Saturday, February 23, 2013

Red arrow

Valentine's day is just over, so let us take a look at something red. Not so long ago I was lucky enough to build a 9394 Technic airplane. This model has appeared in the Technic line last year. It is quite special in the lineup: it is only the second largish Technic plane ever, the previous one being the 8855 that hit the sleves 25 years ago. If that would not be enough, this plane is the first jet ever. Let us have a mini-review.

I started the build with high expectations. The first surprise is the sheer size: it does not have so many bricks (around 500) but the final plane is pretty big: it is longer and wider than any of my Technic cars.

I have been looking forward to all the functions. Let us take a look:
  • The plane has a variable-sweep wing that can be adjusted by turning the jet exhaust. The whole mechanism occupies the aft part of the fuselage, but that is ok as there is no room needed for a real het engine.
  • The landing gear is retractable. When extended it has to support the entire weight of the aircraft so it has to be very robust. It has Technic knob wheels that bear the load and a worm gears prevents the wheels from retracting by themselves. Real variable-sweep aircraft do tend to have different support mechanisms but this is not a serious problem.
  • The controls also work albeit in only one dimension. This is cool even if it is not as sophisticated as the controls of the 8855 or my training plane which both can be moved in two dimensions.
  • The cockpit can also be opened or closed by turning a knob. This looks great as it opens a thick frame around the actual cockpit as well.

All in all I think it is a cool set especially considering its price. At $49.90 it is not too expensive but pretty big (in Europe it's around EUR 40). It contains lots of red panels. I did not try to build anything else from it yet but others have managed pretty good things like this helicopter.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cool things

A few cool things from the last few days.

We now have official information about the new large X-Wing. It will be built from no fewer than 1558 bricks and will hit the stores in the second half of the year. If I would live in the states and would like to invest my savings into LEGO sets, I am sure I would stack up a few. I predict there will be demand in years.

I think this Soyuz spacecraft is way cool. Even if it does not have any bricks. Creation of pasukaru76.

Dieter89 has built this superb P-51 Mustang. I envy him now. It is a pity that he just missed the great competition (on which I finished in the runner up category with my MiGs).

Our mandatory weekly cool microscale build is this. Created by True Dimensions:

I promise I will get back with my own creations. Sooner or later. See you next week!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Silver MiG reloaded

As I started building new aifcraft recently I wanted to choose a scale that fits an entire fleet, not just a single model. Finally I have settled with 1:48 which is smaller than most other similar planes, but still lets me add a considerable amount of detail.

When the Messerschmidt was ready, it was a no-brainer to start rebuilding my existing MiG-15 in a similar scale. This is how far I got.

It is quite similar to the original one. The underlying concept is the same: the fuselage is symmetric and the wing joins at a Pythagorean triangle. But this is a total rebuild from the ground up which is visible in some details.

I liked the previous variant quite a bit, but I like this one even more. Even though it is smaller in size, I managed to keep almost all characteristic features of the original. As it contains only about 200 bricks it is significantly lighter than its predecessor that contained over 600. The lighter weight means a considerably lighter load on the landing gears and the whole structure bends a lot less and sits more proudly on the runway.

You can find more photos on Flickr and in the Picasaweb album as well.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Build like a pro

Rebrickable helps you do something that I consider the essence of playing with LEGO: how can I build new things from my bricks? Not everyone is born as a talented builder and not everyone has enough inspiration to build cool new things. The idea behind Rebrickable is simple: LEGO builders share blueprints and building instructions. Quite good ones.

Recently the 500th MOC has been uploaded to the site: this beautiful Mercedes-Benz 540K roadster from Sariel. Since this is a remote-controllable car you need two motors as well. The full building instructions can be downloaded from Rebrickable.

There are many other great creations, even some Technic ones like this Sunbeam Corvette supercar with pistons, suspension, gearbox as one would expect. The instructions for Jurgen Krooshoop's model can be downloaded from here:

There are planes too. This Pilatus PC-21 has been covered on TechnicBRICK as well, built by Ismaël (Khan) Juhoor (download link).

These models are all very professional, but building them at home will need serious preparations. The part list is usually available, but it is quite likely that you will not have all the parts and have to buy new ones.

If you would like to simply play, Peter Sprogis has uploaded many models that can be built from a single LEGO Creator set, like the 49395867, 6743or 6913. For example this pickup truck:

I think Rebrickable is one of the best things that have happened to LEGO during the recent years. The site itself is not blazingly fast and could be more helpful in discovering new models, but to see the instructions for many cool creations makes it one of the most interesting LEGO sites over the Internet.