Tag Archives: 1940s

Streamliner

This is a Tatra T87, and it was one of the fastest and yet most fuel efficient cars of the era. Built from the mid-’30s to early-’50s the T87 was powered by rear-mounted air-cooled 2.9 litre V8 engine which was about half the size of its competitors, yet – thanks to its streamlined shape – it could reach almost 100mph whilst using nearly half the fuel.

The occupying Nazis loved it, calling it ‘the autobahn car’, but so many German officers were killed trying to reach 100mph that the T87 was dubbed ‘the Czech secret weapon’, and they were subsequently banned from driving it.

This brilliant Technic recreation of the Tatra T87 comes from Horcik Designs who has replicated the car’s streamlined shape beautifully from Technic panels. Underneath the aerodynamic body is functioning swing-arm suspension, working steering, and a detailed engine under an opening cover, and there’s more to see of all of that at the Eurobricks discussion forum and at Horcik’s Bricksafe folder.

Click the links above to ty to reach 100mph on the autobahn c1940. Unless you’re a German Army officer.

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Stop! Hangar Time

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.

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Pug

We think that’s what a small bulldog is, right? Except pugs are bordering on inhumane. Anyhow, this small bulldog is not a pug, rather a miniature version of the ancient Lanz Bulldog tractor, as built by Flickr’s de-marco. He’s made instructions available and you find them and more great Town scale builds at his photostream – click the link to take a look.

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It’s a Gas!

The police are distracted, the roads empty, and the hot rodders of Willow Springs are about to race for cash! Betting agents, ‘shady looking bikers’, and a wonderful rural gas station filled with details add a suitably illegal atmosphere to the proceedings of Faber Madragore‘s ‘Street Racers’ Haunt’ diorama.

Built for Model Expo Italy, which was cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Faber’s brilliant scene finds a second life online. There’s loads more to see on Flickr where you can head to take in all the details – grab some cash, click the link above, and place your bet!

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More Kicks on Route 66

Dornbi’s ace vehicular Americana appeared here earlier in the month, and he’s now published the complete diorama in which his classic metal features. A collaboration with another builder, Dornbi’s brilliant ’40s and ’50s vehicles pass a charming rural desert gas station, complete with pumps, workshop and store, driving of course on the superb brick-built Route 66 itself. There’s more to see of this wonderful build on Flickr – click here to drive Route 66 for yourself!

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Get your Kicks on Route 66*

It’s a bumper haul for an Elf today, with no less than five creations brought back to TLCB Towers. All come from Dornbi, who has – from left to right – created a Ford ’40 Coupe, Mercury Eight, Hudson Hornet, Ford F-100, and Mercury Eight convertible brilliantly in mini-figure(ish) scale. The collection forms part of Dornbi’s ‘Route 66’ diorama and there’s more to see of it and the cars shown here via the link to Flickr above.

*Today’s absolutely marvellous title song.

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Pedal Power

This is a 1950s Murray Torpedo Roadmaster, a pedal car based on the Buick design of the late ’40s-early ’50s, and it might be the vehicle that we want in real life more than anything else we’ve ever featured on this website. Although we’re probably a bit fat to get in one these days.

This utterly beautiful replica of the Torpedo Roadmaster comes from Jacob Sadovich, who has built and presented his brick-built recreation of the 1950s pedal car to absolute perfection. Custom chrome, working steering, and an accurate working pedal mechanism feature, and you can jump inside for a go at Jacob’s ‘Pedal Car’ album. Unless you’re a bit fat these days…

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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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