Tag Archives: News

Building the Panama Canal – 2000451 Set Preview

LEGO Education Panama Canal Set

One of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the Panama Canal opened just over 100 years ago, taking over 30 years to complete and costing an estimated 28,000 people their lives. Started by the French in the 1880s, the project was completed by America in 1914, whereupon it completely transformed the worldwide shipping industry. No longer did vessels have to navigate the lengthy and dangerous Cape Horn – the tip of South America – instead able to cut straight through the centre of the Americas.

LEGO Education Panama Canal Set

To date almost 1 million ships have passed through the canal, each taking around seven hours to traverse the 77km mix of channels and artificial lakes, and the three huge sets of locks.

It’s these locks that are the defining characteristic of the canal, allowing the water and the ships that float upon it to rise and fall with the land in order to cross from one side of the continent to the other.

So important is the Panama Canal and the locks that allow it to function that their width and length has become the determining factor for shipbuilding, with ships built specifically to the largest size that is able to fit through them, known as ‘Panamax’.

Today though, we have a set of locks that are rather smaller. This wonderful new set comes from LEGO Education, and it recreates the third set of locks of the Panama Canal.

Constructed from over 1,180 pieces, the 2000451 El Canal de Panama set is built in five sections (plus a few micro-scale ships), allowing five children (or adults!) to contribute to the finished model simultaneously. Each section contains a set of gears and mechanically operated lock gates, allowing the ‘water’ to rise and fall as the gates are opened and closed. We’ve seen similar mechanisms in paper or card form, but not yet in LEGO, and it seems to work beautifully – making this set a great learning aid for the those wishing to understand both mechanics and hydrodynamics.

Originally destined just for sale in Panama, the LEGO Education 2000451 El Canal de Panama set is now available with worldwide shipping (we do hope this means that some sets will travel through the real world counterpart!), and can be bought via the Panama STEM website.

If you’d like to get your hands on this unique limited edition set click on the link below to visit Panama STEM, and you can watch the Lego locks in action on YouTube by clicking here.

Click here for the Panama STEM LEGO Education site 

 

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Life-Size LEGO McLaren 720S at Goodwood

Lego McLaren 720S Goodwood FoS

McLaren are on a bit of roll at the moment. Since their return to the road car market as a stand-alone manufacturer their growth has been nothing short of exceptional, first creating credible rivals to the established supercar manufacturers and now, with their new 720S, arguably surpassing them.

Powered by the firm’s well-proven twin turbocharged V8 engine, the all-carbon 720S has taken supercar performance into hypercar territory, with a 0-124mph time of less than 8 seconds. The competition amongst the world’s supercar builders is going to get very tasty…

Lego McLaren 720S Goodwood FoS

McLaren launched the 720S at the Goodwood Festival of Speed at the weekend, and in doing so gave visitors the chance to build their very own car. Well, sort of…

Constructed from almost 280,000 LEGO bricks, this life-size replica of the McLaren 720S is the work of certified LEGO Professionals Bright Bricks. Besides being constructed around a metal frame and resting upon real wheels, this incredible 1:1 scale supercar is entirely built from LEGO pieces, and visitors to the Festival of Speed could help to gradually complete the car by adding the final layer of orange bricks to the bodywork.

When complete the finished model actually weighs more than the real car (that’s why the actual 720S is constructed from carbon fibre), and it’s due to go on tour as part of the McLaren 720S launch programme, so you may well get to see it if you’re planning to visit a motoring event this year.

Lego McLaren 720S Goodwood FoS

Until then you can feast your eyes on these pictures of the part-finished 1:1 scale McLaren 720S from the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, including a slightly clickbaity attractive girl (top) and a Goodwood’s own slightly less clickbaity Lord March (centre), plus you can read a review of LEGO’s slightly smaller – but just as orange – McLaren P1 Speed Champions set (courtesy of two of our readers) by clicking here.

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Creator London Bus 10258 – Set Preview

Lego 10258 London Bus Review

London Transport have finally reintroduced double-decker, rear-access buses to their fleet. Missing from the capital’s streets since the iconic Routemaster was phased out in 2005, the new bus – this time a hybrid – is set to become a modern classic. However we will always have fond memories of the original, the wonderful AEC Routemaster that saw service on the streets of London for almost 50 years.

Lego 10258 London Bus Set

LEGO’s newest addition to their stellar Creator vehicle range (which has previously delivered such gems as the 10242 Mini Cooper, 10252 Volkswagen Beetle) pays homage to one of the world’s most infamous and recognisable of vehicles. This is the new-for-2017, 1,686 piece 10258 Creator Expert London Bus set, and we absolutely love it.

