Eurobricks Dukes
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Everything posted by CP5670

  1. CP5670

    [MOC] BT-33 Cobra

    More pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141514326@N04/albums/72157715933569563 Blacktron II gunship with three plasma cannon banks that strafes around larger targets in space. The jetpack minifig takes on a covering position to provide extra fire support.
  2. CP5670

    [MOC] BT-33 Cobra

    I've been getting back into it this year due to the pandemic, Lego is one of the best activities for these times. Thanks! I would be happy if we just got those old color schemes again somewhere, like the black/white with trans-neon green. It's what made these themes so memorable to me. Good point! The tri-wing shape has appeared in quite a few Star Wars ships, the TIE defender and droid fighter are a bit like it too.
  3. CP5670

    [MOC] BT-33 Cobra

    Thanks everyone! The shape is actually based on an old Blacktron II moc I made many years ago, but much smaller and with modern parts and detailing. Good point, the Blacktron II guys always looked a little too nice and friendly for the evil-doers they were. I find that an edgy and angular look goes well with Blacktron, both I and II. The octagon panels and bubble cockpits were iconic of Blacktron II, so I always like to have them in mocs like this, and modern parts let you include more details in that space. And yes, the landing gear can fold inward when you swoosh it around. I used the click hinge joints (from e.g. exo-force), which have the right angles to make this work. I like to spread out models in 3 dimensions when possible, which the old Blacktron II sets also did to some extent. I wish those 2x2 tiles were easier to come by. It's a non-production part that I only have one of. I used a few other parts like that in this model, like the small antennas and spears on the minifig jetpack.
  4. This is a guide to various quality-related problems with Lego, both past and present. I seem to have become the quality guy around here and often describe these things in isolated threads. I thought it would be useful to have a central reference for them. Some of the years given are quite rough, especially for older incidents, but they should give an indication of when a given problem was prominent. Note that actual Lego sets lag about a year behind production and Bricklink stores are a few more years behind, so it's common to see bad parts sold on Bricklink long after they have been fixed in manufacturing. This thread is meant to be an informative article rather than a place to complain. I would like to keep track of new developments here and would appreciate any updates on these or other issues you may have discovered. I'm interested in widespread problems here that are noted by multiple people, not the one-off glitches that occasionally happen. Color and opacity inconsistency Yellow (2002-present) White (late 2006-present) Red (before 1988, late 2006-present) Orange (late 2006-present) Blue (before 1986) Purple (2004) Light bluish gray (2007-present) Dark bluish gray (2008-present) Dark red (2005-present) Dark blue (2007-present) Green (late 2009-present) Reddish brown (late 2009-present) There is a range of consistency problems present in a variety of colors. The typical issue is that many bricks in these colors look faded and partly translucent. The Lego logos on the studs are not as clearly defined as they should be and the studs cast noticeably dimmer shadows on the brick plastic. This applies to a wide variety of pieces in those colors. An example of this can be seen here, although the appearance of the bricks varies with ambient light and is hard to capture in a photo. These issues go back a long way but became much more prominent at the end of 2006, when TLG switched from pre-colored to clear ABS pellets. At Brickfair 2008, a TLG engineer (Bjarke Schonwandt) confirmed that the first four colors are not meeting the company's quality standards, but claimed that yellow has been fixed in manufacturing and that the others should be also fixed by the next year. However, there continue to be reports of bad yellow pieces in recent 2009 and 2010 releases, even on new types of pieces that didn't exist in 2008. On the other hand, there are indications that white has been fixed in manufacturing. Yellow seems to have been affected before the other colors, going by some sets I have. Red and blue also had the same issues in the past, during the 1980s. The grays were not among the colors mentioned by TLG, but although I have not seen problems with them myself, there have been a number of recent reports about them on EB. Green has not had problems during the last few years like the other colors, but some of the 2010 sets are exhibiting obvious flaws with it, and the same applies to reddish brown. These color problems may vary with the theme as well as the location where the set is produced and/or sold, although I have not seen any correlation yet. Untextured slopes (late 2006-early 2009) All Lego slopes except for the cheese ones have traditionally had a rough, textured surface, but we saw a transition to slopes with smooth surfaces a few years ago. TLG has said that this change was unintentional and they reverted to textured slopes in manufacturing last year. They are still running through their stock of old