As if there were any further proof needed LEGO Friends are cool, Tyler Sky (Bricksky) has entered nice hot rod roadster in Friends Bricks Along for the Ride Building Challenge. It looks like a real fun ride to cruise around Heartlake City.
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.
Once again Jon Hall proves that he is truly the master of building beautiful airplanes. He has only posted one photo so far, but I am looking forward to more shots of that gorgeous light-aqua coloured underside.
Since about two years, I’ve been building a collection of British vehicles to display at shows. In the summer of last year, I travelled from Portsmouth to York in the company of a group of British LEGO-building friends, going to a LEGO-show. Along the way we discussed my plans for building more British vehicles. During the five-hour drive we saw at least two dozen trucks operated by the Stobart Group. This company was founded by ‘Steady’ Eddie Stobart and operates more than 2000 trucks, mostly Scanias. They are ubiquitous in Britain and instantly recognizable. It was obvious that, if I was going to build a truck for my collection, it had to be a Stobart truck (or lorry, as my friends insist on calling it).
It took me a while though. One of the things that make these trucks/lorries so recognizable is their rather funky-looking colour scheme and even though the graphics on the real vehicles are done with stickers, I wanted to build them out bricks. This was complicated, obviously, but the end result does give a decent impression of what it looks like on the real Scania.
In little more than a week, the 2013 Great Western LEGO Show will take place in Swindon in the UK. My collection of British vehicles will be on display there, including this truck, as well as my B-52 model.
Hot on the heels of fellow Dutch truck builder Dennis Glaasker, Nanko Klein Paste (nkle) has also built a new truck. Unlike Dennis’ trucks, it’s not all shiny and full of chrome, however. It’s a much more utilitarian-looking Dutch DAF 2300 truck from the early eighties.
There is much to like though, such as the construction of the radiator with a small edge around it, the SNOT construction on the side of the cab and front bumper and the detailed chassis, engine bay and working tilt cab. Growing up, I used to regularly see trucks like this and I absolutely love it.
Many European truck lovers have a soft spot for the Scania brand. In some ways its reputation in Europe is comparable to that of a brand such as Kenworth in the US; they’re driven by proper truckers rather than by mere truck drivers. They are also popular among customizers, and Scandinavian custom trucks stand out, with lots of chrome and airbrush artwork. Truck builder extraordinaire Dennis Glaasker (bricksonwheels) has recreated this typical Scandinavian custom look in his latest Scania model.
This behemoth is more than 1.5m (5 ft.) long and remote controlled with Power Functions. The spectacular airbrush artwork, with a Pirates of the Caribbean theme, was made with a custom sticker and Dennis uses non-standard chromed pieces, with a very cool result.
Andy Baumgart (dtowncracka) obviously has an interest in military equipment from the (former) Soviet Union and its allies. After building his cracking ZSU-23 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery, he has turned his attention to something a bit more obscure: the Cuban T-55 mobile SA-2 Guideline launcher.
The SA-2 Guideline is a Soviet surface-to-air missile developed in the nineteen-fifties, which was exported to Soviet allies all over the world. During the Vietnam war, North Vietnamese SA-2s were used to shoot down close to 200 US aircraft, known as Yankee imperialist air pirates in contemporary propaganda. Before then, SA-2s gained notoriety when they were used to shoot down Francis Gary Powers’ CIA U-2 spy-plane over the Soviet Union in 1960 -an incident which caused great embarrassment to the US government- as well as a U.S. Air Force U-2 flying over Cuba during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
By now the SA-2 is an old clunker. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, however, Cuba has been unable to buy more modern and more mobile air-defense equipment. By mounting an SA-2 and its launcher on top of an obsolete T-55 tank chassis, Cuban engineers have managed to come up with a slightly more mobile version. To me it doesn’t look as though it can do much damage except to Cuba’s roads, but it is a great choice for a LEGO model, expertly built by Andy.