Tag Archives: set

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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Alternate Creating Alternatives

Lego Creator 31070 Alternate

The Elves, peeved that this week’s earlier Guest Blog meant no meal token for them, have taken it upon themselves to rectify the situation. And rectify it they have. Built from the very same pieces as Nathanael Kuipers’ ‘Retro Roaster‘, Amaman’s ‘Sports Car’ utilises only the parts found within the official LEGO Creator 31070 set to create a gloriously sleek coupe. Part Jaguar E-Type, part Porsche 944, all brilliant, there’s more to see of Amaman’s 31070 Alternate at both MOCpages and Flickr.

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Creating Alternatives

Lego Creator Alternative Car

Here at The Lego Car Blog we like to think we’re one of the most inclusive Lego sites on the ‘net. This is handy as we’re also quite possibly one of the laziest. Thus filling in for us today as a guest blogger is reader Markus Schlegel, who suggested a creation to us via the Feedback page. Over to Markus…

Regular readers of The Lego Car Blog will know that you don’t need a thousand bricks to build a decent Lego car. Sometimes you only even need a single official set to appear here and make the Elves go crazy. The master of alternate MOCs Nathanael Kuipers has done so by using only parts from the recently released official 31070 Lego Creator Turbo Track Racer. We can’t really tell if his Retro Roadster is more of a Cobra or of a Corvette, but what we can tell is that it looks magnificent from every single angle. Click the links to make the jump to Flickr or MOCpages and see more pictures of this alternate masterpiece.

Lego 31070 Alternate

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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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Technic 42064 Ocean Explorer | Review

LEGO Technic 42064 Ocean Explorer Review

It’s review time here at The Lego Car Blog, as the first of 2017’s Technic sets is placed under the microscope. Reader and previous bloggee Nils O has got his hands on the new 42064 Ocean Explorer set, and he joins us here at TLCB Towers to let you know whether you should get your hands on it too. Over to Nils…

Worth a second look?

OK, this isn’t a car, but it’s Lego Technic and it’s a vehicle. So, who cares…? When I saw TLCB’s preview for the first 2017 Technic sets I was a little disappointed by the picture of the 42064 Ocean Explorer. It was already written in the blogpost that the model looked more like a City set than like a Technic model, and there weren’t many Technic functions visible on the photos.

Despite this, I really liked the look of the ship, so I thought that I’d give it a second look when the set became available in stores. When I finally saw the set I was pleasantly surprised; it really had enough functions to wear that Technic logo on the box. So I made a wish for my birthday and now I’ve got it!

Ok, so what do we get? We get quite a big ship with a clean, studless, almost LEGO City like look. We also get a small submarine and a small helicopter. Each of the three models has one or more Technic functions. The scale is more or less in line with LEGO City, so if you like you can use a crew of mini-figures with it.

First of all there is the ship, a big explorer vessel of the type you would expect to search for a sunken ship or to explore the deep sea fauna. There are three ‘hidden’ functions operated by ‘HOG’ gears on top of of the ship’s bridge. The first function is the steering of the ship. The model has four little wheels for smooth movement on the floor. The rear wheels have a steering function operated by the bigger gear mounted in the centre of the bridge. The steering is also connected to two steering rudders on the rear end of the vessel. The second and third function are for the operation of the crane. The crane can be rotated and lifted by turning the two smaller gears on the left and right side of the bridge. It works perfectly to drop the submarine into the ‘water’ and get it back on board.

The second model is a little deep sea submarine. It’s quite small, but it has two Technic functions built inside. One gear is connected to the rear propellers, so when you turn it, they turn too, whilst the second gear is connected to a mechanism that opens and closes the pair of robot arms like a pair of pliers. With a little practice you can grab ‘specimens’ and bring them back to the vessel.

The third model is a small helicopter. Even though it’s smaller in size than most LEGO City helicopters it has the typical Technic helicopter function of both rotors being connected to an ‘operation gear’ outside the model, allowing them to spin simultaneously. Both smaller models – the submarine and the helicopter – have a canopy big enough to carry a mini-figure, and by adding one or more ‘half pins with a stud’ you can even fix the figures inside.

So, after all, the 42064 Ocean Explorer is really worth a second look, and for me it really was worth buying it. My son loves it, too. For him it’s like his LEGO City models, just better. I think it could also be cool to see all the functions of the vessel motorised with Power Functions elements (hmm, I think I see a new project appearing on the horizon…).

Thanks to Nils O for joining us as a Guest Reviewer to add another set to the Set Review Library. If you’d like to write a set review as Nils has you can; simply get in touch with us via the usual channels.

LEGO Technic 42064 Ocean Explorer Review
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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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Supersize 75875

Lego 75875 Ford F150 Hot Rod Supersize

We love LEGO’s officially licensed vehicle sets here at TLCB. Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and more have all made appearances in brick-form, and Ford joined the party most recently with three new sets added to the mini-figure scale Speed Champions range.

