Tag Archives: Cold War

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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Soviet Station Wagon

The Soviets may have hated America, but they sure liked its cars. This is the GAZ-24, specifically the 2402 station wagon produced from 1971 all the way up until the mid ’80s, despite looking like something straight out of America in 1963.

Powered by either a 2.5 litre four cylinder or an American-aping 5.5 litre V8, the GAZ-24 was famed for its toughness, and whilst limited numbers were exported, it wasn’t really available to the common Russian man, being reserved only for those with a special permit that allowed its purchase. Because Communism.

Matthew Terentev has got himself a 2402 though, by building this most excellent Technic recreation, complete with accurate leaf-spring rear and independent front suspension, a working inline 4-cylinder engine under the opening hood, ‘Hand of God’ steering and a working steering wheel, plus opening doors and tailgate.

There’s lots more to see of Matthew’s superb Soviet station wagon at his photostream on Flickr – grab your special permit, click the link, and pretend you’re a 1980s Russian pretending they’re a 1960s American.

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‘Peacemaker’

Is there a more ironically named aircraft than this? The Corvair B-36 ‘Peacemaker’ was introduced in 1948 as an intercontinental strategic nuclear bomber, originally conceived to bomb Germany from the U.S should Britain fall during the Second World War.

With the largest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built (a truly enormous 230ft), the B-36 could travel for 10,000 miles carrying a nearly 40,000kg payload and is still the largest mass-produced piston engined aircraft in history, a title it will likely always hold.

Those piston engines were often not sufficient however, and four turbojets were later added to help the giant bomber get airborne. They didn’t help enough though, and the arrival of the jet age meant the Peacemaker was phased out just ten years after its introduction, replaced by the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress with all bar five of the nearly four-hundred aircraft built scrapped.

This amazing recreation of the short-lived yet still slightly terrifying nuclear-carrying monstrosity is the work of previous bloggee BigPlanes, whose magnificent Boeing 747 Air Force One appeared here last week. BigPlanes’ astonishing B-36D measures 6ft across, includes a complete mini-figure scale cockpit, and features functioning bomb bays, and there’s loads more to see at Big’s photostream via the link above.

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Bullet the Blue Sky

This is the Lockheed U-2 ‘Dragon Lady’, an aircraft from the 1950s that is still in service today, flying on the edge of space. Designed for the Cold War, but carrying no weapons, the U-2 is able to operate at an altitude of over 70,000ft, taking photographs of the ground beneath it.

Believed to be out of range of ground-to-air missiles, the U-2 was flown extensively over the Soviet Union, supplying the United States with information on nuclear development, missile locations, and airbases.

Unfortunately for the U.S this theory proved inaccurate when, on May 1st 1960, a U-2 flown by Francis Gary Powers was successfully shot down. The Soviets had been tracking the aircraft from 15 miles outside of the border, and an indirect missile-hit brought the U-2 down, with Powers miraculously surviving.

The U.S didn’t believe that a pilot would survive a crash from 70,000ft and thus stuck to a pre-written cover story that the U-2 had drifted into Soviet airspace after the pilot became unresponsive. The Soviet Union cleverly let the U.S release their lie to the world before revealing that Powers was alive and had admitted spying under interrogation. Oops.

Powers spent a year and a half in prison before being swapped in a prisoner exchange at Glienicke Bridge between East and West Germany. He subsequently returned to the U-2 programme working for Lockheed before losing his life in a helicopter crash in 1977.

Amazingly though, the Lockheed U-2 is still in service today, with the United States Air Force taking over operations from the CIA. This splendid recreation of their incredible aircraft was constructed as a commission by Jonah Padberg (aka Plane Bricks) whose brilliant H145M rescue helicopter featured here earlier in the week.

Jonah’s model captures the iconic Cold War aircraft in stunning accuracy and there lots more to see of his superbly built and presented Lockheed U-2 spy plane at his photostream. Click the link above to fly to 70,000ft and take a look.

*Today’s excellent title song.

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Holiday Heroes II

Today’s earlier post remembers the heroes of the emergency services, who – unlike the underserving muppets here at TLCB – work over the holiday period keeping us alive. From the amazing National Health Service we enjoy in TLCB’s home nation to the fire, police, mountain rescue and lifeboat services that operate every day of the year, there are heroes in every town, village and street.

However one group that often gets forgotten, particularly in the current woke culture that sometimes attempts to undermine their existence, are the armed forces. They too work over the holidays, unseen, largely forgotten, and ready to protect us turkey-eating muppets on Christmas Day as they would on any other.

This find is one example of that group, the Canadian Armed Forces’ very cool looking Lockheed F-104 ‘Starfighter’ in ‘Red Indian’ Squadron markings. Part of NATO, these F-104s operated out of 421 Squadron in West Germany during the Cold War, following their introduction by the Canadian Air Force two decades earlier.

This superb replica of the CAF Lockheed F-104 ‘Starfighter’ is the work of Flickr’s John C. Lamarck and it captures the iconic aircraft (and its unusual CAF ‘toothbrush’ colour scheme) beautifully. There’s more of the build to see at John’s photostream and you can head to an airbase in West Germany c1983 via the link above.

