By: Laura Hartog
Updated: June 6, 2012
Read the original article: http://wearecentralpa.com/fulltext?nxd_id=375822
Lego enthusiast Paul Boratko joins Sarah and Dawn to show off some of his Lego car creations. The cars are not made out of traditional Lego bricks. They have numerous pieces and moving parts. The gear shifts actually shift like real cars and are modeled after popular sports cars. Doors open and close and cars can actually change from rear wheel to front wheel drive.
Paul has been featured in Auto Trends Magazine and has entered some of his designs on a Lego website. If his submitted design recieves 10,000 votes, it will be reviewed by LEGO and could be released for sale as an official set.
To view his projects and cast your vote, click here:
Read the original article: http://www.autotrends.org/2012/05/21/lego-fans-rock-the-super-car-models/
Update: May 23, 2012 — The developer of the Vampire GT Supercar would like LEGO to take his idea and make it into a supported product. He can't do this without your support, however. If you like Paul Boratko's work, then please vote for it right here. LEGO says that 10,000 supporters are needed before it will give a product its consideration.
This past weekend, my wife and I took our two boys to the Brick Master 2012 festival held at the Hilton North Raleigh. That event featured an assemblage of LEGO crafts, built by enthusiasts young and old alike. Many displays were custom-made designs, utilizing hundreds if not thousands of tiny plastic bricks to create some highly spectacular works of art.
On hand with his nine pieces was Paul Boratko, a LEGO enthusiast with an eye for building super cars. Boratko's display included a 1969 Camaro SS, a chopped hot road, a Vampire GT, a Porsche 997 GT3, a Lamborghini Murcielago, a Lamborghini Gallardo and other other models and parts including transmissions, a generic deluxe super car and a Vampire GT chassis.
According to Crowkillers, the Vampire GT features a dash switch that allows you to choose either rear- or all-wheel-drive. It also comes with a 5-speed transmission with one reverse gear, a working "Hand of God" steering with remote cockpit steering, 4-wheel independent suspension, a small bevel gear that opens and closes each door, and a hood and rear hatch that opens. Not your typical LEGO design and one with a whole lot of extras included.
Boratko's talent is clearly evident and demonstrates the interest of car enthusiasts have in building LEGO models of various vehicles. Indeed, the Murcielago design was picked up by LEGO and issued as part of its RACERS series . On the box it says "designed by LEGO fans," acknowledging the contribution that some LEGO enthusiasts have made to this product line (ed. — however, we have since confirmed that this story was a hoax on the part Fernando Correia and wishful thinking that LEGO would pick up Boratko's design). As of this writing, the current RACERS series is comprised of four monster trucks.
Each photo shown here can be enlarged to see a more detailed view of the super cars. Right click on the photo and click on "open image in new tab" to view. You may reuse these pictures on your website with attribution to "Auto Trends Magazine" and a link to autotrends.org.
May 23, 2012 / City man fixes cars by day, builds Legos by night || Arlene Johns
— You might say Paul Boratko never grew up. The 38-year-old Johnstown man works in auto body repair during the day, but at night he builds Lego cars. Boratko's creations are not exactly "toys," however. His cars are highly technical – built with the help of a friend in California who is an aeronautical engineer. "I am more of a hands-on guy," Boratko said. In the world of Lego enthusiasts, Boratko is a celebrity of sorts. A website dedicated to his creations has followers around the world. He has been featured in AutoTrends Magazine.
He also has entered some of his designs on a Lego site that allows the public to vote on the entries. Those receiving 10,000 votes are considered by the company as ones to be made into kits and sold to the public. "It would be cool to walk through Toys R Us and you see your name on the (box)," Boratko said. "It could become a reality." His hobby isn't for pleasure alone. One of his designs, a car he calls the Vampire GT, is being auctioned through eBay. With bids this morning reaching $700, Boratko hopes the car will raise $1,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation. The car is also one of the entries on the Lego voting site.
"I knew that this was the best one that I have done," Boratko said.
