It’s been over a hundred years since steam rollers were built, and yet in TLCB’s home nation we still call road rollers ‘steam rollers’ over a century later. No we don’t know why either. Anyway, this one is a steam roller, being effectively a giant kettle with a big metal drum attached to the front, powered by burning lumps of fossilised wood.
It comes from previous bloggee Nikolaus Lowe, who has done a tremendous job building this beautiful and fully functional Model Team/Technic c1910 steam roller, complete with working rope steering, rear ripper, drivetrain pistons and valve gear, and even the weird centrifugal spinning thingy that steam-powered vehicles always seem to have, the purpose of which remains a mystery.
A wealth of superb imagery is available to view at Nikolaus’ ‘Steam Roller’ album on Flickr, where you can also find details on how to vote for this model to become an official LEGO set. Click the link above to go rollin’.
The inline four-cylinder petrol engine is the most commonly fitted engine to cars the world over. The optimum balance between smoothness, power, efficiency, and er… cheapness, the inline-4 needs only one cylinder head, there are always two cylinders going down as two go up, and when mounted transversely it takes up little space.
Despite all those worthy attributes however, these days the inline 4-cylinder can be seen as a bit dull, despite the efforts of the world’s best engineers to liven it up. Back in the earliest days of motoring though, it was anything but.
Bentley’s amazing ‘Blower‘ racing cars used 4-cylinders, and so too did Fiat, who – in 1911 – fitted a four-cylinder engine to their S76 World Record Car of twenty-eight litres capacity. The result was quite fiery, and allowed the ‘Beast of Turin’ to hit an unofficial top speed of over 130mph.
It’s this car that Joe Maruschak‘s ‘Vintage Race Car’ most closely resembles, itself being fitted with a working 4-cylinder engine utilising LEGO’s suitably vintage square pistons and featuring pushrod-operated valves.
A hidden Power Functions motor brings Joe’s creation to life and there’s more to see of his mighty 4-cylinder racing car on Flickr via the link above.
Are three things better than two? Engines? Yes. Beer. Yes. Stool legs? Yes. Wings? Er… no, probably not. However, whilst the triplane idea was abandoned by 1920, it was a widespread aeronautical design before then, being used by pretty much every plane-building nation of the time.
Most notably triplanes were the mainstay of the German Air Force in the First World War, with aircraft such us this extravagantly painted Fokker Dr.1. used extensively (and successfully) throughout the conflict.
This superb small-scale recreation of the Fokker Dr.1 – made famous by the ‘Red Baron’ Manfred von Richthofen – comes form Flickr’s Henrik Jensen, and there’s more to see at Henrik’s ‘Fokker Dr.1’ album via the link above.
Today at TLCB we’re trumpeting this glorious traction engine and trailer built by previous bloggee Nikolaus Löwe (aka Mr_Klienstien), who has opened up his own steam-powered amusement arcade!
Frogger, Time Crisis, and Sega Rally probably aren’t included, (and we’re not really sure what a steam powered amusement might consist of. Well, we had someideas but they’re definitely not right), but you can see more of the beautiful traction engine that would power them along with the trailered living accommodation that accompanies it at Nikolaus’s ‘Showman’s Engine ‘ album on Flickr.
The lovely vintage workshop scene was discovered by one of our Elves on Flickr today, and whilst it doesn’t feature any racing stripes it does use no less than sixteen LEGO train track switch pieces throughout the build. See if you can spot them with a trained eye* hidden in Mrs. Miller’s library van and the garage surrounding it courtesy of Jonas Kramm. Click the link to switch* over to Flickr.
Now that the title has pulled in a few people expecting to see something rather different, here’s a traction engine. This Case steam tractor comes from Nikolaus Löwe (aka Mr_Kleinstein) of Flickr, and not only does it look rather wonderful (unless you’re here hoping to see something else of course), it features remote control too, thanks to LEGO’s ace Power Functions system. Head to Nikolaus’ ‘Case Steam Tractor’ album via the link above to see more.
War isn’t won just with planes, tanks and ships. Behind the scenes a huge machine needs to operate to keep the frontline moving, from medical care to mechanics and cookery to construction.
