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Land Rover Defender 90

Land Rover DefenderModel of the legendary Land Rover off-road car. Features 4×4 drive, steering, 4-speed transmission, live axles suspension, remotely locked central and rear differential, working turn signals, lights and custom stickers.


Completion date: 31/04/2016
Power: electric (Power Functions)
Dimensions: length 59 studs / width 28 studs / height 35 studs
Weight: 3.24 kg
Suspension: live axles
Propulsion: 2 x PF XL motor via a 4-speed transmission and central differential
Motors: 2 x PF XL motor, 1 x PF L motor, 2 x PF M motor, 1 x PF Servo

I wanted to build model of the iconic Land Rover Defender for a long time, especially seeing as 2016 is the year it finally went out of production. The Defender version of the Land Rover was launched back in 1983, and if I was born one week later, we would have been peers, hence some sentiment on my end 🙂

The original Defender is nothing short of a legend and anyone involved in off-road driving even remotely knows this car pretty well, so I’ll skip an introduction. I have chosen the 90 version over the 110 one to reduce the weight, and also simply because the shorter chassis was enough to fit everything I wanted to fit. The basis for scaling my model were Rock Crusher X/T 1.9″ tires by RC4WD, put on regular Lego rims. Along with the tan body, these tires made it perhaps my most costly Lego model so far. Ironically, just as I was finishing the model, Lego has released the 42054 Claas Xerion set with tires basically the same size…

On the technical side the chassis consisted of two live axles connected to the front and back of my sequential 4-speed RC transmission. The transmission was connected to the driveshaft via a central differential which could have been locked remotely using pneumatics – along with the rear axle’s differential. The front axle lacked from insufficient room, as demonstrated by the PF Servo motor, and its differential couldn’t be locked. The front and rear axle had their shock absorbers set up differently, with the rear axle being harder to support the rear-heavy body. To help with the weight distribution, I’ve placed a spare wheel on the hood rather than on the rear door – but it could be installed there as well. The entire model was propelled by two PF XL motors powered by just a single 8878 battery, on assumption that with huge gear reduction and 2 SBricks it would be just enough. And it was – but sometimes, when negotiating a particularly difficult obstacle, the model’s LEDs would go out for a moment. The two XL motors were hard-coupled using knob gears and connected to the transmission which was shifted remotely using one PF M motor.

During the build I have created and tested a mechanism that would allow to adjust the front and rear ground clearance independently. However, it added a lot of weight and complexity while changing the clearance effectively by no more than 2 studs and being impossible to fit under the hood, so I’ve abandoned it. Instead, I have used the room under the hood to add a single PF L motor driving a front winch, which was also remote-controlled and geared down to match the model’s driving speed at 1st gear. As the video demostrates, the winch proved very useful, especially since it was built into the model’s frame and thus it could handle plenty of stress without ripping the front end of the body apart. The remote control was possible over Bluetooth using two SBricks, which also controlled the roof & bull bar  lights, as well as left and right turn signals which worked using SBrick’s sequences.

I was rather happy with the aesthetic side of the model, although the taillights weren’t too accurate – seeing as they looked different in different Defender variants, I just went with a rough approximation. The model also had no actual interior except for a steering wheel (non-functional) and the rear view mirror – its center was occupied by the transmission and a whole lot of wires, and its sides by the 8878 battery and two SBricks. I would be probably able to add interior to a Defender 110 model, given the extra length, but at the cost of significant additional weight.

The model did OK outdoors, but it was evident that its power-to-weight ratio was low – with each PF XL motor handling well over 1.5 kg it was just slow. Moreover, the soft front suspension and the tall rear end of the body resulted in poor stability when driving down a sleep slope (in other words, they proved an excellent recipe for roll-overs). I’m pretty sure this model wouldn’t come close to winning any TrTr race, but at least it looked nice. The custom tires also proved to handle the significant weight better than I expected, ensuring great traction and low rolling resistance.

Work in progress photos:

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Media coverage:

AutoRevue (German)Cool MaterialDrivR (Dutch), DriveSparkFreshness, Ganlob (Indonesian), Highsnobiety, HobbyMedia (Italian), HiConsumption, Hypebeast, Jae’s WanderlustKlonBlog (German)LandMag (French), Le FeinMandesager (Danish)Material Actual (Spanish), MotorBlock (German)StupidDope, The Awesomer, The Lego Car Blog, Want (Dutch)

  1. Sariel
    September 23rd, 2016 at 20:12 | #1

    Wyjaśniam po raz milion: po pierwsze, zwyczajnie nie da się zrobić czytelnych zdjęć demontażu modelu mającego dobrze powyżej 6000 części, z czego wiele zasłania inne albo zlewa się w jedno bo ma ten sam kolor. Czy ze zdjęć wyburzania średniej wielkości budynku zorientujesz się gdzie jest każda jedna cegła? Po drugie, nawet gdybym jakimś cudem to zrobił i poświęcił na publikację tego miesiące czasu, to zwyczajnie nikt modelu nie zbuduje bo wymaga to naprawdę poważnych pieniędzy i masy czasu spędzonego na szukaniu rzadkich części.

  2. Jelonek
    September 23rd, 2016 at 19:50 | #2

    Wspanialy model. A moze by tak zrobic zdjecia sekwencyjnie przy jego demontazu. Bylaby to instrukcja montazu do czytania wstecz.

