An Octopus will surface near you soon-ish – finally!

I know I have been promising this for way too long to have much credibility left, but trust me, it’s really going to happen. Yes, at long last the finish line on my free instructions for my Octopus MOC is in sight. After my last update in July I had hoped to finish it sooner (and I mean a lot sooner), but after it got off to a rocky start and what was supposed to be a quick two-month project already had turned into something else, there were some further setbacks, in light of which I then decided to take my time and figure things out and be as thorough as I can. Feel free to skip this boring part, but here are some reasons:

  • As I already wrote back then, I’m not a healthy man, so this summer’s extreme heat coupled with some temporarily escalating generic health issues turned me into a lazy slob. Yes, a pitiful excuse, but that’s just how things are.
  • My own drive for perfection got in the way. Being a graphics designer has the unwanted side-effect that one tends to think in very specific terms, meaning that page layouts have to be almost pixel-perfect and just look nice. That meant that I spent way too much time doodling around and trying to figure out how I could get LPub to do something at which it is notoriously bad. Speaking of which…
  • The aforementioned program is pretty obnoxious and just bug-ridden. I also filed a bunch of bug reports and improvement suggestions, but suffice it to say that the developers behind it appear not particularly focused on making it actually user-friendly or at least best in its class in the sense that as a minor it could possibly be the best of many pretty terrible options. Trust me, doing instructions can indeed be a long exercise in frustration in pretty much any of the programs available currently. Let’s leave it at that.
  • To somewhat mitigate those shortcomings, I had to spend lots of time developing workarounds. This means that my published file will be based on having multiple models in different states in the LPub file and on top of it it will be chopped together from multiple sources. I even spent good amounts of time copy & pasting things together in external text editors. At least that’s one of the few benefits of the text-based file format.
  • As if I wasn’t in enough trouble already, I also decided to design a set of custom icons to use in the instructions because – let’s face it – the default icons e.g. for model rotation look less than exciting. You will see and hopefully like my interpretations and additions.
  • Finally, amidst all of this I participated in a bunch of building contests in the hopes of winning some cool stuff. This naturally also consumed some time on my end because I literally spent entire evenings brooding over some minutia and conceptualizing the models in my head before actually assembling them. I might do a round-up post once the dust has settled on all that and I know in which places I qualified (or not).

On the bright side, all of this trouble has made me much more resilient and I learned a good share of new tricks along the way that may make things easier in the future. I also can say with confidence that now that I know what to do and which pitfalls to avoid there is a definitive ETA on the instructions so you can at least make the model and stocking parts for it part of your Christmas shopping list. Just give me another two weeks and I’m hopefully able to pull this together at last. Funny enough I just had another little setback with one of my hard drives crashing, but thankfully the files were not affected and thank the good lord I also do regular backups, so I can at least present a preview of the cover with my skin intact:

Octopus MOC, Cover, English

I need to fix the broken drive, naturally, but should be able to resume work quickly after that. Stay tuned for the pertinent announcement…

Ornithoraptor vs. T. Rex

Already being caught up in a million projects and never getting much done for a million reasons, I rarely take part in LEGO Ideas“Activities” as they are called as of late, in particular the building contests. I admire how people are able to whip up those creations as if they had never anything else to do all day, but I’m just not that kind of person and somehow I always seem to have too much else to do.

On the rare occasions when I choose to participate and can actually manage to get my butt to sit down for a few hours just dabbling with my LEGO bricks there usually has to be a good reason, i.e. some incentive to rush through those four or five weeks and cook something up. That of course has been/ is the case in the Unleash your own genetically modified hybrid Dinosaur contest (What a title!). I really, really would have loved to win one of them Jurassic Park T. Rex Rampage (75936) sets they gave out as prizes, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. There are a lot of other great creations, so competition was stiff. You should really check them out!

