Saturday, July 9, 2016

4x4 A25F Articulated Hauler is a reality after all

You might remember two years ago (Aug.2014) when the 42030 Remote-Controlled VOLVO L350F Wheel Loader was released, there were some wondering and discussions about the B-model Articulated Hauler for several reasons [1].

Main one was probably the fact the B-model was presented in a two axles version (4 wheels as there weren't more included with the main model). No one was able to find any online reference that proved the physical existence of a 4-wheeled A25F Articulated Hauler, unlike its predecessors A25D and A25E which were also made available in 4x4 variants.


A25F seemed to be available only in the 6-wheeled version at the time and digging into VOLVO CE catalogs I got the impression that 4x4 versions could eventually be possible to order as customized models.



The LEGO Technic team was also aware of the fan community discussions about this topic, and promoted the production of the video below asked us to share it with you. If you look carefully you can finally see the physical version of the 4-wheeled A25F Articulated Hauler.




So it seems now that licenses are getting more and more importance to the LEGO Technic line, the relations between TLG and VOLVO CE are kept live an strong. The release of the new 42053 VOLVO EW 160E Excavator is just another evidence of that and so I believe we will continue to see licensed VOLVO models at the LEGO Technic assortment in the years to come.


Other Articulated Hauler comments were related to the unrealistic longitudinal engine position and the "cage look" of the tipper because of it not being closed and having too many "holes", rendering it almost useless. But of course there was not enough panels in the main model to build it differently.


Thanks for the heads up to the LEGO Technic team, who demonstrates to listen to their fans!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

LEGO Fan Medias Days, 2016 - LEGO Technic Interview

Last 2nd and 3rd of June the LEGO Fan Media Days took place in Billund, where some guided visits to cult spots took place, like the LEGO Memory Lane (aka Vault) in the basement of the LEGO Idea House, and the Kornmarken LEGO Molding Factory.
They were great LEGO experiences, but probably the most fantastic and valuable moments were the interviews done with some LEGO Teams (Technic, Bionicle, LEGO Ideas, LEGO House, LEGO Rebrick, LEGO Worlds and LEGO Knights) that took place in the second day at Innovation House.

TBs did interviews with most of them, and we will publish here the resulting video interviews as they get released.
As it couldn't be otherwise we're starting with the interview to the LEGO Technic Team, where we spoke to Andrew Woodman (Andy), Senior Design Manager LEGO Technic and fellow AFOL Milan Reindl, Designer LEGO Technic well known in the community.



I and Paul (Sariel) agreed to join efforts and each to produce videos with the interview footage of booth. Unfortunately the hamsters were not present to help.

You can watch and listen to what we managed to get, and even have a sneak peak on the upcoming 2H16 LEGO Technic models.




Unfortunately many of the questions received from you and prepared beforehand did not fit in two 30 minute interviews and thus remained to be asked under the video cameras. Eventually we may have another opportunity next year...

And no, there were no saucy questions about the successful 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS caught on camera.



Have fun!

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!

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