smooth slopes, so we are currently seeing a mix of textured and untextured slopes in sets. Less common slopes like 2x4 or 2x8 are the ones most likely to be smooth. Dull edged plates (2007-early 2009) Some plates have blunt, rounded edges at the corners instead of sharp and well defined ones. This is mainly an issue with 2x6 and 2x8 plates, which can look bad if several of them are adjacent to each other in a model. I believe this has been fixed in production now, but there are still sets being sold with the old plates. Weak brick clasping power (2005-2008) There have been many changes to the gripping strength of Lego pieces over the years. Late 1980s bricks typically have a very strong grip, too strong for most purposes, but TLG steadily cut back on the grip over the next several years until a good compromise between strength and playability was achieved. It remained that way from 1995 until 2005 or 2006, when the clasping power was substantially weakened further. It is not clear whether this is actually a quality glitch or an intentional change, but the resulting pieces are considered too weak by many people and lead to flimsy models. However, there are reports that this issue has improved lately and the bricks in recent sets are staying together more firmly, although not at the 1990s level. In my experience, the weakest pieces usually suffer from some other flaw as well, either a color problem or the blunt edges issue described above. Plates and tiles are affected by this more than bricks, and lighter colors tend to be weaker than darker ones. Large plates and wedge plates in any color seem to have an especially weak grip on the bottom. Brittle and peeling stickers (1994-2005) Some stickers will peel off by themselves over time, and if you try to push them back on, they will crack and break up into many pieces. This only concerns stickers printed on white paper (as opposed to clear, transparent paper), and only ink in certain colors. White, blue and red components of stickers are sensitive to it, while yellow and black components are immune. This effect is caused by UV exposure, but the stickers are much more sensitive to it than bricks and can go bad quickly even in a dimmed room. Taping over such stickers seems to be the only way to keep them intact. I first saw this in 1994 Technic sets and last saw it in 2003 World City police sets, although it probably continued for a while longer. This was fixed by TLG at some point, since more recent stickers I applied in early 2008 don't appear to have any problem. Oily tires (1997-present) In 1997, TLG changed the material used on small tires to a sticky, gummy substance. The tires were usually packed with other pieces in the same bags and left a visible splotchy residue on the bricks. This substance does not come off under running water but can be removed with a soft cloth and alcohol, or by just rubbing your hands on the bricks vigorously. The tires harden over time and lose the stickiness if left on display for a few years. Last year, TLG switched to a rubber-like material that doesn't run off on other pieces. At this point, this problem seems to be specific to some locations only. The sets I purchased in the US after mid 2008 have all contained the new tires, but people in some other countries are still getting the oily tires in recent sets. Crumpled instructions and sticker sheets (2000-present) This has been an issue with large sets ever since TLG removed the plastic trays from big boxes in 2000. The instructions and stickers are no longer held in place by the trays and float freely inside the boxes, so they tend to get crushed between the parts bags and crumpled up. An obvious way to fix this is to put the instructions in their own shrinkwrapped packaging, which TLG finally started doing with some of the largest sets in 2011. Confusing colors in instructions (2002-present) It is often hard to tell the difference between dark gray and black in modern instruction manuals. This started around 2002 when TLG changed the appearance of the instructions, apparently in order to better distinguish dark gray (a color that was rarely used until the late 90s) from light gray. To make matters worse, the colors are not always consistent and can even vary between different pages of the same instructions, although this aspect of it seems to have improved in the last few years. Some other colors like blue and dark blue have also been mentioned as having the same problems. Large window molding marks (before 1985, 2007-2009) This is not really a defect as such, but has been the subject of many complaints because the molding marks look like bullet holes. In recent times, this glass piece has had a large blob-like mark on it, while smaller windows have four, small dots in the middle and/or faint circular marks along the edges. As of summer 2009, the first window seems to have been fixed, although some currently sold sets still include the older windows. Deformable minifig accessories (2009-present) TLG has recently been using a soft plastic for several minifig accessories that is flexible and has a brittle, waxy feel to it. It has been used for walkie talkies for a long time, but many other pieces use it now too. Several recent pieces made of this material have a problem where the part that the minifig hands clip on to is slightly too thick. Putting it into a