Author Archives: twohorse602


Not just an excuse for a slightly rude title, but a comparison of Technic fork lift trucks….


We’ll start with set 850, just as Technic itself did, way back when the summers were warm and everybody was on strike. In 1977, this was the very first ‘Expert Builder’ set. In common with the other early sets, there were instructions for 3 models and a wealth of further ideas on the box. The model itself is very cute, if somewhat basic. A quick build, it uses the limited palette of pieces then available to good effect. The first technic model is still the one with the best steering system, for instance. Exceptionally smooth in operation, sensibly geared and with a generous lock; a system that simply hasn’t been bettered since. Ally that to the very short wheelbase and you have an amazingly manoevreable model.

Moving frontwards, things are less happy. The forks are too long and too close together, they don’t rise very far and the system to move them is very basic. Tilting them is but the fevered dream of a madman… as for loading them – you’ll need to put something heavy under the seat first. So, 850 the model is probably a 5/10. 850 the set is more like a 9. There’s a perfect mix of bricks and the new technic parts here to make all kinds of yellow building site stuff. The perfect starter kit.

Moving on to 1984, and a demonstration that original style pneumatics can actually work, in the form of the slightly unhappy looking 8843. Maybe it should just be red or yellow, rather than both… This time at least, the forks will tilt, and there’s even an additional hand-of-god steering control to supplement the one in the cab, which (praise be!) is still connected. It’s rather a pity, therefore, that the steering feels very stiff, because the system incorporates 8 bevel gears (4 of which are in the roof!) and these are the older, flat 14 tooth gears which seem to have more friction than the newer design. It doesn’t help that the cab’s wheel rubs against some of the pneumatic tubing as it turns.

Whilst it does feel somewhat churlish to criticize a feature that I’m always begging to see brought back, this would actually be better without it. Don’t think for a moment that this will stop me nagging to see its return on new models…. capricious, moi?

At the front, things are better. The pneumatic installation is quite neat, there’s an extra long piston (not as illustrated; the one pictured is assembled from my collection, with period pneumatics from 8040) to facilitate a good range of movement, and the forks are linked to it via short lengths of chain. Operate the pump and they whizz up and down very happily, and will do so with a reasonable load, as well. To achieve this, millimetre perfect lining up of the chain is necessary – it uses tread link pieces wedged in holes and some of the clearances are very tight – but do that and it’ll work fine.

8843 is a good effort; in some ways a useful improvement on 850, but it’s lost that model’s best features – the B model here is a sketchy looking tow truck and the varied colour palette means there’s not enough pieces of one colour in this small set to make convincing alternatives. 6/10.

Fast forward to 1989; it’s goodbye Berlin Wall and, somewhat less momentously, hello 8835. Much better looking than its predecessor, it also benefits from a lifting mechanism that closely mirrors the solution on real forklifts. Smoother steering too, although wouldn’t it be nice if there was a wheel in the cab….? (yes, yes, I know…)

The only demerit with this model concerns the jerky movement of the forks. The brick-built carrier that wraps around the spars is too tight-fitting to move smoothly, as if the designers had forgotten the far more elegant solution to this problem found on 8843. At least they hadn’t forgotten about the tilt function.

Although 8835 is just as multi-coloured as its predecessor, the colours are much more harmonious and this is a handsome model. The B model suffers in the same way as 8843’s, though. It’s a less-than-convincing tractor. Stick to the forklift though and this is a good set, with only one major flaw. 8/10

Still with me? You’re doing well, don’t give up now… Continue reading

Backhoe Battle

Yellow building site stuff through the ages…


On the right, from 1989, Lego Technic’s first JCB; the 8862 Backhoe. A startlingly yellow confection and the perfect showcase for the then-new second generation pneumatic parts. On the left, 2003’s 8455, slightly less yellow, and an even better showcase for said parts – it has more than twice as many of them…

Both of these JCBs sat near the top of the range, and although the Technic range may seem incomplete without one, there has only been these two and the more recent 2011 8069. This latter model was a lot cheaper and not as accomplished as it’s predecessors. It’s a good enough substitute for less cash, although the little 42004 is as well, for a lot less cash.

