Tag Archives: 1940s

Bygone Times

Ah the age of steam, when no-on had to worry about catching a deadly virus named after a beer, and idiots vomiting ‘advice’ on social media in the name of clicks were just idiots vomiting advice down the pub that could be quietly ignored. There was polio, consumption and no National Health Service though, so on balance today is probably a better time to be alive, however romantic the past may look.

This particular piece of romantic looking past is a Thompson Class L1 steam locomotive, produced between 1948 and 1950 and run – in this case – by the London North East Railway.

Built by Britishbricks it’s a breathtaking replica of one of the ninety-nine Class L1s constructed, with custom valve gear and beautiful decal work too. A convoy of superb trucks follows and there’s more to see of the complete train at Britishbricks’ Album on Flickr. Head to a romanic looking past via link above. Toot toot!

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Silver Bird

We’ve featured many creations here at TLCB that include custom chromed pieces. We don’t mind doing this as a) it’s not really against the spirit of LEGO and b) they usually look awesome. However, it is sometimes nice when a builder uses only LEGO’s own silver parts.

There aren’t many silver LEGO pieces, which makes BigPlanes‘ recently re-photgraphed (and superbly presented) Boeing B-29 Superfortress even more impressive. Custom decals and mini-figure crew complete the build and there’s more to see of this speculator recreation of the historic bomber at BigPlanes’ ‘B-29’ album on Flickr. Click the link above and head to the skies.

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Into the Wild

In April of 1992 a young man by the name Christopher McCandless set out across Alaska on foot. With minimal supplies, a rifle, and a new alter ego (Alex Supertramp), McCandless left civilisation behind to live simply off the land in Alaska’s remote wilderness.

After hiking along the snow-covered ‘Stampede Trail’, McCandless discovered the old Fairbanks Bus 142, a 1946 International Harvester K-5 that was one of several that had been outfitted as shelters for a construction crew repairing the trail in the early 1960s.

When the mine that used the trail closed in the 1970s the buses were removed, all apart from Bus 142 which – thanks to a broken axle – was left behind in the wilderness. Already fitted with beds and a wood burning stove, it became McCandless’s new home.

McCandless attempted to leave the area in which the bus was abandoned several times, but the thick Alaskan undergrowth and swollen rivers made progress impossible, and so he returned, trapped in the shelter.

After 113 days, and weighing just 30kg, McCandless died of starvation and poisoning from wild potato seeds, his final diary entry on day 107 simply reading “Beautiful Blue Berries”. Days 108 to 112 contained only unintelligible slashes, whilst day 113 contained nothing at all.

Two weeks later a group of hunters entered Bus 142 looking for shelter, and discovered McCandless’ decomposing body inside a sleeping bag.

McCandless’ tragic story has since become a book and a movie, and the bus – deteriorating more each year – is now an attraction for Alaskan tourists. This beautiful recreation of the International Harvester that became Chris McCandless’ tomb comes from TLCB favourite and Master MOCer Andrea Lattanzio (aka Norton74), of which there is more to see at his ‘Into the Wild’ album on Flickr. Click the link above to take a trip to the wilderness around Fairbanks Bus 142. Just don’t eat the wild potato seeds.

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DC-3C

Nope, not an annoying Star Wars droid (we’re not Bricknerd), but this gorgeous classic Douglas DC-3C airliner, recreated beautifully by previous bloggee Luis Pena. Built for display at Chile’s Air and Space International Fair alongside his previously featured models, Luis’ creation captures LAN-Chile’s iconic 1940s airliners – that were converted from military transports after the Second Wold War – in wonderful detail. If you’re one of our Chilean readers you can see Luis’ Douglas DC-3C along with his other historic Lego aircraft at FIDEA Santiago, and if not you can see all the imagery at his Flickr album by clicking here.

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‘Peacemaker’

Is there a more ironically named aircraft than this? The Corvair B-36 ‘Peacemaker’ was introduced in 1948 as an intercontinental strategic nuclear bomber, originally conceived to bomb Germany from the U.S should Britain fall during the Second World War.

With the largest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built (a truly enormous 230ft), the B-36 could travel for 10,000 miles carrying a nearly 40,000kg payload and is still the largest mass-produced piston engined aircraft in history, a title it will likely always hold.

Those piston engines were often not sufficient however, and four turbojets were later added to help the giant bomber get airborne. They didn’t help enough though, and the arrival of the jet age meant the Peacemaker was phased out just ten years after its introduction, replaced by the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress with all bar five of the nearly four-hundred aircraft built scrapped.

This amazing recreation of the short-lived yet still slightly terrifying nuclear-carrying monstrosity is the work of previous bloggee BigPlanes, whose magnificent Boeing 747 Air Force One appeared here last week. BigPlanes’ astonishing B-36D measures 6ft across, includes a complete mini-figure scale cockpit, and features functioning bomb bays, and there’s loads more to see at Big’s photostream via the link above.

