Monday, December 21, 2009

Analyzing a masterpiece

Now that I have built the Lead Sled myself I discovered many tricks. This post is about some of them.

The original car is riding very low, the oversized body is as close to the road as possible. To achieve this all the wheels should sit as deeply embedded in the body as possible. This is not simple with Lego bricks. For the front wheels Mad Physicist has used a panel with an L cross-section – built in upside down. There is no hanging version of the piece, only a standing one. The image below shows that this piece with all the other pieces upside down fit perfectly into the contour of the bodywork.

The width of the car is 11 studs without mirrors but it gets narrower towards the rear of the car. The even-width parts (rear bodywork) fit seamlessly with the odd-width parts (front, roof).

One example how to mix even-width with odd-width is the trunk: the cover is 8 studs wide but its holder has an odd width. The closeup below shows the three small plates with a clip that connect to an even-width plate with a handle.

One more detail that I have only recognized while building: the upper row of slope bricks in the rear windshield are half a plate higher than all the other plates in the car. Having these slope bricks  halfway between other plates results in a smooth roof line. The small step at the bottom of the curved bricks above disappears as well as the other small step in the sloped bricks.

Yet another tricky part is the windshield. It looks good but I kept thinking about what keeps it in place. Finally the creator himself let me know that at the bottom of the transparent bricks there is a plate with a clip, attached to a tap that is completely hidden inside the bodywork.

The car is made of approximately 700 bricks. This is a lot for its size. For comparison the similarly sized Lego 5867 car has only 278 pieces! The Lead Sled contains only a few classic Lego bricks, most of the pieces are plates or special parts.

Because I travel a lot during Christmas I did not order the parts yet but it will not be long before I do so. Until then, Merry Christmas to everyone!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yet more Technic sets for 2010

All of you who are not satisfied with the planned new Technic sets for 2010 have now even more choice. Lego has shown information about a planned set named 8041 Race Truck (Google cache) and even the build instructions were the B-model were available.

Apart from this we can expect the following new sets according to TechnicBRICKs:
  • 8051 Motorcycle
  • 8052 Container truck
  • 8053 Mobile crane

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lead Sled reverse engineer

I am a big fan of miniscale cars like the ones built by Mad Physicist or the Arvo brothers. The challenge is entirely different compared to building large cars: instead of simply putting bricks on top of each other they require a lot of attention to the details to put everything in place. A special piece or a tricky solution has great impact to the model but it may need a lot of experimentation.

I considered building a replica for myself several times, for example one of the cars made by the Mad Physicist or the Porsche from the Arvos. Our friend the reverse engineer who helps to build the whole thing by looking at the end result only. From Lego bricks, of course.

So far I never got past a couple of thought experiments because apart from obvious details I had no clue how to continue building. But now I have decided to go on with the matter. Mad Physicist has built his '51 Mercury Lead Sled. On one hand looks very desirable, on the other hand it has several detailed photos so that I can have some hope. On top of this Ralph is very helpful and did not object and even gave some clues when I had questions about the details.

I started with Lego Digital Designer. Some bricks are unavailable and even more so some colors, but at least I have infinite supplies. Compared to other virtual building tools it is an important advantage that it models the physics of the bricks and does not let me build stupid things. This is how far I got (click on the album):
The colors are not quite right and some other details like the wheels are different too. But it looks promising. I am truly uncertain about some invisible areas but the external feels right.

When I am done with all details the next step will be Bricklink in the New Year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Youngtimer from Santa

Car fans call a car "youngtimer" if it passes the check for veteran cars but it is not old enough to be a real oldtimer. I think "Car Chassis" no. 853 from the beginning of the Big Technic Car history fits this description since it was first sold in 1977.

As I have blogged before, I have set myself as a long term goal to get all the cars from the Big Car series. (Well, the first five at least.) It looks like Santa listens to my wishes well since the postman has brought me this set yesterday. At the first glance it is in an excellent shape as a real youngtimer should. Of course I will not build it until Christmas.

