Shafted

Motorbikes, like pedal bikes, tend to use a chain to transfer power from the engine to the rear wheel. However they’re usually (but not always) slightly more powerful than the average human, so the chain is often the weak point. Plus it can eat trouser legs and flick oil all over the place, thus the shaft-drive was developed.

Working in the same way a car’s driveline does, the chain is replaced by a rotating shaft and a gear assembly, which makes a shaft-drive more expensive and heavier than a chain, but better in pretty much every other respect. Plus it sounds a bit rude.

Flickr’s František Hajdekr has chosen the latter option for his Technic BMW-esque motorcycle, a brand that has used shaft-drive designs for much of their range (including the R 1200 GS Adventure immortalised in the ace 42063 Technic set). Working steering, rear suspension, and a seat made from Batman’s chest also feature, and you can see more of František’s shaft-driven bike at his photostream via the link.

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Race to the Bottom

The early days of flight were perilous ones. Aeronautical understanding was limited and building materials more so, meaning things that operated a long way from the ground were made out of bits of wood and chickenwire. However by the late 1920s mankind’s incredible rate of progress (no doubt helped by the otherwise totally pointless First World War) had made flying relatively safe and normal. Except in one area; Speed.

Like racing cars of the era, racing planes were fantastically dangerous, pushing the limits of physics and effectively working by trail and error, when error often meant death. This is one example from the time, the bonkers Savoia-Marchetti S.65 racing seaplane, designed for the 1929 Schneider Trophy race. With two 1,050bhp V12 engines mounted fore and aft of the pilot, the S.65 proved so unstable it didn’t get airborne at all and the Italian team behind it returned to Italy for more development.

On Lake Garda in 1930 the trails continued, and on the forth attempt the seaplane took to the air in a glorious rush of wind and noise. Whereupon it stalled, crashed into the water, and sunk to the bottom taking its young pilot with it. Thankfully although recovered the S.65 did not attempt to fly again, but a failure though it was it did look rather wonderful, as does Henrik Jensen‘s marvellous mini-figure scale recreation, pictured here in a neat diorama depicting the plane before its fateful flight attempt.

There’s more to see of Henrik’s excellent Savoia-Marchetti S.65 at his photostream – head to Lake Garda in 1930 via the link in the text above, but maybe watch from a distance.

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Stalin’s Cat

It wasn’t the British or the Americans that sacrificed the most in the Second World War, but Russia, with more lives lost than almost every other country put together. It was fitting then that it was Stalin’s army that victoriously made it to Berlin first to end the war in Europe.

Things quickly changed once the common enemy was defeated though, with Stalin killing millions of his own people to add to the wartime total, and the Soviet Union developing nuclear weapons to match the U.S, ushering in a decades-long Cold War.

Stalin’s wartime victory (and totalitarian regime) led to everything being called something with ‘Stalin’ in it, including the vehicle in this post. Built in Stalingrad, the Stalinec T130 bulldozer was actually an American Caterpillar manufactured under licence, despite the fact the two countries were on the verge of annihilating one another.

We’re not sure if Joseph Stalin ever drove a Stalinec, but he was probably pleased it – like everything else – was named after him, even if underneath it was actually designed by evil capitalist Americans. This lovely Lego recreation of the Stalinec T130 comes from Flickr’s martin nespor, who has also built an impressive Skoda Xena / LIAZ 400 Series truck and low-loader trailer to transport it.

All three models are beautifully constructed and detailed, with both the Skoda Xena and Stalinec T130 featuring remote control drive and steering via bluetooth. The Skoda also includes integrated LED lighting and authentic stickerage to add to the realism, whilst the Stalinec T130’s blade can raise and lower via Power Functions too.

A wealth of imagery is available via Martin’s ‘Stalinec T130’ album on Flickr – click the link above to make the jump to check out the complete gallery of Stalin’s Cat, and here to see more of the more modern Skoda Xena transporting it.