  3. Sariel
    August 21st, 2016 at 14:24 | #3

    No, there isn’t, that’s why it clearly says not for sale in the video.

  4. August 21st, 2016 at 14:06 | #4

    There’s some kinda kit to buy with this project???

    Thank you Sariel!

  5. Sariel
    August 12th, 2016 at 23:55 | #5

    Yes, I found them largely here: http://www.brandsoftheworld.com/

  6. Christoph
    August 12th, 2016 at 20:47 | #6

    They weren’t sent to you, right? You found them on the internet. You then scaled them to match the size of the space you wanted them to be in… if you did so i maybe can do it myself. Thanks for your respond anyways.

  7. Sariel
    August 12th, 2016 at 18:09 | #7

    I’m afraid it could get me into legal trouble, as Land Rover, Camel Trophy and other logos are all copyrighted and not mine to share.

  8. Christoph
    August 12th, 2016 at 14:06 | #8

    Hey Sariel, would it be possible for you to upload the document with your custom stickers to your webpage? I would really appreciate if you do, because im trying to built a Land Rover Defender too and i would really like to use your stickers.

  9. August 9th, 2016 at 17:06 | #9

    I think this creation is fantastic, you are a great builder, my builds don’t look that nice.

  10. Sariel
    August 8th, 2016 at 11:49 | #10

    I don’t think that spreading something in the area of 3-5 thousands pieces and taking a clear photo of them all is doable.

  11. kremlingrasso
    August 8th, 2016 at 11:12 | #11

    if you have the 9398 (4×4 crawler) or 42030 (the volvo) and maybe 42043 (the arocs) you probably have 99% of the mechanical parts already to build it, just look carefully at the work-in-progress pictures and you can solve the puzzle of how to build the parts you can’t see (a game on it’s own), at 3:33 in the video you can see the whole mechanical assembly as well.
    For the body there are a ton of pictures so with a bit of patience you can figure out how many parts of each you’d need to order, though the tan color would make it brutally expensive so probably go with grey or black or whatever you already have the most parts from other non-technic sets.

    @Sariel…i understand the reason why you don’t do instructions, but have you considered maybe when you eventually take apart your MOCs (i read you don’t keep them forever), you’d spread out all the pieces and take a high-def photo of it? i’d guess it would be a fairly low-effort way of giving your fans a chance to re-create it since i probably you’d need to resort the parts anyways for storing….or do your newer MOCs slowly cannibalize the old ones?

  12. Matteo
    August 5th, 2016 at 08:05 | #12


    Because of some models on rebrickable I have had a spark of hope that maybe in the future there also will be the instruction of that model.

    And please keep creating 🙂

  13. Sariel
    August 4th, 2016 at 15:39 | #13

    Sorry, I don’t have instructions.

  14. Matteo
    August 4th, 2016 at 11:19 | #14


    I really fell in love with this modell! Fantastic!
    Is there any chance to get the instruction for this modell?


  15. Sariel
    August 3rd, 2016 at 20:38 | #15

    The most versatile is definitely the PF L motor, but you need to use it with V2 PF IR receiver.

  16. TheLivingNightmare
    August 3rd, 2016 at 18:40 | #16

    In your opinion, what is the most useful motor to use overall?

  17. Sariel
    August 1st, 2016 at 20:34 | #17

    The BuWizz has little effect on LEDs and it won’t reduce the amount of wires much. In fact, it would only make two wires go away: the ones that connect two SBricks with the battery. The rest of the wires is mostly motors and LEDs. Also, keep in mind that two BuWizz units would be needed.

  18. Darian
    August 1st, 2016 at 19:38 | #18

    @Robbie- I think the simple solution to clear the interior will be to use. BuWizz brick cause with that there will be a less mess of wires.Also it shall increase the strength of the motor.

    @Sariel-Can the BuWizz brick system increase the power of lego led lights

  19. Robbie
    August 1st, 2016 at 15:03 | #19

    Amazing design, i was thinking of building one of these after reading an article in automobile mag about it. well done, @Darian IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE EXOTIC OR HAVE A GOOD INTERIOR, it works and if you could do better than he has, then i’d like to see you try

  20. Lee.
    August 1st, 2016 at 09:02 | #20

    As a defender owner and lego enthusiast, this is by far the best defender model i have seen. I’m 3/4 the way through my own defender build and now thinking i need to can it and build this instead. Just Fantastic.

  21. July 31st, 2016 at 22:37 | #21

    Great design & engineering. So detailed, at a quick glance it could be easily mistaken for the real Defender.

  22. Sariel
    July 31st, 2016 at 19:21 | #22

    The instructions for the 4-speed gearbox have been available at my website for over a year now, and I even INCLUDED A LINK in the description right here to help you find it…

    @David Luders
    Hard to say, they used to be purists but they’re all rolling on third-party tires these days. Yeah, a BuWizz could improve the performance.

  23. David Luders
    July 31st, 2016 at 18:47 | #23

    Maybe (someday) you could install a BuWizz to increase the power to the XL Motors. Do you foresee the Truck Trials in your nearby park using BuWizz, or are they strictly “Lego Purists”?

  24. Darian
    July 31st, 2016 at 18:43 | #24

    The model is good but really not very exotic. The interior looks pretty crude. I am sure the kenworth is going to have much better interior and it looks much exotic too. And can you make instruction if not the the whole model at least for the 4 speed gear box. Did you use original lego string or some other string?

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