Eurobricks Knights
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited


About Brickthus

  • Rank
    PaB price investigator
  • Birthday 08/06/1973

Spam Prevention

  • What is favorite LEGO theme? (we need this info to prevent spam)
  • Which LEGO set did you recently purchase or build?

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Derby, England
  • Interests
    LEGO (obviously), mostly Trains and Technic,<br />Power Functions and Mindstorms<br />Electronics and its application to LEGO, Christian faith.


  • Country

Recent Profile Visitors

2326 profile views
  1. Brickthus

    New Hogwarts Express

    I find set 76405 a "dolls' house on wheels". It's an HP playset, not a set aimed at train fans. At 1:32 it is too large for L-gauge track; as experienced train fans we could shrink it to 1:38 or re-gauge it but... All 6 large drivers are flanged. We need them flangeless at this size in order to negotiate curves and points. In the points in particular the flanges would catch on the check rails, leading to derailment. The preferred solution at this scale, especially with 4 bogie wheels at the front, is to carry the loco body and blind drivers on the front bogie and the front of the tender, which might have 2 train motors, like this: Note: I could improve my loco with some BBB XXL blind drivers and upgrade to use fewer studs on top but this was built and exhibited in 2004. Another thing with 76405 is that the front bogie wheels should be smaller than the tender wheels, so BBB medium wheels would be better. Obviously a "not another new piece" limit for TLG. It would take 4 train motors to pull a 4-carriage train on L-gauge track at 1:38, including a maximum straight hill of 1 in 30 and R104 curved hill of 1 in 40. 4 train motors is OK with 9V, or with Power Functions using 2 sets of a LiPo battery and IR receiver on the same channel - 2 in the tender, 2 in the 1st coach. Powered-Up would need 4 hubs at 1 train motor each to handle the 1.3 Amp total current required. Synchronising 2 PU hubs on 1 channel is not easy; doing it with 4 hubs would see too many calls to customer services so it's no wonder TLG avoided making the L-gauge train. This fits with their policy of not supporting LEGO model railways. By contrast I find the winding handle of 76405 a humiliation for TLG, admitting their PU electric system is not up to the job of powering a proper train built at the scale of the track (as it represents "standard gauge" of 4'8.5"). The carriage in the set is too short to scale; it should be 8x as long as it is wide. My 1:38 UK Mk1 carriages use an 8x64 base. I'm not too worried on the "red vs dark red" thing. The HP book describes the Hogwarts Express as "a scarlet snake".. The darker red is only a factor of the LMS livery run by the WCRC train company. Some dark red pieces have broken for others, not quite as bad as brown, but we know red has a wide range of pieces and little tendency to break, so it's a safe bet. So 76405 does not have much appeal for me, not even the larger wheels. Hence the huge price tag is not justifiable for the value I might get out of it. I hope the HP fans enjoy it but I worry for TLG missing the train market like this. Mark
  2. 42144 Material Handler is currently at £80 (RRP £105) at Smyths UK Mark
  3. Amen to that, but it's not easy at that scale. I have a WIP JCB, potentially 30 functions, of which at least 12 would be pneumatic. After 250 hours it needs 250 more but it is heading for 1:8 scale flagship super-digger £450 territory! I have to decide whether variable pneumatic servo steering and pneumatic hydrostatic drive are feasible. Both functions aim to follow the prototype but need technical performance that I'm not sure the pieces can provide. Remote control would be drive and steering only, using a City hub, but the digging actions would be hands-on with compressors using the AA battery unit. Mark
  4. The price of 42144 at Smyths UK dropped from RRP £105 to £80 so I bought a couple of them. Not sure if it would ever go lower but that would be welcome. If £30 of RRP were for the 7 pneumatic pieces then that would be £23 of the £80 and £57 for the rest is 6.9p/p. The set has fewer panels than most but £80 for 8 functions seems OK. Mark
  5. I have experimented with Technic panels 17 and 18 and the buggy motors. A 270g model created 200g of lift when powered at 9.15V (fresh alkaline AA voltage) from a bench power supply, drawing 2.6 Amps. Also a Ninjago Airjitzu spinner, mounted on an axle and without the pod or minifig, powered by 2x PF train motors geared up 5:1, using a PF LiPo battery for power, allowed the spinner to take off by 3cm as it slid out of a red 8-tooth cog. I have a few of the educational propeller blades, design ID 89509. They are more aerodynamic than other pieces but are a bit inconsistent in their shape - one has to select matched shapes to make a good rotor. Actually similar to the selection of real jet engine fan blades! I would really want a pure-LEGO drone but clearly the amount of power and the type of motor needed (open-frame) are not on the cards for official LEGO parts. @allanp is right about it being a liability issue. The video of someone using PF L-motors and overdriving them to 63 Volts is probably why LEGO would never do it. That's a 50-times increase in motor power compared to 9 Volts; not such a toy any more! Life would be short if motors were overvolted. Mark