The money raised through the auction, which runs through Saturday, will go to the organization's local chapter. It was an encounter at a Lego trade show that convinced Boratko to do something for charity. "I saw a gentleman come up to me with a young boy," he recalled. "The kid kept whispering to his father." The boy had seen the Boratko creations on a website and was thrilled to meet him. The father eventually asked if Boratko would be willing to have his picture taken with the boy holding one of the cars.
After the photo was taken, the father thanked him. "He said, 'Today is my son's 21st birthday,' " Boratko said. That was when he realized that the boy had physical problems. "I thought he was about 12. It was very, very humbling."
Boratko returned home and told his wife that he wanted to do something for charity. Amanda Boratko, who often accompanies her husband to trade shows, said she is extremely proud of his talents. "I love watching him create something from nothing," she said.
"The way he figures out how to put so many functions in the car, like a working engine and transmission, still blows my mind." For information, go to: http://www.crowkillers.com.
Read the original article: http://www.technicbricks.com/2012/09/tbs-techtalk-9-with-paul-boratko.html
We know the work you have been developing as a builder of amazing large Technic cars, transmissions and engine sub models. We have been delighted with these since years!
TBs: In order to help us better understand how does the LEGO hobby fits in your life, tell us a bit about what you do for a living, how long have you been carrying your passion for fast cars, and where does it come from?
PB: I currently work for my Father's Autobody shop which he has owned and operated for around 35 years, so I basically grew up around cars of all makes and models, especially high performance muscle cars.
TBs: I remember to have seen your Technic cars for the first time, years ago at your Brickshelf folder. Likely about when you built your first Super Deluxe in 2006.
Despite I always admiring most of them, I must confess my impression at the time was that most of your cars made use of an exaggerated number of body parts, to give them a more realistic look.
Since then you have made a short way towards a more "conventional", or should I say "official" building style, like the one used by the LEGO Designers in their official models. This is something we can observe mainly since your Lamborghini Gallardo model.
Can you tell us about your journey regarding this matter? How and when did you feel the need to make this change, if it was intentional?
PB: Yes, it was intentional. Around the same time that Lego acquired the Lamborghini License, they also released the new style of Panel Fairings. While watching my wife build the 8258 Crane Truck set, and seeing the news parts including the new 5 x 7 open center liftarm along with the new panels, I knew that I had to start designing a new car using these new parts. I had anticipated that Lego probably had a "Racer" themed Technic version of a Lamborghini in the works like they had done with the 8145 Fiorano and 8653 Enzo, so I wanted to try and really focus on doing a Lambo of my own in the style that a real Lego Designer would do to compare to the set model that I "Thought" Lego would be releasing. My first step was ordering a 1:18 scale die-cast model to get all of the dimensions from and after that, I Spent a solid month designing the chassis doing my best to use techniques that were practical, Legal, and proportionally correct and faithfull to the real car. I am still really surprised that we have never seen an official model in the Technic theme using the Lamborghini License.
TBs: Looking at your first building phase (I'd say, from your Custom AWD till about the 1967 Mustang), can you choose a car you would like to highlight?
Maybe the one that offered the most challenges to build, or to achieve the shapes and functionality you was looking for at that period?
PB: To be honest, I really don't think that I learned to build properly until I did the Gallardo. I look back at how I used to build and realize that while some of the models were ok, but they were nothing special. The Yellow Deluxe Supercar from 2006 was probably the best thing that I had done during that time frame. Quite a few people have told me that was their favorite car. It incorporated a lot of different mechanisms including the Flex cable system that operated the headlights.
At left one of the initial versions from Paul in Red color, and the Withe Gallardo with black roof built in the past few days, as it should have always been.
The black chrome wheels fit amazingly wheel.
TBs: Among your latest models, we know which one is your favorite! Besides that, in your journey can you tell us which one was the most striking car to build and which one gave you the biggest feel of self-accomplishment, at the time? Why?
