Product Idea |

Nemo: Orange Clown Fish


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Bring Nemo and Marlin to life with this Orange Clown Fish Technic model, a challenging and rewarding building experience for the 11+ age group.

Watch the teaser video to see Nemo in action!

Main features:
  • Clown fish with remote-controlled pectoral fins, tail, mouth and gills.
  • Tilting supports and turntable stand, disguised as a rock or coconut shell.
  • Anemone with moving tentacles.
  • Sea bed section with reef plants and coral.
  • Extra fin; swap large and small sizes for character play.

Measurements LxWxH:
  • 48cm x 37cm x 34cm for clown fish built as Marlin.
  • 48cm x 32cm x 34cm for clown fish built as Nemo.
  • 31cm x 26cm table area for sea bed with anemone.

Motorised functions with remote control:
  • Pectoral fins with cyclic motion in two degrees of freedom.
  • Folding of the pectoral fins.
  • Tail swish with reciprocating motion.
  • Mouth and gills with cyclic motion.
  • Function gear change (options for motor or manual).

Manual functions:
  • Tilt with winding handle.
  • Wide-angle turn, currently at least 180 degrees.
  • Move the anemone tentacles by turning a gear on the side.
  • Swap Nemo's "Lucky Fin" for a full-size one as Marlin or another member of the species.

Real Clown Fish life functions:
  • Guarding the eggs: with tilt level, maintain position in the current with pectoral fin movement.
  • Housekeeping: nibble the anemone with downward tilt and mouth movement.
  • Swimming: with upward tilt, fold the pectoral fins and use tail movement.

Stories in the "Finding Dory" theme:
  • Marlin's Nursery.  Build Marlin with two large pectoral fins.  In the generation before Nemo was born, Marlin guards the eggs and the newly-hatched fry as they make their way to the anemone.  Marlin thinks about moving home as the anemone is small.
  • Nemo grows up and has a family of his own.  Use the small right pectoral fin as Nemo's "Lucky Fin".
  • The original "Finding Nemo" story: Marlin finds just one egg, which becomes Nemo.
  • A "Finding Dory" theme: "Just keep swimming" with either the pectoral fins or the tail in continuous motion.

Watch the 11-minute demonstration video to see all the functions in action:

As a premium product, a booklet explaining Clown Fish life could be included.  The leading male (Marlin) guards the eggs till they hatch.  The newly-hatched fry have to get to safety; they would swim upwards to join the plankton or may hide in the anemone.  Housekeeping and feeding involve nibbling the anemone and blowing away debris.  Slow-speed movement and maintaining position in the current use the pectoral fins.  For faster movements the fish fold their pectoral fins and swish their tails.

The Clown Fish is scaled up by 4 or 5 to 1; there is a Clown Fish plush toy of similar size and the upscaling allows realistic moving features to be built into the model.  The sea bed environment is a small representative section, keeping the focus on the technical aspects of the set; the decorative features can be varied to suit the price point.  The Orange Clown Fish uses around 2000 pieces.  The set would have 2000-3000 pieces, depending on the amount of sea bed plants.  The price point would be similar to the Porsche 42056 or Off-Road Buggy 42099, less costly and more convenient than caring for a real fish.  There is potential for sponsorship through the Finding Dory film franchise, just as other large Technic sets are sponsored by vehicle manufacturers.

Model Development Plan:
  • A function gearbox upgrade is already underway.
  • Use Powered-Up motors and hub, beginning with the 2-port hub.  This would provide options for remote control with a train handset or phone app, and programmability with the Control+ app.  The L-motor shaft encoder index function could select the function gears precisely.
  • As a product there would be options for fish training challenges in an app, similar to the challenges in existing products; the fish challenges would guide the builder through using the life functions and film themes.  There might be different challenges for Nemo and Marlin, just as the BOOST sets add bricks for each challenge.

The initial model has all the motorised functions working with Power Functions, using 2 motors, 1 infra-red receiver and 1 battery pack; this ensured that the four motorised functions and gear selection work well and fit within the body shape.  I would like to improve some gear ratios and the gear selection and will try the Powered-Up hub and motors, which would be same-size replacements.  The fish itself could perform all its motorised functions with a 2-port hub for a similar price. The option of a 4-port hub and 4 motors would be more expensive.  The ultimate Powered-Up development could add another 4-port hub and 3 extra motors for the tilt, turn and anemone as well, but this would double the price.  I would like to ask supporters to leave comments with their control preferences because the model can be adapted.

I don't often use stickers but used one to complete the white stripe across the front orange panel.  Black stripes between the orange and white sections could be added to the final model with stickers.  The model would benefit from a few part colour changes if they were available: Technic 5M Half Beam (32017) in white, T-Beam 3x3 (60484) in white, Technic Cross Block/Fork 2x2 (41678) in white and Technic Lever 2M (41677) in orange; these are not critical.

The Orange Clown Fish model aims to open up LEGO Technic to people with a wider range of interests, including nature, animals and the environment, and those who may have used a BOOST set and would like a further challenge beyond its 7-12 age bracket.  For those who like to build Technic vehicle sets, the fish provides variety, using some similar mechanisms for different purposes to create realistic movements.  I hope it would give more people the skills and confidence to consider engineering as an interest or even a career.

I would like Creatures to become a regular sub-theme of Technic alongside construction machines, farm machinery, robots, racers, trucks and aircraft.  This would help the Technic theme to balance its focus in an age where care for creatures and the environment is as important as technology.  Further creature ideas would each find a size to justify their respective costs with their numbers of working functions.

Please support this project, especially if you would like a challenging build with a natural theme.

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