minifig hand requires much more force than usual and creates noticeable scratches in the piece, and it can even cause fragments of the plastic to peel off. I have seen this issue on the tooth and spike parts in 5982 and the metal detector in 5984, and others have brought up the Atlantis trident, Castle broom and Pirate swords as well. Oxygen-sensitive white bricks (1989-1996) These look identical to normal white bricks but discolor much faster, in any ambient light conditions. It has been suggested that they actually discolor faster in the dark, although I haven't seen evidence of this myself. The yellowing is uniformly spread over the whole piece and is due to oxygen exposure rather than UV. Only some white pieces from that time period are affected. I have several 1990s sets (8839, 8858, 8880, 8480, 6483, 5581) that contain a few or many such pieces, but have not seen this effect in anything more recent. Many other sets from that time period don't have this problem either, so it may have been theme or location specific. This issue seems to be amplified if the bricks are exposed to smoky air, in which case a lot more white bricks are affected. It can even be present in MISB sets that were stored in such conditions, especially if the box looks grimy and discolored. This mainly affects 80s and 90s sets, when the part bags were all perforated and not airtight. It should be possible to reverse the discoloring by using H2O2 as described here, although I haven't tried it myself. Flaky chrome pieces (1996-present) The electroplating on chrome pieces tends to come off in fragments over time, revealing a trans-clear interior. This is especially common with thin parts like antennas, as seen on various Model Team sets, while normal bricks are less prone to it. Apart from the costs, this seems to be one reason why TLG has heavily cut back on chrome pieces in recent years. Printing discrepancies (all years) It is common for the prints on two identical printed pieces to have variations in their brightness and position. This was quite noticeable in the 80s, especially on printed computer slopes, but it improved a lot over the years. However, differences in print colors are recently coming up again, particularly in "special" sets with non-standard numbers which seem to be manufactured in different factories. See This thread for more information. Tough pneumatic hoses (before 1992) The pneumatic tubing used in various 80s Technic sets is harder than the modern kind and grips pneumatic nozzles very firmly. Over time, it will wear down the plastic on the nozzles, discoloring them and shrinking the opening in them. If left on a piston for many years, especially in a colder room, it can develop such a strong grip that it may actually tear off the nozzle if you try to remove it. In 1992, TLG switched to a glossier and more flexible tube material that doesn't have any of these problems and is still in use today. Cracks A few specific types of pieces are susceptible to developing cracks or breaking up after some use: 1x1 headlight bricks: The cracks usually form down the middle of the lower lip in the front. Lighter colors like white or gray are more prone to it. A single crack will not make much difference to its gripping strength, but multiple cracks will weaken it. 1x1 transparent round plates : These often develop many small, vertical cracks after extended use, but it doesn't seem to affect their clasping power. This only applies to ones in transparent colors, which are made of PC instead of ABS. 1x1 cheese slopes: Many people have reported cracks forming down the middle of this piece, if left on a model over a period of time. Strangely, only some people are encountering this issue, but it's reasonably widespread. Technic bushes and connectors (1978-1998): The older Technic bushes and various axle connectors like this and this can develop cracks when used a lot over time. TLG went through several revisions of these parts over the years before settling on the current designs, which seem to be stronger than the old ones. Space robot arms (before 1991): The earlier versions of this piece were made of ABS and the clip could break very easily. In 1991, TLG started making them out of a softer material that was more durable, which is still in use today. Old road signs (before 2000): It's common for the poles on these to bend or break after a lot of use. The newer signs made up of three different pieces are stronger. Bionicle socket joints (2006-2008): The socket joints on various Bionicle pieces in the last two or three years are fragile and break off easily, much more so than older parts. Broken functional pieces Micromotor (1993-1997): This may lock up if not used for a while. I haven't found any way to fix the 3 (out of 9) broken ones I have, and they are expensive to replace. Code Pilot (1997): A rare brick, but there are several Brickset reports of this breaking over time and not turning on. The problem on mine was simple to fix though. Damped shock absorbers (1999): The initial batch of these often broke after some use, particularly those in 8448. TLG was offering free replacements back then. Newer ones have no problem. Studless pneumatic pistons (2003): Some people have said that the top seals on the 8455 pistons have a relatively high failure rate. 8455 has been the only set brought up in this context.
  5. CP5670