PB: Well, the new Porsche 997 GT3 was a request build for a friend in Spain and even though it didn't have the most features and functions, from the positive responses at shows and through e-mails/comments online, I felt pretty good about the Porsche.
TBs: Have you ever used one of the LEGO Technic official supercars, as a source of inspiration for new ideas and to start building one of your cars (the chassis or whatsoever)? Or even a car designed by another LEGO fan?
If so, which LEGO car has inspired you, to build which of your models?
PB: A bit of both because he started as a Lego fan, but turned designer, and that was Nathanael Kuipers. I got heavily back into Lego again when the 8448 came out and then when I seen Nathanael's GT Car, I was sold that Lego was going to be part of my life again. Guys like Paul Kmiec, Fernando (Sheepo), and Nathanael motivate me to try and push the envelope every time that they release a new model. I think we all have a very friendly competitiveness about us.
TBs: Most of your recent cars are 1:10 scale, but LEGO still provides a few wheel solutions for building larger cars. What do you think about trying a larger scale?
PB: I used to build in a larger scale, but I decided to change it up and go smaller because the larger wheels were getting harder to find and I wanted to start building models that had most parts (especially the wheels) that were easily obtainable to people who may want to also build the model. If Lego introduces new larger low profile tires/wheels in the future, I will most definitely go up in scale again... I think the last 1:8 car that I did was a 1969 Camaro 2 years ago.
TBs: As you love cars, have you ever considered designing some different sort of Technic cars? I mean a F1 car or even some kind of Off-Road vehicle?
PB: I started building a Truck chassis with independent rare trailing arm suspension, but I lost interest in it. I am sure that at some point I will try to do something else.
TBs: Or have you ever considered trying a totally different style of building, to give form to your creations? For instance something like Firas Abu-Jaber's cars?
PB: Firas is one of my favorite builders in the world with system elements, but I don't have any desire to switch up building styles. I'll just sit back and admire his amazing work as I do with Sariel's (Paul Kmiec) combination of System and Technic.
TBs: I'd divide the creation of cars like yours, in two main challenges. The chassis with its subparts and functions (suspension, steering and transmission) and the aesthetics in the form of body work.
Which of these is more important to you? Which one challenges you most or in which one do you invest more of your creative time?
PB: It's probably and even split, for example with the Vampire GT, It took me 3 month to get the Gearbox right. I was showing the prototype to some guys at Brickfair in August 2011, but I didn't get it perfected until September. After that at one point I spent 2 weeks getting just the doors of the car right. I usually try to start with something new in a car as the initial concept and build around that and normally it is the gearbox.
TBs: Which one of your cars was most difficult to create, or to achieve the exterior look and functionality you were aiming for?
PB: Easily the Porsche because the pressure was on the get it right and it was supposed to represent the "real" car. I like to think that I nailed the chassis being practical and functional, but the achieving the curves and style was really tough in that scale. I am not going to lie, there were many times that I was ready to give up on it. I can remember so many times being heavily motivated to start working on a certain part of the car and then 6 hours later I had nothing done, I would go to bed and wake up and walk through the dining room and stare at the accomplishments that I didn't make the night before.
During building many of my cars, my wife would walk into the room and she could always tell when I was frustrated and ask "What is wrong?" and I would tell her the problem, and she would always say, "You'll figure it out, you always do."
My wife is my real inspiration. Even though I was building before I met her, It is hard to say if I would still even be building had we never met.
TBs: Almost all of your cars have a more conventional or innovative transmission gearbox. Although two of your most iconic cars didn't get one, which is probably one of the fundamental features to really put a Technic car into the Supercars category.
You know I'm talking about the Gallardo and Murciélago Lambos. What prevented you from trying a gearbox in these?
PB: 2 things, the scale was too small to properly add the type of gearbox those cars required and when I built the Gallardo, I was trying to build a car that could possibly rival a "racer/Technic" style car that Lego may have released. I actually offered the Gallardo Model design to Lego several different times before I ever posted pictures of it online, but as expected it was denied.