With shifting territory and short aircraft ranges in both world wars, runway and hangar building was as important to the war effort as the aircraft that used them. Often overlooked by Lego builders we have two builds today that recognise the behind-the-scenes heroes of the Allied victory in both wars.
First above (above) is Dread Pirate Wesley‘s superb First World War diorama, set somewhere in Northern France and featuring wonderful SE5a and Sopwith Camel biplanes alongside a brilliantly recreated canvas and wood hangar. It’s a stunning scene and one that you can see more of via the link to Wesley’s photostream above, where you can also find a trio of German Fokkers ready to meet the British fighters in the skies over France.
Today’s second wartime hangar (below) jumps forward around twenty-five years to the Second World War, with the canvas and wood replaced by concrete and tin, and the biplanes by the far more sophisticated Supermarine Spitfire, very probably the greatest fighter of the conflict. Builder Didier Burtin has curved LEGO’s grey baseplates under tension to create the impressive hangar, equipping with everything required to keep the pair of Spitfires airworthy.
There’s more to see of Didier’s beautiful Second World War diorama at his photostream via the link above, where you can also see what happens when a part fails on a 1940s fighter plane, and therefore why the heroes behind the scenes were as vital as those in the cockpits.
Luis Peña may have created the most niche Lego category of all time, and there are some bloody niche ones out there already. These three marvellous contraptions from the early days of flight come from his ‘Chilean Aviation Pioneers’ album, celebrating the first men to get airborne in Chile.
The Bristol M1.C (below) was Britain’s first combat monoplane. It was also Chile’s, as Britain delivered 12 M1.Cs to the country in lieu of two battleships that Chile had ordered from the UK, but that were commandeered by the Royal Navy to fight in the First World War before they could be delivered.
In South America the M1.C became the first aircraft in history to cross the Andes Mountains, whilst in Europe it became a successful air-racer after the war, back in the days when air racing was a thing. Just one example survives today, residing in a museum in Australia.
Luis’ second Chilean Aviation Pioneer (below) is the French-made Voisin Cellular biplane, which became the first plane ever to fly in Chile when it was piloted by César Copetta in 1910, some twenty year before the formation of the Chilean airforce.
Like the Bristol above the vintage aircraft has been superbly recreated in 1:40 (roughly mini-figure) scale, including the the guide wires, spindly wheels, and wooden frame and wing struts.
Luis’ Final Chilean Aviation Pioneer is the 1909 Blériot XI (below), a French design that became the first aircraft ever to fly across the English Channel, as well as the first heavier-than-air aircraft to be used in war, when it was deployed in Africa in 1910. The Blériot also became the first military aircraft to fly in Chile, in the hands of Captain Manuel Ávalos in 1913.
As wonderfully constructed as Luis’ other aircraft there’s more to see of the Blériot XI, plus the Bristol M.1C and Voisin Cellular and Luis’ ‘Chilean Aviation Pioneers album’ on Flickr. Click the link above to go flying over Chile sometime in the early twentieth century.
Coincidentally the title of today’s post describes not only the creation within it but also the Elf that found it. This neat Fokker D1 tri-plane, made famous by Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen aka ‘The Red Baron’, comes from Jonas Obermaier of Flickr, who has done a rather excellent job of recreating probably the First World War’s most famous aircraft in mini-figure scale.
Credited with over eighty air-combat victories, the Red Baron himself was killed aged 25 in 1918 by a bullet to the chest, although he managed to successfully land his aircraft in a field in France before he died. The D1 didn’t last long though, being stripped by souvenir hunters. Jonas’s lovely model shows us how his Fokker fighter would have looked, and there’s more to see at his photostream via the link above.
This gorgeous vintage racer was found on Flickr today, and not only is it a vintage vehicle itself, it uses some vintage LEGO parts too. The wonderful engine that you can see in these images an inline 4-cylinder built from LEGO’s original 2×2 square pistons that required a brick-built engine block. Newcomer Joe Maruschak has done a stellar job making use of these old parts, even including push-rod operated valves and a Power Functions motor to bring the engine to life. Head to Joe’s ‘Old Race Car’ album on Flickr to see all the photos and a video of the engine in action, and if you’d like to see what a real vintage 4-cylinder engine looks (and sounds) like then click this rather awesome link and turn your sound up!