Ornithoraptor mylenii - Side View

Anyway, my humble contribution to the whole affair was what I called Ornithoraptor mylenii, a small, bird-like raptor. I find that those smaller species are often overlooked in favor of the bigger, more awe-inspiring dinosaurs, yet I’m pretty sure if you only do your research you will find that for every Tyrannosaurus Rex there are a hundred other species that are just as important to the overall eco system. My rationale here is that this would have been a relatively harmless, docile creature living near lake shores, small rivers and swampy meadows, feeding off fish, insects, mussels, algae, grass and similar stuff. Pretty much the goose/ duck of its day taking care to keep the waters clean and preventing harmful smaller species from spreading too much while at the same time being a potential prey for other carnivorous dinosaurs, naturally.

Ornithoraptor mylenii - Lateral Front Views

Ornithoraptor mylenii - Front and Rear Views

In order to replicate this and because I just knew I wouldn’t have enough pieces to build a full model in the first place I limited my efforts to a head bust with a piece of neck. I mainly focused on getting the head shape right and make it anatomically believable, that is seeing to it that the mechanics eventually could work, the eyes were in the right position, the teeth overlapped correctly and so on. The tip of the beak is the typical horn “tooth” you also find on many birds and that would be used to e.g. scrape mosses off rocks or dig in the ground whereas the small teeth would function like the serrated edges of a fine saw to bite larger chunks or for instance clip reed grass for building nests.

Ornithoraptor mylenii - Beak Interior

Ornithoraptor mylenii - Head with closed and open Beak

The model is more or less a 2 : 1 or even 1 : 1 scale representation of the real thing and inevitably my biggest struggle was the limited selection of parts I had at hand. This sure would benefit from having more slopes and nice wedges here and there, but I hope my approximations with stacked plates and a few standard curved slopes does the trick. Building it in full would be a whole different exercise and require many more parts, so I’m not too sure if I’ll ever be able to pull it off. That’s also my one peeve with the contest as a whole, BTW – nice as some concepts may be, I’d consider most of them unbuildable because just like my own creation the parts count and size would end up being like the T. Rex set.

In any case, I hope you like what you see and if you’re feeling very, very generous, I sure wouldn’t mind that Jurassic Park set to drop on my doorstep one of these days. 😉

Update x2

The heatwave in the last few weeks and a few other things haven’t made it easy to actually get any work done, but now I’m actually a bit closer to getting the instructions for my Octopus MOC done.

It seems a funny coincidence that as I was dabbling around in the likes of LPub3D, putting up with its quirks and trying to figure out a few specifics for structuring the instructions, a new parts update was released. The octopus doesn’t use any of them, but I’m more than happy to finally have the new bracket types available. As you well know, I’m obsessing about this stuff all the time. Just to prove it and in case you have no idea what I’m talking about here’s a little Stud.io render for you:

LDraw, Parts Update 1/2019, Brackets

While it may take me still a while to get the instructions actually finished, which mostly is to blame on my desire to make them look nice and professional and thus requiring lots of manual intervention in the formatting, here’s a preliminary listing of the parts used in the build (a.k.a. BOM – Bill of Materials) to get you started on stocking up and giving you a chance to order additional parts on Bricklink if needed.

Octopus MOC, Preliminary Bill of Materials (BOM)

Remember that this project originated based on four sets of the Deep Sea Creatures (31088). It will not be necessary to buy four sets as well, but it sure helps if you get at least one to obtain some of the parts, in particular some of the Dark Blue pieces. Also keep in mind that you can do color swaps and e.g. the Red parts will be invisible. So feel free to use whatever you have at hand.

This BOM represents the maximum variant as shown in my photos, but the final instructions will also contain some alternate building using a few different parts. Of course you can also save greatly by using shorter tentacles and thus reducing the number of slopes and ball joints. More on that as things progress on my end…

Krakken Alert – An Octopus MOC

Back then when I was writing my review of the Deep Sea Creatures (31088) set I was quite enthused as you may have noticed, yet something was missing that I would have considered essential – an octopus model. This compelled me to actually sit down and create one of my own. That may sound simple and obvious, but of course there’s a specific twist to the whole story, so allow me to tell you a bit about the thoughts and design process behind this project.

