Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Build the Porsche of Your Dreams - Contest

As you might have noticed LEGO Technic team as launched a new contest, using Rebrick as a platform to collect the participants entries.

As a side note, Rebrick moved from its initial mission where users could bookmark LEGO creations shared in other websites, into a LEGO contests platform. As I was never a big fan of the Rebrick bookmark philosophy, I can only applaud this strategic move.
It is also the first time LEGO Technic uses Rebrick as the platform for a contest, which makes full sense. If you remember the 9398 4x4 Crawler contest was run directly at LEGO Technic website, and so the loose ends finally ties up.

Back on topic, the contest description reveals the purpose...

“In the beginning I looked around but couldn’t find the car I dreamed of, so I decided to build it myself.” - Ferry Porsche
Now you can go in the legendary footsteps of Ferry Porsche and build the Porsche of your dreams using LEGO bricks.
We are giving you complete creative freedom to build within the Porsche brand design and LEGO Technic look and feel.
Whether you prefer to build a sports car, a race car, a historical Porsche tractor, or another Porsche model we invite you to build the Porsche of your dreams with no limitation to a specific era or model type.



The contest is open for submissions until 2016.08.01 at 10:00 PM CEST, and you may submit your creation at Rebrick contest page.

The 'How to Enter', contest rules and prizes can also be found at the same page.You can submit any physical or LDD model, but remember it must have a LEGO Technic look and feel, you can only use LEGO elements plus stickers, and your model must resemble a Porsche vehicle regardless whether you prefer to build a sports car, a race car, a historical Porsche tractor, or any other Porsche model.

If it makes you feel more likely to participate, here are the prizes

The Grand PrizeThere will be one grand prize winner. This person will receive
1. Trip from their home country to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart Germany
2. An exclusive guided tour of the Porsche Museum and the Porsche production facilities in Stuttgart
4. One 911 limited die cast model of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS scaled 1:18
5. One 42056 LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS signed by LEGO designer Uwe Wabra
6. One certificate of winning

Runner-up PrizesThere will be nine runner-ups. These will receive
1. One 911 limited die cast model of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS scaled 1:18
2. One 42056 LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS signed by LEGO designer Uwe Wabra
3. One certificate of winning

The judgement will be done in two stages, where first a panel of 3 expert LEGO Technic guest judges will select 20 semi-finalists, and later a panel of judges from LEGO Technic and Porsche will select one grand prize winner and nine runner-ups from the 20 semi-finalists.

In both stages, the judgement criteria will be:
  • Overall coolness and originality (25%)
  • Most inspired details and functions on the model (25%)
  • Understanding of the Porsche brand design and competition theme (25%)
  • Overall LEGO Technic look and feel of the model (25%)

Take your chance! The prizes are worth it!

Friday, June 3, 2016

42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS - Video Review

We are just getting ready for Fan Media Day and interview the LEGO Technic team in Billund in a few hours, among other LEGO teams.
Unfortunately this means the full Porsche 911 GT3 RS written review won't be ready until I return home. Meanwhile the video review version of it has just been uploaded, and here you have it to see.



Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What would you ask the LEGO Technic Team, if you could?

I was thrilled when I found out that TechnicBRICKs was invited to attend the FAN MEDIA DAY event happening next 3rd of June, at the LEGO headquarters in Billund, Denmark.

Can you imagine?... We will have the great pleasure to get together and interview the LEGO Technic team, and by the way also a few other LEGO teams and franchises.




Help us - What would you ask if it was you going there?

Post your questions and we'll take some with us.
But please understand certain questions may collide with TLG trade secrets and also LEGO does not comment on future products and releases. This means it is not worth to ask such questions like, will you ever do this set, release that new element, when will the first LPF 2.0 elements start to appear in Technic sets, etc.

Let your imagination run wild and ask about anything else Technic.

We still have no idea how to make it fit, but this could be also an opportunity to ask the designers about some technicalities that we never completely understood, like certain friction pins that sometimes are used where apparently their frictionless counterparts should have been used instead. We remember this happening for instance with the outriggers in 42009 Mobile Crane MK II and the shaft that turn changeover catches in 8043 Motorized Excavator. Both in parts of flagship hence large sets where friction penalizes performance and easily the batteries struggle to make the respective functions work flawlessly [1, 2]. Do you recall any similar situations which made you wonder .



If you fill likely you may also raise some other general questions. There will be opportunity to interview a few other teams and franchises (e.g LEGO Worlds, LEGO Ideas, Rebrick, etc.) and depending on the questions raised we will book a slot to interview them as well.


Thanks for your contribution. It is much appreciated!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Technicopedia New Update (1999)


Today we made a return to tell you Technicopedia recently got yet another update. This time Eric Albrecht (Blakbird) added his usual detailed descriptions and images for all the LEGO Technic models released in the year of 1999.

