Japan’s ‘Bōsōzoku’ scene is a sub-genre of car culture that we really don’t understand, but that we’re really glad exists. Ralph Savelsberg is too, having created this magnificent Bōsōzoku-ed Nissan Skyline C110 complete with a wild bodykit, skywards exhausts, and a cool-looking Japanese character to drive it. See more on Flickr at the link.
The world’s most vibrant cities have often been defined by their public transport system. London’s red Routemaster bus, Tokyo’s Toyota Crown with its amazing self opening doors, Hong Kong’s wonderful Star Ferries, and – perhaps most iconic of all – New York City’s yellow cabs.
Checker sedans and Ford Crown Victorias were long part of NYC’s street furniture, and were big, softly sprung, and almost ridiculously inappropriate for taking one or two people a short distance at a low speed.
Despite their thirst, pollution, and unnecessary size, to a tourist they were somehow rather wonderful, however recently (and probably rightly) their days were numbered.
Today few cities have their own bespoke taxis. The cost of developing or adapting a vehicle for just a few thousand sales a year is too great, thus New York’s yellow cabs can now be one of any number of mainstream vehicles that are about as interesting as a white sock. Even if they’re yellow.
Flickr’s Ralph Savelsberg, whose glorious classic Checker NYC cab appeared here a few days ago, has now updated his brick-built taxi fleet inline with New York’s recent changes, building this excellent (and incredibly boring) Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
We’re sure that Toyota’s large SUV makes a far better taxi than the Ford Crown Vics and Checkers that preceded it, but when it’s the very same car used to collect Tommy and Ashleigh from school, it’s somehow not better at all.
There’s more to see of Ralph’s NYC Highlander at his ‘LEGO NYC Taxis’ album on Flickr, where you can also find his Lego recreations of a few other real-world yellow cabs that might not be as good, yet are somehow better in every way.
New York had the coolest taxis. Built from the late ’50s until the early ’80s, the Checker A9-A12 was as synonymous with NYC as the Black Cab was with London. However with awful air quality both cities have since replaced their taxi fleets with standard passenger hybrids like the Toyota Prius, which are far less polluting, but far less soulful too. It makes us think that perhaps their could be a market for retro-fitting an EV powertrain to a classic cab – we’d be the first to hail a ride. Until then we’ll look wistfully at this beautiful classic Checker cab by regular bloggee Ralph Savelsberg, and try to forget what would be coming out of the tailpipe…
American police cars are cooler than those we have in TLCB’s home nation. Oh sure, we have the occasional fast pursuit car (which include some surprisingly awesome models), but it’s mostly economy hatchbacks. Not so in the USA, where police cars have names like ‘Charger Police Pursuit’ and ‘Interceptor’. It’s the latter we have here, a Ford Explorer with an Ecoboost V6, all-wheel-drive, and a bar on the front for ramming criminals. Ralph Savelsberg is the builder and there’s more to see of his excellent NYPD Ford Interceptor Utility by clicking here.
British police vehicles don’t wear the myriad of different liveries that feature across the United States. All feature the ‘battenberg’ chequered design, named after the famous Victorian cake that shares the same pattern, and it does look quite cool. Even on an embarrassingly unthreatening 1.6L Astra or Focus.
However until recently The Metropolitan Police (who look after the thirty-two London boroughs, counter-terrorism, and the Royal family) did have a distinct colour scheme, wearing a livery based upon a simple lunchtime snack rather than an English cake. We’re not sure why British police forces design their vehicles after party food, but we’re all for it.
Anyway, this previous-generation Metropolitan Police Ford Transit does wear the now-replaced Met Police ‘jam sandwich’ livery, which has been recreated rather wonderfully by regular bloggee Ralph Savelsberg aka Mad Physicist, complete with a British police officer (aka ‘Bobby’). Said officer is a little out of date now as British police don’t wear their ‘custodian helmets’ when driving, but they do still put them on to beat you with their baton, what with that being a special occasion.
There’s more to see of Ralph’s Metropolitan Police ‘jam sandwich’ Ford Transit on Flickr, and you can take a bite via the link above!
Talking of big boring boxes, here’s a Chevrolet Express Conversion Van. No amount of tinted windows and stickers down the sides could make us want to ride in this hateful pile of American misery, but Ralph has made his (excellent) Miniland recreation of the Chevy Express rather more exciting by the addition of a tow hitch, meaning his beige box of bricks can tow an altogether more interesting Chevy…
Hooked up to the Express is a trailer carrying this magnificent ’57 Bel Air ‘gasser’, complete with a supercharger poking through the hood and a flame paint job, both of which have got the Elves very animated. A cast of unique-looking characters is on hand to make sure she’s runnin’ right and there’s more to see of the Bel Air gasser (and the Express van we suppose) at Ralph’s photostream – click here to make the jump!
The emergency services are the everyday heroes that have been thrown into the spotlight both during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, and in the subsequent protests, riots, and social disorder that seems to be infecting Western society as much as the disease the proceeded it.
It’s a hard enough job to do without having bottles thrown at you, but sadly that’s what’s happening, despite the fact that the emergency services will work just as hard to save the bottle thrower as the innocent bystander in the event they’re needed.
This superb FDNY ambulance comes from TLCB regular Ralph Savelsberg in his trademark Miniland style. Based on a Ford Super Duty extra cab, Ralph’s model replicates the livery and details of the real ambulance beautifully, and he’s included a neat paramedic figure too. There’s more of the build to see at Ralph’s photostream – click the link above to dial 9-1-1.