This delightful scene of calm in the midst of a Great War era conflict comes from Tino Poutianen of Flickr, who has created a lovely generic Allied fighter with its two dashing crew casually catching up on news from home whilst a pig steals some lunch.
Sadly we doubt they or the pig will be around this time next year. The early years of wartime flight were terrifically dangerous, and pigs are, well… really tasty. For now all is well though, and happily it’s this scene that’s been preserved in brick by Tino. See more at the link.
Once the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, Fokker are now perhaps best known for supplying the German Army during the first World War. The company wasn’t actually German though, instead being founded by Dutchman Anthony Fokker in 1912 whilst he studied in Germany, before moving back to the Netherlands in 1919.
The company that once supplied Germany then fought against them in World War 2, before the Germans invaded the Netherlands and requisitioned Fokker’s factories.
The bombing by the Allies that followed completely destroyed Fokker’s manufacturing facilities, and with a glut of cheap ‘lightly used’ aircraft available at the end of the war the company barely survived. But survive it did, right up until 1996 when the might of Boeing and Airbus finally put an end to Fokker aircraft production.
These two wonderful models depict Fokker in their glory days, when they designed arguably the best fighter aircraft in the world for the German Army during the First World War (and we won’t begrudge them that as the First World War was, as previously explained here, completely pointless).
Built by Dread Pirate Wesley they are a Fokker D.VII and Fokker Eindecker E.IV, both recreated (and photographed) beautifully in mini-figure scale. There’s more to see of each aircraft (plus many more) at Wesley’s brilliant ‘Lego Aircraft’ Flickr album – click the link to take off.
Before the internal combustion engine took over as the dominant technology, early vehicles were powered by all sorts of stuff. Electric – weirdly – was widely used (so things are coming full circle and perhaps Tesla aren’t that revolutionary after all), as was steam, which featured in everything from small(ish) runabouts to enormous tractors, or ‘traction engines’.
Unlike electric, steam vehicles probably aren’t going to make a comeback, but we do still like to see a nice traction engine. Yeah, we’re a bit sad. So does Flickr’s Nikolaus Lowe though, and as such he’s built this splendid mini-figure scale ‘Showman’s Engine’, completely with a wonderfully be-hatted showman at the controls. Head to Nikolaus’s photostream via the link above for more details.
In the hundred years since The Great War ended mankind has made all sorts of progress. Antibiotics, space travel, the television, Twitter, the cat pencil sharpener… it’s an amazing list, yet cars are still more or less the same as they were a century ago, and they’re still produced in largely the same way too.
This is the car that defined automobile production for the next 100 years, the phenomenally successful Ford Model T. Produced from 1908 to 1927, around fifteen million units of Henry Ford’s world-changing car were built, meaning that at one time over half of all the cars on the roads anywhere in the world were Model Ts. It’s likely we’ll never see such a dominant product – of any type, let alone a car – again.
This excellent Lego replica of very probably the most important machine ever made comes from previous bloggee Pixel Junkie who has recreated the Model T brilliantly in Lego form. See more at his photostream by clicking here.
Renault may be better known for things like this and this, but it’s a little-known fact that they’re also the inventors of the modern tank. The tank was first used by the British Army in the First World War, but it was horrendously slow, unreliable and a magnet for unwanted attention. Renault took the idea and simplified it, creating a vehicle that was much lighter, more reliable, and featured a fully-armoured 360-degree rotating turret.
The Renault FT-17 could also be operated by a few of just two, and it thus became a phenomenally successful design. Around 3,000 units were produced in France (mostly in 1918), whilst another 950 were built under license in the United States. Twenty-seven countries/revolutionary armies used the FT-17 over the next thirty years and the design fought in almost a dozen separate wars, which probably says as much about mankind’s propensity for war as it does the brilliance of the FT-17.
This beautiful Lego replica of the Renault FT-17 has been built by TLCB regular Sariel, who has recreated the world’s first light tank in glorious detail. Inside the stunningly accurate shell are three Power Functions motors, a Micro Motor, and a third-party SBrick programmable bluetooth control brick. Each track is suspended via oscillating bogies and powered by an individual Medium Motor, a third Medium Motor rotates the gun turret, whilst the Micro Motor powers the gun barrel elevation.