Now if only I could get a 8860 - well, I need some goals for the New Year too :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas is upon us

I have noticed this from several things. First, the Lego company has surprised us with excellent building instructions for Lego decoration:

Then we have excellent special offers for Black Friday like this:

LEGO Brand Retail

Then shops have items like these:

And of course if you would like to have an exclusive older piece you are still in time to buy it on Bricklink or Ebay. Happy browsing!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

'51 Mercury Lead Sled

This time out favorite Mad Physicist created a classic hot-rod from bricks. I think it looks great.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Scania Dump Truck

Sariel has created something excellent as usual:

Detailed description with technical gems on his blog.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

8872 and co.

I wanted to write this post a long time ago. It was before the summer when I decided to take some risks to buy the latest piece of my "Big Car" series, the 8865. Already before the purchase it was clear that the pile contains a lot of extra parts. Luckily I found everything for the big car in a good condition. This is where the riddle started, I wanted to find out the rest. I started from here:

First question: what are all these wheels? There are eight small ones, then six more of the same with larger tires, then the one in which the axle rotates, and then I did not speak about the larger off road ones yet. They seem to come from different sets, but still... Which set contains so many wheels?

After a short search I have found the first suspect, the 8872 Forklift Transporter from 1993:

It was clear in the beginning that I do not have all the parts for the forklift: the chain was missing and many other parts too. But I though the truck could be there:

Still many pieces left, let's try the trailer:

Well, that is something. I abandoned the forklift, six small and six larger wheels are crossed out. But what about the other wheels? This wing piece helped to solve part of the puzzle quickly. It was included in two Lego sets ever in yellow, only one of them Technic: the 8840 Desert Racer from 1991:

Of course the driver is nowhere, pistons neither, so this list has many missing items too. Maybe once I will try to fill the parts from my other sets, until then there is this photo. The four large offroad wheels are also crossed out, but I still have eight small ones. This part was the key to the last missing set:

So I got a 8808 Mini F1 Racer for free, year 1994. I have found almost all pieces for this one:

As a conclusion, for the already good price of the 8865 I got two thrids of an 8872, an 8808, a lot of yellow spare parts and an interesting riddle:

Finally the link to the album and a video - if there is no forklift then let us transport a racer:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hispabrick magazine vol 006 in English

The 6th issue of the Hispabrick magazine is now available in English. You can find the download links on this page (89M) and also access the web preview.
From the contents:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fresh version of Lego Digital Designer

Virtual builders have probably noticed that a new version of Lego Digital Designer available, which is the free builder application from the Lego company (see our previous post).

Version 3.0 brought these improvements:
  • There is a new user interface. Instead of the grid we are now building on a transparent baseplate and there are other small changes.
  • Round bricks can now built in between four other studs.
  • The hinge tool got a bit more usable and there is the new hinge align tool.
  • Bricks can now be organized into groups and templates.
  • The building guide mode is completely new and more usable.
The main advantage of the program is still the same: you run out of virtual bricks much later than from real ones... Happy building!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lego Shop in new countries!

As of yesterday accept orders to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway and Poland. This means that besides the full selection one can order models designed in Digital Designer, hard to find exclusives and even bricks by the piece through Pick-a-Brick.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Technic sets for 2010

In the last few days a lot of new details have surfaced about the plans to introduce new Technic sets for 2010. Let's see them!

8045 Telescopic handler
Price: 12.99$
Lego parts: 117
What does it do: Using the handle at the rear one can upper and lower the handler arm. The B set is a motorcycle with a side car.

8046 Helicopter
Price: 19.99$
Lego parts: 152
What does it do: We can move the main and tail rotor in sync. Another handle operates the lifting winch. The B model is a seaplane.

