The inspiration for this model came from several sources. One was the debut of TLG's new designer sets, more specifically the Wild Creatures set, which is based on the idea of creating different animals. Baylug's invitation to participate in the Lego Ocean Adventure at the Lawrence Hall of Science provided another boost, since we decided to create aquatic-themed MOC's for the day we were going to be there. Finally, since orange is a relatively recent color and still fairly rare, I wanted see how much of it I could use in one MOC for a big reaction. In addition to my Aquazone-style Moonbase Module, I thought it would be fun to create an unusual submarine-like vehicle and a lobster seemed like a good choice.
Instead of just making a sculpture of a lobster like the Wild Creatures set, I decided to make it a vehicle like TLG did with many of the sets from Aquazone, Hydronauts, and Stingrays themes. I visualized the vehicle as a harvester of some kind, using its claws to break up the rock and coral of the sea bed looking for crystals or something (they're always collecting something in these themes!). It's shaped like a lobster for camouflage because in this particular ocean, the sea life is gigantic and dangerous. So the occupants build their ships like creatures to hide from hungry or inquisitive eyes.
I knew from the start that the weight of the vehicle would make it impossible for the little legs on the sides to support the weight, especially since it's not lessened by actually being underwater! I decided to begin with a pair of soft plastic treads (from # 8549 Tarakava) which worked well because they have a complimentary wheel that actually meshes with the tread for better movement. The wheels can be fixed to Technic axles but I didn't have room for a motor or battery box.
I decided to turn the thorax into the storage and deployment station for this minisub design that I came up with while tinkering.
Lately in all my design approaches, I've strived to ensure that easy access to the interior of the vehicle or structure is thorough. While the sub is in the bay, the driver has another wide bank of controls available behind him. When he wants to take the sub out, all he has to do is turn around, open the bay doors, the roof comes off, and he's on his way!
Click-hinges gave the claws the ability to open and close, and a thick stack of 1x4 hinge plates in red provided a strong elbow joint. The cockpit went through several revisions to make sure it would open fully and that the smaller claws and antenna were properly located. The toughest part was getting the balance right for the entire vehicle since the claws are pretty darn heavy!
For the tail section, I once again tried to include detail structures reminiscent of the actual creature, hence the little black legs underneath. In real life, the female would use these legs to hold her eggs. In the model, I think they would be used to hold any crystals or other valuable ores or minerals harvested. I used more click-hinges here to give the tail some flexibility. The minifigs went through quite a few iterations. I wanted them to have some red somewhere to echo the color of their ship, but I also wanted them to stand out in some way, and blue is a great contrast.
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