scale. I made the decision to use the newish Batmobile tires in the build, which make the tires a little larger than the original 8854. I added a stud to the wheelbase to compensate, but otherwise the scale would remain the same.

Next, I had to figure out how to add all the features I would want, while keeping all the original features. HOG for the steering would remain on the top right side of the cab, naturally as a beacon. I then added a control gear for the outriggers on the top left side of the cab. The rotation of the crane would be on the right of the truck driven by a worm gear, and all other crane controls would be on the crane itself.

Fitting in the suspension and engine was a little tricky. Adding the engine was simple enough. There is a differential on the rear axle with portal axle. The driveshaft goes forward to drive a I4 mini engine. Suspension is a dual pendular axle setup: both axles pivot side to side. The front and rear axles are linked together so that when one axle pivots right, the other axle pivots left. It is a simple design that functions well.

LEGO 8854 Engine

Designing the crane was the easiest part. Panels form the base of the arm, and a simple extending boom as created using studded technic beams and some rack gears. A worm gear extends the boom.

The cab is where I had some trouble. 8854 has a funny shaped cab to my eyes. First, it is very narrow. Second, the hood slopes very steeply. Third, the windshield is not very steep, more car shaped than truck shaped. I rebuilt 8854 in Bricklink Studio to help me compare the two designs over each other. I found this to be a helpful step, and allowed for some good feedback from other Eurobrick members. I ended up making the hood a little more flat and slightly shorter. The roof was made a little longer, which made the windshield a little more steep. Then added the fenders that wrap around the wheels a little better, and headlights and a grill that referenced the original grill. I was pleased with the final design. Oh, and I added seats, opening doors, and a dashboard.

Being able to compare the two versions side by side helped me feel comfortable with how the build was going. Most of the time I use Studio when the build is complete, as do not like to tinker in Studio. However, being able to see changes in real time, was immensely helpful. I could ask was the new version staying true to the original? If not, what was the specific part that was making it feel/look off? Being able to overlay both versions on top of each other was helpful, and a step I will do again in the future.

Cab Comparison Overlay

It turns out the design was good enough for a first place! I was thrilled that through both a voting and jury stage, this update was picked over 46 other designs. In addition to that affirmation, I was pleased with how the MOC turned out as well. The functions all worked well, and the control of each was simple and effective. I only wish the suspension was little more stable, but this was only noticeable when the crane was fully extended. I’ll use the suspension again in other MOC soon. If you love 8854 as much as I do, I hope you will give this update a build as well.

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.

John Deere 5115


Sometimes you just do not want to shovel your own snow. Why not get a machine to do it for you?

The full gallery may be found on Flickr.com.

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I have enjoyed building a number of tractors over the years, and I think it is mostly because I enjoy building all the implements. This little Deere is no exception. When I was making instructions for the Claas Atos, I found some inspiration from this picture. I wondered, “could I turn this into another tractor?” Yes, yes I could. So I was off on another mid-power tractor.

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I decided on the John Deere 5115, which is a mid-power, open cab row tractor. I used the chassis of the Atos, so the tractor retained the drive, steering, front and rear PTO, and the front and rear three point hitch. I added a green fake engine, a new hood, and some new wheels and tires (Batmobile!). So it was a simple modification of a simple previous build.

I added a variable V-Plow on the front from M_Longer, and a simple spreader on the rear powered by the PTO.

The MOC worked just as well as the Atos, which it should. But the Deere looked a little better. The hood looked more complete, and the proportions looked a little better. Plus the color of the green and yellow always looks sharp.

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.

John Deere 6130R


I am into a little bit of a tractor phase lately, so here is a model of the John Deere 6130R row tractor.

The full gallery including instructions may be found here.

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After the completion of my 9393 MOD, and the Claas Atos, I wanted to expand on what could be done in the tractor theme, and I wanted to use the newish large technic tires that first came from 42054. I set out to set the scale and list some of the features I wanted.  I decided on a John Deere tractor, because green looks sharp in LEGO, and the hubs I would need were available in yellow.

I first started with the driveline which is simply a differential between the rear tires, and a  couple of gears to the I4 engine (green of course). The steering was the second feature added, and runs from the HOG on the roof, goes through one bevel setup to the rack under the from engine.

