Some things were acceptable in the ’80s. Perms. Sexism. Straight lines. And turbos. Everything had the word ‘turbo’ written on it, even sunglasses. However the Honda City Turbo II did actually have a turbo attached to its little 1,200cc engine, giving it 100bhp. Nearly.
It was also designed entirely using straight lines, as was the minute Honda Motocompo folding scooter, a vehicle so small it could actually fit in the trunk of the City Turbo II, as proven in this magnificent ’80s commercial.
Despite being borne in the ’80s the Motocompo didn’t have a turbo, producing just 2.5bhp from its 49cc engine. Still, we bet even that was pretty terrifying. We’ll stick to the City Turbo II, which we’ve decided we really want in real life. But we are a bit odd.
These superb Model Team recreations of both the Honda City Turbo II and Motocompo scooter come from Dylan Denton, who has built each ’80s icon beautifully. Both models feature wonderful attention to detail (enhanced by accurately replicated decals) inside and out, and are absolutely worth a closer look.
Head to Tokyo c1983 courtesy of Dylan’s photostream via the link in the text above!
With the world going Coronavirus mad we’re pretty sure it won’t be long before the elderly are sealed inside their accommodation for their own protection. Although we suppose that care homes are designed to do just that anyway. Ooh, that unexpectedly became a deep critique of the way that society treats the elderly…
Anyway, here’s a Mercedes-Benz concrete mixer, which will soon be pressed into service to keep the aged from escaping, built by newcomer Thomas Selander. See more of his really rather excellent Town-scale mixing truck on Flickr via the link above.
From one mighty engineering feat to, er… a tiny 1980s hatchback. Still, both Concorde and the Honda City Turbo express the excess of the ’80s, with slightly unnecessary speed and only really selling in their home markets.
The Honda City was a 1980s sub-compact car built mainly for the domestic Japanese market, and – this being the ’80s – Honda decided to stick a turbo on it in 1982. The Turbo II arrived in 1984, lasting just two years until its replacement in 1986, and with 108 bhp from its 1.2litre intercooled engine, the Turbo was the only City to crack 100mph.
It also featured some very ’80s graphics and a weird asymmetric grille, which Flickr’s aaref1ev has captured in digital Lego form brilliantly with his 6-wide City Turbo II design. Take a trip to Tokyo sometime in 1985 via the link above.
With the Lego Speeder Bikes 2018 competition almost at an end we’ve just time to squeeze in another entry. And what an entry! Complete with eight (we think) speeder bikes, plus a couple of wheeled and walking vehicles, Pico van Grootveld‘s interpretation of the contest’s ‘District 18’ is bursting with life and colour. There’s a police chase, a variety of aliens, a graffitied overpass, a camouflaged classic spaceman on his way to work and much more besides. There’s only one image but it really is worth a closer look – do just that at the link above.
After a hard day at work, subduing rampant rampaging Elves and occasionally writing a bit of copy, there’s nothing TLCB’s editors enjoy more than relaxing with a tin of chilled beverage. Because of this, DOGOD Brick Design’s can shaped truck instantly caught our eye on Flickr. Vitali is a popular drink in Taiwan, with a fleet of delivery vehicle shaped liked its tins of drink. Disappointingly for us, it turned out that Vitali is non-alcoholic but we still enjoyed the nicely filled interior and custom stickers.
Thump. It was just before Christmas, and a brown package slammed onto the hallway floor of TLCB Towers. A dozen TLCB Elves immediately ran towards it, but thwarted by its weight were unable to make off with their prize. A lot of post goes missing here.
Fortunately this TLCB writer is considerably bigger than a TLCB Elf and thus was able to pick up said package and, with some Elves still attached, retreat to the TLCB ‘staffroom’ (an ancient sofa in the corner of the office).
Usually heavy packages received here at TLCB Towers are ‘Cease and Desist’ notifications wrapped around a breeze block from The Brothers Brick, but this time we had a present! No Starch Press; we like you!
No Starch have been in the Lego book game for a while, consistently churning out books about our favourite plastic building blocks for some years. Their latest publication is this, the 230-page ‘The Lego Trains Book‘ by Holger Matthes.
