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About Cumulonimbus

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    Technic, Creator, City


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    The Netherlands

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  1. I was hesitant to post this because this is a never ending discussion, nobody here needs more negativity and the chances of this discussion will changing anything are minimal. But recently I have realized that I have reached a point where the joy of buying, building, modifying and owning Lego (Technic) sets has disappeared. For what it’s worth, below is my point of view (forgive the long text, I tried to keep it as brief as possible): Profit vs values Yes, The Lego Group (TLG) is profit oriented and is doing rightly so since it is a commercial company. But I get the sense that TLG is trying to maintain its profits by inflating part counts, prices and licenses at the expense of B-models, enineering standards, LDD support and part quality. These are all worrying trends that eat away at what I have always seen as the basics of the “Leg godt” philosophy: accessibility, creativity, open ended and high quality nature of the building system. Additionally, the ever increasing retail prices are staggering in my eyes. Flagship and sub-flagship sets are now in serious adult gadget territory: real RC cars, high fidelity die cast models and other boys toy. I think TLG has more to lose than to win when competing with these. To be brutally honest: the Lego system will never be good enough to beat them, but TLG will lose sight of their strong suit while doing so. Premium prices come with premium expectations. For me this means functions, build techniques, part quality. TLG is intentionally cutting corners on all those aspects to reduce costs. That is their rightful choice, but once you lose your quality reputation, it will cost you a long time to restore that reputation. All I know is that the last two new (and expensive) sets I have bought were the 42083 Bugatti and the 42082 Crane. In both cases I committed to the high price but felt disappointed in the build and play value they offered for that price. Creativity vs display models Yes, you can modify Lego at your heart’s content and for many years I have done so. Almost all sets in my collections are tweaked, modified, rebuilt or even redesigned. But this process takes time and the backlog has grown into an unmanageable mount. If every set is just the starting point, eventually you begin to wonder why you even buy the set instead of just some critical parts. Plus, it seems that modifying a set has been made increasingly difficult by TLG: exotic color choices, exclusive parts, printed panels, rigidity of the C+ system all seem to suggest you’re not really meant to change much to the model or build something else with the same parts. In my book, this fundamentally goes against what Lego means to me: a flexible medium to express my technical creativity. Marketing choices TLG knows what sells and what sells will guide new developments, no surprises there. Unfortunately, I apparently don't identify with those new developments. I'm not a car enthusiast so I don’t really care about yet another set of a car I will never own or even see in real life. Similarly, I don’t care for RC. Call me old fashioned, but I like to manually operate my Lego vehicles and feel what a mechanical mechanism does. Consequently, the added cost for the C+ parts i see more as a burden than an advantage. I especially don't care for Lego branded non-brick products like clothing lines, shoes, dots braces, storage boxes, collectable coins, apps, … It all looks rather familiar to the dark ages of 20 years ago. It's not that I'm adverse to changes (ok, maybe a little) I really like the studless era for example. But I miss novel developments at part, mechanism or set level. Even worse, there are a lot of missed opportunities: If you must develop a C+ system, where are the micro motors, the programmable lighting and sound kits, the plug and play compatibility with your own creations? Instead we get ridiculously expensive huge bricks with built in dependency of a fast developing technology like a smartphone that is prohibitively tricky to build in a MOC (for a kid). Added frustration are the Lego Ideas selections. For example: I felt very disappointed when the Lego Ideas Space shuttle stranded after the review. Other Lego Ideas sets are not appealing to me. Ideas is meant as a source for more niche-minded set, but apparently not my niche. Competitors We have seen many non-Lego brands creating sets with ever increasing complexity, quality and not least creativity. The CADA not-a-ferrari has proven to be a gateway set for many AFOLs and this forum. I’m amazed that this set is openly discussed on this Lego-oriented forum, but it was always a matter of time I guess. Of course this set has its own issues (licensing for example), but it is an indicator of thing to come. I see more and more new brands making really attractive, original Technic-style creations. I don’t believe that TLG has a proper long-term answer. Instead, the Lego brand has lost it innocence in my opinion. I know TLG is a commercial and global company, but for a long time I had the illusion that the company was a collection of like-minded people passionate about the building process and creative sets. The recent threats and litigations around the use of the image of a brick as a logo, and now even the use of the term ‘lego’ is so hard to match with that illusion. To me, it is a sign that TLG is in trouble. Trying to hold on to an image that probably is no longer reality. Instead of putting effort in creating more attractive products to keep ahead of the competition, they lash out to easy to reach public figures. Several times these actions have backfired and I'm still not sure what they try to achieve. My (personal) conclusion Lego sets don’t give the joy and satisfaction they used to, I don’t have the time to modify every set that might be interesting up to the level it could give that joy and I can certainly think of other ways to spend the amount of cash. It probably doesn’t come across as such, but I’m not bitter about it. Our paths have parted and may one day meet again. I will keep an eye open for a Technic set that might reignite the flame. I still hope for a full pneumatic backhoe, a helicopter with cyclic pitch mechanism, a car with convertible roof, etc (mind you all those things have been done before decades ago). But for now, I have moved on. Yes, I will stop complaining, but only because I have stopped caring.
  2. Cumulonimbus