    Joint Transport Facility

    Thanks, I've kept the stations around over the years, and put together the layout whenever I have some new ideas for it.
  6. CP5670

    Joint Transport Facility

    A joint venture from several classic space factions to form a unified monorail layout, consisting of a mix of official sets, modified official sets and custom creations. Entire layout: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141514326@N04/albums/72157679091445758 Transfer Center: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141514326@N04/albums/72157703788898952 Uranium Processing Plant: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141514326@N04/albums/72157679091626448 Monorail service complex: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141514326@N04/albums/72157714844908156 Monorail Power Station: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141514326@N04/albums/72157705706365181 Artifact Research Hub: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141514326@N04/albums/72157703788848162
  7. CP5670

    Joint Transport Facility

    Bumping this old thread. I added one more station to this layout after many years, the monorail service complex, and updated the original post.
  8. CP5670

    1980 Something Space

    Fantastic site. It's like Technicopedia for classic space. I like how you took the descriptions of themes from the boxes, catalogs and other sources. It might be possible to get the descriptions of some individual sets as well, from the larger shop at home catalogs at the time.
  9. CP5670

    [MOC] Zephyrus Fuel Miner

    A space mining vessel that collects atmospheric hydrogen from gas giants and transports it inside internal storage tanks. The colors are based on one of the unreleased Lego space concepts. More pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141514326@N04/albums/72157714599941017
  10. CP5670

    [MOC] Zephyrus Fuel Miner

    Thanks all! The colors are based on one of the unreleased Lego space concepts. I've been imagining what Classic Space would have been like if they had some additional color schemes beyond the 5 or so schemes we actually got in sets.
  11. CP5670


    It's great to see you're still around and working on Technicopedia. As someone said earlier, it's the best museum on the internet and I've also ended up buying or building several models after first learning about them on there. There is a lot of coverage on youtube of current sets but nowhere else is the older era of Technic (before 2003 or so) explained in such detail. Modern Technic sets are generally more complex and realistic, but some of the old sets had unique mechanisms or functions that we have never seen again, and Technicopedia is the best place to learn about them. I do more space and sci-fi stuff these days (I find I can build space mocs much faster than Technic ones in whatever time I have for Lego) but like to incorporate Technic functions in them whenever I can.
  12. CP5670

    [MOC] A-83 Exploration Base (Neo-Classic Space)

    Awesome base. I especially like how the main building looks like it was built into the mountain. The gunship and white storage tanks are also really nice.
  13. CP5670

    [MOC] SP-55 Vigilance

    Space Police frigate and mobile command unit for defeating and capturing dangerous galactic terrorists. The police captain directs the crew from the command room (front), the prisoner containment area (middle) houses two Space Lock-Up jail cells, and a cell transport truck sits in the cargo bay (rear). Classic 9V lighting is used to light up the wings and interior, and is controlled by an antenna in the back. The panels in the wings contain minifig weapons for boarding hostile ships. More pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141514326@N04/albums/72157714401272241/with/49920584083/
  14. CP5670

    Officially not a toy anymore

    I've noticed that Lego as an adult hobby has become way more popular and mainstream over the last 5-10 years. I think the fan events as well as models people posted online have gotten a lot of people into it, and there are lots of sets now that are obviously marketed towards adults. If you look at the modular buildings and big Technic sets on the Lego website, they even show adults building them. I agree, some of the classic Technic sets still have mechanisms we have never seen again. In fact I just built that robot arm again a few days ago, and the 8888 idea book comes to mind as well. The current sets are very complex and realistic, but the core mechanisms are not that innovative anymore and often similar to previous sets we've had.
  15. CP5670

    [MOC] SP-55 Vigilance

    Thanks! It's meant to be an upgraded, modern take on the old Mission Commander.
  16. CP5670