This is one of them; set 75875, a Ford F150 pick-up with a Model-A hot rod in tow. Except that the 75875 pictured here is a considerably bigger than LEGO’s original, courtesy of builder Aliencat, who set about super-sizing the Speed Champions set.

Faithful to the design of the original set, Aliencat has ramped up the detail afforded to him by the increase in scale, and each build features a fully detailed engine and interior, and includes some superb chassis realism too.

Aliencat’s super-sized 75875 Ford F150 and Model-A builds are available to view on both Brickshelf and Flickr – click the links to see the full gallery of images.

Lego 75875 Ford F150 Hot Rod Supersize

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Buy a Mini… Get a Hot Rod

Lego Hot Rod 10242 Alternate

Minis seem to be popping up all over the place here today. Well this isn’t a Mini obviously, but it has been built exclusively from the parts found within the 10242 Mini Cooper Creator set. Like the Porsche 911 RSR featured here earlier today the builder of this 10242 alternate hot rod model has made instructions available, so that if you own the Mini Cooper set you can build your own. You can see more courtesy of Serge S on Flickr.

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Buy a Mini… Get a Porsche

Lego Porsche 911 RSR

LEGO’s 10242 official Mini Cooper set is a firm favourite here at TLCB Towers, but that’s no reason to stick to the prescribed instructions. Suggested to us by a reader, amaman of MOCpages has used the Mini’s excellent parts range to build something just a little bit quicker… Porsche’s monster 911 RSR. There are opening doors, hood and engine lid with a detailed interior an engine inside, and amaman has even photographed the build steps so that if you own 10242 you could build your own RSR too. You can see more of the build and check out how amaman has done it via the link to MOCpages above.

Lego Porsche 911 RSR

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Not a Porsche

Lego Technic 42056 B-Model Hot Rod

LEGO’s 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS set… we’re not really fans here at TLCB, and we’re also definitely not fans of the weird part of the online Lego community that seeks to buy sets like this and leave them unopened in a sealed box somewhere. By extension therefore, we are fans of this. Built exclusively from pieces found within the official Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS set, Brickshelf’s marthart has not only opened his 42056 box but he’s used the pieces to not build the Porsche too. The hot rod pick-up he’s created from the Porsche’s parts includes a working piston engine, gearbox, independent suspension and adjustable ground clearance, it was suggested to us by a reader, and it can be found in more detail at the link above.

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Taking a Dump

Lego Technic Claas Xerion Trailer

LEGO’s 42054 Claas Xerion 5000 tractor is one of the very best sets that we’ve ever reviewed. It’s so good in fact that we can think of little that could be done to improve it. But that’s not to say it can’t be enhanced with a little MOCery. With an adjustable hitch both front and rear that includes a power-take-off, a wealth of attachments can be developed to accompany LEGO’s brilliant set.

Lego Remote Control Tractor Trailer

Which is exactly what MajklSpakjl of Eurobricks has done. Coupling neatly to the rear of the Claas Xerion tractor Majkl has constructed an enormous Krampe HP30 dump trailer, complete with steering axles and working suspension, and utilising the tractor’s rear power-take-off to drive the dumping mechanism remotely. The complete rig functions beautifully and you can watch it in action and see all of the photos at the Eurobricks discussion by clicking the link above.

Lego Technic Krampe HP30 Trailer

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42054 Technic Claas Xerion 5000 Review

Lego Technic 42054 Claas Xerion Review

It’s time for another official LEGO set review here at The Lego Car Blog, and it’s a big one. Welcome to the Claas Xerion 5000 Trac VC.

This TLCB staff member has wanted to get his hands on LEGO’s 42054 Claas Xerion set ever since he first saw it. A large lime-green tractor now sits next to him as he types, so has it met expectations?…

42054 sits, a little surprisingly, in the middle of the current Technic range. A little while ago it would have probably been the Technic flagship, but so huge are the current models getting that the Claas is less than half the price of the Volvo L350F and Porsche 911 GT3 RS. However at almost 2,000 pieces 42054 actually features a few hundred more than the big Volvo.

Many of these are new too, with brand new (awesome) tyres, and a wealth of new bushes and pin connectors making their debut in this set. LEGO have employed a few interesting techniques in building with these, as some of these parts are used purely as a construction aid (think an unseen bracket on a car bodyshell that serves no purpose once the car is built, but allows a robot to align a laser or something during manufacturing), and all are coloured in a way that aims to assist with the build process (as opposed to the colour being chosen to best suit the finished model’s aesthetics).

If that makes you concerned about how authentic the Claas looks, don’t be. 42054 is one of the finest looking Technic sets ever produced, and it continues the trend of featuring almost Model Team levels of detailing, with Technic lift-arm holes concealed by smooth plates, lights, mirrors, and some very well chosen stickers.

The downside of the aforementioned colour choices is that black and dark grey parts can look almost identical in the instruction booklet, and when you first come across one of the new pieces you may spend ages looking for it amongst a sea of 2,000 bricks, scanning for black, when it is in fact nestling in a pile of grey. Not that this reviewer did that of course. He’s far too experienced to make that mistake.

