Cumulonimbus

Eurobricks Knights
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    Technic

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    Technic, Creator, City

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  1. Cumulonimbus

    Limited Technic Reviews

    @Jim Thank you for writing this post and giving us a peek behind the curtains. I too have always greatly appreciated your written format, because it allows for a more in depth look at a set and zoom in on for example an new mechanism or clever use of parts. Your reviews were always very enlightening to read and you have convinced me more that once that an upcoming set was interesting enough to buy even if at first I was unsure. I wonder if another reason for this change in strategy might be that TLG anticipated a more critical (maybe even a negative) review from EB members? I think that at the moment the consensus here at EB is that while Control+ is a promising platform, it currently lacks some key features and components to be a complete replacement for PF. Maybe TLG was afraid that a focus on this (temporary) shortcoming could overshadow the launch of Control+ and its first two sets? By the way, I wouldn't be surprised if EB has a reputation of a tough crowd at TLG and it might be easier to target the new sets at less experienced builders via other channels. We (myself included) like to poke holes in a new set and complain about what it could have been. This situation could be the results of TLG reaching a tipping point where it has had enough of the criticism and have found easier ways to launch their sets. On the other hand, if a review is nothing but praise about the set, without an honest and critical point of view, it is all but useless in my eyes. As a final point, I like to add that if it is true that TLG is loosing interest in modifications of their sets like @Aventador2004 says, I think this is a big mistake on the long term. Similar as your reviews, MODs by builders like @efferman have also persuaded me to buy and modified a set which I otherwise wouldn't have bought. But recently, I have noticed that my personal interest in sets on the whole is waning. I haven't bought a new set since the Bugatti for multiple reasons, maybe there is a correlation with your decreasing number of reviews?
  2. Cumulonimbus

    Lego to consider renting bricks !!

    I agree the title is a bit misleading and smells like click-bait. The focus of the article is not the renting scheme, but the search for solutions to achieve less environmental impact which TLG find important enough to invest millions of moneys in. So it actually says that they're not renting bricks yet. TLG is considering many ideas to reduce their footprint on this world and according to them, renting could be an option if the technical issues could be solved. That said, I still think it is important for us AFOLs, as part of their consumer market, to give constructive feedback when those ideas are hoisted up that flagpole. This gives TLG some early warning about how those ideas will be received by the general public and just maybe adapt the ideas to our input. As long those comments are a bit more constructive than "renting bricks is stupid".
  3. Cumulonimbus

    Lego to consider renting bricks !!

    The short answer: no they do not. The long answer: a biobased plastic is not a synonym for a biodegradable plastic. The "sugar cane" bricks where all the fuss is about in several topics here are not actual sugar bricks. They are made from a very normal, non-biodegradable thermoplastic called Poly ethylene (PE). The difference is that the ethylene part is not derived form oil but from for an alcohol distilled from the sugar cane. These bricks will wear and tear just as quickly whether they are oil based or biobased. The difficulty TLG has is that PE is not as rigid and hard wearing as ABS (a styrene based plastic), which is why so far they are only used for the plant bricks. Finding a bio based version of ABS is a big challenge which has not been solved yet. Even a plastic which is sold as a biodegrade plastic, like PLA (which TLG does not use) only degrades in very specific conditions like a high temperature and with the addition of certain enzymes. These parts do not simply dissolve when left in your garden.
  4. Cumulonimbus

    Lego to consider renting bricks !!