This was a year with many new sets (25) but most of them were small vehicles and weird figures which I hardly can identify as Technic, but we all know these kind of obscure years when LEGO was entering in a dark era that almost took the company into bankruptcy...
But since not everything needed to be bad news, this was also the year that brought a major change for the Technic theme. A new supercar was born - 8448 Super Street Sensation aka Super Car Mk II.
By this time the innovative Technic beams had already been introduced, but a new world of curved panels and flex cables just emerged.

Out of curiosity this set resulted from styling exercise. LEGO sponsored a design project at Coventry University and used those ideas in creating the model. They used rounded beams and new fairing panels to suggest body panels and the new flexible cross axles and corrugated tubes to create a curves that were simply not possible with older construction techniques. The result was by far the most realistic looking of the auto chassis released to date.



Apart from the 8466 4x4 Off-Roader, which is super but not exactly a car, the 8448 was in the opinion of many the last LEGO Technic supercar released, but just until we get our hands in the upcoming 46056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

BlueSmartControl - automate your Technic creations

A little over a yer ago TBs posted a first article about BlueSmartControl or BSC as the developers abbreviate it. Back then the product was still in very early development and while it showed some promise, it wasn't commercially available.

Since then a lot has happened.

Now I can hear you thinking: why would I need another BlueTooth controller for my Technic creations when there's already something like the SBrick. It's a fair question and one that merits a well thought answer, so let's take it in steps.


On the surface there are a number of similarities between the two platforms as well as some striking differences:



SBrick is a BLE controlled device with one input (battery power) and 4 outputs (motors/lights) in a slick and very LEGO-like casing, with a 4x4 footprint and includes a few pinholes for easy integration into a model.

BSC is a BT controlled device with 5 inputs (battery + sensors) and 6 outputs (motors/lights) in a simple non-proprietary casing with a 4x6 footprint that can easily be attached to a plate (bottom side) and is just under 2 bricks high (including connected cables - BSC comes with PF cables that have been modified on one end to fit the unit)








So far the SBrick looks to be the mor professional solution, or does it? If we think in terms of technology there are a few significant differences that can already be easily observed. A first difference is in the BlueTooth technology used. While BLE is a very promising new technology there are still large number of devices that don't support it. BLE requires Android version 4.4 and above. BSC on the other hand works with BT 2.1 and above meaning any Android 4.0 device (and above) is compatible. Another difference lies in the number of motor connection points - 4 for SBrick and 6 for BSC. In addition, BSC comes with a specific port for connecting sensors.

The app is very responsive as can be seen in this (quite long) video Sariel made last year, testing the functionality of the app, including buttons, sliders and a game pad that allows controlling 2 motors linked to the X and Y positions on the pad:



Are you starting to see the differences?

Then let's look at what BSC can do. The BSC Control Center is the app that is used to control the BSC unit (or units - up to 7 units can be controlled at the same time, meaning you can use 42 outputs in a single scenario!). This app is the heart of the power of BSC and is what sets it aside. While the SBrick app allows you to create beautiful scenarios and controls, in essence those controls are only digital renderings of the physical controls LEGO provides with the standard Technic remote ("bang bang" control, that is on/off) and the Train remote (specific power level settings). While this can obviously also be done in the BSC Control Center, this app takes control to the next level by introducing programmable sequences.

Probably the easiest way to explain the implications of this system is by going back to Sariels Automated Trafficators System, a mechanical solution to make the indicator lights on motorised vehicles blink while it steered in the corresponding direction. His solution involved an M-motor and 3 polarity switches. The BSC Control Center allows you to do the same thing with a single control (button/slider/...). How? By setting up a sequence in the app by which each time you move the slider you have assigned to the steering mechanism is moved to the right not only the motor assigned to steering is turned on, but the lights on the side of the vehicle you steer towards start blinking. This means that with a single control you can set in motion several simultaneous or sequential actions.

The next step would be adding sensors to this mix. Unfortunately, MINDSTORMS sensors are quite bulky and incorporating an EV3 into a Technic model can be challenging at best. The size and power of BSC open up completely new avenues in this regard. Have a look at this short and very simple video of a lift, controlled by BSC. The carriage incorporates a magnet and there are reed switches on each floor level:


The BSC also works with an RFID sensor which can read transponder tags. You can see an excellent application of this principle in the video below in which the RFID sensor is used to detect the position of a train:


These are only the first of a series of sensors that are proposed by the BSC team. RFID is especially interesting for application in Train layouts as it allows you to know where each train is and progam sequences accordingly - starting ans stopping trains automatically, think of signal lights, switch points, etc. But Hall sensors, light sensors, Reed switches and distance sensors can all be integrate with the BSC and programmed from the BSC Control Sensor

The BSC is currently on Kickstarter, and his is their promotional video:




Tuesday, April 26, 2016

42056 - The official video presentation

Now, the real thing!



Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2016

42056 - LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS was announced

It was yesterday we've seen a new official LEGO Technic teaser at LEGO Tecnhic Facebbok page (Promobricks copy at YT below) with a statement - "Coming in 911 hours".



We didn't have to wait that long for more...

LEGO announced the next big thing and it... well it is orange!... it just reminded me the days we were discussing here why almost everything Technic was Yellow?... and how cool it would be to spread some orange tone, or even to turn this in one mainstream Techic color...
Well... it has happened since then but this is truly awesome!



The Press Release

The LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS: the art of engineering and design in 2,704 elements
One of the latest models in the legendary 911 family, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, is appearing as a detailed LEGO Technic model. The exclusive LEGO set of the exceptional sports car, which has been developed in close conjunction with Porsche AG, will initially be available at shop.LEGO.com from June 1st, 2016, as well as in the 13 LEGO stores throughout Germany and Austria. It will be available in other stores from August 1st, 2016.

Munich, April 25, 2016. Like every sports car with the Porsche emblem on the hood, the LEGO version of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS also combines design, performance, and functionality. Still concealed in black-and-white foil as a mystery model at the Nuremberg toy fair late January, the color of the characteristic bodywork has now been revealed and shines in bright orange. Thus, it corresponds to the special coating of the original sports car in lava orange authentically. The model, which has 2,704 elements, also delights the beholder with sleek, aerodynamic lines and an adjustable rear spoiler. Besides many authentic features, the packaging and accessories that come with this complex LEGO Technic model also contribute to a building experience rich in variety: among other things, the box contains a comprehensive collector’s book with exclusive background information on the development of the model. Furthermore, the elements of the individual assembly groups are packed in separate boxes for the first time and, together with the detailed instructions, provide an insight into the assembly process of the actual vehicle.

The LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS combines design and functionality
According to Ferry Porsche, driving enjoyment is not created by comfort - quite the opposite is the case. Consequently, the LEGO model also features a few rough edges that give it identity and character, just like the powerful original on which it is based: the authentically recreated bodywork is convincingly realistic with its characteristically low and sloping design, the large cooling air intakes at the front, the surface contouring of its roof and compartment lid, the unique front wheel arch air outlets of the lightweight carbon fenders and the striking rear wings.

Both the performance and the sportiness of the original have been realistically reproduced in various technical features on the LEGO model. One particular highlight is the fully functional Porsche double-clutch transmission with four gears and gearshift paddles on the steering wheel. But all technically minded LEGO fans will especially love building and playing with the six-cylinder boxer engine with moving pistons underneath the rear lid.

In addition to the technical features, the interior of the model is also authentic and close to the original. A detailed dashboard, a steering wheel with gearshift paddles, racing seats, and a glove compartment concealing a unique serial number can all be found in the easily accessible cockpit. Using this serial number, additional exclusive content can also be released from June 1st 2016 by following www.lego.com/technic.

Further product highlights on the LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS for master builders aged 16 and over include:
  • Opening doors and hood
  • A trunk with case
  • Authentic stickers to give the model the faithful final touch
  • Rims in the original design with RS emblem
The LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS is a 1:10 scale model and is 17 cm high, 57 cm long, and 25 cm wide.

And the RRPs are:
US $299.99 - CA $349.99 - DE 299.99€ - UK £249.99 - DK 2599.00 DKK
*Euro pricing varies by country.  Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing

There is also a detailed interview with the LEGO Technic designers Andrew Woodman and Uwe Wabra, but let's start with their bios.



The Designer Bios

Mini Bio: Andy Woodman
Current position: Senior Design Manager LEGO Technic



Andy Woodman, age 44, married with 1 daughter aged 4 who already shares her dad’s passion for speed and loves to ride around on her own Ducati.
Lives in a forest area of Denmark in a house they designed and built themselves.
Has a first class Hon’s degree in Industrial Design and Masters degree in Vehicle Design from the Royal College of Art, London.
Work experience includes RLE international, DAF Trucks Holland, Emap and Lego System A/S where he has worked since 2003.
Has a passion and interest for all forms of design especially Architecture, Vehicles and Yachts. Passes on this passion and knowledge for design by lecturing at local colleges, hopefully inspiring others to be interested in perusing a design career.
Loves cars and all things automotive, especially racing his rally prepared Porsche 911. Loves road trips and exploring new places, hates plane travel, not flying, just everything associated with it. Still looking for the ultimate family car, to use on a grand tour with the family and explore new places.


