Tag Archives: 2012

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

Lego Missile Launcher

21/12/12. The date the Mayan’s reached on their calendar before they got bored and went down the pub.

Is this our last post ever? Probably not. But if it were, it’s good to go out with a bang. Even better to go out with four really big bangs! D-Town Cracka is the megalomaniac behind this ridiculous Soviet SA-3 Goa Rocket launcher. Whilst he sounds like an early-’90s rapper, Mr Cracka is properly handy with a LEGO brick; there are over 300 pieces in each missile alone. View the full gallery on Flickr.

Mini-Land. But Better.

Amazing Lego Town

Henrik Hoexbroe’s amazing ‘ Kingstown, USA, 1959’

Today we’re pleased to bring you a MOC Special. One of our favourite Town builders, whose creations we’ve featured a few times here before, has pulled together all of his MOCs into one incredible Town-style layout. Set in 1959, Henrik Hoexbroe’s masterpiece includes some simply beautiful small-scale Americana, including Checker Taxis, Greyhound Buses, finned Cadillacs and countless other classic vehicles. Not only that, he’s set in them all in a living world of plastic, complete with diners, cinema, parks, a used car lot… there is is literally too much for us to pick out here.

The whole set-up was recently displayed at the HispaLUG Expo 2012 in Barcelona, and you can see the full gallery of pictures showing the complete scene in detail by visiting Henrik’s MOCpage at the link above. See how many previous blog posts you can find! Congratulations Henrik, from all at The Lego Car Blog!

Incredible Lego Town

See the full gallery of fantastic photographs at the link in the text.

On the Buses

Lego Routemaster Bus

London Transport

The Elves got very excited during the Olympics this year, and as such they’ve been looking for anything a bit London-y since. An outing to Flickr uncovered something about as London-y as it’s possible to be; a classic Routemaster Bus. Lego Car Blog favourite Ralph S aka Mad Physicist is the builder behind it, and you can see more here.

Technic Tractors Ancient And Modern

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Glad you could come. Settle yourselves in for an exhaustive analysis of the new Technic 9393 Tractor model, and how it compares to its most illustrious forebear. Or scroll down for a peek at Chris Melby’s rather fine catamaran, whatever appeals…

First, a look at the beast in question:

Lego Technic Tractor 9393

…pretty little thing, ain’t it? I’m not one to buy every Technic set I see, but this really appealed to me; and for only 25 quid, I just couldn’t say no.

Building it was pretty straightforward, and pretty much foolproof, but it struck me how it’s size and functionality are very similar to 1977’s 851 set:

Lego 9393 and 851

…whadaya mean you don’t see it? Sure, their styling is very different, but they do all the same things. Oh alright, it’s just an excuse to compare old and new style Technic, so let’s get started…

Box: Much as I love the old, sturdy boxes with their little compartments in the plastic tray, flip-up lid and extensive idea pictures on the box itself, this must have been an expensive and labour-intensive endeavor. The new one is just a box, but it might be why this is so much cheaper than the 851 was (relatively speaking) back in the day. Still, an easy win for old.

Instructions: Many people bemoan the extreme simplicity of new instructions, with their 1 or 2 pieces per build step and consequently fat instruction books – I don’t mind it, and while the old blueprint-style of 851’s instructions are more satisfying for an experienced builder to use – I dare you to try and build it using just the actual blueprint! – it’s easy to see how a novice could make a lot of mistakes with so few build steps to guide him. There’s a happy medium to be found somewhere between these two opposites, but Lego have yet to find it. Incidentally, Yay! for the supplied book for 9393’s second model – having to go online is such a faff when all you want to do is build. A draw.

Building: The diversity of Technic elements, even in a smallish set like 9393, comes as a pleasant surprise after the small selection of bricks and plates, with a handful of technic elements that constitute an 851. They are both a pleasure to build – the new one will fill an hour, the oldie maybe half that, and they offer different experiences in this regard. 851 feels like a slightly elaborated Creator set; 9393 is a proper dose of Technic goodness. New takes the win here.

P.S. Look at the picture above and spot what is now deemed an ‘illegal connection’ on 851 and win a prize*

It’s neck and neck as we go into comparing the models…. the suspense is killing me …?!

*Not Really.

Steering: When it comes to Technic, the adage is: the older the set, the better the steering system. This is generally true, but it’s not quite like that here. Unlike a lot of recent sets, 9393 does have some discernible steering lock, although not as much as 851; and they both work smoothly. The oldie’s system is operated by the steering wheel – a gear for some reason – and 9393 has the now-obligatory Hand-Of-God control with no connection to the steering wheel itself. Much as I dislike that last aspect, I guess I’ll just have to make my peace with it… Old wins.