The Objective(s)

Before I even started to actually construct the model I knew how I wanted it to look and feel eventually. How to get there was a different story entirely, so I had to establish a few rules and parameters.

Octopus MOC, Comparison with the Squid from set 31088

Size Comparison with the original Squid from the Deep Sea Creatures (31088) set

The scale should match the generalized “squid” model one can build with one of those sets. This would not only reduce parts count to something sensible, but also keep things manageable since I wanted to include tentacles with a realistic length and on top of it all eight of them as you would find them in nature. Ideally I also wanted them to act and look naturally with some tapering and possibly also the “wings”/ skin webs between them at least hinted at.

It also set up a nice challenge in that it would require some strategic thinking to capture the shape of the creature, build a robust and stable model and still keep it poseable. If you get my meaning – building a large model and getting a good approximation even of complex surface curvatures is easier, but the real crunch comes when you have to express them with a limited number of pieces crammed into a small space.

The model itself should be based on the four sets I ultimately had bought as much as possible, meaning it should use the parts contained therein without having to throw in too many extra parts. This would save cost and avoid too many leftover bits clogging up drawers and storage boxes. Resorting to some additional parts from my collection should be kept to a sensible minimum, though I was aware that I possibly could not avoid it entirely. Some elements I planned on using are just not part of the original set.

The two factors combined resulted in a third prerequisite presenting itself: The overall parts count would and should be in a region that equals that of a commercial mid-range set, i.e. the accrued cost should ideally not exceed the combined value of the initial four sets plus some minor spending for the extra parts. Reigning in the cost would make it feasible to create instructions for the model and publish them so others could possibly re-create it without going broke in the process.

Time for some Action…

Building the model took quite some time. I’m a slow builder who likes to take his time to properly check and evaluate each step to begin with and naturally, getting the most out of limited resources presented its own challenges, given that my parts repository isn’t endless and even small changes can cause delays if you don’t have the right piece on hand and have to wait for that Bricklink order to arrive. I’m also a bit obsessive about making things stable and unbreakable, requiring even more thought to go into how you attach individual elements so they don’t fall off easily.

Octopus MOC, Head in resting Position (closed)

Head in resting Position

Octopus MOC, Head in swimming Position (open)

Head in swimming Position

Given those circumstances and my self-imposed rules I started out with the main part of the head, the mantle. Visually it is the largest body region on most octopus species due to it being more or less a big hollow sack inflated by water inside. Naturally the main purpose is to provide jet-like propulsion when said water is pressed out through the siphons, but the mantle also plays an important role during mating rituals or in its deflated form for camouflage when the octopus is resting. Incidentally it also looks like a big bulbous nose, which in not so minor parts is one of the reasons I think octopuses are cute. Getting this right therefore was important to me.

The tricky part for this section of the body was squeezing in all those elements necessary for the perpendicular building, so the various slopes could be attached to the sides, front and top. The problem here is not so much that it would be impossible overall, but rather that you have so little room and in some corners three different “flow” directions converge. One has to find ways of fitting in all those different brackets and bricks with studs on sides.

After that was done and I had arrived at a satisfying look the model rested in a box half-finished for quite a while. During this time I dabbled on and off with the aft section to which later the tentacles would be attached. In the process I must have started over and rebuild this segment at least five times, optimizing the various sub-steps over and over.

Octopus MOC, Tentacles fanned out

All eight Tentacles fanned out

Octopus MOC, Top View with spread Tentacles

Top View, notice the Shape and Volume of the Mantle

The point here is that the eight ball joints for the tentacles needed to be placed in a very specific way. They had to be far enough apart to accommodate the tentacles themselves, yet close enough to keep the body section compact and small to match the mantle’s scale. Additionally I also wanted to retain some semblance of the attachments being placed in a circle.

