Author Archives: Dr Asp Menace

Monkeying Around in the Arctic

Tammo S.‘s colourful sci-fi hovercraft has run into some problems in the snow. Indeed snowflakes from the crash-landing still spatter its windscreen. Fortunately the pilot has found a nicely-shaped chunk of Lego ice floe to land on. He’s come prepared with a cooking stove and tools to fix the fault too. If he really gets stuck, he can always shelter in the well appointed cockpit that has been provided with lots to read and unusually, a potted plant.

Click here to see more details. Alternatively, as it’s sci-fi on The Lego Car Blog, click here for today’s tenuous link to British pop music.

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Remote Control

Normally a mixture of Elves and remote control vehicles heralds chaos and destruction across The Lego Car Blog’s offices. Fortunately this excellent model from Arran Hearn lacks the Power Functions that our workforce require for “fun”. It’s left to us to enjoy the look of the build and neat connections that make its shock absorbers. As well as the control unit in the background of the photo, Arran has built a full-sized radio control unit in Lego. Click on the link in the text to see Arran’s work or click here for today’s British pop song in the title.

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You Spin Me Right Round

The forthcoming sequel to 1982’s classic film Bladerunner has its trailers out now on YouTube. For car builders, there have been a few tantalising glimpses of this film’s interpretation of the “Spinner”. It’s already inspired some Lego builders, including GoIPlaysWithLego, whose clean, sleek Spinner features at the top of this post. Calin has also produced a smooth Spinner and a classic version (below), which is well worth a closer look – click this link to his PhotoStream.

Lego Blade Runner

What does all of this mean for the writers of TLCB? Firstly, we’re thinking of replacing our irritating Elven workforce with some obedient Replicants. Secondly, we get to indulge our growing penchant for sci-fi posts with tenuous British pop music links. Thirdly, we’re able continue our quest to try to understand sci-fi: do electric sheep dream of androids?

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Paint it Blacktron

Milan Sekiz has seen a rover and he wants it painted it black. No colours anymore, apart from black, yellow and trans-red are in this series of builds. It also includes a bike, spaceships and a couple more items yet to come. If, like our Elves, you enjoy Transformers, then click on to Milan’s Photostream, where you can see one of those too.

Alternatively, click here for today’s British pop reference. We seem to be getting good at this. Has TLCB finally mastered sci-fi? Probably…

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On The Run

For some reason sci-fi modellers often depict future transport as having legs. This is strange because wheels are obviously more efficient and mechanically simpler to design. Walking vehicles also require advanced stabilisation and control technology. Why would society abandon the wheel? Would it eventually mean the end of The Lego Car Blog? How would the Elves win their Smarties?

Perhaps one area where walking machines might make sense would be in a form of racing, such as BobDeQuatre’s Running Flamingo. As we noted earlier in the week, racing competitions often arbitrarily change their rules, so why not ban wheels? BobDeQuatre has created the World Running League for exactly this sort of motor sport. Click this link to see his other MOC in the series or this link to enjoy the extreme stereo-panning of today’s title track from an appropriately pink group.

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Smoothly Rolling

One of this  author’s childhood heroes was the recently deceased John Noakes. Whether he was free-fall parachuting or climbing Nelson’s Column with no safety gear, John was the daredevil hero of the BBC’s Blue Peter. What has this to do with MiniGray!‘s smoothly built road roller?  When making flapjack (yes, he cooked too!), John Noakes famously commented that road menders should use a wooden spoon instead of a roller to get a smoother result. Given the state of the rural roads around TLCB towers, he might have been right.  MiniGray!’s model features a detailed, removable engine, so it’s well worth clicking the link in the text to see more. Down Shep!

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A Simpler Life

Many is the time when we sit back in our luxury reclining office chairs at TLCB towers and reflect on how we got to where we are today as some of the world’s leading automotive Lego bloggers and Elf keepers. Perhaps our road to becoming petrol-heads started with wooden toys such these ones built by Jens Ohrndorf? The clean lines of these simple but nicely designed Lego models take us back to the calmer, happier days of our youth. Sadly, we’ve got to disperse of an Elf riot in the photocopying room* but we’ll leave you to click on the link in the text for the bigger picture.