Where were we ? Ah yes, 8862 and 8455. First, the builds. The early one is naturally more basic, with it’s studded Technic beams, although the bigger build steps of these older models keeps you on your toes. It was a rare pleasure to build with brand new, unopened 25 year old Technic in this case – no second hand teeth marks and dog hair to contend with, until I have to pull out those infuriating early tight fitting black pins that is… maybe I’ll get the dog to do it… Anyway, after decimating the value of this 8862, I enjoyed a couple of hours of good old fashioned building.

I then cracked open the 8455 (unopened as well!) and gave that my full attention; needed because this little machine’s many pneumatic components, especially the tubing, are VERY compactly packaged. In order to squeeze it’s 10 pistons, 7 switches, 2 pumps and several yards of tubing into a model that’s smaller than 8862, as well as being more functional; you must concentrate at every stage of the instructions on where exactly to route the various pipes and so on. The cleverness of this machine’s packaging is such that not only will it work faultlessly as long as you do this, but all of it’s pipes are very neatly routed on the finished model as well; something that can’t be said of the old stager. With that, it’s a very technical build, not to be rushed.

Both of these models came with pneumatic tubing in long lengths that you cut to size yourself. In both cases, it’s important to cut to the lengths specified; even small deviations may cause packaging and clearance problems, especially in 8455. As is often the case, follow the instructions faithfully and you’ll be alright. Round one is a draw.

To look at, these two are very different, and show the value of 14 years of progress. 8862 is a good effort but it’s oddly proportioned: too tall and under-wheeled. And very, very yellow! Even both buckets are yellow. The black contrast provided by the seat, stabilisers and grille are not enough to offset the overbearing yellowness. Perhaps if I was prepared to get it muddy, it’ll look better…. 8455, on the other hand, looks like this:


Better proportioned, right-size wheels…. and oddly, probably not yellow enough! There’s no pleasing some people… It does unquestionably look better, though. New technic wins at a canter.

As you’d hope for JCB models, both of these are fully functional. We’ll start at the front. 8862 has a system of angled levers and worm gears, manually controlled by wheels on the side, to raise/lower and tilt the front bucket. This system is not perfect. It won’t raise the bucket any higher than the level of the vehicle’s roof, although it does try to maintain the bucket’s angle as the arm is raised and lowered. It almost succeeds… 8455 has pairs of pneumatic rams to operate these functions: there’s a wide range of movement, it’s a strong system and the bucket maintains it’s angle regardless of elevation. The switches on the sides of the seat (if there was a seat) are a neat touch. This seamless operation hands new the win here.

8455 might not have a seat, but there is an engine; geared to turn quite quickly from the rear wheels; and this demonstrates yet more of that clever packaging that so characterizes this model. The steering system – via knob wheels and drag links – works around the engine, taking very little space and it works smoothly, if without quite the precision of 8862’s conventional rack and pinion. 8862 has no engine, despite it’s greater size. Another round goes to new.

The operation of their rear arms is naturally very similar: three single pneumatic rams to lift, reach and tilt the bucket each. 8862 has a manual control to rotate the arm, while 8455, in a display of wilful eccentricity, does this via another pneumatic piston. This is charming, although a lot harder to regulate… and good luck remembering which of 8455’s bank of unlabelled switches does what, as they lack the older model’s more logical arrangement. They are both very playable here, but I think the better ergonomics of 8862 hand old technic a much needed win in this round. Continue reading

Fifteen Pieces Of Fame

…To thoroughly misquote Andy Warhol.


A small, but very appealing contest is happening now on MOCpages. It’s open to anyone who’s got 15 pieces of Lego and is not afraid to use them.

The 15 Piece Vehicle Challenge is being organized by Sam the First, who knows just how to test any builder’s creativity. The elves like it because they can ride in the models…. like the one above, made by  Alex Sonny. It’s a tiny roller. It really is.

Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry

And they’re the same lorry…

Lego Technic 42024

This is Technic set 42024, ‘Container Truck’ which will henceforth be referred to as a ‘Skip Lorry’ since I write this in the UK and that’s what it is. It’s a mid-market set that sits in the not-too-extravagant £60 sweet spot, so let’s see what it offers…

Firstly, Technic boxes these days look pretty good; a clear image of what’s inside and simple, elegant graphics. Shame you have to rip it to get into it. Now to empty the (un-numbered) bags into my customary unsortable heap and get building…. you may wonder at this point if a rainbow has vomited on your work surface…. Time will tell if all those colours work well (8860) or not (8865)…

It’s a fairly standard build that starts with a gearbox. This seems like an unnecessary complication, since it’s only switching between two functions and there’ll still be two controls, but there is a perfectly good reason for this. Be patient. There’s nothing too difficult here and the two instruction books give you completely clear guidance. What is refreshing is that it seems like there’s a few more pieces per build step than in many recent kits – a possible reflection of it’s intended age group (10-43 since you ask…)

After a leisurely hour or two you’ll have a skip lorry that looks quite nice, and your earlier fears over it’s colour co-ordination will prove unfounded. This is an attractive model. Although the feature count is quite modest, and nowhere near the let’s-stuff-everything-in 42008, what it does, it does well.

Even the stabilizers do a good job… they are linked to a connector that engages with a bar on the skip when left up. This enables it to tip the container, which is something I’ve never seen a skip lorry do; perhaps I’m just not paying attention. It’s an effective, well thought out system.

With the stabilizers down, two linear actuators move the skip in a graceful arc onto the surface behind, accompanied by much furious wheel twirling. As standard, this is a manual control model but said manual control is the usual black gear, when an old fashioned pulley and pin would be more ergonomic given the lowish gearing here.

Or better still, stuff a motor in. It’ll take a PF M motor and battery box with the greatest of ease – so much so I suspect that it was intended to be motorized all along (hence the gearbox). The only reason it’s not being that it didn’t hit it’s price point so equipped. Allegedly. This would be a much better set at £80 with the motor included, but I can see why Lego wouldn’t want it troubling 42008’s market position.

Now let’s talk about styling…

Lego Technic 42024 and 42008

It does look good, and I think the colours help here, although it might be time for Lego to make a bit more effort in the cab area. There’s nothing bad here, but it’s a bit same-again. Detailing is a tad sketchy and ill-thought-out (if the doors had glass, the mirrors would go through it when they open, for instance). Presumably, it couldn’t be seen to out-shine the more expensive 42008. I prefer the grille treatment on 42024, though – those silvered grille tiles always look a little flat. Maybe I’m just pining for the 8292 Cherry Picker from a few years ago – an otherwise unremarkable set with a very attractive cab design. Or you can simply treat it as a blank canvas to put your own ideas on – it’s Lego after all!

One piece (or rather six pieces) of very good news is the tyres – new for this set (and the digger in 42023), they’re proper square-shouldered, not-too-wide truck *ahem* lorry tyres that greatly enhance this model compared to the smaller, wider items on 42008.

They enhance the B-model too – another grader! It looks pretty good though – at least as good as the 57,000 grader B-models that have preceded it… one of these days there’ll be a grader A model but I won’t hold my breath. You have to go online to build it, however, and that’s always a faff….

So, what have we learned? 42024 is quite stylish, in its multi-coloured, unadorned way, and it works quite well (if you add a proper handwheel) or very well if you put a motor in. 8/10 – if you’ve already got a motor. 6/10 if you haven’t.

I’ve just realized that I’ve done an entire Technic vehicle review without moaning about the steering. This lorry has a good system. It really does.

To see all the official LEGO sets reviewed by The Lego Car Blog, including 42008, visit the LEGO Set Review Library here.

Exploration Isn’t Dead

…We just have further to go. Meet the Curiosity Rover, LEGO Cuusoo’s latest offering.

Lego Mars Curiosity Rover

Set number 21104; coming soon to Legoland Mars.

Of all the Cuusoo models to date, this is undoubtedly the one that stays most faithful to the original project. There seems hardly any difference between this set and Stephen Pakbaz’s proposal. Mr Pakbaz is not only a LEGO fan, but a Mechanical Engineer working on the Curiosity project, so we can trust him to make a faithful model.