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Electric Egg

Today’s title may sound like something your Mom uses on the bus whilst reading Mills & Boon books, but it is in fact a car so ahead of its time they only made one.

Designed by French engineer Paul Arzens in 1942, the ‘L’Oeuf Electrique‘ (electric egg) was an incredible looking electric two seater with a range of 100km at 70km/h. That’s comparable with today’s electric city cars. In 1942! Sadly it never got made, but fast forward to 2020 at in many parts of the world it would do very well indeed. Just not in our home nation because it’s not a generically bland SUV. Sigh.

Found on, er… The Brothers Brick (TLCB Elves won’t look us in the eye at the moment), TLCB debutant aido k is the builder behind this marvellous Lego recreation of L’Oeuf and there’s more to see of Yesterday’s City Car of Tomorrow at his photostream via the link.

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Flying Fruit

Airlines never seem to offer fruit on board. Little packets of pretzels yes. Fruit no. Or nothing at all if you’re flying budget, although there will be a catalogue containing a $4,000 watch. No matter, because the aptly-named Big Planes of Flickr has some serious in-flight fruit for us today. This is the Northrop N-9M ‘Flying Wing’, it really did exist and it really did look like a giant banana.

The N-9M was an experimental aircraft constructed in the early 1940s to test the theory behind an ultra efficient single wing bomber design. Four planes were built, and they crashed a lot. The idea worked though, and a pair of Flying Wings three times the size of the N-9M were constructed to further test the design.

Unfortunately the design really needed computer control to keep it airborne, which was incredibly limited at the time, and the projects were shelved; all but one of the four N-9Ms  built were scrapped. The fourth was left to deteriorate, but following a funding campaign it returned to the air in 1993 after two decades of restoration work, touring airshows and events across America. Sadly it too crashed in April of this year, killing the pilot and destroying the last N-9M in existence.

Big Planes’ beautifully built mini-figure scale replica of the Northrop N-9M is now as close as you’re likely to get to seeing what this incredible aircraft was like, however the design direction continued and – once computers caught up with the ambition of Northrop’s 1940s engineers – a flying wing did finally take to the skies; the amazing Northrop-Grumman B-2 Spirit  ‘Stealth Bomber‘.

There’s more to see of Big Planes’ brilliant Northrop N-9M at his photostream on Flickr. Click the link above, open a little pack of pretzels, and enjoy the images.

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My Other Truck’s a Beetle

The lovely LEGO Creator 10252 Volkswagen Beetle set has spawned several B-Models from the blue bricks found within it. Nathanael Kuipers (a previous set designer for LEGO no less!) has created another, and has made instructions available for owners of the 10252 set to recreate it for themselves. Drawing on several classic pick-up truck designs from the late ’30s to the late ’40s Nathanael’s B-Model captures the style of the time wonderfully and there’s more to see of his 10252 B-Model (including a link to building instructions) on Flickr here.

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Czech Mate

We are SO BORED of Brexit. Every day, all day, people shouting at one another. Racism, classism, elitism… every ‘ism’ you could wish for in one painfully tedious and never-ending argument.

So whatever your political persuasion (and as Americans make up the largest nationality of our readership we suspect the answer is probably this), here’s a celebration of European achievement in the face of considerable adversity.

This is the Tatra T600 ‘Tatraplan’, an almost spectacularly futuristic design produced by Tatra from 1948 from within a country battered by war and then shackled by the yoke of Communism thanks to a coup d’état that took place in the same year the car launched.

Unfortunately Czech Communism lasted considerably longer than the T600 (right up until the Velvet Revolution of 1989), by which point Tatra had almost completely wound down car production to focus on its (excellent) heavy-duty trucks, but we look upon the quirky Tatra with considerably more favour than the Communist regime that ruled during its production run.

The T600 was a large (six seat) family car powered by a 2-litre flat-four engine, featuring a monocoque chassis and with a wonderful streamlined body. Just over 6,000 units were produced during its three-year production run and the whole TLCB team would take one over a typical modern family car (which are mostly as boring as Brexit) in heartbeat.

This lovely Technic recreation of the Tatra T600 comes from Kent Kashiwabara of Flickr, and not only has he captured the car’s beautiful lines rather well in Technic form, he’s also given his model a flat-four engine, working steering, and full suspension underneath. There’s more to see of Kent’s excellent T600 on Flickr via the link above, which is where we’ll be pretending we live somewhere else other than the UK right now….

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Killing with Kliment

Sometimes we’re surprised we have any Elves left at all…

This is a Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1/KV-2 tank, it comes from Lego-building genius Sariel, and it has caused considerable carnage within our Elven workforce here at TLCB Towers.