  6. Yes, 42052 had just over 1000 pieces and 42113 just over 1600 pieces. A 2000-piece helicopter is around the maximum sensible size for a kit. It is a "pick-up and swoosh" model so it would have the new version of the switched battery unit, not needing any remote control. Hence the price should be around £200, not £400. Hence I believe the listing is a typo, copying the Ferrari figures. A more-sophisticated helicopter idea in the £400 price bracket could use more motors in servo mode for the pitch controls but that would not be a pick-up model. A LEGO Technic kit model is most unlikely to ever fly under its own power, given the state-of-the-art. It is a shame that we might be restricted to the bright colours for aircraft in order to avoid military connotations, but I hope it will be a kit I'd like to buy in multiple. Mark
  7. 1. Not an overall backward step, but maybe small ones and several sideways steps, lining up with avenues that are not necessarily AFOL preferences. Some sets have too many panels and not enough mechanisms but that doesn't matter if the panels are of the colour you want for a MOC. Black, white and grey work for me. So do Red and Bright Blue, since I like to make Technic-enhanced Classic Space (and following) theme models. I tend to avoid Azure and Dark Blue, but Dark Green, Bright Green and Orange are just nice colours, even if they are not suitable to recreate a previous theme's colour scheme. Simple motorisation is currently lacking, following the Osprey debacle, which was itself a backward step. We may see the revival of the simpler switched battery unit in the Airbus helicopter later this year. PU hubs, without the ability to use the train handset, are awkward, especially the 4-port hub. They limit the set to being just the toy you buy, unless you either have a tablet to program it or you use the supplied control screen for a similar MOC. TLG has admitted before that it is not a software company, so we are unlikely to see support for improved firmware from them. I tried the 3rd-party Pybricks firmware but can't get a 4-port hub to work with a train handset yet. I was hoping that TLG might eventually use a Spike Essentials hub in a Technic set, as the Technic equivalent of the City hub, and even add train-handset-friendly firmware, but that would be too expensive. So, avoiding a phone, I'm left with waiting for the switched battery unit for the always-on functions (compressor etc.) and using the City hub and handset for remote functions. After that, if the average LEGO electric system lasts 10 years, roll on 2030! It's touch-and-go whether I would have extracted significant play value from PU by then. Steering rakes on set vehicles are usually rubbish. The aspiration should be 40 degrees either side of centre for most vehicles; 42078 achieved it. For other sets of similar size to fail to achieve it is a choice and hence a backward step if TLG puts out poor functions in sets. 4WD is a bit more limited in rake. Clearly sponsorship has its difficulties; a wrong turn with 42141 has needed a revision for a sticker licensing issue. That will hit TLG's profits for something I don't bother with; I'd happily take the brick sets off them without sticker sheets for half price ;) The current absence of a 2/6 pneumatic cylinder is a backward step. I see it as another symptom of TLG wanting to limit the range of special parts for cost reasons. Same as combining the switches into the PU battery unit. Loss of versatility overall is a backward step but there are steps forwards and backwards. The loss of extra instruction pages with basic gear, strut, lever and pulley education is a backward step that was made years ago. Sets are not designed for MOCing; that has to be our own initiative. Sponsorship is a necessary evil. The alternative was dependency on Bionicle. The whole of TLG relies on the licences of SW and HP to support the sideline that building has become. That is the world we live in - all about money :( 2. Not often. Sponsorship makes it harder for us to build MOCs good enough to get a sponsor interested in giving anything Technic on LEGO Ideas the push it needs to become a kit. I love to make scale working models but it's a next level beyond most kits, well into several hundred hours for a decent sized MOC. 3. I do struggle to "find the fun". Technic has the issues above but Trains is almost dead (just a toy), Monorail was too bespoke (or New Monorail uses too many standard pieces for the track) and Classic Space could not be revived as it may be perceived that it would compete with Star Wars for our cash. Hence Technic is actually better off than those other themes! I have tried a new Technic MOC but hit a few snags and limits of the parts. I couldn't deny it was fun to spend 250 hours building in 9 weeks but I need fresh vision now. I still enjoy it when a set does a function well. I kept the Lambo gearbox for now. I would prefer to see the release of the tube extender/holder in more colours. This would be the equivalent of having the cable holder in several colours in 42100 and educational sets. Mark