Lego 42054 Review Claas Xerion

Colours aside the instructions are clearly laid out, and feature some huge sub-assemblies. Which brings us neatly on to a new phenomenon that the Claas Xerion demonstrates wonderfully; Density of Engineering.

Yes, we have just made that phrase up, but 42054 features some of the most compressed and tightly-packed mechanics of any LEGO set. Ever.

It’s the first set where the design has genuinely amazed us in its complexity – it’s so far above our building ability that we could never hope to better it. Some of this engineering brilliance fulfils relatively simple tasks, for example when the motor isn’t in use the battery box is automatically switched off (a thoughtful piece of design), whilst other elements, such as the three-mode steering, are mind-bendingly fantastic. Continue reading

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21103 – Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine – Review

Lego 21103 Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine

The Lego Car Blog Review My Set Competition is drawing to a close, so there’s just enough time to fit in one more fan review! Today’s reviewer is a previous bloggee himself, and today he’s on the other side of the screen after joining us here at TLCB to pen the final reader review of the competition. Over to Nils O to pick up the story…

A Dream (Almost) Come True…

The LEGO Ideas set of the Back to the Future (BTTF) time machine could have been one of the best LEGO sets ever. For me the project on LEGO Ideas (then still called CUUSOO) is still one of the best on the platform. The pictures of the car / time machine are so cool that as a BTTF and LEGO fan you just want one thing: To own that model!

The set that hit the shelves was another thing entirely. If you want to be nice you could call the look weird, but let’s be honest; it’s ugly. I think most BTTF fans still want the set, but they also want to do something more; modify it to make it look better.

But first things first. 21103 comes in a high quality black box featuring a cool BTTF design. There’s a book with instructions for the time machine from all three parts of the movie franchise, including a hover function and 1950s’ wheels and ‘electronic components’, and the parts are included for all three versions of the car. There are also unique mini-figs of Marty and Doc which are instantly recognisable, and additionally you get a skateboard, but no – no Hover Board.

Lego 21103 DeLorean Box

But what you do get is a handful of excellent printed parts (yes, printed parts, no stickers) (Hurrah! Ed.): License plates for 1985 (‘OUTATIME’) and 2015 (bar code), a time computer and, of course, a Flux Capacitor. The only part I’m not a 100% happy with is the Flux Capacitor. I just don’t like the 1x2x2 panel, for me a 1x2x2 printed brick or a 2×2 printed tile would have been a better choice.

After building the set (I built the version from Back to the Future Part II) the second thing you notice (after realising how ugly it really is) is the untypical fragility of the set. You can’t really touch it without something falling off. I had to modify the thing, especially the 4-wide roof which didn’t look right. Surprisingly I could build a 6-wide roof and matching A-pillars and doors just using parts from the set. So, why didn’t the LEGO designers do something similar? We will never know. Continue reading

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21307 Caterham Seven 620R Review

Lego 21307 Caterham Seven Review

The Lego Car Blog Review My Set Competition is nearly at an end, but we’ve just got time to squeeze a few more of your Set Reviews in before the competition closes in December. MOCpages’ Marco. qm joins us today with the set that everyone’s talking about, fresh from the LEGO Ideas platform and designed by TLCB Master MOCer Carl Greatrix, it’s the magnificent Caterham 7 620R…

The LEGO Company are known for making strong and resistant sets. Lego Fans are experts in making good-looking cars. When they get together, great things can happen. Things like a LEGO Ideas project that achieved the magical number of 10,000 supporters to gain approval to become an official LEGO set, which in in this case is the Caterham Seven 620R by Carl Greatrix.

Two years ago, on December 2014, Carl’s Seven started its journey on LEGO Ideas, by May 2015 it reached 10,000 votes and finally in March of this year Carl’s design was approved for production as an official LEGO set.

Now let’s talk about the product, the $79.00 brick-built Caterham, or as the builder called it ‘the kit of a kit car’. Although officially licensed by Caterham, 21307 is not a particularly expensive set; it’s $20 cheaper than LEGO’s previous Creator Expert sets and it comes in a nice black box with wider cardboard usual, something that I think is a nice detail.

Upon opening it, you’ll find one instructions book and seven bags of bricks, with the typical larger 1, 2 and 3 numbered bags, plus some smaller bags with the same numbers on them.

Lego 21307 Caterham 7 Review

The moment you start building it you notice how cleverly designed the 21307 set is, with a very rigid chassis and a nicely detailed exterior, it’s a builder’s dream. Upon finishing the first part of the build you’ll already have a strong chassis and the rear fenders completed.

Next you open the bags labeled with a 2 and build the second stage of the car, in which you construct the engine, the seats, the front wheel arches (which by the way are very well designed!) and the exhaust. Basically all you’re missing after this is the nose cone, the hood, the trunk and the wheels. Continue reading

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