Tag Archives: 1950s

My Other Car’s Also Tiny

The Fiat 500 was small car, even by 1950s European standards. However, you could go even smaller.

The Messerschmitt KR200 ‘Kabinenroller’ (literally ‘scooter with cabin’) measured just 111 inches long and 48 inches wide, and was powered by a tiny 191cc single cylinder engine.

Despite making less than 10bhp, the KR200 could reach 56mph, thanks to a combination of low weight and excellent aerodynamics, which wasn’t far behind ‘normal’ cars of the time.

It was successful too, as post-war Europe (particularly an almost flattened Germany) needed simple cheap transportation to remobilise the population. There was even a ‘Kabrio Limousine’ version with a folding fabric roof, as pictured here by monstermatou of Flickr.

Monster’s wonderful Model Team recreation of the Messerschmitt KR200 captures the ’50s ‘Kabinenroller’ beautifully, and yet it’s been built using only the parts found within the official LEGO 10271 Fiat 500 set.

There’s a raising canopy, opening engine cover, plus a detailed interior and engine too, and there’s lots more to see of Monster’s brilliant bubble car B-Model at his photostream. Click the link above to turn your Fiat 500 into something even smaller!

Fifties Cruiser

Ah the fifties! Hot rods, milkshakes, prosperity, and exciting new Giant Implements of Death. This is one of America’s, the Martin Mace cruise missile and MM-1 Teracruzer translauncher, designed to transport a nuclear warhead to a location from which it could blow up a Russian city. Yay!

With a range of only 1,000 to 2,000km, the TM-76A / MGM-13A Mace cruise missile needed to be fairly close to Russia to pose a viable threat. Thus the U.S deployed it in West Germany, which they were able to do following Germany’s defeat in World War 2, thereby bringing the Cold War to the heart of Europe. Thanks America.

It also explains why The Soviet Union felt the need to send their nuclear missiles to Cuba, in doing so sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis, to ensure their Giant Implements of Death could reach America in return.

Thankfully both countries have moved on from such pointless willy-wavi… oh, they haven’t? Sigh.

This superb recreation of a horrible device comes from Ralph Savelsberg, and there’s loads more to see at his ‘Teracruzer TEL and Mace cruise Missile’ album on Flickr. Alternatively, here’s a mini-figure riding a giant tortoise, which looks altogether more peaceful.

Back in the Dnepr

This wonderful creation is a KMZ-Dnepr K650, a Soviet Ukrainian motorcycle based on the 1930’s BMW R71. Whilst this version is 650cc, early bikes were fitted with a 98cc Wanderer engine design taken from Germany as part of reparations for World War 2, before KMZ’s own much larger 650cc was used for the rest of the design’s long production run.

Of course the BMW bit of the KMZ-Dnepr pre-dates war reparations, as the Soviet Union officially licensed the design from Germany before the two countries later went to war. In fact Germany and Russia held talks about becoming allies, with only Hitler’s ideological greed preventing Stalin from agreeing. Had they found common ground then this TLCB Writer would probably be typing this in German.

Fortunately Hitler and Stalin didn’t team up, and Germany invaded the Soviet Union just a year after the deal to license the BMW R71 was signed. This led – rather oddly – to the bike fighting on both sides of the conflict; the BMW version for the Axis Powers and the Soviet IMZ-Ural copy for Russia.

Production of the KMZ-Dnepr version shown here commenced in Ukraine in 1946, and continued right up to the fall of the Soviet Union, with both civilian and military versions produced. This beautifully presented replica of the KMZ-Dnepr K650 comes from KMbricklab, making their TLCB debut, and depicts the German-Russian-Ukrainian bike in both civilian and (awesome) military two-wheel-drive sidecar variants.

Gorgeous detailing and clever building techniques are evident in abundance and there’s lots more of KMbricklab’s superb build to see at their ‘KMZ-Dnepr K650’ album on Flickr. Click the link above to make the jump to Soviet-era Ukraine.

*Today’s lightly butchered title song.

Small Brits

Over one in three Americans are obese, but TLCB’s home nation isn’t far behind, with 28% of the population being medically categorised as ‘chunkadunk’. Today though, we have two really small Brits, each being constructed in diminutive Speed Champions scale, yet still instantly recognisable as miniatures of their real-world brethren.

The first (above) is a tiny car in real life too, being a delightful recreation of the late-’50s Austin-Healey ‘Frogeye’ Sprite by RGB900. The real Spite measured just 3.5 metres in length, making it almost a third shorter than McLaren’s ridiculously-long 5.1 metre Speedtail.

Suggested by a reader, this neat Speed Champions version of one of McLaren’s million special editions is the work of newcomer User 5346 and there’s more of each small-scale Brit to see on Flickr. Take a look via the links above whilst we go and eat a donut or six.

Chasseurs de Fantômes

We don’t know what a French ghost looks like (it’d probably be smoking, with an attractive accent, and a penchant for striped jumpers), but we do know that if the Ghostbusters were French they’d probably drive this. Well, according to Tobias Munzert anyway.