    [MOD] My digital City vehicles

    My next collection of vehicles are some expedition trucks. These are obviously inspired by the truck in the 60160 set and by a youtube movie with three MAN KAT trucks. The series consists of three vehicles which bring all the tools you need for your expedition: Here are some details about each truck: 4x4 Scout: the most compact and lightest of the three trucks. It can plan a route through the terrain to the next campsite, carries a kayak for river exploration, has a winch to get out of trouble and living quarters to set up camp when it reaches the destination. 6x6 Mobile lab: the brains of the bunch. It has a laboratory for chemical and botanical studies, storage for specimens, satellite and other data links, ladders for tree exploration and a workshop for repairing test equipment. 8x8 Equipment carrier: the muscle. This vehicle brings all the other resources needed for your trip like fuel, tools, dirt bikes, food, etc. It has a compact crane to load an unload independently. I hope you like this trio.
  3. Cumulonimbus

    [MOD] My digital City vehicles

    I can't claim all the credit for this idea, it was inspired by a set from my childhood: the 6667, which had something similar: I completely agree, it is fascinating that those pickups can be used as a basis for just about anything. Fancy an ambulance? The set reminds me of the Ford E350 RV I once hired on a holiday cruise and I am considering building an RV based on my modified set. I'll keep you posted.
  4. Cumulonimbus

    [MOD] My digital City vehicles

    You're welcome.Your version looks good, I like the two tone line. During modelling, I was thinking about a hose or string piece to connect the jackhammer and the compressor, but since the lego jackhammer piece has no studs, I dropped the idea and the added advantage is a cleaner look on the trailer.
  5. Cumulonimbus

    [MOD] My digital City vehicles

    Not at all, I'm glad you like it. I haven't checked if all parts exist in the colors I chose, but you'll find a way. Below are some a close-ups that can help you recreating it. Can you share a photo once you have built it in real bricks, I'm curious how it turns out.
  6. Cumulonimbus

    City street module concepts

    I hope this is the correct place for this topic If not, feel free to move or merge to a more appropriate location. The new City road system has stirred many emotions and I get the impression that most reviewers are not positive about the changes. I must admit that I haven't read the comments here on EB about the changes. Anyway, my curiosity was triggered to see if I could correct some of the drawbacks of the new system. So I tinkered in LDD and came up with two concepts for improved street modules which I would like to share with you: On the left is a 16x16 module with a baseplate rim and one tile thick "islands". The one on the right is also 16x16 studs wide, two tiles thick as is the Lego version, but with different cutouts on top and below. You should image both as a single moulded piece, similar to the Lego version. The first one's main selling point is the compatibility to the existing base plate ecosystem. The channels in the middle allow for continuous lines. Obviously, some holes for tile extraction should be provided. The biggest drawback is the fact that there is still no answer for curved roads. Combining three of these modules could look like this: (on the left the additional tiles are highlighted in light grey for clarity, on the right is the same piece but in the correct colours. Note that the center line is offset to one side, this could be corrected by making the central channel just one stud wide instead of two. The second concept looks like this: Again, the added tiles are shown in light grey on the left. On the right a piece of bike lane, a white line and grass is added, all at street level. However, this concept doesn't address the base plate compatibility. issue The main advantages are the addition of curved tiles in the corners and connection between modules from below. Obviously some new tiles need to be made to fill in the space around the curved tile, but this seems doable. What do you think, is there any value in these concepts, are the Lego version better or are base plates the only way?
  7. Cumulonimbus