To be honest, I only built the Murcielago because people were complaining about the lack of suspension in the Gallardo and that the steering wheel didn't work. And I really wanted to do another car in Yellow, this time using the new styled panels. I don't think the types of gearboxes that those 2 cars have in real life are possible to do correctly in that scale without failure. I toyed around with linkage transmissions years ago, but there is too much monkeying around with them to engage the gears properly.
TBs: While you are a talented builder you don't seem to master other skills from this digital era, like other builders do. However you managed to attract others to cooperate with you and help to highlight your work. I'm talking about the amazing work with the recreation of crowkillers.com by your webmaster, and cooperation from Eric Albretch (Blakbird) and Jurgen Krooshop in preparing building instructions for your models.
How do you feel by gathering such enthusiasm around your work?
PB: I am just more "Hands on" when it comes to everything. Juanjo Montilla from Spain is my webmaster now and he contacted me out of the blue last December and showed me an amazing new design concept for my website, which is 100X better than it previously was.
I have to admit, the first time that I have ever been blown away was when Eric Albrecht contacted me back in 2009 and told me that he had build my Gallardo in CAD and sent me a few JPG pictures. It was very overwhelming to me and still is. I still can't believe how fast Eric works with those programs. Jurgen is equally amazing and has real talent in building. I really envy and respect those guys.
TBs: What usually makes a bigger challenge for you - To create cars like the Vampire GT and SupercarDeluxe models [1, 2] out of your imagination, or to replicate real cars like you have done with Ford Mustang, the Chevys (Camaro [3, 4], Corvette), Porsche and the Lambos (Gallardo, Murciélago)?
PB: That's a tough question because you can build your custom models around your mechanisms and then base the appearance around that, but when trying to replicate a real car, you can't do this as easily without losing the quality of the overall look, which is extremely important. When I do my own custom model, I really try and put more emphasis on new features that work properly. I can't really say one way or the other which is more difficult overall, but aesthetically it is more difficult to get an actual car model built due to the majority of the panels being triangular shaped.
TBs: Have you ever imagined how the Vampire GT would look like if he became a real car out of the drawing board of some designer?
PB: I actually did some sketches of the Vampire GT after I built it, as what it could actually look like if it were an actual car. They were the first drawings that I had done in a long time. I think they are still posted at my folder at brickshelf.
TBs: And if by means of CUUSOO it turns into a LEGO official set – Can you imagine which changes might be introduced by the LEGO designers?
PB: I would imagine that they would keep in the color and the gearbox since it works so well and probably the dash switch which also works pretty nicely. There would probably be a lot of pins and other parts removed that they felt were not necessary. The key to this design (and it's name) Is the color, the doors, and the gearbox. I would just be happy if Lego would bring back the 19L Flexible axles in Black, which are as rare and rare can get.
TBs: I believe that for a CUUSOO project like the Vampire GT, it is a matter of time until it reaches the 10.000 supporters.
If you really gets there, have you already though about what to expect from the LEGO review? Are you prepared to face an eventual 'No-Go'? In which circumstances do you think it could happen?
PB: If they reject the design, then they reject it, the model has already gained quite a bit of publicity around the net both on and off of Lego related sites. It would be a little devastating because this project has been a ton of work just to get it to 2,000 supports without a license backing it and since most Lego builders write Technic off as an actually being real Lego. By the time it gets to 10,000 supports, I'll probably have a better model (or two) done by then anyways.
TBs: Besides the symbolic prices asked for the building instructions from some of your models, selling at eBay and your own website, once you faced some criticism from other community builders. Although some other builders also sell their own instructions.
How do you feel about that? Do you think it is a fate from the top builders, because of some jealousy created around them, or there are just too many people thinking that everything should come for free?
PB: I think there is some of that going on in all of the Lego community, not just the Technic field. People see that you ask a small fee for a download, but they fail to realize the amount of time that instructions take to do, especially when it is a collaboration between people from 2 parts of your own country, or even 2 different countries. While I ask for compensation for some of my instructions, I also give back to the Lego community in a multitude of ways.