This rather lovely Citroen DS is constructed solely from the pieces found within the official LEGO  10274 Ghostbusters Ecto-1 set, and it’s looks perfect for hunting down some gallic ghouls.

Building instructions are available and there’s more to see of this apparition-busting alternate at Tobias’ photostream. Click the link above to taaaake a loooook (in a ghost voice).

Get Your Bricks on Route 66

This wonderful vintage Route 66 scene was found by one of our Elves on Flickr, and it comes from the collaborative efforts of previous bloggee Dornbi and TLCB debutant Bricking Robo.

A gloriously evocative vignette, Dornbi and Robbo‘s build features a wealth of classic American metal, plus a brilliant motel, gas station, and auto shop, and there’s lots more to see at both builders’ photo streams via the links above.

Big Hero 6

This is a 1950s Berliet T100, a French-built, V12-powered 6×6 truck, with a gross weight of over 100 tons, and it was the largest truck in the world.

Four T100s were built between 1957 and 1959, with three flatbeds (as depicted here) designed to take enormous pieces of equipment off-road to serve oil and gas exploration in Northern Africa, whilst the fourth was outfitted as a dump truck for use in a French uranium mine.

The trucks were powered by a 29.6 litre Cummins engine, supplemented by a smaller Panhard engine used to power the steering and as a generator, and delivered a power figure of between 600 and 700bhp. One T100 was even fitted with an experimental gas turbine for a while, before it reverted back to diesel power.

Nico71’s incredible Technic recreation of the Berliet T100 includes both of these engines, along with a fully working replica of the T100’s 6×6 drivetrain, with three L Motors (one for each axle), all-wheel suspension, and a Medium Motor powering a compressor that can pneumatically lock all three differentials.

A fifth motor drives the steering front axle, with a final M Motor powering a winch mounted at the back of the cab, able to drag equipment up the T100’s ramp for transportation.

All six motors can be operated via bluetooth thanks to a third party SBrick controller, providing Nico’s 1:20 scale 3kg model with an accurate scaled-down representation of the real Berliet T100’s off-road ability.

You can see Nico71’s amazing creation in action via the video below, and you can read full details about both the build and the history of the real 1950s Berliet T100 trucks at Nico’s excellent website, where a complete gallery of images and 550-page building instructions can also be found.

YouTube Video

Carryall

The title of this post could well apply to this TLCB Writer at the airport, when Mrs TLCB Writer fills a suitcase with things she’s then unable to carry. He’s basically a donkey.

So too though is the Dodge Power Wagon, which a) has one of the best names of any vehicle ever, and b) was used to carry all sorts of things over some pretty unforgiving ground back in the 1950s.

It was particularly favoured by middle eastern oil extractors, where this superb cartoonish recreation of the Power Wagon ‘Carryall’ would fit in beautifully thanks to its sandy hue.

Flickr’s Redfern1950s is the builder behind it, whose earlier covered pick-up version appeared here last year, and there are lots more superb images of his Dodge Power Wagon ‘Carryall’ available to see at his photostream via the link above.

The Last Dakota* in Denmark

The Douglas DC-3 ‘Dakota’ revolutionised air travel before the jet age. And after it to some degree. Originating as a 1930s military design the DC-3 could fly 1,500 miles at 200mph, taking off and landing on short runways, and carrying 6,000lbs of cargo.

The Dakota was so versatile and reliable that it is still in service all around the world, although not in Denmark where just one unit remains airworthy. Previous bloggee Henrik Jensen has built this aircraft, as operated by a non-profit preservation, recreating it beautifully in brick form.

Wonderful techniques and authentic decals add to the realism and there’s more to see of Henrik’s Douglas DC-3 on Flickr – click the link above to fly in Denmark’s last Dakota.

*Today’s (excellent) title song.

Skies over Suez

We love a ’50s MiG. Sure they were a symbol of the oppression of millions, a regime seemingly intent on causing nuclear annihilation (not on their own we might add), and the terror of the Cold War, but they looked so cool!

In service from the early 1950s, almost 11,000 MiG-17s were built for use by a wide variety of scumbag dictatorships, and – somewhat unbelievably – three militaries still operate them today, some ’70 years after the design first flew.

This particular recreation of the Soviet fighter is an Egyptian Air Force unit, as built by John C. Lamarck, and it looks every bit as cool as the real thing. A removable tail-section reveals the jet engine inside, there’s working landing gear, accuarate Egyptian Air Force decals, and a range of exciting-looking weaponry that was used in Egypt’s defeat of the British, French and Israelis during the Suez Crisis in 1967.

What were we saying about the MiG-17 and scumbag dictatorships? Yeh, in this case TLCB’s home nation might not be able to hold the moral ground…

Head to John’s ‘MiG-17F’ album on Flickr via the link above to blow something British up in 1967.

