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Monday, June 28, 2021

Designing the LEGO® Tesla Model S MOC


Introduction

When the first electro-mobiles were revealed to the public, I was in awe of the engineering efforts put into the functionality of these cars. It is a slow-start, and although there are some environmental concerns about the production of these cars, time shows that it can become more efficient and more eco-friendly. 

The Tesla Model S is my favorite car made by Tesla Motors and I wanted to give my own touch when it comes to building it out of LEGO.

Quick Facts

  • Name: LEGO® Tesla Model S MOC
  • Total Parts: 92
  • Approximate Scale: 1:34
  • Length: 14.6 cm
  • Width: 7.3 cm (5.4 without mirrors)
  • Height: 4.5 cm
  • Creation Time: 8+ hours (designing) + 40 min. (rendering) + 50 min. (video-editing)
  • Brick Colors: Red, Black, White, Light-Bluish-Gray, Transparent-Black

The Scale

 

The rule I gave myself at first was to make a model no-bigger than the size of a regular human hand. The goal was to make a small model without using too many pieces (up to 200 or so). Going back to the dimensions of my Messerschmitt Me-262 MOC where I used a 1:50 scale, the car would have been too small to be recognized as a Tesla. Instead, I took another approach: length limit. I put the limit of the total length of the car to around 16cm and then looked for the best scale. It first turned out to be 1:35.

But as I was designing the model over the course of 2 weeks, I noticed at some times that the body of the car was either too short or too wide. Going back and forth for several days trying to find the perfect design and proportions, I finally set upon the scale of 1:34.

It is fair to note that while the model respects the 1:34 at length and height, it is slightly slimmer than the real Tesla Model S. This is mostly because of how wide LEGO bricks are and there wasn’t much I could do about it.

The Design


The last time I built a car with LEGO bricks was a few years ago with my Muscle Car and Box Car MOCs which were once available on my website. They were good starts and solid designs. Using these MOCs as templates would have been a wise choice. But since I was working at 1:34 and not some randomly made-up proportions, I’ve decided to come up with something of my own.

For starters, quarter-circle tiles were a must to make the car look sleek and curvy. Along with curved 1×2 and 2×2 slopes used around the entire body to give some nice volume to the car’s body. 

The most unique pieces that I deem as “life-savers” for helping me design this car would be these ones:


Part #29120 and Part #11291 – these were used a lot for the Tesla Model S MOC and without them, the car would have been a rectangular box of plastic on 4 wheels. I especially used these parts for the headlights and tail lights, along with the front and rear bumpers giving my Tesla Model S MOC a more futuristic look, just as it is in real life.


Speaking of wheels, Parts #11208 and #11209 are fairly common wheels used in official LEGO sets so they fit perfectly with the 1:34 scale and the fenders (the parts surrounding the wheels) of the car.

The pièce de résistance

No, LEGO has not made a 1×1 tile featuring the Tesla “T” logo. 

But I have! 

Bricklink has a lesser-known program called Bricklink Part Designer where you can design your own LEGO parts and even apply custom stickers or decals on them. Once you’ve chosen/made your design, you simply import it, tweak some settings to suit your needs and when done, you will see your custom LEGO part(s) imported into Bricklink Studio 2.0

This is something new for my LEGO MOCs and it may become a feature I will be using quite often for the Automobile series. I think it is a nice touche-finale to the model and makes it easier to recognize.

The Final Touches


As usual, I worked with light-bluish-gray bricks at first before coloring-in the car into the respective colors of the real thing. 

Since Tesla offers a variety of colors, I went with a bold red paint-job, also considered as the default color for the Model S and Model S Plaid. Another advantage is that almost all of the parts were available in red which made the task much more easier.

Here’s what the final result looked like before the rendering process:


In the end…

I think it is a good start for the re-booted Automobiles series and a good body-template for any upcoming automobile models with similar designs (Porsche, Nissan, Audi…)

I hope you had a good read! Feel free to share this blog-post!

Stay tuned for more!

The Bobby Brix Channel 2021.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Designing the LEGO® SS Edmund Fitzgerald Freighter MOC


Introduction

To some extent, the fate of this ship is unbelievable as it is one of the few famous ones that sunk in a lake, or to be more precise – Lake Superior. Launched in 1958, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald served as a freighter ship in the Great Lakes until she met her fate in 1975 during a heavy storm which brought her down to the depths of Lake Superior along with her 29-men crew…

This is a new-type of post that I will be making on Patreon for the public audience but also on this blog page, where I go in detail about the design and process of making my LEGO® MOCs.

Quick Facts

  • Name: LEGO® SS Edmund Fitzgerald Freighter MOC
  • Total Parts: 144 
  • Approximate Scale: 1:1000 +/-
  • Creation Time: 2-3 hours (designing) + 40 min. (rendering) + 30 min. (video-editing)
  • Brick Colors: Dark Red, Red, Black, White, Yellow, Light-Bluish-Gray

The Scale

It took me almost an hour of research just for the design!
Using historical blueprints and measurements, I firstly needed to give the model a certain size-scale to make it relevant with my other LEGO models. I had to choose between 1:1000 and 1:2000.
Most of my recent cargo ships are built in 1:2000

But to put real-size into perspective:

  • The Maersk Triple-E ship is ~400 meters long
  • The SS Edmund Fitzgerald is ~222 meters long

Converted into centimeters and divided by 2000, the Edmund would only have had ~11cm of workspace. Too little for me to work with. So I went with the 1:1000 scale – giving me and the model a hefty 22.9 cm to work on carefully (I rounded it up with LEGO bricks). 

The Design

If you look into the shape of the bow, you might notice some resemblance with the one on the MV Blue Marlin LEGO MOC I built some time ago. This was actually my base-model to start with. I imported the entire ship into my Edmund file, extracted the bow of the Blue Marlin and reduced its size to fit it with the inverted hull of the SS Edmund. Once I got the overall shape of it, I inverted 1×4 semi-arc pieces and applied them along the entire hull up to the stern. Connecting them wasn’t an easy task. To do so, I used 1×2 side brackets to connect them with 2×2 curved pieces on the sides. They act as connectors between the inverted and non-inverted pieces and keep the structure strong all-together.

The stern, being the most vital part of it, wasn’t a piece of cake either.
It took me longer than expected as the entire structure also needed to be connected between inverted and non-inverted pieces. I also had to respect the color-scheme and the overall design of the lodging compartments of the crew, along with the machinery that was located in that area. I went along with using a lot of curved, semi-circle and quarter-circle pieces in order to smoothen the curve of the stern, while also giving it more detail. 

The Final Touches


I only work with one color (usually light-bluish-gray) when designing my creations. It’s less distracting and helps me focus on the shape and design of my models before the aesthetics. 

The SS Edmund had a dark-red color scheme along the hull and most parts of the bow and stern. Naturally, I had to go with Dark-Red bricks with some Red ones at the bottom (not all bricks can be dark-red). I also wanted to leave out some parts of the bow in white to imitate the real bow color-pattern of the SS Edmund. 

Here’s what the final result looked like before the rendering process:

 

In the end…

To date, I think this is the most detailed micro-scale ship I’ve ever built out with LEGO® bricks and hopefully it is only the beginning…

Stay tuned for more posts like these, if you like the idea of background stories, I will make more of them in the future! 

The Bobby Brix Channel 2021.