The world’s emergency services battle to save us every single day, with the current Coronavirus pandemic highlighting in particular what an incredible job they do. Of course they need the tools to do the job, and that’s what they’ve got in the Netherlands with their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter ambulances. Flickr’s Ralph Savelsberg is the builder behind this one, recreating both the converted van and its complicated Dutch chevrons over EU-mandated yellow paint job with brilliant accuracy. Opening doors reveal a life-like interior too, and there’s more of Ralph’s Sprinter to see at his photostream – click here to call an ambulance.
Subaru Tecnica International had an unfortunate acronym in much of the world. They didn’t change it though, unlike Toyota who renamed the MR2 in France to avoid phonetic embarrassment. Still, aside from standing for an unfortunate side affect of unprotected relations, STI meant some excellent machinery, including this 2000’s Impreza WRX STI recreated by Flickr’s Ralph Savelsberg in his trademark style. Click the link to make the jump to his photostream see more.
The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. The Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23 experimental fighter probably caused a few UFO sightings during its fifty secret test flights. Two YF-23s were built during the early ’90s for evaluation as the USAF’s next stealth fighter, nicknamed ‘Black Widow II’ and ‘Gray Ghost’ owing to their paint schemes.
Despite being faster and more agile than the competitor YF-22, it was the YF-22 that won the contract to be produced due to superior agility, becoming the Lockheed F-22 Raptor. Now de-classified (apart from top speed), the two experimental YF-23s reside in museums, meaning Ralph Savelsberg can talk about them.
His recreation of the ‘Gray Ghost’ includes an opening mini-figure scale cockpit, folding landing gear, and more ingenious building techniques in one build than this TLCB writer has used in his entire building career.
Head to Ralph’s photostream by the link above to see all the images. Just don’t talk to anyone about it.
Toyotas don’t always have the most fortunate names. There’s the ISIS, the BJ, and the perfectly-acceptable-until-recently Corona. Which is now a deadly virus. Oops. The name Corona actually means ‘crown’, just like Toyota’s Corolla, Camry, and, er… Crown.
It’s the Crown we have here, which means essentially the same thing as Corona, but doesn’t evoke the ongoing mass morbidity of the elderly. This Lego version of the Crown comes from Ralph Savelsberg of Flickr who has recreated the Japanese saloon in Tokyo Police specification, complete with authentic decals and the odd raising light-bar on the roof.
There’s more to see of Ralph’s Toyota Crown police car at his photostream via the link above, which has gotta be better than a Corona. Probably not a BJ though…
This is the Sukhoi S-37 ‘Berkut’, a Russian air-superiority fighter that never was. First flying in the early 2000s just one ‘Berkut’ was built. Until Ralph Savelsberg decided to tackle it of course.
This is his astonishingly well-replicated Lego version, complete with an opening cockpit, swept-forward wings, working landing gear, and an opening bomb-bay. It’s also black, and black planes are always cool.
Head to Ralph’s Sukhoi S-37 ‘Berkut’ album on Flickr by clicking here to see more stunning images.
Many cities and countries are known for having an iconic taxi. London has the Black Cab, although it’s now vastly outnumbered by Prius Ubers, New York had the Ford Crown Victoria, until it was replaced by Nissan vans, Camrys and the Prius, and Mexico had the Volkswagen Beetle, now superseded by boring Asian boxes including, you’ve guessed it, the Prius. There’s a theme here…
Fortunately (and perhaps ironically) Japan still has its iconic taxi cab, the Toyota Crown Comfort, complete with its amazing automatically opening rear doors. Built right up until 2017, the Crown has served as Japan’s taxi for over two decades. It’s finally being retired though, replaced by a bespoke Toyota taxi design that will probably end up becoming even more iconic, and which owes more than a little to its London counterpart.
The Comfort will be around for a while yet though, weird doors and all, and you can hail a ride in Ralph Savelsberg‘s brilliant Miniland scale replica via the link above.
The U.S military operates vehicles in some pretty inhospitable places. Currently most of these places are dust-filled ovens, putting the machinery in use under intense strain. And, let’s face it, they are American vehicles so they will break.
Unfortunately the local recovery services in such places are unlikely to be willing to help out, and – even if they were – an Abrams tank is probably a bit beyond their ability. Fortunately the U.S military has these ready to rescue their broken vehicles; the M936 6×6 Wrecker.
Built by TLCB regular Ralph Savelsberg this mini-figure scale replica of the M936 may not be in ‘dust-filled oven’ camouflage but it is mightily accurate in all other respects. A working rotating crane, detachable stabilisers, and wonderful detailing are all included and there’s more to see at Ralph’s M936 Wrecker album on Flickr by clicking here.
We round out today’s posts with a DAF truck towing a giant implement of death. Thanks Ralph Savelsberg. It is a brilliant model though, recently updated with a newly built terrain base upon which the Dutch military’s missile launcher is firing at… er, we have no idea. Have the Dutch ever fired at anything?
Which is unlike Iran of course, who last week fired upon an airliner full of their own citizens thanks to a twitchy trigger finger mistake. Iran’s accidental downing of flight PS752 takes the number of deaths following the murder of Qasem Soleimani by American drone from ten to almost two hundred, with another fifty killed during a stampede at his funeral.
Well this has all got a bit bleak. You can see more of Ralph’s superb Dutch Patriot Missile Launcher at his photostream via the link above, we’ll return soon with something a bit chirpier, and until then here’s that video of a woman in a Wookie mask.