Wartime Willys

The Lego Car Blog Elves are having a great time this morning. This lovely remote controlled Willys Jeep was discovered by one of their number today, and fortunately our eagle-eyed intern caught it before the model could be used for any smushing shenanigans.

That means no tidying up for us, and a gaggle of Elves being transported around TLCB Towers, much to their delight.

The model in question is properly good too, looking wonderfully like-like and featuring a complete remote control drivetrain, with four-wheel-drive, front and rear suspension, and working steering.

TLCB favourite Sariel is the builder and there’s more to see of his superbly presented 1940s Willys Jeep on Flickr. Click here to take a look.

Get Lucky*

We like Lego hot rods here at The Lego Car Blog, and if you do too you can build this one by Flickr’s KosBrick for yourself. KosBrick has released a speed-build instructional video of this ‘Lucky’s Chop Shop’ hot rod, a link to which you can find at his photostream. Click the link above to check out more of the build.

*Today’s title song. Obviously.

8 Out of 10 Nazis…

It might sound like European cat food, but the Kettenkrat was altogether weirder than that. Half motorcycle, half tank, the Sd.Kfz 2 Kettenkrat was designed by NSU, powered by Opel, weighed 1.5 tons, and could climb slopes of over 24°, even in sand.

A unique drive system delivered power to both tracks simultaneously on hard ground, or – when the driver selected – operated via a subtractor to skid-steer on soft ground, and it was used throughout the Second World War to lay cables, transport troops, tow aircraft, oh – and to invade Russia.

This amazing motorised Model Team recreation of the Sd.Kfz 2 Kettenkrad comes from previous bloggee Samolot, and not only does it feature the most terrifying LEGO figure we’ve ever seen, it also includes a fully working remote controlled version of the real bike/tank’s ingenious steering system.

Exactly how it works is beyond the collective minds housed here at TLCB Towers, so the best way to see if you can figure it out is via the video below. There are also more images of both Samolot’s model and the real 1940s contraption at Bricksafe, and you can read the full build description and join the discussion via the Eurobricks forum here.

YouTube Video

Giant Balls (of Gas)

It’s some time in the future, and the Earth is completely depleted of helium. Clearly such a situation has massive ramifications, and the balloon-animal industry, vital to so many, have apparently take matters into their own highly-skilled balloon-bending hands.

Sending equipment to the Jupiter’s moon Europa, the inflatable contortionists are mining the satellite for its precious precious helium, returning the gas to Earth via transport ships, and – before that – these enormous gas-rovers.

With twelve-wheel-drive, a crew of five, and eight huge gas-filled balls, the gas-rovers are impressive machines, at least in the minds of Jon & Catherine Stead, whose backstory we have completely butchered for the purpose of this silliness.

We could have gone with either a testicle or enhanced-boobs theme though, so count yourself lucky Steads!

Anyway, their Europa gas-rover is a properly good build, with LED lighting, incredible brick-built wheels, and an ace five-person cockpit, where – presumably – the crew all talk in squeaky voices.

Head over to Jon and Catherine’s excellent ‘Helium Transporter’ album on Flickr to see more, and request a balloon giraffe.

James Young

Who? Well back in the ’60s (and a lot more before then), you could buy a car without a body. Usually a really posh one.

The point was a coach builder could create something more bespoke, and they were used frequently by the top luxury automotive brands of the time including Bentley, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and – of course – Rolls Royce.

This particular coach-built Rolls Royce is a 1960s Phantom V Limousine by James Young, and it has been recreated rather beautifully in Technic form by Agent 00381 of Eurobricks.

A full ‘Technic Supercar’ chassis sits underneath the elegant bodywork, with all-wheel suspension, working steering, an ‘auto’ gearbox, and a V8 engine.

Opening doors, hood, trunk, and glovebox are included, and there’ s even a rising partition to separate the peasant driving up front from the elite classes riding in the back.

There’s more of Agent’s Rolls Royce Limousine to see – including a link to building instructions and a video of the model’s features – at the Eurobricks forum. Click the link above to enter the rear of James Young.

Cosmic Cocktail

All the best racing sponsors are selling something that’s bad for you. Cigarettes, beer, cigarettes, energy drinks, and cigarettes were the mainstay of motorsport advertising, before doctors pointed out that it might not be a great idea to promote things that killed people.

