In Space, No-One Can Hear You Gasp

Lego Sci-Fi Base

Being a car blog we’re regularly flummoxed by sci-fi builds, and even though today is no exception the whole TLCB office gasped in unison at this utterly incredible spacebase from TLCB debutant Marco den Besten. Based loosely on the designs from the Tiberian Sun video games, Marco’s enormous creation includes spacecraft, mechs, rovers, hangers, and a whole load of motorised movement. Part of a huge construction for the Legoworld Utrecht show there’s much more to see at Marco’s Flickr album. Click the link above to join the gasping.

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The Prince of Bel Air*

Lego '55 Chevrolet Bel Air

Chevrolet, the unfortunate makers of this, this and this, used to be cool. Admittedly that was a long long time ago, but cool they were. Today’s creation comes from the peak of Chevrolet’s history, the glorious ’55 Bel Air.

This brilliant recreation of one of the finest cars ever to come out of America is the work of TLCB Master MOCer Ralph Savelsberg aka Mad Physicist and not only does it look gorgeous, Ralph’s classic Bel Air features opening doors, hood and trunk, with a detailed engine and interior too. There’s more to see at Ralph’s photostream – jump back in time to ’55 via the link above.

*Today’s title song. Of course. Rap along at home!

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Stop-Motion Special

How to Make Lego Stop-Motion Animation Videos for YouTube

Lego stop-motion animation videos can turn you into a YouTube sensation. Discover the tips and tricks the pros use for creating stop motion animation videos.

If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you’re still obsessed with LEGO. Regardless of how old you are, it probably started when you were a young child. After all, LEGO have been around since 1932. A lot’s changed in the last 86 years, but one thing remains; LEGO are the building blocks of our childhood. In fact, for millions, that passion for the little colourful bricks has extended into our adult years.

Lego Movie Camera

Are you ready to harness that passion and become a Lego Professional? You may be thinking, “How do I do that?” The answer is simple. Create LEGO stop-motion animation and upload it onto YouTube.

Do you think that’s intriguing but sounds a little complicated? Keep reading to find out how easy it actually is.

How to Make LEGO Stop-Motion Animation

So, you want to make your own brick flicks but you don’t know what you need or how to do it. We’ve got you covered.

The first thing you need to get started is – surprise! – a camera. But you’ll also need a YouTube account. Shocked, aren’t you?

Search for “LEGO stop-motion animation” or go to the official LEGO Movie 2 site and check out their trailer. No, it’s not stop-motion, but you can get some pretty cool ideas for your short. Once you have an idea what you want your movie to be about, let the process begin!

1. Gather Everything You Need

You’ll need a LEGO set, a camera, a computer, and your imagination. Seriously, that’s it. With more than 130 different sets sold in the U.S. every year, you’re bound to find one you like. You may even be sitting on a Back to the Future set or a LEGO Batman set that was your source of inspiration for making the movie in the first place.

2. Build Your Set

Yes, your LEGO set, but you’ll have to build your movie set, too. This will be your backdrop for your film, so get creative. Or, don’t. You can use a plain fabric backdrop for a minimalistic approach.

3. Frame Your Shot

Set up your actors, put your camera on a tripod or stand, and frame your shot. This means looking through the lens and making sure everything looks the way you want it to. Doing this now will save you from having to go back and re-shoot scenes because they weren’t centered.

Also, make sure there’s no glare and that you can’t see anything unsightly in the shot, like, that pile of dirty clothes in the corner. Make adjustments as needed. When everything looks good, you’re ready to film.

4. Action!

This is the time-consuming part. Stop-motion animation takes a long time to film. How long? Let’s do the math…

You’re going to want to edit it at 15fps for the best results. That means “frame per second.” So, if you’re dreaming of a five-minute movie, that’s 15 frames per second or 900 per minute. That’s 4,500 shots for a five-minute stop-motion video.

You’ll actually want to take more in case some of the don’t work out. Perhaps then it’s best to start small, maybe no more than a minute, then build your way up as you improve.

Move your actors, but only a little. This is discretionary. The smaller the movement, the more fluid it will look. But, considering you need to take over 900 shots, you can plan on moving the Minifigures two paces or so for each movement. Keep this up until you reach the number of shots you need.

5. Get Ready to Edit… For a While

You can use any stop-motion application on your computer that you can set to 15fps. Use Windows Movie Maker, iMovie – any of them will work and are easy to use.

