Does anyone else remember that fiendishly addictive early computer game in which the player was tasked with manoeuvring around a seeming infinite plain populated by the outlines of various 3D shapes, hunting and destroying enemy tanks? Just us? OK.
Anyway, perfect cubes and prisms aside, the concept of hunting tanks was based on reality, with specific machines (themselves looking rather like tanks) designed for their destroy enemy counterparts.
This is one such device, the Sturmgeschütz III tank-hunting assault gun, as deployed by Germany during the Second World War (and Syria until 1973).
Handily known as the STuG III, it saw service on almost every front, from Russia to Europe to Africa, and proved very successful at destroying Allied armour.
This excellent fully remote controlled Lego version of the STuG III comes from TLCB favourite Sariel, who – despite the model measuring just 32cm in length and weighing under 1kg – has packed in drive and steering, fully suspended tracks, and an oscillating and slewing gun barrel, all powered by a LEGO battery and controlled via bluetooth courtesy of a third-party SBrick.
There’s more to see of Sariel’s STuG III at his Flickr album of the same name, plus you can watch the model in action via the video below. Go tank hunting across a plain of cubes via the links!
Reach. It’s a word we hear a lot in the running of a world-famous top-quality Lego site. OK, a mildly-known bottom-of-the-barrel Lego site. But nevertheless, we still hear it a lot. Countless messages offering great value reach improvement services are deleted with alarming frequency.
Anyway, today we have great reach, courtesy of TLCB favourite and Lego-building legendSariel, and this incredible fully remote controlled Liebherr LTC 1045-3.1 mobile crane.
Powered by fourteen motors and three SBricks, Sariel’s crane can extend its reach to well over a meter, with a further half-meter boom extension possible on top of that.
Four Power Functions motors drive the boom’s elevation, extension and winch, another three the cabin boom elevation, extension and tilt, one rotates the superstructure, another folds the mirrors, two more the outriggers, and finally three power the drive and steering.
Over five meters of wires are hidden inside to link the motors, LED lights, LEGO battery, and SBricks, with the total model weighing almost 5kgs and able to lift ¾ kg.
There’s much more of Sariel’s superbly presented creation to see at his Liebherr LTM 1045-3.1 album, you can read how Sariel turned his hobby into revenue via our ‘Become a Lego Professional‘ series, and you can watch this amazing model in action in the video below. Click the links to reach the full content.
Russia, currently undertaking a humiliating withdrawal from occupied Kherson in Ukraine following their illegal invasion, haven’t always been the scumbags of Europe. In fact, the Russian T34-85 Tank made one of the greatest contributions to saving Europe from the last set of scumbags intent on invading their neighbours.
Prior to the success of the T34-85 however, Russia’s tanks were a little more… experimental. Looking like a cross between something from Battle Bots and a child’s tricycle, this is the Netopyr or ‘Tsar Tank’, a 60ft long 1914 prototype armoured vehicle, crewed by ten personnel and powered by two 240bhp Maybach engines taken from a captured German airship, one for each enormous front wheel.
Those wheels measured almost 30ft in diameter, and were followed by a 5ft rear wheel, in-between which was a 26ft hull festooned with cannons. The idea was that the Tsar Tank could traverse large obstacles thanks to the massive front wheels, although little thought seemed to be given to the much smaller rear one.
This promptly got stuck in soft ground during the tank’s first test run, and even the most powerful engines of the time couldn’t get it out. Various extractions failed too, and thus the tank was left in-situ for a further 8 years before it was finally removed and scrapped.
Still, it looked bloody awesome, and so too does TLCB favourite Sariel’s spectacular recreation of Russia’s 1914 engineering failure. Propelled by two Power Functions motors, with a further three operating the various cannons, Sariel’s replica looks every bit as mad as its 60-ton counterpart, and there’s lots more to see at his ‘Tsar Tank’ album on Flickr.
Click the link above to take a look at easily the weirdest vehicle you’ll see today, and here to watch it in action, where it is – frankly – every bit as rubbish as the real thing was over a century ago.
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.
The news coming from Afghanistan at the moment is heartbreaking. A rare case of successful international cooperation, the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and subsequent defeat of its Taliban ‘government’ brought freedom, equal-ish rights, and prosperity to millions of Afghans.
It also brought about a fantastically corrupt (although democratically elected) government and the deaths of tens of thousands, but despite this it would be hard to argue that many Afghans – particularly women – weren’t better off for the intervention.
Which makes it tremendously sad that all of those gains (and the blood spilt to achieve them) may now be lost thanks to a hasty politically-motivated Western withdrawal, with the Taliban regaining power even quicker than they lost it twenty years ago.
More tragically, it’s not the first time that foreign powers have put their own politics before the lives of Afghans…
This is a Soviet BTR-80, a remarkable 8×8 amphibious armoured personal carrier, as used in the Soviet-Afghan War.
Back in 1978 a coup in Afghanistan overthrew the presidency, replacing it with the ‘Democratic Republic of Afghanistan’, a puppet Communist government supported by the Soviet Union, which many of the Afghan people resisted via a brutal guerrilla war.
The UN ordered the Soviet Union to withdraw, which they ignored and engaged in a 9 year war in support of the Communist government, razing villages, destroying farmland, laying millions of landmines, and committing rape and torture.
Sanctions and a mass boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics followed, but worse was to come for the Soviet Union, who ultimately lost the war to the Afghan Mujahideen and the international community supporting them, which – many argue – hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union itself.
The BTR-80 used towards the end of the conflict was still a mighty impressive piece of hardware though, and so too is this spectacular fully RC recreation by Sariel.
With eight-wheel-drive, four-wheel-steering, all-wheel suspension, a three-speed gearbox, motorised hatches, a remotely operable gun turret, rotating and lit searchlight, a working winch, and powered propellors all controlled via bluetooth thanks to three SBricks, Sariel’s BTR-80 is an engineering masterclass.
You can watch all of those incredible features in action via the video below, plus there are more stunning images of Sariel’s creation available to view at his ‘BTR-80’ Flickr album. Click here to make the jump to a pointless war in Afghanistan sometime in the late ’80s.
And back to that disastrous piece of Soviet foreign policy; even after the Soviet Union withdrew defeated, peace in Afghanistan was not forthcoming. A civil war continued to rage, taking the death toll to as many as two million Afghans.
Eventually, after years of turmoil, it was the Taliban who ended up in power, which brings us right back to 2001, the international intervention, and now – twenty years later – the rapid undoing of everything that was won.
The Lego Car Blog Elves are having a great time this morning. This lovely remote controlled Willys Jeep was discovered by one of their number today, and fortunately our eagle-eyed intern caught it before the model could be used for any smushing shenanigans.
That means no tidying up for us, and a gaggle of Elves being transported around TLCB Towers, much to their delight.
The model in question is properly good too, looking wonderfully like-like and featuring a complete remote control drivetrain, with four-wheel-drive, front and rear suspension, and working steering.
TLCB favourite Sariel is the builder and there’s more to see of his superbly presented 1940s Willys Jeep on Flickr and via the Eurobricks forum.
Some might think today’s title could refer to Russia’s creeping direction under its definitely fairly democratically elected President, but – fortunately for us as we don’t want to experience Novichok poisoning – it also relates perfectly to this; Sariel’s amazing fully remote controlled pneumatic and motorised Ural 375D 6×6 truck.
Sariel‘s latest astonishing creation is a spectacularly engineered replica of the mighty Soviet military truck, built entirely from Lego pieces, plus a few choice third-party-supplied enhancements.
The first of these is an SBrick bluetooth controller, which allows the four-motor 6×6 drive, steering, servo-powered 3-speed gearbox, three pneumatically locking differentials, and Brickstuff LED lights to all be controlled remotely via a mobile phone or other bluetooth device.