All of this made this quite complicated, even more so as later this little part would have to be solid enough to not fall apart when the tentacles were attached and exerted their force. In the end I opted for an alternating placement of the square ball joint plates with the longer bar and the regular short versions. This would also come in handy since it allowed for some overlap of the tentacles without them getting canted.

Octopus MOC, Tentacle, Side View

Tentacle Side View

Octopus MOC, Tentacle, Top View

Tentacle Top View

Compared to all that, the tentacles themselves were more or less a walk in the park as their construction is pretty obvious in the first place. Once you have decided on the length and number of the individual elements it’s merely a matter of building the segments eight times each and clicking them together. A bit repetitive, but perfectly manageable. In the interest of easy modifications I kept the design quite generic and the tentacles are interchangeable for different positions. There’s a million ways to handle this, so you could naturally also build your completely own interpretation, vary the overall lengths or build specific versions for each attachment point.

Mission accomplished?

The measure of how well I may have achieved my own goals depends on a few factors.

First, the re-usage factor of pieces from the original Deep Sea Creatures (31088) sets can be anywhere from around 60 percent up to 90 percent. I wanted my model to look “nice”, so I did quite a few color swaps/ replacements by digging into my parts repository and this value is therefore inevitably on the lower end. In particular I shunned all the red pieces from the original sets, if they would be visible. If you can live with that, the number will go up.

Octopus MOC, Tentacles partially curled up

Tentacles partially curled up to illustrate Poseability

The same goes for compromising on some structural parts like the ball joints. Unfortunately the sets only contain so many of them and they are not always in the right orientation. Unless you seriously spend at least a bit of money on additional such parts you could swap out some of them with the regular hinge joints at the cost of reduced stability and limited posing options. Good candidates for this would be the tips of the tentacles where the loads and forces aren’t that extreme.

Octopus MOC, Rear View with open Tentacles (Attack Posture)

Rear View with open Tentacles (Attack Posture)

The previous point also extends to the overall realism. A good chunk of parts is genuinely consumed by just the tentacles. As it turned out at the length I built them the pieces from the set didn’t suffice in quantity and I had to complement them with additional ones. The more you shorten the arms and use fewer segments, the closer you get to not having to rely on extra stuff. This is entirely up to you.

Though generally I’m of the opinion that the length of the arms is often totally underestimated and misrepresented, there’s no denying that different sub-species of octopi have different lengths. As a general rule you can say the smaller the creature, the shorter the tentacles. This includes infantile and adolescent specimen not yet having fully formed tentacles, but also small variants like the poisonous blue-ringed octopuses appearing more stubby to begin with.

Octopus MOC, Rear View Detail with Beak

Rear View Beak Detail

With all those optimizations you can trim down the overall parts count from above 600 pieces to 400 and below. You can take this even further and only use six tentacles if you want to match it up with the squid, though then you may require quite some reworking of the aft head section. In any case, anything is possible and more than anything else I consider my model one possible approach and solution with lots of room left for alternatives. In fact even now I’m considering options on how to improve this further.

Instructions are coming?!

From the start I planned to create instructions for this little critter, but as a matter of fact I haven’t even started yet. Given that I built the model physically, I have to go back, disassemble it and back-trace what I actually did at each step. That’s gonna take some time, so bear with me and check back in a few weeks. In the meantime you can always support my efforts by ticking a few items off my wishlist as encouragement and motivation. Lately I’ve had this weird image in my head how the octopus would look hugging the ship in the bottle or something like that, for instance. 😉

Rigid Green and Black – 42077 B-Model MOC

When I wrote my review of the Technic Rally Car set (42077) I already mentioned that I almost like the B-model, the sand/ dune buggy, better than the main model and was thinking about how to fix some of its issues, so now here we are and I can present you with my solutions.