Lego 10258 London Bus Set

Beautifully recreated inside and out, the new LEGO Routemaster includes a detailed and accessible interior (complete with an authentic spiral staircase), exterior advertising posters featuring either ’50s or modern-day graphics, plus – uniquely – some of the detritus discarded by passengers, including a newspaper, drinks can, chewing gum (yuk!), umbrella and ticket stub.

Lego 10258 London Bus Set

Several new pieces also make their debut on 10258, including standard-tread tyres, vertical stud pieces, and a selection of new curves and arches in LEGO’s classic red hue.

The new 10258 London Bus set will launch in August 2017, scaled to match the previous vehicles in the Creator range, and we predict LEGO have an instant classic in the making. Just like London’s new double decker bus.
Lego 10258 London Bus Review

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228mph Porsche 911 GT3 Crash

Lego Technic 42056 Porsche 911 GT3

Well, sort of. This is LEGO’s 1:8th scale 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS set, featuring a flat-6 engine, paddle-shift gearbox, independent suspension, and much orange.

And this is what happens when the German motoring organisation ADAC conducts one of its industry-leading crash tests on it…

Fired into a miniaturised deformable block at 46km/h, the 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 set was effectively put through a 228mph impact, at least by TLCB maths anyway.

The resultant devastation is absolute, however we’re not sure that the real Porsche 911 would have faired any better at that speed. Still, at least with a LEGO Porsche you can put it all back together afterwards…

Drive safe out there.

Lego Porsche 911 GT3 Crash Test

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Lights, Sound, Action!

Lego PFx Brick Police Car

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!

Lego Fx 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.

Lego Fx Brick

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.

YouTube Video:

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Technic 40th Anniversary | Super Secret Set!

Lego Technic 40th Anniversary Car Chassis

Lego Technic is 40 years old this year! Launched in 1977 the Technic range took LEGO into a new world of technical detail, providing advanced construction for older children and adults alike, and bringing with it probably the largest range of new parts in the brand’s history.

It all kicked off with a simple car chassis, a ‘New Technical Set’, 853. The single most viewed page here at TLCB, 853 introduced rack and pinion steering, a working piston engine and an operable transmission to LEGO fans. Its success allowed LEGO to develop the theme and three years later the second generation car chassis was released, this time with LEGO’s first attempt at working suspension, 8860.

Despite being LEGO’s second Technic car chassis, 8860 is often thought of as the daddy of all Technic sets, paving the way for the series of Technic Supercars that followed (of which you can read more in the Set Review Library).

With the Technic theme turning 40 years old this year LEGO have decided to pay homage to one of their greatest products, giving builders the chance to recreate the iconic 1980 set using modern parts found in the 2017 Technic  range. Three sets, the superb-looking 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure motorbike, the 42061 Telehandler and the 42057 Ultralight Helicopter provide the pieces required, and building instructions are now available* for free online.

Such is the way with the advancement of technology, LEGO’s modern take on the classic 8860 set packs all the functions of the original into a more compact package, and features working steering, a 4-cylinder boxer engine, an operable transmission (which may well be the first since the 1980s not to use purpose-built gearbox parts) and functioning rear suspension. The design uses straight-forward pieces too, so many builders may be able to build it from parts found within their existing collection.

You can read our previews of the three sets that supply the full parts list to build the 40th Anniversary 8860 set via the links above, our review of the original set here, and you can create your very own 40th Anniversary set by clicking the link to the building instructions below.

Download building instructions here!

Lego Technic 40th Anniversary Set

*Thanks to a reader for the tip!

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Lego Technic H2 2017 – Set Previews!

Lego Technic 42068 Airport Fire Truck

Yup, after a few days away from TLCB keyboard we’re back! We’d been waiting for a crack team of Elves to return from a secret mission infiltrating The Lego Company headquarters, and we’re pleased to announce that some of them have returned safely!

The lucky returnees are enjoying the fame and glory associated with bringing back the clearest images yet of LEGO’s summer Technic releases, and the fact that there are no alsatians for them to evade in the grounds of TLCB Towers.

So, on to the first new set!

42068 – Airport Rescue

LEGO’s first new addition to the Technic range is this, 42068, and we feel like we’ve seen it before. Yes, it does bear a striking resemblance to 8454 from the bad-old days of Technic, but on closer inspection it’s a far more realistic attempt at an airport firetruck than was made in 2003.

With no Power Functions or Pneumatic System, 42068 relies on good ol’ fashioned mechanics to enable its working functions. Front and rear steering and a manually raising and extending boom are the key features, and the set employs a wealth of stickerage to liven up what is basically a panelled box sat atop six wheels. Next.

