Today is the start of this year’s Dakar rally. This off-road race, for trucks, cars and motorbikes used to run from Paris to Dakar in Senegal, but because of worsening security in Northern Africa is nowadays held in South-America. Back in 1985, a Dutch team led by Jan de Rooy finished second in the truck category. They raced a much modified DAF 3300 known as The Bull, recreated by Nanko Klein Paste (nkle). The model has a Technic chassis and is remote-controlled using Power Functions, to participate in Truck Trial competitions organised by Lowlug.
I don’t think I’m particularly prone to nationalism, except when it comes to my choice of beer and the sort of trucks I like. Forget your Scanias, Volvos or Kenworths; to me DAF trucks are king of the road. DAF has its home base in Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands, where I lived for more than ten years. I used to see trucks operated by De Rooy Transport haul DAF cabs through town on a regular basis.
Back in 2009, LEGO released two sets (8183 and 8184 ) that got me pretty excited. The reason for my excitement was that these sets contained a car chassis that could be remote-controlled using a Power Functions IR-remote. This would make it relatively easy to build your own relatively compact remote-controlled car. I bought one, but it had about as much directional control as a puppy on a wet floor; it constantly bumped into walls or bits of furniture. It was fast, though.
Curtis D. Collins (curtydc) has now used a similar chassis to build his “little big rig”. He too reports that the steering isn’t great, but also that it is a zippy a little RC. I believe that, certainly with those big wheels. I also think it looks pretty cool. Like Barry Bosman’s Monster Masher, it has a certain toy-like quality to it that reminds me of the RC cars that were around when I was a child.
Cole Edmonson just posted a great sculpture of his cat, Cooper. The light up eyes on this piece really put it over the top. My cat-loving daughter is going to want to build something like this of one of her cats…
Spanish LEGO fan Fernando (Sheepo) shows his crazy engineering skills with this beautiful recreation of a Caterham 7, a small British sports car. Technic builders never cease to amaze me with the amount of functionality they can build entirely with brick and still pack into a small frame, and this model is at the top of the game. It’s got all the LEGO R/C car bells and whistles, including disk brakes, a full transmission, and complete suspension.
Paul Hetherington (Brickbaron) must be a little monster because he recently spent quite a bit of time and effort on recreating Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” concert tour from 2012. If you consult the full set, you can find the major highlights and set-changes from the entire big-budget extravaganza. This particular part of the performance is entitled “Highway Unicorn”.
Not content to merely build a copy of the stage, Paul went the extra mile and made a video for the song “Just Dance” using LEGO Power Functions motors to control the animation of portions of the set and Gaga’s backup dancers. For you stat-freaks out there, over 700 minifigures were used to create the audience.
LegoMarat brings you some remote-controlled action tonight with his rendition of an Illinois Department of Transportation International 4400 tow truck. Not content to merely nail the shaping for the exterior, he also packed in a working front and rear suspension, opening doors, 6 motors, 3 IR receivers, and a battery box to bring it all to life. This model brings out the Tonka-Truck loving little kid in me and I want to take it out to the sandbox.
The rugged model also features a working fork that is capable of lifting a 2kg load. Don’t believe me?…check out the handy instructional video that highlights all the wonderful power-function driven features of the IDOT wrecker.
I found the book to be full of very useful information. I am not an expert Technic builder by any means and when I first thumbed through the book I was overwhelmed by the amount of detail that the book offers. However, when I actually started reading the book, I found that the way Paweł presents the information made everything very clear. He starts with basic concepts and then builds upon them throughout the book in a very clear and concise fashion. I think any adult LEGO fan will be able to follow this book and incorporate the techniques into their own creations. But this book is not for young builders. Many, if not most, of the techniques are quite advanced and would lead to frustration for younger builders.
The book consists of 333 pages divided up into five parts: Basics, Mechanics, Motors, Advanced Mechanics and Models. The first three sections give you the groundwork needed to understand the Technic system and how the majority of the parts work. I found this to be very helpful. I have used many Technic pieces over the years but wasn’t clear on the functions of each and every part. These first three sections are a great reference of Technic pieces and their functions, as well as being vital in introducing the terminology used throughout the rest of the book. I highly recommend reading these sections in depth and not skipping ahead.
The fourth section, Advanced Mechanics, teaches you how to design and build transmissions, steering systems, suspensions for wheeled and tracked vehicles along with other concepts and ideas.
The fifth and final section instructs the reader in designing and planning their own models.
Overall, I would recommend this book for any adult builder who is interested in becoming more familiar with Technic and using Technic in their own creations. The book is well-laid out and the information is presented clearly. It is definitely an asset that deserves a place on the shelf.
Visit No Starch Press for this and other LEGO-related books. is also available on Amazon.com.
Continuing our coverage of great LEGO models debuted at BrickCon 2012, Paul Hetherington just posted his FUN HAUS! building, which won “Best in Town.” (Paul has a serious winning streak going — he also won Town trophies in 2010 and 2011, and won our “Best Apocafied Building” prize during Zombie Apocafest 2009 for his Turns at Midnight carousel.)
Paul’s funhouse was inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebrations, as well as the work of artist Pooch. The building features moving cars as well as letters, so the video is well worth a watch.
ZCerberus sure knows how to build a nice castle village scene. The elemental monster is also a cool creation by itself. But, what really caught my attention on this MOC is the ingenious use of Power Functions on the scene. Both the moving tentacles and the leaning tower are what makes this creation really great.
I have much respect for Paul Hetherington (Brickbaron) and his highly detailed dioramas that often include elements in motion. This whimsical envisioning of Atlantis features dancing mermaids, moving statues, and a surprise in the giant clam.