Off-Road at Any Speed

The 1961 Chevrolet Corvair was a brilliantly interesting car. Designed to take on Volkswagen, the Corvair was powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled flat-6 engine, which even came with the option of turbo-charging (the first production car in the world to do so).

Unfortunately however, the Corvair also featured a significant design flaw; the suspension tried to kill you.

The bean-counters at GM omitted anti-sway bars to save cost, which – when combined with that rear-mounted flat-6 engine and swing-axle suspension – caused the wheel camber to vary drastically when cornering. This created a car with wildly unpredictable handling, and therefore one that crashed a lot.

In 1965 attorney Ralph Nader published a book on the Corvair titled ‘Unsafe at Any Speed’, and Corvair sales plummeted. Of course GM did the default ‘evil corporation’ thing and attempted to smear Nader rather than fix the car, before conceding and equipping the Corvair with independent suspension.

The damage had been done though, and the Corvair carries a crashy reputation to this day. Cue Flickr’s Volker Brodkorb, who has fixed his Corvair station wagon’s handling issues by, well… turning it into an off-road monster truck.

OK, if anything the handling would be even worse, but look how cool it is! Volker’s model is in fact based on a real Corvair monster truck, which has got the Elves very excited. There’s more to see of Volker’s version via the link above, and you can check out a video of the real-life monster truck on which Volker’s model is based by clicking this link, where – amazingly – no one is killed at all.

Turn Your Nose Up

The wildly incompetent back-alley of the internet that is TLCB actually came to be because the proper Lego blogs were turning their noses up at vehicular creations. We’re not sure if ‘turning their noses up‘ translates internationally very well, but basically you had more chance of unearthing pirate treasure under your sink than seeing your car featured.

Cue the arrival of TLCB, and car builders still probably wishing they could appear on a proper website rather than here…

Anyway, a lot has changed since then, and proper sites like The Brothers Brick now not only blog vehicles, some even have vehicle builders on staff too. Which means that this splendid 1990 Tyrrell 019 Formula 1 car was not found by one of our Elves, as instead this TLCB Writer first saw it blogged on The Brothers Brick. Which makes this site rather pointless.

Still, our title is much more tenuous and you don’t get ‘Your Mom’s so fat…’ jokes over there, so we’re going to blog it here too.

Said Tyrrell 019 was – whilst not a race winner – a regular points scorer during the 1990 season, in part thanks to its revolutionary ‘high nose’ design that allowed maximum air underneath it, thereby generating more downforce along the car’s underside.

It set the template for nose cone design right up until Formula 1 banned high noses in 2012 due to fears over safety (in doing so making F1 cars horrendously ugly overnight), and it’s been replicated beautifully by builder Tenderlok in Model Team form.

Excellent custom decals, a replica Cosworth V8 engine, detailed cockpit, removable bodywork, and an ingeniuous (if slightly ‘illegal’) front wing connection technique add to the realism, and there’s more to see of Tenderlok’s Tyrrell 019, complete with its upturned nose, on both Flickr and at the Eurobricks discussion forum. Or The Brother’s Brick of course.

My Fat Lady

The Nissan/Datsun 280Z/Fairlady Z was never quite as pretty as its 240/260Z predecessors. However previous bloggee SP_LINEUP aims to address this by making his 280Z Fairlady well… a bit fatter. Unlike your Mom however, SP’s Fairlady Z wears its wider bodywork superbly, with black arch extensions, a front splitter, and phat exhaust. There’s more to see of SP’s modified Datsun on Flickr – click the link above to make the jump.

404 Error: File Found

Ah Error 404. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol standard response code that indicates the browser communicated with a given server, but the server couldn’t find what was requested.

Which, as purveyors of a website with a million views a year, we of course knew without looking it up on Google… Honestly, it’s a miracle that this site functions at all.

Anyway, today 404 was found, as one of Elves brought back this rather lovely Peugeot 404 pick-up, as built by regular bloggee Jonathan Elliott.

Based on Peugeot’s 1960s large passenger car, the 404 pick-up was produced into the late ’80s in Europe, and until 1991 in Kenya, where it’s still a common sight thanks to its almost unbreakable toughness. Yup, we really did say that about a Peugeot.

