Tag Archives: Off-Road

The ‘I’s Have It*

Everything has an ‘i’ prefix these days. We have Apple to thank for this chronically unimaginative naming convention, which has now infiltrated cars too (we’re looking at you Hyundai and BMW). However before Apple stuck an ‘i’ in front of generic words like ‘phone’, ‘i’ meant something.

Take ‘I-beam’ for example, which featured no marketing-focus-groups to determine its name, and simply meant two wheels attached to a suspended straight beam. Because it was really cheap. And it was the shape of the letter ‘I’.

Modern vehicles use far more sophisticated suspension of course. Except when they don’t, and ‘I-beam’ is renamed ‘Torsion Bar’, because it sounds fancier. Or it did until Apple came along.

Anyway, ‘I-beams are pretty rare at the front of vehicles these days, but Eurobricks’ paave has created a vehicle that kicks it old-school, with brilliantly off-roady I-beam front suspension, live axle rear suspension, HOG steering, a working piston engine, and opening and locking doors.

Building instructions are available and there’s more of paave’s creation to see at the Eurobricks forum at the link above and via the video below, which shows the I-beam suspension in action.

YouTube Video

*Seven hundred TLCB points if you’ve figured out today’s title.

Yellow Niva

The Soviet Union was full of terrible cars. This is not one of them.

The Lada Niva / VAZ-2121 is unibody 4×4, capable of going as far as a Land Rover (only more comfortably, as it had proper springs) and able to be easily worked on with limited tools. And it’s brilliant.

Unusually, the Niva was an in-house design – rather than using left-over bits of old Fiats – and so successful is it that is still being built today. Not for long though, as the Niva’s days are numbered, after which it’ll be replaced by a re-badged Dacia Duster courtesy of Lada’s parent company Renault.

Now we quite like the Duster, but it’s not a Niva, and it certainly can’t go as far as a Land Rover off road. Which means we suspect the original Niva will become quite a sought-after vehicle once production stops, not something you might expect of a Communist-era Lada.

This rather lovely Lego version comes from previous bloggee Legostalgie, who has evolved his previously featured design and has now made building instructions available. If you like the Niva as much as we do you can check out all the images of Legostalgie’s update, and find a link to building instructions, by clicking here.

Dyb Dyb Dyb

The Festival of Mundanity entries are starting to arrive! Hoping to win one of the awesome prizes on offer (more on those later today) is PalBenglat of Flickr, whose International Harvester Scout (hence the title) is, well… actually not very mundane at all.

But despite not exactly maxing out his Mundane Points, Pal’s logic is rather clever. Back in the 1970s the Scout was marketed to middle-America couples, usually living in the suburbs with a dog, as per the recreated advertisement image above. And it doesn’t get more mundane than that.

Of course middle-America didn’t need Sports Utility Vehicles, but International Harvester forecast that it would want them. Which it did. By the million.

Now, partly thanks to the Scout, middle-America only buys SUVs and crossovers, they’re all exactly the same, and suburban motoring has never been more mundane.

LEGO Technic 2022 | Set Previews! (Pt.2)

It’s been two months since the survivors of the select group of Elven ‘volunteers’ tasked with uncovering the new-for-2022 Technic sets returned from The LEGO Company’s HQ. We were down a couple of Elves of course, but you don’t make an omelette without a few Elves getting eaten by the guard dogs. Or something.

But no! Some eight weeks later three very bedraggled and rather thin Elves have made it back! Which means we have three more brand new Technic sets to share with you – huzzah. So without further preamble, here are the final* three new additions to the 2022 Technic line-up.

42140 App-Controlled Transformation Vehicle

The first is this, the ‘Transformation Vehicle’, which is a title both rather meaningless and wrong, as it doesn’t transform at all. What it does do is flip upside-down, revealing another body underneath, and we’d be lying if we said we weren’t properly excited about this!

Controlled by LEGO’s new Control+ app, 42140 can skid steer after the cat via your mobile phone, and if you accidentally turn it over against a chair leg, you can simply carry on using the blue body rather than the orange one shown here, thus continuing the pet torment.

It doesn’t appear as if 42140 does anything else, but nevertheless it looks great fun, although – full disclosure – we may have been influenced heavily by adverts for the Tyco Rebound as children. And yes, toy commercials really were like that in the mid-’90s.

The 42140 App-Controlled Transformation Vehicle includes 772 pieces, is aimed at aged 9+, and is expected to cost around $130/£115 when it reaches stores in March. Your cat’s definitely going to meet its match.

42133 Telehandler

From $130 cat-chasing devices to a 143-piece pocket-money starter set. The 42133 Telehandler is one of the smallest Technic sets in the 2022 range, costing just $13/£9, and – as starter sets go – it’s perfectly good. There’s working steering (although at the front rather than the rear), and a boom that can raise/lower mechanically too, whilst keeping the fork level. A decent entry point for the Technic range.

42139 All-Terrain Vehicle

The largest of the final three* sets to join the 2022 Technic line-up is this, the 42139 All-Terrain Vehicle. We’d call this a ‘quad’ in our home nation, which of course it isn’t as it has six wheels. All six are suspended, with a pendular axle on the front and shocks at the back, there’s working steering via the handlebars, a tipping load bed, winch, and a piston engine with a high/low range gearbox.

