Tag Archives: amphibious

To the Moon and Back!*

The Space Race was an incredible time. Not only were the two world Superpowers spending millions on things to blow one another up and poison the earth for a hundred-thousand years, they were also spending millions sending things into space. Probably so they could use it to blow one another up and poison the earth for a hundred-thousand years, but still – it was pretty cool.

It was the U.S. that got to the moon first (and is still the only nation to have done so)*, but it was actually the Soviet Union that won pretty much every other race, sending the first satellite into space, the first man, the first woman, and conducting the first EVA (extra-vehicular activity); or spacewalk to us non-astronaut types.

Of course getting there was only half the battle, as getting home again (unless you were a Soviet dog) was just as tricky. To that end the Soviets developed this in the 1970s; the remarkable Zil 4906. They may have won the Race for Space but the Americans had a much better Naming Department.

The ZIL 4906’s boring title hid its remarkable ability, being a 6×6 amphibious off-road crane designed to fit aboard a transport plane and recover the Soyuz astronaut capsules from the vast Russian wilderness.

Powered by a standard Zil 150bhp V8 the 4906’s weren’t fast, but they could go literally anywhere, with six-wheel-drive, four-wheel-steering, and two propellors with rudders for water recoveries.

This amazing Technic recreation of one of the Soviet Union’s coolest designs comes from previous bloggee Samolot, who has replicated the 4906’s incredible drivetrain brilliantly in Lego form. Two Control+ XL Motors power all six wheels, with a separate driveshaft for each side. This allows a gearbox to transfer power to the propellors when in water, whilst the L Motor that steers the front and rear axles also turns the two rudders.

A second L Motor controls the differential locks, whilst a fourth powers a compressor that builds pressure for the pneumatic crane, which the real Zil 4906 used to fish the Soyuz capsules from watery landings. A LEGO Education WeDo motor winds the crane winches and all of the above is controlled via bluetooth courtesy of LEGO’s new Powered Up Control+ system.

It’s a remarkable build and one that is definitely worth a closer look, which you can do at Eurobricks – where full build details are available, Bricksafe – which houses a complete image gallery of both Samolot’s Technic Zil 4906 and the real deal, and via the excellent video below.

YouTube Video

*Unless you believe it was filmed in a studio, the Earth is flat, and that climate change is a hoax invented by Al Gore. In which case go back to school.

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Back in the USSR*

This is a BRDM-2, which might sound like something from your Mom’s internet browser history, but is in fact an amphibious armoured car built by the USSR between 1962 and 1989, and which is still in production in Poland today. Powered by a 140bhp GAZ V8 the BRDM-2 is capable of around 60mph on roads and a heady 6mph on water, when the engine drives a water-jet.

Like the MiG-29 we featured here earlier in the week the BRDM-2 was exported extensively, and is now in use on both sides of some conflicts, most recently between Russia and Ukraine.

This marvellous Technic recreation of one the Soviet Union’s most interesting vehicles was discovered by one of our Elves on Eurorbricks. Built by newcomer Danifill it packs in all the working functions of the real BRDM-2, besides the ability to float.

Two Power Functions XL motors deliver power to the four-wheel-drive system whilst an L motor drives the steering. All wheels are suspended, there are LED lights front and rear, and turret rotation is motorised too, with a third-party BuWizz bluetooth battery delivering eight times the power of LEGO’s own system plus bluetooth remote control.

There’s more to see of Danifill’s brilliant BRDM-2 build at the Eurobricks forum where you can also find a link to a video of the model in action. Click the link above to head back to the USSR.

*Today’s excellent title song.

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Wet and Dirty

Lego Schwimmwagen SdKfz 2 Kettenkrad

This is a Volkswagen Type 166 Schwimmwagen and NSU SdKfz 2 Kettenkrad, and we’re going to simply call them the Schwimmwagen and NSU from here on in, because although they were opposing sides during the Second World War the Germans could give the Soviets a run for their money when it came to ridiculous vehicle names.

The Schwimmwagen was designed under Ferdinant Porsche (he of VW Beetle and, er… Porsche fame) to help settle the argument that Germany, Italy and Japan were having with the rest of the world during the 1940s. Over fifteen-thousand Swimmwagens were produced, making it the most numerous amphibious car in history, each powered by a 25hp flat-4 engine that could drive either all four wheels or a propellor for when things got wet.

Pictured alongside the Swimmwagen is the NSU which, whilst not quite as at home in the water, was incredible in the mud – being essentially a tank with handlebars. Both serve to remind us that whilst the Axis Powers thankfully lost the Second World War, the engineering they produced during the conflict was remarkable.

These marvellous mini-figure scale recreations of two of Germany’s weirdest and most brilliant World War 2 military vehicles comes from TLCB favourite Pixel Fox, who has built each vehicle beautifully and pictured them in his trademark diorama style. There’s more to see at Pixel’s photostream – click the link above to get wet and dirty.

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Argy Bargy

Lego Technic Argo 6x6

This intriguing looking vehicle is an ARGO 6×6 XTV and, just like your Mom at a free buffet, it’ll climb over almost anything to get where it wants to go. The real ARGO is a fully amphibious vehicle, floating with its body above the water and propelled by its six wheels that sit below the waterline. Those six wheels are all driven and are skid-steered thanks to a set of brakes on each side, allowing the ARGO to turn in its own length.

This brilliant little Technic recreation of the ARGO XTV is the work of newcomer Andrew Millson, and whilst his version might not float it steers in exactly the same way as the real thing. In Lego form it would have been far far easier to skid-steer via the use of two motors, one driving the three left wheels and another the three right, but just like the real ARGO Andrew’s model uses a single motor and an ingenious left/right braking system that activates when the handlebars are turned. It’s seriously clever stuff and one of the neatest Technic tricks we’ve seen his year.

There’s more to see of Andrew’s ARGO and the brilliant braking system within it at both Flickr and the Eurobricks forum, and if you’d like to see what Jeremy Clarkson thought of the 8×8 version click here!

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