Upload your photos and put them in your storyboard order. You may decide you don’t need all the photos you took, which is expected. Go ahead and delete them but don’t forget to keep one for your thumbnail. This will let the viewer know what your video is all about.

As a rule of thumb, the best YouTube thumbnails have added graphics like typography. There are programs out there like Adobe Spark that will guide you through this step.

6. Finishing Up

Once you’re done editing and everything looks good, you’re ready to upload your movie.

Bonus Tips

Since your LEGO Minifigures can’t change expressions on their own, you’ll need to do it for them. To do this, you’ll have to swap heads with other Minifigures.

This will add a lot of production time, so you may not want to do it until you get the hang of the Lego stop-motion animation process. If you’re thinking about getting a new LEGO set for your brick flick, be sure to check out our Reviews and remember to always Play Well!

[Sponsored Post]

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Mr. T

Lego Ford Model T

In the hundred years since The Great War ended mankind has made all sorts of progress. Antibiotics, space travel, the television, Twitter, the cat pencil sharpener… it’s an amazing list, yet cars are still more or less the same as they were a century ago, and they’re still produced in largely the same way too.

This is the car that defined automobile production for the next 100 years, the phenomenally successful Ford Model T. Produced from 1908 to 1927, around fifteen million units of Henry Ford’s world-changing car were built, meaning that at one time over half of all the cars on the roads anywhere in the world were Model Ts. It likely we’ll never see such a dominant product – of any type, let alone a car – again.

This excellent Lego replica of very probably the most important machine ever made comes from previous bloggee Pixel Junkie who has recreated the Model T brilliantly in Lego form. See more at his photostream by clicking here.

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Wrong Side of the Tracks

Lego Technic Soviet Truck

Even for Soviet Russia, this vehicle is weird. This is a BWSM 80, which sounds perilously close to something your Mom would be into, but was in fact a prototype Soviet design that fused a GAZ 53 truck with a DT 75 bulldozer to create… whatever the hell this is.

In normal use the BWSM 80 operated as per a regular truck, albeit one with a track system suspended between the wheels. However in extreme conditions the BWSM could lower the track system thus raising its wheels off the ground, and thereby becoming a skid-steer tracked vehicle in the process. If, as we were, you’re struggling to figure that out, take a look at the video below!

That video, and the creation within it, comes from previous bloggee (and apparent Technic wizard) Samolot of Eurobricks, who has recreated the Russian prototype in brilliantly-functional remote control Technic form.

Two Power Functions L Motors drive both the wheels and the tracks, with some ingenious decoupling mechanism we’re struggling to fathom dividing the power appropriately between the two. A Medium Motor drives the lifting mechanism to deploy the tracks, which also feature suspension, and there are LED headlights up front too.

There’s much more of Samolot’s wonderfully odd creation to see at the Eurobricks discussion forum via the link above, or you could just watch that amazing video again!

Lego Technic GAZ 53 Truck

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The Last Paradise

Lego Tracked Container Town

Flickr’s Rat Dude has a very different idea of what constitutes ‘paradise’ to that of TLCB Team. Still, we suppose it’s relative, as compared to a post-apocalyptic wasteland* this roving container town may well be paradise on tracks. Beautifully built, Rat’s ‘Last Paradise’ features remote control drive and a two-speed gearbox controlled via a third-party SBrick bluetooth brick, allowing the town to rove around the halls of TLCB Towers creeping-out the Elves. Whilst we get on with that you can see more of Rat’s wonderful creation on Flickr – click the link above to take a look.

Lego Tracked Container Town

*Or TLCB Towers…

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Dreams Do Come True – On Display in The LEGO House

LEGO House

The team here at The Lego Car Blog are all big LEGO fans, so the unexpected success of this ropey little website has been – in a way – a dream come true. It’s also meant that for some builders, seeing their work appear here is their dream come true. Whilst we still find this a little weird we’re always delighted when we can make it happen. However there are a few builders who dream… bigger.

One such builder is Andrea Lattanzio aka Norton74. Andrea’s work has appeared here numerous times and he’s one of our Master MOCers too. Recently though, his achievements with bricks have gotten a lot bigger, as Andrea has become one of just fifteen Master Builders worldwide selected to have their work showcased in the new ‘Masterpiece Gallery’ at the incredible LEGO House in The LEGO Group’s home in Billund, Denmark.