Jonathan’s 8-wide recreation captures the 404 pick-up beautifully, and you can check out the build, along with his extensive garage of other Speed Champions scale vehicles, at his photostream on Flickr.

Click the link above to instruct your browser to communicate with the server. Or something.

Double Trouble

Two things are often better than one. Or so the internet would have us believe. Subscribing to this school of thought is Thomas of Tortuga, whose ‘B-48 Albatross’ heavy bomber features not just a twin boom tail, but two fuselages, two gun turrets, two cockpits, and engines facing in two directions. See double on Flickr via the link above.

Jumbo Hooker

Nope, we’re not referring to your Mom again, this is a DAF FAC CF 530 8×2 Space Cab truck, complete with a hook-lift system, three-axle Jumbo trailer, a load of two hefty containers, Which makes it a very lengthily-titled creation indeed. It’s also rather a good one, and there’s more to see courtesy of Arian Janssens  at his ‘DAF FAC CF 530 Space Cab‘ album on Flickr.

Emirates Airbus A380 | Picture Special

Some Lego builders’ user names are just right. This is BigPlanes’ Emirates Airlines Airbus A380 Superjumbo, and it is really, really big.

With a wingspan of 7ft, BigPlanes’ recreation of the world’s largest passenger plane is a constructed in an almost unbelievable mini-figure scale, and uses no hidden supports, metal framework, or glue.

What it does use is tens of thousands of LEGO pieces, several electric motors, and a whole lot of LED lights to faithfully replicate Emirates’ flagship airliner, including both decks, a four-pilot cockpit, working flaps and tail control surfaces, retractable landing gear, and even powered engines.

Each class of travel is accurately represented too, from First (which features a bar, lounge, and even a waterfall fountain), through Business (with fold flat seats and individual screens), to Premium Economy (where passengers’ benefit from their knees not being a structural element of the seat in front), and finally Economy (basically a cattle-truck).

Beautiful spiral staircases link the two decks, which also include luxury bathrooms in First (and holes in the floor for Economy), galley kitchens, and even crew sleeping accommodation.

A monumental undertaking a year in the making, BigPlanes’ phenomenal determination and skill has resulted in surely one of the finest Lego creations ever built. Buy your ticket to fly Emirates at his astonishing ‘LEGO Emirates Airbus A380’ album on Flickr, where forty incredible images are available to view. It’s probably worth spending a little extra to upgrade to Premium Economy though…

LEGO Technic 42129 Mercedes-Benz Zetros Trial Truck | Set Preview

Things are about to get very big. And very expensive.

This is the brand new LEGO Technic 42129 Mercedes-Benz Zetros Trial Truck, it measures a hefty half a metre long, and it’s due to carry an equally huge price-tag when it goes on sale later this year ($300/£275).

However that enormous sum of money unlocks the most powerful motorised truck that LEGO have ever built, with three Large motors, one Medium motor, and bluetooth control via the LEGO Control+ App.

Those motors power all four wheels, the steering, and – for the first time ever – remotely locking differentials. All-wheel-suspension, a working gearbox, and a ‘detailed engine’ (which might just be a spinning fan) also feature, which compared to yesterday’s reveal isn’t all that much, but then, 42129 looks mega off-road.

LEGO have made some properly bold claims about climbing angles in their press release, and included in the set are some marker flags so that owners can test these via setting their own off-road courses at home.

A smorgasbord of amusingly generic racing stickers are included too (‘Oil’, ‘Intake’, ‘Rack’, and – our personal favourite – ‘Axle Beam’), although these actually look OK, and 42129 is blessed with the same enhanced level of detail as other recent Technic sets.

Aimed at ages 12+, the 2,110 piece LEGO Technic 42129 Mercedes-Benz Zetros Trial Truck looks like an excellent (if monumentally expensive) addition to the Technic line-up, and perhaps the most fun way to use the Control+ App yet…

Scuderia Glickenhaus

Every Lego car builder has probably dreamed of running their own supercar company. So too has every multi-millionaire, with a new one popping up on an almost weekly basis claiming that they’re actually going to do it, their car has two thousand horsepower and will do 400mph, before quietly disappearing never to be heard from again.

Except Cameron Glickenhaus actually did it. Starting by creating unique Ferraris for his own personal use through their bespoke programme, Glickenhaus has since gone the whole hog and built his own car. From scratch. And now he’s going racing.