Lego Technic 42069 Extreme Explorer

42069 – Extreme Explorer

Are LEGO running out of new ideas for Technic vehicles? If 42069 is anything to go by, probably. Loosely based on a tracked arctic exploration vehicle, the Extreme Explorer drops into the 2017 Technic line-up right at the top, being aimed at ages 11+, and the box – intriguingly – has no upper age limit. That stops us having to make excuses to long-suffering partners at least!

With a few unusual purple panels and four separate independently sprung tracks, 42069 looks like a set that’ll be snapped up by those wishing to increase their parts stock, but we’re not sure how well it stacks up in its own right.

In addition to those suspended tracks there’s front axle steering, gull-wing doors, flashy stickers (not shown on the box above) and a working winch. There also looks to be a gearbox too, although we’re not convinced that this is the conventional sort, and it may be more to do with suspension settings or all-track-drive capabilities.

42069 will reach stores in the second half of 2017 and will be priced towards the top end of the Technic line-up, but with no pneumatics or Power Functions components it could offer a decent piece count for the price.

Lego Technic 42070 6x6

42070 – 6×6 All Terrain Tow Truck

This is more like it! With over 1,800 pieces and Power Functions remote control, 42070 becomes the flagship set in the 2017 line-up when it arrives later in the year.

Just like your Mom, this thing is massive, with those six suspended wheels running on the same tyres as the brilliant 42054 Claas Xerion tractor set.

We expect 42070 to include full remote control drive and steering, working support legs at the sides and rear, and a gearbox to transfer the motorised power to a remotely operable crane and winch.

We’ll see if we’re right when 42070 lands later on this year, but expect it to be expensive!

There you have it, the 2017 Technic line-up is now complete, plus rumour has it that combining these sets allows you to build a modern take on the very first LEGO Technic supercar set too.

We’ll bring you further set news later on in the year, and in the meantime you can check out all the official LEGO sets that have been reviewed here at The Lego Car Blog so far by visiting the enormous Set Review Library.

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And the Winner is…

The Lego Car Blog Competition

The Lego Car Blog’s Review My Set Competition drew to a close last week, and it’s added a whole host of reader-written LEGO set reviews to our burgeoning Set Review Library! Almost 100 individual LEGO sets and third-party products have now been reviewed in total, and we aim to keep this number climbing as the Set Review Library is the single highest viewed page here at TLCB.

We were seriously impressed by the standard of your review submissions, which ranged from LEGO’s most expensive flagships right down to pocket-money sets, and were written by experienced adults and young builders alike.

So how did you guys do? Well it was close. Really close. But we’re delighted to announce that the overall winners are…

Winner

Andrea Lattanzio  |  5591 Model Team Red Bird

 

Runner-Up

Rage Hobbit  |  8070 Technic Supercar

Yup, whilst we said there would only be one winner it really was too close to call, especially if you’re as indecisive as we are, so the assorted loot here at TLCB Towers will be shared amongst both winners!

Lego 5591 Mach II Red Bird

Andrea’s review of the classic 1995 Model Team flagship recorded one of the highest view counts in its first week, and also included bespoke images created by Andrea specifically for his review article.

Rage Hobbit’s entry reviewing the 2011 Technic Supercar flagship accrued the most views over the duration of the competition, and the writing was so in-keeping with our in-house reviewers we could probably have passed it off as our own.

Andrea and Rage weren’t alone at the top though, as many reviewers really impressed us with their writing ability (and subsequent view count), to the point where we’d like to have you on staff!

Congratulations to Andrea and Rage, to all of you who saw your Set Review/s successfully published here at The Lego Car Blog, and if you’d like to write a review for a set that is currently missing from the review archive we’d still love to receive it! Simply get in touch us letting us know the set you’d like to critique and you could see your writing appear here for over one million viewers a year!

Lego Set Reviews Prizes

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Halt the Hits!

Lego Review My Set Competition

The Lego Car Blog Review My Set Competition closed to entries on December 31st and there are just 24 hours for entrants to squeeze in a few more hits before we total up the views and go to the judges to determine a winner! You can see all of the Reader Reviews that were successful in being published in the Set Review Library, good luck to all the competition entrants, and remember that views received after today will not count!

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Batman Drives a Chevy

Lego Chevrolet Batmobile

With mini-figure Batman getting his very own movie, a very cool new Batmobile was required. 60.2 litres of 20,000bhp V100 (plus flaming rocket booster) ought to do it, and Chevrolet decided that this ridiculous contraption needed to be built for real. Well, sort of. Sadly a 60.2 litre V100 engine is yet to exist, so Chevy decided to do the next best thing and build a life-size version of the Lego Batmobile… in Lego.