*Why do we have a photocopying room? We’re an online, paperless publication…

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Three Wheels on My Wagon

Gene 3S’s 1966 Mini Cooper S has run into a problem on its way to Monte Carlo. Fortunately the car is well equipped with tools and a spare wheel on the roof. There are some nice details on this conventional, studs up car, plus the neat simply styled scene. The car is based on an actual Mk.1 Cooper S, LBL 6 D. The car is currently up for sale and you can see loads of photos by following this link, which is a great resource for building your own Mini Cooper or modifying LEGO’s official 10242 set.

Sadly Gene 3S’s model was TWOKed by a team of TLCB Elves just after the spare wheel was put on.  Apparently they were muttering something about stealing a gold shipment

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Naked Bike

Naked Bike

Brian Kescenovitz‘s tiny creation caught the tiny eyes and minds of our workforce because of its name. Indeed we’ve had to keep his original title for this blog post, just to satisfy a hoard of tittering and sniggering Elves. Brian’s motorcycle caught our eyes because it’s highly detailed, with some very novel parts usage and connections. Click this link to his Photostream and scroll down to see more of Brian’s tiny motorbikes.

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A Red Wolf

ta

The Ta-152 was the ultimate expression of Focke-Wulf’s Fw 190 fighter aeroplane of WW II. The particular version built by Maelven on Flickr is the Ta 152H, optimised for high altitude flight. The modifications included a pressurised cockpit, an increased wingspan and a Junkers Jumo 213E V12 engine with two speed, two stage supercharger and intercooler.

With methanol-water & nitrous-oxide boost, the engine could produce 2,050PS and made the Ta 152 one of the fastest piston engined aeroplanes of the war with 472mph at 41,000 feet. Maelven has displayed his model with its cowling open, displaying the mighty engine. What was the aircraft like to fly? This was described by the world’s most experienced test pilot and fluent German speaker, Capt. Eric Brown RN is this article. For more views of Maelven’s model, click this link.

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Still Not a Car

Klingon Bird of Prey

Time to feature another ship on TLCB, only this time it’s of the space-going variety. Birds of Prey usually strike fear into the hearts of TLCB Elves as they roam the highways and byways, searching for Lego models. Quite a few of our workforce have become tasty* snacks for kestrels and buzzards over the years.

This classic Klingon warship has been built by Kevin J. Walter over a period of 8 years from virtual model to real bricks. It features some impressive and unusual design and detailing which should be interesting to builders of all sorts of Lego MOCs. Click the link in text to zoom into the details on Flickr. Now, can we find something with wheels on to blog in 2017?

Klingon Bird of Prey

*Possibly quite chocolaty, given the Elves’ diet of Smarties.

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Review – The Unofficial Lego Technic Builder’s Guide – Second Edition

This review must start with a disclosure. The lovely, kind people at the No Starch Press sent us a copy of this book for free. The weighty package from the USA, dropped through the letterbox of TLCB towers and caused great excitement. So much so, that all of the 32⅞ Elves in the office were given a Smartie each to celebrate. This was followed by a short, sharp blast from Mr. Airhorn, just to show them that we weren’t going soft. So a big “Thank you” from The Lego Car Blog and some well fed Elves too.

ultbg2e_cover

For this particular reviewer, Paweł “Sariel” Kmieć’s first edition was published at exactly the right moment. I had emerged from my Lego “Dark Ages” and was enjoying building again. As kid I’d enjoyed building both space and Technic models but now beams had no studs on them and apparently they were called “liftarms”. Connections were all via pins and axles and specially shaped pieces that were undreamed of in my teenage years. These new parts and techniques opened the doors to building things that were either too bulky or too structurally weak in days gone by. The opportunities were immense but also bewildering.

The light in the wilderness was the first edition of “The Unofficial Lego Technic Builder’s Guide”. My copy is bent, dog-eared, coffee stained, tear stained and much cherished. The second edition is bigger, at just over 400 pages but still small enough to keep handy on your bedside table or read in the bath. If you don’t own a copy of the first edition and have any interest in Technic building, the new book is a must buy. It is presented in a clear visual style, well written and has a good index. At around $35/£25 the book is great value too. But if you already own the first edition, is it worth buying the new version? Let’s take a look inside.

ultbg2e_370-371

The second edition uses the same style as the first. The pages are packed with information but are easy to read, with text and illustrations placed well. The font is the same, comfortable to read font as the first edition. The author is a graphic designer by profession and it shows through in this product. This is a very technical book but it doesn’t have the feel of a school science textbook. Although most of the illustrations are the same as in the original book, many have been changed for subtle upgrades that are visually clearer. There are also many brand new illustrations.