    42115 - Lamborghini Sian FKP 37

    I love the look of this set. However, if the functionality is the same as the Chiron, I'll pass on it as I have that already. It's hard to do much more in a car than what that already has. These car sets are definitely designed to appeal to a different audience than the mainstream Technic sets, but can still be very well designed (at least the Chiron was, not so much the 911).
  17. CP5670

    A couple of Blacktron I MOCs

    Great models with a nice mix of old and new parts. I especially like the Silent Hunter and its cat-like look. Looks maneuverable but aggressive.
  18. I love classic space and the old space themes and build mocs around them, but they are admittedly pretty niche and would be hard for a kid to get into today. You had to grow up with these sets back then to appreciate it now. I often take Blacktron models to shows and the kids always think it's Batman. I wouldn't expect these models to get much traction on Ideas, especially against all the licensed stuff. It's actually surprising the exo-suit did so well, but Ideas was a much smaller platform back then with a lot fewer models. I prefer to just stick to mocs (and enjoying stuff made by others) instead of wishing for more classic space sets, which are never going to be able to compete with Star Wars and would divide fans even if they did come out. For me, the main thing that sets classic space apart from both realistic space and Star Wars is the color schemes. The old space themes were all about those sharp looking color schemes, including both the colored windscreens and contrasting main colors (e.g. white/black or blue/gray), and they make models really stand out especially at shows. If we had enough trans colored windscreens released in sets for mocs, that's good enough for me. They were historically rare but we have been getting more of them in the last 4-5 years, especially in the DC/Marvel sets.
  19. Has anyone here built the models from these books? There were four of them (8888, 8889, 8890 and 8891), and they are all available on Peeron and Brickfactory. I had skimmed through these scans a long time ago but looked over them more closely today, and noticed several models I hadn't seen before. I definitely want to try building some of them now. The original book, 8888, is probably the best of them. The last two models in it are particularly interesting, and it took me a minute to figure out what they do from the pictures. They use a very clever idea of accepting code cards made up of rows of 1x4 gear plates, which allow you to program the models in a purely mechanical way. There is also a wind-up clock and an excavator with 3 degrees of freedom. Technic (or Expert Builder, rather) was really in its infancy back then, and it's quite impressive how much they managed to achieve with the very limited selection of Technic pieces available at the time. 8891 also has some good concepts. There is a plane "simulator" (similar to the 8485 helicopter), a walker with pneumatic arms and hands, and a rodeo guy on a bull. I especially like the pictures for that last one. (update: pictures and comments appear below) Rodeo A simple but very fun model. One motor makes the bull jump up and down, and the other one makes it rotate. If you use both functions at once, the speed of the jumping changes noticeably depending on the direction the turntable is moving in, so if the guy won't fall off, you can speed it up. Walker Great concept. I often tried to build things like this as a kid. It moves fairly slowly and does wobble a bit while walking, but still remains surprisingly stable even with unbalanced arm positions. I changed a few pieces on the hands to make their grip stronger. As you would expect, it benefits a lot from a compressor and there is probably enough unused room inside to build one into the model itself, although I just ran it off an external one. The cockpit can be opened to put the figure in. Here is a walking video. Programmable crane I love the concept behind this model, but its operation is kind of unreliable in practice. I removed the crate that the model normally lifts, which is too heavy and doesn't let the winch stay up. The turntable mechanism is unusual and tends to lock up, and the model would definitely benefit from a modern turntable. It's impressive to watch otherwise though. Each of the six rows on the "code card" corresponds to a function: turning the crane left and right, raising and lowering the winch, moving the tracks (they can only move forward), and moving the card itself. As Blakbird mentioned, the model has heavy gear reduction and it takes around 3 minutes for the card to fully run through the model. I think this model might also hold a record for the number of 8-tooth gears used. I counted 24. Excavator This one is probably my favorite among the models I've built so far. It's pretty small and compact, but it has 3 degrees of freedom like a real excavator. It's interesting that TLG managed to achieve this in 1980 with very basic Technic parts, but couldn't do it recently with 8294. The original model uses a rubber band in one spot to keep the boom up, which doesn't work reliably and causes friction in one of the geartrains, so I removed that and added in manual latches on the cranks as seen in the first picture. Plane simulator This is a great idea with a somewhat flawed design, but it can be fixed easily. The motors aren't geared down enough and some rubber belts in the geartrain tend to slip easily, so the plane moves with fast, jerky movements and can't hold its position well. I removed the belts and added an extra 1:3 stage of gear reduction on each motor, which improves the functions a lot. I also enlarged and motorized the propellor and added a few supporting plates on the wings, which are otherwise prone to falling off. After these changes, I think I like this model better than the 8485 helicopter, as it has similar functionality in a much smaller size. I took a short video of it as well. Dinosaur Another walking model, this time with 4 legs. It moves fairly fast but not quite as smoothly as the 2-legged walker discussed earlier, and it actually moves better backwards than forwards. The legs tend to slide on a hard surface, so I added some wheels on them for traction. They look a little weird but they do the job. Clock Like the crane, this is another very unique concept that unfortunately doesn't work that well in practice. The pendulum has two bushes on top that touch a 40t gear. The gear moves by one tooth each time the pendulum swings from one side to the other, which makes the clock hand move just a little bit. The entire thing is powered by several rubber bands on a wind-up axle, and the 24t gear in the back is used to wind it up. The gearing is quite clever and is designed so that it can be wound up easily, but still keeps going on a single "charge" for a while. However, the pendulum does not swing reliably, and also has a slight deadzone that causes the gear to slip every now and then. I added a few weight bricks to it, which improves it but it's still not that reliable. There is also a cut-out clock face given in the book, for which I just used a substitute. Cable car Another cool and unique model. The cable car has a forward/reverse transmission that gets flipped when it hits a wall, automatically reversing its direction. The string it runs on needs to have quite a bit of tension in it, or the wheel doesn't grip the cable tightly enough and the car will not move. It took me some time to figure this out, but the model is fun to watch in action once it has been set up correctly. Dog This model uses a symmetric mechanism for the front and hind legs, unlike the dinosaur. It actually walks very slowly, but is reasonably stable. The head bobs up and down as it walks forward, and it also has a bone in its mouth. Here is a walking video.
  20. CP5670