Which all looks rather good we think, although the stickers are probably unnecessary, plus there’s a chain-saw and a few logs so you can pretend to be a lumberjack.

42139 is aimed at ages 10+, features 764 pieces, and is expected to cost around $80/£65 when it reaches stores. It’s also probably our favourite of the bunch. Unless we want to chase cats.

*You may have noticed a few asterisk symbols in this post. That’s because these aren’t quite the final three new Technic sets. There’s one more to come, and it might just carry both ‘McLaren’ and ‘Formula 1’ licensing….

The (Very) Cold War

It’s freezing cold here at TLCB Towers, but it’s not as cold as Siberia. Not even close. Which is where this amazing ZIL-E167 was designed to operate, in one of the harshest environments on the planet.

An idea explored for the Soviet military during the 1960s, the E167 featured six wheel drive, no suspension (but balloon tyres), two 7.0 V8 engines, the ability to cross water, and a five ton payload. That all sounds rather good to us, but production never progressed beyond one working prototype due to transmission issues.

Built by TLCB Master MOCer Sariel, this (nearly) mini-figure scale recreation of the Soviet-Era arctic explorer encapsulates the weird but deeply cool vehicle wonderfully, with BuWizz remote control drive on all six wheels, steering on four of them, and an enhancement to the real truck in the form of working suspension.

There’s more of this amazing machine to see at Sariel’s ‘ZIL-E167’ album on Flickr, plus you can watch it in action in the cold via the video below.

YouTube Video

Sharknado

Sharks are definitely not cut out for life on land. No-one told the makers of Sharknado though, who managed to extract such cinematic brilliance from the premise that a further five films have followed. If they keep going surely eventually one’s going to win an Oscar.

Anyway, enough on the tragic state of film-making – here’s another fictional land-based shark – but unlike the aforementioned cinematic disgraces, this one is most excellent.

Previous bloggee Martin Vala is the builder behind this ‘Shark’ Dakar concept, and fictional though it may be it looks so real we had to look it up to check it didn’t actually exist. Like a Sharknado Oscar though, it definitely doesn’t, which makes it all the more impressive that the design originated from the inside of Martin’s head.

There’s much more of the build to see at Martin’s ‘Shark T1+’ album on Flickr, and you can swim over via the link in the text above.

Lego Land Cruiser

With Toyota becoming the latest vehicle manufacturer to join LEGO’s growing list of partners, we’re hopeful that the legendary FJ40 Land Cruiser will one day be available in brick form. Until then Flickr’s PalBenglat has fulfilled the brief brilliantly with his lovely Town scale Fj40. Clever building techniques accurately step the width from four to six studs front to rear, there’s room for two mini-figures side-by-side, and LEGO’s classic Town truck wheels have probably never looked more at home. See more at the link above and cross your fingers LEGO have a Land Cruiser of their own in the works…

Mighty Mini

This is the Mini JCW Dakar Buggy, and it has about as much in common with a Mini you can actually buy as a fish does with the international space station. But it is throughly awesome!

Powered by an I6 turbo-diesel, the RWD-only John Cooper Works buggy won the Dakar Rally in 2020 and 2021, and has been recreated in stunning detail by Flickr’s Martin Vala.

Removable bodywork, an internal space-frame, a complete brick-built drivetrain, and some superb photography and presentation make Martin’s build an excellent way to kick-off 2022.

Head to Martin’s ‘Mini JCW Buggy’ album via the link above for over forty stunning images.

MAZing Through the Snow

We may not be the most professional, well connected, articulate, or competent Lego blog, but we sure do have the most tenuous Christmas titles!

Continuing the Christmassy nonsense is this, Danifill’s marvellous MAZ 5316 4×4 truck, complete with BuWizz power, Servo steering, remotely locking pneumatically-controlled differentials, live-axle suspension, a tilting cab, and working LED head and tail lights.

Danifill has taken his MAZ into the snow to show what it can do, and you can read more about the model and watch a video of it in action at the Eurobricks forum here.

Yule Logs

We’re back on track! With today’s other posts being a vehicle we vehemently hate and one with no tenuous Christmas link whatsoever, here’s one that ticks both boxes.

We love the classic ’70s Mercedes-Benz Unimog, and Lego recreations of it surely don’t come any better than this; proran’s beautiful Christmas-coloured Model Team U406 tipper, a creation five years in the making.

One image in particular caught our eye, in which proran has replicated a real-world U406 beside a log pile with wonderful attention to detail. We rarely publish images of real vehicles, but this is such a gorgeous composition we simply had too. Plus it makes the title work.

Alongside the stunning exterior, proran has faithfully recreated the Unimog U406’s mechanicals too, with solid-axle suspension, working steering via the wheel, four-wheel-drive linked to a 4-cylinder engine, a tipping bed, and front and rear PTOs selectable from within the cab.

