We’re not just about hot rods, monster trucks and supercars here at The Lego Car Blog. This superbly built ‘backhoe’ (or ‘digger’ as it is known in our home nation) is the work of previous bloggee The Eleventh Bricks who has constructed his creation in a vaguely Speed Champions scale and in a rather lovely light blue hue. Excellent detailing is in evidence throughout and you can see more on Flickr at the link.
This slice of yellow brilliance was discovered by one our Elves on Flickr today, and – whilst we know it’s early in the year – for a model of this size this is going to take some beating!
Damian Z aka Thietmaier of Flickr is the builder behind this utterly brilliant Caterpillar 432E backhoe, which not only looks about a billion times bigger than it really is, it kinda functions too.
A huge variety of ingenious building techniques have been deployed to enable the Caterpillar’s buckets to be as positionable as those fitted to the real thing, and you can see all of the images at Damian’s Caterpillar 432E album by clicking here whilst we congratulate ourselves on making it the entire way through a post about hoeing without mentioning your Mom.
Every so often a creation comes along that shifts what we thought possible from LEGO bricks. This is one such creation. Created over the course of a year by Technic-building legend Sariel this is a fully working replica of JCB’s 5CX Wastemaster backhoe, powered by pneumatics, eleven Power Functions motors, and two third-party SBricks.
Underneath the brilliant Technic exterior are nine motors that drive all four wheels, the three-mode steering (two-wheel, all-wheel and crab), backhoe arm rotation and traverse, and powering a combination of pneumatic cylinders and linear actuators to control both the front and rear arms and their respective buckets. A further two motors power the pneumatic ‘remote control’, compressing the air which travels down twelve separate hoses to the model itself.
A motorised remotely rotating driver’s seat and a suite of LED lights from third-party lighting specialists Brickstuff complete the electronics, making this 2.4kg, 75 stud-long masterpiece one of the most technically advanced Technic creations to date. There is much more to see of Sariel’s amazing remote control JCB at the Eurobricks forum, on Flickr, and at Sariel’s excellent website, you can watch it in action via the video below, and if you’d like to build your own model with many of the features of this one we highly recommend LEGO’s own 42054 Claas Xerion 5000 set, which share its wheels and amazing three-mode steering with Sariel’s fantastic creation.
Founded over a century ago, Hitachi – perhaps most well known for televisions and hi-fis – make pretty much everything. Consumer electronics, ATMs, power stations, computer servers, trains, elevators, air-conditioners, tanks, construction equipment and much more besides. It’s one of the latter we have today, built by Y Akimeshi of Flickr in Hitachi’s signature orange. It’s a ZX75US-5B 7-ton excavator in mini-figure scale, complete with tracks, a rotating superstructure and a very neat brick-built arm. There’s more to see at Akimeshi’s photostream – click the link above if you dig it.
Digging cats. It normally means they’re doing something horrible in your garden. Not today though, because this CAT 434E backhoe is something rather wonderful.
Built by Zbiczasty of Brickshelf it’s near a perfect functioning replica of Caterpillar’s real 4×4 backhoe, complete with no less than fourteen working functions.
The all-wheel-drive is remotely controlled, including remotely operable pneumatic differential locks, pendular front suspension, and three steering modes (front, all, and crab), exactly as per LEGO’s own brilliant 42054 Claas Xerion 5000 tractor set.
Of course there’s a working front loader – also powered by remotely controlled pneumatics – with both bucket and boom movement, and a fiendishly complicated pneumatic backhoe with five different movements from elevation to slewing.
Finally there are pneumatic stabiliser legs mounted at the rear and a suite of LED lights. It’s a remarkable machine and one of the most realistically engineered Lego creations that we’ve ever come across.
There’s a whole lot more to see of Zbiczasty’s Caterpillar 434E backhoe at the Brickshelf gallery via the link above, but the only way to really appreciate how well this model works is to watch it in action – check out the video below to see just how good it is.
PC or Mac? Ford or GM? Edward or Jacob? These are the questions that have dominated our age. However since 2008 a new and even more important choice has arisen, one that has conflicted the minds of academics and that has caused lifelong friends to stop talking. So… Linear Actuators or Pneumatics?
Bias alert: in the Linear Actuator vs. Pneumatics debate I am conclusively in the former group. Feel free to send your “dear idiot letters” to thirdwigg.com, I can handle it. After the release of the Large Linear Actuators (LA) from 8295 and 8294, it was clear to me they were an improvement over pneumatics. They had a simple design, better integration with Power Functions and manual controls, actual mid-range control, and no clunky hoses to connect and manage in your model. But I still felt like something was missing after the LAs. Something shorter, smaller. When we first got teasers images of 8069 I was excited. Did it have what I was looking for?
Like most sets, this one comes in a box. You have to open it. It has parts in it. 609. And it costs $60. The tyres, buckets and stickers are loose in the box, along with two loose instruction manuals for the A model. B model instructions are online. All you need to know about new parts in 8069 is that it is the first set that included Mini Linear Actuators (mLA). You get four of them. You also get two yellow panels (they are kind of rare, it turns out), the buckets, lots of gears, yellow parts, and the mLAs. They are great. Great.
