Let’s Take a Tangent

It’s not too often that the sight of a model will inspire me to bolt to the Legoratory and make a copy for my own satanic purposes, but the next model in the Spotlight has done just that.  From the Technic panel forks, to the turrets, to the radar, this pint-sized death machine called “The Tangent-Class Assault Cruiser” speaks to me…and it says: “We need more ships!  Raise me a mighty navy!  Do it, you bumpkin!”  Oh wait, that was Rutherford shouting at me through the window…I thought it was the boat.  Surprisingly, Tangent is over 5 years old now, and I would have completely missed out if I hadn’t stumbled upon it while searching for a Friday Night Fights match-up.  This kind of discovery is one of the best things about running the Manifesto.

I’m about halfway done and I’m already trying different variants, it’s a fun design to riff on and it is going to be difficult not to add to the fleet.  I don’t think I can give builder Multihawk a greater compliment, thanks for getting me to the table, good sir!


The only thing that bothers me is the two shades of green, it makes my OCD tingle.  My copy will not have that problem and in fact will not be green at all.  Has any model online or in person inspired you, constant reader, to build your own?  I hope to hear from you in the comments.  Forget indirect inspiration, I’m talking about duplication, with or without mods.



30 thoughts on “Let’s Take a Tangent

  1. I have duplicated…. and as one might suspect, they were speederbikes. When I was pulling together the “Speederbike Rally” collab for BrickWorld2016, I stopped by JakeFR’s house north of Indy, and picked up a few of his speederbikes to include in the impromptu layout. They were such cool, compact designs. Before I returned them to him, I built myself a copy of each. The one below I think is the only one he took a picture of…

    SBX 2.4

    … and I was kind of bummed he didn’t enter the LSB contest this year. He got 4th place in the year prior. I didn’t have to build a copy of that one, as I got one he built on my shelf (and he has one of mine)…



    1. Yeah, not so shocking that you’d pick a speeder bike. Jake’s stuff is rad, I can see why you’d want to copy them, that lime green bike is giving me the itch just looking at it. I agree that it’s too bad he didn’t enter the contest this year, he would have been a great addition to the field. I think part of the appeal to me is the size too, I’ve never tried to copy anything that was much larger than the palm of my hand. I can’t believe these guys down below who copied Rob’s stuff, that sounds like a lot of work…but then again I’m profoundly lazy.


  2. I embarked on the journey a few years ago to duplicate Rob’s (dasnewton) Prometheus. It started out as a direct 100% copy (changing the color only), but my OCD would not let me live with certain techniques (technic half pin stud reversals being the main culprit). After I decided to not copy it 1:1, it opened up the door completely for other mods. All in all, it was hundreds of hours later that I got it to the finishing line. It brought me to the build table but exceeded my wildest expectations on keeping me there. Since then, I have toyed with the idea of tackling duplicating other’s work…other stuff of Rob’s, Nick Trotta’s stuff, Cagerrins, a few others…but I feel like what starts out as a “quick” notion to recreate something turns into triple digit BrickLink orders. It is definitely worthwhile in my opinion to tackle something like that at least once. Since doing so, my builds have become way more solid in construction, and more refined (at least in my own mind).


    1. Yeah dude, you picked a really difficult one. Props to you, but that sounds too much like homework or building a ship in a bottle. You took on a real challenge. That’s interesting that you changed the techniques that you found unsatisfying. I’m not sure if I’ve ever deliberately changed a technique…there have been times that I have been unable to figure out how to duplicate something and come up with my own solution (like Pascal’s hoverbike from this years LSB contest), but I’m not sure I ever changed one because I wasn’t down with a specific technique. I’m glad you mentioned that, it’s got me thinking.

      I can’t recommend trying to duplicate one of Nicky T’s models enough. When he sent me his bitchin’ blue truck for Bucharest, he sent dozens of tiny sub-assemblies and one of his trademark videos explaining the build. I”m still trying to wrap my head around the way he builds and the stuff he comes up with. One of the best things about building Highway 44 or Bucharest was getting to fix/rebuild/assemble people’s contributions. Unfortunately I don’t think any of it has ever improved by building, but it was fun.


