The Predator Supercar by Nathanaël Kuipers is the first MOC that I've reviewed on Rebrickable. If you have not heard of Nathanaël before, he was a LEGO designer responsible for the design of several Technic sets from 2005 to 2008. He is also the author of The LEGO Build It Book series. Not just a Technic whiz, Nathanaël has also created dozens of amazing Creator alternate models which you can find on his website.
Nathanaël has a great writeup on his site about the process he went through while designing the Predator.
The building instructions for the Predator are for sale for $15, which you can get from Crowkillers. There are 125 pages of high quality computer generated images. It's obvious that a lot of effort has gone into preparing the instruction steps.
The instructions are quite dense with many steps per page, particularly at the beginning where there are a lot of sub-assemblies. It seems most official instructions these days are very sparse, presumably to make them easier to follow. I prefer them dense myself, as I suspect most other AFOLs do.
There are 1797 parts, making it quite a large car. But it's not just big it's also incredibly solid. It feels like every cubic stud has been filled optimally with parts that serve a real purpose. This also makes it very strong - you can pick up the car from nearly any part without fear of it falling apart.
The parts used are mostly standard and easy to come by. The main exception are the 4x alloy wheel parts which are only found in the 2007 8145-1 - Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano (x4) and the 2011 8068-1 - Rescue Helicopter (x1). The BrickLink price for a set of 4 is currently about USD $140... I solved this problem by not using them at all :) It still looks fine to me, but Nathanaël has a suggestion for alternate parts if you prefer.
It uses the new 3L Driving Ring part 18947 and double sided clutch gear part 18946 that has only appeared in the two 2015 Technic sets 42038 Arctic Truck and 42039 24Hr Race Car. The new 15459 Steering Arm part has only appeared in three recent sets.
There are also some semi-rare orange and white beams/panels that have been around for a while but have not appeared in many sets. I had no trouble finding available parts to buy though.
I had to buy about 600, or 30%, of the parts for this MOC as they weren't in my "mixed" collection of Technic parts. I had to spread those parts over 5 or 6 different orders from both BrickOwl and BrickLink using Rebrickable's Multi-Buy feature, and waited over a month for everything to arrive (yay Australia). I managed to restrain myself from starting before I all the parts were delivered :)
The build starts with the gearbox at the rear of the car. Already, it becomes obvious this is not a typical supercar. The gear box is mounted vertically, unlike most official Technic builds which have horizontal gear trains. As explained on his website, this allowed the gear lever to more realistically control the gear selections.
The three axles of gears are used for the three horizontal positions of the gear stick. In fact, looking at the gears front-on represent the 6 positions of the gear stick.
The central axle shown in the photo below is what moves the 6641 Changeover Catch between the three columns of gears.
And here we have the only gripe I have about the whole car - the V8 engine. I'm tired of seeing this exact same design in every Technic car for 20+ years now :)
The front axle is also a very dense build. Unlike the rear axle, the front suspension parts are placed horizontally which gives it some very heavy suspension that feels just right.
Now we add some further structure which shows how the gear lever will move the gear box:
I thought it might turn out to be quite fiddly and hard to use, but it's actually pretty smooth. There's the usual resistance from moving the connector in and out of the driving ring, but other than that it just works.
The first of the body work is added next, and the top frame of the gullwing doors.
The first of the gearing that will open/close the doors is added next.
I really like the shape and color scheme of the paneling. The use of the fan blades in the grille behind the doors is quite striking, as is the use of orange parts here and there which really contrasts well with the black+white of the rest of the car.
The angles on the back are very nice. And yes, I realise I have one part on backwards here... can you spot it?
It's hard to really get a good feel for the shape of the car from the photos. Every panel is placed perfectly and they flow one into another as if they were custom parts designed just for that purpose.
I finally realised white on white didn't make very good photos, and switched to a dark background :) Here is the finished car in all its glory. Well, except for the alloy wheels which I don't have. Personally, I think it looks great just with the pure black wheels - they make it look more menacing. Or something.
With all of the "bits" open.
It's even gorgeous underneath!
This is just crying out for a custom made sticker license plate. Something bad-ass of course.
Nice use of gear rack for the front intake grille.
Now that's a sexy car :)
I haven't built too many large supercars, but this one absolutely stands out as something special. The techniques used by Nathanaël were often new to me and really demonstrate how well he has studied the capabilities of the parts. Everything about the car has been thought over in detail and designed very specifically.
The car itself is gorgeous and won't be taken apart for quite some time... and probably then only to rebuild it again :) Actually, while building it I had a realisation that it will be quite difficult to take apart due to the sheer denseness of the parts and the way every part seemed to magically inter-connect with everything else around it.
The instructions are flawless and very well thought out. The amount of effort put into them is obvious and they are absolutely worth the $15 being asked for.
One of the Rebrickable admins, Jantjeuh, has more experience building supercars than me and had this to say about it:
[I can say] that this is easily the best MOC I've ever built (and I've built a lot!). The car itself obviously looks amazing (the pictures don't do it justice, you have to see it in 'real life'), but more importantly the quality of its design is unbelievable. The only one to even slightly come close to achieving this level of perfection in design is Madoca, IMO. Not a single part is needlessly used, every feature is stunningly implemented (especially the gearbox and front axle are technical marvels to behold), there are plenty of novel and very clever tricks used, and it's simply all-in-all an absolute joy to build. A must-build for every Technic fan. The bar for supercar MOCs, or even Technic MOCs in general, has been raised spectacularly!
More photos on my Bricksafe page.