  8. Good to have Mindstorms back here, seeing how all the PU hubs are in one system now and that was the aim of TLG in the system design. Worth discussing how models with a 4-port "Technic hub" could be upgraded to the 6-port hub for better programmability. I was hoping (against hope) that a Spike Essentials hub might find its way into a Technic set at some point, seeing as it has 2 ports. It could be like the Technic equivalent of the City hub if it had the right firmware, for a new car like the Top Gear car 42109 and using the remote handset. Just a shame the price of the hub might be prohibitive. In the UK we struggle to get spares from educational kits, including Spike electronic parts. They use distributors rather than orders coming from LEGO Education directly. Said distributors have limited product ranges, prices often higher than RRP, and are not often minded to sell to those outside educational establishments. The parts would be used in Technic MOCs if they were obtainable! Mark
  9. I was wondering where to get the 3.2mm tubing (which I think is polypropylene); I've had a number of 25cm pieces of it as extra LEGO parts to cut to length but it must be available as a 100m or 1km reel. In fact I might have seen one at Billund years ago. For pneumatic models I would use short lengths of Silicone hose to connect straight sections of the 3.2mm tubing, as set 8868 did. This would also minimise the balloon effect. Mark
  10. True but I was not so keen on 42050's Azure Blue for Technic. I prefer the original Bright Blue, which helps me add Technic functionality to the Classic Space theme. I got the Tumbler for the studded Technic frames (in its base) and the rear wheels as much as any other parts. I tend to buy quite a few Technic sets on the basis of parts re-use, where the panels are a significant proportion of the cost of most sets, so I often go for the colours I will use in MOCs. The parts-pack criteria can override the idea of a particular set not being the best representation of its prototype. Mark
  11. It's not surprising if the Tumbler front tyres take longer to assimilate into regular building and MOCs, since one had to purchase 2 tumblers to get 4 tyres of that type. Might be easier with the new McLaren F1 car that has 4 of them. I dislike sets that have different front and rear tyres but I accept that in some cases it models the prototype accurately. If I have other sets with similar types of wheels and tyres, or a second instance of the set with dissimilar pairs of tyres, then it's not so bad. I sometimes buy 2 motorbike sets for similar reasons; perhaps that is sufficient to make a car more like the Ariel Atom. Certainly cheaper per unit value than buying the tyres separately! Mark
  12. Pneumatic parts are now more expensive too: £10.28 for a 1/11 cylinder (used to be about £6) - so get your discounted 42128s while you can! £7.87 for a hand pump £3.23 for a control valve (used to be £2.28) No sign of the 2/11, 1/5 or 2/6 cylinders. At least a small white belt is available, albeit at £1.31! Here's hoping they will expand the range of parts once it's working well. We need access to more types. I have rung them before, when a part was permanently "out of stock" so that might be needed more often. Mark
  13. If it were on a similar basis to 42128 then 835 parts with pneumatics should cost £69.99 RRP. 71% of the parts count of 42053 means it would be scaled down from that size, assuming it has 3 arm/claw functions, turntable, steering and outriggers. Given the shape of the real waste handler, perhaps 42144 will include pairs of the 1/5 cylinder, seeing as 42128 has 2x 1/11 and 1x 2/11 cylinders, leaving the 1/5 currently unused? Redoing the body of the 1/5 in grey would make sense if there were 4 of them in the set - better use of the batch, meaning more leeway to do a new colour. 2/6 was always the most useful for pushing the levers of other valve switches, so I hope that size would be revived soon. I'd really like TLG to make a new cylinder connection piece, as 8421 had for the older 2/6 cylinders. Combined with a new 2/6 cylinder having the 2/11 cylinder bottom shape, that would lend itself to 2/13, 2/19 and 2/22 combinations. Mark
  14. The Test Car set 8865 had pop-up headlights - see Peeron instruction scan of step 17 Mark