Andrea has recently returned from a trip to LEGO’s spectacular new building to join us in one, er… less spectacular. Over to Andrea to tell all about his amazing achievement and how his Lego dream came true.

The Lego House Norton 74

TLCB: Hello Andrea! You’ve just come back from The LEGO House in Billund where you’ve seen your work featured! Tell us how it happened!

Andrea Lattanzio: First of all I thank you for this chance, I am always very happy to share my passion and my story with other AFOLs and LEGO fans.

I returned a few days ago after a whole week spent between Billund (the hometown and historical HQ of The LEGO Company) and Skaerbaek, a tiny village in western Denmark where for years one of the most important, if not the most important, LEGO fan weekend is held.

The reason for this trip was unique and unrepeatable and even now I find it hard to believe that it really happened. In fact, I was chosen by The LEGO House to exhibit my works in the Masterpiece Gallery along with 14 other ‘Master Builders’ from all over the world.

TLCB: Congratulations! How did they choose you and when did you find out?

Andrea Lattanzio: In order to choose which builders to exhibit in the Masterpiece Gallery (where the builds are on display to the public for a whole year), The LEGO House team asked Lego User Groups around the world to suggest the most deserving builders. In addition, they also checked the Flickr galleries of the most famous builders and then, eventually, selected their finalists.

In my case ItLug suggested, among others, my name and so last March I was contacted by The LEGO House who proposed that they would like to exhibit my works for a year in the Masterpiece Gallery. Obviously, my answer was positive and when I read the email I did not believe it!

The Lego House

TLCB: How did you choose which of your creations to exhibit?

Andrea Lattanzio: The choice of the models was coordinated with The LEGO House team. It was not easy because the showcases, where the MOCs are shown, are quite small and therefore it was necessary to choose small builds. At the beginning they asked for my ESSO Gas Station but it was too big, so we opted for the Scooter Shop and the Shell Gas Station (the latter in mini-fig scale). Unfortunately both were too deep and I had to work to shrink them and bring them under 30cm. There was room for two other small MOCs so I also brought two hot rods which, in my opinion, are amongst the most beautiful I’ve built.

TLCB: How did the LEGO House team host you and how did the set-up day go?

Andrea Lattanzio: Since I set foot in the hotel in Billund until I left the ‘Home of the Brick’, I had the feeling of being ‘spoiled’ and ‘cuddled’ by The LEGO House team. Everything was perfectly organised and they knew exactly who I was and what I had built over the years. They were all very kind and they gave myself and the other ‘Master Builders’ very special treatment with some beautiful gifts.

The set-up day was exciting and I think I will never forget it. We spent all day in the facility and we had lunch and dinner together. Each ‘Master Builder’ dedicated themselves to set up their own part of the display, adding value to the exhibition as best as they could. We also received a guided tour and there was a presentation by Stuart Harris, a senior designer at LEGO. In short, it was one of those days that I will remember forever! Continue reading

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We’re 7 Today!

Lego No. 7

Seven. It’s a magnificent number. Continents, seas, days of the week, colours of the rainbow, S Club members, and – somewhat incredibly – the age of this very site!

Yup, seven years ago to the day some clueless and largely incompetent writers decided to start a website for Lego vehicles. Nothing much has changed since then, as we’re still clueless and largely incompetent, but almost five million of you have since joined us for the ride, with visitors from very nearly every country on earth.

Over that time we’ve reviewed exactly one hundred LEGO sets and third-party products in our Set Review Library, interviewed nineteen of the very best builders, set designers and authors from within the Lego Community, and even run a competition or two.

Thank you to each one of you for joining us here at The Lego Car Blog, supporting the vehicle builders whose models fill these pages, and for raising the advertising revenue which is distributed to good causes all around the world.

However, whilst for the last two years we’ve reached a million views per annum, this year we look to fall short. Only slightly, but nevertheless it is a drop.

The internet has changed in the last seven years, with the rise of Instagram and other hosting sites providing other ways for people to view Lego models. Perhaps there are fewer vehicle builders now than there used to be, or maybe people are getting bored of our inane gibberish.

We’ll have to see if year seven marks the beginning of a downward trend, however if in the future it does turn out that The Lego Car Blog is no longer needed to support the Lego vehicle-building community we’ll still be amazed by how many of you have joined us here to read our nonsense. For now we’ll enjoy continuing to write it.