The build starts with the chassis and the front steering, then quickly onto building a worm gear submodel. “What’s this” you think? It’s for the bucket tilt. We’ll come back to this. Two mLAs are used to provide the bucket lift. Then off to the rear, where you start building a complex structure of gears for the rear bucket. The design is good, and teaches many gear structures including worm and bevel gearing. It also offers a great lesson on how to build good cross supporting structures in Technic when the rear supports are added.
You then build the cabin, which has some nice details. Next all the rear backhoe controls placed on the top and the backhoe is added with a neat little design for the two stages of movement utilizing two of the mLAs. Finally the fenders are added, the front bucket is placed, you add the wheels, and you are done.
The finished 8069 model has a lot of functions; steering, bucket lift, bucket tilt, backhoe slew, backhoe arm, backhoe bucket, and rear stabilizers. For a set of this size it’s an impressive list. How well do they work? Better than pneumatics (zing!). The steering is light, and the turning radius is stunning (Hurrah! Ed.), especially if you take out the ¾ pins in the steering. You might bump the hood a bit on full lock, but it’s worth it. The bucket lift is excellent – it’s strong, and the controls are easy to use. The range of motion is good; though a little more height would be welcome. Continue reading
Regular readers will be all too aware of how our workforce enjoy using their finds of Lego machines to attack and smush each other. Unfortunately it looks as though this sort of behaviour is spreading, as witnessed here in Gary Davis’ Duelling Diggers.
Gary was commissioned to build these and other models for this animated advert, encouraging people into careers in the construction industry. The film is short and fun and well worth watching (a bit like our Elves). Whilst you’re doing that we’ve got to mend the TLCB photocopier, as one of the cross beams has gone out of skew on the treadle…
You might have noticed that we haven’t been posting as frequently as we normally do at The Lego Car Blog. The Elves have been struggling to find suitable MOCs and have started to look a bit hungry. Fortunately we’ve been able to give out a shiny yellow Smartie today, thanks to this yellow monster from Marek Markiewicz. The lucky Elf has kindly split his reward with his colleagues but a single Smartie will only go so far between 213 Elves. Hopefully they’ll find more MOCs in the next few days, or we might have to actually feed our workforce for free.
Marek’s Volvo L250G is built at 1:20 scale, using the bucket from the 42030 Wheel Loader and is even more impressive than his previous Liebherr L580. It’s beautifully detailed, including fully glazed instead of implied windows on the driver’s cab. The loader is also fully remote controlled, via two IR receivers with an L motor for traction, an M motor for steering and L & M motors to control the bucket. You can see full diagrams of the internal working of Marek’s loader by clicking this link to its MOCpages listing. Marek also has an impressive back catalogue on his Flickr Photostream.
N.B. In an attempt to be more environmentally friendly, TLCB has started recycling. We’ve already used this title twice before. Cut and paste it into the “Search” box, at the bottom of the page, to find out where.
This smooth looking rig was built by drdesignz on MOCpages. Its builder cites the 7347 “Highway Pickup” as an influence on his design, though the lowboy trailer is rather more stylish than the back of the Creator set. On top of looking good, the model has plenty of playable functions, which always excites the Elves. The trailer detaches, the digger is playable and the truck steers. As its builder notes, the steering works in the same way as the Model Team 5580 “Highway Rig”. The Elves were also excited because this MOC reminded them of when they helped us build the 31005 “Construction Hauler”, plus it features another digger with which they can smush their colleagues.
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.
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:
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!
Karwik, a builder of some beautifully unusual vehicles, is back with another two for your delectation. The tractor is a Mazur D-50, an odd enough vehicle on its own, but when fitted with a cable-operated-bucket-scoop-on-rails* it becomes easily one of the most bizarre construction vehicles we’ve seen. The Elves, who are themselves a little odd, love it. See more on Flickr. (*We have no idea what it’s called!)
Next up in today’s post of unusual construction equipment is an armoured bulldozer being driven by a cat. No further explanation needed. See more at Lego Junkie‘s photostream.
This gloriously tired-looking Massey Ferguson digger comes from PatrickCTaylor on Flickr, who’s employed some delightfully inventive techniques to great effect (see how many mini-figure hands you can find!). Whilst neither stylish, fast or exotic, there’s something a bit magical about diggers. No matter how old or dilapidated they are, a digger at work will always make a child stop to watch. It’s much the same with our Elves of course, and as it’s Sunday and we’re feeling unusually generous, we’re letting them play in the sandpit this afternoon. Guess what they’re all pretending to be…
Ralph Savelesberg aka Mad Physisist is back, and his latest work earned a lucky Elf two meals!* Found on Flickr, Ralph’s MAN TGX truck, complete with rear-steer trailer, is hauling an ace looking JCB backhoe. To see the full gallery click here.
*Said Elf tried to argue that the trailer counted too, but it was robustly repelled with a stapler.
This engineering marvel is the work of pipasseyoyo on Brickshelf. Featuring ten separate functions, this Technic Caterpillar backhoe can do everything its real-life counterpart can, thanks to eight Power Functions motors and two gearboxes. See it in action below!
Time for some more Technic, and today we’re getting it by the bucket-load (hah!), with this old-school Skid Steer Loader by Bobofrut. It’s fully remote control, being powered by LEGO’s ubiquitous Power Functions motors, and the bucket both raises/lowers on its arm, and tips. See more on Brickshelf at the link.