DrJB

Will there ever be 100% Technic Models ?

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Posted (edited)

There have been Technic parts in other themes (CC and CS) since 1977, that's not something new

In the first decades merely for functions, wheels and looks. But in the last 10-15 years it's been used a lot for strengthening in themes like SW and various action sets like Ninjago and Chima

Edited by 1974

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I am seeing Technic pieces like gears used more frequently in Friends sets for functions.  I think that is a good thing.  :classic:

 

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Although I agree with the others that system pieces are quite useful in technic builds (I really like creator expert style exterior and technic interior), I'd predict that the system of technic panels will evolve a lot in the future to get closer to system builds with simpler building techniques and less parts. I think (the system of) curved panels are still in their infancy and could and hopefully will be improved for building with less gaps.

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But it would be strange for Technic to go in a direction where larger and more specialized panels are used when LEGO in general are going for smaller and more generic parts, no?

The current Creator cars are only so accurate because of the vast amount of new small parts that have cropped up in the last ten years (just look at the first generation VW) and the current Technic IP cars still look like broken china hastily glued together. I don't see a myriad of new smaller panels can make those sets more accurate, only a single large monocoque (as used in most normal RC vehicles)

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, dr_spock said:

I am seeing Technic pieces like gears used more frequently in Friends sets for functions.  I think that is a good thing.  :classic:

When I came back to LEGO, it surprised me how much technic is System sets now.

A set like this relies on technic parts for 5 of it's play features (library wall break/jail wall break/hatch/sawblade/big spinning monster mouth), and the 2 thrones sit on top of studless beams, while the main structural frame is built up with studded Technic beams.

 70323-1.jpg?201605200842 

And this is almost a fully Technic Car frame, car is huge compared to a minifig, but the suspension was well done.

70355-1.jpg?201705190848

Don't want to get too offtopic as the topic is about the opposite, systemless Technic sets.

But unlike System parts often being decorative on technic sets, Technic parts in system sets are required for many functions or structural strength that would hardly be possible with just system.

More recent System does use a lot of Clip or Mixel joints where possible however on things like brick built animals/mechs.

 

Edited by TeriXeri

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The best way to solve this is really easy.

it’s all Lego. Just call it Lego. Job done.

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9 hours ago, 1974 said:

But it would be strange for Technic to go in a direction where larger and more specialized panels are used when LEGO in general are going for smaller and more generic parts, no?

The current Creator cars are only so accurate because of the vast amount of new small parts that have cropped up in the last ten years (just look at the first generation VW) and the current Technic IP cars still look like broken china hastily glued together. I don't see a myriad of new smaller panels can make those sets more accurate, only a single large monocoque (as used in most normal RC vehicles)

I wasn't really thinking of going in a direction of more specialized large panels, neither a myriad of smaller panels. I think the problem of technic cars looking like broken china (which I think is an apt description unfortunately) stems from some types of panels not being designed for proper connections in all directions. Two examples are wing shaped panels and fender pieces. It is impossible to achieve continuity with them, as some of their edges are simply not designed to have connections, not even the shape of their edge can be complemented given the right piece placed next to them in the right spot: such pieces and spots don't exist; they are more like designed to be silhouettes on the edges of bodyworks. And I think that (lack of) design kind of goes against the spirit of Lego, not connectable, not really designed for building large surfaces. So I am hoping for some rethinking of those in the future and the emergence of a system which is more appropriate for building larger surfaces, better connectable, just like the system of flat panels, and ones that curve in only one direction. But that would require thinking in a _system_ of panels independent of actual models, instead of thinking in a new part required for the shape of the next supercar..

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So more like actual body panels from a real car? With proper connection points at ends?

That .. makes sense

I think the current generation of panels are actually quite good for a number of things, like most machinery and stuff that needs wings. But the trend of making more and more fenders because they have to look like a certain IP vehicle is a dead end. Parts should be more generic AND come in a wider colour range

Also, the integration with System parts is often very clumsy looking. Perhaps some of the studded panels could have ... gasp .. studs on them?

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In regards of Technic panelling I think the Koi fish panels were an interesting concept, as you weren't limited by the hard surface and they could be adapted onto something else if it weren't for the imho awful way of selling these sets through a kickstarter (seriously?!? this isn't some tech junk from a startup, but a set from a well-established company) which only made these set an object of collectionism and scalping with the parts effectively being unaccessible to the general public. The Ducati explored that technique (or at least something very similar) with the windshield fixed with katana blades. Would love to see this concept explored further, as the current available windshields are quite bad tbh, since they're either some SW canopy or a flat piece, and many cars could benefit from such flexible ones.