This is his new racing car, the Glickenhaus 007 LMH, which is already fighting Toyota in the top-tier World Endurance Championship, and it’ll go wheel-to-wheel with Porsche, Ferrari, Peugeot and others as the Hypercar class expands next year.

This excellent Speed Champions recreation of the unlikely hypercar was suggested by a reader, and comes from ReddishBlueMOCs. Instructions are available and there are more images to view via Bricksafe at the link above.

LEGO Technic 42128 Heavy-Duty Tow Truck | Set Preview

The Lego Car Blog Elves have been busy! Fired over the LEGO Company HQ’s perimeter wall by way of the office catapult, it’s been just a day since we revealed the brand new LEGO Technic LEGO Technic 42126 Ford F-150 Raptor set. Hot the heels of that Elf comes another, and it’s brought back quite a model; this is the brand new for 2021 LEGO Technic 42128 Heavy-Duty Tow Truck.

With over 2,000 pieces 42128 pays homage to various American heavy-duty trucks, sits at the top of the new-for-2021 Technic line-up*, and – most excitingly – it features pneumatics!

More interestingly, unlike some other recent pneumatic sets, 42128 is unmotorised, with its pair of pneumatic cylinders fed compressed air via a hand pump like the good ol’ days. These lift and extend the crane boom, whilst the pair of winches, crane rotation, rear lift, and stabiliser legs are all mechanically operated by hand. Which is awesome.

Not only that, there’s a miniature working inline-6 engine upfront, working steering, and a functioning lift on the first of the truck’s three axles.

It all looks wonderfully mechanical, and that’s despite 42128 continuing LEGO’s trend of adding ever more visual realism to Technic sets, which are now at almost Model Team levels of detail. The 42128 Heavy-Duty Tow Truck certainly contains heaps of exterior detailing, including fuel tanks, exhaust stacks, air filters, and a brick-built grille.

Less positive are the stickers though, which are surely some of the worst that LEGO has ever stuck on a Technic model. Still, you can always leave those off.

The new Technic 42128 Heavy-Duty Tow Truck set will reach stores in August of 2021 aimed at ages 11+, and is expected to cost around $150/£140 when it does so. Excited? We sure are. Although we’ll probably leave those decals unstuck.

*Or is it?… Tune in tomorrow for something even larger.

Got the Horn

We’ve got the Horn. Well, it is the morning.

Get your minds out of the gutter, this is the Rhino ‘High Occupancy Reconnaissance Nexus’, or ‘H.O.R.N’ for short. And because the cartoon TV show from which it came really liked acronyms.

An anonymous tanker truck on the outside, the H.O.R.N was packing a lot more underneath than first appeared.

This awesome Lego recreation of the H.O.R.N by Flickr’s Flashback Bricks replicates the ability of the Hasbro toy from the TV series brilliantly, expanding to reveal M.A.S.K’s mobile command base and the sonic tank hidden inside, which enabled M.A.S.K operatives to keep it up without outside support for up to two weeks.

There’s more to see of Flashback’s H.O.R.N at his photostream via the link above, and if you fancy another appendage-filled post try this one for size!

LEGO Technic 42126 Ford F-150 Raptor | Set Preview

The Ford F-150 Raptor is the Mustang of off-roaders. By which we mean it’s a vehicle usually seen doing stuff like this. Or this. Or this. But enough gratuitous footage of Raptor driver incompetence, because now you can crash your very own Ford F-150 Raptor at home!

Yup, LEGO have added the be-stickered off-road ready version of America’s best-selling vehicle to the Technic line-up, and it looks absolutely fantastic!

Constructed from 1,379 pieces (many of which are in Porsche 911 GT3 RS orange), the new LEGO Technic 42126 Ford F-150 Raptor set faithfully recreates the crashiest of pick-ups in Technic form, with working suspension, a V6 engine, all-wheel drive, opening doors and hood, and functioning steering.

Continuing the trend for increased visual realism of Technic sets, 42126 includes a few System parts, a wealth of stickers (much like the full-size Raptor), delightfully knobbly tyres, and even the ‘HOG’ steering device is removable, so as not to affect the set’s aesthetics when it’s parked on a shelf.

