Tag Archives: boat

The World’s Most Expensive Recovery Truck

This astonishing creation is a fully working replica of the U.S Glomar Explorer, constructed by Master MOCer and world-renowned builder Paweł ‘Sariel’ Kmieć, and you’re in for a truly remarkable story…

It’s 1968, and the Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129 has been lost with all 98 crew, plummeting over 16,000ft to the ocean floor. It’s just a few years after the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War is very real indeed. The Soviet Union is looking for its lost submarine, but 150 miles in the wrong place. The U.S. however, knows where it is…

And so begins one the strangest and most expensive recovery efforts in history, as the CIA commission the building of a ship designed solely to pluck the wreck of K-129 from the seabed to learn its secrets, without the Soviet Union knowing.

Costing $1.4billion, it was one seriously expensive recovery truck, although of course its true purpose was hidden behind a ‘drilling for magenese’ cover story, fronted by millionaire aviator and film-maker Howard Hughes.

Six years later and the 50,000 ton 600ft long ship was ready. Named the Transocean Glomar Explorer, it was positioned above the wreck using radio beacons (GPS being some way off) and the CIA began the enormous recovery of the 330ft, 2,700 long ton (before it was filled with water) nuclear-armed submarine.

A giant claw dropped through a moon pool in the centre of the ship, gripping the wreck of K-129 and winching it to the surface. However during the 16,500ft ascent a mechanical failure occurred, and two thirds of the submarine broke loose and sunk back to the ocean floor, taking with it the sought-after nuclear missiles and code book. However, two nuclear-tipped torpedoes and cryptographic machines were recovered, along with the bodes of six crew members, which were not returned to the Soviet Union, but back to the sea.

The Glomar Explorer was purposeless after the mission was (partly) completed, and in 1976 it transferred to the U.S Navy for storage in a dry-dock. In 1978 however, the ship was leased to test prototype deep sea mining equipment, before being converted to a drilling ship in the 1990s. It was finally scrapped in 2015.

Recreating this incredible feat of engineering is Sariel, whose floating brick-built replica of the Glomar Explorer measures over 3 metres in length, uses 60kg of LEGO pieces, and can really (partly) recover a lost Soviet submarine, thanks to a fully working recreation of the monumental grapple crane fitted to the real ship.

We won’t write too much more here as there’s really only one way to appreciate this spectacular build – take a look at the video above (or click here to find it in the Eurobricks discussion), and watch how one of the most impressive Lego creations of all time was built, and how it can recover nearly all of a brick-built submarine from the bottom of a swimming pool…

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Star Ferry

Hong Kong’s Star Ferries are this TLCB writer’s favourite ferries in the world. Which is a niche list, but they’re still at the top. Criss-crossing Victoria Harbour between Hong Kong Island and Mainland Hong Kong, they cost about 20¢ and surely have one of the most stunning urban backdrops of any journey.

If you haven’t travelled on them however, Vincent’s LEGO Creation can offer the experience at a fraction of the scale, thanks to this utterly bewitching replica complete with a beautifully detailed mini-figure interior and full LED lighting.

Vincent has deployed some spectacular building techniques in his quest to create a perfect Star Ferry scale model, making this one of the finest creations of any sort that we featured here this year, and there’s loads more to see at Vincent’s photostream. Click the link above, pay 20¢, and enjoy the best ferry crossing in the world.

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Containment

Containers are just big boring boxes right?… Er, yes actually. They really are. But what’s inside them can be very interesting indeed. Motorcycles, exotic fruits, LEGO sets, illegal immigrants… the list is endless. All make the world a more interesting place, and pretty much anything in your home that’s come from abroad will have arrived in one of these.

The vehicles that move them about can be pretty interesting too, from the trains and trucks that transport them on land to dockside cranes and giant container ships that bring them to the shores for which they are bound.

It’s these that builder ExeSandbox has digitally created for us here, with this enormous 100,000 peice container terminal that would measure 6ft wide if it were built for real. Spectacular detailing is in evidence everywhere and there much of Exe’s amazing scene to see at his ‘Tour at the Container Terminal’ album on Flickr.

