Land Rover Defender | Picture Special

We love it when builders gets in contact with us here at TLCB. Firstly it means a few people actually read the ‘inane blather’ (to quote a comment by a reader) that streams from the hovel that is TLCB Towers, and secondly because it sometimes unearths incredible creations.

Case in point is Zeta Racing, who recently messaged us on Facebook. We recommended Flickr as a tool for sharing his creations and bam! – We now have no less than five unbelievable builds to blog.

This is the third, Zeta’s magnificent fully RC Land Rover Defender, and it – like the two builds already featured here – is a work of engineering brilliance.

Zeta has captured the aesthetic of a moderately modified Defender 110 brilliantly, with a lift kit, snorkel, roof cage, tow bar, and more all represented in Lego form. The doors, hood and tailgate all open, and there’s a superbly detailed interior inside too.

It’s what’s underneath that’s most impressive though, with Zeta’s model equipped with a complete Technic Supercar drivetrain (engine, gearbox, suspension, and steering), and full remotely controlled motorisation.

Power Functions motors drive the four-wheel-drive system (which also turns the accurate inline 4-cylinder engine under the hood) and control the working steering, with superbly accurate suspension allowing the power to be used both on and off-road.

Four IR receivers are hidden in the cabin, allowing control of the aforementioned drive and steering, and also – by our guess – a motorised gearbox and front-mounted winch too.

It’s a stunning build, immediately jumping into the Technic off-roader All-Time Greats list, and there’s a whole lot more of the build to see at Zeta Racing’s Flickr photostream by clicking here. And there are still two further incredible creations to come…

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Mid-Engined Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette has finally gone mid-engined. This is not it, but it is built only from the parts found within the front-engined 42093 Technic Chevrolet Corvette set, so it’s kind of a mid-engined Corvette. Sorta.

Whatever you want to call it, it is a rather good B-Model, coming from previous bloggee Horcik Designs and featuring functioning steering and a working mid-mounted V6 engine.

There’s more to see at the Eurobricks forum, where you can also find a link to building instructions should you wish to convert your own 42093 Corvette set into a mid-engined Corvette. That’s not a Corvette. But now could be.

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Concept_One

Usually when a new hypercar company starts up and claims to have designed a 1,000bhp car that can drive to the moon, the automotive world has a laugh, and goes back to buying Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Croatian start-up manufacturer Rimac however, have confounded expectations.

Firstly because they are indeed a manufacturer, having actually produced and sold their designs, and secondly because their cars are so ground-breaking that automotive giants are courting them as partners.

Porsche and Hyundai have bought shares in Rimac, and the company produces electrified components for Aston Martin, Koenigsegg, Pininfarina, and even Seat’s concept racing car.

It’s the car we have here that created such a stir, their 2013 Concept_One. Just ten units were produced (with nine remaining thanks to The Grand Tour crashing one), and with over 1,200bhp and a motor in each wheel, the Concept_One was the fastest accelerating electric vehicle at the time of its launch, completing 0-60mph in a little over two seconds.

Previous bloggee Vibor Cavor (aka Veeborg)‘s Model Team recreation can’t do that (unless you put it in a real Rimac Concept_One), but it does include almost everything else, including a replica removable battery in the ‘spine’ of the car complete with four brick-built motors.

Vibor might be able to put his creation inside a real Concept_One though as he lives just fifteen minutes from Rimac’s base in Sveta Nedelja. Head to Vibor’s photostream via the link above o see more of his Concept-One replica, and click here if you’d like to see why ten became nine…

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Numero Uno Turbo

It’s the 1980s and literally everything has got ‘Turbo’ written on it. Aftershave, sunglasses, and – as of 1985 – even Fiat shopping cars. The Fiat Uno Turbo i.e. did actually feature a turbo too, with an IHI unit, complete with intercooler, fitted to its 1.3 litre engine.

Power jumped to 105bhp, which may not sound a lot (and isn’t), but ’80s Italian cars had the structural integrity of a paper bag, and thus were almost comically light. This gave the Uno Turbo a 127mph top speed and a 0-60 time of 7 seconds, which was properly quick for the time. We just don’t want to think about crashing one…

Fortunately Fiat had an answer, creating the Uno Turbo i.e. ‘Antiskid’, which was equipped with a rudimentary form of ABS. It’s this version that Zeta Racing has chosen to recreate – beautifully – in Technic form, adding another stunning ’80s Italian hot hatchback to his catalogue, following the incredible Lancia Delta HF Integrale’s published here yesterday.