In compact landscape format and produced in No Starch’s usual glossy high quality form ‘The Lego Trains Book’ really is surprisingly heavy, but does the content live up to the cover?
‘The Lego Trains’ book begins, after a brief Forward and Acknowledgements section, with a chapter detailing the history of LEGO’s official Trains line, following the range from its beginnings in the 1960s, through the battery era, live rail era (this writer’s favourite), to the latest remote control Power Functions sets. It’s a comprehensive compilation of the LEGO Trains history and one that’s sure to be of interest to anyone who loves the theme, although it is perhaps a bit too in-depth for the more casual Lego builder.
Chapter two is entitled ‘Basic Principles’, and it’s brilliant. Detailing building techniques and parts ratios it’s perfect for any builder of any theme (not just Trains) looking to create more advanced Lego creations. Utilising well-chosen digital depictions the author makes even the more complex techniques easy to understand, and whilst these aren’t quite as high quality visually as LEGO’s own they are good enough to make for useful teaching-aids.
Chapters three and four build upon these techniques with practical application, detailing the considerations and choices available when designing your own train models. This is a very thorough chapter offering insights into a variety of scales, how to ensure models can handle tight corners, how to connect carriages to one another, how to create realistic steam train mechanisms and such like.
It’s a gloriously nerdy section and as such Holger includes links to third-party products and design software that can help a builder reach the utmost level of realism. This may be a bit too in-depth for most builders (ourselves included), but it’s usually better to have too much information than too little.
The final chapter, which at 100 pages long makes up nearly half the book, is where ‘The Lego Trains Book’ comes alive. Continue reading →
Our Elven workforce couldn’t resist this nicely detailed mining lorry from Flickr’s LEGO 7. As well the detailing, the “Giant Dump Truck” has some nice play features, including an opening cab & tipping function. Depending on how you choose to read its name, it could also be a bit rude. Perfect for our Elves and sadly perfect for us too. Click the link in the text for more photos.
One of this author’s childhood heroes was the recently deceased John Noakes. Whether he was free-fall parachuting or climbing Nelson’s Column with no safety gear, John was the daredevil hero of the BBC’s Blue Peter. What has this to do with MiniGray!‘s smoothly built road roller? When making flapjack (yes, he cooked too!), John Noakes famously commented that road menders should use a wooden spoon instead of a roller to get a smoother result. Given the state of the rural roads around TLCB towers, he might have been right. MiniGray!’s model features a detailed, removable engine, so it’s well worth clicking the link in the text to see more. Down Shep!
Trams are – if you’re a cyclist – fraught with peril. One second you’re happily riding along, the next your wheels have dropped into a tramline, and the next you’re in an ambulance. This Lego Town cyclist seems to have taken the ‘if you can’t beat ’em join ’em’ approach and hitched his bike to the front to go for a nice safe sit down inside. Either that or he crossed in front of it without looking and it now has a new hood ornament. Let’s hope it’s the former…
There’s more to see of this lovely Town-style tram on Flickr courtesy of Prison Brick. Click the link to take a ride over to his photostream.
‘Where can I get instructions / How do I build it?’. It’s the single most frequently asked question that we receive here at TLCB – so just how do you start ‘MOCing’?
It’s a question we raised in our review of the superb No Starch Press produced ‘Art of Lego Scale Modeling‘ book last year, and one that, since LEGO discontinued their brilliant Ideas Books, has gone unanswered. Now though, No Starch Press have created a book aimed squarely at fulfilling this need.
Tiny Lego Wonders, written by LEGO-Ambassador Mattia Zamboni, features 200 pages of clear instructions for 40 wonderfully realistic miniature vehicles, from cars to buses via trains, aircraft, construction equipment and more. The book is divided into sections that categorise these models according to where you might find them in the real world, for example the airport, the harbour, and the construction site.
Each location section features a double-page spread showing all of the vehicles within it in a large brick-built scene. It’s a simple yet brilliant addition that’s very reminiscent of LEGO’s old annual catalogues and it’s sure to provide a huge amount of inspiration.
Every set of instructions starts with a high quality image of the finished model, just as any official LEGO set does, along with a parts list and a difficulty level. The instructions themselves are beautifully clear and the build process will be familiar to anyone who has constructed an official LEGO set.
