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 :)