Like the Lancias, Zeta’s Uno Turbo replicates the real car with jaw-dropping authenticity, including a full ‘Technic Supercar’ driveline consisting of a transverse 4-cylinder engine, suspension, steering, and gearbox, all motorised via LEGO Power Functions components.

The model also includes a fantastically realistic interior, with folding seats, a tilting sunroof, and some rather ingenious seatbelts that we suspect we’ll see on a lot more Technic creations after this is published. Opening doors, hood and hatchback complete the model, and there’s loads more to see at Zeta Racing’s photostream.

Click the link above to make the jump to Flickr for all the photos, whilst we squash down our hankering to buy one of these tiny tinny Italian deathtraps*…

*It seems that improbably thin Italian steel didn’t survive UK winters very well. Just a dozen Fiat Uno Turbo’s are left on UK roads, and only two ‘Antiskid’ versions. They may have crashed less, but they rusted just us much…

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Breaking into Heaven*

We’re sure the proper Lego blogs will pick this up soon, but until then this is Nick Trotta (aka tardisblue)‘s ‘Heavenly Strike’, which sounds like a church bowling team. We know nothing about sci-fi, so we’ll have to leave the description there, but what we can say is that Nick’s starfighter contains one of the most fiendishly intricate structures that we have ever seen. Head to Flickr to see more, including the amazing images that show how such complex angles were created.

*Today’s brilliant title song.

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Positively Charged

Formula 1 is looking increasingly out of place by the day. Despite the return of some great tracks in 2020 and the addition of some new ones (thanks to Coronavirus), the multitude of penalties, strict development regulations, huge costs, and one-team dominance often make it not very fun at all.

Worse, it seems manufacturers can’t translate the sport to the products people actually buy. Honda have announced their departure, just as they have a decent engine after years of struggle. Williams, once a dominant force, have handed themselves over to an equity company in a desperate bid to not be completely crap. And Ferrari… well they’re still earning a disproportionally huge revenue and marketing cigarettes to children.

So what alternatives are there for racing fans? The WRC is becoming cool again, but is still in the shadow of its glory days, WEC/Le Mans would be fantastic if more than one manufacturer could build a top-tier car, and NASCAR is still blobs driving round in a circle. Which leaves Formula E… We know we know, it used to be awful, but hear us out.

No less than nine of the twelve teams are backed by manufacturers, including BMW, Porsche, Nissan, and even Jaguar, and gone are the ridiculous days of drivers having to change cars mid-way through the race because the batteries were too small to last race distance.

The batteries are a common part shared between all teams however, along with the the chassis and aero – which we think is a shame as all the cars look exactly the same – but the motors, inverter, gearbox, and software to run it all are team-specific. The stupid fan-boost remains, but apart from that it’s really starting to look rather good, with the current Formula E cars called ‘Gen 2 Evo’ to ensure their differences to the formula’s  slightly rubbish beginnings are clear.

It’s one of these Formula E ‘Gen 2 Evo’ cars that we have here today, as built by previous bloggee R. Skittle and featuring its own electric propulsion thanks to LEGO’s new Powered-Up bluetooth system. A full gallery of over twenty images is available to view and you can charge over to Flickr via the link to take a closer look. Which it might be worth doing with the actual Formula E too…

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Man Over Board!

We’re not hopeful of this mini-figure’s safe return. Or the fate of the rest of the crew to be honest. James Pegrum is the builder behind this spectacular scene, in which a tall ship looks certain to lose its battle with an angry slate grey ocean. Look on at the tragedy unfolding via the link above.

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Lancia Delta HF Integrale – Picture Special

The most remarkable Italian car manufacturer is not Ferrari. Lancia’s story is one of incredible technical innovation, fantastic racing cars, an appalling corrosion scandal, and now – effectively – their death at the hands of a parent company that really should try harder.

However even during Lancia’s painful decline they still produced the best cars in the world. This is one of them, the amazing Delta HF Integrale.

