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About NKubate

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    Creator + Technic

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  1. Making a model fully modular often jeopardizes the structural integrity and uses more material (adding more weight and more expensive) than with an integrated design. On the other hand, integrating everything makes a model on the other hand difficult to decode (understand) and disassemble (by a human being). So both approaches have advantages and disadvantages and therefore I believe that a combination of modular and integrated design works best in manual assembly work. However, the tricky part for a designer is to decide when to opt for a module and where to put the interfaces. In the end It all comes down to product architecture and assembly sequence. In great product design the interfaces for modules are chosen with extreme care to minimize surface overlap and maximize assembly flexibility but at the same time reducing the risk for errors. Because modular vs.integrated design as well as assembly sequence and efficiency are whole research areas on their own, I'm leaving it at this for the moment. I could probably write a whole book about this subject and all the factors of influence to consider.
  2. NKubate

    Lego 10290 Pickup Truck

    I will get this set for the dark red parts, the new wheels and of course to see what else I can build with it. I agree though that it doesn't look so technically advanced as some of the other Expert models and that the windscreen/ roof section in particular looks off. I don't mind that it's not a licensed set and I am confident it will get a lot of attention anyway considering the popularity of some of my pickup alternates (which are quite generic as well). Thought I share them here for comparison and who knows, someone might actually prefer one over the official model... Vintage Pickup from the 10252 Beetle: Pickup Truck from the 10265 Mustang: Classic Pickup from the 10271 Fiat 500:
  3. It was indeed an assumption based on how you formulated some of your arguments, which was a bit confusing to me. In that case my apologies and glad that we straightened that out. I can agree with many of your points, but I'm probably a bit too "political". Which is why I am hardly active here. I got so many times either flamed for my posts or completely ignored that I can't be bothered anymore. Sure it is in people their nature to complain, but in particularly arguments seem to escalate on the Internet where everything becomes polarized. Instead of posting on forums open to everyone I prefer just to write my point of view through blogs and leave it at that. If people really want to discuss things they are always welcome to contact me and I will gladly continue discussing things behind the scenes. I'm really not that hard to find or reach, it just requires a little extra effort. But we're getting way off-topic now...
  4. @TeamThrifty Considering that I was the one bringing up the sagging suspension issue I feel like I have to set the record straight here. To begin with I have not a single official Technic set on display. Actually that's a lie, because I have a 8674 Ferrari F1 and a 8292 Cherrypicker here, sets that I designed myself when I worked at TLG, so basically they are MOCs to me. But other than my own work, nope, no Technic sets on display, because to me that totally goes against the nature of Lego bricks, which purpose is to be creative with. I have built many MOC's over the years and still design and create models today. However, sometimes I need a break from building MOC's and just want to enjoy building an official set without having to think too much. Then I expect an excellent experience, but unfortunately flaws in the design and parts ruin the joy for me. Could I fix the sagging suspension? With my background you bet I can! But why should I have to fix a company's mess, especially when they consider themselves premium and charge premium prices? Should I not demand and expect them to deliver premium quality then?! And regarding the whining all the time I like to point out the total number of posts under my name. The reason I post so little here is because I also have problems with people whining all the time or talking rubbish about things they absolutely know nothing about. I have first hand experience with all the parameters Lego designers have to work within and the challenges that come with developing a Technic model. Furthermore I'm a design engineer teaching engineering skills at a university, because it scares the absolute crap out of me how little people nowadays know about simple technical problems like repairing a punctured tire. So next time you post something like this, please do a bit of research before expressing such prejudice. It's indeed utter lunacy.
  5. When you design a set for the mass market you normally want to include as many people as possible. Considering the normal distribution and standard deviation this means that below average people (in this case we are talking the adult market) should be able to build the model too. Most fans on the other hand are on the other side of the curve, meaning they have above average skills. Sure there is a risk that you exclude some of them because they crave a bigger challenge, but there is no doubt that they are able to finish building the model. Having said this, I do have problems with TLG's current path where in my opinion they are compromising too much which could backfire at some point. First of all Technic has always been about interesting functions and other technical solutions that to a certain extent relate to real life engineering. This has always been their slogan. I understand that they have some less realistic and more playable models for the younger audience to introduce them to Technic and lure them in, but when it comes to the market for adults they should not compromise too much on these aspects. Looking at the new 42125 Ferrari set however, it reminds me more of a Racer set than a Technic set, with some basic functionality but mostly empty shell. Actually the shell is so empty that the model has almost no structural integrity. It's purely designed for display. It's clearly looks over functions, and the Ferrari is not the only model. With many recent sets the looks and brand licensing seems considered more important than the clever engineering behind them. Ok, we do have the new supercar range, where there is more focus on the functions and engineering. These models however seem to suffer with the exact opposite problems compared to the Ferrari; because the designers try to put in a lot more functions, these models become extremely dense and heavy to such an extent that functions do not work well. The Porsche has gearbox problems, the Chiron has sagging suspension. I can't speak of the Sian yet, because I'm building that one now, but boy is it dense and heavy! This density also makes it difficult to see what's going on in the instructions even if I consider myself an expert. You suspect that the use of many different colors and small sub-assemblies should help here, but no, they actually require me to focus even harder, because all the different colors and geometries distract so much. Sure parts are easier to find in a pile of bricks - although this pile is already significantly reduced by the different numbered boxes and bags - , but in the actual assembly process they increase my cognitive load rather than reducing it, increasing the chance for mistakes. It also makes the build a bogg and a lot less enjoyable. Using more bright colors is not the answer, but designing a smarter assembly process using less parts is. I've seen it can be done after my analysis on the Chiron, and am convinced it's the same with the Sian. Now on to my other gripe; value for money. TLG markets specific sets as premium for adults only, but in my opinion they do not deliver the quality for the premium price that is asked (42125 Ferrari is the ultimate example). Not only do many big recent Technic sets have technical issues both in performance and accuracy (which is on the designers), but parts are inconsistent in quality. Parts that should be the same color have different hue and saturation levels, and certain elements seem to break frequently (which is on the production). And if that isn't enough, the pressure from competitors is increasing, delivering similar or sometimes even better quality parts and models for less money. So TLG should really get their act together fast if they do not want to start losing marketshare...
  6. Jeroen Ottens might know who worked on certain models during the 90's. And I know which designers worked on most models from 2004 - 2010 in a period that I worked there myself. Most of these are however already known as shown in the lists above. In many cases models are also developed as a team effort, meaning that more designers were involved during development. That's why lists are inconsistent or that models are under multiple designers. However there should be a lead designer on each model. Then the website Techlug is probably most accurate.
  7. The Mustang is a great set in itself. I just prefer to build my own models. It's really nice of you that you consider building one of these alternates! Thanks you so much! Very nice to read you were so pleased with the Cobra and consider it almost an official set. I can also relate to your dilemma wanting to have more than one model on display at the same time, as I have bought multiple copies myself.
  8. NKubate