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Making the Grade

Slow, ponderous, usual looking, yet servicing the needs of countless motorists*, road graders are always the bridesmaid when it comes to LEGO. They have appeared as B-Models several times over the years, but we don’t think that they’ve ever made it onto the front of the box. Which is shame really, as they’re more technically complex than much of what drives on the roads they help to build.

Helping to rectify this is Jundis of Eurobricks, who has built this amazing Technic Caterpillar 120M2 motorgrader with an enormous array of functions.

Pneumatics allow the front blade and rear ripper to raise and lower, whilst the middle blade can move up, down, sideways and tilt, thanks to three separate pneumatic cylinders. The model features a variety of mechanical functions too, including working steering (both via the front wheels and central articulation), plus blade turning, pitch, and lateral movement.

It’s a properly clever creation and one that’s definitely worth a closer inspection. Head to the Eurobricks forum via the link above to read the Caterpillar’s full build details and watch a video of all those functions at work.

*Just like your Mom.

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Forest Pigs

Rallying was big business in the 1980s. With few rules making for wild cars, the WRC attracted as much attention as Formula 1, and Porsche wanted a piece of it, despite the unlikely suitability of their road-going products. Of course Porsche had a plan; their incredible all-wheel-drive 959, which would have been ideally placed for the WRC’s top-tier Group B once it was finished.

Unfortunately for Porsche the banning of Group B meant the 959 never got the chance to properly compete (although this did mean that the car raced in Paris-Dakar instead, becoming one of the most wonderful and weird winners in the event’s history), but before then Porsche still wanted a rally car whilst the 959 was in development. Cue the 911 with a giant wing on the back.

The 911 of the 1980s was of course only rear-wheel-drive though, meaning that the SC/RS version homologated for rallying stood very little chance against the all-wheel-drove competition in the WRC, but it was still a quick car. Switching to the lower-spec European Rally Championship proved smart, where Porsche’s stop-gap rally car was prepared by Prodrive and took several wins.

These two spectacular recreations of the Porsche 911 SC/RS come from TLCB Master MOCer Dennis Glaasker aka Bricksonwheels, who has faithfully recreated the ’80s icon in astounding detail. Each 1:14 scale model replicates a real version of the 911 rally car, with the famous Rothmans and Belga team liveries brought to life in incredible realism thanks to fellow previous bloggee JaapTechnic’s decal-producing wizardry.

Opening doors and engine covers reveal an interior and engine as beautifully recreated as the stunning exteriors, and there’s loads more to see of both 911 SC/RS models at Dennis’ ‘Porsche 911 SC/RS in Lego (1:14)’ album on Flickr. Click the link above to head to a forest in Belgium sometime in the 1980s.

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Express Gass

Talking of big boring boxes, here’s a Chevrolet Express Conversion Van. No amount of tinted windows and stickers down the sides could make us want to ride in this hateful pile of American misery, but Ralph has made his (excellent) Miniland recreation of the Chevy Express rather more exciting by the addition of a tow hitch, meaning his beige box of bricks can tow an altogether more interesting Chevy…

Hooked up to the Express is a trailer carrying this magnificent ’57 Bel Air ‘gasser’, complete with a supercharger poking through the hood and a flame paint job, both of which have got the Elves very animated. A cast of unique-looking characters is on hand to make sure she’s runnin’ right and there’s more to see of the Bel Air gasser (and the Express van we suppose) at Ralph’s photostream – click here to make the jump!

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Containment

Containers are just big boring boxes right?… Er, yes actually. They really are. But what’s inside them can be very interesting indeed. Motorcycles, exotic fruits, LEGO sets, illegal immigrants… the list is endless. All make the world a more interesting place, and pretty much anything in your home that’s come from abroad will have arrived in one of these.

The vehicles that move them about can be pretty interesting too, from the trains and trucks that transport them on land to dockside cranes and giant container ships that bring them to the shores for which they are bound.