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The tractor also has a front and rear PTO, with dual on/off switches, and front and rear drawbars. These features were a little tricky to add. The PTO on the rear is connected to the driveline on the right by a changeover catch, and routes rearward over the rear axle. The PTO on the from is connected to the driveline on the left, and routes under the steering axle to the front. Both drawbars can be raised and lowered by a HOG on the roof ahead and behind the steering HOG. Both use two mLAs to raise and lower the drawbar, and both can hold enough weight to tip over the tractor.

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Working on the body work took some time. After trying a couple of technic options for the front hood, and rear fenders, I settled on an option that uses mostly system bricks. I was pleased how it turned out as it does not subtract from the look of the tractor too much. The hood can open to see the engine.

The tractor worked well, and all the features functioned as they should. I will continue to design implements, and test them out as long as the tractor stays built.

Happy building.

Unimog 437


If my previous builds are any indication, I am a big fan of Unimogs. So it was just a matter of time before I built another one. Rather than building one this time, I built a modular system that allows for a number of different versions.

Full instructions can be found here.

This build started with a desired to make another small build with the great Fischertechnik tires I acquired. I wanted to build something small and playful like RM8s FJ or Sheepo’s Defender. As has been happening with many of my recent builds, I wanted to give the MOC some playable options and easy modifications. A Unimog was a perfect option, and who am I to turn down a Unimog? So I gave myself the following constraints: 4×4, I4 fake engine, steering, manual and PF drive options, removable cabs, removable bed, and two chassis. I set off to work.

The axles came together fairly quickly. I decided quickly not to do portal axles, because I wanted the complexity of the MOC to be elsewhere. Both axles have a differential, two soft springs, and are stabilized longitudinally via steering links and laterally via panhard links. All for shocks are mounted on crankshaft parts to get the ride height of the Unimog just right. There is about 1.5 studs of travel for each wheel, which provides adequate articulation.

The axles are connected to a fixed axle that powers a I4 fake motor. Since I wanted the MOC to be easily switched between manual control and PF, the driveline got a little over-complicated quickly. The steering axle and drive axles cross each other twice. This allows for the steering to go to the top for a HOG, and backwards so a PF servo motor can be added. A 16t gear is available at the top of the chassis to power a PTO, or add a PF XL motor to give the Unimog propulsion. The long Chassis can fit a full a full Power Functions pack. When the power pack is not installed lots of open space is available for other additions. I added a three way tipper lift mechanism for both the long and short wheelbase chassis.

Attachment points were added for the rear bed and for the cab. I created three cabs, and each can be added to both chassis (though the Doka looks best on the LWB). Two axles with stop can be pulled to free the cab. I created three beds and a power pack. Four axles with stop are required at each corner to secure the bed. A camper and a crane bed are not far behind on my building queue.

The Unimog turned out exactly as I wanted. The suspension and steering are light and smooth under manual operation, and work great with PF. I am excited about the ability to offer and develop multiple beds and cabs. Instructions are posted, so I look forward to seeing other options people develop to make their own Unimog.

CAT 914K


These days, some projects are taking longer than they have in the past. The little Wiggs in my house and a mirad of other reponsibilities are slowing my production. This loader was started a little over a year ago, and it was finally finished last week.

The full gallery can be seen here.

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I was sitting on a train in Chicago, and saw a little CAT 914k out the window, and thought, “I should finally make a loader.” I got home and started to work. My collection recently added the Fischertechnik tires and the pneumatic parts from the LEGO 42053 Volvo, so I started calculating the scale. Once the scale was set I worked on the linkage for the bucket. I spent two full nights working on the linkage to take full advantage of the longer pneumatic rams. I used the longer ones on the lift, and a shorter one on the tilt.

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After the bucket mechanism was set, I worked on the chassis. The size allowed for four wheel drive. The rear axle was set in a pendular setup, which allowed for some articulation over varied terrain. The rear differential linked to a small I4 motor that was placed in the rear. The pneumatic valves were placed over the motor. The light on the roof operated the steering.

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While the project took a little too much time to complete, it was a fun project that turned out well. The linkage and bucket range worked well. It also held a load well. The stability of the loader could have been a little better when pumping the pneumatic pump, as the suspension took a lot of rigidity out of the rear. The design allowed for normal LEGO 81mm tires as well.

Happy Building.