Styling: 851 is clearly a Massey-Ferguson and has a timeless classic appeal. This is all very well, but it was an ‘old’ tractor even in 1977 and you have to wonder if that dented its appeal to 10 year olds who like modern stuff. 9393 is a, well, a green one; but it does at least look contemporary. The green panels are more nicely designed than is sometimes the case and suit it perfectly. It is a surprise, though, that an ostensibly green set has only ten green pieces. Still, it looks the biz. New wins, by a whisker.

Three Point Hitch: Know your farming lingo, people… The means of attaching the implement and raising and lowering it is treated differently, as you’d expect. 851 has a smooth over-centre action via the control lever next to the seat; 9393 sports a worm gear controlled from the back of the vehicle. There’s advantages to both approaches – 851 is more authentic here, and 9393 is more adjustable, albeit with a somewhat jerky movement. Old takes it.

Implement: In both cases, power is taken from one rear wheel and they both come supplied with a harrow. 851’s takes careful setting up to work properly but, that done, it spins round at a furious rate, although only on a smooth surface which does slightly defeat the object. Power is automatically disconnected when it’s raised, simply by gears coming out of mesh. 9393’s harrow folds away neatly to achieve the same thing and, when down, spins more slowly than it’s rivals’, but fast enough to make the er, blades (?) clatter around in a most satisfying manner. New takes this one.

It’s still all square between these two – it’s like I planned it! – but there’s one more thing to consider.

Alternate Builds:

As usual with old Technic sets, 851 has two B-models with instructions and a plethora of further ideas shown on the box. There’s various alternative implements for the tractor, or a rather rudimentary combine harvester, or does Sir fancy a bandsaw, or perhaps a pressing tool. No? How about a rather stylish road roller? Or a lathe? The possibilities are endless.

You wouldn’t expect a new set with just one alternate model to compete with this. However, in 9393’s case, it just might…

Lego 9393 Buggy

It’s just the sort of thing one pictures when the words ‘Technic Buggy’ float into my brain. A sharp looking, robust little vehicle that makes a superb toy. This one has a sting in the tail: an exceptionally neat 4 cylinder engine made using axles that jump up and down when actuated by the ‘crankshaft’ that’s actually more of a camshaft but who am I to argue… MOC builders have been doing this for years to give their smaller cars working engines – I think Tyler Reid did it first, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. Anyhow, it works well here, spins nice and fast and makes the buggy clatter along very happily.

I can’t believe it. On the strength of it’s superb second model, New Technic takes the overall win**. Bravo!

**Only if you don’t put in those three-quarter pins that’ll limit the steering lock and replace the pole reverser handles at the front with 2L axles to avoid the consequent rubbing…

2012 Technic Sets – On Sale Now

Lego Technic 4x4 Crawler

The 2012 Technic Flagship; 4×4 Crawler

Back in March we fired up our highly complex supercomputer and attempted to calculate the prices of the three Summer 2012 Technic releases. These new Technic models are now on sale at the Lego Shop, and we’re pleased to say our supercomputer was a) fairly accurate, and b) the small variance is a positive one; all three LEGO sets are exactly £10 less than our March estimates – how’s that for consistency!

9393 Tractor
Our estimate: £34.99 – £39.99
Actual price: £24.99
9396 Helicopter
Our estimate: £79.99 – £89.99
Actual price: £69.99
9398 Rock Crawler
Our estimate: £149.99 – £159.99
Actual price: £139.99
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to Lego.com and get your hands on LEGO’s latest, all with £10 off!

Gold Transport


You may have noticed a little sporting jamboree happening right now in London. So did Gabor Horvath. To celebrate, he’s blessed us with this 6 wide Routemaster Bus with full RC control cleverly packed into it, complete with highly entertaining video. It’s on Cuusoo too. Cheer it on at http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/336250

MOCpages Gets Wheels!

We love MOCpages here at The Lego Car Blog. Only thing was, none of the mods were interested in vehicles, so our favourite things with wheels were always under-represented in the competitions. Not any more.

For the 2012 Mocies, a sort of Oscars for Lego builders, the gods have smiled upon us and there’s a ‘Best Realistic Vehicle’ category. The nominations are in, giving you the chance to vote for things like this….

2012 MOCie Awards

2012 MOCie Awards. Vote now!

It’s a Ford GT40 by Mortalswordsman, but regular readers already knew that. There’s a Malte Dorowski Porsche too, and a huge and menacing black JPS Lotus transporter by DeTomaso Pantera, and an MGB by Nick Barrett and, and….. get in there and vote: http://www.mocpages.com/group.php/20804. The elves are beside themselves. They’ll probably post enough votes to crash the servers…

Flogging a dead horse

The new Lego Horse

To the glue factory!

Exciting news! But not if you’re a lover of the old Lego horse. Lego has decided that our favourite plastic companion needs an update, and so the old Lego horse, released way back in the ’80s, is to be retired. Its replacement is a more detailed creature, and Lego have added a great big dollop of poseablilty too, so it can rear up, jump, and generally be a more playable element. We’ll see the new horse in stores later this year.

It’s Go Go Go!

