Tag Archives: 1970s

Technic 42111 Dom’s Dodge Charger | Review

The ‘Fast & Furious’ movies are – for the most part – total garbage. With characters coming back from the dead (twice), long lost family members loosely enabling plot continuation (twice), and bad guys turning good just to keep them in the franchise (three times by our count), the plots could have been written by TLCB Elves.

But, like the internet’s most popular video category, no one is watching a Fast & Furious movie for the plot. They’re watching for the cars. And maybe Vin Diesel’s giant shiny head. In doing so making ‘Fast & Furious’ the most profitable movie franchise ever.

Thus LEGO have joined the ‘Fast & Furious’ party, and have brought one of the franchise’s star cars to life in Technic form. This is the Technic 42111 Dom’s Dodge Charger set, supplied to us here at TLCB by online shop Zavvi, and it’s time for a review…

First a shout out to our suppliers Zavvi, whose delivery was prompt, communication good, and the 42111 box was massively well protected inside, well… a bigger box. If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep the boxes for your sets (ours just go in the recycling), that’s a bonus.

LEGO have realised this too, removing the sticky circles that hold the ends shut (but that rip the artwork when opened), and fitting a cereal-box style closable tab so it can stay closed.

Inside 42111’s box are five numbered bags, bagged instructions and stickers (which helps to keep them protected too), and 1,077 parts. Many of these are weird and new, at least to this reviewer (if not the set), and continue LEGO’s approach of using every colour ever. However, like numerous ‘Fast & Furious’ characters, we’re going to do a complete 180 and say that it, well… works.

Building 42111 is fun and straight-forward, with the multitude of colours making it easy to find the parts required. The colours are thoughtfully chosen too, enabling quick identification and actually changing in some cases as the build progresses depending upon which similar pieces they shared a bag with. They’re all fairly well hidden by the end too, so there’s no ‘rainbow’ misery here.

The build can also be commended for creating a fully working rolling chassis by the mid-point, which makes it much more interesting than only adding the wheels at the end.

As has been the case for a while now though, the instructions can be very simple, at times adding just one piece per step. That said, there are a lot of orientation changes, which you have to watch out for so you don’t install something upside down. Not that this Reviewer did that. He’s a professional.

After a few hours of happy parts selection and spot-the-difference, you’ll have a nicely sized Technic recreation of the early ’70s Dodge Charger – modified ‘Fast & Furious’ style with a giant supercharger and NO2 tanks – complete with a working V8 engine, steering, all-wheel suspension, opening doors, hood and trunk, and a bizarre party trick. Continue reading

My Other Car’s a Porsche

No really, it is. Because this amazing Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole is built entirely from the pieces found within the official LEGO 10295 Porsche 911 set.

How Firas Abu-Jaber has managed to turn a vehicle renowned for its curves into one famous for its straight lines has broken every brain here at TLCB Towers, but suffice to say, Firas has absolutely smashed it.

Working steering, an opening front trunk, engine cover and scissor doors, plus a detailed interior all feature, and there are more superbly presented images of Firas’s incredible 10295 alternate to see at his ‘Lamborghini Countach’ album here.

You can also find further details and building instructions at Firas’s excellent website Bricks Garage, plus you can check out his interview here at TLCB to learn how he builds models like this one by clicking these words.

LEGO Creator 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper | Set Preview

The crack team of Elven ‘volunteers’ fired over The LEGO Company’s HQ permitter wall tasked with uncovering this summer’s new sets had – we thought – all returned/been eaten by guard dogs, but no! Today one last bedraggled Elf returned home to TLCB Towers with a final new-for-2021 LEGO set, at it’s a great one…

This is the brand new Creator Expert 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van, LEGO’s officially licensed successor to the wonderful 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van that has been on sale for almost a decade (making it one of the longest serving LEGO sets ever).

Improving on the 10220 set is no mean feat – it achieved a full 10/10 review here at TLCB – and LEGO have certainly gone all-out, nearly doubling the parts count to a whopping 2,207 pieces.

Many of these are tiles too, as a new building technique deploys outward facing ‘SNOT’ to construct the bodywork in place of the original set’s traditional stacked bricks.

A fully detailed interior complete with a canvas pop-top, opening cabinets, a fridge, a stove (with all important tea pot), and a sink is included, whilst a brick-built surfboard (first seen on the 10252 Volkswagen Beetle set) along with two folding deck chairs ensure the T2 is suitably beachy.

Working steering, a sliding door, a brand new windscreen piece, and an opening engine cover add to the realism, whilst period-correct (and hippy default) ‘Peace’ and ‘Love’ decals ensure the model reflects the late ’60s – early ’70s era that still defines the T2 today.

Expect the new LEGO Creator Expert 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van to cost around $180/£150 when it hits stores later this year, and LEGO’s successful Volkswagen Camper story to continue for some time yet. A T3 set in 10 years’ time? We wouldn’t bet against it!