A Power Functions motor can be applied to demonstrate the model’s functions, which you can watch via the excellent video at the end of this post, and an extensive gallery of imagery is available showing proran’s creation and the real-world U406 that inspired it via Bricksafe.

Click the link above to take a closer look, or here to visit the Eurobricks forum for full build details and to join the discussion.

YouTube Video

BRX(mas)

Desert travel before the steam or combustion engine was a slow and sometimes dangerous business. The wise men may have taken a very long time to reach the baby Jesus, with no thanks to meeting a megalomaniacal king on route.

Today desert crossing could even be considered easy, thanks to vehicles like this; the Prodrive BRX Hunter. A purpose built Dakar rally buggy, the BRX is designed specifically to cross the desert as quickly and easily as possible, thanks to carbon-fibre construction and a mid-mounted V6 engine.

Inspired by the BRX is Martin Vala’s ‘BX T1+’, a stunning desert-crossing buggy complete with gull-wing doors, a gold roll cage, and the best brick-built chassis we have ever seen.

Due to our Christmas break, The Brothers Brick beat us to posting this (it’s a Christmas miracle!), but the Elves are now back on their travels once again, so normal service should be resumed. And their search shouldn’t be delayed by any megalomaniacal kings.

There’s more to see of Martin’s incredible Prodrive BRX-inspired ‘BX T1+’ on Flickr by clicking here, and we’ll be back soon with more tenuous Lego-based links to Christmas!

Moggy Christmas

It’s only two more sleeps ’til Christmas! Which means as the Elves have returned to TLCB Towers they’ve been placed back into their cages for their enforced Christmas ‘break’. They don’t mind working over Christmas of course, but we’d rather be down the pub, er… we mean ‘working at the homeless shelter’, so they’re confinement is necessary if we aren’t to come back to the office to find all the glue sticks have been eaten.

Seriously though, Christmas is far more important than this dumpster fire of the internet, so this is the last creation to appear here before we pause for a few days. It’s a really good one though!

Built by previous bloggee Wigboldly/Thirdwigg, this brilliant Mercedes-Benz Unimog U430 is everything we like to see in a Technic creation. There’s working steering and suspension, all-wheel-drive, a 4-cylinder engine underneath a tilting cab, a tipping load bed, and front and rear power-take-offs with the option of pneumatic attachments.

All in it’s really not far off the much larger official Technic 8110 Mercedes-Benz Unimog set, so if you missed your chance to buy that when it was on sale, Thirdwigg’s U430 is an excellent alternative you can build at home. Yup, he’s even made instructions available too.

There’s more of Thirdwigg’s build to see at his ‘U430’ album on Flickr, and you can check out his equally good Technic Unimog U500 and Unimog U400 models that have appeared here previously via the bonus links.

Click the coloured words in the text above to make the jumps to all things Unimoggy.

My Other Car’s Also a Classic Truck

This is a UAZ 452-3303, one of many imaginatively named Soviet off-road van truck thingies designed during the Communist era.

The UAZ 452 was launched in 1965 with a 75bhp 2.45 litre petrol engine that could run on fuel as low as 72 octane (basically spicy water), and it’s still in production today, with nine different variants available.

This one, the 3303 dropside pick-up truck, is affectionally know as the ‘tadpole’, because it looks rather like one, and has been recreated beautifully in brick form by ArtemyZotov of Eurobricks.

It also continues our run of B-Models, being constructed entirely from the 10290 Creator Pickup Truck set. Opening doors, dropping bed sides, and a load of fruit and veg all feature, and there’s more to see – including a link to building instructions – at the Eurobricks forum via the link above.

I Feel the Need…

The sad state of cinema at the moment means that the only films that currently get made are sequels, prequels, re-boots, or all three, as part of some ‘cinematic universe’ bollocks (we’re looking at you Marvel).

Cue next year’s ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ release, an unnecessary sequel arriving some three decades after the (magnificent) ’80s original. Still, at least it provides the opportunity for a repeat homo-erotic beach volleyball scene to an astoundingly suggestive soundtrack.

More interesting to TLCB than yet another movie reboot is this Maverick; the Can-Am Maverick RS, a wild off-road buggy built to take on the Dakar Rally.

Well, this one hasn’t been built to take on the Dakar Rally, being rather smaller. And constructed from Lego. But it is still more interesting.

Martin Vala is the builder behind it, and he’s recreated the Can-Am Maverick RS in wonderful detail, right down to the steering and suspension, which are brick-built from System pieces.

Authentic decals and stunning presentation complete the build, and there’s lots more to see of Martin’s Maverick at his ‘Maverick RS’ album on Flickr. Click the link above to feel the need for speed.

What’s in a Name?

This is the Mitsubishi Pajero. Except in Spanish-speaking countries, where it’s definitely not.

Nor is it in TLCB’s home nation, where ‘Pajero’ isn’t an exceptionally rude word, but where ‘Shogun’ just sounds cooler.

Anyway, whatever it’s called, this Lego recreation of the ’90s Pajero/Shogun/Montero by regular bloggee SP_LINEUP is rather excellent, and there’s more of it to see at his photostream.

Click the link above to take a look. Unless you’re Spanish.