It's done! Finally! Phew! I must admit I really procrastinated on this one. I remembered starting this project around February last year (2019) and proceeded at an incredible speed: 50% completion within a month. Most of the engineering challenge have been tackled in 3 months, and things slowed down from there. Why?
Well, back then...I simply cannot make up my mind over its color scheme. Despite building in mostly white and blue... I hesitated whether to keep the blue accent or try out some other colors. Finally blue it is !
About this Project
Once upon a time, I came across sketches of Transformer triple changer characters that (I assumed) were never used in the franchise/cartoon,. The image was found in Transformers:Generations book published almost 20 years ago (back in early 2000's).
I was intrigued by the seaplane excavator triple changer shown. It seemed more feasible to be built with LEGO than the ship-bus.
Anyway, years passed until early last year when I discovered that this seaplane excavator triple changer exists as a prototype toy (below). Seeing an actual photo sparked me to finally to get down and start building this guy!
Triple changer projects often require me to do some sketching before I hit the bricks. This is very important as I must put on paper how the core transformation should be.that fulfill 2 distinct modes. The first item to be solved was the excavator shovel /bucket forming the seaplane tail /tailfins.
Note that my design is different from the original image that inspired me , where the shovel seemed to extend from inside vehicle body, something that will be very hard to realize using LEGO parts.
I often post updates on the progress of my LEGO creations as they happen , in my instagram. Follow me please !
Plane wings forming external excavator panels, just like the prototype image/toy. I go a bit further by having the wings wrap around the vehicle all the way to the back where both wingtips meet and peg together.
In the past, I insisted on using real tracks for my tracked vehicle LEGO Transformers...
...and I lowered the bar since then, or else this creation would never materialize at all. The fake tracks design is a necessary evil for this project .
With shovel fully extended
Some components served 2 purposes in triple changers. Can you guess what will become of the smokestacks in plane mode?
Rotating ability is a must for excavators. This is the same mechanism I designed that allowed for waist swivel in robot mode.
I applied similar mechanism to my LEGO Scavenger , another excavator Transformer I built many many years ago.
TRANSFORMATION TO SEAPLANE
Unfold shovel bucket to form tail fins
Detach panels to form wings. Note on the edge of these panels: a peg and corresponding hole to keep them connected together.
Raise the vehicle innards. The plane windshield halves can be seen now.
Raise the newly formed plane tail up.
Merge the 2 halves of windshield/plane roof. Note the connection points as shown by the yellow arrow.
Plane roof now connected securely to the wings.
Underneath the excavator, the plane cockpit is folded out together with the propellers.
Excavator smokestacks become "faux" wing pillars. They doesn't actually help support the wings at all.
The tracks become plane pontoons. Start by shifting them close together. Note how their new positions are secured (yellow arrows).
Finally, unfold the panels to form whole wings.
Funny how I started this project at one end (building the tail fins) , and ended it with another end: propeller was the last to be built before I finally wrapped things up.
Initially I applied a 2-blade propeller few months ago, since it can be concealed neatly in excavator and robot mode. But photos of a typical seaplane convinced me otherwise.
So I gave 3-blade a try and crossed my fingers. Glad I did! This propeller looks even better in robot mode than I imagined!
What's a seaplane without a beach dude?
Pontoons in an overall blue is kinda dull. Hope a lil bit of white and some tone can improve that.
Compact "space-saver" mode for storage in hangar