First let’s have look at some cosmetic changes, though. As I also mentioned in my article, I wasn’t particularly fond of the overall coloring. I have nothing against Red just as I have nothing against Dark Azur, but the disproportionately excessive use of both colors on the model is still a bit of an eyesore. That’s why I decided I would change it eventually early on. Of course the limiting factor is the availability of the parts in respective colors. An easy fix would have been to throw in some Orange parts, which go nicely together with the Dark Azur. I, however, was aiming for something a bit more exclusive and at some point settled on an overall Black model with some Bright Green trim elements.

LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Overview

As it turned out this was an almost genius stroke of luck, mainly because indeed the extra Black and Bright Green parts were easy to procure and so cheap, I’m almost ashamed to admit it. Apparently there are still a lot of the green parts floating about from the 24h Racer (42039), yet there seems to be little demand for them, so in turn prices are low. The black parts are not quite that cheap, but still very affordable. Either way, I’m not complaining as I’m always on a tight budget. Of course you can try out other combinations and the recent release of the Bugatti Chiron (42083) would possibly even allow you to build a real “classy” buggy in Dark Blue with contrasting wings and “leather” seats in Dark Tan from its parts.

The yellow wheel hubs can be sourced from the infamous 6×6 All Terrain Tow Truck (42070) or the old Volvo LF 350 (42030) and I also had just enough yellow angled liftarms in my stash to match the seats. Primarily I opted for Yellow because the shock absorbers already are in that color and are very visible on the car. On the other hand – when you add more color you have to get rid of it elsewhere or else your model looks like a flamboyant parrot. Therefore I threw out as many Red parts as possible. A few are still in there due to the fact that I didn’t rebuild the set from scratch, but rather replaced the components step by step on the original build and didn’t want to disassemble it further.

LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Side View

Replacing the “tubing” from the cage/ stabilizing frame is perhaps the biggest hiccup you will encounter during the build. Ever since LEGO decided to color code axles (Red and Black for even-numbered lengths, Yellow and Light Bluish Grey for odd ones) you are limited to those four colors and have to make do. In the upper section I could of course have gone with Black, but that would have eliminated every bit of contrast. So I opted for Light Bluish Grey instead. This has the unfortunate side-effect of the frame with the flashlights on it to be one unit shorter. thankfully, however, the lower section of the framework it is connected to is a bit of a cheat and only held together by flexible joints, so it can adapt and will only slightly change in angle.

An unresolved mystery is replacing the 16L Steering Link axles. Since they have ever only been included in a handful of sets in Light Bluish Grey they are rare as gold and prohibitively expensive even in used condition. Plugging together some suitable alternatives from shorter axles and connectors therefore is a lot less painful and when done in a thoughtful way it doesn’t looks that bad. The same goes for the windscreen frame.

LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Front

Getting to the juicier bits, naturally it’s not all about looks One of the things that really teed me off on the original LEGO model was the sloppy construction of the front hood as laid out near the end of my original article. Treading the fine line between wanting to improve the model, but also not wanting to spend an eternity redesigning the entire chassis I went with a simple solution that is so obvious, it makes you wonder why the LEGO designers didn’t use it. Perhaps it eluded them, perhaps they were under the gun and not allowed to use more parts, perhaps something else. Either way, looking at it, it is an almost ridiculously easy fix. The only caveat is that undeniably it changes the appearance drastically and the whole section now looks a bit like the Caterham Seven‘s (21307) front.

LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Aft Section Closed

The original aft section of the model uses the Technic mudguard/ wheel well panel as a shortcut for simplified construction, but due to my color choice and this part not existing in Black currently I needed to completely change this area. The benefits should be pretty clear. By eliminating this element completely from the equation, it frees you up creatively. You are no longer bound and limited to colors that have it, which is great. Additionally, the newly constructed hood closes seamlessly, making this much more believable as an engine compartment.