    From my point of view different levels of purism can be identified, but they are all related to "the System" as Jeroen Ottens mentioned. Let's start looking at individual parts first. Each element is designed with this System in mind, an invisible grid where each individual part has to fit within. Some parts however have the possibility to change shape and form, like strings, bands and hoses, This means automatically that these parts can be manipulated outside of the System. Tires are also a bit special, because they are often seen as the bridging part between the System and the outside world. That's why these parts are often considered more acceptable from 3rd party suppliers. All other parts however are designed and have to fit within this System. So far for individual parts. Parts can also be put together in a System of play. In earlier years even assembled models should almost entirely be put on the same grid or System, leading to all the blocky models we have seen till the eighties. But then things slowly started to change, where more elements were introduced that made it possible to start building outside this grid structure, with all kind of angles. So the rules of purism got revised, where not the complete model had to be "in System" anymore, but instead it become more important that elements were not stressed till deformation. And once you start building outside of the System, it's only in very rare exceptions that you can turn back in System at the other end without having to worry if elements are being stressed. Classic examples are the 3-4-5 or the 5-12-13 triangle (with the use of Pythagoras in which the last figure is the diagonal that goes out of the grid structure). The next question is how far someone wants to drift away from this System of purism. Sure it's ok to go out of System as TLG also does nowadays, but to which extent? TLG often sets the limit that a module can go out of System, but if you look at the module itself, all parts within that module are "in System" or in the grid. Summarizing purism can be looked at either from an individual part perspective, where people either decide whether they can accept 3rd party elements or not, if paint jobs are acceptable and cutting parts is allowed, or from an assembly point of view where connections are either considered "legal" or "illegal", based on how far someone is willing to go outside the System and if it is acceptable that elements are being put under continuous stress up till deformation. Something can be said for all of those, and in the end it's up to the individual to decide what he or she considers acceptable.
  9. LOL, It only took me about an hour to formulate this response and still I forgot a couple of others factors. You're probably right that it's the FEEL that everything has already been done that is demotivating. Also I agree that new pieces open up more possibilities for something innovative, but in this case the argument was about the time it takes to design a model and with more elements to choose from this increases the number of variables that have to be tested and evaluated which takes time. Some already mentioned here that they feel like they have a hard time to get their models finished, trying to improve all the time or as Lipko wrote, that there is extra pressure to finish before the model feels obsolete. There are also a few more general factors that demotivate any type of model building, some of which have been addressed by others as well: From experience I know exactly what is properly designed and built and what is not, either when structures are not properly braced or when "illegal" principles are used which put unnecessary stress on elements. I put a lot of effort in making sure everything is close to TLG standard, and if I make instructions that they provide an excellent experience. But this is not something that is appreciated and noticed when I present my models. All that matters is that it looks great. This is not motivating. All the most popular models are replicas of real life vehicles, whereas I prefer to go for my own designs that borrow perhaps smaller elements of some real life counterpart. It's not motivating when unique designs are receiving a lot less interest. People and companies taking advantage of someone's intellectual property for personal gain where suddenly everything that is on the Internet is considered common domain. Who cares about (registered) trademarks, copyrights, patents,..? I guess not everyone has this problem, but it's deeply discouraging when people steal and use (my) ideas without any form of credit or compensation. Meanwhile I do everything I can to not infringe any type of rights and give credit where credit is due, but nobody seems to care or appreciate this. The frustration is sometimes seriously challenging my motivation and joy. Ok, I think I should stop now before I convince myself that it's better to quit building...
  10. NKubate