Not that it should be parked on a shelf. It is a Raptor after all

The new LEGO Technic 42126 Ford F-150 Raptor set is expected to cost around $100 when it reaches stores later this year, and is – for reasons of which we’re little unclear – aimed at ages 18+. Perhaps it’s because LEGO know it’s going to spend much of its time doing things like this

Technic 42114 6×6 Volvo Articulated Hauler | Review

It’s review time here at The Lego Car Blog, as we add another LEGO set to the by now pretty huge Review Library! This set review comes from one of our readers, who dons the Reviewing Anorak (which may or may not be a real thing) and takes on the enormous remote controlled LEGO Technic 42114 6×6 Volvo Articulated Hauler. Wojtek Hildebrandt is the reader in question, and so good is his review that TLCB Team are frankly a little worried for their jobs. That’s not true of course, as they don’t get paid… Anyway, over to Wojtek!

LEGO has a long-standing tradition of recreating dominantly yellow construction equipment in Technic sets. This is rather a grateful theme for construction blocks after all – simple shapes and function over form. Recently these have mostly been Volvo licensed vehicles; wheel loaders, excavators, and haulers with different degrees of motorisation – from full (as in 42030 loader) via optional (to power 42053 excavator pneumatics) to none (for endless knob spinning fun with 42081 concept loader). The time has come for a fully remote-controlled articulated hauler – a Volvo A60H with the Control+ app.

Beauty is in the eye of the behauler.
First, let’s have a look from the outside. This is a looker, at least for a construction machine. We can see it already on the box cover, where the hauler is put in some blurred quarry environment. It fits well, but then the same image is sometimes used without the background, which makes the chassis twist look weird, like doing some unlikely stunt.

Speaking of weird: LEGO’s previous attempt to minify a Volvo hauler – the B model for 42030 – had it all wrong (even with the number of wheels), but if you’re generous enough, you can say it was a tribute to vintage, skeletal Technic sets. If so, then 42114 is more from a bloodline of Model Team or recent adult Creator sets, even if it uses mostly Technic parts. Of course, the pins and holes are there and some proportions and colors are off, but both overall shape and some neat details are very true.

Let’s start from the business end; the dump body – we’ll call it the body from now on – has a complex shape with clever usage of tapered panels (which are flat on both sides, unlike straight panels) and very few empty spaces. I guess you couldn’t haul sand in it, but it should be perfect for some beans or potatoes. Or lemons to match the colour. The driver’s cab is correctly centred and surrounded by a proper, orange safety railing as well as accurate big mirrors. There is a slightly surprising mudguard serving as a dashboard, my favorite seat made of a single curved panel 3x5x3 (which seems to fit the same purpose regardless of model scale), and a warning beacon on the roof that twists slightly to turn the Control+ hub on or off.

Further to the front, we have one of the best-looking parts – a nicely sculpted bonnet. The impression is improved by a few stickers, but even without them all the angles and curves feel just right, even if they’re not entirely true to the original, e.g. with headlights. One curved panel covers the limits of the other and everything works together nicely. It’s wobbly during construction but becomes solid enough eventually. The front bumper on the other hand is no match for a durable look of the original, but to me, it doesn’t harm the overall impression too much.

Green energy
Now we get to the hardware. Both real-life and miniature versions of the Volvo hauler are powered by six cylinders. In full scale, they are six, famously green inline cylinders of an internal combustion engine. For the set, they are 6 AA/R6 batteries. Which one is “greener” energy depends probably on whether your batteries are rechargeable and if so – how you recharge them. Continue reading

Micro Construction

Tiny, and yet totally identifiable, Flickr’s KosBrick shows that just a few dozen parts can create models with amazing recognition. It’s like looking at large scale Lego models, only from very far away… Head to Kos’s photostream via the link above for more really tiny construction.

Brick KITT

We’re not sure why robots in the eighties were uptight nerds, but KITT was the wheeled equivalent of C-3PO.

However unlike Star Wars’ anxious golden bi-ped, KITT had flame throwers, lasers, a tear gas launcher, a giant taser, and ultramagnesium charges at his disposal. And we don’t even know what that last one means.

Equipped with none of that, but looking rather cool nonetheless, is Jerry Builds Bricks‘ 8-wide Speed Champions version of the Knight Industries Two Thousand, which captures the TV star car beautifully.

There’s more of KITT to see at Jerry’s photostream, and you can head there to deploy some ultramagnesium charges via the link above.