Click the link above for a lot of big boring boxes making up a creation that’s really rather interesting indeed.

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Not a Car

This is not a car, but it is beautiful. Modelled after a USS Brig, the ‘Europa’ features a beautifully constructed brick-built hull, complete rigging, a crimson deck (to hide the blood), a functioning capstan to raise the anchors, a working tiller-controlled rudder, and an unusual man-fornicating-with-bull figurehead design. Built by TLCB debutant TomSkippy there’s more to see at the Eurobricks ‘Pirate’ forum – click the link to set sail.

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LEGO Technic 2020 | Set Previews!

And now, later than billed, it’s the all new 2020 Technic line-up! OK, we’re well into 2020 now (and have already previewed the new 42109 Top Gear Rally Car and 42110 Land Rover Defender sets), but one of our Elves got caught at The LEGO Company’s HQ and securing its release was harder than removing a U.S President from office. We wouldn’t have minded (we have lot of Elves) but it had some great intel…

42101 Buggy

This intel in fact, the new 42101 Buggy aimed at aged 7+ and featuring 117 pieces. 42101 looks like a modern reinterpretation of the classic (and awesome) 8818 Dune Buggy set from 1993. It’s not as good as the 1993 version obviously, which had a single-cylinder piston engine, but it does feature steering and rear suspension, making it a worthwhile entry point into the Technic range. Expect to pay around $12/£9 in stores.

42102 Mini Claas Xerion

The second entry point into the 2020 Technic range brings back the familiar green and red we’ve come to know from one of LEGO’s official partnerships. The original 42054 Claas Xerion 5000 set is – we think – one of the best Technic sets of all time, and the 130 piece 42102 set resembles a tiny (like, really really tiny) version of the 2017 flagship. Accurate decals, working steering, and a lawn mower thingy that rotates as the model is pushed along make the Mini Claas Xerion a neat set for ages 7+, and like the Technic Buggy above it’s available for pocket money. Good stuff.

42103 Dragster

Uh oh, the Pull-Backs. The Scrappy-Dos of Technic, we haven’t yet been impressed by any of these. However 2020 looks like it might be the exception, because we rather like this one! Featuring nothing but a pull-back motor (boo), the new 42103 Dragster set displays the usual extensive stickerage we’ve come to expect from these sets but it looks… well, really rather good. Aimed at ages 7+, 42103 includes 225 pieces, a ‘Christmas tree’ light, and a wheelie-bar. Could 2020 be the first year of decent pull-back sets?

42104 Race Truck 

No. Because back to form, here’s the 42104 Race Truck. With 227 pieces – all of which can be put to better use elsewhere – a plethora of stickers, and a pointless start/finish gantry thing, 42104 includes literally nothing that a Technic set should do. Oh, the bonnet opens, does that count? Next…

42105 Catamaran 

Breaking momentarily away from the Pull-Backs comes 42105, one of LEGO’s most unusual Technic sets ever, although perhaps 2016’s 42074 Racing Yacht proved there is a market for Technic sailing boats. With 404 parts including a pair of new two-piece hulls and those huge sails, 42105 features complete mechanical controls for the rudders, hydrofoils and sails and can be re-built into a more traditional powerboat should you wish to deploy those sail pieces elsewhere. It also floats(!), which immediately makes it cooler than any other set in this line-up (because who doesn’t like a good bath toy?). Aimed at ages 8+ expect to pay around $40/£35 for 42105, and for bath time to become much more interesting.

