Will any other 2021 Technic set be as good as the 42124 Control+ Off-Road Buggy? No, of course not.
Resembling both a real life off-road buggy and a Tamiya RC car, 42124 is a pink and blue wonder resplendent atop its new knobbly tyres, white rims, and excellent looking suspension. Even the ‘Xtreme’ stickers look good.
Brought back to TLCB Towers in the hands of one of the ‘specially selected’ TLCB Elves catapulted over The LEGO Company’s perimeter wall during our annual new set sneakathon, there has probably never been an official LEGO set more suited to our smelly little workers.
The Control+ app launched last year brings bluetooth remote control to 42124, allowing it to be controlled from a smartphone, Playstation controller, and many other bluetooth enabled devices, and alongside the aforementioned suspension it looks more than tough enough to shrug off inevitable crashes with household furniture/pets/family members.
In fact our only complaint is the interior’s a bit crap, but seeing as this is a Technic set that’s totally OK, as it’s supposed to be about working functions (cough, 42123 McLaren Senna, cough). Aimed at ages 10+ the new 42124 Off-Road Buggy will reach stores for 2021, and we – and the Elves – can’t wait.
Porsche 911s are everywhere in the car scene, so it’s apt that it’s the car of choice for Lego builders too. Having published our first ‘Powered-Up’ creation utilising LEGO’s new bluetooth components yesterday – a classic Porsche 911 – here’s another ‘Powered-Up’ equipped model, a… er, classic Porsche 911.
Flukey similarities aside, it’s a mega build by previous bloggee and TLCB Master MOCer Mahjqa, who has deployed LEGO’s new components to great effect in his ’80s ‘whale tail’ Porsche.
LED lights feature alongside the bluetooth-controlled drive and steering and there’s more to see of Mahjqa’s build at both his Flickr photostream and the Eurobricks forum.
LEGO have finally entered the bluetooth-controlled era with their new Control+ app and ‘Powered-Up’ sets, such as the 42109 Top Gear Rally Car revealed here last year.
Taking the new electrics from the 42109 set, Eurobricks’ apachaihapachai has re-fitted them in excellent classic Porsche 911, giving his model remote control drive and steering via bluetooth. Head to the Eurobricks forum via the link above to see all the images and join the discussion.
LEGO’s new Control+ app has finally brought bluetooth control to LEGO sets. Available on the new 42100 Technic Liebherr R 980 excavator set, the largest set LEGO have ever produced, the Control+ app allows all seven motors to be operated, and programmed, via a mobile device.
But what if the new app was used to control something a bit… larger?
Weighing 890 tons and with around 4,000 bhp the real Liebherr R 9800 excavator is the third largest excavator in the world and it has, courtesy of LEGO and TLCB Master MOCer Sariel, been turned into the world’s largest remote control toy.
With a suite of ingenious motorised Technic mechanisms installed in the cab the real Liebherr R 9800’s controls could be operated remotely through the new LEGO Control+ app, allowing it to drive, steer and excavate via a mobile phone just like the 42100 set. Only on a much much bigger scale.
Take a look a video above to see how the team did it, and get some ideas for how to control your annoying neighbour’s Honda Odessey through your phone…
Third-party (i.e. non-LEGO) bluetooth connection devices such as the superb SBrick and BuWizz feature regularly in the models that we publicise here at The Lego Car Blog. Able to connect your creation to your phone for remote control, and – in the case of the SBrick – even programme your model in way that betters LEGO’s own purpose-built robotics systems, they’ve revolutionised what can be achieved in Lego building.
The LEGO Company have been unusually slow to meet this demand themselves, however now (and probably unfortunately for the companies above), LEGO’s own bluetooth-controller is nearly here, launching first as part of the 321-piece 76112 Batmobile set.
Part of LEGO’s rebranded ‘Powered Up’ range, the new controller adds bluetooth control and programming to Power Functions and will be available as a stand-alone product that can be added to existing sets and creations following the launch as part of the 76112 Batmobile set.
LEGO’s press release states;
“The LEGO Batman App-Controlled Batmobile, created for children 8 years of age and older, combines LEGO building and remote-control car play. It is the first codeable and programmable LEGO Batmobile that is fully controllable via smart device. Users can steer the Batmobile using one of two preset remote-control interfaces or personalize their experience through a customizable interface. With the interface unlocked, users move sliders, buttons and other elements to customize the remote control to their liking. Through a coding canvas that will be introduced later this year, users can code and re-code speed, direction, sound and duration to program various movements and stunts and create their own unique driving experiences.”
Whether this will ultimately usher in the demise of the excellent third-party bluetooth products used by the Lego Community currently or spur them on to further innovation and development we’re not sure. We hope it’s the latter, as this competition could bring about a multitude of top-quality bluetooth options for Lego models in the near future (we’ll see if we can do a back-to-back review of all three bluetooth controllers later in the year).
LEGO’s 76122 App-Powered Batmobile set will hit shelves on August 1st costing around $100, and you can read our reviews of the SBrick and BuWizz bluetooth controllers currently available via the links in the text above.