Toothpick in an Alley

If there’s a car more likely to be driven by people who are usually found chewing a toothpick in an alley wearing a leather jacket and a bad moustache than the ’77 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, we’re yet to find it.

This Speed Champions scale Trans Am comes from Rolling Bricks, complete with a lift-out T-top, opening doors, and a golden flaming bird motif.

Don your leather jacket and head to an alley to chew a toothpick via the link above.

My Fat Lady

The Nissan/Datsun 280Z/Fairlady Z was never quite as pretty as its 240/260Z predecessors. However previous bloggee SP_LINEUP aims to address this by making his 280Z Fairlady well… a bit fatter. Unlike your Mom however, SP’s Fairlady Z wears its wider bodywork superbly, with black arch extensions, a front splitter, and phat exhaust. There’s more to see of SP’s modified Datsun on Flickr – click the link above to make the jump.

404 Error: File Found

Ah Error 404. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol standard response code that indicates the browser communicated with a given server, but the server couldn’t find what was requested.

Which, as purveyors of a website with a million views a year, we of course knew without looking it up on Google… Honestly, it’s a miracle that this site functions at all.

Anyway, today 404 was found, as one of Elves brought back this rather lovely Peugeot 404 pick-up, as built by regular bloggee Jonathan Elliott.

Based on Peugeot’s 1960s large passenger car, the 404 pick-up was produced into the late ’80s in Europe, and until 1991 in Kenya, where it’s still a common sight thanks to its almost unbreakable toughness. Yup, we really did say that about a Peugeot.

Jonathan’s 8-wide recreation captures the 404 pick-up beautifully, and you can check out the build, along with his extensive garage of other Speed Champions scale vehicles, at his photostream on Flickr.

Click the link above to instruct your browser to communicate with the server. Or something.

Minnie Winnie

This startlingly well-constructed classic camper is a 1977 Dodge B100-based Winnebago, or ‘Minnie Winnie’, and it comes from 1saac W. who is on an absolute roll at the moment.

1saac’s creation captures the aesthetic of the real deal brilliantly, including a brick-built take on the classic Winnebago livery, and a subtle shift from six to seven wide from the cabin to the camper.

It might not be fast, nor beautiful, but it’s nevertheless one of our favourite small-scale creations of the year so far. Head to an American campsite in the late ’70s via 1saac’s photostream above.

What’s Brown and Smelly?

It’s time for another delve into the automotive curiosity cupboard that is the Eastern Bloc, a Communist alliance renowned for the oppression of millions, waiting lists that stretched into decades, and cars that were almost comically bad. This is one of them, the Wartburg 353.

As with many Communist creations though, the Wartburg was not a bad car when it launched in the late 1960s. A weird one perhaps, but not bad objectively speaking.

The 353 started production from a pinched BMW factory in 1966, and was powered by a 1 litre, 3-cylinder, 2-stroke engine that had its roots in a 1938 DKW. This made it as torquey as the larger engines in the west, and meant it had only seven major moving parts, but also made the car incredibly unrefined and polluting, leaving a cloud of burnt oil behind it whenever it went.

A unique freewheel system meant the 353 required no clutch to change gear, and the car was also front-wheel-drive, still fairly novel at the time, although the set-up imbued it with terrifying understeer characterises in the wet.

Despite the niggles, the Wartburg 353’s low price, reliability, and the fact it wasn’t a Trabant, led to success, and meant that – due to the ‘planned economy’ of East Germany – the waiting list stretched out to fifteen years for private citizens.

The 353 was also exported to several countries as the Wartburg ‘Knight’, presumably to bring in foreign currency (which must have been frustrating for those on the waiting list), as well as being used by the police and East German government.

Of course as time passed the 353 became increasingly outdated, and little was done to keep pace with Western products that were out of reach for those trapped behind the Iron Curtain. The government even repeatedly refused to upgrade the polluting 2-stroke engine, despite Wartburg’s engineers having developed working alternatives.

By the late-’80s the writing was on the wall, both for East Germany and Wartburg. The eventual addition of a modern 1.3 litre engine from the Volkswagen Polo in 1984 came too late, and the reunification of Germany finally killed the 353 – alongside many other long-obsolete East German offerings – in 1988.

This splendid Model Team recreation of the Wartburg 353 ‘Tourist’ is the work of previous bloggee Legostalgie, who has captured the East German family car beautifully in period-correct brown.

Opening doors, hood and tailgate, plus a detailed engine and interior all feature, and there’s lots more of the model to see at Legostalgie’s ‘Wartburg 353 Tourist’ Flickr album. Click the link above to join a fifteen year queue in East Germany sometime in the 1970s.

FJ40

If there’s one 4×4 cooler than the Land Rover Defender, this is it. The Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 is an off-roading icon, and thus – like all things old and Japanese – it’s now worth about a million pounds.