    I don't think they are talking about the bricks themselves, but more the waste and emissions produced during the manufacturing process. Oil based raw materials, world wide logistical chains and the plastic waste during the injection molding process are the mayor contributions to the environmental impact . As stated in the article: " Lego reportedly emits around a million tons of carbon dioxide each year, with about three-quarters coming from raw materials that go into factories." This explains their research into alternative material sources but the rent-a-brick idea still does not make sense because it doesn't improve any of those contributions. In fact I'm willing to bet that on the whole, the impact will be even worse because they will introduce even more logistics and potentially add a cleaning step. Replacing the plastic bags for packaging could probably help, but other "solutions" should be considered very carefully. There are many examples where a well intended change in a product or service resulted in an even worse environmental impact that before. That is why a tool called LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) is used to get an overview of all the contributions before and after a proposed change. Often the outcome is very surprising: a plastic product can be the most sustainable choice if for example the life span is very long (as with LEGO bricks). Recycling products also require big industrial processes which use power, water and chemicals. Even biodegrading has its issues: it produces methane if done incorrectly, a gas which has 20 times the impact on the greenhouse effect that CO2. In short: Truely improving the environmental impact of a product is a complicated question. Renting out brick is just marketing babble. Maybe I phrased it wrong, but I meant that I don't think TLG customers have any wishes or needs to rent bricks instead of buying them. The renting scheme is only good for creating a certain company image. Lately TLG apparently has received a label of being a polluting company (thanks to Greenpeace) and now is desparate to do damage control. The point I'm trying to make above is that plastic is not evil per se, it greatly depends on the application. And I think that LEGO bricks is one of those cases where it is and will continue to be a good idea to make them from ABS.
  5. Cumulonimbus

    Lego to consider renting bricks !!

    I get that TLG is looking for new ideas and business models, but I don't see any advantages at the moment. From a customer point of view, renting schemes make sense for items which are subject to short time use, quickly changing fashion, a lot of wear during use,and/or come with tax related advantages. Arguably, none of these are really applicable to LEGO sets. Additionally, this poses so many practical questions: How will everybody in the supply chain keep track of all those tiny parts? Will they take the rental effect into account (“Don’t be gentle, it’s a rental”)? Will parts be cleaned somewhere in the chain? Will a customer get the choice between receiving a brand new set or a (heavily) used version? Will you need to disassemble the set into parts when handing them in and if so, who will check is has been done correctly and all parts are functioning? Will they differentiate between slight variations in parts? Will parts need to be marked or can anybody swap their own used parts with better parts from a rented sets, etc … It sounds like they are aware of these issues, but I really hope somebody at TLG does a proper Life Cycle Analysis of these ideas, because I think the solutions for the logistical challenges will probably offset any sustainability gain. They are trying to solve a perceived marketing issue, not a customer need with this scheme.
  6. Cumulonimbus

    42110 - Land Rover Defender

    @nicjasno I agree, U-joints are great for giving a driveshaft a degree of freedom to follow the movement of a structure like in a car suspension or even to follow a permanent inconvenient angle like in an excavator arm. But using a pair to solve an alignment issue in a drive train is poor design and prone to errors as shown again here.
  7. Cumulonimbus

    42056 - Porsche GT3 RS - Crash Test

    So the front and rear sections couldn't make their marriage work and got a divorce? A more serious point: At first I find those crashes of LEGO sets a bit pointless, but then I wondered if ADAC uses these tests to validate their simulation software? In other words, they model all the parts with their material properties and degrees of freedom then simulate the crash (as shown in the video) and finally compare the results of the virtual crash to those of the real crash. So the simulation software might get better at predicting crashes of cars, toys and real ones. EDIT: I took some time to read this article about the crash and if i understand the google generated translation correctly, it was indeed one of the goals to see how accurate they could simulate a crash between two vehicles made with unfamiliar materials and structures. It appears that they got pretty close, take a look at the following comparison between an image of the real crash (left) and the simulation (right):
  8. Cumulonimbus

    Technic 2020 Set Discussion

    No disrespect to the "source", but I find this very hard to believe. It is a relatively unknown car from a not-so-recent movie, which is not really good looking (in my opinion). But we have seen Technic sets from the tuning scene before, so you can't completely rule it out:
  9. Ah, you're right, the upper wishbones are not attached in this display. There must indeed be mounting points on the body, I think you can just make them out in this image: BTW: the netcarshow.com website has a ton of nice Defender reference images including the chassis picture above and some designer sketches. Those are always nice to see and would have a nice addition to the set instructions booklet.
  10. Nice photo, is this technically a multi-link suspension or a true double wishbone setup? It still confuses me that LR has chosen to mount the upper wishbone not directly to the body or chassis but via the stanchion. I can't think of any advantage other than the reduction of the amount of mounting points in the monocoque structure. Also, look at that heafty torsion tube, I guess it is needed to keep the car level at high speed, an illustration of its ambitions. BTW, is that an active torsion tube? It looks like a big motor wrapped around the torsion spring, could a be just a damper though. Last thing that surprises me is the towing eye mounted to the sub-frame, I would expect his mount to the body/chassis.
  11. I don't get what all the fuss is about: there will be a lot of different engines for the new Defender, some inline engines (4 or 6) and some V-configurations. Some Diesel engines, some petrol, a "mild hybrid" and there a rumors about a full electric version eventually. Not all engines will be available in all countries though, due to complex legislative and marketing reasons. This is the (blurry) overview which leaked a while ago: (More in depth explanation can be found here)
  12. This I like to see. You might convince to buy this set.
  13. Cumulonimbus