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It Looks Like a Giant…

We’re linking to that childish Austin Powers sketch today for good reason. Firstly because penis jokes are funny. Secondly because this Atlas-F inter-continental ballistic missile looks like one. And thirdly because it, and all the other fantastically pointless atomic weaponry developed during the Cold War, amounted to little more than chillingly dangerous willy waving.

The SM-65 Atlas was one of the USA’s numerous ‘my dick’s bigger than yours’ taunts, and being 85ft high and weighing 260,000 lbs it was admittedly pretty massive. But still completely pointless.

The Atlas-Fs were the first ICBM’s able to be deployed from underground silos, taking just ten minutes to launch. Six squadrons were armed with the F, with seventy-two of the things deployable at their peak (plus another fifty-seven of other variants), each armed with a warhead over a hundred times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.

This marvellous recreation of a horrendous machine comes from Flickr’s Ralph Savelsberg (aka Mad Physicist, who is perhaps living up to his name with this build), and is – somewhat unbelievably – mini-figure scale. A neat launch pad, silo, and two mini-figure missile boffins are included and there’s more to see at his photostream. Click the link above to wave your willy.

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Dangerous Erection

Lego MAZ, RSD-10 Pioneer SS-20 Saber

This website has featured a few tenuously linked erection puns over the years, but today there’s no tenuousness at all, as this green phallus-on-wheels is actually called an ‘erector-launcher’.

This Cold War era Soviet RSD-10 ‘Pioneer’ ballistic nuclear missile and the amazing MAZ 547 transporter erector-launcher which carried it come from TLCB regular Ralph Savelsberg, and they’re terrifying.

Measuring over 54ft in length, weighing 37 tons, and capable of flying 7,500km whilst carrying up to three warheads by the end of its development, the RSD-10 was at the very forefront of pointless nuclear dick-waving.

Over 650 of the things were produced, but are now thankfully destroyed (bar a few decommissioned for display purposes) after the U.S and the Soviet Union signed an agreement in 1987 to stop being total morons*.

The Soviet Union though, being a model of responsibility, sold a few of the launchers to North Korea, because they’re trustworthy and accountable state nation. Sigh.

There’s more to see of this rather brilliant mini-figure scale recreation of the MAZ 547 and RSD-10 at Ralph’s Flickr album via the link above, and if you fancy seeing a real one you can do so at the Ukraine Air Force Museum in Kiev and at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.

Or on the streets of Pyongyang in North Korea of course.

Lego MAZ, RSD-10 Pioneer SS-20 Saber*And if you think the U.S is any better, guess who this year pulled out of the agreement that ended the RSD-10 Pioneer’s use… Yeah, this guy.

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Trump This

Lego MM1 Teracruzer Missile Carrier

Today is the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, and here at The Lego Car Blog we’re commemorating this milestone event with something old, dangerous, and orange.

Built to scare the Soviets in the late 1950s this is a MM1 Teracruzer eight-wheel-drive missile carrier, complete with a Martin Mace nuclear missile, and despite its murderous (and completely futile) purpose, it’s a magnificent looking thing. It’s as if Thunderbirds were run by a maniacal doom-monger.

Anyhow, whilst we settle in for an afternoon of pointless pickering over the state of U.S. politics you can check out more of this absolutely brilliant mini-figure replica of the Teracruzer courtesy of Brian Williams of Flickr by clicking here, or alternatively you can watch something just as old, dangerous and orange at the inauguration ceremony…

Lego MM1 Teracruzer Missile Carrier

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Cold War

Lego F4-B Phantom

The news is making for pretty grim reading at the moment. Russia is on the war path again (yay…), albeit covertly and surrounded by furious Kremlin denials, and America is too, although this time they have the support of forty countries including some unlikely middle-eastern allies (even Iran).

Unlike the era from which today’s models originated, the two great nuclear powers are currently fighting on different fronts, and merely throwing testosterone fuelled political doctrine at one another in regards to their respective conflicts. Of course during the Cold War it was only strong words that were exchanged too, but it could have been so very different.

The awesome F4-B Phantom was the cornerstone of America’s air attack in the 1960s-’80s, and this incredible recreation of the multi-role fighter is the work of the brilliant Bricktrix on Flickr. Featuring custom decals, working flaps, air-brakes, tail rudder, tail hook, folding wing tips, retractable landing gear and flashing nav lights, you can see the Phantom’s full gallery via the link above.

To defend the Soviet Union from the likes of the Phantom the Soviets responded with this, the Tunguska 9K22/2S6 Tracked Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft System. D-Town Cracka‘s perfectly recreated Lego version is detailed right down to the eight 9M311 surface-to-air missiles that would have been used to defend the motherland’s air-space.

Thankfully the two giant (and moronic) superpowers never exchanged fire. Just two decades earlier they had stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the Second World War to defeat Nazism too. How quickly we forget the lessons of history…

Lego Cold War Soviet Missile-Launcher

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