(Written by William)
In this Brick Breakdown series I review official LEGO sets, from the perspective of looking at interesting building techniques we can all learn from. Today we will be looking at one of the nicest LEGO Lone Ranger sets, the #79108 LEGO Lone Ranger Stagecoach Escape. You can also check out the previously discussed LEGO building techniques found in official LEGO sets at the end of this article.
It’s time to hit the open road, and nothing says “Western” and “road” more like a good old-fashioned stagecoach. Having built the LEGO Lone Ranger Stagecoach Escape I could see that a ton of thought went into this set and its details. It has a very elegant quality to it that most other horse-drawn wagons fail to match.
I started building the smallest sets of the LEGO Lone Ranger line and have been working my way up. I’m finding each and every model has a bit more complexity when it comes to details. Sure, this is probably also due to the higher piece count, but larger sets also have more parts sections, which means more pieces have to create more things. This gives little room for detailing, but somehow you get it in spades with the LEGO Lone Ranger sets.
➡ LEGO SUSPENSION SYSTEM
The first technique I want to talk about in the LEGO Lone Ranger Stagecoach Escape is the stagecoach’s suspension-system. Now, just writing that feels weird. Most times, all we get is a single piece that the wheels connect to and we’re done. The set designer here actually gone out of their way to create a realistic suspension-system. Given the era, this is not a system that will have fancy springs or air-cushion pistons. These are wheel-axles that have been given a small amount of side-to-side motion.
In the LEGO Lone Ranger Stagecoach building such a suspension-system was achieved by the use of thin LEGO Technic struts, frictionless pin connections, and a fairly wide wheel-base. Out of all of these elements, it is the frictionless pin connections that open the way for possible movement. Everything in the design of the stagecoach is properly anchored, but it is the pin connections that provide that little bit of give that makes all the difference. The end result is wheels that will react to differing surfaces by partially contouring themselves to the ground.
The reason for all this is both clever and stylish. First, it creates a more realistic approach to the mechanics of the real-life vehicle. Second, when playing with the model it generates a noticeable sway to the coach. This extremely subtle attention to detail is, flat out, the coolest part of the model. Any time you see a recreation of an old stagecoach, it is obvious to see they were not the most comfortable things to ride in. Now LEGO has used this minor inconvenience as a signature in this set’s design. Whether you’ll need to copy this technique exactly is doubtful, but it is worth taking a close look at while you are in the process of building this set.
➡ USING A LEGO AXLE AS A GUIDE-RAIL
After putting together the suspension-system of the LEGO Lone Ranger Stagecoach, it felt odd putting it aside with an axle sticking up out of it. Following the instructions, I proceeded to construct the coach in nearly its entirety while the wheelbase was left alone. It was really no surprise why it would be a bad idea to build off the wheels. The wobbly suspension made it hard to lock studs into place. The real question though was why the axle was there at all. There was no thin pillar that needed extra support or any other obvious reason for its existence. But when it was finally time to connect the top and bottom of the stagecoach together I saw why the axle was there.
Given the odd design of the wheel-base, it would be a nightmare trying to line all those studs up. Thankfully there was the axle. Its purpose had nothing to do with extra stability. Rather, it was a plain and simple guide that directed the top of the model perfectly onto the correct studs. This is not a technique I’ve ever used in my own LEGO creations, so it was a nice surprise. Usually I’ll use LEGO axles for specific movement or to internally support something. However, this technique presents a very interesting option for building things in stages or guiding LEGO modular designs with a lot of surface area. It’s definitely something I want to experiment with in the future.
➡ APPLYING WHAT YOU LEARN
Will you need a wobbly suspension system? Chances are the answer is “No”. The truth is that it is only part of the technique we saw here. The real point is how a vehicle carries itself. Modern vehicles may need spring-loaded shocks and futuristic vehicles may require something even smoother. The idea is that you need to match the vehicle’s motion to its design. In order to nail down the correct approach you may try asking yourself a few simple questions. First, how does my vehicle move? Next, can I recreate that motion out of LEGO? Finally, if I can make it, is it worth my time? You might come to a realization that a good LEGO builder can build anything, but a great builder knows when something is not necessary.
Moving on to using axles as guide-rails, the most important thing to remember is that the axle needs to be firmly rooted for the guide to work. Also, you may want to test the measurement of the axle before waiting until the end. Nothing is as upsetting as the guide-axle punching a hole through the floor of whatever you are guiding down because the axle was too long. As I mentioned above, it is not a common LEGO technique by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, LEGO probably started using it more as an instructional aid on guiding builders through difficult to describe steps. But it does present yet another option when dealing with vertical modular building.