      1. I had the pleasure of assembling a Trotta once. It’s transcendent.

        I also had pleasure of reassrmbling the Zach’s master piece. These guys know what they’re doing. Dang.
        Brilliant builds.

        And builders at a while new level.


  3. Fascinating. This is an interesting topic and a part of the hobby I haven’t tried out. But based on the feedback so far, maybe I should consider looking twice at someone else’s work. I recall Pico making a modernized version of someone else’s ship in his own style, and that’s when I first considered replication. I think I’ll put some more thought into this. It would be an interesting experiment!


    1. It is an interesting exercise, and you should definitely give it a shot some time. I really didn’t expect this to become the topic of conversation when I blogged the boat but I’m glad it developed. I didn’t realize what a common practice it was, or how ambitious some people were with their selections. I started the practice with Rutherford, when we would collaborate I’d often replicate one of his models in Vegas to see how it looked in the layout and much to his irritation, “fixing” them so that he might avoid even more embarassment than usual. Fortunately those were easy to duplicate because he’s a bumpkin who is incapable of complex design.


  4. Holy shit, ever since I found the online community four years ago I have been blown away with designs that I have replicated and modified for my own gains. In fact, that is exactly how I found the online community. I was looking for techniques to resolve an issue in my first (posted) SHIP.

    I think the best example of my wanting to dive right in and copy unfortunately gives a spotlight to some jackhole named Mikeboat1098. This seems to be the only pic of the Gar


    I was building my ass off already for BW2015 with VLUGs Around the World in 80 Days collab. but I knew there was going to be a shit ton of open space in the oceans. So I built this as filler based on Mike’s hull design. It wasn’t a direct copy, but I wanted to play around with the twisting of bricks that the Gar piqued my interests in.


    I can’t say that I’ve copied something literally, it almost feels taboo to do so. But when it comes to techniques or styles, I feel that I can incorporate and give credit with reasonable culpability.


    1. Please don’t feed Mike’s ego, The Gar was actually designed by his wife, along with the mosaic flag of New Guinea.

      Taboo you say? No man, it’s fun. It’s not like I’m going to post my copy of the Tangent on Flickr or claim it as my own design. I just think it’s fun to have sitting on top of a drawer cabinet. Give into the taboo! Please build an exact copy of Matango and finish it for me.


  5. Like Zach I did a copy of one of dasnewten’s spaceships. The original is this:

    My copy has a couple of changes, but mostly minor ones due to my parts supply at the time:


    1. Pas, I can’t see the pic, can you comment again with a link? You’ve got waaaaaaaay too many photos to sort through to find it. Rob is the man, I bet there are more copies of his stuff out there if both you and Zach did it.


      1. Yeah let’s try a link a have no idea what kind of markup works in this here funny little comment box thingy…

        The Maiden of Tarth


      2. Ah, I remember that one, it’s rad, thanks for fixing. I can’t think of too many people who have such a small stable of models but such a large impact and influence as Rob.


      3. What, just putting this link there displays the image, that’s too easy, never expected that to work.


  6. I built an AT-ST and an F14 from others’ LDraw files in the early Lugnet days. While very cool designs in the photos, they both turned or to be far more delicate than I usually build. Like Zach, I try to work within the System instead of using minifig hands and half pins everywhere. It was a fun learning experience though.

    My brother in law had a related experience ordering a MOC from bricklink. Used to building official Lego sets, he was rightfully disappointed by the quality of the custom design.


    1. I can see that, you’re stuff is just about always robust. I remember helping you assemble part of your huge space-plane at Brickcon and how sturdy that thing was.

      I always wonder if the people who buy from Creations for Charity are disappointed when they see how fragile some of those designs are. I wonder how many fell apart and the owners could not reassemble. I have nothing against those sorts of “illegal” techniques, but it is irritating when they crumble if you try and pick them up.

      How is your Legoratory coming along Bram? I haven’t seen any update pics from you in a while.


      1. My Lego room is stagnant at the moment… I have a bunch of parts first level sorted that haven’t been touched in about a year, and I never finished organizing which drawers go where. As usual, work and life are consuming most of my energy, so free time is spent watching HBO or Netflix…


      2. Bummer! It’s understandable of course, but I hope you can get back to it soon because I miss your builds. Try and do it before you have kids, before your times is no longer your own.