So far, the Cuusoo project has been a bit hit and miss. It’s a fantastic idea, and I hope LEGO persist with it; models like this make the exercise well worth it. We probably don’t need all the IP-dominated models of wildly varying quality (DeLorean, anyone?) but at least this model shows you don’t need to exploit a popular franchise to get noticed.

One thing I really like about these sets is the presentation. They come in a sturdy, tastefully decorated Architecture-style box with a glossy, square-bound instruction book that includes some fascinating information on the model and its designer. You pay a little more as a consequence but it’s well worth it. That said, this isn’t too expensive – £30 for 295 pieces presented with this quality is perfectly reasonable value.

So, the build. You start with a little slice of Martian terrain for the vehicle to roll over and show off its suspension. Simple, but a nice touch. Next, it’s the body of the rover; a slightly irregular white box with plenty of greebles. Wait, they can’t be greebles – on the real thing, all this stuff does something… There are 17 cameras and many scientific instruments to analyse this vehicle’s surroundings. With much data to process, there’s no need for a fast machine – how does 200 metres per day grab you? – speed freaks need not apply, I guess, despite the nuclear power…

It’s a fairly quick build; reasonably straightforward with a smattering of SNOT and a touch of Technic to liven it up. It’s an enjoyable thing to put together. As you go through it, the book tells you little tidbits of information about the rover and its mission and it’s fascinating stuff. For instance, this vehicle can roll over obstructions up to 65cm high while keeping it’s body full of delicately calibrated instruments amazingly stable.

The model will do something similar. It features the same type of rocker-bogie suspension and it works brilliantly. Roll it over any uneven surface (not too fast…) and it really impresses with the stability of the body. It’s done fairly simply but it works superbly. So, an impressively realistic model at a reasonable price with a dose of playability – what’s not to like?

Criticisms? Come on, there’s gotta be something…. Well, if you’re going to push me, I could wonder why it has conventional truck-type wheels and tires when those hard plastic wheels you sometimes see in space sets might be closer to the real thing. Hardly a big issue, that, and it looks fine as it is. Can’t think of anything else to carp at.

Together, LEGO Cuusoo and Stephen Pakbaz have scored a home run. If the idea of exploring other worlds is at all interesting to you, you’ll enjoy this a lot. 10/10.

Highly Recommended.

Construction Cuteness

Lego Technic 42023

Welcome to the Lego Car Blog review of set 42023 – Construction Crew, one of the latest additions to the Technic range. We’ve got our finger on the pulse here at TLCB towers…

So, there I was in the Lego store, staring at the Technic range and torn between buying this and the Skip Lorry. I’ve seen women choose shoes faster. We’ll see if I made the right choice soon enough…

First impressions are good. The three vehicles do look cute on the box, and they all seem to do stuff. The box is quite elegantly designed as well. There is, however, precious little sign of any B-models shown on it; just one tiny picture of a laptop with a road grader model that looks like the alternate for the front end loader. Said laptop won’t help either, for as I write this, the instructions aren’t up on Lego’s website yet.

Lego 42023

There are three instruction books and 3 pairs of numbered bags of pieces – one for each model – and a small sticker sheet that managed to survive the onslaught of not being protected by cardboard. Taking each of the three models individually, I’ll start with the blue one.

It’s a rather fetching looking tipper lorry, 9 studs wide and it features working steering and a tipping box, the latter raised and lowered by a small linear actuator. It’s not a difficult build, by any means, but it’s an enjoyable thing to put together. You build the front end first, then the box and the chassis rails that hold it all together come last. The resulting model does look nice, especially as attention has been paid to the colour of the fixings and blue ones have been used on the cab where possible.

So, it’s pretty, but is it clever ? In a word, no. The steering is rather vague and imprecise with a very limited lock, and the tipper bed has a few too many holes in the bottom – a shame as it did seem from the pictures that they might have designed this properly for once. It does work OK, though, and the hinged flap at the rear opens as it goes up. It’ll open before it goes up as well, unfortunately; there’s no means to lock it shut. So, an aesthetic success but not a technical one. Next!

A little red excavator, which wears stickers on the side that somewhat redundantly say ‘Excavator’, just in case we weren’t sure… this features another little linear actuator to lift the arm and it’s extended manually via a set of simple crossed levers. This aspect works well, and it’s got a control to rotate the body on the base. This is completely pointless as the thing will swivel around of it’s own free will anyway. If it was geared down it might have worked.