So what do you think? How do you like the LEGO building techniques discussed here? Have you tried making your own realistic suspension-system out of LEGO? Feel free to share in the comment section below! 😉
And you might also like to check out the other reviews in this series:
Great review! I really like that set 🙂 and I have a question: does anyone play Star Wars the old republic?
is STAR WARS THE OLD REPUBLIC a video game? a pc game? online game at http://www.lego.com/ ?
Its a MMOG ( Massively Multiplayer Online Game ). 🙂 I’ve never played it, but its supposedly pretty good. I wouldn’t recommend any MMOGS for young video gamers though. 🙂
Has anyone seen artifex creation’s reviews on YouTube? There really good 🙂
Yeah, I really like their reviews as well. In fact I was looking for one for this article, because I wanted something without words, so as not to destract from Will’s points, but it seems like they haven’t reviewed this set. 😕
these reviews rock 🙂
anyone who has this set is it worth a buy or are the others better?
It depends on what you want. If you want a stagecoach, yeah, it is the best carriage LEGO ever made! But if you are not into carriages the other sets would be better, as here the stagecoach is the highlight.
would you go for this set or the battle of smallvile(superman)?
bit of a wierd question but hey ho lol
Hm… they are completely different themes so it is hard ot answer. I like both. I know that won’t help at all. 🙄
my collection is mainly star wars, ninjago,chima and superheroes.
so i like the bos (battle of smallvile) but the stagecoach is cool and would be a nice addition not blending in with my others
does that help? 🙂
I sometimes and up in a dilemma like that too. Like I really like a set, but it doesn’t fit into my current collection. It is not an easy decision. I usually find it is best to go with boosting my corrent collection rather then getting something out of the ordinary. Especially if it is a large set. If is is a small set or battle-pack around $10, I may still get something interesting from another theme just to see how it is. But if it is more expensive than that I usually just stay with the themes I already like and collect. But again, I know the feeling and I know it is not easy to make a decision like that.
I think I might take parts of your idea by getting the cheaper black zero escape set as it goes with my collection and it also has the awesome armour piece I want and then I will be able to buy the summer sets of which I think are really cool 🙂 the only trouble then is what sets lol
Ps I wasn’t up really early/late I’m from the UK lol
Yeah, I really want that armor piece too! As far as summer sets, I’m going for the Galaxy Squad mech, the new MBA kit, and the Council of Elrond set from Lord of the Rings. Those are for sure. The rest will depend on how much money I have left. 🙄
I like the galaxy squad set’s but they’re not sold here 🙁 …………………yet 🙂
I think you will get them all in the summer. At least that’s what I have read. They are awesome! 😀
YAY 🙂 cant wait
i got black zero escape today.it rocks. zods armour is awesome! i also picked up a series 10 fig-i picked 1 up and instantly felt potential. was it a lightsaber handle and a long stick? could it be ………..mr gold?
it was the tomahawk warrior but i wanted him anyway so im still happy 🙂
Barnes and Noble still has a Castle carriage set, might be Kings Carriage. I saw it there tonight. It not as cool as this set. Stagecoach Escape is just a really attractive set.
ok this stagecoach is cool. the movie might be a ”bust” but at lest the stagecoach will definitely stand out in the years ahead. (ok now I sound dramatic, ha-ha) and how the axel fits and everything was very interesting.
I saw this set this weekend. It’s looks great and is on my wish list. Great series of articles.
Would be nice to see a video on how the suspension would work in practice…
Hakan, I have thought of that myself when reading the article. I will ask William about that.
Honestly, these sets are great. I’m probably not going to get any (not my thing really), but the figures and sets are just beautiful. Though I think the best work that lego has done recently is the hobbit. Very well designed and the printing is awesome. I just recently picked up Bag End (An Unexpected Gathering) and it is awesome!
Bag End is one of the best sets LEGO ever made. It is just a classic, beautiful and has everything LEGO has to offer. LEGO Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit sets are a dream-come-true for many fans. 🙂
I want like 5 Red minifigures, that hairpiece is BOSS
First of all, thanks and glad people are enjoying my series of articles.
As for whether or not this is worth to buy, comparing it to the rest of the Lone Ranger series, the Stagecoach is probably tied as my favorite set with the train.
I can ask my wife about making a video to demonstrate the suspension. We don’t really have the best video equipment, though, so we’ll see and I can get back to the admin about it.
As for the hair, not only is her hair awesome, but that hat is detachable. It’s absolutely the BEST hairpiece in the entire Lone Ranger series!
Out of all the carriages I’ve built so far (mostly in the castle line), this one definitely stands out as being one of the coolest. They didn’t skimp on the details at any point. Some of the construction seems weird, but it’s hard to argue with these awesome results.
I showed all the Lone Ranger sets to my father-in-law who will collect LEGO Western trains and when he saw the stagecoach, he immediately wanted one. Even though he’s not a die-hard collector.
More is on the way from the Lone Ranger line-up! Stay tuned! 🙂