In the Bank

Lego Brooklands 1935

It’s time for some history here at TLCB, because we are – at heart – complete nerds.

The world’s first purpose-built racetrack (or what’s left of it) lies not far from TLCB Towers. The Brooklands race circuit opened in 1907, built partly for manufacturers of the newly emerging auto-industry to test their cars, and partly because driving really quickly is bloody good fun.

Measuring just under 3 miles long the Brooklands track was built from uncoated concrete banking, which in places reached 30ft high, and was simply unimaginably steep, far steeper than any modern banked circuit. With no safety barrier at the top and cars routinely getting airborne over the bumpy concrete the spectacle was incredible, and crowds topped a quarter of a million in the circuit’s hay-day.

The outbreak of the First World War saw Brooklands requisitioned by the War Office, as the site also included an aerodrome, becoming the UK’s largest aircraft manufacturing centre by 1918. The end of the war saw motor racing return the the track, alongside the continuation of aircraft manufacturing, but when Hitler decided that Germany hadn’t quite finished with Europe yet motor racing at the track ceased for good.

During the Second World War the Brooklands site became the hub of Hawker fighter and Wellington bomber manufacturing, amongst other aircraft, and the track’s survival as a piece of British heritage sadly, but necessarily, came second to the war effort. Trees were planted on the track to disguise it from German bombers, and whole sections ripped up to expand the runways.

By the end of the war the track was in a poor state, and the site was sold to Vickers-Armstrong to continue operations as an aircraft factory, at one time laying claim to being the largest aircraft hanger in the world. However as the UK’s aircraft manufacturing industry declined the Brooklands site was gradually sold off, becoming a business park, a supermarket, and the Mercedes-Benz World driving instruction track.

Today not much of the original circuit remains, but what does is managed by the Brooklands Museum, who are endeavouring to preserve possibly the most important motor racing, aeronautical and war-time manufacturing site in the world. A recent heritage grant aims to return both the aero-buildings and the famous Finishing Straight to their former glory, and a section of the incredible concrete banking is still standing. You can even take a car on it if you’re feeling brave.

If you’re in the UK and you get the chance to visit the Brooklands Museum we highly recommend it, but for our readers further afield you can get an idea of the insanity of the vintage racing that once took place there courtesy of this lovely scene recreating Brooklands circa-1935 by Flickr’s Redfern. There’s more to see of his 1930s Maserati, its racing counterpart, and his wonderfully recreated Brooklands banking his photostream. Click the link above to step back in time.

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FTF FS-20 Roseboom – Picture Special

Lego FTF FS-20 Heavy Haulage Truck

This is probably the most beautiful Lego truck you’ll see this year. It might be the most beautiful Lego truck you’ll see ever.

It comes from Dirk Klijn of Flickr, and it’s an exact replica of an FTF FS-20 M 26 DT used by heavy haulage firm Roseboom in the Netherlands from 1989.

FTF (Floor Truck Factory) were a Dutch assembler of very heavy trucks, who sourced components such as engines from the USA and cabs from the UK to create specialist haulage vehicles.

Lego FTF FS-20 Heavy Haulage Truck

FTF now only manufacture trailers rather than tractor units, but this particular FTF truck has been totally restored to its former glory.

After finding details of the restoration Dirk has recreated Roseboom’s classic FTF in absolutely breathtaking detail, completing the build with a truly enormous Scheurle EuroCombi trailer carrying a mammoth steel beam, a load typical of the truck when it was in haulage service.

Lego FTF Truck RC

Dirk’s incredible model is more than a display piece too, as full Power Functions remote control – operated by a third-party SBrick bluetooth brick – is included, along with working suspension, a tilting cab, and mechanical steering on the Scheurle trailer.

There’s a whole lot more to see of Dirk’s amazing Roseboom-livereied classic FTF truck at his photostream – click here to heavy-haul circa-1989.

Lego FTF FS-20 Heavy Haulage Truck

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Building the Panama Canal – 2000451 Set Preview

LEGO Education Panama Canal Set

One of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the Panama Canal opened just over 100 years ago, taking over 30 years to complete and costing an estimated 28,000 people their lives. Started by the French in the 1880s, the project was completed by America in 1914, whereupon it completely transformed the worldwide shipping industry. No longer did vessels have to navigate the lengthy and dangerous Cape Horn – the tip of South America – instead able to cut straight through the centre of the Americas.

LEGO Education Panama Canal Set

To date almost 1 million ships have passed through the canal, each taking around seven hours to traverse the 77km mix of channels and artificial lakes, and the three huge sets of locks.

It’s these locks that are the defining characteristic of the canal, allowing the water and the ships that float upon it to rise and fall with the land in order to cross from one side of the continent to the other.

So important is the Panama Canal and the locks that allow it to function that their width and length has become the determining factor for shipbuilding, with ships built specifically to the largest size that is able to fit through them, known as ‘Panamax’.