The whole jealousy issue from fans of some builders is something that I would like to see stop though. Before my website got revamped, I was getting a ton of hate messages from other builder's fans. So when Juanjo came up with my new website design, the main thing that I wanted to do was have a Friend's Wall with links that not only took you to some of the more popular builder's websites, but the link was also a picture that showcased a piece of their work.
I try to be the first guy to comment on some of the top builder's new projects, especially since I have so much respect for many of them.
TBs: Often, others have copied your models based on the same instructions, to make profit on eBay selling them.
How do you feel about that and what do you think that can be done to prevent this?
Is it possible to report such auctions and make eBay to cancel them?
PB: I used to worry about this years ago, but anymore I don't really care. If someone has a bit of fun building something that I did and tries to make a profit from it, then more power to them. As long as they are not selling the actual instructions, I have no problem with it. I don't think that there is really anything that can be done about it anyways.
TBs: Besides the building instructions you sell, occasionally you have been selling also some kits from your models at eBay. It means a lot of time and effort, to gather all the required elements. Is it a mean to promote your work, or do you have any other objectives to fulfill?
PB: Selling kits was purely a method to promote my work. There is really very little money to be made in selling Technic kits. It is far too much work ordering parts from 20 different people just to resell them at a small profit. A fine example is the Concept car kit that I did to promote Nathanael Kuipers' Concept Car instructions last year. After all of the Fees from Ebay and Paypal were taken out and the cost of the parts (not to mention the time acquiring them) I think Nathanäel and I split like $125. Hardly worth the time and effort, but it did help the promotion of his instructions.
TBs: How did you get the idea to run an auction for charity, with the proceedings going to benefit the "Make a Wish" foundation?
PB: I was asked to do a Lego Kidsfest event back in June 2011 in Pittsburgh, which is near my hometown. I think it was the first session on Saturday where a man and a young boy who appeared to be around 12 or 13 walked past the array of cars that I had on display and the boy had whispered something to his father. The father then asked me if it would be alright if he could take a picture of his son holding one of my cars, he said that he and his son had seen my work online and they couldn't believe that I was actually there. Without hesitation, I told him of course, and asked which one. His son pointed to my Red Gallardo and I handed it to him. His father said "Don't worry, if he drops it, I'll pay you for it", to which I replied, "Don't worry, my models are stronger than typical ones and can easily be fixed". The boy then handed the car back to me and his father said, "Thank you, today is my son's 21st Birthday".
I was really humbled and taken by that moment as I knew that I had made a special connection with a young man that had some problems. That entire incident was burned into my brain for the duration of the Kidsfest weekend and as soon as I got back home, I knew that I just had to start doing Charity work and Make-A-Wish was the right way to go. Maybe the $1,626 that the Vampire GT raised back in May fulfilled a kid's wish to go to Legoland.
TBs: Which is your most favorite official LEGO supercar or alike?
PB: Easily the 8448 Street Sensation. Believe it or not, that was actually the last official Lego set that I had built some 13 years ago. My wife is the set builder in the house and I get the sets she doesn't like added to my inventory. Nathanael's GT Car was my biggest inspiration to start building cars though. I also built Nathanael's Concept car from his instructions to take to shows here in the U.S. to promote it.
This couple split the tasks at home! She builds the LEGO sets, he builds the MOCs.
TBs: Which is your preferred LEGO Technic part? Why?
PB: Probably the 2 x 4 L-shaped liftarm. It is a great part to add stability and has the axle hole to get multiple uses out of.
TBs: If you could influence the re-release of LEGO parts, we know at least some you would ask for! [5, 6]
It wouldn't be the first time, some parts were effectively re-released after your "demand" . Just keep asking!...
But if, instead, you could suggest a design for a new Technic part, which one would you like to suggest? Can you describe it?
Feel free to tell us, if you would have more than one to suggest...