Sariel has further enhanced his model with RC4WD ‘Rock Crusher’ tyres, fitted to Lego rims and mounted to live axle suspension on axles 1 and 3, with pendular suspension on axle 2. A motorised rear winch, working V8 engine, opening doors and hood, and a canvas load cover complete the build, and make Sariel’s Ural one of the most realistic and technically accurate trucks of the year so far.
There’s a whole lot more of this incredible creation to see at the Eurobricks forum, plus the complete gallery of stunning imagery is available to view on Flickr, where there are even a few images that seem to depict a TLCB Elf in shot, but we might be imagining that.
You can also check out a video of the Ural 375D 6×6 in action below, in which the working functions, bare chassis, and a pug named Muffin can all be viewed.
TLCB favourite Sariel is back with another build, and this one is rather simpler than some of his previous engineering masterpieces, but rather more attainable for it.
Submitted to LEGO Ideas, Sariel’s Kenworth-esque truck features remote control drive and steering (which also turns the steering g wheel in the cab), opening doors and hood, and a working trailer hitch.
A battery box is easily accessible in the sleeper portion of the cab, whilst the Control+ hub that enables bluetooth control is activated via a brick on the roof.
It’s neat, simple, and very ‘set-able’, which isn’t a word but should be. Head to Eurobricks or Flickr to see more, including links to Ideas, the full image gallery at Bricksafe, and a YouTube video of the truck in action.
An Elf wandered into the office this morning. It had tyre tracks down its middle and was jabbering dejectedly. Sigh.
A shuffle out to the corridor revealed several more cartoonishly tyre-tracked Elves and the cause, overturned in the corner, wheels spinning furiously.
With the delighted culprit apprehended we can take a closer look at their weapon of choice, and it’s a rather wonderful thing.
Built by Lego-building legend Sariel, this is a fully remote controlled 1931 Mercedes-Benz SSKL, powered by two LEGO Buggy Motors and a third-party BuWizz bluetooth battery, delivering up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own system. That explains the tyre tracks then.
A Servo Motor steers the front wheels (and turns the steering wheel), which are suspended via wishbones and torsion bars, whilst the rear is suspended via a live axle.
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…
TLCB Elves don’t usually get excited about buses. They have no racing stripes, lasers, or supercharging, and such things are important to an Elf. TLCB Team do sometimes get excited about buses – because we’re a bit sad – but not bendy buses, which were introduced to the streets of our capital a decade or so ago whereupon they proceeded to run over cyclists and then get stuck on every tight corner.
Now removed, we’re back to double deckers, but that doesn’t mean the bendy-bus isn’t a good solution for more modern cities. It’s also a design, in the case of today’s creation anyway, that’s really cool. And yes we did just write that about a bus.
This is Sariel‘s Solaris Urbino 18, a remote controlled, five-motor engineering triumph. Looking almost exactly like the real deal, Sariel has managed to squeeze a spectacular array of working functions inside the Urbino’s shell. Firstly the bus drives and steers remotely, thanks to LEGO Power Functions motors and a third-part SBrick programmable bluetooth receiver. This SBrick also allows the bus’s head, tail, brake and indicator lights to be controlled, plus the ingenious motorised door opening mechanism with all doors powered by a single Medium motor.
Most cleverly of all there is a working ‘kneel’ system, where – just like the real bus – the ride height drops as the doors open to allow easier access for passengers to embark/disembark.
Lastly the model features accurate custom decals to replicate those of the real vehicle, illuminated numbers, and some seriously impressive working dot matrix displays thanks to a custom design by third-party specialists Brickstuff.
Sariel’s amazing creation is a great way to round out the year and you can see more of his Solaris Urbino 18 at both his Flickr album and via the Eurobricks discussion forum, where you can also find a video demonstrating the model’s incredible working features.
This is a MAZ-535; massive, a little aesthetically challenging, and able to get really dirty. Just like your Mom. It comes from Lego-building legend Sariel (whose Build a LEGO Mustang book we reviewed here last week) and it’s a triumph of Technic engineering.