    Technic 2020 Set Discussion

    Call me old fashioned, but I really hope for the opposite of that: A manual pneumatic model with all functions except the steering powered by pneumatics. More like a bigger and more modern version of the excellent 8455 from 2003. Only the compressor should be driven by a motor (and a dumb hub without smartphone dependency). If TLG then throws in smaller tractor tires for the front axle, then it will be an instant buy for me. End wishful thinking mode.
  14. Cumulonimbus

    Technic 2020 Set Discussion

    Well your right: The first in what I suspect will be a series of Top Gear sets is a rather conventional car: According to the Promobricks site, the set will be a white "rally coupe" with stickers of a union jack and an image of the Stig dressed with a bunch of extra headlights on the front (the car, not the Stig). I wonder if it will represent an actual rally car like a Ford RS200, Audi Quattro S1, Peugeot 205 T16 or a more recent Ford Fiesta RS WRC. On one hand. I would expect a certain level of accuracy from a car-based entertainment show for the petrolhead, but on the other hand this would mean two licenses in each set: one for the Top Gear franchise and one for the brand of the car it represents. Not sure if that is likely, maybe if they stick to cars already modeled in the Speed Champion sets? In that scenario we might get a Technic version of this:
  15. Cumulonimbus

    Technic 2020 Set Discussion

    I have a suspicion that TLG has a more strict definition of play that most of us. The general rule seems to be that official sets should be able to lift, push, dig, collect, carry, sort and dump Lego. I have always imaged that the environment of a set while playing is a big pile of bricks on the floor where the set should be able to function in. I think this is why we see so much earth moving equipment, trucks and cranes. I could also be the reason why agricultural machines are tricky as an official set since it is rather difficult to pick up, plough or harvest loose bricks on the ground after driving over them like a tractor with an implement does. The same is true for a grader; while the functions in themselves are interesting, playing with the model is probably more difficult to make robust enough. On the other hand, we have seen sets like cars, planes, helicopters, boats, firetrucks, hovercraft, cherry pickers, motorbikes, snow scooters and of course the 8284Tractor and the 8274 Combine Harvester. All of which have no real “useful“ function in combination with bricks, so I guess my theory is not really supported with a lot of evidence. The news of the Top Gear license is a bit of a surprise. I guess there are a lot of unique machines made in the history of the show like those amphibious vehicles which can be made in recognisable Technic sets. There have been a number of die-cast models of Top Gear vehicles, but they don’t seem to be very successful so far. As said by @Shdwfalcon , if the chosen scale is similar of the Corvette, the models will be too small to incorporate any other functions than steering and a mini-engine, which would be a shame for a Technic set. I guess TLG has struck gold by aiming sets towards petrolheads with all kinds of licensed car sets across the Lego themes (Speed Champions, Creator and Technic). Personally, I like sets with interesting mechanisms more than cars where the emphasis typically is on looks. This is also true for the cars in the “UCS” series (Porsche and Bugatti); whatever the next car in this series will be, I really hope that the will be more to it than yet another large scale car with a sequential gearbox, suspension, steering and a fake motor. Just one or two extra functions like adjustable ride height, convertible roof, pop-up headlight, adjustable seats, … are a must if I want to justify another €300 car in my collection. And I really hope that they won’t choose yet another rare or new colour for Technic parts, making MODs and MOCs unnecessarily difficult. Time will tell…