Lego 70905 Life Size Batmobile

344,000 bricks and 2,000 hours later, and this is the result. Measuring over nine feet wide and at seventeen feet long Batman’s new ride features X-Ray vision (for seeing criminals up to no good, honest), a Scarecrow gas detector, whatever that is, and – thankfully for the other motorists of Gotham – a parallel park mode which swivels all four wheel by 90 degrees to allow bump-free parking. Oh, and 4G Wi-Fi.

If you have $48million to spare you can order your own via the Chevrolet website – click here to buy yours!*

Lego Chevrolet Batmobile

*Only available in black. And sometimes very very dark grey.

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2016 Year in Review

Lego 2017

We’ve made it to 2017! Here’s our round-up of the year that was…

Yes, we’ve survived another year! 2016 may have been filled with odd politics, scary news stories, and celebrity deaths, but The Lego Car Blog continues to amaze us.

Despite this site being as ropey and incompetent as it’s always been, in 2016 TLCB smashed through the one million views per year mark! A million a year! For those working behind the scenes here in TLCB Towers, and knowing how out of our depth we really are with the whole running a website thing, this is an unbelievable statistic.

Although we have no idea how the annual view count has surpassed a million it is good news for the online Lego community’s vehicle builders, as we hope we’re giving recognition to a genre that a few years ago was overlooked by the proper Lego blogs (who have now joined the party in blogging vehicles too).

It’s also good news for the various charities and aid organisations that we support. Your views and clicks mean that this site earns a small monthly revenue. As most of our workforce is populated by mythical creatures paid in sugar-coated chocolate confectionary we don’t need this, and thus we’re able to pass it on to those that do, thanks entirely to your visits.

In 2017 we may explore updating the site to properly accommodate advertisements, as we do now feel a duty to do our best to maximise our earnings, but we’ll let you know about this should it happen later in the year.

In the meantime we’ll aim to keep bringing you the very best vehicular creations, set reviews, LEGO news, and builder interviews, and we look forward to another year being totally puzzled by the fact that people actually come here to read the inane nonsense we publish.

Wishing you all the very best for 2017

TLCB Team

P.S. The Lego Car Blog is on Facebook now too! Click here to stay in touch via Mark Zuckerberg’s bank account.

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Review My Set Competition – Now Closed!

TLCB Review My Set

Running over the past 6 months or so we’ve been asking you, our readers, to submit your reviews of LEGO sets that you thought should be in the Set Review Library. We’ve published loads of your entries (which can read by clicking the link above) and we now have the tough job of shortlisting, via the view count figures, those who will go to the judges’ vote.

Some say we only embarked on this exercise to increase the Set Review Library’s stock without paying anyone. And they’d be right. But we do have prizes up for grabs, made up of the loot that we have acquired here in TLCB Towers over the past year.

We’ll be announcing the winner of the aforementioned swag in the New Year, in the meantime a huge thank you to all those who have entered the competition, and if you’d like to submit a review for the Set Review Library here at The Lego Car Blog you still can (only you won’t win anything). If you have good written English and creative writing skills then get in touch!

Lego Set Reviews Prizes

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Last Chance to Win!

TLCB LEGO Set Reviews

The Lego Car Blog Set Review Competition has just a few short weeks remaining! We’ve asked you, our readers, to join us to add even more LEGO sets to the Set Review Library, and those that made the grade have seen their words published here reaching over a million readers annually!

If you’d like to add your own set to our Set Reviews and be in with a chance of winning some awesome prizes then get in touch via the comments – but be quick as the competition closes December 31st!

Still up for grabs are several superb Lego books from the great guys at No Starch Press, including the 5-star rated Tiny Lego Wonders, and the brilliant Manner-Spielzeug Mad Max Interceptor set, making a prize pot worth over $130!

You can read all of the Set Reviews submitted so far, as well as those written by our in-house reviewers, by visiting The Lego Car Blog Set Review Library here, and we’ll announce the winner (based on a combination of views and a judges’ vote) in early 2017.

Lego Set Reviews Prizes

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2017 LEGO Technic Preview!

Lego Technic 42066 Jet 2017

Yes it’s that time of year again, when a crack team of Elves ‘volunteer’ to be fired over the perimeter wall of The Lego Company’s HQ, tasked with bringing back the brand new Technic sets due for release next year. Elves that manage to successfully navigate the maze of air-conditioning ducts and dodge the guard dogs return as heroes, by which we mean they get fed, and we get to reveal LEGO’s newest Technic sets before they hit the shelves in the new year. On to the sets!