Based on Lancia’s 1980 ‘European Car of the Year’-winning family hatchback, the HF Integrale added turbocharging and all-wheel-drive, and in doing so became the most successful rally car in history. By the time it was retired the HF Integrale had won six consecutive Constructors World Championships (a record that is still unbeaten), fuelling the sales of over forty thousand road-going versions.

These two incredible recreations of the HF Integrale are the work of newcomer Zeta Racing, and they are – without doubt – some of the best Technic Supercars that we have ever published.

Each is spectacularly detailed both inside and out, merging both Technic and System parts to create an almost unbelievable level of realism. Stunning period-correct decals add to the authenticity, yet the exteriors – astonishing though they are – aren’t the most impressive aspect of Zeta Racing’s builds. For that you need to look underneath…

Hidden within each build is some of the most brilliant Technic engineering we’ve seen, with both Deltas qualifying for ‘Technic Supercar’ status, with working steering, gearboxes, highly detailed transversely-mounted inline 4-cylinder engines, and working suspension. But the functionally does not stop there.

Each model is also fully remote controlled thanks to LEGO Power Functions motors, operating the drive, steering, gears, and – if we’ve interpreted the images correctly – equipping Zeta’s creations with working brakes too.

It seems that in Zeta Racing we may have found our favourite new builder of 2020, and if you agree you can take a look at both his white and black Lancia Delta HF Integrales via the links, where you can also add yourself to his current ‘follower’ count of one (which is only us at present).

Zeta Racing has also uploaded several other astonishing Technic Supercars alongside these two incredible HF Integales, mostly of the Italian hatchback variety, which we’ll be publishing here over the coming days. Check back here for more soon, including some you may never have heard of…

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Hog-on-a-Harley

The U.S. police seem to have a tough job at the moment. Guns are everywhere, the right are protesting something about how masks are un-American, and the left are setting fire to stuff because that definitely eradicates racism. Definitely.

Still, they do at least get some cool kit. Well, Peter Schmid‘s cops do anyway, being equipped with this wonderfully fat Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Delightful detailing and decals abound and there’s more to see of Peter’s creation at his photostream – click the link above to take a look.

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Talking Crap

Some commenters have written in to tell us that we are – basically – manure spreaders here at TLCB. Which is true, although they do seem to only state this when we highlight Russia or America‘s shortcomings. We’re pretty sure the rest of the time we spout just as much crap too…

Anyhoo, this post is for them, being an actual manure spreader! It’s a Bunning Lowlander 105 Mk4 to be precise, as built (brilliantly) by Michal Skorupka (aka Eric Trax).

Impressive as the poo-thrower is though, we’re sure most of you are more interested in what’s pulling it, which is a fully remote controlled Case 1455 XL tractor complete with four Power Functions motors.

Drive comes from an L Motor, a Servo controls the steering, and two further M Motors power both the rear PTO (that here is used to spin the Bunning Lowlander’s muck-spreading shafts and conveyor belt) and the tractor’s three-point hitch mechanism.

The model features beautiful attention to detail too, enhanced by superbly accurate custom decals, and there’s a whole lot more to see at Michal’s ‘CASE 1455 XL & Bunning Lowlander 105 Mk4 album‘ on Flickr, and at the Eurobricks discussion forum, both of which include links to a video showing the model in action and to building instructions, so you can spread some crap at home!

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The World’s Most Expensive Recovery Truck

This astonishing creation is a fully working replica of the U.S Glomar Explorer, constructed by Master MOCer and world-renowned builder Paweł ‘Sariel’ Kmieć, and you’re in for a truly remarkable story…

It’s 1968, and the Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129 has been lost with all 98 crew, plummeting over 16,000ft to the ocean floor. It’s just a few years after the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War is very real indeed. The Soviet Union is looking for its lost submarine, but 150 miles in the wrong place. The U.S. however, knows where it is…

And so begins one the strangest and most expensive recovery efforts in history, as the CIA commission the building of a ship designed solely to pluck the wreck of K-129 from the seabed to learn its secrets, without the Soviet Union knowing.

Costing $1.4billion, it was one seriously expensive recovery truck, although of course its true purpose was hidden behind a ‘drilling for magenese’ cover story, fronted by millionaire aviator and film-maker Howard Hughes.

