Tag Archives: Sariel

Messing Up Afghanistan Since 1978

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.

Donate to Unicef in Afghanistan here.

Wartime Willys

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.

Slowly Sovieting

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.

YouTube Video

Remotely Truckin’

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.

Vintage Velocity

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.

There’s lots more of Sariel’s creation to see at his ‘Mercedes-Benz SSKL’ album on Flickr, plus you can watch the model in action via the excellent video below.

YouTube Video

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…

On The Buses

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.

Mazzive

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.

There’s much more to see of this amazing creation at Sariel’s MAZ-535 Flickr album, on the Eurobricks forum, or via the video below. Click the links to take a look, plus you can read Sariel’s interview here at The Lego Car Blog by clicking here.

YouTube Video

 

Build a LEGO Mustang | Book Review

Lego-building legend Sariel has appeared here multiple times over the years. He’s part our our ‘Become a Pro‘ series, is the author of some excellent Lego books, and his beautiful fully remote controlled Mustang GT350 is one of the the finest models we’ve ever published.

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

Killing with Kliment

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…

YouTube Video

 

Plus Size

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…

Dumping Cat

As has been documented here before, TLCB Team – as a rule – dislike cats. We appreciate that’s a controversial thing to say on the internet, which is very possibly ruled by cats, so prevalent is their content, but we’ve probably said worse.

We do like this cat though, Sariel’s huge Caterpillar 797F dump truck – which is currently filled with Elves riding it up and down the corridor here at TLCB Towers – and it’s packed with functions.

Firstly, that enormous bucket they’re piled into features a remotely operable dumping mechanism thanks to a Mindstorms EV3 IR sensor, which we’ll test out on our unsuspecting workers shortly. The choice of a Mindstorms control unit is an usual one, as they don’t often feature in models here at TLCB, but Sariel’s decision to use one is rather cunning…

The Mindstorms EV3 not only controls the tipping bucket, it also measures the suspension tilt and applies an automatic motorised correction to keep the Caterpillar level. Self-levelling suspension is a system relatively common on SUVs (as well as mining trucks), but it’s one that requires such ridiculous ingenuity in Lego form that we don’t even know how Sariel began. But then our cleverness peaked with the title on today’s other post, so it’s no surprise that this is way over our heads.

Sariel’s Caterpillar also features remote control drive and steering via LEGO’s Power Functions system, non-LEGO ‘Baja Claw’ RC tyres fitted to standard LEGO wheels, and a host of accurate details and decals to replicate the real 797F.

A complete gallery of imagery is available to view at Sariel’s Caterpillar 797F Flickr album by clicking here and you can join the discussion plus watch a video the the model in action (including a demonstration of the clever suspension) by visiting the Eurobricks forum here.

Sherping Through the Snow

Lego Sherp ATV Remote Control BuWizz

Another day in TLCB Office. It’s cold outside, there’s snow on the ground, and pictures of Margot Robbie won’t look at themselves. Sadly TLCB Elves care not for this writer’s quiet contemplation and a cacophony of noise smashed through the doorway from the corridor. Sigh. Considerable past experience meant this writer knew that a long morning was in store.

A weary trudge to the source of the commotion revealed a grey box on wheels spinning furiously atop several decidedly squashed Elves. Mr. Airhorn was deployed, the spinning box ceased its rotation, and an unseen Elf jumped down from a low shelf and ran off, cackling wildly.

With the box now stationary we could uncover what it was, and what it was was a small Technic version of the amphibious Russian oddity known as the ‘Sherp’, and it was ridiculously powerful.

Just how ridiculously powerful? Well take a look at the video below…

YouTube Video

With a separate and fully-suspended motor powering each of the four wheels, plus a BuWizz bluetooth battery brick providing up to eight times the power of LEGO’s own battery, there has probably never been a more capable Elf-smushing creation than this. Ever.

Technic-building legend Sariel is the evil genius behind the Technic Sherp ATV and he’s made a wealth of high-quality images available via Flickr. Click these words to take a look at the model in greater detail at Sariel’s photostream, whilst we spend a morning trying to get Elf blood out of the carpet, and maybe dispatch a few of the fallen to the ‘Elf Hospital‘…

Lego Sherp ATV Remote Control BuWizz

JCB 5CX Wastemaster | Picture Special

Lego Technic JCB Remote Control

Every so often a creation comes along that shifts what we thought possible from LEGO bricks. This is one such creation. Created over the course of a year by Technic-building legend Sariel this is a fully working replica of JCB’s 5CX Wastemaster backhoe, powered by pneumatics, eleven Power Functions motors, and two third-party SBricks.

Lego Technic JCB 5CX Remote Control Underneath the brilliant Technic exterior are nine motors that drive all four wheels, the three-mode steering (two-wheel, all-wheel and crab), backhoe arm rotation and traverse, and powering a combination of pneumatic cylinders and linear actuators to control both the front and rear arms and their respective buckets. A further two motors power the pneumatic ‘remote control’, compressing the air which travels down twelve separate hoses to the model itself.

Lego Technic JCB 5CX Remote Control

A motorised remotely rotating driver’s seat and a suite of LED lights from third-party lighting specialists Brickstuff complete the electronics, making this 2.4kg, 75 stud-long masterpiece one of the most technically advanced Technic creations to date. There is much more to see of Sariel’s amazing remote control JCB at the Eurobricks forum, on Flickr, and at Sariel’s excellent website, you can watch it in action via the video below, and if you’d like to build your own model with many of the features of this one we highly recommend LEGO’s own 42054 Claas Xerion 5000 set, which share its wheels and amazing three-mode steering with Sariel’s fantastic creation.

YouTube Video

 

Trailcat

Lego Jeep Wrangler Trailcat

We’ve featured some amazing remote control off-road vehicles here at The Lego Car Blog over the years. However despite their engineering excellence, they’re often massive, heavy, and very expensive to build. Not so today’s creation, which comes from previous bloggee, published author, and all-round Technic legend Sariel.

Sariel has decided to take the Technic off-roader formula and simplify it, using normal parts, light weight, and an affordable price tag to create his very green Jeep Wrangler Trailcat.

Lego Jeep Wrangler Trailcat Remote Control 4x4

Three Power Functions motors, a battery box and a standard IR receiver provide remote control drive, whilst simple oscillating axle suspension and four-wheel-drive (with no differentials) allow Sariel’s Trailcat to off-road like a much larger model. All in it weights under a kilogram, and such simplicity means that we think it would make a very good LEGO set.

Fortunately Sariel thinks so too, as he’s published his Jeep to the LEGO Ideas platform where it could become an official LEGO set. You can find all the details via Sariel’s website, the Eurobricks forum or via the video below, where there are links to LEGO Ideas and you can add your vote.

YouTube Video