It’s got a pair of caterpillar tracks, using the older, small black chain link type – 40 per side so get clicking! – and I always like seeing these, although they appear to be made of a softer plastic than used to be the case. These need gears at each end to act as sprockets, and this model doesn’t have that – the chains simply slide over the ‘sprocket’ provided by pairs of bevel gears that don’t mesh with them, meaning the tracks have some free side-to-side movement, and will slip over the sprockets. They won’t slip right off, though. So, a partial success and, like the truck, it does look good.

The best of the three is undoubtedly the yellow front end loader. This looks very purposeful with it’s big yellow wheels, with new squarer tyres that’ll suit most of your truck mocs very well – and it features articulated steering and a lifting, tilting bucket at the front. The joint in the middle is very sturdy, it steers nice and smoothly and the bucket’s lifting mechanism is fine, although the bucket itself tips back as it goes up. The tilting action is a bit sloppy, however, and could not be more basic. That aside, this is a good model.

The three models are also provided with a small pile of round 2×2 bricks to dig up/load/carry. All great fun, although they had to be this big lest they fall through the holes in the truck’s floor…

If all this sounds a bit.. lukewarm, blame the reason I chose this set:

Lego Technic 42004

I already had 42004, the little JCB, and it’s a complete delight: the thought of three more like that in one set was extremely tempting. That wouldn’t be too much to ask either, as the 42004 costs £18 to 42023’s £50, and it has less than a third of the pieces. IT’S GOT AN INSTRUCTION BOOK FOR THE B MODEL AS WELL. If I shout maybe someone at Lego will hear me…

Whereas each of 42023’s models have 2 or 3 functions/moving parts, 42004 has 6 on it’s own, in a model that’s the same size. These functions are not perfect, but they’re at least as good as any similar systems on 42023. All this and cuteness; can’t ask for more.

So, to sum up, I should probably have bought the Skip Lorry… 42023 is a nice enough set, and it would make a very good starter kit for someone new to Technic, but there’s not really enough here for the seasoned builder at this price. 6/10. 42004 on the other hand, is an outstanding little model that looks even better value now. 9/10.

This is the Lego Car Blog. We make these mistakes so you don’t have to!

Senator Supercar

The Lamborghini Miura has been done so many times, your model of it would need to be spectacular to get our attention…

Lego Lamborghini

… trust Senator Chinchilla to wake us up from our post-Christmas slumbers. Find this beauty on MOCpages.

Seasonal Service

Lego 42008 Truck

With the red and green, it looks like it could belong to a jolly fat man… welcome to TLCB’s review of the Lego Technic 42008 Service Truck.

Not quite the latest in a long line of mid-range truck models that always seem to be the meat of the Technic range, this one with its 1276 pieces and £100 price is definitely edging upwards from mid-range, despite its still-modest size.

It’s got most of the sophistication of a much larger model too, as we shall see.

First impressions: Well, you’ll either get on with the green or you won’t… Personally, I think a grey or black (not red) chassis would have helped. Nevertheless, it is good to see Lego broadening the Technic colour palette once again – long may that continue! You get an entirely typical box, well stuffed with goodies and three instruction books. And a sticker sheet, natch. You’ll need that…

Building it is a reasonably familiar experience for anyone who’s had any other mid-range truck set in recent years, apart from the pneumatics, possibly. This may be unique in combining pneumatics, linear actuators and a PF motor in the same model – I can’t think of any others that have all three – and it’s this fact that makes the price seem pretty reasonable. It’s a fairly intricate and densely packed thing, with little wasted space, but the instructions are typically clear and simple to follow.

After a leisurely afternoon’s building, you’ll have a pretty impressive model with many functions:

Steering: A very well engineered progressive-rate system that operates on the first two axles via the usual gear on the roof. It works very smoothly, there’s a reasonable amount of lock and nothing for me to complain about. Technic steering systems would seem to be improving, at last.

Rear Stabilizers: Operated via the left hand gearbox and motorized, like all the following functions, these raise and lower via a pair of small linear actuators and are of limited use, frankly. They don’t lock in place and they’re not strong enough to lift the rear of the model. Next!