These days tobacco companies are effectively banned from motorsport sponsorship (although Scuderia Ferrari are always willing to cash a ginormous cheque), however purveyors of alcohol are still permitted to hawk their wares to racing fans.

The upside of this is some of the coolest liveries in motorsport are still seen today, and – accordingly to David Roberts at least – will continue to be seen for some time yet.

This is David’s ‘Martin I’s Racer’, with a livery that looks a lot like the one used by a certain gin and vermouth-based cocktail company.

Further details and a backstory of drinking puns can be found at David’s photostream – grab yourself a mixer and head to the bar, er… we mean ‘galactic racing circuit’ via the link above.

Technic 42111 Dom’s Dodge Charger | Review

The ‘Fast & Furious’ movies are – for the most part – total garbage. With characters coming back from the dead (twice), long lost family members loosely enabling plot continuation (twice), and bad guys turning good just to keep them in the franchise (three times by our count), the plots could have been written by TLCB Elves.

But, like the internet’s most popular video category, no one is watching a Fast & Furious movie for the plot. They’re watching for the cars. And maybe Vin Diesel’s giant shiny head. In doing so making ‘Fast & Furious’ the most profitable movie franchise ever.

Thus LEGO have joined the ‘Fast & Furious’ party, and have brought one of the franchise’s star cars to life in Technic form. This is the Technic 42111 Dom’s Dodge Charger set, supplied to us here at TLCB by online shop Zavvi, and it’s time for a review…

First a shout out to our suppliers Zavvi, whose delivery was prompt, communication good, and the 42111 box was massively well protected inside, well… a bigger box. If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep the boxes for your sets (ours just go in the recycling), that’s a bonus.

LEGO have realised this too, removing the sticky circles that hold the ends shut (but that rip the artwork when opened), and fitting a cereal-box style closable tab so it can stay closed.

Inside 42111’s box are five numbered bags, bagged instructions and stickers (which helps to keep them protected too), and 1,077 parts. Many of these are weird and new, at least to this reviewer (if not the set), and continue LEGO’s approach of using every colour ever. However, like numerous ‘Fast & Furious’ characters, we’re going to do a complete 180 and say that it, well… works.

Building 42111 is fun and straight-forward, with the multitude of colours making it easy to find the parts required. The colours are thoughtfully chosen too, enabling quick identification and actually changing in some cases as the build progresses depending upon which similar pieces they shared a bag with. They’re all fairly well hidden by the end too, so there’s no ‘rainbow’ misery here.

The build can also be commended for creating a fully working rolling chassis by the mid-point, which makes it much more interesting than only adding the wheels at the end.

As has been the case for a while now though, the instructions can be very simple, at times adding just one piece per step. That said, there are a lot of orientation changes, which you have to watch out for so you don’t install something upside down. Not that this Reviewer did that. He’s a professional.

After a few hours of happy parts selection and spot-the-difference, you’ll have a nicely sized Technic recreation of the early ’70s Dodge Charger – modified ‘Fast & Furious’ style with a giant supercharger and NO2 tanks – complete with a working V8 engine, steering, all-wheel suspension, opening doors, hood and trunk, and a bizarre party trick. Continue reading

The Dissappeared

Revealed, somewhat oddly, at the 1970 London Motorshow, the Volga GAZ-24 was a large luxury car produced by the Soviet Union for – as was often the case – its own military and Government officials.

A special permit was required to purchase one (because Communism), which meant that we’d have been rather nervous if we saw a GAZ-24 driving behind us; by the mid-’70s there were an estimated 10,000 political prisoners in the Soviet Union, and there was a lot of space in the GAZ’s trunk for bodies…

This stunning recreation of the Volga GAZ-24 comes from previous bloggee Legostalgie, who has captured the classic American styling brilliantly (the Soviet Union may have hated America, but they loved its cars).

A detailed engine bay, realistic interior, four opening doors, and an opening trunk large enough to enable a few ‘disappearances’ all feature, and there’s much more to see at Legostalgie’s ‘Volga GAZ-24’ album on Flickr. Click the link above to obtain your special permit.

The Last Good Lancia

Lancia’s current range of one solitary ugly car is probably the most pathetic of any car manufacturer alive today. But it wasn’t always like that.