Today though, we have a set of locks that are rather smaller. This wonderful new set comes from LEGO Education, and it recreates the third set of locks of the Panama Canal.

Constructed from over 1,180 pieces, the 2000451 El Canal de Panama set is built in five sections (plus a few micro-scale ships), allowing five children (or adults!) to contribute to the finished model simultaneously. Each section contains a set of gears and mechanically operated lock gates, allowing the ‘water’ to rise and fall as the gates are opened and closed. We’ve seen similar mechanisms in paper or card form, but not yet in LEGO, and it seems to work beautifully – making this set a great learning aid for the those wishing to understand both mechanics and hydrodynamics.

Originally destined just for sale in Panama, the LEGO Education 2000451 El Canal de Panama set is now available with worldwide shipping (we do hope this means that some sets will travel through the real world counterpart!), and can be bought via the Panama STEM website.

If you’d like to get your hands on this unique limited edition set click on the link below to visit Panama STEM, and you can watch the Lego locks in action on YouTube by clicking here.

Click here for the Panama STEM LEGO Education site 

 

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Hauling Bricks

Lego Scania R620 8x4 Truck Remote Control

This gorgeous replica of Scania’s R620 8×4 truck comes from previous bloggee Shineyu of Eurobricks. Not only does the Scania look the part, thanks to brilliant detailing and some excellent custom-made decals, it’s fully remote controlled too, with three Power Functions XL motors driving the rear two axles and a Servo motor powering the steering on the front two.

There’s more to see at the Eurobricks discussion forum, including some superb outdoor photographs like the two shown here complete with a heavy-haulage trailer in tow. Click the links above to make the jump to the full set.

Lego Scania R620 8x4 Truck Remote Control

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You Spin Me Right Round

The forthcoming sequel to 1982’s classic film Bladerunner has its trailers out now on YouTube. For car builders, there have been a few tantalising glimpses of this film’s interpretation of the “Spinner”. It’s already inspired some Lego builders, including GoIPlaysWithLego, whose clean, sleek Spinner features at the top of this post. Calin has also produced a smooth Spinner and a classic version (below), which is well worth a closer look – click this link to his PhotoStream.

Lego Blade Runner

What does all of this mean for the writers of TLCB? Firstly, we’re thinking of replacing our irritating Elven workforce with some obedient Replicants. Secondly, we get to indulge our growing penchant for sci-fi posts with tenuous British pop music links. Thirdly, we’re able continue our quest to try to understand sci-fi: do electric sheep dream of androids?

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Writer’s Revenge

Lego Volvo FH16 750 Truck

Today, this TLCB Writer snapped. Enough Elven droppings on the office floor. Enough Elven fighting in the corridor. Enough Elven surgery following the Elven fighting in the corridor.

Luckily one of the Elves found a creation perfect for rehabilitating a TLCB Writer post breakdown. This huge Volvo 8×4 FH16 truck, trailer and A60H dump truck combo comes from previous bloggee Shineyu, and it’s a truly incredible feat of Lego engineering.

Underneath the wonderfully realistic exteriors of each model are a host of Technic Power Functions motors, powering the drive, steering and – in the A60H’s case – the giant dumping bucket.

Lego Volvo A60H Dump Truck

You can squeeze a lot of Elves in said bucket, and Shineyu’s A60H is powerful enough to carry them all down the corridor, (whooping with delight), towards the office entrance (still whooping), through the doors (whooping subsiding), into the car park (whooping ceased), and towards the pond (whooping replaced by panic).

The Lego Car Blog Office is a much quieter place now, and this writer can confirm that the Volvo A60H’s dumping mechanism works wonderfully. Whilst he enjoys a peaceful day at TLCB Towers you can check out our favourite creation for some time courtesy of the Eurobricks discussion forum here, and you can watch both Volvo trucks in action thanks to the video below.

YouTube Video:

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My Other Car is a Porsche

Lego Technic Audi R8 V10 Plus

LEGO’s 42056 Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS set did not fair well here under the Reviewer’s gaze. Over-priced and under-engineered, 42056 is – in that regard at least – quite un-Porsche-like. However the Lego Community have been taking their hands to the GT3 RS to see if they can do better. This is the latest 42056 B-Model effort to come our way, and it looks tremendous.

Built by MOCpages’ Kasper Hansen, this Audi R8 V10 Plus almost exclusively uses parts from the Porsche 911 GT3 RS set, apart from the 3D-printed wheels (which are some of the most accurate replicas of the wheels from a real car that we’ve ever seen).

