For years I didn’t really care much for minifigures. I tend to be fussy about the scale of my models and, since minifigures are far too wide for their height, it is awkward to use them with a proper scale model. Furthermore, a larger scale makes it easier to incorporate a lot of details and functionality, which are both things that I enjoy. So, most of my builds don’t feature figures.
Eleven years ago I collaborated with Isaac Mazer. He built an 8-wide Scania recovery vehicle and I built a large version (14-wide). Mine has Power Functions IR remote control. The rear axle is driven and the middle and front axles have working steering. This worked great and I’ve actually kept the model together, making only a few small changes over the years. However, as a result of other collaborations, lately, I’ve been building more minifigure-scale models too. I find that I enjoy building them and, even though they’re still awkwardly proportioned, minifigures themselves have come a long way, with far more facial expressions and accessories.
One thing that eluded me so far, though, is building a minifigure-scale RC vehicle. Since LEGO motors and battery boxes are quite large, finding enough space inside a small vehicle is very tricky. Luckily, in the past months, I’ve been playing around with Circuit Cubes and reviewed them in a previous article. They’re small LEGO-compatible electronic components and they gave me the opportunity I’ve been waiting for: I shrunk the Scania. Isaac’s model inspired it, but mine is actually a bit smaller at seven studs wide. This is about half the size of my old model, yet it has remote control. It even has two steering axles and there is space in the cab for a minifigure.
The Circuit Cubes cubit motors and the Bluetooth controller/ battery box are small, but fitting everything inside a model that is only seven studs wide was still a challenge. The twin steering axles define the geometry. Because I didn’t want the steering to interfere with the drivetrain, I put the Technic axle that controls the steering above it.
The steering motor drives this axle via a belt and pulley, that slips when the steering mechanism hits its limits, and worm gear, to reduce the speed. Since the wheels are quite small and there is little space inside of the mudguards, the steering mechanism itself had to be very compact. An arm, connected to the axle on top, moves the steering. This takes up far less space than a rack and pinion mechanism, which is what most LEGO Technic models use.
Since the wheels on the front axle need to move more than the ones on the middle axle, I used a longer arm on the front than the middle.
The on/off switch and a USB recharging port sit in the sides of the Bluetooth controller/ battery box, so I placed it on top. I can pull it up for easy access. I’m impressed by the torque and the power of the small Cubit motor for the drive. It has no trouble accelerating and the top speed is OK, despite me using a one-to-one gear ratio in the drivetrain. Unfortunately, the steering mechanism isn’t self-centering, but the speed is such that, with a little practice, driving the truck is fairly easy. Minifigures have come a long way, but so have LEGO-compatible motors.
Circuit Cubes sent The Brothers Brick examples of their products for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews. Circuit Cubes is an advertising partner of The Brothers Brick. Advertisers have no influence over editorial content.