  7. Ah, I want to build that!

    I have thought that so many times… but I don’t think I ever did it.

    I have had to leave my collection for months at a time, and occasionally, years at a time. During those intervals, I almost always had access to the internet but not to the bricks. So I have seen many many images and thought “Oh, yea… I would like to build that, and then make some modifications…” But the time right before getting back to my collection is usually characterized by prolonged periods of intense work, high stress, and little sleep. Right after getting back to my bricks, I’m usually in an emotional and physical stupor. Memory, creativity and motivation are just about flat lined. The whole repeating process of coming home sort of “clears the hard drive.”

    By the time I regain my creative drive, I have thought of some other stuff I want to build. So while I have wanted to copy lots of stuff, I don’t think I ever have.

    Keith, I’m going to put a burlap sack over your head and punch you in the face…early on a Monday.

    rowntRee, Wow, really? You saw the Gar and turned it into another boat? Schweet! Yours even looks like a real boat, not some fantasy barge from Game of Thrones the Lost Episodes. See that stupid Keith person? People… quality people (and rowntRee) are inspired by MY work… not your work!

    Also, I DID yell at you to build more boats Keith! Boats are where the action really gets out of hand. Boats are rad! You don’t like to build boats because you are not rad! I would totally use that excellent boat you have highlighted here as the basis for an entire fleet of vessels. the shaping on that little thing is really cool! And yes, I agree with you Claude… those two tones of green simply have to go.

    “etc. etc. You fix up!”

    Mike “Gar Daddy” Rutherford


    1. You should have just joined the Navy like you always secretly wanted to. Even in the Army you managed to find a job involving boats for a while. Come out of the closet Mike, embrace your nautical tendencies freely and without judgment. We all support your cause.

      And as for nobody copying me, you’ve obviously forgotten a little gem called “The Reich goes black“. And of course, who could forget the Eastern Block Kiev Class Communication Cruiser Pi….or perhaps the The Gamma Wednesday.

      Idiot, your accomplishments pale in comparison.


  8. I’ve played the star fighter telephone game a few times, which iterate on an existing design.

    But only once I did a full ‘copy’-tweak.

    And that’s the Gypsy Queens.
    Which is a whole story in itself. But it’s definitely fun to follow another builder’s designs….


    1. Oh that game was maddening. You sign up full of enthusiasm and then wait….and wait….and wait….and then everyone quits.

      The Gypsy Queens scenario was awesome from beginning to end.


  9. I came across this gingerbread house around Christmastime. Drool….
    Gingerbread House1

    I would have loved to actually recreate it but…I mean let’s be honest I lack the skill and brick to do so. It was fun to build a gingerbread house MOC with my boy though, and it worked just fine to inspire our Christmas spirit.


    1. That roof does look good enough to eat. I’m pretty sure you could reverse engineer this thing, don’t sell yourself short, most of the parts involved are relatively cheap. Oh well, there is always next Christmas.


  10. I don’t think I can copy a model without messing with a detail or two, but I’m quite happy if it inspires me to build something new.That hull is good starting point for a race boat…see what I mean?


  11. Ted didn’t even mention that he’s been on the other side of the transaction too. After the Tech West collab at Brickworld last year, I wanted to recreate the chase scene between my stagecoach and Ted’s Lone Ranger-themed bikes:

    "The Lone Ranger"

    Thankfully, Ted provided breakdown shots of the design. But I didn’t have all the parts in matching colors, so I took some liberties with the design and gave it my own flavor:

    "Midnight 2" - chopper-style hoverbike

    Building someone else’s work is a good way to learn and I recall doing it a bit when I was first starting out. Modifying the design further is a great exercise as it not only gets you inside another builders head but teaches you a bit about yourself as a builder through how you would have done things differently.


    1. OH man, I missed that one, that’s really cool. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a dozen or more of Ted’s designs out there in the world, copied by all manner of Lego nerds. I’ve been tempted by a few of Ted’s designs myself.


    2. Holey crapbuckles…that is awesome. I’ve never really felt the need to clone someone’s build exactly. Until now. ‘Clean’ doesn’t even come close. Thanks for sharing.


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