Expansion of colour range is a double edged sword. We got the Porsche wheelarches in purple from that tracked pickup thing, but TLG abandoned that colour ever since the Go Kart, so basically they're useless. Same with the endless shades of blue lego introduced - in my small (total 19k parts, 40% system) collection I have blue, 90s turquoise, medium blue, and one of the azures, all of which are impossible to combine in between them, making MOCing a hell. So unless a huge supercar is released, we don't ever get a full inventory of parts, which limits your building options a LOT, not to mention the price of certain elements in certain colours can be outrageous (think the #3 red connector until some years ago, or the current price of red flexaxles). And considering TLG doesn't give an F about AFOLS when designing sets, I'd rather see a full inventory of parts available in one colour before a wider colour range. And the current way of handling colour inventory is one of the reasons alternative sources of parts are basically a necessity, since some parts aren't available in such a widespread and basic colour as BLACK!!! 

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23 minutes ago, syclone said:

And the current way of handling colour inventory is one of the reasons alternative sources of parts are basically a necessity, since some parts aren't available in such a widespread and basic colour as BLACK!!! 

Hey, I'm still shocked it took so long for TLG to issue small panels in yellow... :hmpf:

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29 minutes ago, syclone said:

In regards of Technic panelling I think the Koi fish panels were an interesting concept, as you weren't limited by the hard surface and they could be adapted onto something else if it weren't for the imho awful way of selling these sets through a kickstarter (seriously?!? this isn't some tech junk from a startup, but a set from a well-established company) which only made these set an object of collectionism and scalping with the parts effectively being unaccessible to the general public. The Ducati explored that technique (or at least something very similar) with the windshield fixed with katana blades. Would love to see this concept explored further, as the current available windshields are quite bad tbh, since they're either some SW canopy or a flat piece, and many cars could benefit from such flexible ones.

Expansion of colour range is a double edged sword. We got the Porsche wheelarches in purple from that tracked pickup thing, but TLG abandoned that colour ever since the Go Kart, so basically they're useless. Same with the endless shades of blue lego introduced - in my small (total 19k parts, 40% system) collection I have blue, 90s turquoise, medium blue, and one of the azures, all of which are impossible to combine in between them, making MOCing a hell. So unless a huge supercar is released, we don't ever get a full inventory of parts, which limits your building options a LOT, not to mention the price of certain elements in certain colours can be outrageous (think the #3 red connector until some years ago, or the current price of red flexaxles). And considering TLG doesn't give an F about AFOLS when designing sets, I'd rather see a full inventory of parts available in one colour before a wider colour range. And the current way of handling colour inventory is one of the reasons alternative sources of parts are basically a necessity, since some parts aren't available in such a widespread and basic colour as BLACK!!! 

Agree with all of it, but I think those flexi panels should be limited to windscreens. Would be cool to see Technic vehicles etc with fully enclosed cabins

I only use colours that was available in 70's-80's. That means there are very few parts I cannot get in the colour I want. Even if the colour does not appear in an official set, they were probably made anyway for the modelshops and thus for sale at BL

I find it rather interesting that some of the most advanced builders, Technic and Trains, are not shy of using 3rd party parts. It's going to hurt TLG in the end

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, 1974 said:

Agree with all of it, but I think those flexi panels should be limited to windscreens. Would be cool to see Technic vehicles etc with fully enclosed cabins

I only use colours that was available in 70's-80's. That means there are very few parts I cannot get in the colour I want. Even if the colour does not appear in an official set, they were probably made anyway for the modelshops and thus for sale at BL

I find it rather interesting that some of the most advanced builders, Technic and Trains, are not shy of using 3rd party parts. It's going to hurt TLG in the end

Well, now that TLG bought BL, I've seen many prototype and unreleased colours being forcibly pulled out, so wonder for how long those could last :look: 

The flexible panels would definitely need a lot of improvements to make a full body I suppose, though windshields should be quite easy and inexpensive to make, not to mention it not being a permanent fixture, like the current ones in Creator cars, so if someone doesn't like it those could be taken off. For body panelling the connectivity issues and how to make them with a shape as reusable as possible would be a great headache. 

I suppose the 3rd party parts are a mere drop in the ocean for TLG, they're still making crazy money from Disney (Star Wars for instance) and from shelf models that people buy in spite of the ridiculous price. Though I honestly hope that it DOES hurt TLG so that we could get more cool stuff from both alternative manufacturers and the "original" one. Albeit seeing the weird Nintendo Mario sets, colour consistency issues being "within tolerances" and utter lack of support for PU/C+ (I doubt many people would understand how to use the programming features without RacingBrick's articles and videos) I don't see anything changing any time soon. Hopefully it won't be a KO someday down the road.