Kasper’s R8 also features a V10 engine, steering, suspension, paddle-shift gearbox (likely lifted straight from the official set),  plus opening doors, hood and engine cover. There’s more to see of Kasper’s creation over on MOCpages – click the link above to make the jump – and if you’d like to dismantle your own 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS to have a go at your own B-Model, here’s one fast way to do it…

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Change of Stripes

Lego Peterbilt 352 Cabover

If this stunning Peterbilt 352 86 cab-over truck looks familiar, that’s because it is. Andre Pinto’s previous 352 110 model appeared here in blue and white form a month ago, but because life is always better with diversity of colour, here’s Andre’s recently uploaded green and yellow short-cab 86 version. There’s more to see of Andre’s new 352 on both Eurobricks and Flickr, where you can also see the model side-by-side with its blue 110 counterpart.

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Twice the Price / Twice as Nice

Lego Porsche 911 GT2 RS

The Porsche 911 is probably the default sub-$100K sports car. Superbly made, quick enough, and with handling and ‘feel’ that’s envied throughout the industry, there’s really very little reason why you’d need anything else. So Porsche made a version that costs two-and-a-half times as much. Because they can.

The GT2 RS takes the 911’s power to almost 700bhp, and the top speed to well over 200mph. Well, this one doesn’t obviously, not unless you give it a really hard push, but it does look rather good. Built by previous bloggee Alexander Paschoaletto this excellent Model Team GT2 RS replica features opening doors, a detailed interior, and some of the best brick-built roof stripes we’ve seen. See more on Flickr at the link above.

Lego Porsche 911 GT2 RS

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Blade Runner

Lego Blade Runner Spinner

Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi epic Blade Runner is about to get an update. And it’s an update that looks – in the trailer at least – pretty awesome. Whilst we hesitantly but optimistically await the arrival of ‘Blade Runner 2049’, Flickr’s tfcrafter1 reminds us of one of the reasons why the original movie was so special. See more of his superb mini-figure piloted Spinner police hovercar at his photostream here.

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Teutonic Trio

Lego Porsche 911

Short of an oompah band efficiently eating a plate of sausages, or this picture, this is probably the most German thing you’ll see today. These three German-coloured Porsche 911s, in coupe, RS, and duck-tail variations, are the work of Flickr’s Der Beueler aka Uwe Kurth, and each is a superbly engineered miniature of Stuggart’s famous sports car. There’s more to see of all three at Uwe’s photostream – click the link above to make the jump.

Lego Porsche 911

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In Space, No-One Can Hear You Pollute

Lego Octan Sci-Fi Desert Bug

With the news that TLCB’s home nation is to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol powered cars by 2040, following France, Norway and others, the writing is on the wall for petrol companies. Not that you’d know it though. Are they, aware of the impending death of the one product they sell, championing the roll-out of hydrogen fuelling and electricity fast-chargers? Are they balls.

Which makes this six-wheeled Octan, er… whatever this is by Flickr’s BobDeQuatre even more perplexing that it otherwise would be. Are Octan still selling fossil fuels in the distant future? And how can an internal combustion engine even work in an environment without oxygen? We’ll put on our ‘Oil Executive Hat’ and say that’s a problem for another generation, let’s just keep that black gold flowing!* See more of Bob’s Octan Space Thingy at his photostream via the link above.

*We imagine the results of said hat look a little like the Simpsons’ Rich Texan.

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“The Most Beautiful Car Ever Made”

Lego Jaguar E-Type

Not our words, but those of one Enzo Ferrari, expressing his admiration for Jaguar’s new sports car at its launch in 1961. Nearly six decades later the E-Type’s legacy is secured thanks to its incredible looks, but at the time the new Jaguar had the world talking for far more than its beauty.

Based upon Jaguar’s three-time Le Mans winner, the E-Type featured disc brakes, independent rear suspension and the highest top speed of any production car at the time. And yet the E-Type cost only about the same a premium saloon car, which meant in today’s terms you could buy a Bugatti Veyron for the price of a mid-spec Audi.

The E-Type was, and still is, quite a car. The result of course is that – whilst prices were reasonable for decades – recently the classic Jaguar has become astronomically expensive, especially early cars such as the one pictured here.

We’ll stick with this one then, built by Flickr’s Senator Chinchilla, and available to view at his photostream here. The Senator has done a grand job capturing the E-Type’s wonderful lines in Lego form, and there’s lots more to see of his recreation of the car Enzo envied via the link above.

Lego Jaguar E-Type

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Bug Rod

Lego Volkswagen Beetle Hot Rod

There are not many things cooler than a Volkswagen Beetle hot rod. This one comes from Serge S of Flickr, and he’s made instructions available too. Click the link above to see more.

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Spicy Beef Noodles

Lego Lionhead Truck

This classic Hong Kong style covered flatbed truck comes form Flickr’s Chak hei Mok, and it has one of the most intricately-built cabs that we’ve ever seen at this scale. It also has a cow standing in the back, and as we really like spicy Honk Kong beef we had to post this (sorry cow, we expect this may be your last truck ride…). Order no. 48 and some noodles with us via the link above.

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