42106 Stunt Show

42106 pulls us back from bath time fun to, well… pull-back fun, but it could have good play value. Not much else mind. The 42106 Stunt Show includes three models in one; a pick-up truck, trailer/ramp, and a motorcycle, each looking fairly terrible despite the flame decals. The trailer features mechanically operated legs to turn it into a ramp and the truck includes steering, but that’s all. Which is nowhere near enough for a set costing $50/£45. Admittedly jumping the bike through the flaming hoop does look rather fun, but not $50 of fun, and we suspect even the Elves would tire of it quickly. We’ll be leaving this one on the shelf…

42108 Mobile Crane

The final set of H1 2020 is the largest of the line-up (not withstanding the officially licensed 42110 Land Rover Defender and 42109 Top Gear Rally Car sets revealed here at the end of 2019), the near 1,300 piece 42108 Mobile Crane. Forgive us for not being particularly excited by this one, because it does look like a reasonable set. It’s just that LEGO have released countless eight-wheel mobile cranes over the years and they’re all becoming much the same.

42108 does feature a wealth of mechanical operations, with eight-wheel steering, boom elevation, rotation and extension all via hand-powered mechanisms, a working winch with a ratchet to allow it to lift loads, and four functioning stabilisers. However despite the increase in detail that we’ve come to expect from modern Technic sets and enhanced realism thanks to a few well-judged decals, 42108 is an utterly unmemorable product. It’s also priced at around $95/£85 which – particularly as it includes no B-Model – is rather a lot.

We’ll go sailing on 42105 instead…

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Ice Breaker

Well this looks considerably more perilous than the tedious opening questions at a corporate team building away day. It’s the work of ExeSandbox of Flickr, who has created this marvellous ice breaking ship and Land Rover Defender scene which looks sure to end in the Defender’s occupants being very wet, very cold, and then very dead. Good thing it’s digital only. Pack your thermals and head out onto the ice via the link above to see all of the wonderful imagery.

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Pieces of Eighty

OK, we’re not sure how many pieces Flickr’s Robert4168/Garmadon has actually used to build ‘Montroy’s Flagship’, but it’s not many. What we are sure of is that Robert has demonstrated brilliantly that with just a handful of bricks you can create something blogworthingly wonderful. See more at the link.

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Yaaar! Not a Caaar!

The more astute among you may have noticed that this build is not a car. But it has allowed us to write a post title in a pirate voice and pirates are cool, which is a good enough reason for this TLCB writer. It’s also a properly excellent build, and there’s more to see of ZiO Chao‘s magnificent mini-figure scale ‘Black Queen’ pirate ship on Flickr via the link.

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French Fishing

Despite it being on the news every day in TLCB’s home nation for three years, this website has so far managed to avoid taking about Brexit. We’ll segway neatly to it today though, because a) something might actually happen this month (but probably not) and b) this lovely digital French fishing vessel by Flickr’s Edouard Clo provides a neat Brexit metaphor.

OK, first the elephant in the room – yes this is a digital ‘build’ (boo), but it’s also so well rendered that it’s really hard to tell – only an error/glitch in the image below (see if you can spot it!) gives the game away.

The detail is astonishing though, particularly as this is mini-figure scale, with a brilliant hull, a beautifully recreated deck, plentiful equipment, and some French fisherman stationed aboard ready to throw rocks at the English. And on to the segway…

You see one of the reasons the English narrowly voted for Brexit was the EU allows anyone from within it to bid for fishing rights, which means there are parts of the UK where fisherman are not allowed to fish in their own waters because the quota has been given to boats from another country, despite generations of fishing families living and working off those waters for centuries.

However this rule works both ways, with English boats plundering the French coasts of their precious scallops all year, when the French are only allowed to fish for them during certain months. This has caused some annoyance in France to put it mildly.

This one industry sums up both the greatness and folly of the EU; Everyone is in one big happy family, where everyone has access to everything. Except for when people aren’t really happy at all because generations of traditions and livelihoods have been sacrificed for a common objective. And that leads to people sometimes throwing rocks at each other.

Still, the UK and France have a long and noble tradition of antagonising each other so all we need now is for someone to build a mini-figure scale English scallop trawler to enable a fair representation of both sides. Until then grab some rocks and set sail to intercept the thieving English pig-dogs!