It’s these that builder ExeSandbox has digitally created for us here, with this enormous 100,000 peice container terminal that would measure 6ft wide if it were built for real. Spectacular detailing is in evidence everywhere and there much of Exe’s amazing scene to see at his ‘Tour at the Container Terminal’ album on Flickr.

Click the link above for a lot of big boring boxes making up a creation that’s really rather interesting indeed.

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Busty Rusty

Coincidentally the name your Mom had when your Dad first met her at the bar where she worked, and also today’s title, befitting this glorious rat rodded school bus by previous bloggee and Master MOCer Redfern1950s (aka red 2).

With an exposed Cummins diesel up front and a roof-chop the length of the seating area this probably isn’t as comfortable transport as it once was, but kids are short and who wouldn’t want to go to school in this?

There’s more to see of Red’s brilliant creation on Flickr via the link above, plus you can read how he builds models like this one via his Master MOCers interview by clicking here.

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TLCB Lock-Down B-Model Competition | Winners Announcement!

Winners Announcement!

After two months of brilliant B-Model building, forty of your amazing alternates have made the competition shortlist and appeared here at The Lego Car Blog!

Many entrants also saw their work featured here for the first time too, so an extra congratulations to those of you who debuted at TLCB with your contest entry. Our Elves now know who you are (which is far less scary than it sounds), and will be watching your builds with interest!

Judging the forty creations that made the shortlist was incredibly tough, with some genuinely stunning models created only from the parts found within an official LEGO set. Ford Mustangs were turned into AC Cobras and Citroen DS19s, LMP1 racers into Formula 1 cars and Dodge Chargers into LMP1 racers, there were trucks of all kinds; including tow trucks, roll-off trucks, hook-lift trucks, and even Bugatti trucks, Fiat 500’s became aircraft, and so much more besides.

Well done to all our shortlisted entrants, we hope you had fun building your B-Models, and we may be back with another competition at some point with more chances to win some awesome loot!

 

Winner: SBrick Pro Pack; James Tillson (Ferrari Enzo)

Includes SBrick Plus, Wire, 2x Lights, Servo, L-motor, Battery Pack, & colourful cases

Runner-up: SBrick Starter Pack; mpj (JCB Telehandler)

Includes SBrick Plus, Wire, & colourful cases

There were no less than six creations that fought it out at the top, with ridiculously close scores making for ‘heated considerations’ here at TLCB Towers.

Well done to our Winner and Runner-Up, we’ll be in touch soon to obtain your delivery details which will passed to our wonderful competition sponsor SBrick, and if you’d like to learn more about the 5-star rated prize bundle that our winners have won take a look at our review of the SBrick programmable bluetooth brick by clicking here – it’s one of the coolest things ever to enter the Lego-building arena.

Thank you to all our entrants, and stay safe if lock-down continues where you are.

TLCB Team

 

 

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Le Tractor

With most readers of this shambolic corner of the internet coming from America (despite how often we poke you), many of you will know Renault best for the ‘Le Car’, or the Renault 5 to the rest of the world. A small car in Europe (and a tiny one in the U.S.*), it’s probably where Renault’s strengths lie, and the 5’s replacement – the Clio – is now the best selling B-segment car in Europe.

However Renault don’t just make small cars, they also make tractors and agricultural equipment (plus there are Renault branded trucks too, but confusingly these aren’t produced by Renault at all, rather Volvo Trucks. Which aren’t part of Volvo either…).

Anyway, Renault do make tractors, like this rather neat looking Renault 155 by Flickr’s keko007, complete with a multitude of smooth building techniques and a big red, er… thing, on the back. There’s more to see of keko’s creation at his Renault 155 album on Flickr – click the link above to grow some wine, or whatever it is French tractors are used for.

*The car was the same size of course, it’s the relativity which varies.