Six years later and the 50,000 ton 600ft long ship was ready. Named the Transocean Glomar Explorer, it was positioned above the wreck using radio beacons (GPS being some way off) and the CIA began the enormous recovery of the 330ft, 2,700 long ton (before it was filled with water) nuclear-armed submarine.

A giant claw dropped through a moon pool in the centre of the ship, gripping the wreck of K-129 and winching it to the surface. However during the 16,500ft ascent a mechanical failure occurred, and two thirds of the submarine broke loose and sunk back to the ocean floor, taking with it the sought-after nuclear missiles and code book. However, two nuclear-tipped torpedoes and cryptographic machines were recovered, along with the bodes of six crew members, which were not returned to the Soviet Union, but back to the sea.

The Glomar Explorer was purposeless after the mission was (partly) completed, and in 1976 it transferred to the U.S Navy for storage in a dry-dock. In 1978 however, the ship was leased to test prototype deep sea mining equipment, before being converted to a drilling ship in the 1990s. It was finally scrapped in 2015.

Recreating this incredible feat of engineering is Sariel, whose floating brick-built replica of the Glomar Explorer measures over 3 metres in length, uses 60kg of LEGO pieces, and can really (partly) recover a lost Soviet submarine, thanks to a fully working recreation of the monumental grapple crane fitted to the real ship.

We won’t write too much more here as there’s really only one way to appreciate this spectacular build – take a look at the video above (or click here to find it in the Eurobricks discussion), and watch how one of the most impressive Lego creations of all time was built, and how it can recover nearly all of a brick-built submarine from the bottom of a swimming pool…

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Beautiful Letdown

It amazes this TLCB writer how many Range Rovers there are around TLCB Towers.

These massively-financed, privately-plated wealth statements are rather beautiful of course, both inside and out, and particularly so when compared to rivals such as this abomination. Or this one. Or this one.

However Range Rovers remain a triumph of brand image and beauty over substance, being some of the worst built and most unreliable products you can buy anywhere in the world, with near-Tesla levels of shoddy workmanship.

Perhaps both Land Rover and Tesla the best automotive examples of the shallowness of our social media society, one that values exterior sheen and a projection of success over substance or quality. And, looking at the numbers, maybe they’re on to something…

Thus our preference would be this neat Speed Champions style version of the Range Rover Velar, as built by TLCB regular SP_LINEUP. SP has captured the sleek SUV superbly, and not being constructed by JLR it’s sure to be far better constructed and more reliable than the real thing.

Head to Flickr via the link above to see more of one Range Rover Velar that won’t fall apart.

*Today’s title song.

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Cream Wrangler

Today’s title might sound like some sort of dairy-based burglar, but we’re actually referring to this most excellent 6-wide Jeep Wrangler TJ by regular bloggee 1saac W, which comes coloured in an unusual cream and light brown combo.

Cunning parts usage including mini-figure hands for mirror brackets, half of a Lego lever for wiper arms, and a whole lot of sideways clear 1×2 plates make this one of the most realistic small scale Wranglers we’ve seen, and there’s more to see of 1saac’s cream 4×4 on Flickr via the link.

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Competition Coupe

Inspired by a drag racing shop local to him, Tim Henderson has recreated this vintage dragster that competed in the ‘Competition Coupe’ class. It’s inspired by the real dragster Lil’ Honker and there’s more to see on Flickr via the link.

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Pestilence

This horrifying creation is ‘Pestilence’, a spindly mech described thusly by its creator; “Cries of suffering echo from the wake of this Horseman’s travels. No area of the planet is spared as contaminate spreads far and wide from the bowels of this mechanical beast”.

We would say thankfully it’s only sci-fi, but it’s probably more accurate to say it’s more like a mechanised DuPont; whose carcinogenic pollutant from producing teflon is now in every single organism on earth, or Volkswagen; who knowingly poisoned the air breathed by millions by cheating emissions regulations.

A more current analogy of course, is the global Coronavirus pandemic, created by shocking animal welfare and food production standards. The U.S. President is very keen to point out Coronavirus is ‘China’s fault’, yet is simultaneously reducing America’s meat production regulations, which already result in a faecal and disease contamination rate ten times higher than that of TLCB’s home nation.

Builder Adam Dodge has included a mini-figure in the driving seat of this mechanical plague, and it is perhaps the most apt metaphor for what’s causing the suffering of both our planet and ourselves…

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