    [MOD] Ferrari F40 (10248) & F430 (8671)

    Thanks for sharing your pictures and experience @Dragunov2 Perhaps I should share the link to the instructions (which have been prepared by Theo van Vroenhoven) in case others might be interested too to build the model with these modifications.
  11. Although I haven't been very active on EB, I used to be quite a prolific Technic builder, but I have to concur that my last big Technic project dates from 5 years ago. So why have I not built nor presented any big Technic models since? For me there are numerous reasons: My main drive to build with Technic is innovation; coming up with new interesting concepts and design solutions that have not been done before. When the community was still very small 15 to 20 years ago this was not so difficult, but now it's (over)saturated, meaning that almost everything you come up with has already been tried/ done before in a slightly different way. This is not motivating. Meanwhile good and interesting concepts have evolved and been improved countless of times through the years, slowly perfected to best practice solutions. Even TLG starts implementing almost identical solutions in their official sets. Then who would be interested in something different that is sub-par? This is not motivating. Developing a proper Technic model takes ages (even at TLG it took several months as a full-time job). The trade-off between time investment vs outcome has been seriously challenged, and it doesn't help that possibilities increase drastically now TLG introduces many new parts every year. I really enjoyed the clean, thought-through official models from a decade ago, but now many complex models feel clogged and clunky, filled with many small parts to achieve a function rather than an optimized design. However when I made a showcase on how for example the Bugatti Chiron could be improved by being more part efficient, most people were mainly interested in the process of cramming in as many functions as possible as in pimp-my-Bugatti. This is not motivating. Our attention span and interaction time has reduced significantly since the coming of smart phones, where everything has to go fast and is consumed immediately, the so called instant gratification. Feedback has been reduced to the number of likes or dislikes one gets. From what I understand many recent comments on EB confirms this new trend. This is not motivating. I already addressed this issue several years ago. Related to this is that we have become much more attracted to visual stimulation. Reading and writing text takes way too long. Just take a picture or short clip instead, which is so much easier and faster to make and digest, especially now that our smart devices all include excellent cameras. Who cares for WiPs or reliable functions in a Technic model nowadays? This is not motivating. Also this I tried to address earlier in an article. And of course life happens, where you have to re-prioritize, and building a Technic model simply becomes less motivating. Instead I have shifted my focus to another type of LEGO building which I also enjoy; alternatives from official (Creator Expert) sets. Much less hassle, takes a lot less time to develop and seems to get more attention. Making instructions for these is not that bad either. Have presented some of them here in EB, but got very little response so stopped posting altogether...
  12. Thanks! I do my best to make my alternates as good as they can be. Here are they both in one shot (I had to get myself another 10265 copy of the set) Iconic sportscars from the 1960's by Nathanael Kuipers, on Flickr
  13. Thank you! Sure if I had all the bricks in the world available, I could probably do a better job on the shaping of each car. But I like the challenge to stick with the parts from one set only. Makes it so much more interesting to me because it forces me to think creatively and use pieces in the most effective way..
  14. Thanks, and yes, both models are on Rebrickable as well!
  15. After my 2 pick-up alternates, I returned to set 10265 twice more but this time to create 2 vehicles heavily inspired by iconic and classic sportscars from the 1960's in which Ford also played a key role, the GT40 and the Shelby Cobra which both fit perfectly with the 1967 Mustang. First the GT40 famous for winning Lemans. The GT40 was first built in England, but the later version in the US. GT04 main by Nathanael Kuipers, on Flickr The model features working steering wheel, opening doors, and engine cover with an engine that can be removed and displayed separately. GT04 open by Nathanael Kuipers, on Flickr Next is the Cobra Roadster, also a car that originated in the UK, but which Shelby with the help of Ford imported to the US. There it was equipped with a much larger engine that also required other changes to the chassis and suspension. I built this specific model for the TLCB Lock-down competition Cobra Roadster by Nathanael Kuipers, on Flickr This was a tricky model to render in bricks due to all its curves. Cobra Roadster rear by Nathanael Kuipers, on Flickr As with the GT40, this model features a working steering wheel and opening doors. Both front and rear open too. Cobra Roadster open by Nathanael Kuipers, on Flickr If you're interested to read more about the development or would like to see more pictures of either vehicle, please consider to have a look at my website NKubate.com. Thanks for looking!