Mini Bio: Uwe Wabra
Current position: Senior Designer in the LEGO Technic department



Uwe Wabra, has worked at the LEGO Group since 1996.
Lives close to Billund in a home he has renovated over a number of years and is constantly evolving to accommodate his fantastic collection of Auto Memorabilia.
Originally trained as a chef at a prestigious Danish Hotel before turning to his other passion, carpentry. Then in 1996 he got the opportunity to reignite his childhood passion for LEGO Building by accepting a position with the LEGO Group in the LEGO Technic department.
Since then he has had many roles designing for other departments in the company but his passion is for the LEGO Technic models and is very happy to be back working with the LEGO Technic team.
Has a passion for all things automotive – just take a quick look in his garage or at his model collection, which is spread all over his garage and house. It really is an eclectic collection of cars, bikes and trucks.
His passion is for classic vehicles and of course, Porsche has a strong past. He has always had a Beetle and now that he has worked with Porsche, he really wants a 356.


And of course...


The Interview!

The designers of the LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS Andrew Woodman and Uwe Wabra are talking about their dream project – from the idea to the complete model.

What was the idea behind this project?

Andrew Woodman: As a lover of design and high-performance cars, it was a dream to make the Porsche 911 our first model. When we started to collect ideas for this new LEGO Technic model, we realized that we wanted to create more than just a great building experience. It should be all over special. We knew that we needed a partner with the perfect vehicle that was both highly desirable and a true icon. So we reached out to Porsche.

How did the cooperation with Porsche run?
Andrew Woodman: The cooperation with Porsche was fantastic. The employees are incredibly passionate for the Porsche brand and showed huge interest in our LEGO Technic model.
From our very first meeting it was clear that Porsche shared the same passion for the vision of this concept and together we decided upon using the current 911 GT3 RS as the first vehicle in this LEGO Technic series.

How much time did the whole process take and what were the particular development steps?
Andrew Woodman: The whole process took almost two ages: From the development of initial design ideas concerning the concept in winter 2013 to the final approval of the model by Porsche in fall 2015.
Uwe Wabra: When we started our initial drafts in 2013, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS project remained top secret. Therefore I had to build the first LEGO version using photos of the camouflaged prototype of the original from the internet. The first LEGO prototype was ready in a matter of weeks.
Andrew Woodman: We presented the result of the first model to the design team of the 911 GT3 RS at Porsche and discussed the basic technical functionalities as well as the shape of the body. On the basis of this feedback we designed the next model and simultaneously started with the development of the wheels rims which are an important part of the legendary design of the car. Afterwards we visited the Porsche Development Center in Weissach as well as the Porsche GT workshop area. During intensive working phases we worked out the elements and details of the car and perfected them. The final step was the approval by Porsche.

Did you experience a special moment during the development phase?
Andrew Woodman: During our visit at the Porsche GT workshop area we could see a preproduction 911 GT3 RS complete and finished in lava orange. This was the first time we saw the car in color – all the others had been black which made it difficult to see the proportions and details of the car.

How many persons were involved in the development process?
Andrew Woodman: Several persons participated in the development of this model: Among others, a graphic designer started working on the required decorations and stickers. In the meantime model designers worked further on the styling and on the development of particular components, for example the gearbox.

What were the challenges during the development of the LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS?
Andrew Woodman: One of the biggest challenges for us laid in designing an element that works on the 911 GT3 RS, but also in general with all others LEGO Technic elements. Furthermore something that could work in our system for years to come.
Uwe Wabra: It was important to integrate as many of the advanced technical functionalities from the real 911 GT3 RS as we could. The steering and suspension were difficult enough, but our biggest challenge was the creation of the functioning double-clutch transmission with gearshift paddles.



Now is my take

Well... the car looks amazing and is expected to feature quite nice features as advertised above, and already expected since we got to see its "spy pictures" taken in this season Toy Fairs. The curves, the proportions, the color, all seems to fit incredible well with the original from the Stuttgart manufacturer.

Although what I'm most enthusiastic about is the cocktail of new parts that seems coming with this one, new cool rims, new 11x7 curved panels, new fenders, this to talk about what is visible at the moment.
And if that was not enough, another set of parts will make their orange addition to the inventory (flex axles, panels,...).

For the rest of the descriptions you can find some more illustrations in the picture below.



As it seems, no more, no less... the first true LEGO Technic Supercar after 8448 Super Street Sensation from 1999!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Was 42054 steering mechanism uncovered?

In the months preceding the release of new Technic models it is usual that some curious minds try to decipher the most hidden secrets about their mechanics.
And one of the most intriguing aspects related to the new 42054 Class Xerion 5000 TRAC VC, is the control of its steering modes combination (2WS, 4WS and Crab Steering).
We have seen it working at some videos from the model unveiling at recent Toy Fairs, but there was too few clues on how this was designed except there is a stick to switch modes when moved into three existing side-by-side slots.

Barman (barebos) made a guess exercise to find which mechanism could be in the heart of this Xerion, that's responsible to control the advanced steering modes. He came up with some amazing stuff and presented it to us in a cool video.




In a few months we will have the opportunity to see how accurate his guess was .

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