    Varuna Amphibious ATV

    Classic Space exploration vehicle for navigating toxic lakes and swamps on remote planets, with sonic cannons for breaking through underwater ice. It has drive, steering and independent suspension on all wheels (6x6x6) with a working retro-style engine. The color scheme is a reimagining of Seatron, a Lego space concept from the 1980s that was never released. More pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141514326@N04/albums/72157710845163583/with/48734489753/
  21. CP5670

    Varuna Amphibious ATV

    Thanks! The gearing is actually set up so that the rear wheels have a slightly lower steering angle than the front wheels, and the middle wheels turn very slightly to account for that. In practice it doesn't really make a difference either way due to the slack in the steering arms.
  22. CP5670

    Old M:Tron commercial, and adventure video

    Great find. The reporter is actually a Futuron guy. I think his voice is just gibberish, as if it's supposed to just depict him saying something. Some of these scenes actually appear in the catalogs from that era, like the Futuron monorail coming out of the tunnel.
  23. Great find. The catalogs from that period show Spyrius assaulting the Unitron monorail and just tearing everything up, and are not very subtle about it.
  24. CP5670

    Do kids today like Classic Space?

    I think people are simply attached to whatever they liked growing up. For me it was the old space themes more than the original (before 1988) classic space, but I like classic space too. There is actually almost no difference between the final wave of classic space and Futuron, only the minifigs. I do think the dynamic, high contrast color schemes of all the old space themes really stand out, and we don't get much of that in modern themes like Star Wars, which are meant to look more realistic. I often take Blacktron MOCs to shows and kids love them because they think it's Batman, without knowing anything about the original themes, while adults have often commented on how the colors catch their eyes at a distance.
  25. CP5670

    Graveyard of the failed MOCs

    I partially built this big logging truck decades ago, which was supposed to have the same kind of functionality as the 42043 Arocs. It was becoming too heavy and many of the functions did not work well (like the suspension), so I scrapped the whole project.