8047 Mini excavator
Price: 24.99$
Lego parts: 252
What does it do: Working treads, knobs to control the excavator arm. The cabin can be rotated around completely. The B model is a treaded handler.

8048 Buggy
Price: 39.99$
Lego parts: 314
What does it do: Suspension on all four wheels, the front wheels with functional steering and the rear wheels drive a V4 engine. The roll cage can be opened. The B model is a tractor.

8049 Log handler
Price: 59.99$
Lego parts: 525
What does it do: The tractor has steering, the trailer can be attached and detached. The lift arm on the trailer can be operated pneumatically.

My favorite so far is the Buggy - one can pack a lot of technics in a small space in 2010!!

Source: TechnicBRICKs. Pics: album.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Everything about gears

On his popular website Sariel has published a complete tutorial to Technic gears. I recommend it to everyone.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Lego house of James May is demolished

What is the worst thing that can happen to Lego bricks? Yes, something like that:

As we have told you earlies the house was built for the series Toy Stories. The original plan was to move the whole house to Legoland WIndsow but the company changed its plan. Without alternatives the builders have decided to demolish it.

More pictures and details pulished by Daily.

Turing machine, Millenium Falcon and Counter Strike

Animations made with Lego bricks again. This time I picked videos from two blogs (Stritar, Marx-blog). The first animation shows a working Turing machine. This is an imaginary gadget that illustrates how a computer could work - invented by famous British mathematician and code breaker Alan Turing in 1936.

The next video shows how the biggest 10179 Millenium Falcon is built. The set has 5195 parts - for comparison, the largest Technic set ever made, the 8421-es Mobile Crane has 1884 elements. So the Falcon contains almost three times as many! I cannot imagine how long would it take to build it in real time.

At last, a bit of fun (caution, content not suitable for minors). One of my favorite games, Counter Strike is played with Lego minifigs on the level de_inferno.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ship in the fish tank

During the summer our kids convinced us to get a fish tank for them. My biggest daughter takes good care of it most of the time and if she forgets then there is Mom who is known to take care of everything.

So far the fish tank had the usual content: fish, plants, decoration, filter etc. But having a father like this it did not take long to get some bricks in there.

What had to happen has happened: there are Lego bricks in the water now. After short thinking I have decided to build a ship that somehow happened to sink right there.

Putting it down was not very simple. As it turned out, Lego bricks are just a little bit heavier than water so it is solvable without additional weight. To get it right, I had to get rid of all the bubbles stuck inside the bricks. I chose the simplest way. With my daughter we disassembled it above the water completely and then built it again underwater with fish watching the show.

As of know it is not known if the fish like it or not. But they are alive and well.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lego robots, head to the Moon!

The Google Lunar X-Prize Challenge got a smaller sister. The foundation encourages parents and kids to joins forces and create robots using Lego Mindstorms parts that can solve discovery tasks similar to the ones on the Moon. Let the adventure start!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tantive IV Corellian Corvette

I am not a rabid fan of Star Wars but this set appeared just now is very nice. The Corellian Corvette named "Tantive IV" appeared with number 10198 in the selection of Lego Shop. One look is enough and you already feel in the middle of the action :)

Brickset has already published a detailed review.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

8868 Claw rig truck

I admit that so far I did not pay much attention to this Technic set from 1992.

This excellent computer animation has made it immediately interesting. I recommend it to everyone who likes classic Technic sets:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good progress on the Lego house in England

Top Gear star James May has made good progress on turning his childhood dream into reality. By the time when it is ready, he and his 1200 helpers will use almost 3 million bricks to build the house and the furniture, including a flushing toilet. We keep our fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We are on Twitter!

Tweets are there for some time, I would like to publicize it a bit more. The twitter feed contains many news bits that do not appear here on the blog.:

Lego Universe - new screen shots

Brothers Brick has published that there are new screen shots available about the massively multiplayer online game Lego Universe. The game is set for release in 2010 and will be available as a subscription service.