It’s one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, LEGO themes, allowing builders to construct everything from iconic super cars to mighty construction machines. So, how do you master LEGO Technic? We asked a lifelong builder to share his tips.
Chris Luttrell has been building with Technic since he was a kid – he even still owns a lot of his original sets, including the Go-Kart (8842) and the Forklift (8843), both released in the mid-eighties.
“I went through a LEGO dark age in my twenties and thirties, but the release of set 42056 – the Porsche 911 GT3 RS – in 2015 brought me back,” says Chris. “I’ve built two more custom versions since then, one in Dark Azure and the other in Lime, and I’ve got many more planned.”
Chris has built a modern stud-less version of the classic studded Supercars that paved the way for the 42056, including the 8860 Auto Chassis, 8865 Test Car and 8880 Super Car. His most recent build was a 1:8 Holden Torana TU XU1.
“It’s an iconic Aussie car,” says Chris. “At over 3,300 parts, including some that were chromed, plus custom stickers, it’s my most impressive and expensive build. Another Australian commissioned one of the best Technic Designers in the world to design it. The instructions were then made available, and I customised the colour and a few other things to make it a truly one-of-a-kind.”
Technic, Chris says, offers both form and function. The function can be simple, be it a piston moving up and down, or an incredibly complex gearing solution or movement.
“Figuring out the mechanics of what I am trying to achieve is very rewarding and a great way to unwind and relax,” says Chris. “Seeing the end product on display and sharing it with others is also fun.”
Of all the builds Chris has completed, he says he still dreams of creating a Holden Monaro of a similar vintage to the Torana he recently finished. He loves the timeless appeal of this kind of LEGO building.
“You will be able to pass on the LEGO pieces for generations to come and it will be just as functional in 50 years’ time,” says Chris. “Don’t be afraid if your collection starts taking over the house!”
We asked Chris to reveal some of his top LEGO Technic tips and share more about why he loves building with this LEGO theme so much.
Which kinds of builds are best created with Technic?
Any type of vehicle – the more mechanical the better. I prefer the Supercars however the Construction vehicles are impressive also. Technic components are becoming more common in System builds. The newly released Ideas Typewriter set has Technic internals to enable all the functions you expect from an actual Typewriter to be replicated in LEGO form.
What are your top tips for people who would like to start building with Technic?
Start small and simple and expand from there! You can use the instructions as a starting point and then experiment through trial and error. It’s important that you decide what interests you, be it cars, planes or construction vehicles.
Buy a smaller set for under $50 and explore the mechanics of that set before moving up to bigger and more complex sets. Most sets will have a C Model – a completely different build that can be made with just the pieces from that set. You get great bang for your buck and the variation in C Models is impressive. Just take the 42093 Corvette, which has over 15 different models from trucks to planes to hot-rods to Transformers. By building these you can learn many different basics of mechanics and engineering.
Where do you go for inspiration when you’re planning your next build, or looking for tips?
There are plenty of great Facebook groups for like-minded Technic AFOLs. ‘LEGO Technic’ and ‘LEGO Technic Australia’ are two of my favourites. There are lots of great builders out there who often make their instructions available, but even just seeing their creations is enough to help you create your own MOC. Your build can be as simple or complicated as you like.
Photos are also a great resource. For example, I wanted to build an engine crane and engine stand to complement my collection of car models. A quick internet search brought up plenty of photos of the types of cranes and stands I’d seen used by various mechanics. I used the new Liftarms with perpendicular offset holes, had a spare Linear Actuator and went for some interesting angles to create a couple of relatively simple and functional builds.
What LEGO Technic pieces should people have in their collection?
You can never have enough Technic Pins. It doesn’t matter how many Technic Liftarms, Panels or other parts you have – without Pins you will struggle to connect them into a structurally sound build. Having plenty of Liftarms of different lengths and shapes is also key to any Technic build. The more you have, the more possibilities there are for your build.
Feeling inspired to build with LEGO Technic? Check out some of the best LEGO Technic deals on our website to get started! Remember: our stock changes all the time depending on what we receive on a daily basis, so keep checking back!