The second edition is 70 pages longer than the first. One of the ways that these are accounted for is in additions to the early chapters that cover the parts range of Lego Technic. It’s amazing to step back and reflect on quite how many new Technic pieces have been created by Lego since the book’s first edition just three years ago. There are also additions to the definitions of technical terms and “Tricks with Bricks”. Chapter 5 is a brand new chapter on wheels. It starts with defining what a wheel is, in Lego terms and finishes by covering the up-to-date topic of using RC car tyres on large Technic cars. As you carry on leafing through the book you spot more upgrades. There is a tabular version of Sariel’s famous online gear calculator. The “Pneumatics” chapter includes the V2 version of Lego’s system and like the “Pulleys”, “Building Strong” & “Motors” chapters, the pneumatic “Devices” chapter has been slightly upgraded too.

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The one big disappointment for me in this book is that the chapters on “Levers & Linkages” and “Custom Mechanical Solutions” are unchanged. These were one of the most inspiring chapters in the first edition, making me want to revisit my old engineering text books and try building some of the mechanisms in there. It would have been good to have seen some extra ideas here. These sorts of things are extremely useful for landing gears or feed mechanisms or kinetic sculptures. Overall the book is very focused on Lego vehicles, which is what you’d expect coming from a famous builder of Lego vehicles of all types. Lego Technic forums tend to be focused on vehicles too, so this book is spot on with its content for the market. However, it would have been nice to have had a bit more about the creativity, engineering and Lego techniques which go into things such as Great Ball Contraptions or kinetic sculptures. Then again, Lego produces model vehicle sets, the market is about cars & lorries and things that swoosh along are more fun than a static model. Oh, and we’re car blog, so we’d best not go on about this for too long… Continue reading

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Harvest Festival

claas-harvester

It’s been Harvest Festival at TLCB Towers this morning. One of the Elves returned triumphantly from Michal Skorupka’s PhotoStream driving this superb remote controlled Claas Lexion 760 combine harvester. With thirteen Power Functions motors powering everything from the drive and steering to the combine head rotation and elevation, the feeder, and the rear spreading mechanism, there was plenty for the aforementioned Elf to do.

Lego Claas Combine Harvester

As is traditional with Power Functions models, he proceeded to use the machine to reap his colleagues. So whilst we clear up the mess, we suggest that you enjoy the video of the harvester in action below. Michal has chosen a rocking backing track for his video.  Those of our readers who might prefer a more traditional track should follow this link.

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A Tiny Giant

bwe-mini

Looking at gonkius’s PhotoStream, we’re pretty sure that he already owns a 42055 Bucket Wheel Excavator. Is one enough? Obviously not, judging by this nice little bit of micro-scale building. Once again proving that it’s not how many bricks you have but what you do with them, our Elves’ tiny minds were instantly attracted to this tiny machine.

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Nice Paint Job

bmw-m3

Only the toughest, most elite* of TLCB Elves is sent foraging in MOCpages nowadays.  “Bonk, Smash, Thud” isn’t just the noise of MOCpages breaking again, it’s also the sound of malnourished Elves collapsing with hunger.  It’s hard to find good Lego vehicles and get Smarties to eat when the site crashes for so long, so relatively regularly.  MOCpages has been the spiritual Lego home for many top quality builders over many years.  Sadly, more and more builders have become inactive there and fled to other websites.  However, there are still gems to found on the ‘pages.

A case in point are the cars built by Rene Scheruebl.  Rene’s latest vehicles are in the Lego Speed Champions, 6-wide scale.  They include a Mercedes 190 Evo, an Audi 200 V8 and the BMW M3 Sport Evolution featured here.  Building these cars must require very steady hands, as they all feature tiny decals and neatly painted stripes.  Whilst the techniques might offend purists, the results are impressive and well worth a visit to Rene’s MOCpages account; if the website happens to be working…

*Fattest actually.  The low chance of meal tokens is a good way to sneakily put them on a diet.

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