Edited by syclone

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When TLG bought BL I got directly told not to sell my prototype parts there in a private email. No biggie, I've made thousands selling them privately anyway. but I thought it would be nice to offer those parts to other LEGO nerds. TLG thought not

Regarding the future of LEGO .. There have never been so many other companies producing compatible bricks and in some cases, much better parts, than now. And with the internet, that stuff is widely available everywhere

Last time TLG was near bankruptcy it was because they had too much non-LEGO stuff going on (parks and games) and to be honest, in many themes, a poor product compared to what they used to have. SW, Bionicle and HP saved their butt. They cut their losses and went back to the core

They cannot do this again. They have almost no control over the other companies moving in on TLG's very own turf. They can'tr control the internet / free movement of goods. They lack a lot of IP that buyers seem to want

What TLG has is the LEGO legacy and very little else. I'll bet in less than a decade we're gonna see those CS and CC sets that they've refused to reissue for decades. Heck, they might even dig up a recipe for old grey ...

TLG is the biggest toy maker right now. It's not going to be in ten years

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22 hours ago, gyenesvi said:

I think the problem of technic cars looking like broken china (which I think is an apt description unfortunately) stems from some types of panels not being designed for proper connections in all directions. Two examples are wing shaped panels and fender pieces. It is impossible to achieve continuity with them, as some of their edges are simply not designed to have connections, not even the shape of their edge can be complemented given the right piece placed next to them in the right spot: such pieces and spots don't exist; they are more like designed to be silhouettes on the edges of bodyworks. And I think that (lack of) design kind of goes against the spirit of Lego, not connectable, not really designed for building large surfaces. So I am hoping for some rethinking of those in the future and the emergence of a system which is more appropriate for building larger surfaces, better connectable, just like the system of flat panels, and ones that curve in only one direction. But that would require thinking in a _system_ of panels independent of actual models, instead of thinking in a new part required for the shape of the next supercar..

I never thought about it this way, but you're right. A coherent panelling system would be fantastic.

9 hours ago, syclone said:

The Ducati explored that technique (or at least something very similar) with the windshield fixed with katana blades. Would love to see this concept explored further, as the current available windshields are quite bad tbh, since they're either some SW canopy or a flat piece, and many cars could benefit from such flexible ones.

I've been thinking in the same direction. The flex panels are very promising, particularly for windows - I think it's been mentioned that Technic cars tend to look wrong in profile because they don't have the curve of the windscreen, and these parts could solve that. I actually asked for more flex panels in the wish list a few weeks ago :classic:

Combining these two ideas, perhaps the (as yet hypothetical!) flex panel system could be expanded to also serve as bodywork?

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On 4 May 2021 at 11:34 AM, 1974 said:

But it would be strange for Technic to go in a direction where larger and more specialized panels are used when LEGO in general are going for smaller and more generic parts, no?

The current Creator cars are only so accurate because of the vast amount of new small parts that have cropped up in the last ten years (just look at the first generation VW) and the current Technic IP cars still look like broken china hastily glued together. I don't see a myriad of new smaller panels can make those sets more accurate, only a single large monocoque (as used in most normal RC vehicles)

I'd think the main reason for technic panels looking how they look is to limit weight with a decent level of aesthetics. You'd be able to make a much more accurate vehicle using system parts but it'll be a lot heavier as well, making it less interesting for motorised creations.

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Posted (edited)

Very interesting discussion thus far. I'm an 'old-school' guy, mechanical engineer,  and to me Technic is about mechanisms, moving parts, linkages, kinematics, gears, etc ... Unfortunately, lately styling has become ever more important than the hidden mechanical functions, and TLG is pursuing aggressively shape/forms over function. Not sure what that will accomplish in the end, though let's just call it a Technic Evolution phase ... In the coming few years we'll see where that leads us.

In all honesty though, the 8455 and 8043 were masterpieces in mechanical functions ... whereas the Porsche/Sian/Bugatti emphasized more the styling. Why not both ... well ... ?

BrickLink - Set 8043-1 : Lego Motorized Excavator  [Technic:Model:Construction] - BrickLink Reference Catalog  Back-hoe Loader 8455 - LEGO® Technic - Building Instructions - Customer  Service - LEGO.com US

 

Edited by DrJB

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15 hours ago, Sebeus I said:

I'd think the main reason for technic panels looking how they look is to limit weight with a decent level of aesthetics. You'd be able to make a much more accurate vehicle using system parts but it'll be a lot heavier as well, making it less interesting for motorised creations.

