Most of the scientists I know love LEGO and, as shown by LEGO’s own research institute set, scientist can actually be a suitable subject for a nice set. Steen Dupont, Benjamin Price and Vladimir Blagoderov are not paleontologists, astronomers or chemists (nor are they female), but they are scientists, who work for the Natural History Museum in London, and who actually use LEGO in their research. In their latest paper, titled The customizable LEGO® Pinned Insect Manipulator, they present an unusual and innovative solution to the problem of how to study insect specimens without damaging the delicate wings and other appendages.
Among their advantages are that they are modular, cheap and easy to construct. The article contains one of the funniest sentences that I’ve ever read in a research paper: “The authors welcome correspondence on ideas for the next generation of IMps, and although the current models are easy to assemble the authors are happy to assist if no children can be sourced locally.”
Via Science. Thanks to Tim Gould for bringing it to our attention.
Friends of mine in the US used to own a Japanese minivan and it was reliable, comfortable and great for road trips, but about as exciting as wet noodles. When I think of Japanese cars in general, the first ones that spring to mind are tiny little boxes on wheels that seem more suitable for a shopping trolley and the second ones are competent but boring sedans. However, this impression isn’t fair at all, as shown by the Datsun Z240 by LegoMarat.
Z-cars are exciting. The 240Z had the looks of a classic long-bonneted sports car, but without the dodgy electrics that plagued similar endeavours from England. The roof on the model looks a bit too flat to me and the wheel arches are a bit awkward, but the model has presence. This is helped by its dark blue colour and the nicely curved flanks.
It doesn’t just look good; it too has some very clever engineering inside. It drives, powered by two Power Functions motors and using a servo motor for the steering. These are controlled via a nifty third-party Bluetooth controller, called an SBrick, which is specifically designed to interface with Lego Power Functions. It allows the user to operate them via an app on their smart-phone or via the internet. Its development was funded via a kickstarter campaign that Nannan reported on in July last year. You could be forgiven for thinking that this too must be Japanese, but it was actually designed in Hungary.
We tend to focus on LEGO system on this blog, in part because most of us are not really into the aesthetics of Technic models. However, as the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider by Jeroen Ottens shows, sometimes a clever combination of curved Technic panels and soft axles can be a really effective way of capturing the shape of a voluptuous car body.
The Italian tricolore striping also adds to the model’s visual appeal.
This was just too lovely to pass up. I don’t know the make, model, or anything about the bike itself, but I do know that I just love the styling and sculpting that Hirnlego-lego-lego-lego‘s put into this lovely build.
This Rube Goldberg machine by Christian Bechinie showcases an elegantly designed ball contraption surrounded by brick-built dominoes. Check out the entertaining video and see it all in motion.
František Hajdekr has built an adorable little Technic chainsaw with both a working chain and a piston that pumps up and down.
You can see the chainsaw in action in this video.
Even more adorable is this teeny tiny dump truck. Squeee!!!
If you haven’t checked out František’s photostream on Flickr, do so now — you won’t be disappointed, with everything from cute little vehicles to beefy motorcycles.
Sm 01 has turned out this awesome Model T Hot Rod. Not only is a beauty but it’s motorized as well. Check out the video for all the features.
Many of you may know Arjan Oudekotte (Konajra) as a LEGO shipbuilder. However, when he started posting his models on-line a few years ago, he mainly built large diggers. I know he is working on several new ships, but he has now gone back to his roots and built this impressive Caterpillar 7495 rope shovel. These machines are used for open-pit mining
It is power functions remote controlled, like most of his diggers, and while the size of this thing may suggest otherwise, it’s actually minifig scale.
This monster construction vehicle by Technic guru pipasseyoyo is a complex blend of Technic engineering and skillful brick sculpting. The articulated dump truck is fully controlled by remote and features a tipping bed, six-wheel drive, and powered articulated steering. Be sure to check out the video of it in action.
We’re reaching for the skies tonight, with two models that on the one hand are very similar, but on the other could hardly be more different. Both represent a Liebherr LTM 11200 9.1, which is currently the world’s largest mobile crane.
In the red corner we find the heavyweight contestant: a 1/15.5-scale model by Huib van der Hart (liftingbricks). I blogged this last year, when it was still a work in progress. Its size imposed daunting technical challenges and, at the time, it couldn’t yet be erected. Now it can, however, and it is so big it’s intimidating.
In the blue corner, we find a minifig scale version by Maksymilian Majchrzak (MAKS). This is his largest model to date and at 2 kg and with a height of 70 cm, when fully extended, it’s not exactly tiny. In this competition, however, it’s the bantamweight. Despite its much smaller scale though, it looks very much like the real deal, is highly detailed and has many working functions.
In last week’s dragontastic installment, Stormbringer’s Skrill Showdown narrowly beat Jonas’ Smaug the Stupendous, with a final score of 8 to 7. It’s up to you this week, dear reader, to decide whether size matters.