‘Rolling coal‘ is for idiots. Aside from blasting a load of carcinogenic particulates into the air as some sort of moronic ‘anti-environment’ protest, plumes of black smoke actually signify wasted fuel, ergo less power. Which is why we don’t use steam engines any more.
That said, we do still like a good steam engine (which is possibly the saddest sentence in the English language), and so too does TLCB debutant Jebbo, who has built three unfathomably beautiful Dutch steam tugs from our favourite plastic bricks.
Each model is an exquisitely detailed replica of a real steam tug boat, of which two are apparently still running on coal.
Amazing attention to detail and ingenious building techniques are in abundance and there’s more to see of Jebbo’s ‘Furie’, ‘Hercules’, and ‘Noordzee’ steam tug boats at the Eurobricks discussion forum. Click the link above to roll coal the right way.
It’s been over a hundred years since steam rollers were built, and yet in TLCB’s home nation we still call road rollers ‘steam rollers’ over a century later. No we don’t know why either. Anyway, this one is a steam roller, being effectively a giant kettle with a big metal drum attached to the front, powered by burning lumps of fossilised wood.
It comes from previous bloggee Nikolaus Lowe, who has done a tremendous job building this beautiful and fully functional Model Team/Technic c1910 steam roller, complete with working rope steering, rear ripper, drivetrain pistons and valve gear, and even the weird centrifugal spinning thingy that steam-powered vehicles always seem to have, the purpose of which remains a mystery.
A wealth of superb imagery is available to view at Nikolaus’ ‘Steam Roller’ album on Flickr, where you can also find details on how to vote for this model to become an official LEGO set. Click the link above to go rollin’.
After the violent events that occurred here in TLCB Office yesterday we’ve been nervously awaiting the next remotely controlled Lego creation that the Elves would find. Fortunately for all concerned (except the Elf that found it), this Daniel Best steam traction engine by Flickr’s Nikolaus Löwe managed to do no damage whatsoever.
Despite its BuWizz battery, Nikolaus’s creation is heroically slow, and therefore accurately represents the real contraption from the early 1900s which had a top speed of… 4mph.
However such glacial velocity allowed us to view the magnificently recreated pistons and rods that Nikolaus has faithfully recreated, which all do their things thanks to well concealed Power Functions motors. The Elf at the controls was less impressed, and after watching its find trundle across the floor squashing precisely no-one, ran off in disgust.
It’ll be back for its meal token reward soon enough, but if you like this build as much as we do there’s more to see on Flickr. Click the link above to head very slowly across America in 1905.
Today at TLCB we’re trumpeting this glorious traction engine and trailer built by previous bloggee Nikolaus Löwe (aka Mr_Klienstien), who has opened up his own steam-powered amusement arcade!
Frogger, Time Crisis, and Sega Rally probably aren’t included, (and we’re not really sure what a steam powered amusement might consist of. Well, we had someideas but they’re definitely not right), but you can see more of the beautiful traction engine that would power them along with the trailered living accommodation that accompanies it at Nikolaus’s ‘Showman’s Engine ‘ album on Flickr.
The current craze for e-bikes shows that mankind’s propensity to make literally everything lazier continues unabated. However we’re not new in our quest to eradicate all forms of exercise, as back in the late 1800s our forebears had the same idea, first creating the ‘steam powered velocipede‘ which we want based upon its name alone, and later strapping a steam engine to a penny farthing, to eliminate all that inconvenient pedalling. Remarkably they worked too.
Cue TLCB Master MOCer and all-round Technic-building genius Nico71, who has created his own ‘steam’ powered bicycle (or velocipede as we shall now call it), equipped with a single cylinder Lego Pneumatic Engine, that – when fed with ‘steam’ (compressed air) – powers the velocipede through a two speed gearbox.
Every element of Nico’s machine is LEGO, including an ingenious design that genuinely ‘throttles’ the amount of air entering the engine controlled via a handlebar-mounted lever, a flywheel for maintaining the engine’s smoothness, and a working rear brake.
It’s all preposterously clever and best of all Nico has made instructions available so that you can build you very own Steam Powered Velocipede at home, which we genuinely might do! Head to Brickshelf to see all the imagery, Nico’s excellent website for full details and building instructions, and you can watch this remarkable contraption in action via the video below.
Before the internal combustion engine took over as the dominant technology, early vehicles were powered by all sorts of stuff. Electric – weirdly – was widely used (so things are coming full circle and perhaps Tesla aren’t that revolutionary after all), as was steam, which featured in everything from small(ish) runabouts to enormous tractors, or ‘traction engines’.
Unlike electric, steam vehicles probably aren’t going to make a comeback, but we do still like to see a nice traction engine. Yeah, we’re a bit sad. So does Flickr’s Nikolaus Lowe though, and as such he’s built this splendid mini-figure scale ‘Showman’s Engine’, completely with a wonderfully be-hatted showman at the controls. Head to Nikolaus’s photostream via the link above for more details.
Nope, not that Spanish exchange girl from your youth that you always wish you’d kept in touch with, but this rather neat steam corvette sailing under Chilean colours.
Built for the Chilean Navy by a British shipyard in the 1850s this Esmeralda is one of several Chilean warships to carry the name, and was sunk in the Battle of Iquique in Chile’s defeat to Peru and Bolivia in 1879. We know so little about about South American conflicts that our narrative ends there, but the model of the lost ship itself is nevertheless beautiful. Flickr’s Luis Peña is the builder behind it and there’s more to see of his gorgeous recreation of the Esmeralda via the link above.
This is the ‘Saturn’, a 1908 German steam tug which saw active duty right up until 1979. That made it the very last serving steam tug in Germany and earned it a place in the Rostock Shipping Museum, where it still resides today. This gorgeous 1:40-scale replica of the last steam tug comes from Flickr’s koffiemoc who has recreated the little ship beautifully in Lego form. There are lots more images to see – including highlights of the brilliant detailing and ‘how to’ pictures of the hull construction – at koffiemoc’s photostream. Steam ahead via the link above.
After yesterday’s history lesson we’re sticking with the historical theme for this post, but at the other end of the Silliness Spectrum!
Star Wars and Steampunk are both pretty nerdy things, but combining the two is a whole new level of nerdicity*. This Steampunk imagining of Slave 1 by Legopard is probably the nerdiest thing we’ve seen all year, but also one of the coolest too. It was suggested to us via the Feedback page, and you can join us geeking-out over it on either MOCpages or Flickr.
The Elves have found something of a LEGO rarity today. We very rarely post early 20th Century vehicles here, mostly because you guys don’t build them, however Marin Stipkovic has allowed us to take a rare trip a long looong way back in time. This magnificent vintage Foden steam truck is perfect for a 1910’s Town scene, and you can find it on either MOCpages or Flickr.