Back in the 1990s Lancia was still, er… troubled, but nevertheless capable of absolute magic, and this was one of their most magical moments.

The Lancia Delta HF Integrale was the final evolution of a humble (and rather good) hatchback that started life way back in the late 1970s, eventually becoming a turbocharged all-wheel-drive rally homologation special.

The HF Integrale is now a seriously sought after car, which Eurobricks member Pingubricks has recreated beautifully in Model Team form. There are opening doors (no mean feat considering the wide-arch bodywork), an opening hood under which sits a detailed engine, and a realistic interior too.

An impressive suite of further imagery can be found at the rather underused Eurobricks ‘Scale Modelling’ forum; click the link to jump to see more of Pingu’s brilliant brick-built homage to one of Lancia’s finest moments.

Game of Bricks – Light Kit (76139 1989 Batmobile) | Review

The Lego Car Blog laziness, er… we mean ‘generosity’ continues today, as we’ve passed another impressive looking Game of Bricks lighting kit on to a reader for their thoughts. Greg Kinkaid (aka black_hand_bricks on Instagram) was one of the lucky readers first to respond to our Facebook call, and bagged himself a Game of Bricks kit to light up the huge LEGO 76139 1989 Batmobile set. Read on to find out Greg’s thoughts!

“Where does he get those wonderful toys?” people might ask of me. Well the Batmobile comes from LEGO, but the light emitting from within it – that’s all Game of Bricks. I was offered the opportunity to write a review here at The Lego Car Blog, making this both my first review and my first light kit; the Game of Bricks 76139 1989 Batmobile.

My Game of Bricks light kit arrived in a plain padded envelope, which held a nice sturdy box filled with individually numbered bags. At first I was unsure of how to even begin putting it together, but a link to the online instructions was in my order confirmation e-mail, leading to thorough and well photographed build steps.

Onto the kit, and a tedious process starts at the back of the Batmobile set running wires from the rocket booster, tail lights, as well as the fin lights, and moves forward from there. Much of the set must be disassembled during the installation, with wheels, headlights, side panels, the back panel as well as the intakes all removed, but the result is wires that are very hard to see when the installation is finished. That said, several of the kit’s lights are fitted with 3M tape, so I don’t get the feeling the lighting kit will be reusable if the set is ever disassembled again.

The wiring on the lights seems thin but is stronger than it looks, with some wires twisted together and others a single strand, depending on the number of LEDs attached. All the boards and the battery pack fit nicely within the back end of the set between the rear wheels, and these had command strips so they’re not just floating around. 

Now for the bad bits; The lights in the headlight area and the turrets were tricky to run in-between gaps within the front wheel-wells and through to the bottom of the vehicle. Once they were run to the back of the set I discovered the wires were the exact length of the model. That made it even more difficult, because – whilst the instructional photos showed a bit of slack to pull the board out and easily plug in the lights – instead I had to fat finger the plugs in the lower part next to the axle and hope the lights didn’t pull out of the other end.

The 3M strips I mentioned before didn’t seem to hold up after the recent heat wave and I had to go back in and push them back down. Afterwards the underside looked messy so I used the wire ties that were in the packaging to clean it up, and perhaps this kit would be better to use these in the official installation instructions.

Overall though, even after the frustrating installation, I would recommend the Game of Bricks  lighting kit for those looking to make their LEGO 76139 1989 Batmobile set even more impressive ; visually the end result is amazing.  And in hindsight I should probably have opted for the remote version too, so I wouldn’t have to mess about with the backend to turn it on!

Visit the Game of Bricks Shop here!

Topless Summer

It’s summer here at TLCB and it’s HOT. Elves are scattered everywhere panting, and the office ‘air conditioner’ (a fan gaffa-taped to a window ledge) is just moving hot air about like the one in the back of an oven, ensuring everything is equally cooked.

Those of you reading this in sunnier climes than the UK (that’s all of you) will be wondering what all the fuss is about, but this TLCB Writer is well-travelled and no-where gets hot like the UK. Thank the high humidity, limited air conditioning, and buildings designed to keep in, not out, for that.

It also might explain why the British buy more convertibles than the French, Germans, Italians, and Spanish. Put together. Thus we have two here today, and they’re both… um, a bit crap.