However with the news that Toyota have become the latest auto manufacturer to partner with LEGO, we may one day see an official Land Cruiser set, which will be a far more attainable way to FJ40 ownership for this TLCB Writer, even with immense fame, glory and groupies that working for this site brings…

Until then though, regular bloggee Jonathan Elliott has created a Speed Champions scale Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 so good we doubt LEGO will do any better should they decide to produce one. And it’s yellow.

Glorious attention to detail and ingenious building techniques are in evidence everywhere you look, and there’s more to see of Jonathan’s brilliant FJ40 at his photostream via the link.

Cotton Communism

From one iconic classic to another, although this one perhaps for very different reasons…

The Trabant 601 was a reasonable little car when it first launched in the 1960s, despite the shortage of metal in post-war Europe forcing its construction from cotton, and its two-stroke 600cc engine.

The cotton body meant that it didn’t rust, which – combined with a near monopoly in East Germany and a production run until the collapse of the Soviet Union some thirty years later – led to well over two million Trabants being on the roads at one point.

That number quickly fell once East Germans could buy Volkswagens and Opels instead though, as even by the ’80s the 601 was hopelessly outdated, such is the folly of Communism.

Cue this excellent Model Team version of the Trabant 601, built by Flickr’s Legostalgie who has recreated the classic cotton car superbly in brick form. A detailed interior, engine bay, and opening doors, hood and trunk are included, and there’s more to see at Legostalgie’s ‘Trabant 601’ album by clicking here.

Ghost Pirate

Disney’s ‘Pirate’s of the Caribbean’ managed to successfully* combine both pirates and ghosts, which – to any 8 year old or TLCB Elf – made it the coolest thing ever.

Their piratical spectres were beaten by a few decades however, by the U.S. Navy, whose ‘VF-84 Jolly Rogers’ squadron operated Phantom II jets from the USS Roosevelt in the 1960s.

Featuring a variety of pointy weapons, superb building techniques, and a ‘skull and crossbones’ tail-fin motif (which – to any TLCB writer – makes it the coolest thing ever), previous bloggee [Maks] has captured America’s ’60s fighter in stunning detail, and there’s more to see of his airborne ghost pirate via the link above.

*Ok, maybe not by the third one. Which was (and still is) one of the worst sequels of all time.

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.

Just Like a 911. Sort of.

The Porsche 911 is not the only rear-engined rear-wheel-drive European car. In fact there were loads, including Volkswagens, Tatras, Skodas, the Smart ForTwo, and – of course – Fiats.

Following the phenomenally successful 500, Fiat followed up with another rear-engined, rear-driven design, the near five-million selling 126.

Much of the 126’s technology was based on the 1950’s 500, which – considering it was produced in Polski-Fiat 126p form until the year 2000 – is both an astonishing achievement and rather frightening.

It’s the Polski-Fiat version we’re featuring here today, a car that mobilised Poland, although only if you were prepared to wait years or had communistical connections. Recreated in a fetching ‘hearing-aid beige’ / ‘baby-sick yellow’, Legostalgie‘s Model Team replica of the 126p captures the real car wonderfully, with a near perfect exterior, detailed interior, plus opening doors, front trunk and engine cover, with a realistic two-cylinder engine underneath.

Legostalgie has presented his model beautifully, and there are more top-notch images available to view at his ‘Polski Fiat 126p’ album on Flickr – click on the link above for all the drawbacks of a 1970’s Porsche 911, but none of the thrills…

Nice Tan

White LEGO bricks, like nerds, don’t particularly like strong sunlight.

The gradual yellowing of white pieces exposed to UV is subject to much debate within the nerdier corners online Lego community, from applying hydrogen peroxide to restore parts to their original hue, to – more nerdily – sealing bricks inside darkened rooms or even never taking them out of their box. Which is quite fantastically pointless.

Cue previous bloggee seb71, who has not only allowed his white pieces to yellow, he’s positively embraced their ageing.

Seb’s brilliant classic motorcycle deploys some properly yellowed Technic wheels, matching their sunlight-induced cream to a seventies-tastic brown and white aesthetic for a beautifully period-correct look.

There’s more of Seb’s well-tanned classic bike to see at his photostream, click the link above to take a look and then get out in the sun – it’s good for you and maybe even your LEGO bricks too.

Captain Pugwash

LEGO have produced several Porsche 911 sets, from Speed Champions to Technic, but there’s still room for fan-made models of the famous rear-engined sports car.

This is one of them, a beautifully built and photographed 911 Carrera by Flickr’s Dornbi, and unlike most 911 builds (including one of Dornbi’s own past creations), his latest Porsche sports no wings, stripes, or racing numbers, simply being a base naturally-aspirated narrow-body classic, and we think it’s all the better for it.

There’s more to see of Dornbi’s stunning classic 911 by clicking here, and if you can figure out today’s title a hundred TLCB Points to you!