Delightful Sedan

We’re not sure what ‘DS’ stands for these days, as Stellantis (what?) seems be using the brand solely in an attempt to charge 50% more for some extra chrome attached to decidedly average Citroens.

Deeply Cynical’? Wait, that’s not an ‘S’. ‘Dollar Signs’ perhaps? ‘Devoid of Substance’? Whatever it is, it isn’t working.

However a long time ago Citroen did used to produce the world’s best luxury cars, leading the way with hugely advanced technology, styling, and comfort.

This is one such car, the magnificent 1950s-1960s DS19, a car with front-wheel drive, hydro-pneumatic self-levelling suspension (with variable ride-height), power steering, a clutch-less gearbox, and disc brakes. All in 1955.

This beautifully presented Speed Champions recreation of the DS19 comes from Jonathan Elliott of Flickr, who has replicated the iconic French design wonderfully, even tapering the bodywork from 7 to 6 studs wide along the model’s length.

Jump to ’50s French luxury via the link above, and for comparison you can find one of DS’s current offerings here, where you can mutter dejectedly at it. Because they’re Depressingly Sardonic. Ah, that’s it!

Blue Bulldog

We round off a busy day here at TLCB Towers with this, TLCB debutant eastpole77‘s charming vintage Lanz Eilbulldog tractor. Inventive parts use, clever building techniques, and excellent presentation are all present and there’s more of eastpole77’s creation to see via the link above.

Big Heart

It’s Valentines Day, and the office here a TLCB Towers is filled with piles of cards from our admirers.

Wait, that’s not right. We mean it’s filled with messages from ‘instructions plz’ enquirers. That and ‘Get cheap Cialis here’ comments which we have to delete by the dozen. We suppose that those are kinda Valentine’s-related though?

Anyway, in other tenuous Valentines-linked news, this is PleaseYesPlease‘s wonderful Renault Dauphine rat rod, which is based on a real-world car by Instagramer ‘Oxtaco’.

Oxtaco transplanted a Volkswagen VR6 motor in place of the tiny original 845cc Renault engine, giving his Dauphine a much bigger heart (see, Valentines!).

Plus there’s probably a joke about putting something large inside something small, but with this writer and your Mom it’s the opposite, and either way we’ll probably have to delete more Cialis comments.

There are more images to see of PleaseYesPlease’s lovely Lego recreation of Oxtaco’s VR6-engined Renault Dauphine on Flickr, some of which even include Valentines-appropriate pink blossom.

Click the link above to see more, whilst we forward the latest batch of ‘Cheap Cialis’ messages on to The Brothers Brick.

My Other Car’s Also Really Slow

The original Fiat 500 was so called because it was powered by a rear-mounted 500cc two-cylinder engine. Back in ’50s Europe though, you could go even smaller.

This is the Vespa 400, so called because – you’ve guessed it – it was powered by a rear-mounted 400cc two-cylinder engine, which came from a Piaggio motorcycle.

Said powerhouse afforded the 400 a top speed of just over 50mph (if you mixed the oil with the fuel correctly as it was two stroke), and like the 500 it could just about fit four people inside and featured a convertible canvas roof incase they were wearing tall hats.

This rather lovely Model Team recreation of the Vespa 400 comes from previous bloggee monstermatou, who has constructed it only from the parts found within the Creator Expert 10271 Fiat 500 set.

Monster’s got form too, with several of his ace alternates appearing here previously, one of which very nearly won the TLCB Lock-Down B-Model Competition.

There’s more to see of the Vespa 400 B-Model as well as monstermatou’s other alternates at his photostream, and you can do just that by clicking these words.

What’s in a Roundel?

This TLCB writer has learned something today; the Royal Australian Navy uses little red kangaroos in place of the red dot more usually found in the centre of the RAF roundel! Kangaroos!

Entering the rabbit hole he has now learned that South Africa’s insignia features an eagle, Trinidad and Tobago a hummingbird, Papua New Guinea the mythical phoenix, and Luxembourg an extravagant lion.

If we ever start a military campaign against The Brothers Brick perhaps we should outline an Elf for the centre of ours?

Following that somewhat tangental start to this post, the aircraft depicted here that features the kangaroo-in-a-circle markings is a Hawker Sea Fury, in this case flown by the Royal Australian Navy.

Based on the Hawker Tempest, the Sea Fury entered service at the end of the second world war and flew until the early ’60s, operating first a pure fighter and then as a fighter-bomber as its suitability for multi-role use became apparent.

This particular Sea Fury is a F.B.11 that operated with Squadron 724 from the H.M.A.S. Albatross, most notably serving in the Korean War, and it’s been recreated beautifully by John C. Lamarck, complete with folding wing-tips, retractable landing gear, an opening cockpit, and – of course – accurate Royal Australian Navy markings including kangaroo roundels.

There’s much more to see of John’s superb Hawker Sea Fury F.B.11 on Flickr – hop on over via the link above!