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Skyboat

Sky-fi is a sub-genre of a sub-genre of which we know absolutely nothing. Like, why do things in the air need hulls? Because clouds are made of water maybe? Whatever the reason it’s still much too complicated for us here at TLCB, but sylon_tw’s ‘skyboat’ is lovely nonetheless. See more of his quirky cloud cruiser on Flickr via the link and we’ll be back tomorrow with some cars.

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Broadside

Blam blam blam blam! You don’t frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Arthur-king, you and all your silly English knnnniggets!* Blam blam blam blam!

This French vs. British battle might not contain a car, but it’s about as good a scene as you’ll even find in Lego. Wesley of Flickr is the man behind it and there’s more to see at his photostream via the link above.

*If you have no idea what we’re on about…

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Fishing with 5,000

This spectacular creation is a squid fishing boat by Flickr’s Hoang H Dang (aka Know Your Pieces), and it is surely one of the most beautiful ships we’ve ever had the pleasure of publicising. A clever brick-built hull supports a ludicrously detailed cabin, but – very unusually for TLCB – it’s the background that amazes us the most.

The incredible undulating ocean has been painstakingly constructed from 5,000 blue antenna pieces, each capped by a blue technic pin and a translucent 1×1 brick of varying colour, creating the jaw-dropping effect you see here. It’s a technique that would work brilliantly for grass, animal hair, and a hundred other scenarios, but one we think is unlikely to be repeated often!

You can see more of how Hoang’s utterly amazing build at his Flickr photostream by clicking here, where you can also find images showing both the fishing boat and sea under construction.

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Billy Goat’s Steam Boat

Fabuland, LEGO’s 1980s range of anthropomorphic animals (and frankly one of the weirder things the company has done) seems to have been hijacked of late, by builders intent on seeing the peaceful critters blow one another’s brains out (see here, here and here).

It’s refreshing therefore to see that there are still harmless, some would say pointless, gentle adventures underway in the Fabuland world, thanks to Pete Strege and his most excellent ‘Billy Goat’s Steam Boat’.

Of course The Lego Car Blog Elves are absolutely incensed by this lack of violence, and have left the office in disgust, so a side benefit is that we can now have harmless gentle adventures too. This TLCB Writer might even read a book.

There’s more to see of Pete’s lovely paddle steamer at his Flickr album by clicking here, and we’ll be back shortly with something far more Elven…

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A Super Yacht

This is the M/Y Scout, a brand new twin-screw ocean going superyacht designed by H2 Yacht Design and built by Hakvoort Shipyard for a discerning billionaire. Measuring 209ft/63m long and with a 1,400 gross tonnage the Scout is only fractionally smaller than TLCB’s own superyacht, the Seabricscuit, paid for via the ads for Disney World, clickbaity fake news sites, and garden decking (at least that’s what we’re currently seeing) that appear here on this website*.

This spectacular 1:53 scale replica of a really quite beautiful ship comes comes from previous bloggee Arjan Oude Kotte (aka Konajra) of Flickr, who has recreated the M/Y Scout from around 14,000 LEGO pieces.

At over 1.2 meters long Arjan has captured every detail of the real vessel in his model, from the intricately layered hull and custom lit decks to the discerning billionaire mini-figure having a drink on the stern! Set sail for Arjan’s M/Y Scout Flickr album to view the incredible gallery of imagery (which also includes a time-lapse video of the build) via the link above.

*To see where our advertising revenue really goes click here.

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Into the Abyss

Lego Abyss Deep Sea Submarine

Deep sea submarines may be unusual fodder for Lego builders and this site alike, but they’re amazing machines. Designed to travel through an environment even more hostile than space, they’re at the very limit of what mankind can achieve. This small scale Lego version comes from Flickr’s Faber Mandragore, and whilst it might not be able to go to the bottom of the ocean it’ll look really cool in the bath. It’s apparently based upon the ‘Cab 1’ submarine from the movie ‘Abyss’, which… er, we haven’t seen, but no matter because we’ll enjoy it in the bath* nonetheless. Dive in via the link above.

*AKA ‘TLCB Executive Washroom and Sauna’

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