Lego F1 2012

The 2012 Formula 1 Championship kicks off today in Melbourne. ‘Bad Furday’ shows us the new shape for ’12 with his generic Lego F1 2012  MOC on Flickr.

Due to new safety regulations, almost all the cars feature a horrifically ugly ‘stepped nose’ (the lower front wing reduces the chances of the nose riding over another car’s cockpit in an accident). McLaren are the exception, with a beautiful low sweep instead of the ugly step. Judging by their superb 1+2 in qualifying, it proves the adage; if it looks fast, it is fast.

Enjoy the Championship! (Or as much of it you can watch if you don’t have Sky)

Lego F1 2012

Click the link above this picture for Bad Furday's explanations in Lego of the new regulations for 2012

2012 Technic Prices

There is some discussion on the internet estimating the prices for the three as-yet-unreleased Technic sets of 2012.

We thought we’d weigh in with our predictions, following our previews of all three sets earlier in the year (type ‘preview’ into our search feature at the bottom of the page to read the reports). We were deliberately vague with our pricing information until now, which probably hasn’t helped those of you trying to work out how much to save!

We’re basing our estimations on three factors:

  1. The piece count and piece type of the new model
  2. Lego’s ‘build to a price’ approach
  3. Model predecessors

Inputting this information into our enormous and very complex super-computer gives us the following results. Drumroll…

9393 Tractor: £34.99 – £39.99,
9396 Helicopter: £79.99 – £89.99,
9398 Rock Crawler: £149.99 – £159.99

So there you have it – some completely unofficial and possibly inaccurate prices.

Have we got it right? – Add your views in the comments.

Lego Technic 9393 Tractor Preview

Lego Technic 9393

Lego Technic 9393

In the words of the late Etta James; At Last.

After a long search The Lego Car Blog Elves have scooped the final unrevealed Technic set of 2012. Alongside the previously revealed 9398 Rock Crawler and 9396 Rescue Helicopter, 9393 looks somewhat less impressive, due in most part to the fact it is, well, less impressive.

But that’s not to say it isn’t a good Technic set. 9393 is probably the smallest ‘proper’ Technic set to be released in 2012, holding that position jointly with the Quad Bike that’s already in shops (we can’t really say the mini-crane and mini-Unimog are proper Technic sets whatever The Lego Company labels the boxes).

Anyhow, this tractor looks a strong starter set, bringing back proper functionality after some shaky efforts over the past few years. It appears to feature hand-of-God steering and a working rear implement, presumably operating as a power take-off from the rear wheels. What we’re less keen on is the laziness of Lego’s designers, as this is the third green Technic tractor in about 5 years. Still, if it’s a popular format then we can understand Lego’s reluctance to break with a winning idea.

The 2012 Tractor will reach stores towards the end of Summer 2012 (or August if you’re reading this and wondering what the seasonal timings are at The Lego Car Blog Towers), and should be priced at about one third of the flagships’ RRP.

Lego Technic 9396 Rescue Helicopter Preview

Lego Technic 9396 Rescue Helicopter

Lego Technic 9396

Those sneaky Elves have done it again. What with them being small and underfed, they can get into all sorts of places. Whilst this causes all manner of problems in The Lego Car Blog office, it does mean we can get some useful spy-shots for you.

9396 is Lego’s other large Technic release for summer 2012 (the first being the awesome 9398 Rock Crawler we featured earlier in the week). As you can see from the grainy image to the left, this large rescue helicopter includes a few new pieces and some slightly ‘older’ building techniques we thought had been phased out.

Technical functions are controlled through a single input; we can reveal that 9396 uses a gearbox (as on the 2011 Technic Unimog and almost all Lego’s ‘Supercars’) to vary the output, which includes a working winch, retractible landing gear, opening ramp and simultaneously turning main and tail rotors.

To allow the price to be below the flagship models in Lego’s 2012 range the set will not come with Power Functions motors, however  it is designed to easily accept them as an add-on. We can also assume the main rotor is fully controllable from the cabin as a swash plate is visible.

9396 should reach us towards the end of summer. The Technic renaissance continues!

Lego Technic 9398 Rock Crawler Preview

Lego Technic 9398

Lego Technic 9398

The Lego Car Blog Elves have been spying, and can shed some further light on Lego’s largest known Technic release of 2012; 9398 Rock Crawler.

Since the release of Power Functions a few years ago, Lego fans have been making use of the IR parts to add remote control functions to their creations. We’ve featured many such models here in the blog, and it seems Lego would like a slice of this pie too, taking inspiration from both the Truck Trial scene and RC vehicles posted online.

9398 is the first remote control wheeled vehicle from Technic, using Power Functions for 4×4 drive and 4-wheel steering. It also features the portal axels debuted on the 2011 Technic Unimog, pendular suspension and host of new pieces previously unseen.

With a release date of Q3 2012 we have a while to wait before we can get our hands on it, but from what we’ve seen so far, this could be the new Technic flagship.

YouTube Video: