Tag Archives: submarine

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…

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Wet Nellie

The second most famous Bond Car of all time is actually the best. Discuss. This is ‘Wet Nellie’, the Lotus Esprit S1 from 1977’s ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, that ‘transformed’ – by the push of a button – into a submarine. And nothing in the world is cooler than that.

Suggested by a reader, this is Paul Nicholson‘s fantastic recreation of the aquatic sports car, and not only does it look absolutely spot-on, it transforms too, with the wheels tucking in to reveal submarining fins, and the rear fins and propellers also folding out from within. Of course it wouldn’t be a classic Bond Car without some evasive weaponry too, and Paul’s Esprit duly replicates the front missile launcher, mine layer, and the rear missiles (that really fire) used by Roger Moore to escape Karl Stromberg’s henchmen.

It all adds up to something that would make a superb official LEGO set, and whilst LEGO don’t have a Lotus license, they do have a 007 one, with Paul’s model constructed in a matching scale to the 10262 Aston Martin DB5 ‘Goldfinger’ set. Plus how cool would it be to add Lotus to LEGO’s ever growing list of vehicle manufacturer partners?

There’s much more to see of Paul’s incredible creation at his Flickr photostream, where you can ask him to add it to LEGO Ideas where it would surely get 10,000 votes so we can all buy it one day. For what it’s worth TLCB would be at the front of the queue. Get wet via the link above.

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Floatus

Lego Lotus Esprit Submarine James Bond

James Bond might be a dark and moody character these days (as he was in the books too), but there was a time when spying was a little more… extravagant.

The height of 007 ridiculousness was the late ’70s, when Bond went into space, spent more time on one-liners than actually secret agenting, and – in 1977’s ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ – drove a sports car underwater.

It was a ludicrous scene, but one that cemented both Bond and Lotus into vehicular film royalty. Bond’s Lotus Esprit S1, modified by Q-branch, featured some rather ingenious optional extras, and – as Q always somehow seemed to manage – they were exactly what was required for the mission. What luck eh?

This brilliant recreation of the iconic movie car/submarine was suggested to us by a reader and comes from Luis Pena of Flickr. Luis’ ‘Wet Nellie’ as it was called (stop sniggering at the back!) includes all the cunning features of Q’s finest creation and there’s more to see on Flickr. Dive in via the link above.

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Unterseeboot | Picture Special

Lego U-Boat VIIc

Britain in the Second World War was under siege. V1 flying bombs dropped out of the skies, the Luftwaffe bombed cities relentlessly, and a deadly terror lurked unseen under the waves offshore…

Lego U-Boat Submarine

Germany’s U-Boat, shorthand for Unterseeboot (which literally meant ‘under sea boat’ – the allies were definitely better at naming things) was a stroke of genius. Able to destroy a military ship (plus a few civilian ones too…) almost undetected, it must have been a terrifying time to navigate the cold waters of Northern Europe.

Lego U-Boat VIIc

Awfully effective though the U-Boat was, it’s not often we see one in Lego form. Discovered by one of our Elves today, this superb mini-figure recreation of U-Boat VIIc comes from Luis Peña of Flickr. Beautifully constructed inside and out Luis’ model features a wonderfully detailed interior underneath the cleverly sculpted hull, including a submariner using a torpedo for weights training, the captain manning the periscope, and a fully stocked galley complete with rat (aka tomorrow’s dinner).

Lego U-Boat VIIc

It’s a stunning build and we highly recommend visiting Luis’ photostream to see the complete gallery of images. Get ready to dive via the link to Flickr in the text above.

Lego U-Boat VIIc

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Ocean Custodian

Lego RV Calypso Research Boat

Built by TLCB debutant Luis Pena, this is a 1:100 scale replica of the research vessel ‘Calypso’, complete with a helicopter and ‘diving saucer’ submersible vehicle.

The Calypso was originally a US-built wooden-hulled British minesweeper that served in the Mediterranean during the Second World War. Following the Allied victory the ship returned to US hands before being recommissioned as a Maltese ferry.

Within a year however, British millionaire Thomas Loel Guinness purchased the ship and gave it to the diving pioneer, film-maker, conservationist and adventurer Jacques-Yves Cousteau for use as a marine research vessel, a role the Calypso fulfilled for five decades. During an incredible half-century of oceanic exploration Cousteau and the Calypso made numerous discoveries, including the wreck of the HMHS Brittanic sunk during the First World War, the ability of marine mammals to use echolocation, and halted the dumping of radioactive waste in the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1996, almost fifty years after it entered service with Cousteau, the RV Calypso was accidentally rammed by a barge in Singapore and it sunk in the harbour. A week later the ship was raised and transferred to a shipyard, however Jacques-Yves Cousteau died the following year of a heart attack aged 87, and the Calypso was left to rot as various parties fought over the boat’s ownership, its restoration, and unpaid bills.

Today the ship, which has featured in film, documentaries, song, and even has a namesake in Star Trek, is still quietly dissolving in a shipyard in France, a victim of mankind’s inability to put progress over profit. However Cousteau’s legacy remains almost unfathomably huge, and continues to today via the environmental protection foundation that he created which now numbers over 300,000 members.

This beautiful homage to a ship which as done probably more than any other can be found in greater detail at Luis’ photostream on Flickr, and includes both above and below the waterline versions (each pictured here). There’s more to see via the link above, and you can read more about the Cousteau Society that continues Jacques-Yves’ work today by clicking here.

Lego RV Calypso Research Boat

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It’s in the bag

Lego Submarine

We all live in a yellow submarine…

This post stretches our blog title beyond its intended scope somewhat, but it’s worth it today for the brilliance of this MOC. But was is it?

It might look like a yellow box with a bag stuffed inside it, but it’s actually a fully operational submersible vehicle. Builder tke1 has used all-Lego parts (save for the bag) to create this masterpiece, utilising magnets to transfer motion through the bag to the propellers in the water.

Lego submarine

…A yellow submarine, a yellow submarine.

To see more of this astonishing creation check out tke1’s Brickshelf gallery.

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