Aarrrgh, this be a fine vessel. She be a twenty-four gun barque, plain to the eye yet a beauty where it counts, from her Harrrry Potter wand rigging to her 12-pounderrr cannons. She be captained by Sebeus I and you can request to join her crew on Flickrrrr.
We don’t often feature micro-scale creations here at TLCB, let alone whatever scale this is. Micro-micro-micro-scale?
This is the Ever Given container ship, here measuring just six studs in length, the life-size version of which is currently blocking the Suez Canal.
At 400m (1,300ft) long, the Ever Given is one of the largest ships in the world, able to carry over 20,000 shipping containers. These are all currently wedged between the banks of the Suez – blocking the hundreds of other ships that were transiting the canal at the time – and creating the world’s largest homage to Austin Powers in a baggage cart.
Whilst the Egyptian authorities attempt to clear their canal blockage you can check out this micro-micro-micro-scale version courtesy of yu chris‘ on Flickr, plus you can read a bit more about why the Suez Canal is so important here.
‘Rolling coal‘ is for idiots. Aside from blasting a load of carcinogenic particulates into the air as some sort of moronic ‘anti-environment’ protest, plumes of black smoke actually signify wasted fuel, ergo less power. Which is why we don’t use steam engines any more.
That said, we do still like a good steam engine (which is possibly the saddest sentence in the English language), and so too does TLCB debutant Jebbo, who has built three unfathomably beautiful Dutch steam tugs from our favourite plastic bricks.
Each model is an exquisitely detailed replica of a real steam tug boat, of which two are apparently still running on coal.
Amazing attention to detail and ingenious building techniques are in abundance and there’s more to see of Jebbo’s ‘Furie’, ‘Hercules’, and ‘Noordzee’ steam tug boats at the Eurobricks discussion forum. Click the link above to roll coal the right way.
OK, this is clearly not a car, but this TLCB Writer is doing anything he can to avoid the Harry & Meghan Oprah Interview (aka ‘Posh Jerry Springer’), which is everywhere as he types this. And thus, here’s a boat.
It’s a rather lovely boat too, being an Intrepid 375 by previous bloggee Edwin Korstanje, and featuring a fiendishly complicated brick-built hull, a pair of Yamaha outboards, and some rather neat custom decals.
There’s more of Edwin’s creation to see at the Eurobricks forum, which has got to be more worthwhile than watching two of the world’s most privileged persons badmouthing their own family on international television. Join us in escaping to the sea via the link above.
This gloriously grey steamer comes from Daniel Church of Flickr, whose ‘Chumdinger’ steampunk tugboat plies the dirty waters of a Victorian Thames. And what waters they are too, with Daniel creating the bow waves and paddle churn absolutely beautifully in trans tiles. That’s not a very ‘TLCB’ thing to write, as we’re normally focussed on engines and whatnot, but fortunately the Chumdinger has one of those too, with the pistons pumping and paddle turning brilliantly via a hidden Power Function motor. There’s more to see of Daniel’s superb creation at his photostream – click the link above to head to the past on London’s river.
The Corvette’s body panels have been repurposed into a rather neat looking speedboat hull, inside which is a V8 engine turned by hidden wheels, which drives the rear propeller. Said propellor is also synchronised with the rudder and concealed steering front wheel, so they all work beautifully as the model is pushed across the floor. You can see how it works on YouTube here, and you see further imagery – plus a link to building instructions – at Grohl’s photostream by clicking here.
We’re not hopeful of this mini-figure’s safe return. Or the fate of the rest of the crew to be honest. James Pegrum is the builder behind this spectacular scene, in which a tall ship looks certain to lose its battle with an angry slate grey ocean. Look on at the tragedy unfolding via the link above.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.