Underneath the wonderfully accurate Model Team exterior, complete with opening doors, engine hatches and LED head and tail lights, is a fully working replica of the MAZ’s incredible 8×8 drivetrain.
Four Power functions XL motors drive all eight wheels, the front four of which turn on separate radiuses. All eight wheels feature planetary hubs and are suspended via pendular axles, allowing Sariel’s model to go anywhere it is possible for a Lego creation to go, or to pull a chair across a wooden floor according to the accompanying video.
A working V12 piston engine is mounted inside, along with a pneumatically operated high/low gearbox providing the model with two speeds (slow, and really slow), and the motorised drive, steering, lighting and gearbox can all be controlled remotely thanks to a third-party SBrick bluetooth control.
Today we’re privileged to share a piece of work that combines all three of the areas above, as the awesome guys at No Starch Press sent us a copy of their new book written by Sariel; ‘Build a LEGO Mustang‘. And not just any Mustang either, it’s the same glorious 1960s GT350 fastback that first appeared here almost two years ago, with remote control drive and steering, LED lights, a 2-speed transmission, opening doors, hood and trunk, and a V8 engine. So, what’s it like?
Firstly, as with all the No Starch Press Lego products we’ve reviewed, ‘Build a Lego Mustang’ is a very well published book. High quality, glossy, and with excellent full colour imagery throughout. Unlike previous publications though, ‘Build a Lego Mustang’ is not coffee table art, a Lego history, or varied model showcase. Instead it’s an instruction manual, detailing the 420 steps required to recreate Sariel’s Mustang masterpiece.
Running to 110 pages, Sariel’s book provides the building process to create his amazing Ford Mustang GT350 for yourself, using a presentation and process that will be familiar to anyone who has built an official LEGO set. Like LEGO’s own instructions, ‘Build a Lego Mustang’ includes a complete parts inventory at the start, followed by the traditional ‘spot the difference’ steps that turn a pile of bricks into a complete model. Continue reading →
Sometimes we’re surprised we have any Elves left at all…
This is a Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1/KV-2 tank, it comes from Lego-building genius Sariel, and it has caused considerable carnage within our Elven workforce here at TLCB Towers.
Sariel’s model faithfully recreates the 1940’s Russian battle tank, complete with remote control drive and skid-steering, torsion bar suspension, a rotating turret with elevating gun, and – in the case of the mad KV-2 version – a working firing mechanism.
It’s this feature the Elf that discovered today’s find chose to use on its colleagues, firing at them as they fled and then running those that got hit over. It’s not fun being an Elf sometimes. Unless you’re the one doing the firing and running over we suppose…
Anyway, we have the controls now so order has been restored, giving us a chance to examine the astonishing quality of engineering that has gone into this creation.
You can see it for yourself at Sariel’s KV-1/KV-2 Flickr album, the full gallery available at Bricksafe, or the Eurobricks discussion forum. You can also check out Sariel’s interview here at The Lego Car Blog via the first link in the text above, plus you can watch the Kliment Voroshilov tank in action in a Michael Bay-inspired short film below…
LEGO’s new Control+ app has finally brought bluetooth control to LEGO sets. Available on the new 42100 Technic Liebherr R 980 excavator set, the largest set LEGO have ever produced, the Control+ app allows all seven motors to be operated, and programmed, via a mobile device.
But what if the new app was used to control something a bit… larger?
Weighing 890 tons and with around 4,000 bhp the real Liebherr R 9800 excavator is the third largest excavator in the world and it has, courtesy of LEGO and TLCB Master MOCer Sariel, been turned into the world’s largest remote control toy.
With a suite of ingenious motorised Technic mechanisms installed in the cab the real Liebherr R 9800’s controls could be operated remotely through the new LEGO Control+ app, allowing it to drive, steer and excavate via a mobile phone just like the 42100 set. Only on a much much bigger scale.
Take a look a video above to see how the team did it, and get some ideas for how to control your annoying neighbour’s Honda Odessey through your phone…