Sariel’s model faithfully recreates the 1940’s Russian battle tank, complete with remote control drive and skid-steering, torsion bar suspension, a rotating turret with elevating gun, and – in the case of the mad KV-2 version – a working firing mechanism.

It’s this feature the Elf that discovered today’s find chose to use on its colleagues, firing at them as they fled and then running those that got hit over. It’s not fun being an Elf sometimes. Unless you’re the one doing the firing and running over we suppose…

Anyway, we have the controls now so order has been restored, giving us a chance to examine the astonishing quality of engineering that has gone into this creation.

You can see it for yourself at Sariel’s KV-1/KV-2 Flickr album, the full gallery available at Bricksafe, or the Eurobricks discussion forum. You can also check out Sariel’s interview here at The Lego Car Blog via the first link in the text above, plus you can watch the Kliment Voroshilov tank in action in a Michael Bay-inspired short film below…

YouTube Video

 

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Constellation

This gorgeous Lockheed Constellation airliner was discovered by one of our Elves on Flickr today. Built by the aptly-named BigPlanes it’s a fully fitted mini-figure scale replica of the iconic triple-tailed aircraft, complete with a highly detailed cabin including cockpit, toilets and even a kitchen!

The Constellation first flew in the early 1940s and was produced until 1958, by which point jets were quickly replacing piston engined aircraft. The ‘Connie’s four piston engines were eighteen-cylinders each, and allowed the plane to fly at over 375mph (faster than a Mitsubishi Zero fighter!) and for 3,500 miles.

The Constellation was also the first mainstream aircraft to feature a pressurised cabin, and saw deployment by both the military and civilian airlines with carriers including Air France, Pan-Am, and – as shown here – Trans World Airlines.

Still in limited service today we think the Constellation is one of the most beautiful airliners of all time, and BigPlanes’ Lego recreation certainly does it justice. Head over to his photostream via the link above check out more images of his spectacular model including some wonderful interior shots.

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Girls und Panzer

Just when you think anime can’t get any weirder… ‘Girls und Panzer‘ is a cartoon featuring girls and, er… panzers. Presumably to satisfy some seriously niche kinks.

This is one of the panzers from the aforementioned programme, a Porsche Tiger VK4501, a design put forward during the Second World War but never produced, which – given Porcshe’s already slightly dodgy beginnings – is probably a good thing.

This superbly photographed teddy-bear be-stickered Model Team version of the prototype battle tank is the work of newcomer NABLACKS, who has recreated the Tiger GuP.Ver in spectacular detail, and has equipped it with some properly brilliant functionality too…

Underneath the realistic exterior NABLACKS has fitted his Porsche Tiger with twelve (12!) Power Functions L motors, with six driving each track. Oscillating bogies provide the suspension whilst the turret can rotate and tilt courtesy of another two motors. All of that motorised goodness is controllable via bluetooth thanks to a trio of BuWizz 2.0 bricks, each delivering up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own Power Functions battery and IR receiver system.

This makes NABLACKS’ tank fast. Really fast. In fact there’s wasn’t a single Elf on the floor of the TLCB Towers still Elf-shaped within minutes of this arriving in the building.

You can see just how capable NABLACKS’ creation is via the video below (plus you can watch the ‘Girls und Panzer’ trailer video via the first link in the text if you’re feeling weird), and you can view more images of the build at both Flickr and Eurobricks, whilst we dispatch several flattened TLCB Elves to the ‘Elf Hospital‘…

YouTube Video

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Harvard Reference

Well we’re never going to write a title cleverer than that… On to the build. This is a North American T-6 ‘Harvard’ a World War 2 training aircraft, and sometime fighter, as built here beautifully by previous bloggee Henrik Jenson. Henrik’s Harvard is shown in Danish livery, one of the many airforces that operated the T-6 from the 1940s until the 1970s, including some that the U.S. has subsequently fought against. See more at Henrik’s album on Flickr via the link above.

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Lightning Bolt!

Lightning is always cool. OK, not always; this guy took some liberties. But other than that it’s cool. One of fastest and most terrifying forces in nature, lightning also makes a for a great aircraft name. It’s been used twice that we know of, the second being the unhinged English Electric Lightning and the first being this; the glorious Lockheed P-38J Lightning. The Lockheed P-38’s usual (and we think quite beautiful) twin boom design makes it an oddity in the aircraft world, and even more so considering it first entered service in 1941.

Deployed as a bomber, a long range escort fighter, a ground attack craft, for photo reconnaissance, and as a night fighter, the P-38 flew throughout the entire American involvement in World War Two in a vast array of theatres, with over 10,000 produced in just 4 years.

This colourful mini-figure scale version of the iconic warbird comes from previous bloggee John C. Lamarck of Flickr, who has done a wonderful job recreating the P-38 Lightning in lego form. The hand-drawn decals add to the cartoonish nature of the build too, and there’s more to see at John’s photostream by clicking here.

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