PB: I would really like to see a 3L thin liftarm with 3 axle holes. Currently the only piece similar to this is the thin cam which also has a ½ stud axle hole which can be useful, but the shape can be impractical. It is also high time to introduce a whole slew of new technic clutch gears to do a gearbox that is more simplistic. Most of the gearboxes built in Lego are far more advanced than they need to be, but due to limitations of clutch gears, they are forced to be.
Oh yeah, 8 tooth gear needs a redesign because it has some issues sliding on axles and into the holes of liftarms.
TBs: Which is the next car in which you're currently working?
PB: I am working on 2 things, a new gearbox concept for a car that is probably going to be a complete original custom for next year and another car that only features steering and a rear wheel drive train with front mounted engine. It sounds boring, but it is going to be something that I don't think has ever been done before. This one is probably going to take me more time to do than any car that I have ever done.
TBs: Can you tell us a car which you still have not done, but you'd like so much to do?
PB: I would really like to redo the 5th gen Camaro that I did back in 2007/2008. Much to my surprise, that model ended up on every car forum overnight, but looking back, I know now that it could have been done much much better.
TBs: Just to close, which is your actual real car, the previous one and which would like to have in the future if you can afford to buy it?
PB: I currently drive a 1996 Camaro Z28 (In the summer) which I have owned since day one (and dropped a ton of money into over the years) Someday, I would like to pick up a 2006 Pontiac GTO or a Yellow 2002 Pontiac Trans-Am WS6.
TBs: Hey, hey… wait, wait!! Just one last…
What is the origin of the "Crowkillers" nickname? Is there a story behind it?
PB: Back in the mid 90's I was about 23, and worked as a kitchen manager for a restaurant chain and our store was located near a large cemetery. There were tens of thousands of crows that inhabited this cemetery. Around 1997 we began to have problems with the crows attacking the employees and some of the guests. My cousin worked there and took garbage out one day and a dozen or so crows flew out of the dumpster and attacked him. Since I was in charge of the Back of the house, it was my duty to take care of this crow problem.
The next day I took my pellet rifle to work and began shooting at the crows. Unknown to me a Crow's feathers are like armor and they are very hard to take down. Over the course of the next year I was shooting at them, chasing them around in my car early in the morning before the store opened, and even throwing snowballs at them. Once I hit one in mid flight with a wicked (Lucky) curveball and brought him down. I dropped down to my knees and threw my hands up in the air like I had just won a Gold Medal.
The crow squawked at me and flew away, and when I got up off of my knees and turned around, about 6 guys who worked at the car wash next to our restaurant were shaking their heads back and forth in disbelief of what appeared to be a crazy man provoking these birds. So everyone began calling me "The Crowkiller"and the guys from the car wash would say "Hey, Crowkillers is here" when I would arrive at work. Various people were also commenting that they always seemed to hear crows cawing and squawking when I was around. I didn't notice it much, because I had gotten so used to it.
The following year some very odd things began to happen. The crows started waiting for me when I got off of work. And when I say that they were waiting for me, there would literally be 4 or 5 of them on the rear spoiler of my Camaro squawking at me when I would walk out of the back door from work. They also began following me home. One morning in the fall, I was awakened at 6:30 in the morning to extremely loud cawing coming from the rear of my house. When I opened the back door, the leafless trees were completely full of crows, At least 1,000, maybe even more. This is when I began to realize that I had gotten in over my head with these intelligent creatures.
Later that day when I got in my car and started it up, the crows in the trees cleared out like a swarm of angry bees and several of the birds followed me up to work (I could see them flying overhead through my glass T-tops). When I got to work I told some of my fellow employees what was happening and one of my good friends said "Paul, you got to leave those birds alone, you can't win"
Right then and there I decided that it would be in my best interest to make peace with these birds who had me greatly outnumbered. The "Crowkillers" name stuck with me since then, but the funny thing is, I don't think that I ever actually killed one.
TBs: Paul, thanks a lot for your time and keep building great cars!
Posted by Fernando Correia at Monday, September 10, 2012
Labels: Builders (Paul Boratko; Crowkillers), Interviews, TBs TechTalk