42066 – Air Race Jet

Pictured above, the LEGO Technic 42066 Air Race Jet puts the Technic line-up’s on/off relationship with aircraft back into the ‘on’ position. Clearly based on a well-known military aircraft, 42066 covers up its death-from-above intentions with some jazzy stickers, but they look passable if nothing more than that. The set features working elevators and tail rudders, folding landing gear, and an opening cockpit, and will sit in the middle of the 2017 Technic range when it’s launched early next year.

Lego Technic 42065 Tracked Racer RC

42065 – RC Tracked Racer

We have absolutely no idea what this is. None. Built purely for play value rather than a demonstration of technical engineering, 42065 does – admittedly – look like a hoot to drive with twin Medium motors and skid-steering. We’ll leave that to someone else though, as its aesthetics are about as appealing as the Elves that make up our workforce. Next.

Lego Technic 42062 Container Yard

42062 – Container Yard

This is more like it. 42062 is the first double-vehicle set of 2017, and it looks like a lovely way to introduce Technic to builders stepping up from City and other simpler themes. The neat articulated truck features working steering whilst the heavy-duty forklift includes rear-wheel-steering and a mechanically operable boom lift and grab. Good stuff.

Lego Technic 42060 Roadwork Crew

42060 – Roadwork Crew

2017’s other multi-vehicle set also sits towards the bottom of the Technic range and it too looks like a good introduction to more complex building. The truck features working steering and a tipping load bed, whilst the excavator includes a mechanically operable shovel. Both vehicles feature a few stickers and more visual detailing than Technic sets of old, and should be priced well within pocket-money ownership.

Lego Technic 42058 & 42059

42058 – Stunt Bike  &  42059 – Stunt Truck

Pull-back motors. Nothing else. Next…

 Lego Technic 42057 Ultralight Helicopter

42057 – Ultralight Helicopter

An unusual vehicular streak seems to be running through the 2017 Technic line-up, as a second aircraft joins the range. The 42057 Ultralight Helicopter actually looks more like a gyrocopter to us, but as we assume both the main and tail rotors are connected to the inline two-cylinder engine 42057 is indeed technically a helicopter. More stickers abound and the tail fin steering, controlled via a hot rod style pitman arm, looks novel. Expect 42057 to be priced under $20 when it arrives in stores next year.

Lego Technic 42064 Ocean Explorer

42064 – Ocean Explorer

Things are starting to get really weird now. This attractive looking ship, complete with a helicopter and submersible, looks more like a City set rather than something from the Technic line. And it may as well be, as so far as we can tell it does nothing more than the equivalent City set would. If it wasn’t for the superb-looking BMW R 1200 GS Adventure set revealed here earlier in the month we’d be wondering what the hell’s happened…

Lego Technic 42061 Telehandler

42061 – Telehandler

Finally, some redemption. 42061 is a long way from being the best Technic set ever made, but it is probably the best non-licensed Technic set of the 2017 H1 line-up. All-wheel steering, a mechanically extending boom, and a tilting bucket all feature, and its simple construction should mean 42061 is reasonably priced too.

So there you have it, all nine 2017 Technic sets due to reach stores in the new year. Aside from some decent starter sets in 42060 and 42062 we’re somewhat underwhelmed, although there are three empty spaces in the 2017 range due to be filled later in the year. At least there’s that brilliant BMW…

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Lego Technic 42063 – BMW R 1200 GS Adventure – Set Preview

Lego Technic 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure Review

Apparently there was an election today, but whatever the new leader of the free world decides to do / build / blow-up, we’ve found something that’s going to make 2017 just a little bit better; LEGO have brought another vehicle manufacturer into their officially licensed line-up!

Joining Volkswagen, Mercedes-BenzFerrari, Porsche, McLaren, Volvo, Caterham and others, BMW Motorrad (BMW’s bike division) have become the latest LEGO Group partner with the arrival of the new 42063 BMW Motorrad R 1200 GS Adventure Technic set.

Lego Technic 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure Motorbike

Constructed from 603 pieces, the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure celebrates forty years since the Technic line launched, way back in 1977. The model features working telelever front suspension and swing-arm rear, functioning steering, BMW’s 2-cylinder boxer engine with shaft drive, custom BMW decals, bespoke tyres, and a mystery new piece unique to the 42063 set. It’s also the first LEGO set to feature the company’s new app-based 3D instructions.

LEGO’s Technic 42063 BMW Motorrad R 1200 GS Adventure set will launch in 2017, and we’re going to make a bold call and say that it looks like it could be the best motorcycle that LEGO have ever produced. We can’t wait!

Lego 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure bike

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