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B-Buggy

TLCB Lock-Down B-Model Competition judging is in progress, with around forty different creations making the shortlist. Our contest partners at SBrick are adding their votes, after which we’ll announce the Winner and Runner-Up (each of whom will receive some fantastic prizes!), but in the meantime here’s a bonus B-Model build, created by offroadcreations of Eurobricks.

Built only from the parts found within the 42039 Technic 24 Hours Race Car (apart from the wheels and tyres, which have been swapped for more off-road appropriate items), offroadcreations’ buggy alternate includes working independent front and trailing-arm rear suspension, steering, and a V8 engine.

There’s more to see at the Eurobricks discussion forum, including a link to building instructions so you can convert your own 42039 set. Click the link above to make the giant off-roady jump.

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Sir Mix-a-Lot

LEGO’s 2020 Technic line-up includes, for the first time, a cement mixing truck. And it looks rather good too. However it does cheat a bit by having a single purpose-built drum piece.

Not so Kirill Mazurov (aka Desert Eagle / desert752), whose own Kamaz-based concrete truck features a brilliant brick-built rotating drum, which spins either as the truck moves along or via a hand crank mounted on the side, depending on which option is selected.

A host of other mechanical functions feature too, including pendular suspension on the rear two axles, steering on the front two, and a working V8 engine underneath the tilting cab.

Around 2,500 pieces are used in Kirill’s creation, and you can recreate this excellent concrete mixer truck yourself as instructions are available. Head to Eurobricks to find the link along with full build details and a video of the truck’s features, and Flickr for the complete image gallery.

*Today’s title song. Obviously.

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Purple Haze

The Honda Acty is not a fast car. In fact, in second generation 35bhp 550cc form, it is a very slow one. We therefore very much appreciate the mildly deranged mind of someone who decides to turn the 1980s kei van into a dragster. Cue Michael217, who has done just that, equipping his Model Team recreation of the Acty with dragster wheels, a wheelie bar, and a LEGO Buggy Motor – which explains the requirement for the first two items. Plus it’s purple.

There’s more to see of Michael’s brilliant remote control Honda Acty dragster at both Eurobricks and Bricksafe, and you can find today’s awesome title song by clicking here.

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Japan’s First Supercar

This is the Toyota 2000GT, Japan’s first supercar, and surely one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Produced from 1967 to 1970, the 2000GT was developed in collaboration with Yamaha, a relationship the two firms have maintained ever since. Only a few hundred units were built, including two special convertible versions for the James Bond movie ‘You Only Live Twice’, and the car was raced extensively, setting multiple speed and endurance records in the late 1960s.

Toyota 2000GTs command an enormous sum today, but thanks to Matthew Terentev you could still get your hands on one, as his stunning Technic version is currently on LEGO Ideas vying to become an official LEGO set. Matthew has recreated the GT’s incredible bodywork superbly too, with his model every bit as swoopily gorgeous as the real thing. Working steering, the coolest pop-up headlights on a car ever, and a detailed engine and interior also feature, and there’s more to see at Matthew’s ‘Toyota 2000GT’ album on Flickr here, where you can also find a link to vote for it on LEGO Ideas.

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Lock-Down’s Over!

Lock-Down is over. Except where it isn’t of course, but TLCB Lock-Down B-Model Competition has now ended! We’ve published dozens of entries that have made it onto the shortlist to win a 5-star rated SBrick Plus Pro Pack, and now comes the tough judging bit.

If you’ve seen your B-Model entry appear here at TLCB, Congratulations! – You’re in the shortlist! If not thank you so much for your entry, we hope you had fun building your B-Model, and if you uploaded it today due to time-zone differences it may yet still appear.

We’ll publish the winners soon, with whom we’ll be in contact afterwards to obtain delivery addresses. Until then thank you to all our entrants, and if you are still in a Coronavirus Lock-Down, please observe the rules, look out for those more vulnerable, and stay safe.

TLCB Team

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