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Hard Truck Contest

Bj_article | 26.03.2009 | 06:31 | Автор: Hor  | Разделы: DoubleBrick | Hard Truck Contest | События

Article by Alexander Horoshilov
Photography by DoubleBrick

Build, Race, Win!

This past January, the DoubleBrick community presented an all-new idea of entertainment for LEGO fans. It’s very simple: we suggest that you build a copy of any real truck from LEGO bricks and to compete in races for fastest and most accurate cargo delivery. You can run small racing competitions at your local club meeting or schedule the contest as part of a large event – it’s always fun and attentiongetting, as highly detailed working truck models are good for display at any show. The basic idea is simple and straightforward. One has not to be a technic geek to build a truck. Still, there a lot of possibilities for experienced builders to show their skills.

Hard Truck Contest


There are a few requirements which every model has to satisfy. The truck has to be powered with a single Power Functions XL motor geared with 3:5 ratio to wheels with outer diameter of 43.2 mm. The wheel size was selected to provide the widest selection of existing LEGO parts, both old (discontinued) and modern. It forces the scale of model to be approximately 1:22. In this scale, a typical truck with width of 2.5 meters has to be 14 studs wide. Everything else (length, number of wheels) is not limited and must fit the real reference. The truck must also steer using a Power Functions motor.

For an easy start we developed some basic chassis models and prepared instructions for them. It’s a good way to involve people who never built any motorized technic cars. They can select the appropriate chassis and build the cab and any other exterior details. It should be clear to everybody, however, that all these chassis are specially designed to be simple in building and require common parts only. To implement any advanced feature or get a great looking model a builder has to design his own solution.

A race takes its toll on one of the trucks
A race takes its toll on one of the trucks

Surprisingly, the design of a good chassis may take more time than everything else. It’s not easy to build a reliable chassis in this scale and keep a high level of design and detail of the car. The XL motor is very powerful and breaks any construction not reinforced with technic parts on every connection. Wheel steering has its own caveats as well. It has to turn the wheels, but not break the car on final turn angles. A good idea is to test with some weight with the empty chassis (about 1 kg) to simulate bricks which will be used for building of the cab and everything else.

When a chassis is built which can run for 10-15 minutes without any breaks it’s a good chance that the car will be reliable in racing. Reliability is very important. Often a car with a self-designed chassis just does not reach the finish line due to unrecoverable problems (repairs are allowed in the fixed points of racing circuit only).

Onlookers watch as the trucks go through their paces
Onlookers watch as the trucks go through their paces

The next challenge is modeling of the car with LEGO bricks. There is nothing special here, just make the model to look like a real car. Most likely SNOT and other advanced techniques will be needed to achieve the similarity with the truck selected. Good design is strongly encouraged - points scored in the "beauty contest" are added to results in races to select the absolute winners.


The racing circuit may be indoor or outdoor. The only requirement is really important - the circuit surface has to be flat and smooth. The maximum ground clearance of models is approximately the height of the single LEGO brick and the truck can be easily blocked with parts fallen off from his or other participants trucks. The minimal size of the circuit is about 3x5 meters (10x16 feet). Add about 2 meters (7 feet) from each side for the crowd and one gets the requirement for the competing area.

Everything else can be created with stuff generally available. We recommend using paper-based painter’s tape for circuit marking. It is easily applied and removed after competitions and leaves nothing on the floor. Borders can be made from paper sheets folded as triangle prisms and glued to the tape. They are cheap, make no damage to the cars and can also serve as advertising banners, just print something over them before folding. Critical areas like gates or turn points can be strengthened additionally with large plastic bottles filled with water.

Pretty trucks all in a row
Pretty trucks all in a row

Also you may prepare stickers with numbers for models and, badges for their drivers. Several tables are good to show the cars to the public before starts. They are not required, but help a lot to carry out the event in a smooth and clear manner.

Since our contest is about trucks, organizers have to build four trailers and some number of containers (we suggest 5 per trailers, 20 in total) to load on them. They are built from LEGO parts, of course. We developed instructions for typical truck and container as well. To distinguish them each trailer and container set had to be a single color. We suggested using red, yellow, blue and black. These colors are different enough, have a large part selection and leave light/dark gray as a substitute when you do not have some parts in the color needed.

Racing trucks go off-track
Racing trucks go off-track


The racing competition is the most impressive and fun part of the contest. Up to four participants (limited by the number of channels in standard Power Functions IR transmitter/receiver) are started in each round. The minimal round consists of 3 loops.

Another race gets messy
Another race gets messy

From the start the cars are run without trailers. After first loop the leader selects any trailer and goes for the second loop. The second participant selects any trailer from available and so on. After second loop each driver has to load their trailer with container of the same color and make one more loop. On finish they are scored for the speed and accuracy – every container and the trailer itself delivered to the finish adds additional points.

This scheme (1-1-1) can be easily extended for longer racing, just increase the number of loops at each stage. Do not increase total count of loops too much, usually a few loops are enough to determine the winners. A large number of loops just delays the round. Depending on participant count to schedule from 3 to 6 hours for the whole event.

Two trucks on display
Two trucks on display

Event Report

On January 4th, 2009 we had a Hard Truck Contest in Moscow. There were 10 participants here (4 other models registered early were missed for various reasons, unfortunately). A few dozens of spectators arrived as well. There were a lot of kids – they liked races a lot. The race where the leading in final round truck lost all of its front part as result of hard clash with another participant received the most enthusiastic cheering. Both trucks finished successfully, though.

We also invited two journalists from a car- centered magazine to judge the general model looks and accuracy with prototype. We think that it’s good when independent people evaluate trucks in the "beauty contest". They know a lot about cars and trucks especially and are not familiar with LEGO, so they will not pay a lot of attention to use of rare parts or nonstandard techniques, just accuracy is evaluated – does the car model look like the real one or not.

The winners and their prizes
The winners and their prizes

We thank LEGO Community Development and the LEGO Russia Representative very much for supporting this event with prizes.

If you are interested in the Hard Truck Contest, you can get additional information, including detailed rules, building instructions, race circuit drawings, advice and hints, and more at our site:

Please let us know any ideas, suggestions and other thoughts about HTC. In case of any questions, feel free to ask us (you’ll find contact information there as well). Additional photos and videos can be also found at BrickJournal site:

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Переведено и опубликовано с разрешения BrickJournal.
Оригинал статьи читайте в Серия 2, Номер 5, стр. 42-45
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