    [MOD] My digital City vehicles

    Hi all. Until recently I resided only at the EB Technic subforum. For several reasons (which I won’t elaborate here) I’m taking a break from Technic. Instead I found joy in building City vehicles in LDD and improving them as I like. My main motivation is the nostalgia for the times I had a Lego city and some of the vehicle I had a fascination for as a kid. Small disclaimer: This all just for fun, I have no plans for building any of the following vehicles with real bricks. I would like to kick things of with the first series of vehicles: some utility trucks inspired by the cherry picker in the upcoming 60306 Shopping Street set. l liked the proportions, colors and general look of the original, but missed some play value. So I tweaked the nose, modified the cherry picker for bigger range, added outriggers and some tool storage. This is the result, next to its source of inspiration: The ball got rolling and I built two version of this vehicle, a contractor truck towing an air compressor and one featuring a snowplow. When the cherry picker and the contractor are at work it looks something like this: I hope you like them, I'm currently working on another series of vehicles
  8. @efferman: Impressive work, good job.
  9. I managed to fit the necessary mechanisms inside the 42110 body and the image below shows the range of movement:
  10. What a strange decision TLG made ... again. It's a very confusing message they are giving: "We made this great set, but due to our core values it set will not be available on the market, except when it is". They effectively made the 42113 a limited edition now (with an unknown series size) and we all know what happens to those, think 41999. At least some dedicated fans will have a bigger chance of getting their copy, but it will cost them a ludicrous amount of money. My guess: expect to pay 5 to 10 time the retail price. Not a proper way to treat your customers and fan base if you ask me.
  11. Cumulonimbus

    42113 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey

    I wonder if there will be legal ramifications for TLG by the late cancellation of the set. For starters, I can imagine that many retailers are not too happy about the potential loss of revenue and the extra time and effort needed to resend the already received sets. Secondly, will Bell/Boeing see this as a breach of contract? I guess they're not too pleased with the bad press of "the weapon manufacturer that TLG refuses to business with". They may also have allocated marketing budget for this cooperation which falls flat now. We may never know.
  12. Cumulonimbus

    42113 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey

    There are officially too many EB topics about this set now. The image you show is the work of @efferman. See this topic:
  13. Thank you for the suggestion, I have no plans to purchase the set yet. I once started a LDD design based on the 42030 B-model, I think I had a rolling chassis with the correct suspension geometry. I even bought a second hand 42030 back then as a parts donor for this project. It might be a good time to dust it of and continue building. I have a lot of yellow bricks in my inventory, so that is not an issue. But I will need a lot of panel for the dump bed, two extra tires with yellow rims and two XL LAs. It just hit me why TLG used the angled panels instead of the 5x11 an 3x11 rectangular panels: The angled panels are 1M thick along both their surfaces, this way both the inner and outer surface of the bed look as smooth as possible.
  14. Cumulonimbus

    42113 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey

    Thank for the background information, it's insightful and nuances this whole saga a bit. Not sure if going after Lego is the most effective way towards a more peaceful world. On the other hand, if their goal was to create more awareness for their organization and their cause, this was action was a resounding success. As for the set, I signed the petition. It would be a waste of energy and resources to cancel this set this late and I don't really see what good it will do if it gets dropped. In my opinion, it should be considered a lesson learned and should be taken into account in future license deals.
  15. Seeing that bottom view, I wonder how easy it would be to make the two rear axles pendular. It would require some reinforcements in the frame, but gives you the illusion of suspension on the rear wheels.