23 October 2017

The new LEGO® vehicle mudguard

I'm not a big fan of vehicles, but I love a good arch. That's why I store my LEGO® mudguard pieces in my box of arch bricks instead of my 'vehicle bits' box! Mudguards make interesting arches, especially for the tops of windows.

So I was happy to see a new mudguard come out last summer, called 'Mudguard 3X4, W/ Plate, No. 1' by TLG and 'Vehicle, Mudguard 4 x 3 x 1 with Arch Curved' on BrickLink. I chose it, in Dark Stone Grey [TLG]/ Dark Bluish Gray [BL], to be one of the pieces featured in our PdC Parts Festival workshops in Portugal where it proved very popular. Today I want to explore its geometry a little more, in the hope of inspiring you to use it in interesting ways.



The striking thing about its curves is that they are very much in-System. You can see above how it matches existing curved slopes like Design ID 6091 and 6215, or you can cover it up with bricks such as the half-arch 6005 (or better yet, 6183, not pictured here).

I exploited the matching curves by using another part in this family of bows, 6081, to create a little Space silo.

Today we're going through the round window

Put enough AFOLs in a room with LEGO arches and they'll produce rounded windows. 

There's something immensely satisfying about using a SNOT technique to invert curved shapes by 180°. I recall it being the first thing I did when I came out of my Dark Age, and indeed several builders tried it out with this new mudguard during our workshops. For example, Bill Ward used them to add vector thrust capability to a spaceship and I promised to break down this technique so you can try it yourself.

There are many ways to skin a cat and the way you achieve the 180° reversal will depend largely on the needs of your model, but I think the simplest approach is to use the SNOT piece 99206 as shown above It certainly one of the most useful new pieces TLG have released in recent years.

Out with the old guard

I wondered how the new mudguard fitted with older mudguards, and tried the same SNOT technique with the larger mudguard 50745 which dates back to 2004.


As you can see above, it's not a great match, as their rims are different thicknesses. On older mudguards like 50745 and 98282, the thickness is equivalent to the height of half a brick. This is an extremely rare dimension in the LEGO System and so I am not surprised that the boffins in TLG's Design Lab have ditched it within this new mudguard, which is instead equivalent to the height of a plate.


This side view which shows you the technique also reveals that the new mudguard (now at the bottom of the pic) is much deeper - equivalent to the full width of a 1x1 brick (a.k.a. 1 module) while the old one is equivalent to the width of half a module. Half-module widths are also uncommon in the LEGO System, but as you see above it's easy to make the old mudguard flush to the grid by putting it on a jumper plate, which offsets pieces by half a module.


The half-module depth of old mudguards is fun to play with, though. In the lefthand tablescrap shown above I placed them face-to-face to create an interesting loop that looks like it has been scored with a "V"-shape, which I exaggerated by adding 45° slopes. As shown above right, the same concept is still possible with the new mudguard but it's clunkier. Actually this one ended up looking like a bowtie!

Here's a breakdown of the larger one, click to enlarge. I couldn't resist using the SNOT piece in Dark Red (Element ID 6188829 | 99206) this time, currently found only in 41586 Batgirl (available at Amazon USA | UK).

Buying LEGO part 28326 

Vehicle, Mudguard 4 x 3 x 1 with Arch Curved comes in 15 sets in four colours, at time of writing. Click the links to see prices and availability on BrickLink.
  • Black (Element ID 6170597)
  • Dark Stone Grey [TLG]/ Dark Bluish Gray [BL] (Element ID 6178912)
  • Bright Red [TLG]/ Red [BL] (Element ID 6170382)
  • Bright Orange [TLG]/ Orange [BL] (Element ID 6170595)

Have you used LEGO mudguards in a clever technique? We'd love to see your models; comment with a link below. (You can use 'a href' tags to create active links if you know how.)



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10 comments:

  1. I love that mudgard (I only wish its attachment was a 1x2 instead). I've used it here a few months ago: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm16eDCJ , https://flic.kr/s/aHsm3fdEC7 and it's my next MOC again.
    It's one of the rare recent parts that's available at B&P at a cool price (while it's still expensive on BL) btw.

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    1. Sweeeeeet. Love how you surrounded it with more curves.

      Those links again for folks: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm16eDCJ, https://flic.kr/s/aHsm3fdEC7

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  2. Hi, I used it in a cinderlla castle microscale moc to create archway entrances and as a rail in a terrace.

    Cinderella MOC Microscale

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    1. The perfect shape! Really cool model

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  3. While it's always great to get new pieces, I really don't think this part works for its "intended" purpose (i.e. defining the wheel well of a vehicle) as well as the similar existing parts. It's too squared off, doesn't line up with the wheel/tire pieces, and it extends too far out beyond a vehicle's sides. The new functionalities and in-system connections outlined here are exciting for other purposes, and I've enjoyed its usage in the recent Parts-fest.

    Obviously, the important conceit with Lego is that as long as the old pieces still exist, I can keep using them. I hope they don't totally discontinue them!

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    1. Yes, as a non-car builder, this escaped me! Seems many agree with you judging by comments on social media.

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    2. I think it's the type-ish of mudgard for a Jeep Wrangler & such, rounded to Lego metrics

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    3. Yeah, the two previous mudguards are much more useful for crafting vehicles. This would work for a select few types of vehicles (mostly commercial trucks and certain off-road vehicles), but it would look ridiculous sticking way out on the sides of a sedan, and it would look even worse if you tried to pull it back into the body. The thicker side profile on the older fenders is also easier to blend into the model because it covers more of whatever you build behind it. And since none of the three modern fenders have any arch bricks that fill in perfectly around their shape (the macaroni arch pictured in this article leaves you needing to cover up the curved top, which just compounds the problem when trying to build small), being able to hide a mix of vertical and sloped edges means you can have a nice clean curve that doesn't invoke images of the Simpson's car or Weasley's flying car models.

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  4. Does the bevel on the edge of this new mudguard match any other parts? As far as I can recall the old one didn't really, but if this one does it'll really expand the possibilities for the piece.

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    1. I did think of this but it didn't match a Nexo shield tile very well. The ingot was better. Any other ideas?

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