And parts count. There are allready a lot of parts in a modern supercar. But I really think the main reason is that it's simply not the way Technic is heading, it is it's own system, seperate from System

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20 hours ago, Sebeus I said:

I'd think the main reason for technic panels looking how they look is to limit weight with a decent level of aesthetics. You'd be able to make a much more accurate vehicle using system parts but it'll be a lot heavier as well, making it less interesting for motorised creations.

While I agree that the purpose of technic panels is to simplify bodyworks and save weight, I don't necessarily think that's the reason how they look, at least for wing shapes. I think with the same panel concept, their shape could be optimized such that they would connect better. By that, I don't even mean that they need to have more pin holes for connections, it would be enough if they could be placed next to each other such that there are no gaps between them and their surface could be made more continuous.

Some panels are quite good the way they are, for example the ones that are curved along one direction (like this https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=24119#T=C). Their big limitation is that they only exist in 7L and 11L version . If they existed in all other odd lengths (exactly the same cross section, no need to design anything new), that would already be really great. Furthermore, a corner piece that could smoothly connect two of them in a perpendicular direction would also be useful.

On 5/5/2021 at 9:12 PM, The Shuttlefan said:

The flex panels are very promising

Are there other uses of such panels, than windows? I have never seen them.

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5 minutes ago, gyenesvi said:

Are there other uses of such panels, than windows? I have never seen them.

Some sets (42105) used them as sails, and also the Koi Fish kickstarter. And the obvious Ducati windshield. 

6b7ebbf064c21fe02f5b725acdbf04e3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1 

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15 minutes ago, syclone said:

Some sets (42105) used them as sails, and also the Koi Fish kickstarter. And the obvious Ducati windshield. 

Hmm interesting concept, thanks for the reference. Unfortunately, I don't see too much general usage for these, you can't really have generic pieces that you could curve the way you want. At best, some initially flat pieces parts could be curved in various ways along a single axis. However, that's kind of the use case that is handled reasonably well by the existing panels that I linked above. As soon as you want to curve things around two axes, the surface area changes, so the excess material would protrude in some direction. It only works if you have pre-cut pieces for a single target shape.

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20 minutes ago, gyenesvi said:

Unfortunately, I don't see too much general usage for these, you can't really have generic pieces that you could curve the way you want. At best, some initially flat pieces parts could be curved in various ways along a single axis. However, that's kind of the use case that is handled reasonably well by the existing panels that I linked above. As soon as you want to curve things around two axes, the surface area changes, so the excess material would protrude in some direction. It only works if you have pre-cut pieces for a single target shape.

For me the most promising aspect of flex panels is that they can be transparent. Technic has been moving towards fully enclosed models for years, which is a trend I like - but there's no way to make large windows with the existing parts. I'm hopeful that the windscreen in the Ducati indicates the direction TLG is thinking in. Imagine a family of trapezoidal transparent flex panels in varying sizes, with a pin hole at each corner... :drool:

As for bodywork, you're right that flex panels would be no use for replicating complex curvature, but nonetheless I'd like to see TLG explore the concept.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/6/2021 at 12:27 AM, DrJB said:

Very interesting discussion thus far. I'm an 'old-school' guy, mechanical engineer,  and to me Technic is about mechanisms, moving parts, linkages, kinematics, gears, etc ... Unfortunately, lately styling has become ever more important than the hidden mechanical functions, and TLG is pursuing aggressively shape/forms over function. Not sure what that will accomplish in the end, though let's just call it a Technic Evolution phase ... In the coming few years we'll see where that leads us.

In all honesty though, the 8455 and 8043 were masterpieces in mechanical functions ... whereas the Porsche/Sian/Bugatti emphasized more the styling. Why not both ... well ... ?

I'm completely with you on the preferences.  Mechanisms every time for me.  But I'm not convinced there is any clear trend away from this aspect.   Unquestionably styling has become more important, but I think on the whole mechanisms retained or increased their sophistication.  Realistic styling sells, and that has to be their primary concern.  On the whole I'm just happy that their business model happens to accommodate my idiosyncratic interests as a byproduct.

It's easy to single out the best sets of the past and get nostalgic about them (I do it all the time), but don't forget there were plenty of mediocre ones along side them.  And on recent mechanisms: well, consider that a sequential gear stepper mechanism was unheard of in an unofficial set in the days of 8043.

One recent change that I do find unfortunate is PF->PoweredUp.  I understand why they felt they had to do it, but I don't like it. 

Edited by aeh5040

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I bought the mini Claas on a whim yesterday. Not a single System brick in there.

 

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Do you really mind having some 1x1 plates or similar in a Technic set ?

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The Technic and System parts are complimenting each other, not excluding.

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