Are three things better than two? Engines? Yes. Beer. Yes. Stool legs? Yes. Wings? Er… no, probably not. However, whilst the triplane idea was abandoned by 1920, it was a widespread aeronautical design before then, being used by pretty much every plane-building nation of the time.
Most notably triplanes were the mainstay of the German Air Force in the First World War, with aircraft such us this extravagantly painted Fokker Dr.1. used extensively (and successfully) throughout the conflict.
This superb small-scale recreation of the Fokker Dr.1 – made famous by the ‘Red Baron’ Manfred von Richthofen – comes form Flickr’s Henrik Jensen, and there’s more to see at Henrik’s ‘Fokker Dr.1’ album via the link above.
The Second World War, for all the death and destruction it wrought, did provide the catalyst for some amazing technological advances. Sticking some floats underneath a Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter probably isn’t in the top three though, but the result is still rather cool. The Nakajima A6M2-N ‘Rufe’, developed from the infamous Zero, turned the land-based fighter/bomber into an amphibious floatplane. Just over 300 were produced between 1942 and the end of the war, with last being operated by the French following its capture in Indo-China. This ingeniously constructed small scale version comes from John C. Lamarck of Flickr, who has captured the Rufe’s unique asthenic brilliantly in miniature. See more at John’s photostream via the link.
This is an SPA TL.37, a light artillery tractor built by a subsidiary of Fiat during the Second World War for Royal Italian Army. Powered by a huge 4-litre 4-cylinder engine, with four wheel drive and four wheel steering, able to climb a 40-degree slope, and capable of 40km/h whilst pulling 75 or 100mm artillery pieces, it looks like a seriously fun vehicle for gadding about in the desert. Unfortunately for the Axis Powers their gadding about in the desert did not go well, but that’s not exactly the fault of SPA TL.37. There’s more to see of this one courtesy of Rebla of Flickr – click here to take a look.
We’ve written about Italy’s disastrous North African campaign during the Second Wold War before, so we’re skipping the history today to get straight to the MOC, a Semovente da 75/18 self-propelled gun (tank?), as built by Rebla of Flickr. Rebla’s mini-figure scale model recreates the Semovente beautifully, and even includes (sort of) working suspension on its tracks. There’s more to see of Rebla’s wonderful World War 2 tank (including a rather debonaire-looking driver) on Flickr – click on the link above to self-propel your way there.
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.
This is a Carro Armato M14/41 tank, as manufactured by Fiat for the Royal Italian Army. That means we’re not sure which side this magnificently moustachioed mini-figure is on as Italy switched during World War 2. However as this tank is painted in the colours of the North Africa Campaign it suggests he’s fighting for Mussolini, a man known to have been ‘a bit of a dick’.
Luckily for TLCB’s home nation and the other Allies that this tank fought against, the M14/41 was absolutely rubbish, being obsolete when new, unreliable, cramped, and catching fire regularly. Which is most unlike a Fiat.
Fortunately these short-comings led to a less than successful military campaign, and likely hastened Italy’s overthrowing of Mussolini, abandonment of fascism, and switch to the Allied cause.
This brilliant mini-figure scale recreation of the Carro Armato M14/41 comes from Albert of Flickr, making his TLCB debut. Ingenious building techniques abound and there’s more to see at Albert’s photostream – click the link above to make the jump.
It’s been a bit of a Military Monday here at The Lego Car Blog, with three war-themed creations none of which are cars. Oh well, here’s the third, a Junkers Ju-87 ‘Stuka’ fighter, and it’s marvellous. Built by aircraft-building legend Dornbi of Flickr, it’s a superbly accurate recreation of one of Nazi Germany’s earliest fighters of the Second World War, made all the more impressive by some cunning brick-built camouflage. There’s much more to see of the ‘Stuka’ at Dornbi’s photostream – click the link above for all the pictures – and to counteract today’s glorification of war, here’s a super secret link.
This may be a cartoony creation, but the German military really did drive/ride about in these. It’s a Kleines Kettenkraftrad HK 101, or SdKfz2 for short (our name for it is way better), a kind of half-tank-half-motorbike configuration designed to fit inside the hold of a Junkers JU 52 transport plane.
The SdKfz 2 was the only gun tractor capable of being transported by air in this way and it therefore became one of the most versatile vehicles of the German military, being used for everything from troop transport over deep mud to pulling heavy loads, aircraft tug work, and even cable-laying.
The Kettenkraftrad HK 101 was designed and built by NSU (who later became Audi), using the Schachtellaufwerk overlapped and interleaved road wheel mechanism found on almost all of Germany’s tracked military vehicles.
A four-cylinder Opel motor gave the SdKfz 2 a top speed of around 40mph, and it could climb slopes of over 24°, even in sand. A skid-steer system operated in addition to the somewhat superfluous-looking front wheel, allowing the SdKfz 2 to nimbly (for a 1.5 ton vehicle) traverse the most impassible terrains.
This magnificent recreation of the Kettenkraftrad HK 101 comes from previous bloggee and TLCB favourite Redfern1950s, who has built his SdKfZ in Afrika Korps specification, complete with two cartoonish German military officers, a removable engine-cover, and a good shot at the fantastically complicated Schachtellaufwerk track system.
There’s much more to see of Redfern’s delightful Kettenkraftrad HK 101 model as well as his other vehicles from the Nazis’ short-lived Afrika Korps campaign on Flickr – click these words to make the jump!
