Continuing with the purple and green starfighter theme is Simon Liu’s (Si-MOCs) ZorN. The wacky shaped fighter is of course for the Alphabet Contest, but it really gives this craft an alien look. My favourite detail has to be the hits of purple peeking through from between the grey wedges on the sides.
If you want your fire quashed in style with a flash of chrome and a streak of red, you’ll call Nick V’s (Brickthing) Fire Brigade. Nick’s making excellent use just a few chrome parts, and those bobby helmets from the recent collectible minifig line.
Considering this car is built on a 4×7 stud footprint and is still instantly recognizable is quite the feat. I am not even a huge car guy and I immediately knew what it was. But should we expect much else from Raphy Granas?
Back in June, I posted a collection of Eighties film and TV vehicles, which at that time consisted of four cars (and fifth one that wasn’t in the picture). Lots of people offered me suggestions for which vehicles to build next and I kept going.
Top row from left to right: American Graffiti, The A-Team, Back to the Future, Batman (1989), Blues Brothers, The Dukes of Hazzard; middle row: Ghostbusters, Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Inspector Morse, Knight Rider, Magnum P.I., Miami Vice; bottom row: Mr. Bean, Only Fools and Horses, Starsky & Hutch, Terminator II Judgement Day, Tomb raider and Top Gear.
By now, a few months later, I’ve got 18 vehicles. They are not all from the Eighties anymore and a few British ones sneaked in. I am really enjoying building these. Unlike many LEGO car builders, I don’t have it in me to come up with my own cool or custom car designs. I tend to build scale models of existing vehicles and most are bog-standard production versions. The cars that are the stars in movies and TV series, however, are often a bit more flamboyant. Building them means I still get to build the scale models I like so much, but with a few extra sprinkles on top and the often funny characters that go with them. There are a few obvious vehicles still missing from my collection, such as cars from any of the James Bond movies, but I am not about to stop this any time soon.
As a child, back in the Eighties, I had a poster of Lego set 5580 Highway Rig, above my bed and I know I’m not the only LEGO car builder who fancied that particular model. However, if there would have been poster of the Lamborghini Countach built by Rolling Bricks back then, I might have replaced the poster with its image.
The Countach was the maddest supercar of the Eighties. It was super fast and hugely impractical and had a shape that was out of this world. The LEGO version is pretty much super too. Check out the clever half-stud offsets for the front fender and the SNOT work used for the rear one as well. In fact, every time I look at this model I notice some clever combination of parts and it wouldn’t be complete without working scissor doors. It’s hard to imagine this car being done better on this scale.
Back in 1975, long before the classic eighties Model Team sets that I had as a child, LEGO already made a series of realistic models of real vehicles, in the so-called Hobby sets. One of these was Lego set 392, Formula One; a model of a race car that, considering the limited parts that LEGO made at the time, was remarkably detailed.
Vince Toulouse is a master of lines who always create a natural flow of patterns and colors in his vehicles creations. This flying vessel is a great example of color blocking and integrating oddly-shaped parts.
42005 Monster Truck is one of LEGO’s new assortment of Technic sets, and has an MSRP of $50 USD and 329 pieces. This year, LEGO entered an exclusive partnership with Toys R Us in the United States granting TRU exclusive retail rights to the Technic line. They’re still available online from sites like Amazon, and of course in the LEGO Brand Retail stores, but sadly, you will no longer find Technic sets at other retail establishments. That aside, LEGO’s new Technic line-up looks pretty cool.
I’m not really a Technic guy, so this is the first Technic set I’ve bought in quite a while. I’ve enjoyed Technic sets for as long as I’ve been a LEGO fan, but I gravitate toward building System, so naturally my purchasing skews that way as well. Like the Technic sets of old, most modern Technic sets follow the 2-in-1 box method, meaning that they have instructions for two complete models to be built with the same selection of pieces. The Monster Truck is, of course, the primary model here, but the set also builds a dune-buggy/hot rod type car. Thus far I’ve only had time to build the primary model.
With only 329 pieces, the price seems a bit high if you’re used to System sets, but many Technic pieces are more expensive to produce than traditional bricks, and at $0.15 per part, the price is actually typical of Technic sets. Many of the largest Technic sets have lower price-per-part ratios, but that’s largely because the piece count is buoyed by insane numbers of Technic pins, which are very inexpensive.
Opening the box frees three bags of pieces, a sticker sheet, an instruction book for each of the two models, and four loose tires and hubs. If I had been building a set any larger than this, sorting the pieces would have been useful, since scrabbling for Technic pins amongst all the pieces can be tiresome, but it wasn’t an issue with this size of set. As with many Technic sets, it’s initially difficult to even tell what aspect of the vehicle the instructions have you build first. Unless you peek ahead in the instructions (or are far more familiar with Technic than I am) you just start building some complicated mechanism. In this case, the first part is the central steering gearbox. This Monster Truck contains a cool feat of engineering; it not only has dual-axle suspension, but it also has four-wheel steering. This is accomplished via a special hinge piece that I can only assume is crafted just for this purpose. This piece is essentially a hollow ball-and-cup joint that allows an axle to be threaded through the center from each side, connected by a universal joint. It only appears in five sets, and this is by far the smallest of those, so the set may be of interest to some people based solely on that. There are two included here, one facing the rear and one facing the front, and each houses the axle that controls the steering mechanism. Both the front and rear steering assemblies are identical; in fact, it’s not until the body is built as a finishing touch that front and rear have any meaning.
The instructions then had me do something I have never before done (it’s probably not unique to this set, but I’ve never encountered it before). The instructions called for subassembly that served only as a temporary frame to hold the joints in place while other pieces were attached. Once attached, the subassembly was disassembled and the parts recycled into other areas later on.
The finished model is quite cool. The truck has an indistinct pick-up truck body, which, as I mentioned previously, serves only for aesthetics. The mechanical aspects of the model are completely functional without it, and as such, this kit is ripe for easy customization, turning the body into any sort of vehicle you wish. The suspension is supported by four springs, giving each axle a good deal of travel. The four-wheel steering is controlled via a small gear protruding from the roof. The ridiculously large tires make the truck exceptionally easy to roll around on the carpet or over almost any obstacles. I was left wishing that the truck had some additional play-feature though, like a bumper mounted winch.
All told, this is an excellent model. There’s not as much lasting play-value inherent in the instruction-built model as with the largest, motorized Technic sets, but there’s also not that hefty price-tag motorized kits have. With the exception of the new joints, the parts won’t be particularly exciting (but likely useful) to anyone with a good collection of Technic already, but this model would make an excellent foray into Technic kits for someone who has thus far stuck to System. I imagine it would also make a good gift to a young teenager who imagines they have outgrown LEGO.