There are perhaps slightly fewer steps and marginally more complicated sub-assemblies than you’ll find in LEGO’s own work, but if anything LEGO have over-simplified their instructions in recent times and Tiny Lego Wonders seems to have struck a good balance between conciseness and difficulty.
Where Tiny Lego Wonders scores huge points is with its inspiration potential. All of the models featured use common non-specialist parts, but even so it’s unlikely that most builders will have the exact part and colour combinations to recreate the model piece-for-piece as per the instructions. However the instructions are so good, and the models so thoughtfully designed, that changing the colours or design slightly is really easy. And once you’ve done that, you’ve started MOCing!
Some sections also include images of additional variations of the model detailed in the instructions, showing what can be done with a few simple changes. Again, these are really easy to replicate (even though they aren’t included in the instructions) and having a go yourself will instantly turn you into a ‘MOCer’.
Are there any disappointments? Nope, not really. Perhaps a few of the large double-page scenes look a little over-polished / too digitalised to these eyes, but other than that Tiny Lego Wonders might be the perfect MOCer’s book. Which gives us a bit of a dilemma in giving a rating because, despite the general ineptitude in TLCB office, there are some talented builders here who would have limited use for such a book. However, Tiny Lego Wonders isn’t aimed at the microscopic demographic of ‘Lego Blogger’, and thus we can ignore our usage and rate it accordingly;
Buy this book! Even at just £13 / $17 for the hardcover on Amazon, Tiny Lego Wonders is as beautifully produced as all No Starch Press publications, but for it to remain pristine on a bookshelf or coffee table would be a great shame. Tiny Lego Wonders needs to look dog-eared, shabby and worn out, because the value of this book is in its use; Tiny Lego Wonders could be the launchpad you need to start your MOCing journey.
From now on when anyone asks us ‘How do I build it?’ we’re going to give the same answer; You start here.
Regular readers will be all too aware of how our workforce enjoy using their finds of Lego machines to attack and smush each other. Unfortunately it looks as though this sort of behaviour is spreading, as witnessed here in Gary Davis’ Duelling Diggers.
Gary was commissioned to build these and other models for this animated advert, encouraging people into careers in the construction industry. The film is short and fun and well worth watching (a bit like our Elves). Whilst you’re doing that we’ve got to mend the TLCB photocopier, as one of the cross beams has gone out of skew on the treadle…
…are actually pieces of electrical equipment. Regular readers of TLCB will know of the Elves’ obsession with the Transformers franchise. Finding the best Lego cars on the internet provides Smarties and meal tokens but happiness involves explosions, robots, more explosions and Megan Fox. You can imagine their excitement at finding Jakeof_’s latest build. The smoothly modelled DAF XF95 tractor, towing a Nooteboom Pendel-X trailer with a large transformer as its load is typical of Jakeof_’s style. You can also imagine their disappointment once they realised what sort of transformer it actually was. Still, we’re happy with our find and recommend that you visit Jakeof_’s Photostream to see the details.
We love racing cars here at The Lego Car Blog, and we love LEGO too. Both of these things are in our name and everything. So imagine our delight when one of our Elven workforce found this, an absolutely fantastic Town raceway, complete with grandstand, pit-lane, race control, snack stands, hilarious cameos, and of course a fleet of top-notch racing cars.
Newcomer Brick Knight is the creator of this enormous scene, and his attention to detail is spectacular. There are almost forty images available to view in his Flickr album, all abounding in imagination and many featuring some brilliantly chosen comic and TV cameos!
There is a lot more to see at Brick Knight’s photostream via the link in the text above – we highly recommend taking a look, whilst we figure out a way to reward possibly TLCB’s luckiest ever Elf.
This lovely Town-style car ferry was discovered by one of our Elves on Flickr. It’s an unusual build for TLCB, but we like cars and the most interesting places to drive them are often on the other side of some water. It’s also a thoroughly excellent build, looking realistic, yet sturdy and playable too – exactly what a Lego Town model should be. We reckon it’s good enough to be an official LEGO City set.
You can see more photos, including the interior details, courtesy of Flickr’s Luis Baixinho – click the link to climb aboard.