The Lego Car Blog Elves love remote control Lego creations. Well, they love them if they are at the controls. As regular readers will know there have been a number of remotecontrolrelatedincidents here at TLCB Towers, resulting in much Elven hospitalisation. Well things are about to get taken up a notch…
Revealed here as a Kickstarter project back in June 2016 the BuWizz bluetooth control battery brick has become a regular third-party accessory within the Lego Community. With claims of up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own Power Functions battery set-up, now expanded to twelve times with the release of BuWizz 2.0, the potential to transform the way Lego models move is huge. But does the BuWizz live up to the hype? We’ve been sent a copy to find out…
Our BuWizz arrived a simple cardboard box, packaged only with a little piece of paper denoting the required warnings and LED indicator meanings. The BuWizz brick is a clever thing, incorporating both a rechargeable li-ion battery and a bluetooth control into one 8×4 stud box, reminiscent of LEGO’s own battery boxes from the 1980s. There are studs on top, tubes on the bottom, and four Technic pin holes with which the BuWizz can be attached to genuine LEGO pieces.
Our BuWizz came in a dark grey hue that we don’t think matches any of LEGO’s colours, but seeing as it can be mounted internally within a creation an exact match isn’t required. The moulding quality is OK, perfectly adequate for the job in hand, but certainly not as good as an official LEGO piece (or the rival SBrick reviewed here previously). On top of the BuWizz are two connection ports, a status LED, and four LEGO Power Functions compatible power outlets.
You must charge your BuWizz upon arrival via a micro USB, which the pack does not contain. This is a bit of a shame as it means the device is not truly plug-and-play, requiring a lead from something else in order to charge. We found a lead, plugged in the BuWizz, which let us know it was charging via the LED on top, and busied ourselves for a few hours.
Upon returning to our BuWizz a green light indicated we were ready to go. Like the aforementioned SBrick, the Buwizz brick uses an app to connect your phone or tablet to itself. The app is an easy download and connects the device seamlessly. Within it are six pre-programmed control interfaces available to operate your model. Each requires a small amount of set-up so that the app knows which of your motors is connected to which port which is simple enough, although there is no ‘test’ function as per the SBrick, which would be useful.
We connected four XL motors mounted within a direct-drive skid-steer test rig to the BuWizz battery and hit the controls. Weirdly one motor (and only one) span the wrong way, but the BuWizz’s simple ‘reverse’ option soon cured that. Then, because we have the mental age of five, we engaged ‘Ludicrous Mode’…
Inspired by Tesla, BuWizz’s ‘Ludicrous Mode’ turns up the power to the motors by a factor of three. Multiply that by the four motors you can drive at once and you get twelve times the power! And boy, does it show… Continue reading →
LEGO’s excellent Power Functions components have brought a new ease to motorising Technic models. Small, simple to install and reasonably powerful, the wide range of motors, infrared receivers and battery boxes have found their way into countless Lego creations featured here over the years.
It didn’t take long however, for the clever boffins in the Lego Community to think ‘Great… but what if Power Functions was really powerful?…’
The result is the BuWizz brick, an integrated rechargeable battery and bluetooth receiver that delivers up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own Power Functions system. To which Anto of Eurobricks thought ‘Great… but what if I had two…’
This is the fruit of Anto’s endeavour; a neat if unspectacular looking Technic excavator, with two BuWizz third-party bricks. The first controls the independently driven tracks (each powered by a Medium motor), the front-mounted blade (also powered a Medium motor) and the arm-mounted LEDs.
The second BuWizz device controls the superstructure rotation (via a Large motor), the two-stage arm (via an XL motor and Large motor respectively), and finally the bucket (powered by a Medium motor).
That’s a lot of motors and, thanks to those two BuWizz bricks, a lot of power too. So much so that Anto’s Technic excavator really can, well… excavate. Full details can be found at the Eurobricks discussion forum, and you watch Anto’s excavator in action via the video below.
In recent years several third-party electronic products designed specifically to enhance Lego models have reached the market. These include the SBrick Bluetooth controller which has appeared here in numerous models over the years, the BuWizz integrated battery providing 8x more power than LEGO’s own Power Functions system, and Brickstuff’s brilliant LEGO-compatible lighting systems.
Now builders may have the chance to combine all of the above (plus a bit more) courtesy of one in-development electronic brick!
The new PFx Brick and accompanying app allows not only the graduated control of LEGO Power Functions motors via Bluetooth (as per SBrick), but also lighting and sound, with up to twenty minutes (yes, minutes) of high quality audio able to be stored, and a huge array of lighting sequences available either pre-programmed or able to be custom programmed by the user.
All in all the PFx Brick looks like an exciting project, and with an expected retail price of around $120 for the base brick, it could be an affordable route to seriously customisable in-built electronics for Lego models.
The designers behind the project have launched their initiative on Kickstarter, you can also check out the full product specification via the PFx Brick website, plus you see what the product can do courtesy of the introductory video below.
Regular readers of The Lego Car Blog will know how popular LEGO’s Power Functions components have become – barely a day goes by without a model appearing here that utilises them. However, good as LEGO’s efforts are, there is room for improvement. Firstly the infrared control mechanism can falter in bright sunlight, and secondly power and variability of control is limited.
Third-party designer Roni Leben and his team think that they have the answer with this, the BuWizz integrated remote control and battery. Performing the job of a battery box and two IR receivers, the BuWizz is a totally LEGO-compatible product that brings bluetooth control, micro-USB charging and variable speed options to LEGO’s Power Functions motors. Plus it does all this whilst providing eight times more power than LEGO’s own set-up.
Controllable via Apple or Android devices the BuWizz offers a similar solution to the previously seen SBrick bluetooth control unit, but with the added benefits of a rechargeable on-board battery and a much greater power density than LEGO’s own battery unit.
The BuWizz remote control and battery brick is not yet available, however you can help make it happen! A Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign is live now, with a target of $50,000 required to bring the product to market.
You can find out more about the BuWizz brick, watch a video of it in action, and back the project to help bring it to market via the BuWizz Kickstarter Page – Click the link below to get involved!