Personally I also think that a plain flat area is much more credible for a vehicle that drives around on beaches and similar locations. You could strap an inflatable boat, a rolled up tent, a bunch of sleeping bags, your surf board, fishing equipment or any number of other things to the flat platform.LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Aft Section Open

Most importantly, though, all of these changes make the whole affair a lot more rigid, both at the front and rear ends of the car. I’m not going to say that it’s stiff as a brick, but compared to the wobbly mess that the original construction is, I’d consider it a major improvement. Point in case: It may not be relevant for a display model, but if you ever plan on adding a motor and RC the greater stiffness will pay massive dividends.

Since all of this is hard to explain and also not easy to recognize by some simple photos, especially when everything is black, I have gone through the trouble of creating custom instructions. There are a few things you need to keep in mind, however:

  • I did not re-create the entire instructions and only the parts that actually require modifications are shown.
  • The build steps are more of a suggestion than a fixed order. They show you how things are supposed to work, but implementing the changes may require some fiddling.
  • Similar to the previous point, adding the modifications may require to disassemble the existing model, at least in part.
  • Color choices are based on my customized model. Feel free to use whatever you have at hand, especially in the internal areas that may not be visible from the outside.
  • Some extra parts (liftarms, panels, axles) not included in the original kit are required.

The instructions in PDF format can be downloaded by clicking on the image or the link below it:

LEGO Technic, Rally Car (42077), B-Model, MOC, Instructions Cover

LEGO Technic Rally Car (42077), B-Model (Buggy), Custom Enhancements

If you have specific questions feel free to ask them here and on the forums where I’m active and will spread the news. Enjoy your build!

Final Surprise – 42057 MOC – finished

It took me much longer than I anticipated, but I never lost sight of finishing up my custom version of the small gyrocopter (42057) I was so pleasantly surprised with back then.

LEGO Technic, Gyrocopter (42057), MOC, Overview

After I had built a better-looking engine imitation (at least to my eyes), I started by recoloring my model, so after the issues with the black liftarms in my last article the photos I would take eventually would allow to discern the details better. I also used this opportunity to re-arrange a few pins in preparation for the additional steps I had in mind.

LEGO Technic, Gyrocopter (42057), MOC, Left Aft View

The large rotor seemed easy enough and I stumbled upon this more or less accidentally when I realized I actually had those 12 x 1 plates in my inventory. That would provide enough stability and the curved slopes could easily be plugged on. Admittedly, it still looks somewhat bulky, but that probably can’t be helped. Those blades in reality are quite thin, but very wide and after I scrapped my idea of using standard helicopter rotor blades from the City line (which only would look okay if there were at least three of them, anyway) this is as good as it gets.

LEGO Technic, Gyrocopter (42057), MOC, Bottom View

The other thing I so wanted to do was add some sort of damping on the landing gear. Those small vehicles often land on rough terrain, so something would need to be done to not only make this more bearable for the pilot but also protect the equipment from heavy impacts and vibrations. This doesn’t necessarily mean there would be explicit shock absorbers, though. The gear could be mounted to elastic connectors, the airframe could allow for some twist and torque with semi-rigid connections, the struts could be made of carbon fiber or another flexible material. There would be many ways this could be implemented.

LEGO Technic, Gyrocopter (42057), MOC, Detail

Of course you don’t have these options with LEGO, so right from the start I had to think of somethings else. Due to the lack of space on such a small model using genuine shock absorbers with springs was out of the question, so I opted for the 2L rubber axle joiners as the elements to take the forces. The real trick then became to fit them in a way they could

  • serve their function as a damping element
  • keep the landing gear overall relatively stable and robust
  • not exert too much force on the plastic parts so they don’t crack or block pins by too much tension and friction
  • be mounted at reasonably perpendicular angles so as to not destroy the rubber itself by too much force.

This was further complicated by the fact that I wanted to retain the overall proportions of the vehicle and make it look halfway elegant by using only 0.5 thick liftarms. As a result of course some connections are a bit flimsy and other Technic aficionados might scoff at “not doing it correctly”, but for such a small model I find it perfectly acceptable.