TLCB Team

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The Cog (and 25 Rough Terrain Cranes)

Take four of the most inventive Lego builders (including one TLCB Master MOCer), twenty-five 42082 Technic Rough Terrain Crane sets, and inspiration from Honda’s ‘Cog’, one of the greatest car commercials of all time, and you get one heck of a cool video.

One of the four builders behind LEGO’s brilliant piece of marketing is Nico71, who has also taken 42082 and repurposed it to create an excellent telehandler/wheel-loader ‘C-Model’ using only pieces found within the set. Nico’s model features a motorised tilting and raising fork via LEGO’s Power Functions system, mechanical steering, rear suspension, and all-wheel-drive linked to a V6 piston engine.

Lego 42082 Telehandler

There’s more to see of Nico’s brilliant telehandler at his website, where if you own a 42082 Rough Terrain Crane set and fancy building this C-Model for yourself you can, as Nico has made instructions available too. You can read full details of the model, view the complete gallery of images, and find building instructions via the link above.

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Floatus

Lego Lotus Esprit Submarine James Bond

James Bond might be a dark and moody character these days (as he was in the books too), but there was a time when spying was a little more… extravagant.

The height of 007 ridiculousness was the late ’70s, when Bond went into space, spent more time on one-liners than actually secret agenting, and – in 1977’s ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ – drove a sports car underwater.

It was a ludicrous scene, but one that cemented both Bond and Lotus into vehicular film royalty. Bond’s Lotus Esprit S1, modified by Q-branch, featured some rather ingenious optional extras, and – as Q always somehow seemed to manage – they were exactly what was required for the mission. What luck eh?

This brilliant recreation of the iconic movie car/submarine was suggested to us by a reader and comes from Luis Pena of Flickr. Luis’ ‘Wet Nellie’ as it was called (stop sniggering at the back!) includes all the cunning features of Q’s finest creation and there’s more to see on Flickr. Dive in via the link above.

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Royally Posh

Lego Bugatti Royale

Long before the Veyron, Chiron and Volkswagen ownership, Bugatti made some very posh cars. So posh in fact that the people who owned them didn’t drive the car themselves, and they didn’t even give their driver a roof, so that he would know his place.

This is one such car, the Bugatti Royale, of which just seven were produced. Powered by a 12.7litre straight-8 and measuring 21ft in length (significantly larger than even a modern-day Rolls Royce Phantom) the Royale was released just as the Great Depression hit, and it was a gigantic flop. Of the seven made only three were sold to paying customers, although to be fair to Ettore Bugatti he did apparently refuse to sell one to the King of Albania on account of his poor table manners.

This lovely Town-scale recreation of the Royale comes from ER0L of Flickr and there’s more to see at his photostream via think above. If your table manners are good enough.

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Ma.Krab

Lego Ma.Ktober

We still don’t know what Ma.Ktober is or what the fruits of the annual themed build-fest are supposed to do, but we do know that we rather like them. Here are two such creations, both by Flickr’s [Clever Lego Reference], resembling a mechanised crab and one of those upright-type dinosaurs that always seem to manage to eat someone in every Jurassic Park movie. Whatever they are they’re packed with properly ingenious building techniques and there’s more to see of both builds via the link above.

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Ingenius ’32

Lego '32 Ford Pick-Up Hot Rod

We keep saying it, but you really don’t need a billion bricks to build something brilliant. Case in point; this stunning ’32 Ford Pick-Up hot rod by Flickr’s 1saac W. Inspired by TLCB favourite _Tyler, 1saac has used droid arms, pneumatic hoses, sideways bricks, upside-down bricks, and even a few normal-side up bricks to create his beautiful hot rod. Take a closer look at 1saac’s photostream via the link above.

Lego '32 Ford Pick-Up Hot Rod

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Creations for Charity – More Creations Available!

Creations for Charity 2018

Creations for Charity 2018 is well underway, with over $5,000 raised in the first week to buy LEGO sets for underprivileged children this Christmas! The organisers have now released another tranche of awesome creations to the Creations for Charity online store, including a few vehicles. One of these appears to be Crash Bandicoot from Crash Team Racing, which we’d rather like for ourselves! If you’d like to help this fantastic cause you can check out the creations available to buy by clicking here and you can read full details of the fundraiser via our previous post by clicking here.

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