Germany got a bit ambitious in the 1940s. Not content with being complete dicks in Europe, they sent an expeditionary force to North Africa to assist their ally Mussolini in expanding his fascist ideas across the Mediterranean. Fortunately before long the Italian King had had enough of Mussolini and arrested him in 1943, triggering the collapse of Italy’s invasions and the eventual switch to fighting against, rather than for, the Germans.
This led to the German forces surrendering in Africa in 1943, although of course continuing to fight everywhere else, and the Afrika Korps were disbanded. Not really a worthwhile campaign then, but the Afrika Korps did get some very cool vehicles…
This is one of them, an Sd kHz 7 half-track, which was kinda like an armed, convertible, off-road people carrier. Watch Audi launch one imminently…
This wonderful cartoon-esque Afrika Korps Sd kHz 7 comes from previous bloggee and TLCB favourite Redfern1950s, and not only has he loaded his half-track with period-correct goodies, he’s built some interesting-looking characters to ride in it too!
There’s much more of the Sd kHz 7 to see at Red’s Flickr photostream – head to Africa and join the Korps via the link above!
OK, we’ve made that last one up.* Still, Redfern1950s‘ previously featured Dispatch Bike has received a Second Amendment upgrade and even we** admit that it does look cool! Re-purposed in Africa Korps spec it also includes a serious looking cartoon rider, so it can now dispatch people instead of packages.
Click the link above to head over to Redfern’s photostream for all the pictures.
A valiant effort from your brain in trying to pronounce that title as you read it. Have another go…
The Sonderkraftfahrzeug or ‘special motor vehicle’ (hereby known as the Sd.Kfz. 250, as even the Germans didn’t like to pronounce it), was a lightly armoured half-track multi-purpose transport used by the German military throughout World War 2.
Armed with a single or double machine gun, the Sd.Kfz. 250 saw duty as a troop carrier, radio vehicle, command transport and reconnaissance car, and could reach almost 50mph.
This rather neat remotely controlled Technic version of the Sd.Kfz. 250 comes from Chawn of Eurobricks, and features working suspension, twin L-Motor drive to both the tracks and the front wheels, and RC steering.
There’s more to see of Chawn’s remote control half-track – including a video of it in action – at the Eurobricks forum – make the jump via the link above.
Britain in the Second World War was under siege. V1 flying bombs dropped out of the skies, the Luftwaffe bombed cities relentlessly, and a deadly terror lurked unseen under the waves offshore…
Germany’s U-Boat, shorthand for Unterseeboot (which literally meant ‘under sea boat’ – the allies were definitely better at naming things) was a stroke of genius. Able to destroy a military ship (plus a few civilian ones too…) almost undetected, it must have been a terrifying time to navigate the cold waters of Northern Europe.
Awfully effective though the U-Boat was, it’s not often we see one in Lego form. Discovered by one of our Elves today, this superb mini-figure recreation of U-Boat VIIc comes from Luis Peña of Flickr. Beautifully constructed inside and out Luis’ model features a wonderfully detailed interior underneath the cleverly sculpted hull, including a submariner using a torpedo for weights training, the captain manning the periscope, and a fully stocked galley complete with rat (aka tomorrow’s dinner).
It’s a stunning build and we highly recommend visiting Luis’ photostream to see the complete gallery of images. Get ready to dive via the link to Flickr in the text above.
Eagle-eyed readers of this blog post will have noticed that this is not a car. It is in fact a Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’ World War 2 fighter, as flown by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service in the last three years of the war. One of the fastest, most formidably armed, and highest flying fighters of the time, the Nakajima Ki-84 was a feared adversary.
Over 3,500 Ki-84’s were produced between 1943 and 1945, although towards the end of the conflict the crippling effects of the war on production meant that defects rose dramatically and quality dropped. After the Allied victory several Ki-84’s were captured, with Indonesia the People’s Republic of China operating the aircraft within their own air forces, and America using two for evaluation.
Today just one Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’ fighter survives, an ex-U.S evaluation aircraft now located in the Chiran Peace Museum in Japan. However thanks to previous bloggee and military-building specialist Daniel Siskind we now have double the number of Ki-84’s available to view.
Daniel’s superb mini-figure scale recreation of Japan’s fastest Second World War fighter is a beautifully detailed build and includes authentically replicated Imperial Japanese roundels and tail markings, as well as a custom IJA airman mini-figure shown in the first image above. See more of Daniel’s Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’ fighter and its custom mini-figure pilot on Flickr by clicking here.
Today’s creation may look like a jauntily retro space rocket, but it is in fact an Aggregat 4, known affectionately by the Germans during World War 2 as the ‘Vergeltungswaffe 2’, (or V-2 for short). That extravagant title translates as ‘Retribution Weapon’, which is an apt name, because retribution was all the V-2 was designed to do. Which makes it surely one of mankind’s most evil inventions.
But also one of the cleverest. Whilst abhorrent in purpose, the V-2 rocket was brilliant in engineering. It was the world’s first guided ballistic missile (which considering it first few in 1944, when a computer was the size of an office block, is scarcely believable), and also the first man-made object to cross the boundary of space.
That cleverness made it all the more evil though, as the 3,000 V-2 rockets launched from Germany during the Second World War are estimated to have killed over 9,000 people in London, and later other European cities. Another 12,000 concentration camp prisoners died in the making of it, and yet at the end of the war the Allies rushed to capture the designs to accelerate their own missile production.
Thankfully this V-2 is nothing more than a collection of superbly shaped Danish plastic, and it comes from previous bloggee Sunder_59 of Flickr. There are further pictures of Sunder’s perfectly recreated Vergeltungswaffe at his photostream – click the link above to see more of the worst mankind can do.