The Dodge Viper was basically a truck engine shoved in a kids’ plastic toy, and was predictably rubbish as a result. But on the other hand, it was a truck engine shoved in a kids’ plastic toy, and it was therefore excellent. This superb Speed Champions scale Dodge Viper convertible was suggested by a reader, and it comes from previous bloggee RGB900 who has nailed the 1990s American icon in 6-wide form.

Equally iconic (and rubbish) was the modern Volkswagen Beetle convertible; a bubble-shaped Golf with a pram roof stuck on the back that predictably became the must-have accessory for people that knew nothing about cars.

Fashion is fickle though, and without any substance whatsoever the modern Beetle is now dead, and its customers have all moved on to Mini convertibles. SP_LINEUP hasn’t forgotten it though, creating this excellent brick-built version that was also suggested by a reader.

There’s more to see of each convertible on Flickr via the links, and if you’re wondering why we haven’t featured good drop-tops instead of a kids’ toy and VW pram, just be thankful we didn’t find one of these to post. See, the British do stupid things when it gets hot.

My Other Car’s a Porsche

No really, it is. Because this amazing Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole is built entirely from the pieces found within the official LEGO 10295 Porsche 911 set.

How Firas Abu-Jaber has managed to turn a vehicle renowned for its curves into one famous for its straight lines has broken every brain here at TLCB Towers, but suffice to say, Firas has absolutely smashed it.

Working steering, an opening front trunk, engine cover and scissor doors, plus a detailed interior all feature, and there are more superbly presented images of Firas’s incredible 10295 alternate to see at his ‘Lamborghini Countach’ album here.

You can also find further details and building instructions at Firas’s excellent website Bricks Garage, plus you can check out his interview here at TLCB to learn how he builds models like this one by clicking these words.

Just Add String

The LEGO Technic 42098 Car Transporter is a fine set, and it’s also spawned a variety of alternative builds that have appeared here at TLCB, including hook-lift container trucks, buses, and… er, other car transporters, and this might be our favourite yet.

With ‘HOG’ steering, a 6-cylinder engine, opening doors and hood, rear lift, boom extension, elevation and rotation, working out-riggers, and a lockable winch, Dyen’s rotator tow truck would make an excellent set in its own right, and yet it’s constructed entirely from the parts found within the 42098 set.

Well, apart from some string for the winch, but everyone has string at home so that’s alright.

There’s more to see of Dyen’s superb 42098 B-Model at both Flickr and the Eurobricks discussion forum, where a link to building instructions can also be found.

Click the links to take a look, and maybe convert the pieces from your own 42098 set into this rotator tow truck too. Just add string.

Not a Television

Looking around at the archaic electrical equipment in TLCB Towers, you’d think Hitachi only make televisions and – long long ago – VCRs (although that’s the only way we can let the Elves watch Transformers cartoons).

In reality though, the Japanese multinational conglomerate makes pretty much everything. Planes, trains, car systems, defence systems, ATMs, servers, escalators, elevators, air conditioners,  medical equipment, and – as shown here – giant construction machines.

This is a brick-built version of the Hitachi ZW 180 PL, a fifteen ton versatile wheel loader used for all manner of digging, pushing, and loading tasks. It comes from regular bloggee Damian Z., features some rather cunning building techniques throughout, plus a working (kinda) bucket arm too.

There’s more of the build to see at Damian’s ‘Hitachi ZW 180 PL Wheel Loader’ album on Flickr – click the link above to take a look.

HaLo MaSter ChEiF 3571!!!

When MOCpages was unceremoniously deleted in an act of cowardly internet douchebaggery, it threw thousands of wonderful creations, inventions, groups, and contests into the digital void. Alongside these though, it also took about three million ‘HaLo MaSter ChEiF 3571!!!’ builds with it. Sliver linings and all that…

We begrudgingly admit though, that Halo models can be good, as proven here by Flickr’s ZiO Chao. ZiO’s Halo Falcon and Warthog are both superbly built and presented, and are further enhanced with custom mini-figures and LED lighting.

There’s more to see of ZiO’s Halo models via the link above, where he hasn’t mis-spelled anything nor asked for likes and comments, which makes us ponder whether these are in fact Halo creations at all…