LEGO Technic, Gyrocopter (42057), MOC, Detail

Since all this long-winded hubbub of mine is not going to be much use, I have once again created a full instruction for you to follow along and build the model yourselves. I’m almost getting good at this…

Before you begin I would recommend you study the original LEGO instructions, especially if you don’t own the actual model. This will give you a better idea about the parts used and what elements you would have at hand if you were to buy the box:

LEGO Technic, Helicopter (42057) (LEGO website)

Keep in mind that, while you can make good use of the white panels and other elements in the original box, you are still going to need a ton of extra parts, so my pimped version will require to do a little shopping or resorting to your existing back-catalog of Technic parts from other sets as well as some stud-based LEGO. Some prior experience would certainly be helpful.

The colors I used in my model are of course only recommendations for a consistent, unobtrusive color scheme. As long as everything works, you can use whatever you want. Conversely, feel free to implement your own alternative solutions if you don’t have the parts. As they say, there’s many ways to skin a cat and before I settled on my final design, I tried out a lot of alternatives.

Click on the link or the image to download the building instructions!

LEGO Technic, Gyrocopter (42057), MOC

LEGO Technic, Gyrocopter (42057), MOC, Instructions Cover

Trash Time!

I’m in the process of getting a bit into a) building houses and the landscapes surrounding them and b) trying to learn to create my own building instructions, so it’s not unwelcome when inspiration strikes and I come up with my own little challenges to learn the ropes, as it were.

MOC Euro Dumpster

The first of those is a typical standard large volume (around 450 liters) trash dumpster as you can find them in many European countries and of course in Germany. Each country has its own slight variation on those, but the basic shape is always the same. they uses to be made of zinc-coated metal, but these days most are made of plastic. They come pretty much in any color you can imagine, though the majority seems to be made in dark green and various shades of dark-ish greys up to full black.

The color of the lid indicates its contents. No extra color usually means mundane household trash whereas yellow and blue stand for recyclables, meaning packaging (tin, plastic, TetraPaks etc.) for the yellow one and paper for the blue one. In some regions you can also find other colors like orange for recycling electrical/ electronic devices.

To my surprise I couldn’t find many examples of this particular type on photos of LEGO, so this reaffirmed my intention to build one even further and I spent an evening dabbling around, scraping together elements from my still very limited collection. The biggest hold-up was experimenting with proportions, as I didn’t want it to look too massive, either, and be compatible in size with the standard minifigure scale and in turn thus anything from basic Creator buildings to City and Friends up to the Advanced Modular Buildings.

MOC Euro Dumpster

After I had figured out the structure and that the model could actually be built this way (I prefer to build physically first to avoid any surprises of digital concoctions not working in practice), turning it into a digital building instruction was another matter and say what you will, calling those LEGO “CAD” programs and the tools around them unsophisticated is doing them a kindness. In my line of work I’ve seen and used lots of CAD programs and thought I’d seen it all, but when it comes to LEGO some of those tools are just jarringly atrocious.

I pretty much tried all of them and then opted for LeoCAD, because at least it looks halfway decent and has snappy UI interaction. The same can by no means be said for LPub, the tool for turning your 3D model into a graphical booklet with pages and all that good stuff. Mind you, I’m not saying it doesn’t do what it’s advertised for, but it is slow as hog and not very safe and user-friendly. Turning a big custom Technic model into instructions could be a pretty daunting, time-consuming task. Anyway, I digress and shall save my thoughts on this for a separate article.

If you care to fancy up your little city or just prop um some empty back alley, you can download the instruction using the link below. Keep in mind that the actual colors don’t really matter that much as long as you have enough bricks of a given type to actually build it. If you have suggestions on how to improve the design, in particular making some connections a bit more sturdy, fire away in the comments.

MOC Euro Dumpster, Instructions