Hook: Anyone expecting this to take an age to raise and lower, like every other motorized crane, is in for a surprise. The thing fairly rips along, assuming you’ve lifted the stop-lever if you’re extending it…. which item won’t stay up on it’s own so you need three hands to do so. Grrr! It has the strength to pull a similar size model onto the ramp, so it does it’s job.

Boom Lifting: Done by a single large linear actuator and operated via the right hand gearbox, this works smoothly and well. It goes a lot further up than it needs to for a service truck, but I’m not complaining. Much.

The pneumatic compressor is actuated via the right hand gearbox and this powers the boom extension and the ramp lowering mechanisms. Each of these items uses a small pneumatic piston to actuate it, which works fine – if rather suddenly, as is the way with airtank-less pneumatics – without a load, but the small pistons don’t have enough grunt to do much actual work. The standard, larger, pistons would have been better.

That’s an impressive array of working functions for what is still a relatively small model; the more so because there’s a motor and battery box packed in as well. Most of them work alright, after a fashion, and it does make this an extremely playable set. The only major gripe concerns operating the motor via the switch on the battery box; you’ve got to be delicate to avoid switching it to the other direction when you want it off. Adding a PF switch would make this a much more manageable thing to use.

You can use it well enough, though…

Lego 42008 Truck

Model Team trucks are pretty but they break down a lot…

42008 will never be called pretty, exactly, but it looks… purposeful. There’s a fairly minimal amount of detail around the cab, but there’s enough. The doors open to reveal the usual pair of angled-liftarm seats and a rudimentary dashboard and (unconnected) steering wheel. As for the colour, it’s certainly striking… I don’t usually apply stickers to my sets, but with this it’s very necessary; and they do successfully break up what is a big slab of green without them.

Overall, I like it. It ain’t perfect, it ain’t pretty, but it’s packed with features and you get a sense that the designers were being ambitious with it. Perhaps a little over-ambitious, but there’s a lot to admire here. 7/10

Don’t Show Me The Money

Lego Technic 41999 Review

The story so far…

The LEGO Company make the 9398 Technic remote control Crawler. It works well and looks awful. LEGO launch a competition to design a prettier body. Said contest is won by a talented Russian gentleman called Egor Karshiev, whose ‘Boss Crawler’ design gets the nod. LEGO announce they will only make 20,000 of these sets, with many unique elements and extra features, and sell them for the same price as the standard 9398…

Cue the most ridiculous speculator-driven feeding frenzy since Beanie Babies tanked…

As I write, just one month after 41999 was released, these change hands, sealed, on eBay for around £350; or nearly three times RRP. Many are being bought by the same UK-based buyer (not me!) in the hope they’ll keep climbing.

I’ve just got the one, bought from LEGO for a very reasonable price, for the purpose of building it, displaying it, even *gasp* playing with it… I’m willing to bet that more than half of these plastic building toys will remain forever sealed in their boxes in the hands of collectors or, worse, speculators; unbuilt and unloved. A shame, because it’s a really good set, and here’s why:

Lego Technic 41999 4x4 Crawler

The box is pretty special. A simple, elegant design on the front showing a close-up of the distinctive dark blue panels that so lift this model; it’s made of sterner stuff than usual, too. Inside this treasure chest it’s fairly tightly packed with lots of good stuff; enough for a few hours of leisurely, pleasurable building.

There are four instruction books which are easy to follow, as we’ve come to expect, and there are no mistakes. The build is relatively straightforward, but there’s no shortage of cool features: Continue reading

The One We’ve All Been Waiting For

Ohhh yes…. 42009, the Mobile Crane MkII, is finally here. Was it worth the wait ? Was it worth 150 smackers ? Was it worth spending my entire day off building it ? Read on…

Lego technic 42009

Well, what do you think ? I mean, look at it. Before I get down to it, a quick word about how we do our reviews around here. LEGO doesn’t send us review copies (yet; hint, hint…) so we spend our own money on sets for review, but these are sets that we’d have wanted anyway. This might explain the usually positive flavour of our musings; we’re not going to spend our hard-earned on something we know we won’t like. I haven’t reviewed the 42000 Grand Prix racer because I won’t be getting it.

We do still try to be objective.

Enough already, get on with it!

So, to business. First impressions: Wow, that box is heavy! 2,600 pieces, plus motor and battery box would explain that. It’s the largest Technic set ever, by some margin. Not the most expensive, though, which remains the 8110 Unimog at a fiver more than this; which fact rather gives the lie to the notion of LEGO inflating their prices with each successive generation. You get 550 more pieces and a fiver in exchange for the ‘mog’s pneumatics.

Fortunately, the bags are numbered to reflect the three main stages of the build. This isn’t quite the advantage it might be with the chassis forming well over half of it… Many, many bags all numbered ‘1’. Give yourself plenty of room. And time. That said, it never took me long to find a piece, and I never sort first as LEGO suggest.

There are six instruction books; 3 for the chassis, 2 for the crane part and the last one for the boom. Books 4 and 5 could have easily been combined to make it 1 for the crane part; book 5 is inexplicably slender. There were no mistakes, as we’ve come to expect, and this time not all the build steps are quite so tiny. There is nothing to confuse here as long as you concentrate and don’t forget to insert the 15 long beams alongside the stabilizers; causing you to perform major surgery part way through, or anything silly like that…

At the end of an enjoyable 6-8 hours of building, what have you got ? It’s a very robust, playable, multi-functional and impressive thing. There’s lots going on here, so I’ll break it down. Continue reading

De Tomaso Pantera GTphwoar!


The elf who brought this in was so excited it took us ages to calm him (it?) down. Poor guy was panting… We can see why though; this simply stunning build is full of the kind of detail and function that the very best builders like to put in their cars. Senator Chinchilla is that builder, and MOCpages is your guide. Go now, and amaze yourself.

The Ferrari

Lego LaFerrari

The Elves were thrilled to find that ace car builder Ryan Link has found some bricks to snap together, after a year away. He’s not out of practice either, judging by this beautiful LaFerrari. Welcome back Ryan! Not that you ever really went away… Enjoy all the details of this wonderful build over on the new, improved, reliable-server-and-everything (fingers crossed…) MOCpages.

And Now For Something Completely Different


Robotic Dancing Cheerleaders! What’s not to like? Distinctly non-car for The Lego Car Blog, but they do have wheels – only 2 on each robot and they’re balanced by gyro sensors. These are full of Mindstorms trickery to make them move and wave their arms to a beat. Whatever it is they smoke in the Family Vuurzoon household, we’d like some…

Enjoy the video. We did.

When Time Stood Still

Lego Morris Minor Van

Remember a time when it took months of waiting to get a telephone connected? Henrik Jensen does. He’s made this splendid Morris Minor British Telecom van to remind us. Enjoy it on MOCpages.

You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby.


Welcome to The Lego Car Blog’s latest comparison of old and new Technic models; this time, excavators. Some genres of Technic model age better than others – a 1977 tractor is every bit as good as a 2012 one, and better than those in between – whereas others, I guess, just need a bigger parts palette to look and work right.

There’s a reason why excavator models were very rare from Lego until very recently, but it can be done with the old stuff. The blue machine in the picture above is built from instructions in the (completely wonderful) 8888 ideas book, published in 1980, and using only parts from that era. It’s movements are cunningly controlled using only racks and gears (lots of gears..) and it works OK, if not brilliantly. Cute, though. If it was a set from 1980, it would merit at least a 6/10.

Lego didn’t attempt an actual excavator set until the advent of pneumatics in 1984, with the 8851.


It’s the red beast on the left, and it looks like a step up from the blue one.

It isn’t. The problem was the early single-outlet pneumatic pumps. These extended under pressure, but returned via vacuum, controlled by a block of one way valves plumbed in between pumps and switches. This tortuous system had to be crammed in to 8851’s compact body, and unless you were VERY careful, there would be kinks in the pipework. (TLCB Top Tip: instead of using 8cm and 6cm grey tubes between the 3rd switch and the valve block, use 6cm and 4cm. They’ll be crushed a bit less.) It also made it that rare thing; a Technic model that’s not fun to build. Continue reading